Making It Easy for the Media to Meet Authors
by Marika Flatt
Working in Austin, a city renowned for an eco-friendly outlook, we like to keep up with the green trends that affect publicity tools too.
Now that everything is digital—stores will ask if you want a paper receipt or one emailed to you; certain bills can be paid only online; and in the book world you might go unnoticed without a Twitter handle—getting a physical copy of your book into the hands of prime media contacts can sometimes be tricky, which is why we developed our Experts Booklet.
Printed and online, this booklet has pushed us through many a media door. It describes the authors we work with and the message each one wants to promote. And, oh, by the way, it mentions their books too.
Maintaining the aesthetic of our brand and site, the Experts Booklet is a smooth, condensed catalog, with one page dedicated to each author. Imagine it as a glossy online magazine, like Matchbook.
Clicking to Connect
The media people who arrive at our Experts Booklet on our Web site can flip through 20 or more pages describing experts on a variety of topics.
Those visitors include book reviewers. Consider the plight of the typical book reviewer. An average day brings hundreds of phone calls and piles of books—some requested, many not. The waste must be overwhelming.
What if you could send this same book reviewer a chocolate box of authors with books from children’s literature to psychological thrillers on a variety of topics—each one skillfully presented? Better yet, what if you could send this kind of thing to the director of content for PBS?
In real life, we saw the PBS director of content click and flip her way through our Experts Booklet, awed by the resources she had at her keyboarding fingertips. And we saw her wheels began to turn about which authors could be connected to which show: which ones would make excellent panel guests for a Cinematic event, and which ones she would love to see interviewed by her top hosts.
That’s what makes our Experts Booklet go from being our green-friendly and nifty catalog to being an invaluable public relations tool.
The positives of creating an Experts Booklet are endless, but the top three for us are:
Lowering marketing and public relations costs. When a pitch lands via the Experts Booklet, we don’t have to send a manuscript, which might ordinarily be put aside for “later” and forgotten (many reviewers and media people donate stockpiles of mss. they haven’t time to read, or never wanted).
Being green, green, green. Our online Experts Booklet doesn’t kill any trees or waste any paper. Better yet, because we keep an iPad on hand at every media outreach event, we can quickly and easily show a contact just how cool our latest children’s author really is and why that author would be perfect for . . .
Controlling the message. Anyone who believes that media people won’t judge a book by the cover they see is dead wrong. In our Experts Booklet, each page has a high-resolution image of the cover and also a high-res image of the author. Cover and author photos are positioned and processed to be enticing and aesthetically pleasing.
Again, think of a glossy magazine, rather than a roughly constructed pamphlet. The text we provide for each expert page is carefully written to be inviting and informative. The implicit message on each page is: This is something you want to dive into—and we include information leading to the author’s personal Web site and Twitter and Facebook pages.
The next update to our Experts Booklet will be the addition of authors’ online assets, such as YouTube video links (i.e., book trailers) and social media platform links.
Marika Flatt is the owner of PR by the Book, a publicity firm dedicated to helping authors and publishers achieve quality media exposure. To learn more: prbythebook.com; Twitter: @prbythebook; Facebook: /prbythebook.