Sometimes it feels like an author’s work is never finished. We come up with ideas, spin those ideas into something presentable, write a full book about them, and then shift our focus toward marketing and PR coverage. It can be a lot of work, especially if you’re new to this whole self-published book thing, but luckily you have me to help you out with all you need to know about getting your book all the media and promotional coverage it needs.
Table of Contents
Why do you need PR or media coverage anyway?
Listen closely and listen very well: even if you wrote one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, the book that defines our generation, and the literary equivalent of sliced bread, it wouldn’t matter if nobody reads it.
Media and PR coverage is an essential aspect of any marketing campaign. Word of mouth can only go so far in the age where people can reach anybody worldwide. Your job as an author doesn’t stop at typing the last word, no, no. Sure, you can hire other people to take care of marketing, promotion, and PR coverage for your book, but your participation is still necessary. You’ll want to know what to do and how to do them the first time around.
So grab a coffee, sit on your favorite chair, and let’s talk about it.
PR gets more eyes on your work
Thousands of books are being released daily, with many more coming as the self-publishing industry continues its accelerated growth. It’s a competitive jungle out there, and any strategy that can get you more interest and readers is worth trying. A comprehensive PR and media coverage campaign can help you get more attention, traction, and sales.
It enhances your authority and credibility
You see authors getting invited to talk shows and podcasts everywhere, and, depending on how they comport themselves, these guest appearances create the impression that they know what they’re talking about. One of your top goals is to look like an expert, someone competent enough in their chosen field or subject to write a book about it.
Media coverage promotes your author’s brand and image
It’s not just about your book — it’s about you. Your image as an author and expert in your field is just as important as the contents of your work. Cultivating a positive image — along with enhancing your authority and credibility — makes readers trust you more. Any goodwill developed during PR and media coverage can translate to sales of your current and future works.
It gives you a chance to engage your audience
Being a snob gets you nowhere, especially when you’re the one selling something. PR and media events allow you to connect with your audience, giving them the opportunity to ask questions and share their thoughts about your work.
More sales equal more money
Keeping an eye on your bottom line is never bad as long as you produce quality work and don’t neglect your audience base. Promoting your book the right way generates more interest, potentially converting shoppers into buyers of your current and future works.
The right PR campaign can have a long-term impact
Establishing your name and book goes a long way in creating a lasting impression. Positive words, features, articles, and press releases can continue to drive sales and interest in your book throughout the years. There have been a few instances where books become popular (or go viral) long after their release, so it’s good to have a solid PR foundation for when that happens.
What makes a good PR and media coverage
It’s tempting to just throw whatever you can out there and see what sticks, but resist temptation and get smart. You need to get your PR and media coverage right. Strategize, do your research, get your facts, and explore your options. Otherwise, you’re looking at a lot of wasted effort for disproportionally low returns. For starters, let me tell you the traits of a good PR campaign.
It makes a lot of noise — but in a good way
There’s an art in promoting your work without being heavy-handed. Don’t plaster your promotional images on every social media platform, website, image board, discussion forum, and ad space in existence — that’s just going disenchant potential readers or, worse, turn your book into an internet joke. You want to showcase your book in a positive light and make it clear what it’s about and who it’s written for. To that end, you need to target where you want your promotions to appear and exercise a degree of restraint.
It’s clear and consistent
You’ll be dealing with many platforms and channels while juggling your PR and media coverage, so you need to ensure that your message, tone, and conveyance are all in line. Doing this helps you become more recognizable as an author and an expert in your field. The added clarity also helps ensure that your message comes across without distortion.
It’s credible and authentic
It’s so easy to lie your way through a marketing campaign to get those sales numbers up at launch, but this has the trade-off of causing irreversible damage to your reputation. Plus, it’s morally wrong and would get you kicked straight out of Santa’s Nice List for the next thousand years. As an author, you need to make sure that all information included in your marketing media — statistics, reviews, accolades, and claims — are factually correct. You can seek coverage and validation from experts, industry insiders, and customers and use them as promotional tools.
Way to generate media and PR coverage for your book
Now that you know what to do and what you stand to gain with media coverage, consider the ways you can get more exposure for your book and brand.
Make an author website
Let’s start off with something simple: get your website off the ground. Having a well-designed author website gives you an online presence and increases your authority and trustworthiness. It’s also a great way to showcase your work, either through excerpts or sample chapters, or collected reviews from reliable sources. Remember to include all necessary information about your current and future book releases on your site. You can also create a blog to drive more traffic, increase your visibility, and open new avenues for reader interaction. Use the site to project your personality and brand to help you stand out. Oh, and it’s also a great way to bolster the next item on this list.
Cultivate and utilize your mailing list
A mailing list is an incredibly important tool for any promotional campaign. It works as both an announcement tool and direct contact with your audiences. You can offer free stuff (called a reader magnet) on your website to convince potential readers to sign up for your mailing list. They could be sample chapters, short stories, previously published novels or books, or other content. You can step it up by offering something more valuable through giveaways or raffles.
Hold a press release for your book launch
Press releases are a tried and true marketing classic. A great press release can generate a lot of buzz for your book and hook potential readers and interested groups. I suggest inviting notable guests in your field or, better yet, getting advanced reviews from them to feature in your release. It’s also an excellent way to connect with industry professionals like literary agents, publishers, or even studio executives interested in adapting your work. For example, Scott Lynch’s celebrated first novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora, was optioned for film production almost immediately after its release.
Schedule book signings
Anyone saying brick-and-mortar bookstores are a thing of the past should be regarded with squinty-eyed suspicion. Physical stores are great for holding book signings and other promotional events. You need to properly plan and coordinate these things, so it may take some work on your part, and you may need a team behind you to get it right. However, the potential returns of having a successful book signing are too much to pass up. Readers like interacting with their favorite authors to ask questions or get stuff autographed. You can use this opportunity to create a great impression with potential readers and build your audience base.
Maximize your social media presence
There is no denying that social media is a powerful marketing tool. Many of them offer different ways to reach your audience and you can use them to your advantage, depending on your goals. For example, posting excerpts of your book on Facebook is the usual way to promote a book, but you can also consider creating an Instagram reel showcasing your book’s cover art and jacket if you have a hardcover edition. You can use skits on TikTok, post snippets of your thought process on Twitter, feature fan art on Tumblr, host Ask Me Anything sessions (AMAs) on Reddit, and upload longer, more in-depth discussions on YouTube. One advantage of social media is that it offers personal connections with your audience. You can reply directly to questions, open discussions about any topic, and generate interest by teasing current and future releases.
But I wouldn’t recommend just posting stuff willy-nilly. Consider these things when using social media for PR coverage.
Strategize and focus on your brand
It’s very easy to treat your author page just like your personal profile, but always keep in mind that the former is for marketing. The author page is for customer engagement and brand streamlining. You must post engaging content about your work, the industry you’re writing in, and other related stuff. That doesn’t mean that your author page must be completely devoid of personality — on the contrary, this should be where your voice is the loudest. Heck, throw in a meme or two in there as long as it’s connected to you and your subject. You just need to ensure you are not diluting your brand by posting anything and everything that catches your attention.
Use communities and groups to your advantage
Social media is a great way to identify gatherings of like-minded individuals through groups, communities, subreddits, etc. Join forums and discussions, get your voice heard, and use the exposure to market yourself and your work. You can also reach out to known reviewers in the space to solicit reviews and recommendations and collaborate with other authors to promote yourself to their audience base.
Play to the website’s strengths
Different social media platforms have different selling points. Instagram is great for photos and reels, Facebook is a more general media platform, TikTok thrives on short-form video content, LinkedIn is the king of professional connections, and Twitter is excellent for airing out thoughts and participating in discussions. Take advantage of these selling points to promote your work.
Don’t get all of them all at once
Unless you have a dedicated team to manage your social media accounts, you’ll be the only one taking care of all of them. Don’t spread out your efforts by putting up accounts on every existing social media platform. Most authors have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn in their arsenal. Feel free to change them as you please, or if there are any changes to your requirements, but remember to use only a handful of them at any time.
Pay for coverage
There are a lot of free ways to get PR coverage and publicity, but you might want to look into your paid options once you exhaust them. Authors can pay for interviews and media coverage, advertise on digital and physical spaces, have their social media content pushed toward potential audiences, get product placements on videos, and have their websites and book pages show up on top of search results. Again, these are paid options; you need to weigh the potential benefits against the amount you’re shelling out. Plus, you still need to set this up yourself. So if you’re willing to pay for PR and media coverage, then why not skip all that work and —
Hire a publicist or marketing firm
Look, I understand that not everyone has the time to create and manage a tailor-fitted marketing campaign for their book. There’s no shame in that, just like there’s no shame in asking for help. That’s why marketing firms and publicists exist. They take responsibility for promoting your book, using their unique resources and connections to ensure maximum exposure to as many people as possible. Finding the right one for your needs may take a bit of time and resources, but the convenience of having almost everything handled for you is invaluable for those who lack the time. They’ll set up your social media, book signings, and interviews and manage your mailing list for you to the point where all you need to do is show up for the scheduled events.
If you’re interested in hiring a company to market your book, Leaders Press offers different campaigns that fit anyone’s budget. Find out more by clicking here.
Does doing PR and media coverage lead to certain success?
I’ve never lied to you before, and I don’t plan on starting now. The answer to your question is no.
Getting PR coverage is just one aspect of marketing your book. It’s an important aspect, sure, but it’s not the only thing you need to consider. The quality of your work, your dedication to the craft, and things like political climate, timing, and luck can affect the outcome.
But that doesn’t mean you get to slack off on PR and media marketing. You need to exploit every advantage if you want to increase your chances of success.