How to Promote Your Book Event - article

So, you’ve worked hard to get your book written, and now you want to announce it to the world. It’s like having a baby—you don’t keep that kind of news under wraps. You get the word out there. You want to show it off; you want people to know about it. Especially if you’re planning on writing another book, your first book is your best opportunity to create an audience. And that audience won’t usually come to you—you need to go out there and find it.

I traveled the whole eastern seaboard after my first book was published. I went to book groups, and I was even invited to go to Savannah, Georgia. It turned out to be a wonderful experience, and an article was written about the event. I have a friend who is an author, and when I received the invitation, she asked me, “Well, what are they paying you?” I said, “They’re not really paying me.” But that article was great publicity; you can’t buy that, so it was definitely worth my time.

Of course, traveling to an event doesn’t do you any good if nobody shows up. You have to get the word out about your event, and how you do that depends on where the event takes place. For instance, when I had a promotional event at a hair salon, they had fliers at the front desk, and they put a notice in the local paper. All of the hair stylists had little signs at their stations—it was awesome. So of course you get the word out by inviting your friends and family and telling them to invite everyone they know, but the most important thing is to stay in touch with the venue and ask what they’re doing to promote the event. You don’t want to make them feel that they’re solely responsible for publicizing the event, but you can expect them to be involved. You’re bringing foot traffic into their place of business, and they ought to be willing to help you in return. Ask them how they’re preparing for you. Are they getting ready in any way?

Then, once you’ve made the most of your event’s venue, it’s time to send out a press release to invite the media. Let them know there’s going to be food, because the media absolutely loves food. You should make use of all the resources available to you to publicize your event. Definitely put the word out there on Facebook and Twitter and have a blog. Get people interested in talking to you. All this takes time, but you absolutely have to do it.

If you find you’re having trouble engaging the media’s interest, don’t feel discouraged; it can be very difficult. If you can find one person at a local paper who is willing to do a story on you, that’s a great way to start. For example, when I was promoting my novel Without Grace, I sent it to a newspaper in upstate New York where I was going to have an event, because that’s where the story takes place. At first, I couldn’t get a response from the person up there at all. I knew that getting an article in this paper could draw a lot of people to the event, so I didn’t give up. It was an election year, and one of the issues that was being discussed was wind power. There was a company that wanted to put in wind turbines, and some people in the area were for it and others were against it. I thought, hey, my book has an environmental theme, and I’m originally from the area. I shot an e-mail to the reporter and told her about the environmental theme of my book and that I was native to the area and would be willing to discuss it with her. She called me back right away and asked, “When can I interview you?” I got a huge article out of the interview, and only one sentence ended up being about the environmental issue; the rest was about the novel and my journey as a writer.

The lesson here is that you have to make yourself valuable to the media if you want them to give you publicity; you have to give them a story. It’s not enough to put your book out there an hope someone notices it. You actively have to find a way to make a connection.

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  • Thanks Carol for the helpful advice. Authors should contact every regional paper in towns where they have previously lived, as well as where they live now, and send out individual Press Releases, including their local connections. Best of luck to everyone! It might help you pick up further ideas from my websites and Tony Flood, author of spicy crime thriller Triple Tease and celebrity revelations book My Life With The Stars.