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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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The Power of Publicity

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 8, 2012

The Power of Publicity, Part I
Sandra Balzo, Terrie Moran, Joanne Sinchuk, Jerry Healy, moderated by Deborah Sharp

The panelists first spoke about tips for getting noticed. Sandra advises authors to determine your audience and go there. For example, her series is set a coffee shop. So she’s presented at coffee conferences, written an article in trade magazines, and done events at coffee houses.

Joanne, manager of Murder on the Beach mystery bookstore, suggests you start your publicity six months before publication date. Also six months before, begin networking, set up your website, and start participating on the social networks. Understand your audience and target your market. She cautions writers not to send glitter or confetti or chocolate in the mail to reviewers or booksellers. Also, don’t ask every blogger out there if they’ll give you a free interview spot.

It takes 3 to 5 hits to get noticed online. Terrie says to take advantage of opportunities you might not have anticipated. Always be nice. Join MWA and sisters in crime. Criminal is a community website for fans of crime fiction with over 10,000 hits per day, so check this out.

Jerry said you should hit local newspapers. Offer to speak at high schools and libraries. And don’t neglect local cable access TV.

Deborah suggested you develop a thick skin over signings where no one shows up.

And you should be syndicating your blog to other sites.

The Power of Publicity, Part 2
Joanne Campbell Slan, Nancy Cohen, Joan Hartwig, Jeffrey Marks, moderated by Linda Hengerer
Publicity Panel

We discussed what has worked for us and what has not. Joan has done book fairs and festivals and local book clubs. Jeffrey Marks, who’s written a book on marketing for writers called Intent to Sell, discussed social networking as a promotional tool. Joanne found it fun to run a party on her Facebook author page with guest author spots and giveaways.

Here are the highlights of my recent promo campaign. You can use it as a guideline for yours.

Romance Sells: $200 for an ad, sponsored by RWA to reach 6500 booksellers and librarians. Members only.

Personal Blog, Group Blogs, Blog Tour–Solicit Hosts; Determine Topics; Write Blogs; Publish Schedule; Prizes for Blog Commenters

Offer Discussion Questions for Book Clubs



Goodreads and LibraryThing giveaways
$99 for a Contest on FreshFiction and you get to keep the list of entrants
Personal Blog and Website Monthly Contests

I use for mass mailing email newsletters and have sign up widgets on my website and FB author page.

With Shear Murder, my latest mystery release, I’ve been featured in Florida Weekly, Southern Writers Magazine, and The Island Reporter. These came about through social networking or by contacting people I noticed online.

Bookmarks, flyers, postcards, Romance Trading Cards.

We discussed adding QR codes to business cards. People with smart phones can scan these and you can set them to go to your website, Amazon author page, or elsewhere.

Determine Target Reviewers, Write Query Letters, Mail ARCs, Check for Reviews, Post Quotes on your Website; Thank Reviewer.

Facebook, Twitter, Networked Blogs, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google +, and more. Does it sell books? Who knows? But it definitely gets your name out there.

Set these up four to six months in advance. Post schedule on your website and elsewhere online.

Magnets, pens, and other giveaways. It helps if they’re related to your book in some manner.

Make sure you add Buy links to your book when they become available. Refresh content often, and include some fun pages like recipes or bonus world building details for readers.

Coming Next: Editors Roundtable


22 Responses to “The Power of Publicity”

  1. terryspear said

    Hi, Nancy, great post! I base my werewolves on real wolves so actually have written some articles on real wolves, visited a wolf reserve and have blogged about it. You never know when you can take a fantastical world and make it real. I’ve had several fans send me news about wolves in their area, and shared pictures of fans’ wolf and wolf dogs they’ve raised! But I’ve also featured fans’ beloved dogs and cats too! 🙂 I love reaching out like that!

  2. Interesting post, Nancy. A keeper for sure. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Terry, what a great idea! Hmm, I’ll have to think about how I can adapt that to my upcoming paranormal series. Mine has elves, dwarfs, trolls, and shapeshifters. Nothing much real there….

  4. Nancy, you’re a promotion guru. Making a list of everything for WHEN I finally sell, lol

  5. You’re getting closer, Kristin. Any day now!

  6. Thanks for sharing this information, Nancy. This page’s a keeper. All the best! 😉

  7. Jeanne Meeks - said

    Great publicity tips. Thanks. I’m still trying to figure out Pintrest, but will give it another try.

  8. Jeanne, I haven’t spend much time on Pinterest either. Too much else to do.

  9. Good information — turns out I’m behind on my planning for book release! Thanks

  10. Nice round up of tips and experiences, Nancy! Thanks.

  11. Made a note of your ideas, Nancy, thanks you. I’ve now got to earn a little to spend a little…or is it spend a little to earn a little?

  12. Nancy, it can go either way! I’d say spend a little to make a lot!

  13. Hi Nancy,
    Great blog. thanks for the suggestions. Always looking for ways to enhance my promos.



  14. It’s great as a new writer to see i’m doing a lot of these things already. Makes me feel better for being on the right track! Great post 🙂

  15. Good for you, Kellie. Margaret and all, thanks for dropping in!

  16. kathymckenzierunk said

    Thanks for the recap of the workshop I missed. Check out my blog for E-books parts 1 and 2 with Neil Plakcy.

  17. It’s just over 6 months before my first mystery novel comes out, so I’ve been doing a lot of research into the best pre-launch publicity I should be doing. Thanks so much for this helpful list — I’m bookmarking it!

    I wonder if romance trading cards are helpful for cozy mysteries with strong romantic elements. Hmm…I should look into that.

  18. Nancy,

    I blog about ‘behind the scenes’ of my stories.
    I like learning what inspired the author to write the tale so I’m hoping others will, too. Great tips.

  19. Thanks, Kathy. I’ll check out your blog for the workshops I missed. Gigi, I don’t think mystery readers are as much into trading cards as romance people, but you never know! I’m considering them for my paranormal series. Karen, I always like hearing behind the scenes tales.

  20. Vladimir said

    Truly great tips for a campaign. Many of them can be very useful in many other areas beside promotion of a book.
    Thanks !

  21. This is a wonderful post, Nancy, very helpful! Thank you so much.

  22. Valdimir and Mary, you’re very welcome.

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