• mikelmiller09

How one author gets PR from podcasts and news media and blogs

Getting lots of favorable PR for a book launch can be the most difficult part of writing and publishing and promoting the book.

Financial journalist Andrew Hallam, an author I follow, has been working for six months to generate PR surrounding the January 18 release of his newest book Balance: How to Invest and Spend for Happiness, Health, and Wealth.

It’s more difficult than he expected. That’s even with his history of three successful books and an international following that has rewarded him with enthusiastic audiences and speaking fees since the first book in 2014.

He’s sharing his current PR experiences with members of a private Facebook writers group I help manage, and he agreed to let me excerpt some parts for this blog post. Here’s some of what he posted in the group:

“The writing and promoting process has been fun, frustrating, thrilling, embarrassing, and sometimes humiliating. I don't know if the book will sell. But if you write a book and want people to discover it, this is what I think you'll need, in order of importance:

#1 You need emotional support from friends and family. The process is difficult.

#2 You need luck.

#3 You need to get as many people excited about your book as possible BEFORE and immediately after it launches.

#4 You need to write a good book.

“None of us can control the luck factor. I spent a lot of time researching and writing Balance. But I have already spent almost an equal amount of time promoting it.

“So far, I have scheduled or recorded 40 interviews (radio, podcasts, etc.) that will be released shortly before or shortly after the book is released. To schedule such a high number requires time, patience, and a lot of humility. I likely asked about 350 radio/podcasters, one at a time, with a personal approach.

“Plenty of people slammed doors in my face. Others just ignored me. It was a good lesson for me never to ignore anyone, even if I have to say, "No" to a request. It takes so much courage to ask, and we can easily be broken. My confidence broke several times. But my wife picked me up.

“I paid money to Podmatch (an online service that is supposed to help you find interviews) but it didn't work, so I canceled the subscription after one month. I also worked hard to get excerpts of my book published in three major newspapers (Canada's National Post, Canada's Globe and Mail, and Dubai's The National.)

“I convinced two personal finance magazines to publish excerpts. One personal finance writer asked if I would be interested in having an excerpt of my book published on his website/blog. But I faced more rejection than success here, too.

“I then begged a Globe and Mail reporter to profile me with a written Q&A online. And while I couldn't get a Globe and Mail reporter to profile my book, I did manage to slip a mention of my book (with permission) into a story I wrote for the Globe and Mail, to be published near my book's release date.

“I also asked at least 130 bloggers to write about my book. About 10 of them agreed to do so.

"I asked about 50 friends and readers to write (mostly verified purchase) reviews on Amazon shortly after it's released. Social proof, like this, goes a long way. I want to thank every one of you who agreed to do this. And I will thank you each, individually.

“I created a pre-launch, promotional give-away (for a chapter of my book and a couple of other free things) on my website.

“I'll continue seeking media exposure for at least two months after the launch date. It's suggested we keep going (for about one year) but I am getting tired of self-promoting. It requires thicker skin than I have.”

Every successful author I know tries to get PR before the release date to boost initial sales rankings and attract favorable reviews. Authors with traditional publishers, academic presses, or small presses often get some help from the publisher for a limited time.

For his latest book, Hallam is getting marketing suggestions from his hybrid publisher. And he’s spending several hours every day personally pursuing PR on an international scale. If anybody can make it work, I believe he can.

Disclosure: I know Hallam and I’ve followed him online for about four years. I read the chapter he sent from the pre-publication manuscript. And I pre-ordered the Kindle version so I can post an honest review after Amazon delivers it to my iPad and I read the entire book.


Personal perspective: For four books I helped publish as managing editor of a small press in San Diego, I worked with the authors to arrange PR for the launch and a few weeks afterward. The PR they received helped with initial sales at in-person book launches and produced some early Amazon reviews—both of which boosted online sales.

The small press paid for publicity from Kirkus Reviews for one of the books, which resulted in a starred review I used in the Amazon description. A monthly print magazine in the Guadalajara area where the three authors lived published favorable articles profiling the authors and the books. An online publication about Mexico did the same.

A weekly English-language newspaper in Guadalajara published a pre-release review for one of the books and covered the official book launch event where the author signed first-edition print copies.

However, magazines and newspapers in southern California were not interested in launch publicity. TV interviews were not possible because the authors lived far away in Mexico. We didn’t try to get radio interviews. Back then, I didn’t know how to approach book bloggers or podcasters for recorded interviews.

Yeah, I understand why Hallam says he is getting tired of self-promoting. Getting PR surrounding a book launch isn’t easy. But it’s necessary and worth the effort.

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