Thursday, August 13, 2009

Five Reasons to Be Your Own Book Publicist


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A new book idea is percolating in my mind. The idea progressed to chapter titles. Before I started writing, though, I contacted a national book agent about market trends. He had been my agent years ago and was familiar with my work. To save time, I contacted him by email, and he replied immediately.

"Nothing is moving right now," he said. "Publishers aren't accepting any new manuscripts." Hmmm, that was not good news for my book idea. However, this news was a wake-up call for personal publicity. My publisher was marketing my book in its catalog and on the Internet. Sales were going well, but I thought I could increase them even more.

I thought of five reasons to become my own publicist. These reasons may work for you.

1. You save money. Book marketing budgets are shrinking in these tough economic times. That is not necessarily bad news. Several years ago I hired a professional marketing firm to publicize my book. The results were so-so and I did not think I received my money's worth. There are many free ways to publicize your book, starting with national organizations and Internet websites. When you publicize your book you are saving the publisher's money, a fact that will be remembered.

2. You know the book. Your editor may know your book very well, but you know it best. You know every word choice, every linking phrase, every paragraph, every punctuation mark. Since nobody knows the book better than you, you are the ideal publicist. You know why your book stands out from the rest. Better yet, your passion for the book will shine through.

3. You know the target market. Chances are, you would not have written the book if you did not know your target market. A skinny target market does not necessarily mean skinny sales. In fact, focusing on your target market could increase sales by a significant percentage. Every sale counts in today's market.

4. You have contacts. Word of mouth is the best book publicity. Do you belong to a service club? A church? A hobby group? A sports group? A neighborhood association? People in these groups are more apt to be interested in your book because they know you. So talk about your book and offer to speak for free.

5. You can customize publicity. "One size" publicity does not work with all books. When you publicize your own book you can create publicity to fit a group or event. You may write a brief biography to hand out at a talk, for example, or create mini posters about your book and its features. Customized publicity is powerful publicity, the kind would-be buyers remember.

There you have it -- my five reasons for becoming my own publicist. You may think of more reasons and, if you do, I hope you will act on them. If you are like me, these reasons will lead to writing a marketing plan. Be creative. Come up with as many "out-of-the-box" ideas as you can and act upon them.

Copyright 2009 by Harriet Hodgson

http://www.harriethodgson.com

Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 30 years. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Association of Health Care Journalists, and the Association for Death Education and Counseling. Her 24th book, "Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief," written with Lois Krahn, MD, is available from Amazon.


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