Are You Wasting Time and Money on Book Promotion?
Written and Copyright 2002 by Julia L. Wilkinson
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So your book is out there, and now you’re struggling to get the word out about it. But readers and buyers aren’t ponying up the dough to buy it as you would like. You’ve tried to follow a promotions plan, set up a local signing in a bookstore, bought an ad on an Internet listserv, and still not many sales. What’s wrong?
It may be you’re not focusing on the most effective forms of promotions first. Book promotion could be a full-time job, and for many authors, for a time, it is.
I’ve polled authors from all walks – bestsellers with 45 books, self-published, mid-list, etc…and found what worked best for them. Here’s a sampling of the results:
Not all TV shows are created equal, as you probably know. If the pinnacle of TV promotion for an author is to be chosen for Oprah’s book club (something that, sadly, is no longer available for authors), then the place with the next-most impact is….(drumroll please) book-centric cable tv shows!
- One example: Booknotes on C-SPAN: Although it’s not easy to get on, it is a great venue. It’s an hour on tv, “at least 45 minutes of which, you are selling your book,” says veteran author Paul Dickson (author of 45 books, including Sputnik: The Shock of the Century. It’s only on the weekends, but when Dickson did an interview for the show that ran during a holiday, the piece was run four times!
Booknotes runs the publisher’s number at the bottom of the screen, making it easy for people to buy your book. So how do you get on? In Dickson’s case, he called their producer, and sent them the book. You can too.
National Public Radio (NPR)
Some authors, like Dickson, think NPR is the key to p.r. in this country today. Like C-SPAN, this is where the readers go. Shows on NPR that feature authors include:
- “The Diane Rehm Show”
- “Tech Nation” (http://technation.com/) with Moira Gunn
- the Todd Mundt show-- (http://toddshow.org/).
Are these shows effective? One author said he could “watch his sales numbers rise” on Amazon.com after the Diane Rehm show featuring his book was broadcast. Again, contact the producer to see if your book might be a candidate, and/or send them a copy of your book. You can usually get info about the producers on the shows’ websites, or call the show’s offices directly.
These two venues for TV and radio are among the top three ways authors
can get publicity (and therefore sales!).
Author, “Best Bang for Your Book”
Where to Spend Your Marketing Bucks