Book PR and Publicity for Self-Published Authors

So you’ve written a book and now you wonder, what do I do with it?

Someone asked me what we recommend to authors who have self-published.  While we are a PR firm, we specialize in business and professional organization PR. We’ve worked with a few authors, but do not anymore because it is such a specialized area. 

To answer my friend’s question, we developed a list of basic and recommended activities for her.

Book publicity is its own animal.

There are specialist public relations people who help authors promote themselves. That being said, getting into a bookstore is not always the fastest key to success. 

Many authors self-publish these days, and the book distribution system is set up primarily for people who are published by recognized publishing houses. The authors that I have known who have had success have taken steps to get an ISBN number when they publish, and then network with independent booksellers to get those independent bookstores to carry the books. 

Years ago book publishers would do lots of PR for authors. That simply doesn’t happen anymore. If you’re a big-name you get some of that, but even if you’re a big name you still end up coordinating all your own book tours, signings, and promotional activity. The most successful authors are the ones who build up and utilize their social media channels in a very strategic way aligned around the topics that they write about.

If you’re going to invest money in the publicity and promotion of your book, be sure that you choose someone who has an established track record. Working with a publicist to does not have a strong track record is like throwing money down a rabbit hole.

You need the following basics to start your book promotion:

  1. Digital media kit: to include initial press release about your book; fact sheet. This can all be hosted on your website. (Read our article about digital media kits.)
    1. Your publicist should pitch local journalists who report on the book world.
  2. Book Trailer: A short video which introduces your book and you to your potential readers.
  3. Presentation: Talk that you can give at local events: 
  4. Reviews of your book: get people to read the book and leave reviews on Amazon and on GoodReads.com
  5. Local reading/signing events: Connect with local bookshops and libraries around the community and get yourself scheduled in to read passages from your book and sign books. Attend a few at area bookshops to get a feel for how these work.
  6. Regional and Statewide reading and signing events: Focus on the larger cities in your region.
  7. Ramp up your social media to connect with readers who care about your topic.
  8. Special promotions of your book on Amazon: These are special time-bounded events where you promote your book and let people download it for free or reduced price. This is to get the book into the hands of more people and to get more readers and especially reviews!
  9. Book bloggers: You’ll need to identify and connect with book bloggers who review books and share their thoughts across their social channels.

This by no means an exhaustive list of activities and materials. This is a list of fundamentals which you may be able to do on your own to get started with your self-promotion.