Tackling a subject as broad as how to get publicity for a writer is a momentous undertaking indeed. Somewhere buried under that blanket we need to include the guy who finished his first novel and the lady who writes poetry as fillers for company newsletters. There are about as many different kinds of writers as there are writing venues. Actually, for every venue, there's thousands hoping to sell their work.
The goal of this page is to show you how to get massive amounts of publicity, regardless of what type of writing you do.
Over the years I've discovered some fairly standard principles that apply to anything you want to publicize. When applied, these standards work well for writers in every arena. That's precisely what this web site is about - helping you push past the crowd in your efforts to publicize your works.
The first concept we should consider is the theme of your writing.
Obviously some themes sell quicker than others. You may have developed the definitive resource for tse-tse fly breeders. It may be well written and full of relevant facts. Yet, the odds of having the media come pounding on your door are very slim. There just aren't enough people out there who are interested in that story.
That's our first point.
If you're hoping to get free publicity, what you have to say must fall into either the category of news or of entertainment. If everybody is doing it and everybody has heard about it, the odds of it being considered news are remote. If, on the other hand, yours is the only source of an interesting story, you're sure to get at least your share of publicity bites.
Most writers figured out early in their career that if it isn't readable and interesting to the general public the odds of finding an editor willing to print it are slim to laughable. But just making it printable isn't enough for our purpose here.
The first goal we're going to aim at is to make it sensational and/or fascinating. No, you don't have to start using the National Enquirer's stylebook in your writing, but there's a very big difference between an article about the "Daily Lifestyle of the Kennedy Family" and "Walking on Fire - The Treacherous Existence of the Kennedy Family." One promises a boring lists of menus and schedules. The other suggests gossip, inside stories and juicy trivia. It's also much more likely to catch the attention of the people we're hoping to attract, the reporters, editors and talk show hosts.
Once you're sure that what you're writing deserves media attention, you then need to find unique ways to attract the media. As a writer, you do have one big advantage. Talk shows love to interview authors (provided the topic of their book is of interest to the general public). Just saying you're an author automatically raises you to the category of "authority". Hopefully you've chosen to be an authority on something interesting. And at this point we're assuming you've made it past the editor and are now trying to publicize your work to the general public.
Book writers do have book signings at their disposal. You can set them up yourself any time you want to get some mileage for your book. The typical book-signing package includes a poster or two in the window of the bookstore, possible mention in the local ads and a line of people (hopefully) interested in purchasing your book. But that's the typical one. A hypnotist friend of ours regularly promotes his books on self-hypnosis by announcing he'll cure volunteers of any phobias they might have during the book signing. He brings up a single volunteer and hypnotizes them at the top of the hour. Considering that this guy also does a comedy hypnotic show, it comes natural for him to "do his thing" in front of a crowd. The media loves it. He spends weeks challenging local therapists to bring in their worst phobias, and he schedules his volunteers from call in guests on local talk shows. By the time he gets ready to do the book signing, it's become more of a healing/show session and tends to draw quite a crowd of its own.
Think of ways you can promote your book uniquely during signings. A book on handwriting analysis might include regular demonstrations. But how about agreeing to try to match autographs to their owners? Or how about offering to determine if dating couples are really compatible? A book on financial planning might include a free "mini seminar" on how to get yourself on a budget (kind of the infomercial version). You could offer quick effective ideas on the air then tell people about the mini-seminar you're having at the bookstore. Any "free" service you offer the general public starts you off on the right track towards becoming a news story.
Once you've found your angle, you then need to put together a powerful publicity package to push it. There are plenty of ideas on how to do a press release at www.PressReleasesMadeEasy.com. You then fax them out and get ready to be heard. But even doing a local book signing is still the small league. Getting national attention is a bit more of a challenge, but very doable.
Obviously, having a very topical theme can do it. This is where serious press watching comes in. The process basically comes down to watching the news for tie-ins that make your story relevant. I do between 150 and 200 radio interviews every Valentines Day promoting my book How to Find the Love of Your Life in 90 Days or Less (www.LoveIn90Days.com)
As a recognized authority on appraising the value of autographs, I'm constantly sending out press releases around the country offering to discuss the value of celebrity autographs. In fact, I've already done so many stations on both these topics, that I can almost expect them to call me any time they spot a tie in that might help make an otherwise mundane news item fascinating. If you need help putting together a solid publicity package, get information about my complete, do-it-yourself publicity kit at www.MillionDollarPublicity.com. It contains everything you'll ever need to run your own exciting, profitable publicity campaigns.
Getting free publicity isn't limited to non-fiction book titles (or powerful article titles). The fictional account you wrote about the twin sisters who plot the perfect murder while providing themselves with an alibi by being "seen" somewhere else while the crime was being committed, might qualify you as a guest every time a crime with a unique plot twist makes the news. You'd also be a sure thing the next time any research or story about twins came up. Heck, you can probably get a lot of mileage out of any problems a police station might be having solving a case. A press release that announced you were available to talk "crime plots and fancy twists" in forensics might get you a few spots on stations trying to figure out how to make the big headline sound interesting.
Working the media is an art, and the sooner you master the technique, the sooner you'll find reporters, editors and program managers around the country singing your praises.
Want to find out more about how publicity can help you? Click on the links on the left side of this page.
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Paul Hartunian, Box 43596, Upper Montclair, NJ 07043 - (973)857-4142