It’s hard out there for new authors. Whether you’re fortunate enough to have signed with a big publisher or are treading the intrepid self-publishing path, authors must work hard to find their audience.
That’s where PR comes in. Unless you’re satisfied to rely on readers happening upon your new tome in a crowded bookstore – or on Amazon’s even more crowded digital bookshelves – you’ll need a little help.
“There are many media outlets out there that are keen to review new books, interview authors, publish book extracts, and run opinion pieces by authors,” says Jules Brooke, founder and director of Handle Your Own PR.
“The trick is getting your message out to the right journalists and knowing how to build relationships with media professionals.”
Define your message
While there are PR agencies around that will handle publicity for your new book, their services come with a hefty price tag that will take a significant bite out of your profits.
That’s one reason why Brooke launched Handle Your Own PR – an online platform that guides authors through the publicity process.
“It starts with getting clear about your message,” says Brooke. “If you’re writing in the non-fiction or business space, media professionals will want you to contribute expert comment to their stories. That means you need to identify the topics you are comfortable speaking about and define exactly what your perspective is on each of your favoured topics.”
That ensures you’ll have something worthwhile to say when a journalist comes calling.
Get the word out
Now that you know what you want to say, its time to get the word out. You likely already have the writing skills you need to author your own media release, but could benefit from a little help with format.
“That’s why we offer a media release template that our authors use to write their own releases,” says Brooke. “It gives you some valuable guidance on format, while allowing plenty of scope to add your personal flair.”
Handle Your Own PR also provides an online platform you can use to distribute your media release to the relevant journalists and TV and radio producers, and to manage the follow up.
“You can’t just send out a media release and expect the interview offers to flow in,” says Brooke. “You need to follow up in a way that is going to resonate with – and not annoy – busy journalists.
In other words, you need to forget the hard sell and focus instead on demonstrating the value you can offer the journalist. Book sales will flow naturally once you start giving engaging interviews.
Nail the media interview
Think of a media interview as a way to give your would-be readers an engaging preview of your book. You want to show audiences that you have an interesting perspective on your chosen topic, while keeping a little in reserve.
“When I coach authors for media interviews, I try to help them identify the talking points that will have the greatest impact while not revealing too much about the book,” says Brooke. “You want to provide that teaser that will drive the audience to the bookstore, while keeping the punchline for paying readers.
“Giving media interviews will not only get your book out there, but will also build credibility around you as an expert author who has something interesting to say.”
This post was written by Jules Brooke, founder of www.handleyourownpr.com.au.