Here are some insights Authors, Large and Small’s crew has gleaned over the years that guide our approach to book outreach and publicity.
We invite everyone to take a look at these. We’re also open to providing general advice and answering some of the questions people have in this column, so if you have a book outreach-related question, please feel welcome to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if we can assist.
- Find your audience where they already gather, reach them how they already communicate. It’s always easier, especially in the beginning, to work with an existing audience rather than trying to build one from scratch. So think of the kinds of people who would likely take an interest in your book right away and reach out to them.
- Who’s your audience? For many authors, yes, ultimately, most everyone. People are more likely, though, to buy a book if they are either already interested in the topic or genre or if someone they know recommends it to them. So, start by reaching a small and highly targeted group of people and encourage them to spread the word to people they know. That way, ‘most everyone’ can hear about your title from friends and family rather than from you, a stranger to them.
- It’s better to come into a group of people, especially a group of strangers, with something to give rather than something to ask of people or sell to them. That goes for online groups too! So think of how you can partner with groups so that you can offer them something that will benefit them. For example, you can offer news outlets an engaging story about a local writer that would interest their readers, or offer a book club free/discounted copies of your books in exchange for reviews.
- Traditional and social media work together and a solid publicity campaign involves both approaches. You can use social media to communicate directly with your readers and to find new groups of readers outside of your geographic area – and to announce and show off photos of your in-person events. And the coverage you land in traditional media – newspapers, podcasts, radio/TV etc – becomes news that you can share with your readers over social media. So it’s not a matter of choosing between approaches, it’s a question of figuring out a strategy for outreach for your project and which combination of tools will be most useful to help with that.
- Yes, your book has value and is worthy of a solid publicity effort, whether you do it yourself or work with a team such as Authors, Large and Small. Good writing has value regardless of genre and books can get us through rough patches and help us to make sense of our world. I still remember the historical fiction, romance, and other random titles I read while sitting at family members’ bedsides in the hospital – there were times when I couldn’t have handled high end Shakespeare or Toni Morrison work but needed something to break me out of isolation and connect me to the larger world. Your book may be able to do something similar for someone and it’s worth it to go look for that reader and find them.