A strategic and well-thought-out publicity and marketing campaign will help spread the word about your finished book. When you’re publishing your own book, it’s critical to think about your book’s publicity and marketing.
But even when your book is being published by a traditional publisher, you need to pay attention to publicity and marketing. The book marketing department and the publicity department have tens of other books to be concerned with, so your efforts as an author to create opportunities are important to the book’s success. Here are the steps to getting the word out about your book:
Get your pre-publication self in order
Up to a year before the book’s publication, you should lay the groundwork for the book’s publication. For example, you should:
Establish an online presence. Produce a website and/or create a Facebook page for your book. Establish Twitter account to help get yourself out there as an author and/or a topic expert
Set yourself up on other social media sites that apply to your book, such as Goodreads.com, Pinterest if your book is visual, etc. Use this handy Author's Social Media Checklist from Laura Rossi Public Relations to help keep you on track.
For more details, read about the 6 advance steps your should take to prepare for your book’s publication.
Assess and make contact with your "offline" networks
Near publication, you’re going to utilize all your contacts to help you promote the book.
Publishers ask authors to do this with a tool called the Author Questionnaire, which helps gather together all the resources an author brings to the marketing and publicity campaign. This could be as grand as having a media platform like a radio show, or as modest as having a college alumni magazine that’s willing to make an announcement about your book’s publication. The AQ will help you put on your thinking cap about your friends and family who might be useful—the friend of a friend who writes for the local newspaper, or your cousin who owns a café and might be willing to host a book party.
Use the Author Questionnaire templates to help gather your personal assets.
Author Questionnaire template, Part 1
Author Questionnaire template, Part 2
Produce an online book trailer
Book trailers that are designed to live on web can be inexpensive to produce, practically free to distribute and—best of all—they are easy to share. People who find your book trailer—or the book it describes—appealing, may very well spread the word with their own networks of people.
Learn about the elements of an effective online book trailer.
Read about what your online book trailer needs to include.
Strategize about your publicity “hooks” and create a plan
Especially if you’re doing your own marketing and publicity, you need to have a solid “newsworthy” reason for the press to pay attention to you—believe it or not, the fact that you published a book doesn’t qualify as “news” to most media. Note that, if you have a book publicist working on your book, she or he will most likely be taking care of most of this—but it doesn’t hurt to be informed as to the process.
Learn how to use an existing event as a media “hook” for your book in order to get publicity.
Learn the basic elements of book publicity
Craft a great press release for your book using your strategy.
Create a list of the media contacts and bloggers who might be interested in your book’s publication
Execute your publicity plan
If you’re a self-published author, you’ll need to reach out to media and event venues yourself to set up readings, book signings or talks.
Contact your list of media and bloggers by emailing your press release; follow up within a week or so with another email.
Read this article about online publicity campaigns.
Throw a book launch party
Learn how to reach out to book festival programmers
Read about reaching out to media
Alert your social media network, as well as your “offline” network contacts
Set up signings with your favorite local bookstore
With all that done, you should be well on your way to sharing your book with the world!