How you make PR pay off

Table of Contents

PR can be costly, like anything that’s essential to discovery. These are not the inexpensive moments like newsletter startups, or social media posting. Sure, you don’t have to spend more money than you can risk. Publicity is a cousin of advertising, though. You might get nothing from the expenditure, except the tuition we all earn from trying and failing at new things.

Unsolicited emails about publicity service should be vetted, of course. Just about all of these are sales pitches. You don’t mind being pitched if you’re a professional publisher. That’s what we authors become, whenever we manage our own publicity.

Watch out for a media list from a PR company that promotes thousands of contacts. This can be scattershot service. They are only leads, folks. You gotta close ’em. Do the guaranteed leads turn into earned media interviews, reviews, and podcast appearances? The answer is always, “It depends.” The quality of the book has a lot to do with whether an editor, reviewer, or producer opens the door for your appearance. It’s called earned media for a reason.

Social media is tempting because the entry fee is so low. So is a good website or a good blog. Social is a way to get the attention of better-followed authors, or perhaps a gatekeeper or publisher. Love Instagram? Ally with other authors who love it.

Social media and a newsletter and a blog will demand that you invest time. You’d be surprised how many authors think their writing assignments end when they get their books accepted or released. You can be that kind of author, once you’re Lee Child, or King Rowling of the Baldacci clan. Until then, get used to connecting to your audience. This is why you write. Your book will not be enough.

Penny Sanseveri’s Author Marketing Experts firm has a new podcast episode out, a show that explains what to expect from a book marketing firm.

Hiring for book marketing

It’s worth every one of the 30 minutes it takes to listen to it. She breaks it down and gets honest, after a long time of serving authors.

Reviews, or else

Do you already have strong reviews from known outlets? They might not impress readers, but they can help move the needle on another reviewer or producer opening the gates on earned media. Yes, you pay for those reviews. Or you don’t, because you already have great reviews from people who can pen a very intelligent notice, as we called reviews when I was in community theatre.

To prime the pump, you need early reviews. That’s what your Release Team is for. The early reviews are written well enough to convince a media gatekeeper to ask you onto their show or blog.

Many authors decide to bypass a newsletter effort. I’m too big a fan of newsletters to be objective, because I write this one every week. Marketing experts say a good author newsletter connects writers to readers. A newsletter is the most helpful way to pitch to readers. You’re the Scout, offering what you’ve thought about and seen and learned. Who doesn’t love a good Scout, Girl or Boy?

I started in journalism 41 years ago and have been pitched, done my own pitching, and watched authors pitch. A good media consultant helps you decide what to pitch and write to market your book. You’ll do your own lifting on writing the marketing, because you’re writing about your book for the rest of your life — or as much time as you expect anyone to be buying it.

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