Saturday, June 19, 2010

How to Get Noticed

Could the young woman in the photograph be reading a review of your lastest book?

We had a special guest speaker at our Writers' Breakfast this morning. Debbie de Groot is someone who makes her living as a professional publicist. Needless to say, for a writers' group, publicity is a very hot topic, and our guest was well-peppered with questions. We all wanted to know the secret to getting our books noticed by the media, in order to reach our intended readers.

There are over 300,000 books published in Canada every year. If that's not mind-boggling enough, just imagine all those authors trying to get attention, counting on the media to get the word out.

It would be too expensive for most of us to go out and hire a publicist. To give us an idea of what a publisher might budget for publicity, Debbie told us it's about one dollar per copy. For a print run of 3000 copies, the publicity budget would be around 3000 dollars.

So what can an author do to increase her chances of getting an interview, or an article written about her book? Debbie says we need first to decide who our reader is. Is it a 14-year-old girl, a middle-aged woman who loves to quilt? What is her demographic? Then, we have to decide how best to reach her. There are four major channels of communication: TV, radio, print, and online.

The most important thing for us as writers to decide is what it is that we want to tell the reader about this book of ours. And we need to be able to do it in 30 seconds. Any longer, Debbie says, and the reader has lost interest.

So, that's my homework for the weekend. What can I say, in 30 seconds, that will make someone so eager to read Growing Up Ivy, that they will go out and buy a copy?

Till next time.
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