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Four Things Independent Authors Need to Consider Before Hiring a Publicist

Over the years, I have received several calls and emails from independent authors looking to hire a publicist. Some have books releasing from small, traditional publishers who don’t have the resources for publicity while others are self-published and thus responsible for their own publicity.

In my experience, some of those who have contacted me are ready to hire a publicist but, in many cases, they’re not quite there yet.

Ask yourself these four questions before picking up the phone or hitting send:

1. Is my book ready for a publicist? A reputable publicist will only take on a project that she believes can be promoted effectively. Effective promotion begins with a good product. Has the book been professionally edited? Did you invest in a cover created by someone experienced in book cover design or did you try and do it yourself? Is your book type-set correctly or are there huge gaps in text because it’s not laid out right? All of these things matter when presenting the book to media and bloggers. (And they matter to readers, too.)

2. What do I hope to accomplish? You must carefully think through your goals and whether or not hiring a publicist will help you reach them. I once had an author tell me he read in a magazine that he should hire a publicist so that’s why he called. This is probably not the best reason. In some cases, it might make more sense to put your money into pursuing speaking engagements. If you’re a veteran blogger, for example, you could probably arrange your own blog tour versus paying someone for it. In other cases, a series of radio interviews or print placements may be a great way to build name recognition and an experienced publicist could be a real asset.

3. Can I afford it?  This is probably one of the biggest issues that I have run into over the years. I have had people contact me who have zero budget. Others ask if I’ll take a percentage of sales, that they’re doing door-to-door. Hiring a publicist is an investment. You are investing in a professional who has the experience, expertise, contacts, and systems to help get your book in front of media decision makers and often, directly in front of potential readers. This comes at a cost.  It’s important that you figure out–ahead of time–what you can realistically afford. It’s much wiser to forgo the publicist and do your own promotion then to hire someone and not be able to pay them.

4. Am I willing to work hard to promote my book?  One New York Times best-selling author released his latest book with a flurry of media attention, cross-country book signings, speaking engagements, promotions, and more. You may not have the same aspirations but the obvious takeaway is that it takes a lot to effectivly promote a book. Are you willing to do whatever it takes? Will you get up early for interviews or stay up late? Will you spend time answering email interviews for bloggers? Will you learn how to use social media and work at it diligently? No one has as much invested in your book as you do–it takes work.

What other things do you think are important to consider?



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Perry Noble to Appear on Daystar’s Celebration

Perry Noble, founding and senior pastor of NewSpring Church, will appear on Celebration with Marcus and Joni Lamb on Wednesday, September 26. The show airs live at 12:00 pm ET on the Daystar Network. Check local listings.

Noble will also appear live on Thursday, September 27 on WMBI’s This is the Day with Nancy Turner on 90.1 FM in Chicago.

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How Public Speaking Can Grow Book Sales

Last weekend I had the honor of hearing international Bible teacher Kay Arthur speak at a women’s conference hosted by my church. I went away from the weekend challenged and with a strengthened faith.

I also bought two books. And, apparently, so did nearly everyone else because we wiped out the conference bookstore. Women flocked to the store after each session, eager to pick-up resources to help in their daily spiritual lives. Kay discussed many of them from the front–not to “hawk” product as that is not her style—but to share them as helpful resources. And the women responded.

Now, I realize that Kay Arthur already has quite a platform and thousands already use her books. You could argue that this is why so many sold at this event and I think that would be legitimate. You may not have that same kind of outreach–yet. But, I think that it’s a great example of how powerful speaking can be. People are much more apt to buy your books and other resources if they feel connected to you, your story, and most importantly, your heart. And one of the best ways to do that is by getting in front of those who would benefit most from what you have to share.

How has speaking helped grow your book sales?


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Four Things Authors Need to Consider About Book Promotion

With the hundreds of thousands of books released each year, it can be a challenge to get your book to stand out from the rest. But the good news is that more opportunities exist than ever to get your book in front of potential readers as well as the media, if you’re willing to put forth the effort.

You can easily do a Google search and find dozens of tactical ideas for publicizing your book. But before setting up a Facebook page, writing a blog, or mailing out copies of your book to every media outlet in the country, here’s four things you need to consider.

Know Your Market: This may seem like common sense, but to gain any traction for your book you need to clearly know who the intended audience is (hint: it’s not everybody). This will help you to know what publicity tactics will be most effective. Ask yourself these questions: Who will buy this book? Where do these people spend their time? What publications do they read? What Web sites or blogs do they visit? What TV shows do they watch? You may want to get on a major national morning show but if the audience doesn’t fit your market it’s not worth the effort.

Get connected: It’s important that you connect with your potential audience on a continuous basis and not just to pitch your book. Find out where they hang out (see above) and join the conversation. Get involved by regularly commenting on applicable blogs, writing articles, scheduling speaking engagements, or launching your own blog and inviting comments on your Web site (you do have a Web site, right?). You want to be the person that people think of when your topic comes to mind. Remember that you needn’t do everything at the same time—pick the areas where you will be most effective and start there. You can always add more.

Pursue the right media: Every book can benefit from media exposure at some level, provided you pursue the right outlets for your topic. You needn’t start with The Today Show or Dr. Phil. What about a local talk radio program that interviews guests? If your book is for parents, for example, send it to the regional parenting magazines for possible coverage. When a major news story breaks that relates to your area of expertise, contact your area newspaper and offer the local angle. Remember to always focus on how you can help the media outlet meet the needs of their audience, rather than simply pushing your book.

Be generous: I strongly believe that one of the best things you can do when publicizing your book is to give it away. By offering a generous amount of free books to applicable bloggers and traditional media, arranging for giveaways, if possible, and sending the book to key influencers, you will help build credibility and get the buzz going. I worked on a campaign recently for a children’s series where we arranged to give away 20 sets (that’s 80 books) on one of the top personal finance blogs read by thousands of moms .The woman who runs the blog fell in love with the series (and so did her kids!) and has promoted it several times since, resulting in numerous sales. Was the giveaway worth it? Yes—a thousand times over.

Above all else, work hard and be persistent. Your book just might change somebody’s life—and that’s worth all the effort in the world.

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