BE YOUR OWN BEST PUBLICIST NWN (1) (Maura Brickell’s presentation here in full, notes below)
From Maura Brickell‘s seminar ‘Be Your Own Best Publicist’ at the Newcastle Writing Conference 2017
General wisdoms: start local, build a community, low budget is best, always be nice, identify media that’s relevant to your audience, good PR works on positive relationships, good will is what we’re cultivating here.
Profile them. Who are they? Age, gender, tastes, what books to they buy, where do they go on holiday, what do they like, what is important to them, etc…
Set realistic goals. Identify your target consumers and outlets. Start small, and local.
Set goals to feel like there’s success there.
Assets draw attention to your product. Book jacket, publisher, author, content (and agent if you’re going down that route).
Autumn launches for xmas sales; public anniversaries; cultural, political, local events which are relevant to your book; TV, films and plays, these are often taste-makers for book buying; trends and news stories; potential collaborations; author promotability (see social media notes below); quality of the work (prizes).
Monthly magazines = 4 months notice
Weeklies = 6 weeks notice
Literary pages of national papers = 6-8 weeks
Broadcast = 6 weeks
Websites and blogs, depends, but = up to 4 weeks.
5 months ahead of publication: press release, jacket image, author meeting to discuss hooks, angles and ideas, share news, proofs made and ready to go.
(there’s a lot more to this section but my hand collapsed! I’ll add her notes when they come).
Traditional media reviews:
Broadcast largely determined by the news agenda. Contact the producer directly by name. Use email preferably or call them and let them know when your book’s coming out.
Offer to review their books on their show once a month, give them a freebie, show you’re not all focused on yourself.
Keep it local, local radio, local indie booksellers, local library, build it up then go beyond.
think about libraries, local papers, creative writing groups, reading groups, New Writing North, Community Groups, bloggers (I’d put bloggers at the top of that list personally).
If a blogger reviews a book ask them to put it on Amazon too (very nicely, Maura says!)
What bloggers want:
query email, snappy synopsis, press release, release dates, strapline, blurb about yourself (not the real book blurb)
How to find bloggers for your book:
Look up authors similar to you and find recent reviews; who’s reviewing them? read the review policy on each blog.
Contact, ask if they’d like to review your book. Let them know about any other reviews and send snippets.
If appropriate you could offer freebies here too, write articles for the blog, discuss your ideas, character profiles, Q and A with other authors, etc…
Always include a link to buy, possibly author image, definitely jacket image and website link.
On the back of your book or ebook put out a call to people to join your mailing list or advertise your website; then keep them updated about promo events, new content, new books etc…
If no reply to first contact then nudge, then leave it. they’re mostly voluntary (ie unpaid) so don’t push.
Facebook – create an author page. You can do this on you existing profile but keep both separate. Link to issues and people relevant to your book.
Twitter – can go to other authors and see who they follow. Always be positive. Always be upbeat. Divide your tweets into 3s: a) about yourself, b) about your interests c) about your work.
Retweet other people’s praise cos then they’ll do the same for you. Build engagement.
Twitter bio: link to website and book.
sam@lounge (Sam Messingham) has a good Twitter list of authors to follow.
research # for authors, like #authorWednesday.
Events and Collaborations:
Try to be in on someone else’s events so the logistics are theirs (her words, not mine!)
Collaborate with other local writers on book nights etc..
Set Google Alerts for your name and your book title(s)
Read current affairs for links.
Netgalley is good but expensive. Apparently you can buy into a membership with other authors.
You can use watermarked pdfs for electronic reviews.
Maura’s big tip for collaborative work was to make friends with bloggers.
Thanks to Maura for all of the above.