By Jan Yager, Ph.D.
There is so much to learn about book promotion and so much to cover, I wrote a book about it: How to Promote Your Book (Square One Publishers, 2023).
To get you started, here are my top 10 book promotion suggestions:
- Don’t wait till your book is finished to consider book promotion.
Start thinking about, and planning, your book promotion strategy even while you’re researching and writing your book. Use that time to connect with local booksellers, librarians, associations, companies, as well as friends, relatives, and social media contacts so you’ii have a fan base ready to help get your book the attention it deserves.
- Invest in media training.
Especially if you’ve never been interviewed on TV, radio, or on a podcast. Also work on how you answer reporters over the phone or in your e-mails. A good media trainer will role play with you and possibly even videotape your interviews so you can see yourself and discuss what worked and what needs improvement. If you do your session over Zoom, it’s easy to have access to the recording.
- Send out for advance blurbs.
The bigger the name, the better, but work on getting at least a couple of positive quotes that you can use on your back cover and in your marketing materials.
- Become knowledgeable about all your book promotion options.
Everyone wants to get on TV or NPR, but there are so many other options for promoting your book including library or bookstore author events, social media campaigns, sending out review copies to bloggers, magazines, newspapers, and even influencers, and so much more. In addition to text, How to Promote Your Book has an extensive Resource section in the back of the book to help you get started. ((FYI: Even if you are able to hire a book publicist—see #5–after a couple of months, you may you have to keep up the promotional activities on your own.)
- Hire a book publicist.
I recommend hiring a book publicist who specializes in your kind of book and who has up-to-date media contacts to turn to, you still want to understand book promotion so you know what to expect. You can of course try to create your own media contacts, and lists, but book publicists are doing this every day for years.
6. Create a well-written media kit.
A media kit is essential. It should include a press release, author bio, author photo, a sheet with key information about the book (known as the metadata, length, publisher, where to buy it), and a list of suggested interview questions. You can create a press kit yourself, pay your book publicist to do it, or hire a freelancer.
- Have a dedicated author website.
Even if you’re in LinkedIn or on social media, create and maintaining a website about you and your book and how the media can easily contact you can make a bit difference in your book’s success.
- Give yourself enough lead time from finished book to publication date.
Even if you can publish your book overnight, discipline yourself to set your publication date at least 5-6 months after you have a finished proofread manuscript with ARC (Advance Review Copy) to send out for reviews. Even if you don’t get reviewed by the major pre-publication review publications – Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Booklist, and foreword Review—there are services you can pay to get reviewed, like the ones offered by Indiereader, Kirkus, Booklife, and Foreword (Clarion), but those reviews take time.
- Focus on the month before publication, the month of publication, and the next three months, and keep promoting even after that!
Commit to promoting your book during the month of publication and the next two months but, even after that, keep your promoting up for at least one year! Too often authors lose interest in promoting their new book once the immediate thrill of getting it published is over. For example, ongoing social media and podcast promotion of my book, How to Finish Everything You Start, helped it to really take off in terms of sales three years after it was published.
- Keep updating your media kit.
As you get new reviews or interviews, revise your media kit even fine tuning the original list of suggested interview questions based on feedback from interviews.
Jan Yager is the author of 60 nonfiction and fiction titles translated into 35 languages. She started her publishing career working at Macmillan followed by Grove Press. She launched her first nonfiction book, The Vegetable Passion, published by Scribner, with an interview on the Today Show. Jan’s published by major including Simon & Schuster and, two decades ago, she founded Hannacroix Creek Books, Inc. Jan’s new memoir, Looking Backward, Going Forward: Reflections on a Writer’s Life, shares the highlights of her successful writing career. For more on this coach and prolific author, go to: https://www.drjanyager.com
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