In today's post, guest blogger Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound, shares the seven most common mistakes authors make when it comes to book publicity. Take it away, Joan…
Thanks! If you’re planning a book launch, or you’re relaunching a book to boost sales, remember these mistakes that have cost many other authors just like you sales, readers and sanity. In my work with author clients, I see these missteps repeatedly.
1. Failing to think of publicity “hooks” while writing the book.
Smart authors keep a running list of topics and sub-topics within the book while they’re writing. By the time they’re done, they can start researching targeted media and creating their “hooks” that tie into the topics.
2. Waiting until a month or two before publication to create social media profiles and plan a publicity campaign.
Publicity can never start too early. If you aren’t well known, start building a platform a full two years before you publish. It takes that long to build profiles on social media, learn the lay of the land and gain traction.
In some cases, you need two or three years to position yourself as the recognized expert in your field. A publicity campaign should start no later than six months before you publish. Otherwise, you can miss valuable publicity opportunities.
3. Not becoming an expert in a topic that’s tied to your book.
Fiction authors, especially, fall into this trap. Amazon has made it so easy to publish that there’s an author under every rock today. But if you become an expert, you can spin that expertise into multiple revenue streams and publicity opportunities.
4. Leading with your book and not your expertise.
When you promote your book instead of your expertise, it sounds like you’re angling for a free commercial, and you’re competing for attention with all the other authors in your niche. But when you promote your expertise, you can become a valued media source and set yourself apart from the other authors.
5. Going after top-tier media right out of the gate.
Everyone wants to get onto “Ellen” or be featured in The New York Times. But few ever do unless they’re celebrity authors. Go after the low-hanging fruit first. Contact your local weekly newspaper and let them know you’ve published. Local papers frequently view local authors as celebrities, even if you’re self-published.
6. Failing to tie publicity for your books to major stories in the news.
This is known as “newsjacking.” For example, an author who writes a novel about children and racial strife could comment on the growing “taking a knee” controversy in the NFL and discuss whether coaches or parents should be teaching youth football players to kneel or stand at attention.
7. Failing to create content tied to their books, for use in a publicity campaign.
This includes quizzes, frequently asked questions, maps, infographics, cheat sheets and checklists. You don’t have to create them all. But have at least a few on hand to offer to the media and others when you get a request for an interview.
If you need creative ideas to promote your book and your expertise, check out my recent Bublish webinar “19 Killer Ideas to Supercharge Your Book Publicity Campaign!”