Publicity Resources for Authors...
Like so many of us who write, I have a day job. My experience is in marketing and public relations. This is an area many authors and aspiring authors are hungry to learn more about. This corner is my gift to you.
I have more than 15 years experience in public relations and marketing. I'm a graduate of The Ohio State University School of Journalism. My articles have appeared in Public Relations Tactics, the national newsletter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and I hold the Accredited in Public Relations designation from PRSA.
Don't miss my workshop at the 2012 RWA Nationals about how to use publicity to promote your brand. It will be included in the videos if you can't make it to the conference.
A few tips:
Learn to love the Inverted Pyramid:When writing a press release, start with the conclusion and put the most important information at the top. News stories are often cut for space. Journalists place the most important information at the top of their stories so that lesser details can be cut out of the story without losing important information.
Fiction writing often starts out in the middle something and then additional details are added as you move through the piece to add to the suspense. Journalistic writing lays all the important details down in the first paragraph. If a reporter reads only the beginning of your release they should be able to understand the 5 W’s.
Learn to Be Newsworthy:
Relevance to Readership: This varies based on the publication you’re targeting. A publication dedicated to professional beer making will define newsworthy differently than your local city newspaper. Your job is to target the right message to the right reporter at the right publication. If your book deals with themes related to the paranormal, you might target a journal of an organization dedicated to ghost hunting. If you’re a teacher or a university alumni, you might tap into related publications by prominently featuring your connection.
Local: Reporters are always searching for a local angle. If you’re book is set in a park in Miami you might target the local newspaper in the city.
Events: Reporters like featuring upcoming events that the public could choose to attend. Make sure the event is relevant to the publication. If it’s a local paper it needs to be a local event. If it’s a beer making publication, it needs to be a beer making related event.
Animals and Children: Reporters love human interest stories. The old adage in journalism school is that you can always get coverage of animals and children. It holds for anything unique, cute or fuzzy. Maybe everyone is going to wear costumes or kittens will be in attendance. Photo opportunities are important for most publications so try to make things visual when you can.
Causes and Calls to Actions: Asking the public to take a step, sign a petition, join a group, donate to a cause or feel like they can participate in any way ups the newsworthiness of your work. So, if your book touches on a domestic violence theme, why not partner with the local shelter? Do some good for the world while upping your publicity.
Contests and Free Stuff: People respond to opportunities to participate and they love things that are free. It could be a free kindle download, a short story on your website, an opportunity to compete for a book. It needs to be relevant and it needs to be important enough to cut through the clutter for that publication. If a million other people are doing it, it’s not newsworthy, so try for a unique angle. For example, maybe, you’re giving out free kits to teachers to use in the classroom. They could be downloaded at your site and your targeted teacher publications.