May 10th, 2012 by Paul Krupin
Getting Publicity with Book Awards Update 2012
For those of you who do get a book award these next few weeks, I thought I’d give you my thoughts and advice on how to make the best use of your award as far as how to get publicity with it. So many people come to me and say how can I leverage this?
First I’d take a quick breather after getting the award and within a day or two sit down and do some quick research to calibrate what you are really trying to accomplish next.
I’ve written all about pay to play book awards like this before. I’ve worked with dozens and dozens of authors who win or are finalists (which in my book means you were one of several considered) in all sorts of categories by all sorts of organizations. My take it or leave it advice is that they rarely mean anything to anybody from a PR standpoint. They may result in a minor amount of media coverage IF you choose to do an outreach promoting yourself as someone who won an award. They may or may not mean anything as regards actual book sales.
Read all you want: http://blog.directcontactpr.com/category/awards/
Realize that media want quality yes, but they want objective proof and not paid praise. With so many book awards being given out by so many organizations every week and with each author paying to be considered, the “objectivity” is seriously in doubt. Look at what the awarding organization is doing. You’ll likely see they are using it as a promotional vehicle for their own purposes. Their business model is usually very clear to see. $75 per book per category times 60 categories. If they get dozens of books in a category and they can get dozens of volunteers to do reviews, they they can do pretty well.
So media tend to play very carefully since if they publish something and they are wrong, then they get hurt in ways they do not like. The key to being successful with media is to give them quality content anyway, and not a medal that says “I came in second place in a pay to participate commercial contest”.
But as I said, the proof is in the pudding. My rule of thumb is simple. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t, then do something else.
As Colin Powell said, “Don’t let a little bad data get in the way of a good decision.”
My best suggestion on how to use a book award in your copy writing and news releases is to study what is being published by media and see and learn how the book award information is being used and incorporated into stories. You can do this online by using news search engines.
I just did this for the key words:
“Book Awards”: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=book+award&oq=book+award&aq=f&aqi=d2&aql=&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i400.22856.26918.0.292184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.924.6j3.9.0…0.0.
There are several interesting things you can learn by studying the results.
1. This is the season! There are lots of little local stories about book award winners.
2. The book award information is in the headline half the time. The book, the author and the importance of the book or the ideas surrounding the book are the lead.
3. Most of the stories being published feature the top award winners. Stories about authors who receive second or third place are much less frequent.
4. The biggest media write articles which feature the books who receive the top national awards in the top national literary contests.
5. The regional and local media writer about the lesser well-know or recognized awards.
You can also do a search on the words “book award nominated”:
book award nominated http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=book+award+nominated&oq=book+award+nominated&aq=f&aqi=d2&aql=&gs_l=news-cc.12..43j43i400.1776.6262.0.8518.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.488.5j1.6.0…0.0.
Here you’ll pick up a few additional news clips and see that many authors are creating news releases which they submit to several of the online news release distribution services. But most of the articles that you’ll see don’t cover books that are nominated. A few do mention these especially when it is coupled with other newsworthy facts.
One of the more amazing things I learned when I did this search and studied the results is that there are tons of book awards. Just in the top ten pages of these two searches, I was able to make a list of over 50 different individually named book awards in the current window of news coverage (two to three weeks):
Commonwealth Writers Book Award
City of Calgary W. O. Mitchell Award
Next Generation Indie Book Award
Hawaii Book of the Year Award
Nautilus Book Award
USA Book Award
IPPY Book Award
Ben Franklin Book Award
National Book Award
California Book Award
Harvard Book Award
UK Christian Book Award
Grampian Children’s Book Award
BC Award for Best Canadian Non-Fiction Book
BC Award for National Business Book
Children’s Choice Book Award
National Business Book Award
Arizona Book Award
LA Times Book Award
New England Book Award
US National Book Award
Reader Views Book Award
Dartmouth Book Award
Vadaphone Crossword Book Award
McNally Robinson Aboriginal Book Award
Governor’s Literary Book Award
Julia Ward Howe Book Award
National Outdoor Book Award
PEN/Beyond Margins Award
Independent Book Award
Catholic Book Award
Corretta Scott King Book Award
Schneider Book Award (ALA)
Flicker Tale Book Award
Human Rights Book Award
Michigan Notable Book Award
Irish Book Award
International Reader’s Association Book Award
Jane Addam’s Children’s Book Award
Great Lakes Book Award
Saskatewan Book Award
AAPOR Book Award
Christianity Today book Award
American Book Award
Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
Northern Minnesota Book Award
Toronto Book Award
Phi Eta Sigma Book Award
Science Fiction Book Award
Hugo Book Award
Newberry book Award
Trillium Book Award
Ohioana book Award
Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award
Pushcart Press Editors Book Award
Now multiply by the number of categories, and then by 3 for gold, silver and bronze for the top three prizes in each category, and you’ll get a picture of how many people are getting awards and potentially competing for news coverage using book awards as a factor this week.
If you are going to create a news release and seek publicity for your award, then here my suggestions on the essential facts you need to include in your copy:
1. headline – Author wins prize/award
2. one sentence killer – knock their socks off description of what the book is about
3. unusual or interesting facts about the situation/the book/the author/the topic/the issues
4. the specifics of the award – what, where when, or how much and why is this award so important and prestigious
5. three to four paragraphs about the book, who it features, what’s amazing about it, why people will like it
6. basic book facts and marketing information so people can find it and buy it
7. author bio and information
8. book cover photo and author photo
9. contact information
10. offer for review copy and interviews if you want to offer these items.
Finally, once you have the news release written, it needs to be distributed to the right media. Proper targeting will maximize your chances of getting the right type of coverage in front of the people you can interest and help the most. So a children’s book needs to go to children’s media and editors, and a travel book needs to go to travel book media and editors and so forth.
You’ve worked hard to get this award. So congratulations. I hope this helps you take a few more steps in a positive direction so you can make the most of it.
If you get an award and want my help finalizing your news release and creating the right custom media list and getting the word out, just call me or send me an email with the facts and the book cover jpeg.
July 10th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Book marketing case study of book marketing success by a self published author
I love this. Here’s a story that illustrates one of my primary rules for getting publicity.
Take a look at The NY Times July 9, 2010 feature story about self published author Randy Kearse selling over 14,000 books by himself on the subways of New York City
This story illustrates The DPAA+H Rule. The story captures the five essential elements of a great human interest feature story:
It’s DRAMATIC and PERSONAL
It tells a story about a real person who seeks ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY
Finally it adds in an element of HUMOR.
It’s all here and this story shows how it can be done.
This story illustrates another of my key concepts – The Miracle of the Microcosm.
Randy has developed an experience based communication script that captures his magic words that turn people on and get sufficient numbers of people to take action. They buy his books.
He has a specific goal and knows that he must present to enough people to hit his goal each day.
He has developed and documented a systematic repeatable process for achieving a known level of financial success each day.
The article talks about Randy in ways that make him very likeable and very approachable. Several of his books are also mentioned along the way and he is positioned as being a very helpful dedicated and innovative individual who seeks to achieve financial success while he does his best helping others.
This is a beautiful example of the best publicity one can get.
Congratulations to Randy Kearse.
April 15th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Book Reviews VS. Feature Stories - Which Sells More?
I personally don’t believe that book reviews sell as many books as do feature stories. Yes, they have a role to play, but it’s actually a very limited role. The real gains are to be made with galvanizing feature stories.
The key to understanding this is that book reviews tend to simply show and tell the book and what’s inside the book while good feature stories are designed to galvanize and get people emotionally involved. If what people see gives them an experience, then they are far more inclined to take the action desired, which is to step closer to the book and the author. Articles about the author also tend to produce a professional branding effect. this means that if people read and like what they see, then they will be inclined to buy everything the author has for sale.
This means that if you put down the book, stop selling the product for a second and focus on doing what you do best – entertaining your audience and giving them your best, then this is when you stand your best chance of saying and doing something that will really turn people on.
Give people an experience. Make them laugh, cringe, make them hungry, solve a painful problem, make them feel good, feel bad, feel sexy, or feel awed and inspired.
Do that and they’ll remember you.
That’s what really causes people to pay attention and buy what you are selling.
March 26th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
One of the members of the POD Publishing discussion group asked the following question:
When do you recommend going out with the press release (i.e. on the release date, a month before, etc.).
Timing news releases depends what you are trying to accomplish and where you are at in your publishing or product release schedule. You must first recognize the key event date and then take media lead times into account. If this is associated with the publication of a book or a new product, this is usually associated with the official publication date or release date.
I do not generally advise sending out a news release till you can satisfy media requests for review copies or product test samples and interviews with the right person or people. If you can’t satisfy the media then you hurt yourself since you get a request which opens the door of opportunity but then you can’t satisfy the media’s request immediately. So you reduce the chances of getting the coverage you seek. So it depends when your books are available to you and that usually is a month or so before an official publication date, but this varies and is often a flexible date.
Second, the public has to be able to buy the product when the media publishes the news. So that means it has to be available at Amazon and/or BN.com plus any number of other web sites, and possibly be available in bookstores and or through bookstores so you can financially benefit (that is sell product) from the national or targeted demand your publicity seeks to create. This means you should not launch a news release or publicity campaign until the business system is totally operational. If you need to book to be in the bookstores or retail shops first, then you have to wait until your distributor tells you it is time to hit the switch. You have to be prepared to do what’s necessary to publicize and promote so that the window of opportunity doesn’t slip by and the lack of demand results in returns. Timing so that publicity hits when the product is in the stores is pretty crucial. If you are selling totally online, then this is not as crucial a factor.
You have to factor media lead time into account. This means you look two to three publications cycles ahead of the media you seek to get coverage in or on and then also take into account things like media response time to your pitch, mailing and delivery time, assignment time, the time it takes to read, write, review and then actually publish an approved article. For daily newspapers, this means a week to two weeks minimum and many times usually requires a month; for weekly newspapers, this is four to six weeks or more; for magazines this is four to six months. For radio and TV, it’s seven to ten days minimum, and preferably two to four weeks. Online media can of course react very quickly but many of the response and review times do factor into how soon these media can respond effectively. That’s all assuming you want media to do something with your book.
This means that you really have to stagger your news releases and target your media carefully if you are to take advantage of the medias needs. magazines require four to six months, so you hit them first. You do the short term media two to four weeks before your official public availability date. If you wait till the one month before launch date, then magazine publicity will come last and in some cases you lose the opportunity to time the coverage that you need at the time of product release. Still magazine publicirty at the back end can be a very helpful thing to have indeed since it will sustain your sales once the impacts of the short term efforts and coverage start to diminish.
Let’s say though that you are publicizing an event like a book signing, or a conference, or a work shop or a speaking event. If it is deemed to be newsworthy event or a hard news happening or something you propose media to witness of go to that involves people and photographers and interviews, then the minimum media times apply. We’ve seen newspaper, radio and TV camera crews get sent out and show up within 30 minutes of transmittal holding their Blackberries and iPods in their hand reading the news release and say “where do we set up?”
Finally there’s the day to day timing question. Which day of the week is it best to send out a news release to the media? The prime media tends to work on a five day work week schedule and that means they work Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday they have off and fewer people really are working in the office. Monday is a bad news day because the media show up to work and have staff meetings and have to recover from the weekend. Friday is also a bad day since they are wrapping things up and are trying to leave for the weekend. So unless it is really hard news, transmitting a news release on or near weekends is not going to get the best media response. But it really depends again what you are asking media to do. If all you want them to do is say yes to you sending in a book for review, Friday morning may be OK.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays give you the best opportunity to catch media when they have the least amount of competition for their attention and the maximum opportunity to devote resources to your project. So that is when I prefer to news releases to be delivered.
Finally, after the book is published, the publicity you seek may be far more issue and content focused and related to current events or some other angle. Regardless, you seek to get coverage for the best ideas, education or entertainment you can offer. This you can do whenever you want to do, but it really helps to get out in front to media and look four to six months out. So for example, today is March 25 so Mother’s Day is six weeks away, Father’s Day is two and a half months away, Earth Day is a month away, Independence day is three months away, Labor Day is four months away and so on.
I’ve created a free publicity calendar to help identify opportunities for people which is a free pdf file download. It contains a lot of unusual holidays so that you can really get creative and think up ways to tie-in to calendar events well in advance of the day they occur. Here’s the link:
Publicity Planning Calendar for 2010
The lesson learned is to be prepared, plan things out carefully, andthink through what you are asking media to do when you send out a news release.
If you’ve done your homework and you know you are offering something that interests a lot of people, has real value to the audience, and you also offer the media what they need to do their job easily and quickly, then when you send out a news release and get it to the right media people for action, then you will often times get what you wish for (which is media coverage).
January 24th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Evaluating whether to hire a publicist for marketing and promotion
Since I’m a publicist and do a lot of work with authors and publishing companies, I’ll give you my spin on this.
Is it worth it to hire a publicist?
My response: It depends.
I don’t really ascribe to the amount of money invested in the book as a decision factor myself. Lots of my clients have turned books that they write with blood, sweat and tears into financial success using POD. Very simply they write a good book and print on demand in small quantity. Money invested in the book does not have to be considerable. Of course if you have invested a lot of money, then it begins to acquire the characteristics of a publish or perish syndrome. The stakes go up with the investment.
I’ll be honest with you. I see lots of one-book authors try to turn a profit from publishing. I see only a few succeed. I see lots try very hard and fail. So to me, self-publishing is best viewed as a risk venture. There are so many variables. Publicity can jumpstart marketing but there is no guarantee that it will.
For the sake of argument, let’s just assume that the owner of some intellectual property can reasonably benefit from using publicity to achieve their goals. To me, publicity is one type of marketing or promotion and it has a cost. And to really understand what we’re talking about, it’s crucial to get on the same page. So here’s my definition of what one typically asks a publicist to do:
PR: the creation and presentation of proposed content to media (publishers or producers) to persuade them to publish or showcase a story or information that is perceived as objectively reported by their audiences, that creates interest, desire and promotes and triggers desired action (sales, votes or social action).
The question is whether the cost you invest can produce the actions you want to achieve whether it be sales, votes, or social action such as human support, financial or material donation, or attendance at a show or an event.
The goal is to have a meaningful communication with the right real people on the receiving end. The message is matters, the medium matters, and the effect matters. The real value to the recipient is what determines whether they in fact are affected to the point of action. You can’t use any communication technology to trigger or motivate action without figuring out the magic words first. Can you do this yourself or do you need to have a professional publicist help you?
The cost of a publicist covers the actions needed to produce the results you want. There are lots of options for someone who needs publicity to consider from doing it yourself all the way to simply hiring someone to do it all for you. The choices range in cost from as low as the cost of acquiring a custom database all the way to hiring a full service PR, firm, or a pay-for-performance firm, all the way to hiring an in-house publicist.
Now I operate a task based service that allows people to select and deploy the simplest and most intelligent actions. For most authors and publishers this is a one-time project that involves identifying the target audience, figuring out how to galvanize them, crafting one or more news releases, creating the right custom media list to present this message to the maximum number of right people, sending them any and all additional materials the media then needs to do their job, and then calling them to persuade media who have not decided to do what you are hoping for to try to persuade them to give you the publicity and media coverage you seek.
Other publicists and PR firms do similar actions and charge more and less to do these things. But there are many different types of fee arrangements by which can acquire publicity services. You should study the differences when you make your decision and do so recognizing specifically what you will get for the money you pay.
Here’s a link to an article I wrote titled “Evaluating the Range of Publicity Tactics and Publicity Options”
There’s a second article that talks about how to get the most out of whichever type of publicity service you choose titled “Super Client! Getting the Most Out of Your Publicists and Copywriters”.
You can choose to manage your promotions to achieve many different types of results.
There is no simple answer. There are costs (money, time, and material resources for the data needed and the technology needed) to achieve publicity success.
There is also expertise required (copywriting, targeting the right media, utilizing the best technologies, communicating with clients and media, negotiating, reporting, integrating with marketing and other people and publicists who are involved).
These are some of the issues you need to address and factor in to the decision one makes.
The original question asks “is it worth it to hire a publicist?”
The return on investment question can be answered by evaluating the profit one makes per action triggered by your publicity effort. Let’s look at some of the costs and what it means to an author/publisher.
If one makes $5 per book, then it takes 100 books to cover a $500 cost for a single news release publicity project.
You’d have to sell 2,000 books to cover a $10,000 fee for a full service PR firm or personal publicist for some dedicated time or program.
If on the other hand if you are not just an author, but also receive $3000 for a speaking engagement plus travel and per diem, then you can make $2500 or more if you even get one speaking engagement off one $500 news release outreach.
If you worked with the $10,000 PR firm, you’d nearly break even if you got three engagements and you’d make a couple of thousand with four.
Will the $10,000 firm produce more than the $500 outreach effort? This depends on what is really being done to get media coverage. It depends on the message and who gets to receive it.
There are at least five key measurement points you should use to determine your level of satisfaction with the effectiveness of your publicity efforts.
1. The first point is when you transmit a news release or conduct an outreach effort. Do you feel like the costs of performing the publicity outreach are reasonable? Do you feel like the service has been responsive to your needs?
2. The second point is immediately after the outreach is conducted and you can identify the number and quality of the media responses to your outreach.
3. The third point is when articles are actually published or when your interviews have been conducted.
4. The fourth point is when you determine whether enough of the right people respond to your message.
5. The fifth and final point is sometime later still, when you are finally able to somehow determine the overall benefits of your outreach effort and experience.
It is only now you can truly ask “Was it worth it?”
Here is an article I wrote titled “Tracking Your Publicity Success and PR Effectiveness” which discusses this aspect of publicity in more detail:
What this means of course is that publicity is more valuable when someone has multiple streams of income that can be leveraged and the branding effect triggers interest and sales in many ways. This frees people from strictly focusing solely on their product and allows them to shine again and again by helping people they can help the most in ways that really turn people on. This is how you not only trigger real interest, but trigger trust and action. This is the professional branding effect and when it works, people like what you say so much that they will buy everything you have for sale. This is what you hope for when you hire a publicist.
So is it worth it to hire a publicist?
It depends on whether you can do what needs to be done by yourself or with the right type of help. It depends on the results you achieve when you do these things.
The one thing you really need to realize is that even if one hires a publicist, there’s still no guarantee that publicity will produce sales. All you can do is try.
And like any other marketing tactic you should really evaluate the effectiveness as a business using objective measures. Look at all the factors and make an informed decision.
If it works, do more of it, and if it doesn’t stop and do something else.
The only thing that is certain is that if you do not reach out to people somehow, nothing will happen.
January 14th, 2010 by Paul Krupin
Book Publicity Strategies for Getting More Media Coverage That Sells Books
I’ll talk the point of view from someone who gets books reviewed day in day out as a book publicist. I do this for a living, so I’ll share with you how I do it and what it takes to do it well.
I’m not a fan of book reviews, I believe that they have their place and a certain amount of limited utility. But to date, my experience and that of my clients continues to show that feature stories sell more books. They have a broader deeper reach, have greater shelf life, and are people focused, rather than product focused. They brand the author and with the trust and interested they generate, they result in people being far more likely to buy everything the author may have available for sale.
For that reason, I’ll hope you can bear with me and I’ll work you through this process of selecting what to say to media if you are an author trying to maximize your return on investment and the time you put into being a person who hopes to profit from creative writing and publishing. I’ll cover both book reviews and feature stories. I will do my best to encourage you to only use book announcements and try to get only to get started, and to switch to pitching feature stories if you really want to maximize your sales. The reason is simple. People respond to media best when it affects them emotionally. People can be persuaded to buy things using media yes. But to do so means that you have to turn them on and get them emotionally engaged. If you want to use media to reach people, that’s what you have to do.
Think about it. When was the last time you read a book review in a newspaper and then grabbed your credit card? Now when was the last time you read a recommendation in a trade publication, a blog post or a technical forum discussion (like this one), and then bought something or hired someone? What sort of writing got YOU to take the action.
Basically an author/publisher really wants publicity that gets people to buy books, so when you contact a media person, the goal is to get coverage that makes a galvanizing impression on the reader of the publication, or the person who’s listening to the radio, or watching TV, or reading a blog, or a mailing list or discussion post.
So the message you want the person to receive has to be so good that it provokes them to ACTION. So not only do you first need to WRITE A GOOD BOOK, but then you need to know what to say about it that really turns people on.
That’s the content you need to place in front of your reviewer, whether you want to just get a book review or a galvanizing feature story.
To be maximally effective with media, you have to understand what makes them tick. You need to realize that media are publishers (or producers of shows) they make their living, they survive and thrive from two primary sources of income: subscriptions and advertising. Yes, they are publishers who sell their writing just like you are trying to do.
That’s what you offer media. You package it in something that they are accustomed to using as a decision document. It’s called a news release.
My definition of a news release is a little different than that used by many. I define a news release like this:
– A written proposal
– containing a request for media coverage
– and/or an offer to provide media the content needed to achieve that end.
You sent a news release directly to the right media decision makers or you place it where they can find it and use it. I’ll spend more time on this later at the end of this post.
The goal of a news release is to get media action that results in media coverage. There really are only two possible favorable things that happen when you send a news release.
1. They write about you or interview you.
2. They request more information (like a copy of your book and a media kit)
If you don’t succeed at this step, you simply fail. So it’s crucial that you get the door open and either get them to say yes to something once they read your news release.
Being successful at this is like going through a gauntlet. Media will not give you free advertising. They only publish news, education, or entertainment that their audience will pay for and that their advertisers won’t object to.
So you have to be very selective on what you present. You have to present copy that is strategically designed to:
– Interest and even expand the media outlet’s target audience.
– Provide news, educational or entertainment value.
– Be easy to verify, trust, and work with.
So what information do you give to media? You give media information that increases the number of people who will buy what they publish. You do this by studying what they publish. Day in day out, what you need to produce to be successful is right before your eyes every day. You simply need to mimic what you see and use what is being published as a guide to deciding what you need to create and offer. You can use my 3 I technique any time you want. It works very well. You can decide you want to use a magazine, or USA Today, or the NY Times Book Review Section. It doesn’t matter, you just pick a target that looks just like what you want, and create something that looks like it belongs there.
That’s why when 3 I technique news releases are submitted, so much of the content is readily used. It’s not that you get lazy journalists, it’s that you’ve done your homework so good that the editor sees that it looks like it belongs there and decides to use your copy with little or no extra expenditure of corporate resources. I can show you a news release for client Susan Casey for a book titled Women Invents, which was published in 1997. A year ago, we wrote a news release all about women inventors. The news release was turned into an article for the March 31 2009 issue of Fast Company Magazine with Susan Casey getting the byline for the article. Cut and paste verbatim for a book that was published over ten years ago.
The lesson learned is that the book doesn’t really matter to media. What you offer to their public matters to media.
Media basically look at everything that comes to them and ask three questions:
1. How many people in my audience will be interested in this?
2. What’s in it for my audience?
These are pass fail questions. The answers have to be 1. Lots of people will be interested and 2. There’s great news, education or entertainment value.
If and only if you get a pass on these two questions, then you get to the next question.
3. How much time, effort, and money will this project require?
The answer has to be VERY LITTLE. In other words, the editor has to spend little money, time, resources, people, etc. to do their job.
Content is the ultimate determining factor to getting media attention. And to get media attention and interest you use a special communication called a news release.
Six essential parts of a Trash Proof News Release
1. The Call to Action
2. A Real Story That Relates to Real People
3. A presentation of The Value to the Audience
4. The Crucial Information
5. The Highlights of Qualifications
6. Access to Key People
You may think that you need to do more and when you send a book to the media you can add other information, but really and truly, all I recommend people send to media at the very least is a copy of the news release and a copy of the book. The book data, (cost, publisher, isbn, length, size, etc) is given in the Crucial Information. We tend to be pretty successful when we do this. You do not need to throw the kitchen sink at media when you send a media kit. You do have to be selective and send them what they need to do the job you want done.
Once you write a 3 I technique news release, then you target your media. I use Cision for my client projects, it’s perhaps the largest online real time reasonably maintained media database, and it now include newspapers, magazine, radio, tv and all sorts of online media and even associations. When I target, I focus on the message and ask who are the right media to receive this message? I also ask:
1. Who are your customers?
2. What do they read, watch or listen to?
>> Particularly when they are receptive to learning and are open to taking action.
This last little tweak to this question is crucial. There’s a big financial ROI difference one gets by getting a review or an article in a newspaper of general circulation compared to getting the exact same article in front of a topical newsletter with far fewer readers, but they are dedicated professionals with money and a desire to improve their lives and livelihood. The latter tends to outsell the former.
You have to communicate meaningfully with media decision makers. These days I use email to custom targeted media lists. You can also use fax, phone calls, street mail and in-person communication to present a pitch and a proposal. These are what I call direct contact methods.
There are lots of other less effective methods and places you can place your messages. Some are more direct than others. I mean there are web sites, blogs, media sites, libraries, wiki’s forums, ezines, discussion groups, and audio, video, podcasts, and now there’s social media and specialized search engines for all the above. To meaningfully communicate means you news release becomes a landing page and you use email, headlines, snippets, slices, blinks and tweets to get people to go to that landing page. Being persuasive now is a complicated process. The technology requires you to format the message to match the medium. If you don’t meet the media’s needs, then you won’t get coverage.
The online news release posting services (free and fee) are not as direct as email and other direct contact methods. They often times are just web based storage, with searchable links, based not on content but on headlines. Real decision making journalists will not receive these communications unless they find them first. I’m not impressed with the media coverage that my clients and I have experienced using the more passive methods.
The lesson learned here is that the more attenuated the technology, the greater the number of steps, the less likely it is that the right media person will receive a meaningful communication, and you are thus less likely to succeed.
You can read my book Trash Proof News Releases if you want to learn more about this style of doing news releases. It’s a free download at Smashwords. Book page to download Trash Proof News Releases Smashwords edition:
October 22nd, 2009 by Paul Krupin
Tactics for successfully marketing and publicizing with mommy bloggers
Bloggers are quite important to all of us who do work in the world of publicity. Mommy bloggers are really crucial!
Who are the best ones with regard to marketing and publicizing a book or a product?
Well, it depends. There are now several thousand of them and their ranks are growing every day. Perhaps 20 to 25 percent of the media who write on family and parenting matters are now blogging regularly.
Mommy bloggers are simply mothers who blog. They don’t publish in magazines or newspapers. They just blog where people can find them – in the news search engines and specialty blog search engines. The originality and creativity or their unique perspective is what generates their audience.
Many of them offer up a highly personal view of parenting, women’s general interest, fashion, wifehood, love, romance, health, fitness, food and cooking, husbands, kids, and the challenges that go with being the head of the household.
Some are funny, some are serious, some are highly intellectual, some are sexy, some are not.
Many of them offer their experiences or opinions on the subjects that they decide are worthy and provide reviews of products, books, recipes, movies, TV shows, celebrities, politicians, even things like astronomical events, and quantum physics.
Some of them are highly regarded and have very dedicated audiences who relish their every post. The number of people and the demographics of their audiences vary.
I mean if you want to spend some time with a yenta, go see your local mommy blogger. Mommy bloggers know how to spread the word!
I’ve transmitted news releases about books and products to Mommy Bloggers and the responses, benefits and results for the author/owner have at times rivaled and even exceeded that produced by conventional prime media.
Mommy bloggers are a force to be recognized and utilized!
When you decide to do publicity you should make sure that you do your best to contact Mommy Bloggers if you have something that is of interest to Mommys everywhere.
Brief them in, share with them what you’ve created, tell them why it’s good and who will benefit from what you’ve created, and by all means, offer them a review copy or product sample if you can afford to do so. Offer to send them additional information, especially good photography.
Be forewarned! Some of them will only write about you favorably if you send them chocolate!
Here’s a web site that ranks the top mommy bloggers based on voter popularity.
August 21st, 2009 by Paul Krupin
Getting more book reviews for self-published books
Self-published authors often complain about how hard it is to get book reviews. Many of my clients are self published authors.
I don’t think that media distinguish books by whether they are from self-publishers or quality publshers that much any more. Some do, but it’s because they make an assumpition of quality. That is what they really seek to do anyway so as not to waste their time. They separate books that are quality books from books that are not.
Self published books get reviews day in day out. I will heartily affirm the advice from Jacqueline Simmons of Beagle Bay and Jim Cox of Midwest Book Review that a quality book is the first essential requirement.
But there is a second essential requirement you need to get down pat especially if you want to achieve financial success with your book.
That is this: You have to talk to your target audience and persuade them to take action to get your quality product. That means that the messages you create have to communicate meaningfully and incite and even galvanize these people to action.
There are many ways that authors can do that. The best way is to simply decide that you want to truly impress and interest the right people. So start with this question:
Who is going to be most interested in what I can talk about? This can’t be “everyone”. It has to be people in a pool or group that has similar interests. Then you have to think up how you are going to reach them and communicate with them. You have to identify the communications technology and pathway you will use.
Finally you ask yourself to identify what are you going to say in three minutes that will get them to come right up and hand you money.
You may think this is a crazy way to sell books or to get book reviews, but I do this for authors for a living. Authors are actually the best person to identify “the magic words” because when they start talking sincerely and openly and get spontaneous and excited about their writing, that’s when they say the things that interest people the most.
AND THE BEST PART ABOUT THIS IS THAT YOU CAN DO THIS ANYWHERE.
But you may need help with this. You may need to work with someone who watches your audience when you talk and notices what happens when you say certain things. What you are looking for is the sentences and speech that gets people to drill you with rapt attention.
You need to identify and capture what you say that really turns people on.
This is the exact language and information that you need to use in your news releases that get you book reviews. This is what you need to use so that you also get feature stories and interviews. You need to learn what you can say that really turns people on. It may or may not be inside the book you wrote. Don’t think that it has to be out of the book. It can be about you, your topic, your dog or your Aunt Tilly. It just has to be so good that people get so interested in you that they are persuaded to take a look at your creation.
From my experience with authors and experts of all types, what it really comes down to is a three to five minute piece that galvanizes people with you doing what you absolutely do the best. There is a method that I use to help people develop what they need. Here it is:
Imagine being in front of 20 to 30 of the very best people you think would be most interested you and what you do. Describe these people so that you have a picture of who they are and what they look like.
Now identify the absolute most interesting topic, challenge, or problem situation you can think of, that will interest the maximum number of people just like them.
NOW give them your five to ten best tips, problem solving actions, ideas, stories, jokes, or lessons learned. WHATEVER! Just focus your energy on your target audience and give them your very best. Can you give these people your ten commandments? Can you knock their socks off so that half of them come flying out of their chairs with their pocketbooks or wallets open? (BTW that’s a 50 percent response). That’s your goal. Do you realize that even if you only get one in ten to buy, that’s a ten percent response, and that’s still remarkable. Most business operate their marketing profitably at a much lower response rate. Less than 1 percent.
I want you to pretend you have three to five minutes to give a these people eight to maybe ten absolutely phenomenal show stoppers. That means for ten items, you have less than 20 seconds or less for each one, plus a one minute intro and a one minute ending.
This is what we put into your news release. This si what you offer to reviewers to get them interested in your book. Don’t think that all you need to do is describe your book. That’s not going to cut it. You need to prove that people will be interested. You need to communicate and demonstrate the value to the audience.
The goal is to create a vision for the media that clearly illustrates and allows them to see in their minds — How you can help or entertain or educate the people you can help or educate or entertain the most.
Focus less on ideas than on actions that people can take to deliver immediate or tangible real time or near term benefits, impacts, or predictable consequences. These show stoppers should be “Do This Today” types of actions.
This forms the core content to the news release/show proposal pitch.
These will also be publishable as an article with some caveats we can add to the beginning and ending of the core content to turn it into a proper news release offering. It will also become the core script for a Q & A style interview, so they serve many purposes. These ideas will also persuade media editors to ask for and review your book.
You can do whatever you can do. You just have to be your wittiest and most galvanizing self. You can be humorous and/or serious, just be good and make them memorable. Keep them G Rated.
This method works. I use it all the time to get my clients to stop selling and really create, develop and offer the media the news, education and entertainment they need to decide to give people media coverage. I used this technique with authors of all types.
Want proof? Create a Google News Alert on the words ‘book review’ so you can receive clips and see who’s getting covered to your heart’s content like this:
Study the results each day and see how the media is writing about book authors these days. Evaluate existing coverage and use my 3 I technique.
So here’s the bottom line. I hope you take may advice. Self published authors do get reviews.
First WRITE A GOOD BOOK.
Second LEARN HOW TO TURN PEOPLE ON WHEN YOU SPEAK ABOUT YOUR BOOK.
Help the people you can help the most and offer the very best most educational and entertaining three to five minutes of talk you possibly can.
BY the way, if you do follow this advice, send me your best tips or talking points in an email message. I’ll be happy to comment and give you recommendations on what you’ve created and show you how to go the distance to create a news release that will produce the maximum results.
This is how you’ll get the most media response, the best book reviews and the most effective publicity you’ve ever experienced. You’ll also sell more books.
I guarantee that once you create and prove this little script of yours and once you really get it down and prove to yourself that it’s repeatable, you can use it again and again everywhere you go. That’s the miracle of the microcosm in America. We’ve got a country of 330 million media indoctrinated people, and once you learn how to galvanize them in your back yard, you can use technology to repeat the message and reproduce the response again and again.
December 17th, 2008 by Paul Krupin
22 ways to be galvanizing and interesting to media, prospects and customers
Last week someone on the Self-Publishing discussion list at Yahoo Groups asked “what goes into a news release”.
It took me a while to wrap my mind around an approach that I was satisfied with since we have so many diverse creative people on the list. The response had to be useful to all.
In many ways, this is perhaps the most common question I receive from authors once they start promoting and marketing. I rephrased the question a little.
How do I get people to pay attention to me?
I reviewed the news releases that I’ve done for the past few years for authors and publishers seeking to identify the common characteristics of those communications that produced the stellar media responses and the book sales that went with them. I sought to take a fresh look at that set of key issues that appear in the marketing communications that produce the best success.
It was a fun exercise. So here’s what this exercise revealed about:
How to be Galvanizing
1. Be right and be first to tell people that you are right on.
2. Be wrong but keep trying to do it right and be the first to admit it, telling people what you did wrong and are doing about it.
3. Communicate clearly and help the people you can help the most. Put your audience first.
4. Demonstrate purpose. Do something noble and heroic and active, don’t just talk about it.
5. Be passionate and surprise people by doing something interesting, unusual, and real.
6. Make people laugh and smile at you, with you and at themselves.
7. Give people relief from a headache or the pain they are experiencing now.
8. Show people a half naked man or woman. Why? Because it works. Now make it relevant or meaningful to your ideas in some surprising and legitimate way.
9. Tell people about their innermost fears or insecurities.
10. Predict what is going to happen six weeks from now and why it is important.
11. Be spontaneously alive and exuberant about people and your ideas.
12. Show people courage and do something amazing and brave.
13. Be astonishingly honest and sincere. Achieve authentic.
14. Be irreverent and make people realize the folly of their beliefs..
15. Tell true dramatic and personal stories. Focus on achievement in the face or adversity. Help people see themselves in the story.
16. Shake people to their roots. Tear apart a sacred cow.
17. Scare people with a prediction. Identify and describe the common enemy or the crisis on the horizon.
18. Use a really good relevant photograph. Give people visual evidence so they know they are in good company.
19. Do your absolute best and create something truly remarkable and memorable.
20. Create a vivid metaphor that illustrates and relates to your audience at a deep personal level.
21. Create a visual picture that makes people realize what their future will be like.
22. Tell people exactly what they need to do to be healthy, involved, authentic, purposeful, connected to the future, inspired to find greater meaning and motivated to take immediate action to fulfill their destiny.
It’s my belief and experience that these triggers to getting attention and galvanizing people are useful and applicable to all the marketing communications you use to promote your books or products or services.
You must develop, test and prove that you have content that can do this yourself. You can also get help from experienced people to do this. You can hire publicists or marketing experts to assist you.
Then you can place these ideas into the headline and lead of your news releases. You use these ideas to flesh out the content of your problem solving tips articles, feature stories, and interview talking points.
You use these ideas to make what people read, hear, or see about you sticky. You want them to take it with them and show someone else what you have done.
Your goal is to make such an incredible impression — an indelible memory about you — that gets people so interested in you that they are motivated to buy *everything* you have available.
It’s applicable to situations where you are speaking to people whether it be one on one, or if you are talking to a group of people and you goal is to get people to buy your book or your services.
It’s also applicable whether you are publishing an article in a newspaper, doing an interview, or posting something to a web site or a blog or an article site.
I hope you find that even just one of these is something you can use and benefit from.
All you need is to find and use is one.
Once you have these ideas you can create the news releases and marketing communications you need to get better sales and better coverage with media.
A galvanizing message will tend to resonate with certain types of people and media. You may have to change your target to match the message. You may have to change your message to match your target.
If you find out that one galvanizing idea works for one group or type of people, you may have to find out whether it works as well if you present it to another type of demographic pool of people. A message that works with mature seniors, may or may not work well with fitness, health or women’s. A message that works well with techies may not work well with business or education. You may have to find out what works and this may take time and effort.
Depending on what you have to offer, a targeted media list and a targeted approach to media may be what works the best.
I would enjoy feedback and comments on this post. Please feel free to contact me if you have any ideas on how to make these better.
Paul J. Krupin – Direct Contact PR
Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
November 22nd, 2008 by Paul Krupin
Tips on how to help guide an author of a self published memoir
Here is my November 21, 2008 response to a post to the online discussion group Small-Pub Civil at Yahoo groups:
>>Hello, everyone! One of my authors has written a 250+ page book about his open-heart surgery. The bulk of it is autobiographical, including childhood memories, interviews with
everyone from the surgeon down to the cleaning staff and an entire chapter of get-well emails from his friends (he has their permission, BTW). Since he produces and hosts a long-
running regional TV show with a reasonably-sized fan base and is promoting the hell out of the book, I am confident he will sell a few thousand copies. But he’s expecting big-time
national success, including being stocked in the chains and selling on QVC. He is seriously counting on coverage in the NYT.
>> When I try to point out that this is unlikely he accuses me of negativism. Am I just being negative?
I encounter this with authors all the time. It goes with the territory. It could be a truly remarkable memoir. It might contain experiences that can make people smile, cry and laugh as they read. But then again, he may not yet have gotten any meaningful feedback from people, or the feedback he has received may be designed to make him feel good and congratulate him on his effort and accomplishment with having written a book.
I wrote an article to try to get people to grasp the significance of their dream and what it means to them if they really want to see other people appreciate their writing, especially if they really intend to now use that writing to achieve fame and financial success.
I work with hundreds of authors and publishing companies each year and really and truly, very few of them have really created a book that it good enough to achieve fame, glory and financial success for the author. Most are labors of love. There’s a sizable financial investment and personal emotional investment that’s required to go from “author” to “best selling author” and few really have what it takes to make it through the gauntlet of the marketplace.
What I recommend people do is go slow. Show and tell one on one. It’s possible to learn how to sell. That’s the miracle of the microcosm. If you learn what you need to say to people in your little neck of the woods, chances are you can then say the same thing anywhere and everywhere you go and you’ll be equally successful selling your products wherever you go.
But you need to learn those magic words first.
You have to write to sell, and the job of writing isn’t done until the book sells. This is where most self-publishers go astray. They publish their book without verifying it was really ready for market.
You have to test your ideas and test your product and test your mar-com (marketing communications) on real live people. You need to identify your end users and the people who will buy the book for your users. Then you need to learn what to say to get these people to take the action you want.
Write to sell and test, test, test. Do this in small doses till you get the right buy signals. Reliably. Not just once or twice, but repeatedly and reliably.
Do 25 to 50 POD versions and test it with these important people.
You’ll know by their behavior and response whether you are really ready to publish the book.
If you can’t get people to even look at it, then you’re not done.
If they look at it and put it down, then you still have work to do.
If people look at it and grab it, you might be done. It depends what happens when they then pick it up and peruse it. If they put it down, then you’re not done.
You may have to redesign and re-write it till you know you are done. You have to work with your prospective audience to get real feedback, and you must listen to what people say and address the issues you receive.
This may take a lot of reiterations.
But one thing is for certain, there is a point that you will reach when you know that you are done. It’s a wonderful thing when you get to this point and know it.
Here’s what I’ve observed and experienced.
You know when you are done…
When people look at it, grab it, look at it again, look up to see where the cashier is, and then head to the cashier.
You show your book someone and they hold it close and won’t give it back freely.
You show them the book and they reach for their wallet.
They pick up one book, look at it, and grab four or five of them and head to the cashier.
One person picks up the book, grabs it and heads to find and show his or her friend the book, and they both grab one for themselves and buy it.
You know that you have something when kids pull it off the shelf and haul it over to their mothers and fathers with a look of desire and wanting and excitement in their eyes that says please????!!!!
I call this the hoarding syndrome. What you are witnessing I call a clutching response. It occurs when people touch something and decide that they want it.
This behavior in people clearly indicates to you that the book or object they are holding has such inherent value and importance that they are willing to pay for it. They know it and you know it instantly. They clutch the object of their desire in their hot sweaty hands and pull it in close to their body as if to possess it and protect it.
I know you’ve seen this and even experienced it yourself. You see it in stores and shopping centers all the time. I see it when my wife and teenage daughters shop. I know from their behavior when I’m toast. There is no arguing with them once they’ve experienced certain hormonal reactions to objects that they’ve been in close physical contact with. That’s they way we humans respond to certain material experiences.
Other people here have no doubt experienced this in a variety of ways. It would be very cool to hear from people about when they knew that they were done.
I work with a lot of authors and publishers, and I see success a lot less frequently that I wish I would see. I attribute this to people rushing through to publishing their books without making sure they have created a product that people will actually buy.
So this is my bottom line advice:
Write to sell. Don’t stop writing and re-writing till you know it sells, and sells easily and continuously.
Prove it with small test POD numbers. Use the technology that is available to all of us wisely. Then move it up through the publishing and promotion chain level by level.
In most cases, the author thinks the book should excite and grab people. But it doesn’t always happen that way.
So to me, they still have work to do. But they can’t speculate about what’s wrong, they need real data.
This is what I tell people to do – get the data. Figure out what you need to say and do to produce action that will satisfy your stated goals and objectives:
Go ask your candidate customers. Ask until you are blue in the face and get the hard difficult data and feedback you need to redesign and redo your project.
I had a recent publisher come to me with a book which presented his ideas on how to have a successful marriage by using a marriage contract.
Myself, I’m a former attorney and I would not pick up a book that had a marriage contract in it.
Do people want to run their marriage off of a contract? Like it’s a job or a construction project? Do they want to reduce communications and relationships to policies, procedures and stipulated provisions?
When we looked at our marriage vows, my wife said “strike the obey” and I said “and add in this here dispute resolution clause”.
And that’s what the minister did, and we still live by those words.
And that was the oral vows.
Put it in writing? Something doesn’t fit in the picture. Like ‘what’s love got to do with it?’
This is the type of process most people go through when they contemplate buying a book.
Do I want to get married to this person and his or her ideas? Even if I can get divorced from them later?
You are not done until people fall in love with your creation. You’ll know it only when it happens.