"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
Today a publicist chimes in with some great advice:
Know that you are your book's own best publicist. Approach your book like that from the very beginning and invite your publishing team to join you. It begins with a proposal that shows you've been thinking about how you can promote your book. But it doesn't end there. In terms of publicity once your book is published, there are three key things to keep in mind:
1) Audience- Start early by cultivating an audience of readers interested in books like yours and ways to communicate them--facebook, twitter, blogs--all those things are free or available to you at a very low cost.
2) Hook- Promoting a fiction novel is much more than just delivering a book report. Whether talking to a member of the media or an interested reader, they want to know what makes this book interesting and worth their time to read. If your book has a strong tie to current news or trends, it widens the number of media who will be interested in that hook. A good hook also provides multiple ways to enter into the content of the book. I've seen a number of fiction novels with great hooks for media interviews that help draw readers in. For example, one author's spent 25 years researching the biblical and historical world of a Bible character before writing her first novel, while another author had a character who used advances in a specific field of science to solve crimes, so in both cases, having these hooks added to the story of the novel and made good material for an interview.
3) Timing- Beginning to understand the timeline of a book's life will be critical. For PR, we begin working with your book at some level around 6 months before the book's release. Some blog tour reservations and media opportunities need to have a book in their pipeline that far in advance. But having buzz or media too far out can also hurt the book. For example, if someone you know offers to do an interview or review of the book earlier than the month of release, this can backfire, something many authors I've talked with don't understand. If the book is not out in stores when people are alerted to it and go looking for it, they will often forget about it and the impulse purchase you worked so hard for is lost. It's far better to try and cluster as much media as possible in first month or at most two after release.
--Deonne Beron, publicity manager, Baker Publishing Group. Visit Baker online at their website.