By Rachel M. Anderson, RMA Publicity
One of the first questions I ask prospective clients before I start working with them is: What Are Your Goals for a book marketing and PR campaign? I can’t tell you how many times the answer I get is either, “I want to sell a million books” or “I want to be interviewed on Oprah.”
I typically react with a smile and ask the author what steps they have taken to achieve those lofty goals. Usually the person sitting across the table from me offers back a blank stare, then I proceed to tell them something like this: “All of the big corporations have business plans, and authors should too. Step one is to write your goal down on paper. Step two is to determine how to get there, and we can talk about that here today.”
I then proceed to educate them on one of the first things I will work on for them if they decide to hire me: A marketing/PR plan, which is in essence a roadmap for how you are going to achieve your goal of raising awareness for your book.
So when should you write up a Marketing and PR Plan and what should be on it? Well, the best time to start thinking about one is while you are still writing your book. That’s because having a plan makes it possible to cater the content to a particular audience, and to time the release of the book as appropriately as possible.
If, however, your book is already in the process of being published, or has already come out, that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. A marketing and PR plan is meant to be a living/breathing document that can be updated as new opportunities present themselves.
Now that a New Year is upon us, consider it an opportunity to either develop a plan or refine the one you already have. Here are a few tips to get you started if you plan to do it on your own:
TIP 1: Come up with ways to promote your book throughout the year. The book’s release should make the first, not the only time you try to get attention for it.
TIP 2: Develop an editorial calendar for your book that closely matches the one the news media uses. On slow news days, reporters are always looking for enterprising story ideas that are timely in nature. If you’ve written an historical novel that is set during World War II, make sure you know the key anniversary dates related to the War. The media may be interested in interviewing you on or around anniversary dates if you contact them far enough in advance.
TIP 3: Keep an eye on stories making their way through the news cycle, and if you spot one that offers a good tie-in to your book, contact the media right away. Reporters are always looking for ways to advance their stories.
TIP 4: Research all the conventions coming to town, the festivals planned, and other events that may tie in to your book, and figure out how you can participate in them if you so desire. In the Twin Cities where RMA Publicity is based, the biggest book festivals every year are The Rosemount Writers Festival (March), WordPlay (May) and The Twin Cities Book Festival (Oct). Many churches also hold craft fairs where you can get a table; but in order to participate, you need to plan in advance to ensure you’ll get a table at the events.
TIPS 5: Research where people who are in your target audience spend their time, and make sure you spend time involved in those activities too. In order to be successful at selling a product to a particular audience, you need to think like them, and understand their wants and needs.
Want help developing a book marketing and PR plan? RMA Publicity offers a service where we will read your book from cover-to-cover, interview you, and then develop a written marketing plan you can follow wither with or without or help to market your book.