It is hard to believe that it is almost August, which means that summer will soon be coming to an end. For families, it will mean back to busy school routines and various practices. For others, it will mean back to their usual routine with a change of wardrobe.
But what most authors and publishers forget as seasons change is that for much of the media, they are already planning their Spring or even next Fall’s issues. The pictures and stories in major magazines might be staged but they might be taken NOW to use NEXT SUMMER. When authors call me in July to talk about their holiday-themed book and I tell them it is too late for this year for most of the media, they don’t want to believe me.
That is why when you are still writing or editing your book, you need to be thinking about publicity and marketing. You need to look at a calendar and plot backwards and do a lot of research.
This past May was the official release of Kylie’s Special Treat: A Food Allergy Fairy Tale by Letizia Barbetta. We picked May to tie-in with the 15th annual Food Allergy Awareness Week that was May 13-19. And because the author/publisher had decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Kylie’s Special Treat to the non-profit Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, which seeks to advance research on behalf of those affected by food allergies and anaphylaxis. We began talking with Letizia (Second Street Publishing LLC) a YEAR BEFORE and then set deadlines for when we would need galleys, releases, etc. Meanwhile, as I assembled the list of media to contact, I made note of their lead times. So in February, I was pitching the major magazines and then it ran on from there through releases and books to bloggers in early May.
As the result of our careful planning and sending out to the media at the appropriate time, the book got coverage in national magazines such as Today’s Health & Nutrition and Taste for Life, regional magazines including Carolina Parenting, New Jersey Family and Edmonton’s Child. In May, there was a nice article in the New York Daily News, a great review at ReviewedByMom.com, an interview on NBC’s TODAY in New York, and more. You can see some of the coverage at http://ksblinks.com/reviews.htm?id=154 and http://kyliesspecialtreat.com/in-the-news.
What’s next? It might be a ready-to-use article to send out to bloggers and others about food allergies and back to school issues. Plus there are many other media opportunities for this book and will continue to be for years.
Let the calendar be a starting place LONG BEFORE you plan your official release of a book. Some, like a Christmas book, might have only a short window each year. Others, like a cookbook, have unlimited angles with Spring salads, Summer cookouts, Fall/harvest recipes, and Winter soups. And that can be broken down much further with the help of online or library resources like Chase’s Calendar of Events where you can find National Blueberry Week or Hug a Tree Day and thousands of other events that might make a perfect hook to get the media to pay attention NOW rather than set it aside for another time. The other side of that is the research of what media need what when. Then you can meld the two and have a plan in place.
So enjoy the rest of your summer, but on one of those rainy days, take time to do your publicity planning for the next year, finding topics and appropriate media, and charting it all out so you will get the most coverage possible.
It is critical to do all this planning, but also be ready to jump on a news topic that may fit into what you can share. E-coli found in spinach? Offer food editors great substitution recipes that are just as tasty and healthful. This summer’s heat wave should have been the perfect time for stay cool ideas. You get the idea.
Kate Siegel Bandos has been doing book publicity for more than 40 years, the past 24 on a freelance basis from KSB Promotions (http://www.ksbpromotions.com). Over the years she has worked with thousands of books and authors, and can’t imagine how many media contacts she has made during that time. It still amazes her when she realizes she makes a living reading and working with books – the things she loves most (after her family).