Publicity for Buzz Marketing for Authors

Congratulations, you've written a book and even gotten it published! Now, all you have to do is get people to buy it. Getting people to actually enter a bookstore with the purpose of buying your book is not easy because you're not a "brand name" yet. But you do have a potent weapon at your command-- the telephone. Use it.

Call the editor of the books section of your paper. Say you'd like to send a copy to him or her. Ask if he has a few minutes so you can briefly tell him about the book on the phone. After you send the book, give her a chance to read or at least glance at it, then call again.

If you can possibly tie the book to something in the news, that's great. Let's say you wrote Cooking with Chocolate and the health section of your paper has an article on the health benefits of chocolate. Call editors and reporters in the health, food and book sections.

If there's a human interest reporter or columnist, call and then send them a copy of the book. Human interest reporters can usually write on anything that interests them. Try to interest them in you. What did you do before you wrote the book and why did you write it? Do you have eight children and wrote it at your kitchen table every morning between 2:00 and 5:00 am? Did you gain 20 pounds writing the book? Or, did you lose 20--proving that chocolate really isn't fattening?

Call the assignment editors at television news programs. Frequently, if there's an interesting hook, they will interview you. Track down book shows on radio and television and call the producers.

Don't be afraid to make the phone calls and don't believe someone when he says he'll get back to you. He won't. The person who has the most to gain (you, in this case) has to make the call. Too often people are afraid to call. Ask yourself what's the worst that can happen. They'll say no, right? Editors are not going to gather menacingly on your doorstep or come after you with garlic and torches. They'll say no. Can you live with that? Of course, you can, so call.

Put on a comfortable pair of shoes, gather up copies of the book and hit the pavement. Stop in at every small bookstore and beg to leave copies. I assume you've already called the biggies. Offer to appear to talk bout and read from your book 9or doi a mini-seminar.

You've got to do things to create a buzz. The author of the aforementioned book on chocolate could give away chocolate bars with each copy. Or slices of cake she made (recipe in the book) during her appearance in the bookstore. It wouldn't be a bad idea to drop off a cake with the book in the newsrooms.

Don't forget retailers. They might agree to do a window around your book. I once got a prominent jeweler to do a window with diamonds falling out of toe shoes and copies of the book, written by a dancer, displayed.

Miriam Silverberg is president of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a publicity firem in New York City. Listed in Who's Who of American Women, she has publicized authors, restaurants, hotels, New York City Ballet and people in the fashion, beauty and medical fields. She is a guest on the publicity panel at Marymount Manhattan College's seminar for writers.

She may be reached at silverbergm@iopener.net.

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