Book publishing is more than just writing and producing books; it is also about selling them. Selling books requires a host of skills, including marketing, promotion, and public relations. Yes, public relations—PR for short.
At its most basic level, public relations is managing the flow of information from an entity (a company, organization, or an individual) to the public. As in the case of authors, the goal of this flow of information is to increase awareness of a book, both published and soon to be published. The intent is to produce interest in the ultimate purpose of generating sales. In between awareness and sales, lies intermediary goals such as sparking dialogue, fueling a buzz, encouraging word-of-mouth promotion, and even the hope of the campaign going viral, all of which is publicity.
When people think of PR, they think of the time-honored press release. But a press release is just that: it’s the start; it’s not the end. There is also advertising, interviews, email marketing, influencing the influencers, networking, book signings, book tours, and so on.
Though selling books and PR is more the concern of the self-published author, it also comes into play with traditionally published books. Publishers expect authors to promote their books, and often the publisher’s PR department’s budget for the book allows little more than sending out a press release.
Here are some general articles about public relations. Though many are geared to business, the principles apply to individuals, including authors and their books. When considering these articles, remember: being an author is a business, your book is your product, and you are a brand.
- Four Vital Keys to a Successful Publicity Campaign
- PR and Small Business: Four Practical Parallels
- Why Your Last PR Campaign Failed: And How to Ensure Success in the Future
- Your Staff is Your Best Publicity Asset
While most authors will not master the art of public relations, a little bit of knowledge goes a long way.
Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.