Managing Your Own Book Promotion

You’ve been waiting by the mailbox and you finally receive the letter you’ve been waiting for. Your book is going to be published!

But your journey doesn’t end there. On the contrary. It’s just beginning. There are appearances to be made, books to sign and television programs to be a guest on.

In fact, many publishers want to know your promotional plan of attack before they even look at your manuscript. How you market yourself and your book is downright vital to success in these competitive publishing days.

The art of self-promotion can be overwhelming. Many people don’t even have the first clue as to where to get started on their own publicity campaign.

There are many outlets available to you to spread the word on your new book. Part I of this three-part series covers the glorious medium everyone wants to appear on:

No matter what TV market you live in, there are plenty of on-air opportunities to promote your book. Morning shows often feature all sorts of guests. You could be one of them.

Consider that there are NBC, ABC, CBS and, in most cases, FOX affiliates. In some markets, you might make an appearance on all four stations. In others, you might not. It just depends on their topic needs and your schedule at the time.

Then you have to factor in that most affiliates also have a show in the afternoon that’s not entirely related to the news. They contain “fluff” material. This isn’t the hard news like murders, drug busts and rapes. It’s the lighter side of news like puppy adoptions, the world’s largest pumpkin and – yes – even your new book.

Securing your appearance on these shows is another matter entirely. First, television producers are a very busy bunch. Phoning them out of the blue isn’t going to get you on their good side.

All you have to do is send a press release stating your name, contact information and your availability. Don’t limit yourself with just one day for them to book your appearance. Make sure you include a range of at least a week and send out your press release far enough advance.

Be sure to plug yourself as a local author, if you are sending your press release to your hometown or close proximity. Working the hometown angle gives you an extra edge over someone who’s just popping in town to promote their book.

Do you have a news angle? If you’ve overcome a learning disability to write this book or your story is based on your hometown, work that into your press release. It’s more newsworthy and could land you on the 6 and/or 11 p.m. news (major viewers).

There are plenty of online press release resources. Just be sure to write in the pyramid form with your most important information at the top down to your least important info. That way, if a producer decides to stop reading your press release after one paragraph, they have the meat of your content.

Are you within an hour or two from another television market? If you’re willing to make the drive, then go ahead and submit your release to these television stations as well.

Don’t clutter your schedule, though. For example, say you live in Macon, Georgia, and submit your release to the local stations with the availability dates of April 16-20. Then you submit your press release to the Atlanta stations with the same availability dates.

You could potentially land an appearance on one Atlanta station on Monday. Another appearance on a Macon station Tuesday. Another appearance on a different Atlanta station Wednesday.

Your schedule has to be pretty flexible. Producers have to account for every section of the show…down to the second. You’re really on their schedule. So don’t limit your availability in two cities within one week if you’re sending out 8 press releases.

When you do land that TV appearance be sure to take at least one copy of your book with you. That way, viewers can have a visual image of your book. They’ll know what to look for when they head to the bookstore.