Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"Public Relations for Authors: Take Hold of Your Own Promotions" by Babs Hightower

Public Relations for Authors:
Take Hold of Your Own Promotions
by Babs Hightower

Today we feature Public Relations for Authors: Take Hold of Your Own Promotions, a book designed to help authors find a book publicist and take an active role in their own book promotions. You can also read my review and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of this book or one of the four books in the Building Blocks to Author Success series featured in another blog post.

Getting help to promote your book just got easier. Public Relations for Authors: Take Hold of Your Own Promotions will help you locate that special publicist who will help you promote your book the right way. A Publicity Director for two publishers, Babs brings knowledge to this book.
Public Relations teaches you why you need a publicist and how to find the right one for you. To understand what you need she covers:
  • How publicity can help sell books,
  • What you need to know about publicity,
  • Writing Pitches,
  • Media Kits,
  • Press Releases,
  • Where to find a PR agent, and
  • What to send to your PR agent.

Book Trailer

How does public relations work in bookselling?
Public relations (PR) is the practice of managing the flow of information from an organization or an individual out to the public. There are certain ways publicity can work. An individual might win awards to garner attention, pitch a add directly to print or social media, or use other means to heighten visibility.
The common goal is for the public to become aware of your product—in this case, your book. PR shapes and maintains the image of you as an individual. Today's public relations professional does more than sit behind a desk faxing out press releases. More than ever, he's the public face of the client. It's the PR professional who organizes community outreach, volunteer programs, and cultivates relationships with potential readers.
Step-by-Step of what a publicist should do for you.
Create a Publicity Plan. You need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. While creating your plan, you’ll want to consider these two primary questions: Who are your target publications, reporters, and bloggers? What topics or angles can you pitch to each of them?
Create your online media kit. We cover this later in the book.
Create your custom media kit. We cover this later in the book.
Studying your main media targets. Your PR person will have or should have a list of contacts with the media they can use. Do some research yourself and simply read several issues of the publication or blog. For TV and radio watch and listen to the stations.
Writing your press release. These are considered the workhorse of publicity. They are the principal way to get your news in front of the media.
What makes news? Here is a basic list of newsworthiness:
  • Timing – is it really new?
  • Subject of news – is a particular media interested in this topic?
  • Innovation – is the new thing different in some way from what already exists? 
  • Significance – is the new thing significant in some way to a particular group of people?
Sending out your press releases. Your publicist will have a list to send to but find some yourself as well to add to the list.
Blog Tours. Most publicists work with outside tour companies or they might have a list of their own they use. You might even have some great bloggers in mind and don’t be shy to share them with your publicist.
Below are some tips to be ahead of the blog tour so you do not get bogged down. Trying to do a blog tour and a deadline can be stressful these tips will help you ease that problem.
Guest post for bloggers. Go ahead and do up 3 or 4 posts now before your tour starts. This will save some time. Examples: Write about your two main characters, your writing process, how you came up with the plot or your setting for the story.
You might be asked for a top 10 list. These are popular with the readers right now. It’s a bullet list of your favorite things such as food, movies, authors, books, music, kitchen gadgets and more. Favorite Authors: Jane Austen, Cleo Coyle, Kate Collins, Maddy Hunter, Joanne Fluke, Lillian Jackson, Braun Jean Blasiar, Rhys Bowne, Emily Brightwell, Joanne Kennedy. You get a couple of these done a head of time as well. Believe it or not this will save you some time in the long run.
You will be asked to do author interviews and the bloggers will send you a list of questions to ask. They usually send no more than 10 for you to answer.
A big must ... you have to go to each blog stop and at least comment once something like “thank you for having me on your blog today. It was a pleasure stopping by.” You need to check in at least twice to see if there are comments you need to respond to. Readers like to engage. There is nothing worse than an author not coming by to comment on his or her own spot.
Giveaways. You will be asked to giveaway something during your blog tour. I cannot stress enough DO NOT giveaway your book for the prize. You want people to buy your book not give it away for free. You will be doing enough of that for reviews etc. The best thing to giveaway is a small gift card. Readers and bloggers love these. They are easy to get and use. A $10 Amazon gift card or Barnes and Noble goes a long way. You never know they might use the card to buy your books.

This is a handy guide designed to help authors, especially new self-published authors, understand the role of the book publicist. It is a quick, easy, informative read, including handy tips on how to conduct yourself on a blog tour. The author makes the interesting point (in relation to giveaways), "I cannot stress enough DO NOT giveaway your book for the prize," but suggests giving away a gift card instead.
While the information provided is timely, the graphics are too small and unable to be enlarged. The text would also benefit from the inclusion of hyperlinks to some of the organizations mentioned. There are numerous formatting and editing errors, although I may not have been reading the final version. Nevertheless, this is a great resource for all authors.

About the Author
Babs Hightower has been helping authors since 2000. She owns a book review blog Babs Book Bistro which got her started in PR and helping authors promote themselves. In 2012 she started working for Entangled Publishing and worked her way up to Publicity Director over the Scandalous Imprint. She is also the publicist for World Castle Publishing. She is also known as Morgan Kincaid writer of Historical Romance.


Enter the giveaway for a chance to win your choice of one of the four books in the Building Blocks to Author Success series or Public Relations for Authors: Take Hold of Your Own Promotions (two winners will be chosen).