Christmas has been and gone and it looks like 2018 is going to be a busy and exciting year.
As well as working with my regular clients and taking on ad-hoc projects, I am currently knee deep in draft one of my next book with Nell James Publishing.
When I wrote Cast Life – A Parent’s Guide to DDH, I was able to use my PR experience from the previous twenty years to get my book out there. Review copies, images, competition prizes, comment pieces and several targeted press releases allowed me to work with the media to secure dozens of print and online interviews as well as radio and TV appearances and over the past two years I have been able to spread the word about my book and this pretty unknown, under represented condition.
The reality is, that while many authors can write a fantastic book, getting it out there to their audience can be a tougher job, so this is the topic of my next book.
Of course, you might be one of the lucky ones who works with a publisher who has the budget and resources to secure column inches for you, but the reality for most writers is that you’re going to have to do the hard work for yourself, which can be scary and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be.
My book will tell you just how to do that, but as it isn’t out until later in 2018, today I am sharing some top tips to get your PR ball rolling.
My first piece of advice for you, is to start early. I’ve already begun cranking the PR machine for my second book so that I not only get the word out there, but it also gives me a call to action to sit down and write. Yes, there might be editorial changes, printing might be held up and your website might not be quite where you want it to be, but it’s never too early to start promoting your book and putting yourself in the spotlight.
What is your USP?
Journalists and bloggers receive hundreds, even thousands, of press releases a week and you need to stand-out from the crowd and get your pitch right if you want them to cover you.
Take a step back from your book and think about what makes it, and you, unique? Maybe you have used totally new research, you’re an expert in your field on dating or the contents of your work is controversial? Whatever that key element is, make that message is highlighted in all your PR efforts.
Who are you talking to?
When it comes to PR, you need to clearly identify your target audience because they are the people who are going to buy your book, and it won’t be for everyone.
Know the media
Once you know your target audience, you then need to assess what media they use. For example, Cast Life was aimed at parents and carers of children with DDH as well as health professionals. Yes, it was a niche area but once I start pulling it apart there were actually a lot of relevant outlets from parenting magazines and health blogs, to my local newspapers and the nursing press where there was a natural fit and coverage was secured.
If yours is a book on baby routines you are looking at parenting titles like Gurgle as well as lifestyle supplements in national newspapers, e.g. Femail, and blogs that new parents read. For a vegan recipe book, your audience you will be potentially be reading Vegan Life and Vegan Food and Living as well as T2 in the Times and You Magazine in the Mail on Sunday.
Once you have identified the outlets, get to know them inside and out. Supermarkets and shops like WHSmiths have a great selection of newspapers and magazines, as do many libraries. Get a feel for what they cover, what regular features and opportunities are available as well as seeing who writes for each title. Contact details are often found in the ‘masthead’ at the front of publications or you can do some research online to find the information you need.
Twitter is a fantastic PR resource as it allows you to engage with other writers as well as bloggers, journalists and reviewers. Make sure you are following the publications, journalists and bloggers you would like to work with but remember that is isn’t about the hard sell from your first Tweet. It is more about building relationships and raising awareness over time so that when you do pitch an idea, they are familiar with who you are and what you write about.
Don’t give up
One of the key things to remember about PR is that it takes time and you can’t expect to be on the front of The Guardian on day one. Do your research, take your time, get your angles right and it will happen.
Next week I will be looking at press releases, what they are and how to use them right in this fast-moving digital age.
If you have any questions, would like to know how I could help you get your book out there, or are interested in taking part in research for my next book, please do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck and have a great week.