The media constantly needs stories for its publications and shows. According to radio expert Alex Carroll, “Radio needs 10,000 guests every day to fill up the airways.” So, the media needs you.
Getting the media to know that you have a great story, that you would be a great guest or subject, usually doesn’t happen by accident. It takes precise and detailed planning; it takes publicity. Sure, great opportunities may occasionally fall into your lap, and if you hustle like crazy, you may be able to make the most of them. But without planning, those bonanzas are rare and they can appear so suddenly that you’re not prepared to take advantage of them. However, when you’ve laid the groundwork and devised terrific plans, you create opportunities and are in position to promptly capitalize on them.
An effective publicity plan must have staying power; the longer it runs, the better. It must be designed to run for months, even years, after your book is released. If you start with a big salvo, follow up; capitalize and build upon its success so that your name and the name of your book continue to generate interest. Otherwise, your book will probably fade into oblivion and onto remainder tables.
One introductory concept is crucial for you to clearly understand. It is that the media operates on a herd mentality. Although everyone in the media constantly searches for scoops and exclusives, once a story is out, the rest of the media piles on, they all seem to dash madly to cover the identical story. Publicity begets publicity, and each new exposure can improve your performance and your desirability to the media.
If you and your book get good buzz, others will jump on the bandwagon. And everyone will be looking for something different, a unique angle or new twist, which is when you can shine. You can attract lots of coverage if you’re prepared to give the media new slants, something different that will whet its appetite and build its interest in you. That takes planning.
Finally, it’s essential to remember that the media is fickle. When your story is hot, the media will doggedly court you and lavish attention on you. You will become its best friend, its darling. But when the media feels your story is played out, it will move on to the next hot story so suddenly and fast that you’ll feel abandoned and let down. Plus, it rarely looks back.
When you deal with the media, you have only a brief window of opportunity, a short period in which to get coverage. So, you better have a plan and be ready to make the most of it!
Take the Reins
Publicity works best when you distinguish yourself and your book and show others why it’s so special and a must read. It’s the perfect opportunity to be creative; your only limits are those you impose on yourself. Unfortunately, many of us have been sold the bill of goods that publicizing our efforts or ourselves is crass, undignified, and not what respectable people do–which is just plain wrong. According to that thinking, we should sit back and wait for the world to recognize and applaud us; do nothing but let nature take its course.
However, doing nada doesn’t sell books! You need to take over, to grab the reins and actively work to get publicity for your book. As master showman P. T. Barnum said, “A terrible thing happens without publicity… NOTHING.”
So take control. Start by changing your attitude and your approach. Adjust your thinking; become positive, optimistic, and active. Commit to vigorously promoting your book and yourself. If you want to sell books, it’s a must!
Start by blowing blow your own horn. It doesn’t have to be loud, brash, and dissonant; it can be musical, lyrical, and enchanting. To be a Pied Piper, potential followers must hear your tune.
Concentrate on stripping the negativity out of your reluctance to get publicity. Envision your publicity efforts as wonderful opportunities for you to open up, go new places, meet great people, blaze new frontiers and reach higher heights.
Here’s how we do it. When we publicize books, we approach it positively, joyfully, and with excitement – as if we were planning a series of parties. Although each event will be special, they all must be coordinated so they build an overall effect that shows the book in its best light.
When planning each publicity party, ask yourself the following questions:
Who would you invite?
Why would you invite them?
How would you invite them?
What would you tell them?
Think about your answers; let them settle in because they will form the basis for your book-publicity campaign.
Make It Great
Before we tell you how to begin your book-promotion campaign, it’s essential to stress how crucial it is that you write a first-rate book. Quality really counts; your book must be terrific!
If your book isn’t great, the word will get out. Doors will slam in your face, and it will become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to change people’s minds. If your book doesn’t deliver, the world’s best publicity efforts won’t bail you out. They may generate some initial success or notice, but readers will soon feel ripped off, and they won’t support your book.
Word-of-mouth publicity is critical to the success of books; book sales depend on chains of recommendations–recommendations from reviewers, family, friends, and teachers. So, give readers high-caliber products that they will eagerly share with others.
Deliver what you promise-in fact, try to deliver more than you promise.
Although the media wants stories, its members will devote themselves and their efforts to books they believe strongly in, that they feel are praiseworthy and deliver the goods. Good books have a way of finding champions, but it can take a while. Bad books don’t stand a chance unless they’re written by or are about celebrities. Champions will spread the word and build groundswells that can turn your book into a top bestseller, but a negative word of mouth will kill it.
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