With ever more authors taking charge of their destiny each year and publishing independently, there is a heightened interest in many aspects of publishing. Editing, formatting, and cover design are essential elements besides the writing, and marketing is almost always required. Therefore, authors have many questions for book publicists these days about promoting their work and sell books. Commonly asked questions run the gamut, but some come up consistently. They generally fir into the categories of what to do (and expect) and also how to manage the situation when things go wrong.
One of the hottest topics is what to do when there is negative media coverage or a bad review of a book. First off, authors need to accept that there is no way to predict what the media will say, but you need the coverage and to seek publicity – which brings the risk of something negative. It's one of the reasons why many book PR campaigns begin locally. Testing the waters with smaller media prepares you for what to expect when going after more significant opportunities. An unfavorable article or review might show that a pitch angle needs to be modified or rephrased. Try taking your outreach in a new direction.
Another standard line of questioning is about how the success of a book PR campaign can be measured. It gets at the issue of whether book marketing is worth the expense. Publicity and mentions are essential to get out the word about a book and help target readers discover it. Without some form of promotion, it can be tricky to reach potential readers. Applying metrics to PR campaigns isn't always the best measure of their success because their effect can be felt for months or even years when people's impressions are changed or improved. Skipping a marketing program can doom you to obscurity.
Another significant author question for book publicists is about how to pitch national TV talk shows. It takes hard work, an exciting book topic, and a little luck to land a guest spot on a national TV show. When it comes to the hard work part, you need to research the shows you're pitching. If you can see on their websites that your book topic is something the show would never discuss, then move on to others where the prospects seem better. Not every book is cut out for a TV show, and many of those titles become commercially successful. Particular genres tend to do better than others.