This post is an update of one I posted on my author site blog, First Draft, last year. I’m revisiting it here because some of the information has changed since then, but also because I want to introduce my new followers to someone I greatly admire and respect for her savvy and experience in public relations and how she shares so much of it so generously with us in the book publishing industry.
I’ve been following her so long, I don’t even remember how I first learned about Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz, a fantastic website where this former national award-winning publicist now teaches authors how to be their own book publicists. It was probably in someone else’s newsletter or blog, or maybe I even met her through ASJA, a professional writers’ organization we both belong to. It really doesn’t matter, because there hasn’t been a point along the way that I haven’t just really thought the world of this public relations expert and genuinely nice human being. Since I view part of my responsibility as The Indie Navigator to share valuable resources with my friends, followers and clients, I would be completely remiss if one of the first of those weren’t Sandy. She is kind, generous and genuinely an expert in her topic. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also got a great sense of humor!
But what really makes Sandy special is that she understands that authors are people who fall all along the continuum from longtime-published with a good grasp of the power and value of public relations and how to use it, to still-struggling-to-get-published writers who nevertheless understand that they need to get up to speed on this important promotional tool. And she caters to us all with patience and understanding, talking us all up, and talking down to none. If you’ve been in this business a while, you know that particular blend of attributes is kind of hard to come by.
What’s fantastic is that you can avail yourself of Sandy’s expertise through a free subscription to her Build Book Buzz newsletter, which will be emailed directly to your inbox, and she even gives you some freebies just for signing up. I’ve been getting her newsletter for years now, and one thing I can tell you is she never sends junk. Even when she sends the occasional post promoting an upcoming event or new product, I’m always glad to get it, because I know it’s an opportunity for me to learn something really valuable to my career as an author, at a reasonable price. You can sign up by simply typing your email address into the field in the middle of her home page.
Just FYI, I don’t have any affiliate relationship with Sandy and I won’t get any kickbacks from this post. In fact, she doesn’t even know I’m writing it. I just really believe in the value of her knowledge and know how much it’s helped me through the years, and I want to share it with you. Below, I’ve listed five tips from Sandy in helping to promote yourself and your books, including links I added. I’ve updated them a bit to allow for changes since she first shared them, but the substance is the same. Enjoy!
- Use Google and Twitter alerts to monitor conversations about your area of expertise. (Remember, you don’t have to write nonfiction to have topic expertise.) When you learn about a development that you can comment on, contact the media outlets in that community by telephone or e-mail. UPDATE: It appears Google has dropped support for its Alerts tool and those in the know expect that this longtime favorite resource will soon disappear. I suggest you check out alternatives.
- Use those same alerts to learn which reporters are covering your topic. Send an e-mail introducing yourself and offering to become a resource as needed. Follow them on social media; re-tweet some of their content so that they see it and begin to recognize and remember your name.
- Use your website to showcase your topic expertise. Update your bio; add relevant content so that you get found in online searches.
- Once you’ve done even one interview on the topic, add a link to the interview to your website, preferably in a dedicated newsroom area. As you do more, add those links whenever possible. Reporters are more likely to contact you for an interview when they see that you’re familiar with the process and that you’re quotable.
- Be pro-active. Look for those opportunities to contribute to the media conversations on your topic.
I’m going to add a bonus tip: Make sure to avail yourself of the plethora of great information on Sandy’s Resources page! Just another example of her true generosity in helping us all be better promoters of our books and our author careers, so don’t miss them!