Marketing a Book #3 The Mysterious World of Publicity and Publicists

Writing a book was challenging. Bringing it to the point of being published was a matter of time and mechanics. Seeing the book as a finished product was more exciting than I thought it would be. The next part of this author’s journey was going to be a challenge. The established author with a following sets off on this part of the journey ‘with a song in his heart and a bounce in his step’. The début author has another experience altogether.

The unknown and untested author (that’s me) has a target audience in mind which he wants to reach and not much more than that in his kit bag. He takes his first steps on a path into the unknown world of ‘putting himself and his work out there’. He walks cautiously as if he is about to walk through a minefield while marching over a bed of hot coals at the same time. On either side of his path are thousands upon thousands of books on bookstore shelves and an endless array of eBooks all clamouring for the attention of a prospective purchaser. He is in dire need of some handholding and a soothing security blanket at that moment. ENTER THE PUBLICIST!

In my case, the publishing package purchased included some great materials, like posters and business cards, flyers and bookmarks. The materials I received were beautifully prepared and gave me a professional set of publicity material. Everything was printed clearly displaying the book’s title and some distinctive portion of the book’s cover in evidence along with the necessary information to purchase it. This was the beginning of branding a newly minted author, L Alan Weiss (me again), and his book Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment.

My book looked great and those publicity materials had a very professional look and feel about them. However, it is up to me to make the best use of these materials as I can. I’ll get to my adventures as a self-publicist in a bit, but first let’s talk about some serious handholding and a comfy security blanket that came my way; not for free, of course. Nothing is ever free, but some things are definitely worth the expense.

Publicists come in two flavours; one works for you and comes at a cost, the other costs nothing but the author’s time and energy. I chose to purchase the services of a social media publicist to help me make the best use of that intricate and powerful domain of human interactions. Social media has such potential, but I lack the sophistication to make the most of it. I’m just guessing, but my social media publicist is probably 35 to 40 years younger than I, which is just perfect. He’s sure to be knowledgeable about the social media domain. He sounded enthusiastic and interested in helping me as best he can.

I purchased a twelve-week package of support, including an audit of the social media elements I already use and a social media campaign prepared during the first week of our association. Over the remaining eleven weeks of the campaign, he will monitor the effectiveness of the campaign and make appropriate adjustments as we progress. In the end, I will receive a final report on the campaign. I will report on the experience, to you my followers and readers, in the form of a post on this blog.

The real adventure in publicizing my work begins as I act as my own agent, my own ‘boots on the ground’ publicist; an impossible task without two crucial happenings. The first was so unexpected that I can only use the word “kismet” to explain it. About four months ago I was meeting with someone over coffee at a local café, when a person from my past recognizes me and stops to say hello. In the course of our brief conversation, he asked me what I’d been up to since retiring, so I told him I had been writing a book which was close to completion. “That’s interesting”, he said.

This man, who was the principal of a school where I had taught in the early 1990’s, now hosted a weekly half hour show on local cable television. He said, “Keep me updated and let me know when it is in print, I’ll interview you on my show.” And so it has come to pass that on Wednesday, March 25th the interview was recorded live to tape, for broadcast on April 2nd. What a great opportunity for me to get my agent/publicist’s feet wet. See what I mean by “Kismet”. I’ll write a review of my interview in the next post in this series.

The second happening was born out of the social media endeavour. The agency that provides the service had me complete an extensive questionnaire, including many items that forced me to discuss and describe my book in a number of ways. The effort put forth in completing the questionnaire yielded enough material for me to produce a good press release document. Hopefully, that document will generate a few more interview opportunities and some local speaking engagements.

My life as an author/agent/self-publicist will certainly provide material for more blog posts at the very least. I will continue to update my followers and new readers on my adventures.

Until the next post . . .

As always, your faithful blogger,

L Alan Weiss – Author of Through a Lens of Emptiness: Reflections on Life, Longevity and Contentment

Visit my author website at www.lalanweiss.com

Are you working with a publicist? What is your experience?

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