Meet The Press: Shrewd Tips for Book Publicity

Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.

shutterstock_66133597Ebooks are available up to four months earlier than their print counterparts. Those digital editions can be delivered to the media for review or story research very swiftly and without the delays of printing and shipping. And, professional readers can easily have hundreds of digital titles available at once on their screen.

Despite these conveniences, not all reviewers and journalists want digital copies, according to Sandra Poirier-Diaz, president of Smith Publicity, a book promotion and marketing services agency that’s clients regularly appear on prominent television and radio shows and are consistently featured in well-regarded print publications also.

Knowing who prefers a digital copy and who wants the hardcover can go along way to getting the right books in the hands of the right professional reader.

Digital or Print
Meeting the press halfway between digital and print means knowing who wants what. And while that may come down to individual preference, Poirier-Diaz shared some trends that the publicists at Smith have observed.

“Faster deadline media, such as online news [sites]” that publish author interviews or will be requesting expert commentary from an author generally want ebooks. Digital review copies are also more often requested for nonfiction titles, which tend to get media placement in feature stories rather than book reviews.

By contrast, professional readers requesting novels, explained Poirier-Diaz, are likely to prefer hardcopies. A notable exception: romance titles, like those published by Smith Publicity client Ellora’s Cave. Ebooks make reading less public and perhaps reviewers prefer not to broadcast that their work is to read romance, surmised Poirier-Diaz.

Related: DBW’s interview with Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher at Ellora’s Cave

Word to the Wise
“Don’t put the media through gymnastics” to get a digital copy, warns Poirier-Diaz.

An eARC must be simple to access. Know how many clicks away the media is from reading an advanced reader copy and minimize the barriers to access. NetGalley is a fairly stress-free platform, according to Poirier-Diaz. Platforms where readers need to take multiple steps (downloading an app, getting a unique code for each title, etc.) might be the difference between a title being reviewed and never being read.

The Publicity Perspective
Publishers, authors and editors can also consider the publicity perspective before any writing begins.

Poirier-Diaz shared 5 questions professionals should ask to determine the publicity goals and prospects for a title. I’ve paraphrased those questions here:

• Why is the book being written?
• Who is the prospective reader?
• What content will tease that reader into wanting to know more about the author, the topic, the characters?
• Where (in the media) would you like to see the author speak or the book be reviewed?
• What content appeals to that media / those consumers?

Image Credit: journalist image via Shutterstock

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