The majority of the meeting was taken up with a presentation by book publicist Liz Donatelli of Liz D Publicity. She spent part of her time explaining what a book publicist does and the rest talking about what authors can do themselves to promote their work. Here are some highlights from the talk.
- Advertising v. Book Publicity. The two are not the same thing. I don’t remember ever hearing this explanation before, but it makes sense. Advertising is paid exposure such as taking out an ad in a magazine. Book publicity is free media exposure like social media posts, articles in local newspapers, etc. As a book publicist, Liz doesn’t deal with the advertising end.
- Be seen, be available, build a fan base.
- No effort is too small.
- Promotional materials such as bookmarks and postcards are a must. People want them. Carry them with you at all times; you never know when you’ll meet someone who will be interested in your work.
- There are no hidden secrets to book publicity. We all wish there were, but there’s nothing you can do that will guarantee book sales. Produce a great product with as unique a hook as possible.
- A website is a must. No surprise here. The pages an author should have are: (1) a Books page that includes book covers and descriptions as well as purchase links; (2) an Author page that includes a short bio and picture; (3) an Events page where you list in-person and online events; (4) a Media page that includes links to reviews, interviews and articles. Don’t list every review and be sure to keep the site up to date.
- Social media is necessary. Facebook, GoodReads and Twitter are the main platforms for authors with the first two being the most important. An author should have a Facebook page separate from a personal one. She recommended posting 1-2 times per day. For twitter aim to tweet, retweet and reply to tweets ten times per day, 80% informative and entertaining, 20% promotional. (I shrug my shoulders when I hear how many posts and tweets I’m supposed to be doing. First of all, if I’m following someone and they tweet 10 times/day, I’ll probably unfollow them. That’s too many times for me. I realize I’m probably in the minority here. And, if I tweeted that many times plus did all of the other stuff I’m “supposed” to do, I’d end up not getting any writing done.)
- Don’t rely solely on your publisher to promote your book.
- Do joint events with other authors. It’ll bring in more people. In my opinion, it’s also more fun. And if the authors are having fun, attendees will too.
- Do both online and in-person events.
- Work your contacts. Who do you know who will/can help you contact your readers? Be creative.
- Be patient and don’t compare yourself with other authors.
So, Type M readers, have any of you seen a book promotion activity you found particularly interesting/creative? Is there any promotional activity that you find annoying?