How to boost your nonfiction book with a PR campaign

Please welcome expert PR coach Laura Perkes of PR With Perkes – sharing her advice on the best ways to get publicity for a new nonfiction book. Over to Laura … 

Now that the hard work of writing the book is over it’s time for the fun to begin, to elevate your expertise and create a successful launch that will not only boost sales of your book but will inspire people to make the life-changing decisions to take them from stuck to unstuck.

As you know, words are incredibly powerful.

They take the reader on a journey and help them come to terms with whatever challenges they’re facing or experiencing.

No doubt you’ve written your book from a place of experience or expertise. I’m guessing that you’re either qualified in the subject you’ve written about and therefore wish to help others improve their lives. OR, you’ve written your book to document something you’ve personally experienced and want to help others navigate those tricky times, when it seems that there’s no hope and no way out.

Either way your mission is to inspire, to create change and make an impact on the reader.

A carefully curated PR campaign can position your book on the ‘must-read’ list of so many publications, or your expertise can be used during a radio, TV, or podcast interview. Getting in the media is one of the only ways to tap into an audience of hundreds, thousands, if not millions of readers who are looking for the solution that you provide.

As an author, your gift lies in writing, but by following these simple rules you can also become a PR pro and get in the media with ease.

Getting in the media is as simple as following a recipe.

You simply need access to the process that will turn a list of ingredients into something to be proud of.

It’s also all about connection. You want to connect with their readers/listeners/viewers, their pain point and how you have a solution for them that really will move them from surviving to thriving.

When you contact the press, you’re simply inviting them to experience what you offer and share it with their readers/listeners/viewers.

How it works

Have you ever been to a restaurant that you’ve been so impressed with that you’ve told all your friends and family to go there? That’s exactly what PR does. It raises your profile so that more people can experience what you offer.

Building momentum will also help you hit the sweet spot. Being featured in one publication is incredibly exciting and will help to boost your profile, but what we want is for you and your book to be featured in several publications so that you gain more exposure and naturally gain credibility as the person responsible from moving people from A to B.

The following steps will break down the PR process into simple, actionable techniques that will help you to raise your profile, elevate your expertise and boost book sales.

Create a Press Kit

A press kit is usually a one or two-page document that provides a snapshot of you, your book and the topics it covers. It provides journalists with all the information they need in one handy document.

A press kit can be developed using free tools such as Canva, such as the example below. Or, if you’d prefer to outsource it to a designer then you’ll be able to find one on sites such as Fivrr.

The press kit should include:

  • The cover of your book
  • The topic of your book
  • A testimonial that someone has provided who has read your book
  • 3-5 bullet points focusing on what the book includes or the journey it takes the reader on
  • Your author bio and a picture of you
  • Contact details so that journalists know how to get in touch with you
  • You can also include your social media handles so that they can do more research on you

It’s all about your target audience

The one mistake that many authors and entrepreneurs make is forgetting that it’s not about them, it’s about the person they wrote the book for, or the situation they want them to move out of.

When getting in the media and securing press coverage you need to think about your target audience and what they’re reading/watching/listening to. That’s where you need to be seen.

For example: You’ve written a book about your experience of being in a narcissistic relationship and it’s aimed at women aged 40+. This means that you need to target publications/TV shows/radio shows/ podcasts that are also aimed at this audience. Think; The Daily Mail, Daily Express, Woman & Home, Red magazine, Platinum, Psychologies etc.

Spend some time getting really clear on who your target audience is on a deeper level.

Become a research ninja

Once you’ve identified the publications/TV shows/radio shows/podcasts that are read/watched/listened to by your target audience you can then do some further research into what they’re looking for.
**Do they feature book reviews?
**Do they write about new book launches?
**Do they include expert comment from authors in specific features?

Once you’ve figured this out you can then look to see if they’re written about books in your genre and when they last did this. This will help you to personalise your PR pitch. Make a note of the journalist that collates the books section so that you know who to pitch to.

Personalise your PR pitch

It’s easy to get carried away with trying to automate your emails, especially if you have a long list of journalists to pitch to, but it’s one of the biggest no-no’s when it comes to PR.

If an email pitch hasn’t been personalised then journalists will spot it a mile off and will be more inclined to hit the delete button as you haven’t made any effort to connect with them and start a conversation. Yes, it takes time, but the extra effort is worth it as it helps you to get a foot in the door and get noticed.

For example: Blanket approach, un-personalised email pitch

Hi (insert name), my new book (insert book title) has just launched and I’d love to be included in your next book column. It has been written to inspire women to leave an emotionally abusive, narcissistic relationship, based on my own experiences.

The book launches on (insert date), retails at (insert price). And can be purchased from (insert shops/website link).

For example: Personalised email pitch

Hi (insert name) I’ve been following your column for a while and notice that you like to champion first-time, non-fiction authors, to inspire your readers to overcome overwhelm/tragedy/adversity. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for over 20 years, but finally made the decision to get help and figure out a way out, to protect my sanity and our two children.

As such, I’ve written (insert book title) which documents my story. I’ve written it to help inspire other women who are experiencing something similar and feel as though they have nowhere to turn.

The book launches on (insert date) retails at (insert price) and can be purchased from (insert shop name/website link).

#PR TIP: Use social media to follow the journalists you wish to pitch to. This will help you to personalise your email if you can mention something that links you together; “I’ve seen your recent post on Instagram and can totally relate! On another note (introduce your book and why it’s relevant to their audience)”

Fortune is in the follow-up

Very few email pitches are picked up on the first attempt, which means that your fortune lies in the hands of your follow-up skills. It’s not enough to ask ‘did you receive my email’, you need to be smarter than that and give them a reason to reply.

Follow-up email number one should include something more than what you offered in your original email. Perhaps offer to send them a copy of your book, or suggest an interview with you so that they can find out more about what inspired you to write a book.

Follow-up email number two should be a bit more blunt; ‘I know you’re really busy so this will be the last time I email you, but I really do feel as though my book can help so many of your readers, especially as research shows that 35% of women are in a narcissistic relationship and don’t know where to turn for help.’

If you don’t hear back after your third email then leave it and move on to the next opportunity. Journalists are notoriously bad at keeping you up to date with their intentions as they really are so incredibly busy. It may be that they file your email for another time and simply forget to tell you. Keep in touch and give them another reason to feature you; perhaps share a testimonial from a reader to show how your book has helped them.

Pester power does not work with journalists, so please don’t spam their inbox every day, or even every week.

If you have something new to say then share it, but don’t bombard them.

How annoyed do you get when you receive emails in your inbox that you haven’t signed up for, or are irrelevant to you? That’s exactly how journalists feel if you constantly send them emails that they haven’t asked for.

Maximise opportunities

This is a part of the PR puzzle that very few PRs will tell you about, because their focus is on achieving coverage. But seeing your book or your expertise appear in print/on TV/radio/podcasts is just the start. You then need to make the PR coverage work harder for you.

You need to share it on social media, to your email list and even on your blog. This demonstrates to your existing followers that you’re relevant, in demand and credible. And chances are they already know this, but showcasing your PR coverage will just cement your position as the incredible author you are.

If you follow these steps and spend some time getting really clear on who you’re talking to and the message you want to share then getting in the media will be a straightforward system that you can follow every time you have a new book to promote, or if you simply want to share your expertise with a wider audience.

Laura Perkes is a PR Coach and the founder of boutique PR agency, PR with Perkes. She has 15 years’ experience, having graduated from university in 2004 with a degree in Public Relations and Media Studies. She works with authors, entrepreneurs and coaches to help them connect to their message and empower them to use their voice and share their message to inspire others, by getting in the media.




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