Building Your Public Platform Series Public Relations for the Author–Part 8
Media, Events, and Advertising
This is the last post in the series. Fasten your seat belt. I have crammed a lot of information into this post. I hope these tools are helpful as you build your platform.
The last three channels are very important to the overall plan. Let’s take a look:
As we have seen in a previous post, there are a plethora of social media channels today. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Vimeo, Google+, SnapChap, Pinterest…the list goes on and on. It can be overwhelming and for the novice, it can make you want to run from your computer screaming and tearing your hair out…especially if you are over the age of 45.
But, it is a very important tool to use. I am not going to go in depth in this post. I am not a social media expert. There are those who are and one that I recommend is Rick Roberson at Gab About it. You can also google online and read many posts about how to get started. I found this great Social Media Author Guidelines, just by a Google search. It outlines each channel and how to use it. My advice, choose one and start. Most writers choose Facebook because that is where the majority of people that read books are engaging. Pinterest is a good channel for books as well.
But remember this: it is not the only tool. Thus, the need for a holistic plan that includes all these elements.
Who are the “low hanging fruit”, the people who will be the most interested in your writing? These are the people who you know personally. Begin early to think of creative events and things to do. Here are a few ideas:
- One of the best lists is your Christmas Card list. Don’t wait until Christmas, send them a postcard about your book!
- Plan a book launch party, ask one of you friends to host it for you. Invite you neighbors, your Sunday school or small group, or any other group that you are involved with.
- Ask to speak with you local civic organizations such as the Rotary or Lion’s club in your town. If you are afraid of public speaking, join Toastmasters and learn!
- Visit your local library and talk to the librarian about getting your book and also hosting a reading at the library for the launch of the book.
- Think of places that have a theme that fits your book. For instances, if you have a fitness message, go to the YMCA or other fitness places and see if you can host an event.
- Host a coffee time to chat at a local coffee house. (Be willing to pay for the coffee!)
- If you have a teaching message, determine how to create workshops for people to attend.
- Go to your local bookstore and ask to set up a signing. Typically book signings are not well attended but doing one at your local bookstore is a good way to get to know the owner/manager. Don’t expect a huge crowd, and maybe not any at all. But if the store agrees, be proactive and let all your friends and family know so they can come by…and buy a book or two!
- Think of experts you know (pastors, professors, other writers) or those you want to get to know. Send them an advance copy of your book in a pdf and ask them to write an endorsement. Always ask for referrals.
- Get business cards, postcards, and bookmarks created so that you can pass those out liberally.
Lastly, start in your local area or city with those you know and then branch out regionally from there.
These days there are many ways to advertise.
For most of my client, I suggest looking at online and digital advertising. Magazine ads, billboards, TV, are expensive. You need to be sure that this is the way you want to spend your money before embarking on this type of ad buys. So check out Gab About It and spend your money on online ads through Facebook and Google. This will give you the best bang for your buck. IMO.
It is import to remember that none of the elements work alone. Success will come when there is a good match of these elements and when all are working in coordination. Many start by picking one channel to see if it “works” for a few weeks. This is not an effective way to build your platform. In fact, it seldom “works”.
Ideally, PR works when all elements of your plan are going on simultaneously.
Whatever you do, realize that this book is your baby. No one is going to have the same feelings that you have about it. Your family and friends will love it because it is yours. Be realistic in your expectations and goals and work hard to make this a success.
There are only rare occasions for a book to just take off…and there are a lot of one-hit wonders because people failed to plan and worked the plan.
In the weeks ahead I will dig more into each of these aspects and share what other professionals are doing. Until then, start working on the first six points so that you can build your platform and people can hear and know your message. Of course, you can hire someone to do all this for you or consult with you during the process. We are available for either!