PR Tips for Writers: Tools for promoting and publishing your dream book
So you have written that book you have dreamed of writing for years and now want to get it published. What next?
For more than 15 years, I have represented numerous authors through my company, Wasabi Publicity Inc. I also worked in a publishing house soon after graduating college. I have seen many publishing strategies, some more successful than others.
The Web gives you opportunities not only to publicize and sell your book, but also to develop your work interactively with your readers.
Give yourself the best chance for success by using both traditional and online PR tools to build interest in your book.
Traditional PR opportunities include things like radio and TV interviews and print book reviews. Online tools include email, blogs, social networking and free media query services such as PitchRate.com that connect you with journalists seeking experts in your subject area.
The Internet offers all kinds of ways to get your book published that weren’t even dreamed of a few years ago. Just be aware there are pros and cons of self-publishing online or through on-demand printers versus the traditional route of going through a publishing house.
Many people choose to self-publish because it is cheaper and allows them to keep a higher percent of profits. Some authors create their own companies and then have their books printed on demand through a company such as Bookmasters.com (www.bookmasters.com).
Bookmasters and Iuniverse (www.iuniverse.com) are a couple companies that can help you self-publish. Keep in mind that some self-publishing companies, like major publishing houses, take a large share of profits, so carefully review any contracts you sign with your lawyer.
If you don’t want to publish yourself, you can go the traditional route of putting out queries to publishing houses and keep self-publishing as a fallback if you don’t land a deal. I always advise aspiring authors to get a book called The Writer’s Market (www.fwbookstore.com/product/1994). It allows you to see what books are planned for publication in the coming year and what kinds of books publishers are hot to publish.
A third choice that is becoming more and more popular is to publish your book initially in a digital format only. That is what our company did with our “PR Campaign Cookbook” on our Web site, www.WasabiPublicity.com. The book includes professional graphics and can be purchased online. Although it is not one of our primary products, it is a nice perk we can share with affiliates and partners.
Books can be great marketing tools, a way to parlay who you are to a larger audience. Combine them with speaking programs, book signings, radio interviews and Web seminars and you have an overall publicity program that both promotes and draws from your published work.
Many of the clients my company serves are experts in various fields who get national publicity, some before they ever published a book. One client used a series of TV appearances around the country to build a platform for a book and later got snatched up by an agent.
Several of my clients are self-published authors. Dr. Jill Murray, a California psychotherapist who specializes in domestic violence, published her book on Iuniverse and has had great success getting publicity. We were able to get her on Dr. Phil, and she has also been on Oprah and 20/20.
Another client, Dr. Amy Tieman, created her own publishing house called Spark to publish her works. She was later picked up by a larger publishing house. The PR and media platform we helped her develop helped attract the larger publisher willing to invest money to print her book on a larger scale.
However you choose to publish, keep in mind the tremendous potential the Web affords you to make your book a truly interactive experience for readers. Compile email lists of people interested in your work and share useful information, surveys and newsletters with them. Use interactive blogs to let them give input.
Use free online services such as PitchRate (www.PitchRate.com) to connect with jour