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A Checklist of Building Blocks for Publicity

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A Checklist of Building Blocks for Publicity

July 2012

Kate Siegel Bandos

Some publishers and authors think publicity means sending out galleys, review copies, and perhaps a press release, and then sitting back and waiting for things to happen. If that is how you approach book publicity, you’ll be very lucky if anything happens.

The checklist below provides elements to consider before starting any book publicity and includes some things that should happen six months or more before a book comes off press. I hope it will get you started in the right direction for getting the word out to potential book buyers.

Always Begin With:

A good book

√ well-defined target audience(s)

√ good title

√ good cover design

√ good writing

√ good research

√ good editing

√ good price

√ good design

√ good endorsements

√ good cover copy

√ good production

A good overall publicity plan

√ well thought-out

√ well financed

√ well stated

√ well timed

√ well executed

√ strong follow-up

Consider Print Options, Including:

Magazines

• National

• Regional

• Specialty (e.g., gardening, women).

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send in the right style.

√ Send with a good cover letter.

√ Follow up.

Newsletters

• National

• Regional

• Specialty (e.g., parenting, health)

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send in the right style.

√ Send with a good cover letter.

√ Follow up.

Newspapers

• National (e.g., USA TodayWall Street Journal)

• Regional (daily, weekly)

• Specialty (e.g., religious, ethnic)

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send in the right style.

√ Send with a good cover letter.

√ Follow up.

Newswires

• National (AP, UPI)

• Specialty

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send in the right style.

√ Send with a good cover letter.

√ Follow up.

Freelance writers and columnists

• National

• Regional

• Specialty (topic, media relationships)

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send in the right style.

√ Send with a good cover letter.

√ Follow up.

Other

• Shoppers

• Grocery circulars

• Church bulletins

Select approaches involving:

• Book review

• Author profile or interview

• Author and/or publisher as expert resource

• Excerpt

• Article by author

• Quiz or challenge

• Sidebar mention

• Advertorial

• Other as appropriate

Consider Internet Options, Including:

E-zines and blogs

• General interest

• Specialty

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send in on time for e-zines.

√ Send in the right style and tone.

√ Be careful not to push your agenda on someone else’s blog.

√ Follow up.

Review sites

• General interest

• Specialty

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send in on time for e-zines.

√ Send in the right style and tone.

√ Send with a good cover letter or email message.

Social networking

• Facebook

• Twitter

• YouTube

• Bebo

• Digg

• Del.icio.us

• and dozens of others

Your Web site

√ Post a book description.

√ Post sample chapters.

√ Post table of contents.

√ Post author bio.

√ Post free articles, quizzes, and the like.

√ Post a sample interview and/or a FAQ.

√ Provide media pages.

√ Provide links to related resources.

√ Provide downloadable hi-res and low-res art—including author photo, illustrator photo, book cover, interior art—as appropriate.

√ Make it easy for people to reach you or your publicist.

Select approaches involving:

• Book review

• Author profile or interview

• Author and/or publisher as expert resource

• Excerpt or article by author

• Book giveaway

• Quiz or challenge

• Sidebar mention

• Audio and/or video clips

Broadcast Options Include:

Radio interviews

• Local & national

√ Carefully research shows’ demographics, formats, and so on.

√ Send good topical materials.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send with a good cover letter or email message.

√ Do strong follow-up.

Internet radio interviews

√ Carefully research shows’ demographics, formats, and so on.

√ Send good topical materials.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send with a good cover letter or email message.

√ Do strong follow-up.

Network TV interviews

• Local & national

√ Carefully research shows’ demographics, formats, and so on.

√ Send good topical materials.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send with a good cover letter or email message.

√ Do strong follow-up.

Satellite interviews

√ Carefully research shows’ demographics, formats, and so on.

√ Send good topical materials.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send with a good cover letter or email message.

√ Do strong follow-up.

Cable TV

• Local and national

√ Carefully research shows’ demographics, formats, and so on.

√ Send good topical materials.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send with a good cover letter or email message.

√ Do strong follow-up.

Consider approaches involving:

• Author interview

• Book mention or review

• Author and/or publisher as expert resource

• Book giveaways

• Contests

• Author as part of a panel

In-Person Options Include:

Author talks, programs, and signings at:

• Schools

• Daycare centers

• Libraries

• Bookstores

• Specialty stores (e.g., sporting good stores, baby stores, grocery stores)

• Association and organization meetings

• Book clubs

√ Respect lead times, which are often long.

√ Pursue related media opportunities.

√ Figure out which activities will be cost-effective.

√ Send a letter confirming arrangements and who is responsible for what.

√ Do strong follow-up.

Appearances at trade shows

√ Identify relevant publishing and special-interest shows.

√ Explore display options.

√ Explore speaking options.

√ Explore other ways to benefit from the event.

√ Pursue related media opportunities.

√ Follow up.

Appearances at other gatherings, such as festivals, art shows, and craft and holiday bazaars

√ Test a few close by.

√ Pursue related media opportunities.

√ Follow up.

Spokesperson role

√ Research relevant businesses and associations.

√ Send good materials about the author’s qualifications.

√ Send in on time.

√ Send to the right person.

√ Send with a good cover letter or email message.

√ Do strong follow-up.

A good book + a good plan + good, timely execution = good coverage for you and your book and your area of expertise.

Remember, if you start with the question, “Who’s going to buy this book and what do they read, watch, and listen to?”—and if you follow through with this question in mind, you’ll end up on the right path to good media coverage.

Kate Siegel Bandos reports that she has worked with thousands of books and authors during more than 40 years as a book publicist. She started her own company, KSB Promotions, 22 years ago. To learn more, visit ksbpromotions.com.

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