By Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer of MEDIA CONNECT
Book publicity is more of a marathon than a sprint, yet some authors and publishers approach it all wrong. A short-term approach is limiting and harmful and should be avoided at all costs.
To promote a book appropriately, effectively and with your author brand in mind, plan for a real marathon.
At least six months prior to your book’s release date, complete your website, fill out your profiles on all major social media platforms, and create your press kit materials. Begin the process of securing speaking engagements.
Around four months before your book’s scheduled publication date, send out advance review copies to the news media, especially key book publishing magazines, book reviewers, major morning TV shows, and to those whom you seek to get testimonials or endorsements from.
Along the way you’ll reach out to your network of connections to drum up pre-sales. As you get closer to the launching of your book, you’ll be in touch with other media – TV, radio, print and digital. This will continue for at least three months past the publication date.
That’s a nine-month marketing campaign, similar in duration to a pregnancy. Indeed, promoting a book is like giving birth to your ideas.
There are no short cuts or a one-time burst of activity that nets you all of the publicity and marketing needed to be really successful. So when people get impatient or think they should be in The New York Times or on The View after two weeks of pitching the media, they need to step back and gain a big-picture perspective.
A PR campaign, over time, unfolds with some unique opportunities. For one, you pitch through several different news cycles and pitching climates. If you only shoot for the stars for a short period of time, you have fewer chances, so connect to what the news is covering at that moment.
Secondly, over time, you change pitches and test out numerous angles. In a short-term campaign you don’t get to try so many pitches out.
Third, as you build up your media resume over time, you can show clips and links and reference these media hits to generate even more media interest. In a short campaign, you don’t get to use as many clips for as long a period.
Fourth, you simply need time reaching out to the media following up with them, sending books out, giving them time to read it and then seeing if you came along at the right time for the media to cover your topic. In a short campaign, you lack time for the natural back-and-forth between authors and the media.
Lastly, over time, you may rack up some awards, land an impressive endorsement, or generate some large sales or maybe even hit a best-seller list. You can leverage this news by incorporating it into your media solicitations, but in a short-term campaign you typically lack time to gain traction in these areas.
Even though our society is more impatient than ever and news cycles shrink from 24 hours to the speed of a Tweet, authors and publishers must take a well-calibrated approach to book marketing and media campaign. If you obsess over getting immediate results you will put at risk the long term gains that could be generated with a more thorough, consistent and well-paced approach.
I understand the idea we must act with immediacy and a sense of urgency — which is good to get the blood flowing – but we have to let things unfold at the proper time or we’ll be left with feelings of anger, frustration, and loss.
Have a long-term strategy and seek results on a regular basis over a sustained period of time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!