By Stacey J. Miller, Book Publicist
S. J. Miller Communications
Your next book publicity opportunity might be waiting for you in the headlines. Here’s what I mean by that. No author or publisher or book publicist — no human being on the planet, for that matter — wants to read or hear bad news. No one is wishing bad news on the world at large, and no one is hoping for catastrophes or disasters to hit our loved ones or ourselves, either. But, sometimes, bad things happen that, as an author, ties into your book.
When that happens — when there’s a convergence between the news and your book — and your expertise can help inform people, that’s the time for you to crank up your book publicity machine. If you’re lucky enough to be working with a book publicist, then your book publicist should see the opportunity, too. In fact, the best book publicists will see the news hook, as it’s called, even before you see it. You might be focusing on the news event itself and, along with the rest of the world, you might be running through the usual reactions ranging from horror to anger to hope.
However, the best book publicists will see that your perspective could help the media report the story. While the news story is on the front burner — that is, while it’s still a breaking news story — or even in the aftermath of a news event, your book publicist will be pitching the media that are certain to be interested in someone with your credentials, background, and expertise.
In other words, your book publicist should be eager to leverage the news event as a book publicity opportunity for you, as an author and as an expert. And, if you happen to be working with a book publicist who doesn’t immediately see the connection between the news story and your book and your expertise, then it’s crucial for you to let your book publicist know that this is the time to pitch you to the media. Book publicists should have the flexibility to depart from their paper book publicity plan, and even from your contractual agreement, when a book publicity opportunity arises. Your book publicist, in fact, is supposed to care about your book publicity project as much as you do.
And, if you’re working with a book publicist who would fails to see a connect between — for example — a stabbing rampage by a student at a Pittsburgh-area high school and your book, The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know, then I’d contend you’re simply working with the wrong book publicist.
Book publicity isn’t only about book reviews, blog tours, sending out press releases, and the like (although, of course, those book publicity strategies can all be effective, as well). Book publicity campaigns also involve book publicists, or authors (or their publishers) who are promoting themselves, looking for news hooks and opportunities to speak in the media (or write op-eds pieces, articles, or blogs) about what’s unfolding all around us.
Do you see the relationship between the news headlines and your book, and your expertise, and your messages, and your book publicity campaign? Hopefully, your book publicist sees that connect, too. And, if he or she does not, then perhaps it’s time to work with a book publicist who does!