So much has occurred since 2020 regarding author projects and “pandemic publishing” obstacles — my nickname for launching books while navigating the surreal world of COVID restrictions.
Some of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved in include the recent autobiographies of the amazing Pettis Norman, former Dallas Cowboys tight end, and the inspirational Joan Sullivan Garret, Founder, and Chairman of MedAire. I was fortunate to work on their manuscripts, websites, and marketing too, during the pandemic, no less.
Pandemic Publishing — Rolling Out A Book Amidst a Crisis
Yes, these have been odd times for authors. Book signings are always more of a challenge when audiences and venues, understandably, worry about contagious diseases. Between social distancing, masks, and (depending on which state you call home) vaccine passport requirements, authors have had to strategize like never before. An online presence is more important than ever.
Thankfully, I can help due to my experiences of crossing the hurdles with my author clients and some excellent graduate coursework in digital media. It’s a pleasure to brainstorm interesting opportunities when physical book signings have been temporarily out of the equation.
But even if you have managed to arrange book signings, there is more you can do to showcase your book. Below is a list of ideas.
Free Social Media
How can anyone buy your book if they don’t know it exists? Consider the free social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stir interest in your book. The best time to develop your presence is before your book launches. Build your audience beforehand with snippets and teasers while you are in “Coming Soon” mode.
An Author Website
One of your most powerful marketing tools is an SEO-friendly, mobile-friendly author website. I mean, if you are going to invest in a site, make sure it works as hard as you do. Some authors are tech-savvy enough to develop their own sites, but I highly recommend SuburbanBuzz if you need help with a WordPress site and don’t want to break the bank. I also recommend that you include a blog and an SEO plugin. It allows you to “create news” about your book. Putting fresh, keyword-rich, and unique content into cyberspace helps your site rank and draws interest to your book.
Why not take your book on a virtual tour across the internet, courtesy of a slew of book bloggers? Depending on your genre, consider looking for leads here. Yes, it will take some legwork (or rather, fingerwork) to contact book blogs, but the effort has paid off for numerous authors. It’s worth a try.
Indie Book Contests
If you are an indie author, you can enter your book in various contests and earn awards and prestige. However, be vigilant here. Not every book contest is legit, and there is no guarantee of winning. It doesn’t hurt to click around and carefully consider your options. A good place to start is here.
You can announce your book launch in a press release. Be sure and study recommended wording, the best layout, and the different services that deploy media releases such as PR Web, Newswire, etc. Consider targeting arts columnists and book reviewers in newspapers and magazines, as well as organizations affiliated with your genre.
Some first-time or emerging author may doubt their ability to land an interview. But guess what? Your local newspaper may be interested, and likewise, a local magazine. Nothing ventured, nothing gained! Just be sure you can concisely and positively describe your book and topic, and explain why readers will enjoy it. It’s worth a try.
What About a TED Talk?
I’ve heard it’s extremely difficult to land a TED Talk spot, but consider a TEDx event. TEDx events are local and have hosted a slew of previously unknown speakers. No, you can’t pitch your book as a topic. But you can pitch a meaningful, inspiring topic — something you believe in passionately or have experienced firsthand. If you are invited to speak, you can then share your time in the limelight on your author website and social media. TEDx Talks are filmed, so you can share those YouTube videos as well.
I’ve been a podcast guest as have many of my author clients. Usually, there’s a bit of prep work and back-and-forth beforehand so that your session runs smoothly, but be prepared for questions out of the left-field as well. It can be fun to open up about your writing journey and share your book with an audience of strangers who might just become fans!
In other words, the Hurdles of Pandemic Publishing Doesn’t Have to be a Deal Breaker
I’m so happy for authors who thoughtfully roll out their books despite the realities of this strange time in history. Marketing is absolutely vital, and there are many ways to spread the word.
Let me know if you need help and best wishes in your journey!