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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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