I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the last several weeks interviewing, hiring and training new publicists. None of those tasks top my list of favorite things to do, but it has reminded me of something. I sometimes forget how much I know and what that knowledge is worth.
Now, before you think how arrogant that might sound, I’ll explain, because it’s probably true of all of us. After all, it’s what we know that makes us who we are. What we know makes us able to do what we do. And sometimes what we don’t know can really hurt us.
Take book promotion. Most of the promotional material I see focuses on the latest book. That seems logical, right? But is it effective? Not all by itself. At least not as effective as it could be. First, you need to find a way to make the potential reader/buyer care enough to want to know about that book.
Ask any journalist – are they more likely to pay attention to a press release that says: "Author Jane Doe’s standalone romantic suspense novel is a tale of suspense and paranormal activity in a small town. In it, a woman finds a new home, then is puzzled by strange noises and events in the house. The tension increases when a neighbor is found dead from poisoning. Her investigation leads her to question the character of some of the people she has met, and whether one of them might be a killer."Or:
"Award-winning author Jane Doe, of Small Town, Texas knows how to confront her fears. While doing research for her latest novel, This Book, released this month from Some Publishers, Doe tagged along with a group from Paranormal Investigations Unlimited as they investigated supernatural activity at a local farmhouse. There, she says, she learned how to separate spooky from pooky."
Texas Author Releases New Suspense Novel, or:
Suburban Mom Goes Ghostbusting
Note that both approaches are true, but one focuses on the book and the other makes use of peripheral facts. Kind of like the difference between focusing on the cooked turkey, or one of the many actions and ingredients that helped bring it to completion.
Karna Small Bodman is one of our more active clients, but our pitches for her rarely begin with her book. Rather they use some facet of her experience and the topics that were used in writing, and the soon to be released Gambit. Some form of: "Look what Karna Small Bodman learned while working at the White House. Oh, and incidentally, she wrote a novel."
We wouldn’t get very far with "Elaine Viets Releases Another Mystery," either, but we got a lot of attention with "Hotel Maids Need More Respect—And Getter Tips, Says Mystery Author" and "Shopping Can Be Hazardous to Your Health."
So think about it as you promote your own work. What do you know that someone else might want to know? What did you do while researching your novel that might be of interest? What kind of problems can you solve or questions can you answer? Those are the things that help your press release stand out and get attention. Not just "another author wrote another book."
Till next time.