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Book Promotion the Right Way

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The right promotional campaign for any book means choosing the right approach, contacting the right people, and understanding that doing it right takes time.

To get the right results, make sure you have good answers to these questions:

Who is the ultimate buyer you are targeting?

Where are you going to begin? Locally? Regionally? Nationally? With book editors? Feature editors? Others?

What approach are you going to use? Mail? Fax? Email? Calls? What first? What next? Make sure you have a detailed plan.

What are you going to send? Books? Releases? Brochures? Photos? Media kits? CDs? Other? Incomplete material will be tossed.

When do you need to start to tie into a key event or idea? If, for example, you will be suggesting your book as a holiday gift, understand that editors of national magazines complete their December holiday issues in May or June; regional-magazine editors may complete their holiday issues in September; and newspaper editors usually compile holiday stories in early November, if not earlier. When in doubt, call first.

Why bother? Because you can’t get sales if no one knows the book exists. Media can be the key to informing readers, but the media won’t know what you don’t tell them.

Along with the answers to all these questions, promotional campaigns also require:

Credibility. You and/or your author must have the credentials necessary for acceptance. Partly, this is a function of interview skills and the ability to distill a message about a book into succinct sound bites.

Follow-up. This may be the most important step in getting free publicity.

Time. It always takes more time than most people initially plan to get everything into place for a promotional campaign.

Patience. Coverage doesn’t always happen instantly. If you succeed in planting an idea but the time is not yet right to run the story, make a note in your tickler file to re-plant it later.

Perhaps you’re thinking I need one last question: What is the cost–both in time and out-of-pocket expenses–of doing book promotion the right way? But the better question is: What is the cost of doing nothing?

Kate Bandos has worked with hundreds of publishers and authors and dealt with a wide array of media people during her more than 30 years in publishing. Since the formation of KSB Promotions in 1988, she has primarily helped independent publishers of general lifestyle nonfiction garner media exposure. For more information, go to www.ksbpromotions.com.

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