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Book Publicity and Media Relations - Do You Need Them?
Media and public relations is definitely an art form. It's not my area of expertise, which gives me complete license to write about it honestly and ethically.
Media and PR for a book is especially important because most authors (myself included) are clueless about marketing. So, it's important to choose wisely.
One media relations specialist may only act as a consultant, charging you sometimes exorbitant fees to tell you what could just as easily be found in one of the hundreds of great books on media relations. Another media relations specialist might focus on public speakers, helping you to be seen and heard on TV or radio. These media and PR specialists might have many of the skills you need, but may lack an intimate knowledge of the publishing industry.
There are a few media relations specialist who do focus on helping people like you to sell your book, and this is the primary focus of this article.
One such specialist with whom I've worked, Marika Flatt of PR By the Book (www.prbythebook.com), has worked with dozens of authors, many of them first-time authors. As Marika says on her web site, "The mission of PR by the Book, LLC is to attain, or aid in attaining, as many quality media 'hits' as possible.
The real mission of media relations is to help you sell books
Too many authors think that all they have to do is get on the radio or TV, and all their problems will be solved. I hope that you're not amongst this crowd.
It's far too easy to say the wrong thing on the air, and end up sounding or looking like a fool. Spend too much time promoting your book, and they'll edit you down to a few meaningless words. Say too little, and you've defeated the purpose.
There are many ways to present yourself and the message about your book on TV and radio, and most of them are wrong. Someone like Marika will help you craft a compelling message and let you know what to expect when you're on the news.
Preparation is the key to success
Few authors go to the trouble of hiring a media relations specialist, which leaves them lost in the crowd of published, but unread authors. Those that do hire someone to help with book PR will find that the real work has just begun. A good media relations specialist will help you to prepare for your contact with the media. And, media contact is critical to selling a book. Even two minutes on a local radio station can help launch the career of an author.
Thus, you need to prepare.
Be methodical - create a good list of media contacts, and nurture that list until they love you and see you as the "expert" they've been needing. You've got to be patient, and slowly pepper them with newsworthy sound bytes that will help keep your name at the top of the list.
Again, this is one of the things a good media relations specialist will do for you. They've got the connections and contacts, and if they are well-established, they know how to get the attention of the right media contacts so that you get the publicity you need and want. Don't scrimp on media relations. Maybe you saved a bundle by getting your book printed through one of the so-called free book publishers. You want to sell your book, and the absolute best way is through good media contacts.
Unless you've got a rabid fan base ready to buy your book, people won't know who you are (or care for that matter) without the right publicity at the right time. That's when you call someone like Marika - a media relations specialist.
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