Thursday, August 9, 2018

Celeste Barclay

How long do you keep your book publicity going? (Part 2)

Hello Reader,

We are back for phases 2 and 3 of how long do you keep your book publicity going.  This is where we will look at long-lead media which is essentially your long term relationships for publicity.  If you didn't catch Phase 1, check out part 1 to read about getting your publicity strategy going with social media.

Phase 2: Long-Lead Publicity

Typically, this is what your publicist would research and create, but there is a good chance that if you're an indie author and self-publishing, your publicity team is you, yourself, and well, you.  So what is a long-lead?  Like I just said, it's like your long term relationship.  It is print media that needs to be sought and booked anywhere from 3 to 6 months in advance.  They need a "long lead" up time to fit your review, promotion, or advertisement into their schedule.  It takes time to cultivate these relationships if you don't have the backing of a big name or a well established name in the publicity world to back you.

If you're still not sure what I'm talking about, think of Publisher's WeeklyO, the Oprah Magazine; Reader's Digest; and Booklist. These print outlets begin lining up their content months in advance and often only feature books during the month they are released.  This keeps them current and relevant.  This requires you to use forward planning and consider the publicity landscape.

You need to ask yourself some questions:

1. When do I think I will release my new book?
2. What type of magazine or print media would be interested?
3. How do I get in touch with them to find out their lead time?
4.  Do I have enough time?  If yes, how do I submit my work?

Once you've answered these questions, you'll have a better idea of how to proceed.  If you think that print media is a way to go, then you'll want to craft an email that can be sent to all the outlets that desire an advanced look at your work.  This will give them time to read, digest, and then review your work.

Long leads are especially important for works of fiction!

For non-fiction, the needs of the individual outlets can vary.  If you send out your inquiry too far in advance, it will get forgotten and too close to publication will result in a "no".  You will want to research the lead times and stagger your email approach to meet the requirements of the outlet.

So far this has been fairly general advice on how to seek out long lead media outlets, but....

Not all media outlets are created equally...

Phase 3: Short-lead Publicity

This phase generally takes place when the book is finished and almost ready for release.  With the long-lead publicity inquiries, you might still be writing chapter three of thirty three when you start reaching out.  With short-lead publicity, your work should be ready to go on demand.  These are your local daily newspapers, your online outlets, most radio and TV.  This can run over into the first month or two of the book being on sale.  This where you can go to town in a sense.  You can send out your email blitzes to hundreds of outlets to try and get at least a handful or two to bite. From what I can have read, it seems that many of the big publicity firms will pitch books to hundreds(!!!) of outlets for each campaign.  With so many options, it might make your wonder whether your publicity should or could ever stop.  

Remember the law of diminishing returns...

You can spend an exhausting amount of energy trying to capture the attention of those hundreds of outlets that I just mentioned, but remember they often have smaller audiences than the long-lead outlets which by their very nature tend to be major media sources.  It takes time to find those hundreds of outlets, to do your research, to send out inquiries, to follow up, to come to an agreement, and then it's a comparatively smaller audience.  If it's you, yourself, and you, then using this much time and energy will only get your less of a return on your investment of (wo)man hours.

So what is the takeaway from Phases 1, 2, and 3?

Phase 1:

This is where you reach out to your more organic and direct followers to build your media platform and begin your strategy.  You create the subscriber lists and the newsletters for direct email.  You use your social media accounts to share your blog posts, articles of interest, and information about your books.  This is the micro version of your publicity and probably should have started a week ago. Duration: Ongoing but largely at time of release

Phase 2:

This is your entry into macro publicity.  This is the long-lead publicity and requires a strategy to be in place well in advance of your newest work's release.  You will be reaching out to the larger media outlets and trying to snag their attention upwards of 3-6 months before your release.  Create a list of potential publications, generate a standard long-lead inquiry email, and send it out.  Follow up periodically as needed. Duration: 3-6 months PRIOR to your release

Phase 3:

This is your OMG my book is almost ready for sale.  Use your smaller publicity outlets when your book is ready to go.  They need less time to plan for your feature.  You will need to approach many to get a few, but that is the case with all publicity campaigns. Duration: 1-2 months from your release 

And the upshot is...

When your publicity ends, you can still market your books.  

1. Use the resources you developed and implemented during phase 1.  
2. Use Facebook and Twitter to link to your reviews.  You can boost/promote these posts to keep a wide reach.  
3. Use Instagram and #bookstagram to post pictures of your cover on an ongoing basis to keep it fresh and memorable.  
4. If you ordered print copies to send off to long-lead outlets and you have leftovers, do a giveaway on Goodreads and use Facebook to advertise it.
5. Check with reviewers to see if they offer a newsletter where you can purchase ad space for quotes from their review.

Hopefully this will help you gain a better understanding of the different phases of publicity and what to do when it comes to an end.

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