I always imagined I’d be awful at public relations. I absolutely hate asking people for things—or, even worse—trying to sell people things. That said, when it comes to your own book, you have no choice but to be your own best, loudest, most in-your-face (in the politest way possible) publicist. Now that I’ve released my fourth “baby” into the world, with a fifth slated for next spring, I’ve learned a thing or two about what works and what does not in the way of getting your name and your title out there. So, listen up!
That’s What Friends Are For
If you can’t ask your best buddies for a favor, who can you ask? Every time I launch a new book, I have an “email blast” list on hand. I keep it simple and succinct. I let my friends and acquaintances know that today is the day that my book hits shelves. And I ask them to kindly take to social media on my behalf to relay this information to the world. In fact, I go so far as to include ready-to-post Tweets (hashtags included) and Facebook status updates to make it as easy as possible for them to help me out!
Amp Up That Status
You can’t rely solely on your friends, so leading up to the release of your book, you should be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads (etc…) developing and broadening your network and sharing information with your extended web of contacts. You don’t want to inundate people and you don’t want to constantly be posting the same thing (please buy my book!). Try to devise new and interesting ways to get people’s attention. Perhaps run a contest or giveaway. Maybe offer the first chapter of your book to whet people’s appetites. Visuals are always a plus, so include a photo of your book cover or a recent article that’s been written either by you or on a topic related to your work.
Coming to a City Near You
Book signings. Sigh. Unfortunately, these days, unless you’re a celebrity or a widely recognized bestselling author, they aren’t always the most effective means of publicizing yourself. In my experience, it’s best to do no more than five signings and they should either be in areas where you can pull in most of the crowd or in an area that has a strong connection to your book and will draw interest for that reason. Trust me on this; you want to avoid spreading yourself too thin otherwise you’ll find yourself sitting at a table with a plastered smile and a gathering of—if you’re really lucky—five to ten people.
Developing brand partnerships has been something I’ve done with each of my novels. And it has helped me tremendously in the way of PR. For example, with my first novel You Knew Me When, I joined forces with a nail polish company, who created a set of three polishes named for my book and the three main characters. Since the story featured a woman who was married to her career as a cosmetic industry executive, the partnership was organic (very important!). This joining of forces allowed me to secure an exceptional amount of publicity in beauty and fashion magazines and on lifestyle websites and blogs that may not otherwise have written about my book. With my most recent novel Those Secrets We Keep, I partnered with IT Cosmetics on a summer makeup pouch filled with amazing products for your beach getaway (the novel centers around three friends summering in Lake George). Not only do these sorts of affiliations generate buzz; they’re also great to use for those online giveaways!
I’ll Take It!
I will leave you with one final thought. Jump at every opportunity that comes your way. No matter how small you may think it is. The more you give, the more you get. Offer to write blog posts. Accommodate last minute schedules of editors and producers. Oh, and smile like you mean it through every bit of it. If you’re easy to work with, people will want to work with you again and again.
Emily Liebert is the bestselling author of Facebook Fairytales, You Knew Me When, When We Fall, and Those Secrets We Keep, which NAL published on June 2, 2015. Her fifth book, Some Women, will publish in April 2016. When Emily’s not writing, she teaches Pure Barre classes and enjoys traveling, cooking, and spending time with her husband and their two little boys. Learn more at www.emilyliebert.com.