☐ Hone your online brand
•Step one in book publicity is branding, and yet so many authors miss it. Do not proceed to the steps below until you have established your online platform.
•A publicist is essential in helping you develop and streamline your message and brand. Work together to come up with the best plan for how you will be positioned online and in the media.
•Both consumers and media will visit your website before making a commitment. So make sure your online persona is ready-to-go prior to launch time. It should reflect you and your book accurately and look professional. You’ll be judged on design quality and content, so invest in professional help.
•Your website should have these key pages: Blog, Press, About the Author, About the Book, Appearances, Contact. It should also be integrated with your social media platforms.
• Author website examples:
•Build your social media network early. Start blogging at least 3-5 months before your pub date. Same goes for Facebook and Twitter: don’t wait for your book to launch to be active on social media.
☐ Employ NetGalley
•Work with your publisher or publicist to get your book on NetGalley 3-5 months before pub date, in order to meet editorial guidelines. Your publicist can help you manage and track downloads and other activity.
•By posting your manuscript on NetGalley, you allow librarians, media, bloggers and other publishing industry pros to have early access to your book, in lieu of galleys and extensive mailouts.
•A great benefit of NetGalley is the built-in community of reviewers and other book industry professionals.
☐ Organize an Amazon Friends & Family launch
•Rally your personal contacts for a special one-day Amazon push that can help push your ranking to the top. Entice your friends & family to participate by hosting a contest.
•Ask them to post an Amazon review, blog review, and share it on Facebook & Twitter. For each post or purchase, they get another entry for prizes.
•Give away a Kindle, iPad, free consult, or something relates to your book.
•A publicist will manage this process and help you engage your network creatively and effectively.
☐ Connect with bloggers
•Online book reviews are a great way to raise your SEO and boost your book’s visibility.
•There are dozens of online articles about Virtual Book Tours, so if you’re going the DIY route, start early and allow significant time for research, shipping, and follow through.
•If a blogger reviews your book, return the favor by promoting their review through your social media channels. Post it on your website too.
•The reasons to hire a publicist for your blog outreach or Virtual Book Tour are many:
○ Because publicists work hard to build networks of bloggers for all kinds of book tours, you’re more likely to get better results (in quality and quantity).
○ Blog tours are labor-intensive and require close attention to detail and full-time follow up.
○ Publicists know how to package a book review pitch with all the right elements to secure quality reviews. They’ll work creatively to get you the best possible exposure.
☐ Reach out to online media
•Although it hasn’t always been the case, online media is treated with the same respect and guidelines as traditional media. That’s why it makes sense to hire a publicist to handle online media outreach. Keep in mind, an editor is more likely to act on a pitch from a publicist he or she trusts. And unfortunately, your unsolicited emails may go unread.
•A good publicist knows the in-roads to your target media. They have established relationships and knows which outlets are hungry for content.
•But if you haven’t hired a publicist, don’t be afraid to make connections at your favorite blogs and local outlets. Ask if you can contribute a guest post, op-ed or excerpt. Think about what you can do to make an editor’s job easier. Forging a relationship could be mutually beneficial, especially if you’re invited to become a regular contributor later on.
☐ Measure your results
•Find out the best online publicity recipe for your book by looking closely at these sales and visibility indicators:
○ Spikes on Amazon
○ Website analytics
○ Social media connections
○ Google Alerts
If you hire a publicist, ask about their reporting process. You’ll want to have regular updates and easy access to current activity and results – both positive and negative. A publicist can also help you get the most mileage out of each media hit.