I typically get calls from authors who are in the process of finishing their book or have already finished it, so I am unable to tell them what apparently no one before me has bothered to relay. So, here are seven things I wish every author knew before they call me:
Two thousand seven hundred books are released daily. That’s every 24 hours. That is 985,500 books per year. The official release date of your book will be no different. You have a lot of competition from day one. Plan accordingly.
Tinkerbell is not on my payroll.
I am about to shock every person on the planet who wants to promote a book, a CD, a film, a whatever--publicity is not a magic wand. No, I don’t have a bag of pixie dust in my pocket and Tinkerbell doesn’t work in a cubicle beside me. I cannot, will not, must not guarantee you will sell one widget— let alone one million widgets— every time you do an interview or get a feature article. If I did guarantee that, I would be a full-blow idiot or a bold-faced liar. I am neither. A publicist can schedule the interview, prepare you for the interview, and do everything necessary to set up the interview in the most positive way possible. But once you are in front of the microphone, a publicist has zero control over your ability to convince people to buy your book or care about your ministry. PR people can get the horse to the water trough, but you have to make it drink.
You might be an overnight success, but probably not.
Have I seen “overnight successes” in my three decades of working in publicity? I have. Once. And even in that one instance I can tell you it wasn’t overnight. There were many years and countless hours of work and dedication to a craft that caused that “overnight” success. Overnight success is an anomaly, and truly doesn’t exist. You will find a Sasquatch’s pet unicorn before you find a real overnight success.
There is nothing new under the sun.
Well, okay, Solomon actually made that phrase famous, but I’ll borrow from his point. I have never read a book I haven’t read before. However, your book may contain some ideas or stories that are very unique to your competition. In fact, it is part of a publicist’s job to find those things that make your book and your ministry different. I like to say “you are only as good as your onlys” which means, you most likely have some “onlys” that apply to you. A publicist should help you identify them and highlight them tirelessly in your PR campaign.
Every consumer has ADD.
When I started my career in marketing over 30+ years ago, marketing stats told us we had to touch the consumer seven times before they were moved to buy a product. Today, it is 27 times and growing. There are now more smartphones than people on Planet Earth. We are a people bombarded and overloaded with data daily. So, you have to combine traditional publicity with other promotional avenues such as placing social media ads, creating contributed content, placing print and online ads, growing social media followers on the platforms that reach your targeted audience, creating fresh content on a regular basis, and so on. You may hate Facebook, but you may have to grit your teeth and add it to your PR campaign to be successful.
Your book is just a big business card.
I rarely ever took my child to McDonalds when he was little. But he knew what the golden arches were when we drove by them because McDonalds inserted themselves into every TV show he loved to watch. You need to look at yourself as the Golden Arches. You are the brand. Your book is a Big Mac. Later on, you may add French fries to your "menu" (ministry), or maybe a vanilla milkshake, and a crispy chicken sandwich. Your book is not your brand, and you shouldn’t treat it that way.
This will be a marathon not a sprint.
If you want to sell a book and be a successful author, you need to set your mind to being dedicated to that goal for the long haul. Long after your initial PR campaign is over, you need to be ready to set aside time, effort, and money to continue to promote your book through every avenue that makes sense for your specific niche. Are you good at talking? Maybe you need to create a podcast. Are you good at speaking in public? Maybe you need to venture into that arena. A publicist can start the ball rolling with selling your book and building your brand, but once the PR person hands you the baton, be ready to run with it.
— Gina Adams