Don’t Miss the Publicity Boat!

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Book Publicity Mini-Course

Whether you are about to launch your book or are continuing your book marketing efforts long-term, you are looking for publicity opportunities. Don’t miss the publicity boat! One of the biggest mistakes we see authors make is timing.

When you are contacted by an interviewer or media person, respond promptly—immediately! If they ask for additional information, provide it as quickly as possible or at least let them know when they can expect it. Any delay in replying might mean that someone else will reply promptly and get the publicity opportunity you were hoping for. This applies to responding to HARO requests as well. Even though you reply within their deadline, they usually use the first replies received. Respond promptly.

Timing is important with press releases as well. Plan to send press releases out in plenty of time for the media to respond. If you post it too late or too close to the event you are promoting, you may have missed the boat.

Relationship Marketing for Nonfiction Authors

Relationship marketing is used by many businesses. It focuses on customer retention and satisfaction. How can relationship marketing be used by nonfiction authors? First, let’s break down three aspects of relationship marketing.relationship marketing

  1. Customer retention

Businesses use relationship marketing to retain customers. As a nonfiction author, you want to retain your readers. We’ll discuss this in further detail in a bit.

  1. Customer satisfaction

Your customer is your reader. You want them to be satisfied with your product – your book – so they will tell others about it.

  1. Long-term customer

Keep them coming back for more – whether it’s for your next book or another service you offer.

Now we’ll discuss what those three aspects of relationship marketing mean to an author.

  1. Reader retention

How do you keep your readers coming back for more? As a nonfiction author, there are several ways you can do this. First, of course, is to be sure you’ve written something of real value. Then write another book, and another, and another is possible. Other ways you can keep them coming back is to create other products or services around your book. Perhaps you can create workbook around your book, host a webinar course, create a workshop. Put on your creativity cap and brainstorm ideas with a friend.

  1. Reader satisfaction

Those 5-star ratings at Amazon are a great indication of reader satisfaction. Encourage readers to leave reviews by mentioning at the end of your book. When you sell books in-person or mail a book out, include a sheet with tips on how to leave a review on Amazon. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. It will happen. Don’t dwell on it; move on. Think like your reader and find out what they need so you can make the next book even better.

  1. Long-term customer, or reader

You don’t just want a reader to buy your book once and never come back. The goal is for them to become a long-term customer, or reader. They should want to buy future books, purchase more books as gifts for friends, or purchase another service you offer.

How can you build relationship marketing into your marketing plan? There are three steps:

  1. Make connections

LinkedIn is a great place to start making connections. First step, upload your contacts from your computer and start connecting. Search for and join groups related to your book’s topic. Connect with members of those groups. This is also a great place to connect with influencers in your industry, media persons, and others you may want to collaborate with.

  1. Build on those relationships

Don’t just connect; deepen those relationships. Invite your new connections to connect by phone and get to know one another. Listen to them, find out what their needs are, who their ideal client is. In turn they will do the same. I’ve done this consistently for a few years now and have made some great connections where we now refer prospects to one another.

  1. Collaborate with others

Once you’ve built those relationships, you’ll be in a much better position to collaborate with them. You may find another author whose book complements your own. Perhaps you can do a workshop together, or a virtual event (webinar), or refer to one another. Building relationships and collaborating encourages word of mouth – the best referral you could get.

Relationship marketing takes time and effort. It’s well worth it. It results in more readers because the readers you have will come back for more and tell others about you, your book, and your services.

For more great marketing tips from some of the world’s best marketers, check out this article at Insane Growth, particularly the social media marketing tip from Neal Schaffer.

Nonfiction Authors Prepare for Television Appearances

Every nonfiction author’s dream is to be interviewed on national television by a well-known interviewer. Ultimately you want to be on Oprah, right? But are you prepared for national television appearances? Or even a local TV appearance?television appearances

Here are a few tips to be sure you’re prepared to appear on TV:

  • When you receive the email or phone call with the opportunity, reply promptly. Don’t think you can get back to them the next day. The media is very fast moving and if they don’t hear from you promptly, they will move on down the list and you will have missed the opportunity. You may even be called to do an interview in just a couple of days. This recently happened with one of my clients. She received the email just two days before the morning television show because there was a cancellation and the show needed to fill the empty slot. She was told someone would be calling shortly and by the end of the day she had signed to do the show.
  • If you’re asked for additional information, provide it as quickly as you can or at least let them know when they can expect the information.
  • Know your topic well, share it enthusiastically, and find new ways to liven it up. You may have done several interviews on radio or podcasts and if you’re not careful, you might sound like you’re sharing the same information repeatedly and it may begin to sound stale. Perhaps you can tell a new story this time that gets the same point across in a different way.
  • Share your upcoming appearance on social media and again after the event. Add it to your blog, media page on your website, and your newsletter. When posting on social media, tag the show and interviewer.

Hal Elrod’s Today show appearance

I recently corresponded with a previous client, Hal Elrod, about his experience being on the Today show. Here’s what I asked him and his replies via his assistant.

Did you reach out to the Today show or did they approach you? Our Penguin Random House publisher for The Miracle Equation set this up with their contacts.

What was the process like to prepare for the show? Hal was pretty much on his own aside from a few calls with the producer.

How long was it from the initial contact to the actual air date? Just about three months.

What’s the best thing that happened to you as a result of the show? Reaching a new and wider audience.

Would you have done anything differently? Hal felt everything went smoothly and there is nothing he would change.

Share anything else you would like to about the experience. Hal was given questions to prepare for before the show and he spend hours preparing for those questions and every question on the show asked was totally out of left field. None of the questions were the ones they gave for him to prepare. He was prepared for that to happen though, so it went great.

What you can learn from Hal’s experience

Notice that Hal’s publisher had contacts, so they were able to set this interview up. If you’re self-published, you may not have those contacts. You may want to hire a publicist who has existing relationships with media to help you reach out.

There were just a few calls with the producer in the three month period before the show. He had to prepare well. You want to prepare well, rehearsing what you want to say so that it comes out sounding natural. Practice with a friend and record it so you can see how you appear on camera and what you need to adjust to look and sound professional.

The best thing about this appearance for Hal was reaching a new and wider audience – not book sales. Yes, he did sell books. And I encourage you to go purchase his book. More importantly, his message reached more people. Keep that in mind when you appear on TV and make sure you share your valuable message.

A very important takeaway here is that as much as you prepare, be prepared for the unexpected. That’s what Hal did so he was prepared even though none of the questions he asked were the ones he was originally provided. To be that well prepared you must know your topic inside and out.

Deborah Olson’s Great Day Houston appearance

As I was preparing this article, my client, Deborah Olson, was contacted to appear on the Deborah Duncan show in Houston. After her appearance, I asked her a few questions and here they are along with her replies.

How did you hear about the opportunity to be on Great Day Houston? I know the manager for the Houston rising singing star, Christina Wells, and we recently had a meeting to discuss a joint venture I may do with Christina. His name is David Wuensch, and we talked about Christina’s recent appearances on Great Day Houston. David was so excited for my book and its relevant message for women that he told me he would reach out to Christina’s publicist and one of the producers they know from the Great Day Houston show. Within a couple weeks I received a phone call from David that Great Day Houston wanted me on the show for National Girlfriend’s Day, August 1, 2019.

Who did you speak to and what did they need from you before the show?  I spoke with David and he relayed information from the show’s producer, Jennifer. They needed some bullet points of questions that I would prefer to be asked and I sent them back to David and he sent them on to the Jennifer.  Before the show they needed some bullet points of questions that I would prefer to be asked.   However, as it turned out, the questions and conversation I had with Deborah Duncan on the show were not from that list. Instead we discussed other talking points from the book, which was fun and interesting. It worked out great!

How did you prepare for the show? I really did not have much to prepare at all for the show since I received the email about it just two days before the show.  I’m always well prepared because I know my message backwards and forwards.

What’s the best thing that resulted from being on the show? The best thing from the show is definitely the wider exposure of more people hearing my message. I really am so grateful to have had this opportunity to reach the masses with my message. Since the show there has been a lot of support happening on social media.  It has been fun to see people’s comments and hear their thoughts about my appearance on the show and the message of my book.

Would you have done anything differently? No, things fell into place very nicely and it all worked out well.  I got to be on Great Day Houston with Deborah Duncan discussing my first book, The Healing Power of Girlfriends, on National Girlfriends Day.  It does not get any better than that!

Share anything else you’d like about the experience. I would like to add this about the past months of hard work to market and promote my book and its message which have led up to this pinnacle moment on TV:

Never give up! I have had many days I have been very discouraged, including only a few weeks ago, when I just felt that nothing was falling into place for me.  As a first time self-published author, I have sometimes felt like it just may never be “my turn” to get lucky or get noticed by media.  I don’t have any claim to fame, I am not a star, and I don’t have a famous face or family.  I am starting from scratch and trying to carve out my niche and work my way to the top. It takes a lot of courage, stamina, tenacity, resiliency, and coffee!  It also takes surrounding yourself with the BEST team. I would say to choose carefully who you bring on your team to support you and help you market and promote your book and your message. I have chosen wisely, by selecting Sue Canfield and her social media marketing team, and Candace Johnson, my editor and mentor. The success of being on the Great Day Houston Show belongs to them as well!

What you can learn from Deborah’s experience

It’s who you know. Deborah knew someone who had a contact at the show and that’s how she ended up landing this TV appearance. Develop relationships with people. Let everyone you know what your goals are and what shows you’d like to appear on. You never know where it may lead. Remember to be generous with your connections and if you’re ever able to pay it forward, do so.

You must know your message – inside and out. Always be prepared for the unexpected. You may not get asked the questions you so carefully prepared for and you don’t want to be thrown when the host asks you a question you weren’t expecting.

Never give up! Book marketing and publicity is an ongoing, long-term commitment. Grab your coffee and keep at it. And go get Deborah’s book.

I’m excited to be working with nonfiction authors to help them share their message on social media. It’s been even more exciting this year as we branch out into author publicity services. We’ve helped get clients book review opportunities, written interviews with book bloggers, audio interviews with podcasters and online radio shows, and we’ve booked video interviews with online shows. Book a free 15-minute phone consultation with me to learn more about how our services can help you get more publicity.

Checklist to Get Ready for Your Book Launch

rocket book launchThis is not an exhaustive list of everything you might do for a book launch. It focuses primarily on what you can do using social media. There may be other things you need to do if you are having a book launch party, need additional publicity such as getting on radio, TV, in newspapers. I can recommend a great publicist for traditional publicity. Her name is Joanne McCall and you can learn more at her website.

Book Launch Planning

Have on hand:

  • a digital copy of your book
  • your photo
  • a high resolution digital version of your book cover
  • your bio
  • copies of all your existing physical marketing collateral
  • links to all your online accounts

Expand Your Audience of Potential Readers

One way to do this is to cross-promote on all your social platforms. On Facebook post a message periodically inviting your Facebook fans to follow you on Twitter, Instagram, etc. On Twitter post a weekly message inviting your Twitter followers to connect with you on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn periodically post a link to your Pinterest boards and invite your connections to follow them. Examples:

“Follow my Pinterest board here: https://www.pinterest.com/sueawesome/social-media-tips-for-nonfiction-authors/

“For more detailed information about me and what I do, like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AusomaSocialMediaMarketingforNonfictionAuthors/

“Are you on LinkedIn? Send me a request to connect: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suecanfield/

“Let’s connect on Twitter! https://twitter.com/sueawesome

“Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/suecanfieldausoma/

6 Months Before Launch

  • Hire a book launch specialist if you can
  • Setup a book page on your website if you don’t yet have one. It should include:
    • expected release date
    • list of other books you’ve written
    • links to your Amazon page, Goodreads and all social media accounts
    • link sign up for your newsletter
    • a pitch to ask readers to post a review of your book wherever they purchased it (Amazon, Goodreads, etc.)
  • Set up Twitter if you don’t yet have an account. Tweet relevant tips from your book and retweet relevant content from others. Follow relevant profiles to expand your audience.

 4 Months Before Launch

  • Set up your Facebook Author page if you don’t have one yet. Start posting about your upcoming book launch.
  • Setup an email list if you haven’t yet. I recommend using MailChimp.
  • Reach out to bloggers who interview authors to plan a virtual book tour the week the book launches.
  • Write articles to post to your blog weekly, or more often, related to your book’s topic. Some of these could be re-worked to use as guest posts for the bloggers who interview authors. Your bio paragraph can include information about the book. You could even submit these articles to online article submission sites.
  • Contact podcasters for interviews.
  • Request book endorsements
  • Create photo memes (images to be shared on social media). Each social media platform displays photos best when they are sized correctly for that platform. These sizes change periodically. You can learn more about photo memes and download an image size guide here.
  • Setup a Pinterest board for your book and add all created Photo Memes.
  • Setup Instagram if you haven’t yet. Add all photo memes.
  • Consider doing a book trailer and posting on YouTube. This can be video of you talking about the book or it can use images and graphics with voice over. You want it to tell the reader why this book benefits them. Here are some examples of book trailers Joel has done. https://youtu.be/DHWyi5drV64 https://youtu.be/2gLSiwKoFgs https://youtu.be/sIHJpRFdIGg https://youtu.be/dA8JeVL3Vck

2 Months Before Launch

  • Setup your Amazon Author Central account if you don’t yet have one.
  • Post book cover image all over social media.
  • Create bookmarks and/or postcards around the book for your book launch party.
  • Create a hashtag specific to your book for use in social media messages. (i.e. my client, a retail consultant, is using #fivelawsofretail for his book, The Five Laws of Retail)
  • Reach out to a small group of people to be beta readers who will post a book review on Amazon on book launch day.

1 Month Before Launch

  • Update LinkedIn Publications Section
  • Let your email list know when the book will be released and ask them to share the announcement with their networks. See an example here of how one author leveraged her email list for her book launch.
  • Write a blog post about your book launch and include a short excerpt from your book.
  • Set up Google Alerts and monitor mention of your name, book, and topic.
  • Give away a sample chapter to new email subscribers to help build your list.
  • Share relevant links related to your topic. Mention how your book will address that topic.
  • Write copy about the book that your audience can share on their social media platforms on launch day. Send it out to your list with sample tweets and Facebook messages they can share with their audience. (Example of one of my client’s books for Facebook: “If you’re a mom, you’re worried about your daughter. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, the question remains: How do we protect our daughters? By tackling the subject of sexual assault head-on, The Way of the Warrior Mama offers a roadmap to navigating one of the most treacherous parts of the journey from girlhood to womanhood. Learn more about the book: http://ow.ly/Irv130kGeVM” and for Twitter: How do we protect our daughters? By tackling the subject of sexual assault head-on, The Way of the Warrior Mama offers a roadmap to navigating one of the most treacherous parts of the journey from girlhood to womanhood. Learn more about the book: http://ow.ly/Irv130kGeVM”

Launch Day

  • Your blog – schedule a promotional announcement the day of the launch.
  • Your newsletter list – schedule a book launch announcement the day of the launch.
  • Facebook Author page – post 3 unique posts, morning, midday, evening.
  • Twitter – post 12 unique tweets – 1 every two hours. All can be scheduled ahead using a tool like Hootsuite. If you don’t use a tool to schedule ahead, then you can post those 12 tweets closer together, but no more than 2 in one hour. Be sure to use the specific hashtag you created for your book in your tweets. Monitor your account on launch day for any likes, retweets, mentions, comments. Be sure to respond to any comments and thank anyone who retweets and shares your posts.
  • LinkedIn – post 3 unique posts, morning, midday, evening.
  • Instagram – post 3 unique posts, morning, midday, evening.
  • Pinterest – pin 2 unique images relevant to your book.
  • Consider running a giveaway on Goodreads.
  • Remind your beta readers to post their review on Amazon.
  • Interact with your audience. Respond to comments and questions. Encourage your audience to ask questions.
  • Have fun! Celebrate!

The Day After

Celebrate! Relax! Don’t stress if things didn’t go quite as planned. Book marketing is an ongoing task. As long as your book is for sale, you’ll want to continue marketing it. So make plans to do that. But not today. Today – breathe! Enjoy the day!

Learn more about our Social Media Book Launch Support packages.

Download this checklist as a PDF.

Which Platform Works Best for You?

With all the social media platforms available, authors often ask which one is the best platform for them. My answer: it depends on where your audience is and which one you feel you’d be most comfortable spending time using. Here are four popular ones and my thoughts on each one. Then you decide which one is best for you. (I recommend you set up a profile at each one and then focus on one. More on that in a future post.)

Twitter is a Music Festival

It’s easy to set up a Twitter account and start following people you hope will follow you back. The trap to avoid is following everyone. Follow people who are relevant in some way. Perhaps they’ve tweeted about your topic or have a hashtag in their bio that indicates interest in your topic. Create lists so you can categorize those you follow – other authors, book marketers, publicists, and others.

Because you can tweet often, you drive more traffic to your website from Twitter than other social media platforms. That means your tweets need to have valuable information with a link that readers want to click to learn more.

Yes, it’s easy for your tweets to ‘get lost’ in the huge Twitterverse. However you can make good connections and start conversations that may result in taking the conversation into email. Over the years I’ve made really good connections with people in my industry in this manner, and have even gotten clients through Twitter.

Twitter is like a music festival with many different bands all playing at once on different stages of a huge venue. Thousands of people are attending. It will get noisy, even confusing at times. You might feel lost, that your message isn’t being heard. But those who want to hear what you have to say will find you and listen, just like at a huge music festival. Maybe you went to listen to one or two bands. You’ll seek them out and listen to them. Your audience will seek you out on Twitter and listen to you too – as long as you’ve set up your account and tweet in such a way that they can find you.

Facebook is a Tribe

On Facebook you want to be sure to set up an Author page. Read my previous post on 13 Ways to Utilize Your Facebook Author Page. Be sure to link to the page from your website and invite friends and readers to connect with you on this page. This is where your ‘tribe’ can come backstage with you. You won’t have as many followers on Facebook as you have connections elsewhere. That’s okay. This is where people who are already your readers will come to learn more about you and even connect with other readers.

Think of Facebook as a place where your tribe comes to hang out. They may have first connected with you on Twitter and now want more. Use Facebook to share more about who you are, what you write, links to other information your audience will find value. And of course have fun! Facebook followers tend to be people who like to have fun. :)

LinkedIn is a Professional Networking Connector

LinkedIn is a more professional setting, perfect for nonfiction authors. In addition to connecting with other professionals, you can join and participate in groups, and publish articles related to your topic. I use LinkedIn to deepen connections. I invite strategic connections to a free 15-minute phone call so we can learn more about each other.

Groups are a wonderful tool you can use to start or join in conversations and share your expertise. Writing articles also strengthens your position as an expert in your field.

Instagram is a Snapshot of Life

This social media platform is primarily about visuals – posting photos or images along with text and hashtags. You may want a separate business account for your book. Instagrammers want to know more about your life as an author. They want to see photos of your writing space, perhaps a book store you visited, your cat. Of course you can post about your book too. Just remember that the audience here is more interested in your life – not your book.

If you need some ideas for visuals to post on Instagram, check out this post.

So, which platform works best for you right now?

This may change at a later date so you want to revisit this annually.

  • Are you interested in a music festival and reaching a lot of people? Twitter’s your thing.
  • Do you want your tribe to connect more personally with you and other readers? Use Facebook
  • Is your goal to connect with other professionals and deepen those relationships? LinkedIn is the place.
  • Would you like to connect with readers interested in a more personal look into your life as an author? Dive into Instagram

I’d love to connect with you on any of those social media platforms and hear your comments on this topic. Share a comment below and links to your platforms so I can follow you.