By Jane Tabachnick
Today’s article by book publicist Jane Tabachnick may offer some publicity options you hadn’t previously considered. I hope you find it interesting.
Your success as an author is dependent on getting in front of as many potential readers and prospects as possible.
There are many strategies that should be part of your promotional plan to help you accomplish this, and one of the most important ones is publicity. The combined benefit of free exposure from a trusted source that publicity can offer can be priceless.
Three Ways Authors Can Get Publicity
The challenge for authors is figuring out which way to get their publicity handled. There are three ways to get publicity for your book.
Most authors think there are only two options:
- Hiring an expensive public relations (PR) firm
- Do It Yourself
There is however a third option which is a hybrid method; let’s call it
- DIY PR with Outsourcing
It’s where you manage the PR yourself and outsource different aspects of your publicity initiative; many authors and entrepreneurs don’t realize that there are aspects or PR tasks that you can outsource – it’s not an all or nothing proposition with the right team.
Three PR methods and how they compare
1. Hire a PR firm
The benefits to this method are that you have experienced professionals handling your publicity for you. You figure you can sit back and relax as they are handling your PR.
When you hire the right firm, this can be a great set up as you can focus on your business or other marketing and promotional tasks on your to-do list. They’ll be able to easily identify your best story hooks and how to position you to the media so you are irresistible. A good PR firm with existing relationships will be able to mine their network to get you media opportunities right out of the gate.
The Cons – This method can be expensive. There is the potential that you will just get lost in amongst all the firm’s clients and may not get all the personal attention that you deserve. Mark Cuban, author and Shark Tank judge, believes that no one is as passionate about your book as you are, which is why he doesn’t believe you should hire a PR firm.
2. Do it Yourself (DIY) PR
As an author, you can certainly do your own book publicity, and even have great success at it. While you are saving the expense of a PR firm on retainer, you will need to spend time implementing your publicity plan.
No one knows you, your book or material as well as you do or is as passionate about it as you.
To succeed with PR, you need to:
- learn how the media works
- come up with your ideal story hooks
- identify your target media contacts
Then you’ll need to pitch and follow up. DIY PR can become more successful with some training, coaching or mentoring.
The Cons – PR can be time-consuming and take you away from other work you want to and need to be doing. You may not understand some of the nuances of the media or have media contacts so you’re starting from Ground Zero which means there is both a learning curve and a ramp-up time. You won’t have access to the tools that PR firms have – from personal contact lists to pricey subscription-based media databases.
3. Hybrid – DIY PR with Outsourcing
Possibly the best of both worlds, the hybrid method offers a way to maximize both your time and your budget to get publicity. It can help shorten your learning curve and allow you to outsource tasks that you aren’t skilled at or comfortable doing. Using DIY PR with outsourcing, you are acting as PR project manager, while still handling some implementation.
What I like about this method is that you can maintain better control over the project, deciding:
- what aspects you want to do
- how much time you yourself will be implementing
- what tasks you want to outsource and at what cost (market permitting)
This method can yield the best results as it combines your passion for your book, your own marketing skills with that of a trained PR professional. It can also shorten the ramp-up time, as your freelancer will bring well-honed skills and assets along with them.
The Cons – Making good hires is dependent on understanding PR and knowing how to find and successfully manage freelancers. Also, finding your PR freelancers can take up time; you may need to try out a few before finding a great freelancer, though hopefully, this is a onetime activity; when you find a great resource, you won’t have to hire again.
PR skills that you will need to learn for DIY PR, or that you can outsource to a freelancer:
- Identifying/Creating your story hooks
- Media List Creation
- Writing –
- Press Release
- Pitch Letters
- Endorsement Requests
- Bylined Articles
- Media Kit
- Media Pitching and Follow up
- Monitoring and Pitching Media Queries
Syms, a specialty New York City clothier used to run an ad campaign that said:
“An educated consumer is our best customer.”
Whichever of these three ways to get publicity for your book you decide to go with, the more knowledge you have about PR – from how it works, to the tools and accepted industry practices, the more successful you will be with them.
Jane Tabachnick is a digital marketing and publicity consultant, and book publisher. She works with savvy entrepreneurs and enlightened professionals to help them tell their story by becoming published authors, and create greater visibility, buzz and profits. Named one of the top 100 people online by Fast Company, Jane is an ambivert who has been featured or quoted in the media, though she still prefers to help her clients get visibility. Jane is the creator of the Author Visibility Builder mentoring program. For more information visit www.janetabachnick.com.