The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Twenty-Four

Publicize Your BookIt’s day twenty-four of The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway! Today’s book is Publicize Your Book: An Insider’s Guide to Getting Your Book the Attention It Deserves by Jacqueline Deval.

Publicize Your Book is an indispensible guide from a book-publicity insider offers everything authors need to know to assist their publishers in publicizing, marketing, and promoting their books. From working alongside professional publicists on campaigns and marketing plans to innovative ways authors can generate their own publicity, Publicize Your Book provides essential information for the first time author or the seasoned professional including:

· Effective networking
· Defining your target readership
· Developing a press kit
· Creating pitches for talk shows
· Getting newspaper and magazine coverage
· Marketing on the Internet and in other outlets
· Preparing for interviews and touring
· Setting up bookstore appearances and signings
· Hiring an independent publicist

“For authors planning to go on the road, I recommend this book highly.”
—Sharon Kelly Roth, director, public relations, Books & Co., Dayton

Author Bio:

Jacqueline Deval is publisher of Hearst Books and has been director of publicity and marketing for several major publishing houses. She is the author of the novel, Reckless Appetites.

If you are new to the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.” (Especially since folks have been getting, ahem, a little long-winded lately. Keep it between 50-200 words, please.)

Today’s question is…

Check out the nine steps in the list of bullet points above. Which steps are going to be a breeze for you and which would you rather not do? Will you hire a publicist?

Give me the goods in 50-200 words, please. :)

Before you go! WE HAVE A CAUSE TO RAISE MONEY FOR THIS YEAR! Please read the story about the Applin family here and consider making a small contribution at some point during the giveaway. We’re aiming for $100/day collectively. Please help us help the Applin family adopt two beautiful children from Russia. :)

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36 Responses to “The Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway 2009, Day Twenty-Four”


  1. 1 Jenn Crowell September 24, 2009 at 4:13 am

    Number one on that list would be my number one difficulty! Hardcore introvert that I am, I find networking really hard. Creative tasks like creating press kits would be much easier for me.

    And as for hiring an independent publicist … hmm, not sure. I’ve heard that doing so oftentimes isn’t worth the expense. I think it would depend upon how large my advance was and how comfortable I felt with my publisher’s in-house publicist (my previous experiences have been all over the board). Under the right circumstances, I might consider it, though.

  2. 2 Kathryn Lang September 24, 2009 at 4:41 am

    My life has always been about networking – I am an extrovert by birth and have worked it to perfection over the years. Hopefully that will assist in my marketing strategy. Christina has helped me focus in on a target audience so that’s point tow.

    My husband has done press for drama productions so he should be able to help me with that. I have been learning about internet marketing so we are on our way with that as well.

    The struggles that I see are with creating pitches for talk shows and setting up bookstore appearances. My hope is that the connections I am making today will assist me in that endeavor when the time comes.

    The right networking can make it possible to do most of this on your own but there may come a time when an independent publicist is worth the expenses (hopefully that days comes soon 😉 ).

  3. 3 ::Sylvia:: September 24, 2009 at 5:04 am

    I think the most difficult parts of promoting my upcoming children’s book will be developing my press kit, getting newspaper and magazine coverage and setting up book signings. The main reason is because I don’t have much “quiet time” with the kids at home and it becomes tough to make professional pitches to publications, bookstores, etc. when you’re kids are screaming in the background! I think I can do a pretty good job with the networking and Internet marketing aspects of publicizing though. I did recently receive a proposal from a publicist and am most likely going to hire her for the more tedious jobs so that I can fully concentrate on the areas I feel capable of handling. Thanks for another fab giveaway!!

  4. 4 K9friend1 September 24, 2009 at 5:19 am

    The easiest tasks for me would be things such as the press kit and defining the target audience. Since I’ve served on nonprofit boards in the past, I have already done this…just not for myself.

    And therein lies the rub. I’m used to promoting a cause. But promoting myself seems, so, well, unhumble (is that a word?).

    I believe that is the biggest hurdle for me. I’ve spent a lifetime believing it’s not nice to toot my own horn, and now I have to do so in order to promote my work.

    Yes, I really do need some help getting over that!

  5. 5 Ginny September 24, 2009 at 6:46 am

    What will be hard for me? Oh boy.

    Mmm. Pitches for talk shows and preparing for interviews. I would so much rather sit quietly in my house and have all of it take care of itself, though I know it won’t. Developing a press kit should be relatively easy, as I’ve done it in my capacity as a freelance writer – though never for an author. I also wouldn’t know where to begin in hiring an independent publicist.

    Internet marketing I can handle – I know what sites and forums to go to and how to approach my target audience. That took a whole lot of work!

  6. 6 Cara Holman September 24, 2009 at 7:02 am

    I can’t imagine any of the nine steps being a breeze for me! That being said, in keeping with the scouting spirit which was imbued in me from a very young age, I’d be willing to try and give it my very best shot.

    I think I would have the easiest time with networking, and with using the internet to market and create a buzz about my book. And I keep my target readership in mind constantly when I write with the eventual goal of publication. This week, in conjunction with the Race for the Cure, I had a quote and two shorter pieces of mine appear in the Oregonian, so I am not unfamiliar with the process of generating publicity through the newspapers, and it’s something I would enjoy.

    As for press kits, talk shows, magazine coverage, interviews, touring, bookstore appearances, and signings, that’s totally unchartered territory for me! And there’s no better place to start learning about it than by networking with and reading how-to books by those who have been there, done that. Would I ever consider hiring an independent publicist? Why not!

  7. 7 Meryl Evans September 24, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Marketing on the Internet is the easiest thing for me and that counts as effective networking. I’d need to work on doing more face-to-face networking, appearances and touring. My background would not work for radio interviews. While I’m understandable, I think people need the visual of seeing me to understand me better. I’m comfortable with giving presentations (I even did teaching internships), but I’d need guidance on ensuring the content is engaging since I can’t easily learn from other’s presentations.

  8. 8 Beth Cato September 24, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Publicizing my book is one of those problems I’d like to have, even though I know it would be a challenge for me. I’m an introvert, and I’m not the sort to speak up and say, “Hey, I have this great book coming out…”

    I think interviewing and initiating contacts with the media would be hard for me. I can network online readily enough. I already follow several LiveJournal and Facebook communities for my novel genre. Bookstore appearances worry me because I’ve passed by far too many that have no turn out, and it just breaks my heart to see an author sitting there and waiting like that.

    A publicist is a worthwhile venture in many cases. I think it would depend on the size of the book advance and the cost for the publicist, though I read somewhere months ago that spending 10% of the advance on publicity is worth the money.

  9. 9 Cathy Welch September 24, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Creating pitches for talk shows? I have no clue. Is that preparing the interview or pitching yourself to a talk show to be asked to appear? I’m assuming the latter. To be asked to be on a talk show? I’d be a wreck though I am normally very talkative and a people person, but radio/TV talk shows are completely out of my comfort zone. I have been on the radio once singing and talking in a different type of public address and light weight as that was, it was uncomfortable.

  10. 10 Diane J. September 24, 2009 at 10:28 am

    Oh my, the whole list is out of my comfort zone. That being said, I may be uncomfortable, but I would try doing the promotion myself first. It would be easier to hire a publicist, but I have to try anything new myself because I need to know what works and doesn’t work for me. If I did well and wrote another book, then I might consider a publicist because it would free up more time (not having to plan and lay out the groundwork) and I would have more insight to share with them.

  11. 11 Liz September 24, 2009 at 10:52 am

    At this point, I’m comfortable with almost the entire list. That might change when it’s a reality. But one thing won’t change, my need for help with creating pitches for talk shows. Even more than creating the pitch, I will need help feeling comfortable on a talk show. Not one to jump in front of even our family video camera, the thought of being on a talkshow or TV terrifies me. Getting that publicity and having that exposure? You bet! But the doing it would be tough without coaching and support from a publicist.

  12. 12 Kristen Feola September 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Marketing on the Internet is a breeze for me. In fact I’m already directing traffic toward my blog, even though my book hasn’t yet been published. Although I’m excited about all the marketing and promotional opportunities that lie ahead, I need someone else to take care of all the details. That’s why I believe a publicist or literary agent is well worth the investment.

  13. 13 Jaymie September 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Effective networking – I feel pretty comfortable with this.
    · Defining your target readership – I think this would have to be done during the writing process, but I would then need to think about ways to get TO those groups. I think I might network with others to help.
    · Developing a press kit – this would take some work/help
    · Creating pitches for talk shows – I can’t even fathom that I would write a book or have a message that a talk show would care about! Maybe local radio or something? I think I could do that with some research/help.
    · Getting newspaper and magazine coverage – I think I have the resources to help with this.
    · Marketing on the Internet and in other outlets – I think I could do this, too.
    · Preparing for interviews and touring – this would be okay
    · Setting up bookstore appearances and signings – this would be difficult. I see this like “cold calling” and I HATE doing things like that. This would be the hardest for me, I think.
    · Hiring an independent publicist – I don’t see myself doing this, but it would be nice to have material that is so fabulous and in demand that I need to. =-)

  14. 14 Brianne A September 24, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    The things that would be easiest for me are developing a press kit, defining target readership, and marketing on the internet. I’m on the introverted side, so I think it might be wise for me to hire a publicist. If going on a talk show is the best way to market my book, I think I’d get on board more quickly with the direction and encouragement from a professional.

  15. 15 writerinspired September 24, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    My eyes widened at the “talk show” bullet. I think would have a heart attack first. But, I’ve found that if you sign up for something and then figure out how you’re mentally going to get through it, you won’t talk yourself out of it!
    I’d like to learn more about prepping a press kit, but the other bullets are things I’ve been practicing over the past year to promote my young writers’ classes. Though, hiring a publicist would be a relief – the PR end is quite time consuming. I’m guessing I’d have to weigh the cost vs time saved…

  16. 16 Tonja September 24, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    As I look at the various ways to publicize, most of them are right up my alley. I will admit that I may not be great at them but I certainly am not afraid to tackle them on my own. I usually look at my environment as an opportunity and I consistently brainstorm ways that I can get my book out there (even as I sit here with an incomplete manuscript, I sure do think a lot about the final product!). None of them seem too daunting for my personality but I probably couldn’t hold a candle to a great publicist. If I am ever fortunate enough to have a final product that is ready to be publicized, then I will consider myself lucky to have such an important decision to make!

  17. 17 Lorraine Wilde September 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I’d need to do more research to figure out what’s in a press kit. It seems like it would be worth paying a publicist to do that, as well as pitching talk shows and figuring out which magazine and newspapers to contact.

    I’d heard through some other authors that book store appearances don’t really sell a lot of books, and that it wasn’t worth the money.

    I had to do research to figure out the target readership as part of the book proposal.

    I think networking and interviews are among my strengths. The internet is so mysterious and overwhelming to me these days.

    When I thought about becoming a writer, promotion wasn’t part of the picture, so it would be great to be able to afford to have someone else do it for me. Kind of like hiring a house cleaner as soon as you can afford it.

    I just hope I get to the point where I need to hire someone to help me.

  18. 18 Jenni September 24, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    This list is looking pretty intimidating! At first glance, a publicist sounds pretty great. My first thought is that I’m nowhere near this point yet. A book (heck, an IDEA for a book) still seems a long way off. But learning this sort of information beforehand (even if it’s WAY beforehand) feels important. When and if I do write a book, I want to go in with clear eyes.

  19. 19 Margay September 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I think it will be easier for me to do publicity over the internet rather than in person. I am much more comfortable with writing and blogging is just another form of writing, so this will come much easier for me. Also, I have this fear of public speaking, so doing in-person interviews and/or touring will be something of a challenge for me. And I am clueless when it comes to finding newspaper and/or radio/tv spots, so I would need a lot of help in that department, too. For me, at present, hiring a publicist is not in the budget, but it would be a dream to be in a position where I’d need one!

    Margay

  20. 20 Michelle Mach September 24, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    The easy steps: networking, target readership, press kit, Internet marketing. The others are more difficult because I haven’t done them before. I would need to do some research to learn more and then decide if those are tasks that I’d need help with. It’s definitely true that when you turn in your book, your job as an author isn’t finished!

  21. 21 Joyce Lansky September 24, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    I’d like to do all of the nine bullet points because that would mean I’d have a published book. 😀

    A breeze- I don’t think anything’s a breeze in the book business. I think I could use help with all of this. Would I hire a publicist? What’s a publicist? I guess I need to read this book to find out. I probably would be open to any help I could get. So set me up, and once I get published, I’ll be ready to tour!

  22. 22 Carrie Ure September 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    That is a truly daunting list and just reading it, I’m inclined first toward doing step number nine, hiring an independent publicist! What I also know is that by the time I’m ready for this checklist, I will have already jumped through so many hoops and learned so many knew things, I’ll probably tackle this one as well, with lots of energy and enthusiasm. The most important thing I’m learning about growing a writing career is that it is a never-ending learning curve and not for everyone. Cool!

  23. 23 Donna September 24, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    Knowing what the steps for effective networking are is definitely a plus. Thanks for sharing them.
    However, I’m not sure any of the steps would be a beeeze for me. Having a plan and using the steps would definitely help me get started. One step that I’m already doing is marketing on the Internet with my blog. I’ve also done some public speaking, book signings, and interviews for works of mine that have appeared in anthologies. As far as hiring an independent publicist. That would be the one thing I would least likely do because I couldn’t afford it.
    Donna V.

  24. 24 Dawn Herring September 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    · Effective networking
    · Defining your target readership
    · Developing a press kit
    · Creating pitches for talk shows
    · Getting newspaper and magazine coverage
    · Marketing on the Internet and in other outlets
    · Preparing for interviews and touring
    · Setting up bookstore appearances and signings
    · Hiring an independent publicist

    Networking, defining my target readership, and marketing on the internet are all activities I am currently engaging in. However, I am still in the first draft writing phase; I feel what I am doing up to this point is timely. The other activities such as getting coverage in newspapers, magazines, and preparing for interviews and touring are premature activities based on where I am in my projects.
    When the time comes for these activities to come into play, I hope to do as much of it myself as possible, unless it becomes too overwhelming at some point.
    I can really never know until I’m ready to pursue those activities.

  25. 25 Brandy September 24, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Oddly enough I think that I would enjoy setting up bookstore signings and touring the most. I tend to be introverted, but I spent part of my earlier career speaking in front of people and leading training classes about topics I didn’t love, so I think I would really enjoy talking about a book that I wrote and the process it took to get me there. Talk shows seem to be a little bit out of my realm, I can’t even imagine that being a realistic need for me. I need to get much better about networking, and could really use insight how to go about that. I don’t think unless I was a smashing success that I would hire a publicist, at least I don’t think that I would.

  26. 26 jennifer September 24, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    Through writing a book proposal and countless queries for articles, I have become pretty accustomed to pitching over the past year or so. Is it a breeze? Not exactly. But it is coming more naturally, finally. I think networking is still my biggest challenge, just because it can be such a drain on your time, and I’m pretty stingy when it comes to my time. There is so little writing time in my day, I like to dedicate it to getting actual pages done. So I guess I’ll have to block out some netwoking time specifically when it comes time to promote my book. As for hiring a publicist, I haven’t even considered it as of yet. I guess I’ll keep my options open on that one.

  27. 27 Mar Junge September 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Can I do all of these steps? You bettcha! Here’s some tips:
    1. Effective networking – Read Christina’s old posts. See how she’s built her network. (If you aren’t networking, you’re not working!)
    2. Defining readership – Read “Get Known Before the Book Deal”
    3. Developing press kit – Lots of online guides for this
    4. Creating talk show pitches – Check out free info on Annie Jennings’ website http://www.anniejenningspr.com/pages/bookpromotion.htm
    5. Getting newspaper/magazine coverage – If you can pitch an article orbook to editors, you can pitch journalists. Do it by email, not snailmail.
    6. Marketing thru Internet/outlets – Easy. Look at what other authors in your genre are doing and follow suit.
    7. Preparing for interviews and touring – See #4. As for the touring, if you get this far, you’ll find a way to make time.
    8. Setting up bookstore appearances and signings – Your publisher, agent or publicist can help. If you’ve self-published, be prepared to do the legwork yourself.
    9. Hiring an independent publicist – Hire me! No, wait – don’t hire me. I’m too expensive and my PR agency’s at capacity. But having been in this business for 30 years, I can attest that good publicity = more sales.

  28. 28 Rene Eyerly September 24, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I was thinking that ‘creating talk show pitches’ and ‘setting up bookstore appearances’ would be the toughest for me. But then I read Mar Junge’s post, and I thought, “hey, you’re right.” I generally think that I’m up for most things and can learn them pretty quickly. I probably would hire a publicist. I know they can be expensive, but through my day job, I’ve seen the advantages of having a great PR firm work with me to get my programs the attention they never would have gotten without them. Totally worth the money.

  29. 29 lringler September 24, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    I’m a total do-it-yourselfer, so I’d be up for learning these things – I can’t even imagine hiring a publicist. I think developing a press kit, creating a talk show pitch, and getting newspaper and magazine coverage seem like where I have the most to learn.

    Preparing for interviews & touring sounds fine – I have 15+ years experience teaching high school, and they are a tough audience with a change-it-up every 15 minutes attention span. There must be some crossover. I love bookstores, so working towards setting up appearances with them would be fun. Defining my target readership also seems straightforward.

  30. 30 Janet September 25, 2009 at 5:16 am

    I am hoping some day to have this to worry about. Pitches for talk shows, I don’t have a clue. Interviews would be hard for me, I would tend to get very nervous – at first anyway. Though you didn’t mention it specifically – I would enjoy going to schools and putting on programs! Getting the word out on the internet would also be OK with me. It’s the individual one on one stuff that’s hard for me sometimes. Touring would also be hard, being away from home for all that time.

  31. 31 Carrie Ure September 25, 2009 at 9:31 pm

    Of course I’m a literary mama. Mothering, reading and writing are the things I love the most, the activities that define my day and my life. I think often about imbuing my child with a sense that literature enhances life in a way that no other medium can. I remember the many happy hours I spent reading and engaging my imagination as a child, back before the onslaught of the Internet and games. I also have such fond memories of reading to my son, even while he was still in the womb. If a literary mama is one who thrills at the prospect of imparting a love of reading to her child, then yes, count me among you!

  32. 32 Internet PR September 26, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Getting Newspaper and magazine coverage will be the most difficult thing for me..
    and about the question of hiring a publicist..i dont think i need another one when am already there.. 😉
    Setting up bookstore will also be a mundane task for me…
    i can do networking very easily, as am an active user in almost all social media like twitter,facebook etc
    preparing interviews will be fun 🙂

  33. 33 Kristin September 26, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    I would use all of the techniques mentioned. Some steps I would probably balk at while at the same time I would realize they are an integral part of the book publishing and marketing process. I used to work in marketing so things like press kits, getting media coverage and Internet marketing would likely be a bit easier for me since I have already done them. Things like interviewing and book signings would be a bit harder since they are new to me, though I have always dreamed of my own book signing so it could be fun too. I think all of the steps would probably go much easier if I did hire an experienced publicist, however I would likely be too cheap to hire one unless I hit the jackpot. The sad thing is that I bet with the right publicist the whole experience would be both organized and more financially lucrative than if I did it on my own.

  34. 34 Daree Allen September 26, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    The easiest tasks for me will be effective networking and defining my target readership. I know what my personal brand is and whom I am trying to reach. I am already getting newspaper and magazine coverage (working my way up to the “big dogs”) and marketing on the Internet and in other outlets.

    Developing a press kit will go hand-in-hand with creating pitches for talk shows. This would take me some time, and it won’t be a breeze, but I can do it myself.

    Preparing for interviews and touring: This year I have more speaking engagements away from home than I do locally. But I will incorporate virtual tours and blog tours to my marketing campaign.

    Setting up bookstore appearances and signings: I’m getting a lot of good ideas on this from Linkedin, so I will probably do this myself as well. (I’ve seen varying opinions on whether this can be done easily at a chain bookstore vs. a locally owned bookstore.)

    Hiring an independent publicist: I may do this much further down the road for specific tasks, but not all of the ones mentioned here.


  1. 1 Day 24: And the winner is… « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 25, 2009 at 10:21 pm
  2. 2 The 2009 Giveaway List: The Writer Mama Back-To-School Giveaway Starts Tuesday, September 1st! « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 30, 2009 at 10:03 am
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