No book sells by itself. It doesn’t matter how good the book is, authors need help to sell it. This is where the promotional efforts of a variety of folks including book reviewers, publicists, radio and television hosts, conference planners, bookstore owners, bloggers, and many more that can help to get the book noticed. But getting the attention and help of these people requires the author’s professionalism and etiquette. Here are some of the mistakes authors make when looking for help from the media and/or publicists to promote their books.
1. Cold Calls: We have to put ourselves in the place of the one receiving the phone call to remember that the phone is an interrupter. So before you call someone, learn all you can about them – visit their website and read all the guidelines. If you can’t get an answer to a question, send an email. Most people will reply to your email in a timely manner, and if a phone call is needed, you can ask in an email when is the best time to call.
2. Being a Bad Guest: TV and radio hosts need guests and they like experts. They especially rely on authors of non-fiction books who can inform their audience. Authors need to remember that it’s not about them or their book; it’s about the topic they were invited to discuss. So don’t try to plug your book during the show; the host will mention the guest’s book during the introduction and again when the program ends. Be a good guest by following protocol and fulfilling the host’s need to give his audience what it wants and you might even be invited back.
3. Being Impatient: Don’t expect an immediate response. Give them a reasonable amount of time. After contacting someone in the media about your book the author needs to wait a couple of weeks and then follow up, or ask upfront what is the timeframe is for when the book review or the news story might appear, if accepted. Being impatient will only irritate people, and even if they do run the news story to eliminate the nuisance, they might not be willing to do so the next time around. Closing doors is worse than doors that open slowly.
4. Self-Praise: “My book is the best one ever written on this topic,” and “This wonderful novel was written with touching scenes, engaging characters, etc.” is a turn-off. It’s fine if you have testimonials from others saying those things. Just don’t say them yourself. The same is true with the book’s cover. Tell people what your book is about, but save the praise for your endorsers.
5. Expecting Something for Nothing: It costs money to operate a website and pay people to maintain it. Even if a service is free, such as a journalist writing a newspaper article about your book, appreciate the value of that person’s time and send a thank you note after the story appears. Always give book promoters a free copy of your book. And do not complain about prices for any publicity service. If you can’t afford the service, find one you can afford, but don’t argue over the fees. Remember that the publishing world is a small place—you don’t want word to get around that you are expecting services for nothing.
For more information about how we help authors go to ReaderViews.Com.