My guest this post is Emma Noble, the director of Noble Words Communications and Book Publicity. She has 20 years of experience in promoting writers of fiction and non-fiction in the UK and Australia.
This month, Emma generously shares her trade secrets on generating publicity for a new book (though reading Emma’s tips, they can easily be applied to any product).
Putting together a basic book publicity campaign is quite straightforward. Book publicity is essentially the exchange of quality content in return for access to an audience, in which you supply the content and a media organisation brings the market. Keep this concept in mind throughout your campaign and it will help keep you focused on pitching ideas that are both strong and relevant. My book, The DIY Book PR Guide, outlines a slightly more involved, seven-step ‘HAPPIER’ principle of book publicity but here are my top three tips for running your own campaign and earning your book some valuable coverage.
Tip 1: Know your onions
Make sure you are able to explain your book clearly and succinctly. Work up a 30-second ‘elevator pitch’ that describes and sells your book and its unique features in the most appealing way. You will use this description endlessly throughout the campaign so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. You will also use this as the basis for your (one-page) press release, a copy of which accompanies every book you send out to journalists. Speaking of journalists…
Tip 2: Put together a killer hit-list
Your media hit-list will include journalists in print (papers and magazines), broadcast (TV and radio), and online outlets of two types: those specialising in your area of interest and those too big to overlook. For example, if your book is about craft beer brewing, you would include Beer & Brewer magazine alongside the Seven Network’s Sunrise TV show and Fairfax Media’s Good Weekend magazine, and anyone else who might be interested in covering your book, perhaps under the broader topic of the rise in popularity of traditional hobbies. You can create your own list or buy a pre-existing one from a media monitoring agency, depending on your personal time and budget constraints. Although, in terms of making sure the information is up-to-date and getting a feel for the media you’re pitching to, I believe nothing beats a list you create yourself. Once you have the media outlet, it’s usually easy enough to find a contact name online or by reading the newspaper or magazine or watching the TV show’s credits, for example. Immersing yourself in the media you’re pitching to will help you refine and perfect the tone of your pitches and is really a basic courtesy to the journalists you’re approaching.
Tip 3: Get creative with your angles
Angles are the story ideas arising from your book or personal background that you will pitch to media. There is little point in pitching an idea you know the outlet has run a story on before, or in offering them something their audience wouldn’t be interested in, or is unconnected to your book. Keep your eye on the news for opportunities to tie your book into current affairs. When an opportunity pops up keep your angles:
- Original perspective on a popular topic
- Relevant to the audience
- Clearly linked to your story or to the book.
Once you have your list of angles, simply match them to the outlets you’ve identified as potential targets (or add more outlets as the ideas suggest them). Now you have your press release, a list of great stories to pitch and an idea of where you’d like to see them appear. It’s time to get started. Happy pitching!
Emma Noble is the director of Noble Words Communications and Book Publicity. She has nearly 20 years of experience in promoting writers of fiction and non-fiction in the UK and in Australia. The DIY Book PR Guide: The HAPPIER Guide to Do-It-Yourself Book Publicity in Seven Easy Steps is her first book.
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