What Is Book Publicity The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Book Publicity Campaign

What Is Book Publicity? The Ultimate Guide To Creating A Book Publicity Campaign

The WBR Team 

So, you’ve published a book. What’s next?

After spending months (or even years) typing at the keyboard, it can feel satisfying to finally receive a fresh copy of your new book in the mail. However, the work doesn’t end here. In fact, some experts say that this is where the real work begins.

You’ve spent months writing your book – and now it’s time to make it work for you by promoting it and generating media interest.

In this blog, we’ll break down how a book publicity campaign can yield incredible results for you and the steps you need to follow to create one.

But first, the basics.

What is book publicity?

A book publicity campaign is a strategic promotional effort designed to generate awareness, interest, and sales for a book. It typically involves various marketing and publicity activities both before and after the book’s release. 

Key components of a book publicity campaign can include press releases, media outreach, social media marketing, author events, book tours and signings, as well as cross-promotions and partnerships.

While the focal point of this type of publicity campaign is to promote your book, it also serves as an opportunity to highlight your expertise and clinch your place as a recognised “authority” within your field.

It’s important to note that your book publicity campaign should begin before you finish writing your book.

However, let’s get clear on one thing: a book publicity campaign is NOT the same thing as book marketing.

Book publicity vs book marketing

Book marketing is a broader term that encompasses all the activities involved in creating demand for a book. The primary goal of book marketing is to maximise sales through strategic planning and execution.

Consequently, this includes identifying target audiences, setting prices, deciding where and how the book will be distributed, and promoting the book through various channels. 

On the other hand, book publicity is a subset of marketing focused on generating media coverage and public awareness about your book. Publicity seeks to earn free media exposure through press releases, media pitches, author interviews, book reviews, and events like book signings or author appearances. 

Unlike marketing, which often requires a budget for paid promotional activities, publicity generally aims for “earned” coverage, meaning it’s not directly paid for but requires effort to secure.

It’s important to note, however, that both book marketing and publicity are crucial for a book’s success, often working hand in hand to reach potential readers.

If you’re thinking of starting a book publicity campaign, here are five steps to follow: 

1. Create your narrative 

A key thing to note is that your book publicity campaign isn’t always about the book itself. Think of it this way: no media outlet or journalist actually interviews a book.

Rather, people will likely be interested in discovering more about the person behind the book. Why did you write your book? What unique experiences have led you to this very moment?

For instance, Brené Brown, researcher and storyteller, uses her own vulnerability and research on shame as the backdrop for her books. She’s well known for sharing her personal anecdotes and how they led to groundbreaking insights about human connection and strength. 

Essentially, the first step to building an effective book publicity campaign is to create a narrative for yourself and stick with it. You’ll need it in Step 4. 

2. Assemble your assets 

As we’ve mentioned earlier in this article, a book publicity campaign is your chance to really sell yourself. This means you need a professional media kit because first impressions do matter.

To build a professional media kit, you’ll need: 

  • A short, engaging author biography
  • High-resolution professional headshots
  • Your contact information
  • Your book cover
  • A Q&A sheet 

The last part is critical because having a list of sample FAQs about your book and your author journey, along with thoughtful answers, helps journalists easily gather information for stories.

3. Pitch to the media

Fun fact: journalists ignore 97 per cent of pitches.

This probably means two things:

  • They must really hate pitches
  • The lucky three per cent of opened (and successful) pitches must have done something right.

Successfully pitching to the media requires a targeted approach, understanding the interests of the outlets you’re approaching, and presenting your pitch in a way that aligns with their brand. 

It’s like trying to catch a fish. Just as a skilled fisherman knows what bait to use, where to cast the line, and what time of day fish are most likely to bite, a successful pitch to the media requires knowing what narrative will catch the attention of a specific outlet, when to reach out, and how to frame your message to make it irresistible.

To create a successful pitch, here are three things you should do:

  • Research and create a list of media outlets and contacts that align with your book’s topic and audience. Think major TV or YouTube channels, newspapers and magazines, blogs, and even podcasts.
  • Tailor your pitch for each outlet, highlighting the aspects of your narrative or book that will interest their specific audience.
  • Follow up respectfully on your pitches, maintaining professional and courteous communication with media contacts. You want to float your pitch to the top of their inbox without spamming them.

This article from Prowly offers some great examples of media pitches and how to effectively follow up on them.

4. Search for book reviewers

With online reviews becoming more prominent over the past decade, it’s common to think that professional book reviewing is now a dying art.

But professional reviewers still exist and if you’re building a book publicity campaign, chances are you need one.

Book reviewers can provide credibility and visibility for your book, influencing potential readers through their networks. This means you need to identify reviewers who have the ear of your target audience and create a strategy for engaging them effectively. 

By having your narrative ready to go (as recommended in Step 1), you’ll be well-placed to start reaching out to potential reviewers and piquing their interest in your book.

If you’re not sure how to gather these reviews, we have a great blog that breaks it down step-by-step

5. Plan your book launch

A well-planned book launch can significantly amplify the visibility of your book, creating momentum that can carry through the entire publicity campaign. It’s an opportunity to celebrate your work, engage with your audience, and generate buzz that can lead to media coverage and sales.

To carry out an effective book launch, you’ll need to:

  • Decide on the format of your book launch (physical event, online, or a combination) based on your book’s audience and your resources.
  • Develop a promotional plan for the launch, incorporating social media, email marketing, and local or industry media where appropriate.
  • Engage your network to support the launch through social sharing, attending the event, or contributing content (such as interviews or guest posts).

Each of these steps plays a crucial role in the overall success of your book publicity campaign, requiring careful planning, execution, and follow-up. 

Final thoughts – maximising your book’s impact

In summary, the success of your book depends not just on the quality of your writing but also on your efforts to promote it. 

Effective book publicity is strategic and targeted, and if you lack the skills yourself, you’ll most likely need to work with a professional to generate the results you need.

Remember: start early, be persistent, and tailor your approach to fit your book and audience. The work you put into promoting your book can make all the difference to reaching your goals as an author.

If you’d welcome professional support with crafting an effective book promotion strategy, book a free Clarity Call today to see how our team of experts can help.

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