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Author shares 5 tips for getting book publicity

Today’s guest blogger is novelist Michael Murphy. A full-time  author and part-time urban chicken rancher, Michael lives in  Arizona with his wife of 40 years, two cats, four dogs, and  five chickens who produce a steady supply of cholesterol. Learn more about Michael and his books at http://mjmurphy.com/. Check out his blog, too.

Author shares 5 tips for getting book publicity

By Michael Murphy

Authors ask me all the time about how I’ve managed to obtain so much media coverage for my novels. When my last novel, Scorpion Bay, came out in 2011, the Arizona Republic and the Glendale/Peoria Times interviewed me. I also appeared on the highest-rated morning news program in Phoenix, “Good Morning Arizona,” the day the book was released.

Ever-expanding social media outlets remain a crucial part of establishing a brand and reaching readers, but don’t overlook media coverage just because it can be time-consuming and frustrating. In spite of the apparent demise of the print media, even small local newspapers can reach thousands of people.  Compare that to the number of Facebook followers you have.

And, as Emeril used to say, if it was easy, they’d all be doing it.

Try these local media publicity ideas

Here are five publicity tips that have worked for me as part of an overall marketing and promotion campaign.

  1. The release of your book is not news. More than a million books are published annually in the U.S. alone. Chances are you agonized for more than a year over every word in your novel. You may have spent another year waiting for your book’s release. Sorry, but to the media, it’s not news.
  2. Identify what makes you or your book newsworthy. Before the release of Scorpion Bay, I arranged with the owner of Dillons Restaurant at the real Scorpion Bay at Lake Pleasant, Ariz., to have a launch party at the restaurant. A Scorpion Bay launch party at the real Scorpion Bay became the hook that resulted in the newspaper and coverage mentioned above.
  3. Cultivate the media. Follow reporters on Facebook and Twitter. Compliment them on their columns or news coverage when warranted and leave comments on the online editions. Along these lines, because the lead character in Scorpion Bay is a Phoenix newscaster, local TV personality Scott Pasmore of “Good Morning Arizona” helped with the research.  He asked me to let him know when the novel came out . . . the result was my “GMA” appearance.  The timing — the morning of the launch party — was perfect.
  4. Reporters love e-mail. Unsolicited press kits often go unread and phone calls might not be returned, but e-mails can quickly and professionally summarize your book and the reason you’re contacting them (the hook). E-mail addresses are often added to newspaper articles and columns. Find, save, and cherish them.
  5. Update and maintain your media list. Does anyone in your local media review books, interview authors, or write about the subject matter of your book?  Add them to your list.

Did the media coverage help me establish my brand and result in sales?  Without a doubt.  I sold more than 50 copies of Scorpion Bay in two hours at my launch event. More than half said they attended after reading about the event in the newspaper or seeing me on television. More than a year later, people still mention the television interview.

Use these five tips. I’m using them for my return to Woodstock novel, Goodbye Emily with hopes of similar outcomes.

What publicity tactics have worked for you? Please comment and share!

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  1. Great tips! I, too, cultivated a reporter at my local newspaper who did a spread on my book when it came out. Another tip is to try to link the release with a special event of holiday. Since my novel, “Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever,” is about enduring female friendship, I did a lot of publicity just before National Girlfriends Day, which is August 1st. It also helps to offer to donate a portion of the proceeds to a related charity (I chose the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Fund) for all book purchased on a specific day. Both things worked for me.

    1. These are great tips, Judith! Thanks for sharing. What did you do for National Girlfriends Day? (It’s the perfect holiday for your book!)


  2. Some of the publicity around the book’s release said, “In recognition of National Girlfriends Day, author Judith Marshall has written Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever, as a tribute to enduring female friendship.” I also suggested the book as a great girlfriend gift in recognition the special day.

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