The definition of Public Relations in business is “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and the public”
In the past my focus has been on book marketing, which did include how to reach potential readers with blogs, social media and as part of the writing community. Whilst this recycled series will revisit those platforms along the way it is an opportunity to focus on some key areas of our public profiles that might influence the public to buy our books.
The focus this time is on you.. the author.
Last week I featured author biographies and I shared some tips that help to make you stand out from the ever growing number of authors on Amazon: Who are you? And why should I buy your book?
Part Three – Hitting the Red Carpet
Just imagine you are invited to the Oscars and are going to be photographed and interviewed on the red carpet by a reporter from Entertainment today about your latest book and what is coming up next for you. I am laying bets you would not be turning up in ripped jeans and dirty t-shirt without a bit of attention to your hair and beard if you have one!
You are an author and part of the arts and entertainment industry. Whether you have written one book or twenty, readers have an expectation of a bit of dazzle when they meet you for the first time on your Amazon author pages, Goodreads, on your own blog, on social media and certainly when the red carpet is rolled out for you as a guest on someone else’s website.
Over the last two weeks, I hope the ideas I have shared about your profile photograph and biography have helped you shape your public persona. The great thing about our virtual world is that in most cases, your guest spots are online and the fact you are writing your post, or your interview questions in your pajamas, is not going to be noticed as all the readers will see is your immaculate online presence.
The Value of Guest Posts
Just a reminder; with 20,000 new ebooks each week on Amazon, the arrival of your own release may go largely unnoticed unless you do some pre-marketing and post- marketing for the book.
- If you are doing guest appearances ahead of your book launch always work in your WIP with an approximate date… don’t be too specific and add pressure on yourself unless you are almost at the end of the process.
- Do a cover reveal once it is completed on social media and your blog with a blurb.
- Many authors choose to upload their books to Amazon once the ISBN or the ASIN has been assigned and put on pre-order at a special price to entice readers to buy before the launch date. If that is the case share on your blog/website and social media, particularly in any writer/reader book groups you belong to. (You can let me know too The Smorgasbord Bookshelf
- Ask for advance readers for your book so there will be reviews available shortly after the book is released. Reviews sell books and the opinion of four or five people you know well enough to ask is gold dust. If they can upload to Amazon that is great but certainly Goodreads is ideal. If they can feature the book on their blog it is fantastic.
- If you are planning a blog book tour for your new release plan in advance, and if you have several guest spots in the diary it is a good idea to spread them out over a period of weeks to extend your marketing honeymoon period.
- As part of the writing community it is likely many of the same readers will see your post each time it is shared. To keep their interest, share something different in each of the posts, perhaps the background to individual characters, a short excerpt, the inspiration for the story. If the posts are all identical readers will lose interest and may not buy the book.
- Check out the submission guidelines for those bloggers who host guest posts and feature author interviews. It is a good idea to send them an email or contact them via their forms on their blogs to ask if they would be happy to feature you.
- Follow the submission details to the letter. Remember this guest post or interview is marketing your skills and talent as an author and you should edit as carefully as you did your book.
How to be the perfect guest
- Your guest post does not just reflect on you, but on your host too. They will go to a great deal of trouble to make you look good and they will want their readers to enjoy the post.
- You are looking great, you have created expectations with your author biography, the cover of your book and the early reviews… now you have to live up to the hype.
- It is a good idea for a guest post, not to talk just about you and your talents. You are a storyteller, so tell a story. It can be about your journey to publish, an amusing encounter that inspired the story, what you love about writing in your genre, an element of the writing and marketing process you believe is vital for any book etc.
- Whatever it is you are writing about, it needs to confirm to the reader that if your guest post is this good, it is worth exploring your books too.
- Provide everything the host has asked for, and it is a good idea to prepare a media sheet to send with your guest post or interview which includes your biography, Amazon Links or universal link, Goodreads link, Blog or Website and two or three of your key social media. To be honest more than that and people are not likely to click anyway.
- If you have more than one book prepare a compilation of thumbnail size covers in one image. There are a number of photo montage sites and research to find one that suits your needs.
- Attach your latest book cover separately. Don’t send massive files by email. Adjust the size of your cover photo to medium.
- Attach your author photograph – clear, engaging, not blurry when in a smaller size – Author profile photos
- Attach your edited guest post or interview answers.
- With the interview questions please be creative. The idea is to engage your readers and demonstrate your writing credentials. One sentence answers don’t cut it. Some hosts will ask for a minimum or maximum word count for questions, and I for example look for a minimum of 200/250 per question. On the other hand more than 500 is too many especially if there is 10 questions.
- Respond to all comments on your post individually. It is time well spent as it will win the hearts and minds of the readers of the post, who are also the potential readers of your book. This applies to all posts where you feature particularly when a reader has posted a review for your book on their blog, and is key in building your standing in the writing community. Not responding to comments is noticed, and next time you are a guest you will find there is less interaction, which is not good for selling books.
- If you have a blog then it is a good idea to reblog the post in one form or another after a couple of days with a link back to the original post.
- Share the post on all your own social media and if you have a Twitter account it is a nice gesture to pin a tweet from the original post for a few days tagging your host.
- Pop in to the post over the following week if you have not clicked the notification button so you don’t miss any.
The benefits of being a host.
- Hosting other authors is not just an interesting way to meet like-minded people but offers a great source of books to read!
- It helps if you have an established network of blog and social media so you can offer a guest a certain amount of publicity. Combined with their promotional efforts on their own network, you will both find a new audience for each other’s work.
- If you host a guest post and or an author interview a week you don’t have to worry about finding your own content, which as an author can be time consuming. Your guest does most of the work and whilst time is needed to format and promote it is a great way to encourage more readers to your site.
- Hosting other authors and promoting their work has a knock on effect on your own. It establishes you in the writing community and it is important to remember, authors within that community are readers too. In fact for most of us they are a key marketplace for our books and subsequent reviews. Even with the most elaborate marketing plans and budgets, it is personal recommendations that are often the most effective.
- If you have not hosted others before then head over to bloggers who do offer guest spots and interviews and get some ideas. For example Christopher Graham, The Story Reading Ape is a wonderful place to be a guest and you can find out more:The Story Reading Ape – Guest post options
During the year there are a number of opportunities to be a guest here on Smorgasbord either in a promotional series such as New book on the Shelves for your new releases or, Posts from the Archives and Author Interviews all of which are hopefully a fun way to get noticed.
If you offer guest spots or author interviews please leave the links to your submission guidelines or contact details in the comments.
©Sally Cronin 2023
About Sally Cronin
Sally Cronin is the author of sixteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb, first published in 2001. This has been followed by another fifteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry.
As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities on her blog and across her social media. The Smorgasbord Bookshelf
Her podcast shares book reviews, poetry and short stories Sally Cronin Soundcloud
After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.
Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask… Sally.