So you’ve just finished writing your book. Great. The hard part is over, and now you’re ready to get some media coverage and sell your product. But are you, in fact, ready? Is your book newsworthy? Who is your target audience? Can you think like a journalist? Dan Smith, founder of Smith Publicity, will help you answer these questions in his upcoming workshop: “Have a Book: Now What?”
The workshop will wrap up the third annual Winter Writer’s Weekend sponsored by Open Door Publications. Geared for both published and unpublished writers, the event takes place Friday, February 27, through Sunday, March 1, in Lambertville. A meet-the-authors reception kicks off the weekend on Friday at the Artist’s Gallery, 18 Bridge Street: 7-9 p.m. The workshops take place at the Lambertville House, 32 Bridge Street, Saturday: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m.-noon. Price: $250. Register online at www.winterwritersweekend.com or call 609-553-9800.
A pitch to the media is more likely to succeed if a writer can show that what a book says is supported by the author’s background and experience, and if the author can show that their topic is one that matters to their audience, says Smith, whose business has implemented more than 2,000 promotion campaigns and has worked with clients in 15 countries. Founded in 1997, the company has offices in Cherry Hill and Toronto.
“We’re often promoting the author as much as the book,” Smith says. He advises that before making a pitch to a particular publisher or producer, ask yourself, “What value can my book give to his or her audience?”
For example, authors Nic Read and Stephen J. Bistritz won media coverage from several publications, including Forbes, Investor’s Business Daily, and UK Business News for their book, “Selling to the C-Suite: What Every Executive Wants You to Know About Successfully Selling to the Top.”
Author Susan T. Spencer received coverage from several platforms of particular interest to women including SheKnows.com, a television spot with Oprah, and a radio feature on NPR’s “Tell Me More,” for her book, “Briefcase Essentials: Discover Your 12 Natural Talents for Achieving Success in a Male-Dominated Workplace.”
Authors-illustrators Jack and Holman Wang received coverage in Parents Magazine, People, the Huffington Post, and others for their series, “Cozy Classics,” board books for infants and young children featuring literary classics.
At the February workshop, Smith and his staff will divide attendees into small groups. Each group will be assigned a particular book, and individuals will create a 30-second elevator pitch, tagline or story idea for print, radio, or TV.
After the group brainstorming sessions, Smith will lead a discussion of the pitches, and the audience will vote on the best one. One person from the winning group will be chosen to receive one free month of publicity service from Smith’s company. His promotional services include book events, reviews, Amazon optimization, social media and more. His staff includes book publicists, and marketing/social media strategists.
Before forming his company, Smith worked at Rider University as an assistant dean of students and eventually struck out on his own to do promotional writing and related work through agencies. Smith’s passion for books was influenced by his father who was a successful automotive financier by profession, but a voracious reader during time off, Smith says, adding that he read one book every day.
Smith, who now lives in Newtown, Pennsylvania, spent most of his middle school and high school years with his family in the foothills of the Poconos. He earned a BA in English and history from Misericordia College, a master of public administration degree from Kutztown University, and completed doctoral courses at Widener University.
Smith says that writers can get a professional book published for under $500. But to get it noticed, you need to be creative, he says. “That’s especially true today, now that the publishing world has completely exploded with 3,500 new books coming out every day,” Smith says.
Book publicity is about getting exposure for the author using TV, radio, print articles or social media, says Smith. As he writes in one of his web posts, Book Publicity Tips that Actually Work: “Media coverage will help you gain exposure, reach your readership, and in some cases help establish you as an expert in your field.”