Marketing your own book can be fun, but it can also be a daunting task. Deciding how and when you need help will usually depend on a few things. First off, if the success of your book is suffering because you have limited time to promote it, you might want to consider having someone promote it for you. While promotional windows for most books can run for months or even years, there are several things like book reviews, signings and tours you can't afford to wait on.
Other indicators that you're ready to outsource this project are if you're at a loss as to how and when to send something to the media, if you don't know where to start, or you want to begin a media campaign and don't have the contacts. It may be time to outsource some of this work.
#1 Look for someone with book marketing experience!
When you begin looking for assistance, try to find a publicist or media relations person who is familiar with the author/book market. Book promotion is entirely different from anything else, it's crucial that whoever is going to promote your book has a background in this. Also, don't be shy about getting references. Talk to other people they've worked for, and find out who they've placed and on what show.
#2 Find out how they charge, leave nothing to chance!
Inquire as to their fee structure. Some publicists will bill by the hour, while others charge a project fee. Some will charge additional for postage and phone calls. Others will include it in their project fee. Does the publicist you're looking for charge a per city fee for promotion? Most do. In fact, it's good to list the cities you're thinking of promoting to and tell that to the publicist right up front. He or she will be able to tell you whether or not you'll get dinged for every city they promote you to. When it comes to book promotion, flexibility is key. If budget is a concern, it's better if you can find a publicist who won't bill you per city otherwise this could considerably limit your options. Also, keep in mind that hiring someone doesn't mean you have to let them do all of the work. In fact, if you decide you want to outsource only a portion of this, find someone who is willing to just handle those items. Press release creation, media kits, book reviews, radio interviews, and tv segment proposals are all items that can be handled on a case by case basis.
#3 Don't go for big and glamorous unless it's right for your book and your budget!
Remember that more is not better, sometimes it's just more. If the publicist you're thinking of hiring is trying to talk you into a big, national campaign, watch out. Unless your book is being published by a traditional house, you probably don't need or want to get into the expense of a national campaign. Also remember that as a self-published author, you are limited to a certain degree as to what you can and can't do with your book. Make sure the publicist you're dealing with is familiar with print-on-demand and self-publishing. The campaigns for these books are decidedly different from those of traditional publishing houses.
#4 Be wary of flash in the pan promotion!
Be wary of one shot packages! I see a lot of packages out there promising a great deal but delivering very little. Fax blast programs are a great example of this. For a nominal fee, your press release will go out to seven hundred media people around the country. This seems like a great way to get the word out about your book, right? Wrong. Fax blasting is a good idea only if you have pre-qualified the media you're sending to. Most of these packages are just a blind list used over and over again for every book. Without pre-qualifying or follow-up, these programs are fairly ineffective. One shot packages are great when it comes to something like book reviews but little else. If you purchase one of these packages, make sure you clearly understand who does what and how much follow up work the publicist will do for you.
Finally, remember that you must feel comfortable with whomever you bring in to help publicize your book and it's important that they understand your topic as well as your audience. Bringing someone in to help share the responsibility of book marketing is an important one. Spend the time it takes to research your options so you can form a partnership for success!
About the author:
Penny C. Sansevieri
The Cliffhanger was published in June of 2000. After a strategic marketing campaign it quickly climbed
the ranks at Amazon.com to the ##1 best selling book in San Diego. Her most recent book: From Book to Bestseller was released in 2005 to rave reviews and is being called the “roadmap to publishing success.” Penny is a book marketing and media relations specialist. She also coaches authors on projects, manuscripts and marketing plans and instructs a variety of coursing on publishing and promotion. To learn more about her books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.comTo subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: mailto:email@example.com
Copyright ã 2005 Penny C. Sansevieri
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