The Book Publicity Blog

News, Tips, Trends and Miscellany for Book Publicists

DIY Book Promotion and Publicity

As a publicist at a large publishing house, my inclination has always been (and possibly will always be) that authors should more or less leave book promotion to the experts: book publicists (either in-house or those with book PR / PR firms). Publicists keep on top of the latest news, know how to craft pitches and press materials, work to establish — and maintain — contacts with the media, and have access to vast media databases. That having been said, I realize authors are playing a greater role in marketing and promoting their books — not to mention those authors who self publish — and there are, in fact, some sites / tools that specifically cater to those striking it out on their own (and which are pretty handy for book publicists too)!

Here are a few; feel free to add your own in the comments.

Events:

Booktour.com: As the name implies, the site lists author events around the country. It boasts several features I think helps set it apart from other event listing sites (and this is why I use the site religiously):

  1. Events listed on Booktour.com are automatically fed to many online calendars and also the Author Page on Amazon. In other words, when I spend time entering event information on Booktour.com, I know those details will not only be emailed to subscribers (a fairly typical feature for most such sites), but will also go to dozens of sites on the web.
  2. Booktour.com offers a widget that authors can grab for their websites. Instead of painstakingly updating the events section each time an additional event is booked or a time or venue is changed, an author simply needs to drop in a line of code on their website and if the publicist is using Booktour.com, the events will automatically update.
  3. Booktour.com also offers various other events and media services that authors might find helpful.

Maestro Market: You can think of Maestro Market as an online speakers bureau. However, unlike most speakers bureaus / lecture agencies which will only take on well-known clients, anyone can sign up to be a “Maestro.” They key is to properly tag yourself so that you can be found by people seeking speakers / experts. The site is currently in beta and should be relaunching later this year.

Square: a small device that plugs in to your iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch / Android phone that enables you to accept credit card payments. You open an account on their website and download the app, they mail you the device (for free) and you’re good to go. They take 2.75 percent of each transaction. I haven’t had an occasion to use this, but it seems like it would come in pretty handy for authors selling books at events (or for booksellers who don’t want to lug around a credit card machine).

Media:

Google Alerts: You can sign up for Google Alerts for free, even if you don’t have a Google / Gmail account (although, given the amount of free services Google provides from email to document sharing to e-commerce, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t have an account)! The alerts allow you to track any online mentions of a name, title, term, phrase, etc. Set up one for your name so you can see when / where you’re mentioned and, if applicable, set up one for any topics or phrases that pertain to your book so you’re aware of what the media is covering and where you might fit in.

HARO / Reporter Connection: Both sites allow you to sign up as a source, i.e., author (or as a journalist if you’re looking for a source). Once you’re in their databases, reporters looking for an expert in your field will be able to find you. As a book publicist, I find these sites useful because I get to see numerous reporter queries so I can suggest one of my authors if their field of expertise is a good fit.

Who’s tried these sites? What do you think? Any others you like?

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June 9, 2011 - Posted by | Book Tour, Events, Media Monitoring, Online Marketing

13 Comments »

  1. Great list! I’ve tried all except for Maestro Market and Square. I will definitely look into these. Maestro Market sounds especially helpful because as you noted, most speakers bureaus are very selective.

    To this list of useful DIY book publicity tools, I would add authorstrack.com which is similar to booktour.com. Also , if you are listed in Amazon making full use of the Amazon Author Central feature at authorcentral.amazon.com. I would also recommend building your author profile on social reading sites such as Goodreads.com.

    Comment by Susannah Greenberg | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thank you for the concise summary! As even authors with publishers need to be their own publicists more than ever, this is very helpful.

    Comment by Amanda Mecke | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  3. Great resources!

    I can attest to the beauty of using Square. Its transaction fees are lower than my old merchant account (and no annual fee), and I love not having to key in CC #s after events. If you need a Square today, you can buy one at your local Apple store for $10, and the package includes a code for you to redeem online that gives you a $10 credit in your Square account. (So it’s still essentially free.)

    Comment by MANvsGEORGE | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  4. AuthorCentral is a pretty good to set up a Yellow Pages-type site (where you don’t have to spend much time adding more information). Amazon has been opening ACs on foreign sites as well:

    * United Kingdom: https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk/
    * France: https://authorcentral.amazon.fr/
    * Germany: https://authorcentral.amazon.de/
    * Japan: https://authorcentral.amazon.co.jp/

    Google Translate is recommended to understand the lingo, but everything is roughly in the same position on the page as in the U.S. site, so that helps.

    Comment by Bill Peschel, author of "Writers Gone Wild" | June 9, 2011 | Reply

  5. Great list. Thanks. I do wish that you’d added in our site BookBuzzr.com to the list though :) We have some cool book promotion technologies including marketing of books via games and contests.

    Comment by Vikram Narayan | June 10, 2011 | Reply

  6. [...] The Book Publicity Blog on DIY Book Promotion and Publicity. [...]

    Pingback by June 10, 2011 Links and Plugs : Hobbies and Rides | June 11, 2011 | Reply

  7. Don’t forget BlurbIsAVerb.blogspot.com, where authors learn from those who have already walked in the book promotion shoes.

    Comment by BlurbIsAVerb | June 12, 2011 | Reply

  8. I was on my own with my first book from a small house. Used HARO to great success (AP, NYT, McClatchy, radio). I think it helped me land my next book with a big house. Now that I am about to pub with them, it is hard to turn off the PR machine. I have forwarded leads and given requests for review copies. Can you maybe follow up on working WITH a big house’s publicist? I don’t want to step on toes.

    Comment by DigitallyDaunted | June 13, 2011 | Reply

    • This is something I’d be interested to know too!

      Comment by BlurbIsAVerb | June 13, 2011 | Reply

  9. We’re a big fan of HARO. As an editorial services and press working on mostly nonfiction work, we use HARO to conduct primary research on various topics for our books, reports, and articles. Most recently, we used HARO to find small businesses and start-ups working in coworking spaces all over the country and got a great response. We have more than 30 in-depth ‘stories’ for our book, “Working in the UnOffice” (www.CoworkingGuide.com).

    Highly recommend posting queries on HARO, and also signing up to get their daily e-mails. If a question pops up that relates to your book or area of expertise, you can answer and maybe get featured in news story, feature, blog, or book! Great way to publicize yourself.

    Comment by nightowlspress | June 15, 2011 | Reply

  10. [...] (prospective, future) publisher, help yourself.  Most recently Yen’s put up a great post on DIY book promotion and publicity, with an awesome mention on what in-house publicity teams do for large [...]

    Pingback by If you don’t have or even want a website, don’t worry, create a BIG web presence for yourself instead! « Far & Beyond: A Saga of Publishing | August 17, 2011 | Reply

  11. From the BookTour link – sad.

    Dear friends of BookTour,

    We regret to inform you that BookTour has shut down as of Thursday, September 1, 2011.

    Fewer author tours and changes in book marketing budgets have made our company financially unviable. And while we would like to continue providing the valuable service that is BookTour, everyone here has families to feed and bills to pay. As such, the founders are working on new and exciting ventures in publishing and software development.

    We’d like to thank all the authors, publishers, venues and readers that have supported BookTour since its inception. In our absence, we recommend tools from Amazon Author Central, Google Calendar, Upcoming.org and Eventful.com as worthy replacements.

    The BookTour Team

    (Should you have questions, please send them to smokler@gmail.com)

    Comment by Carol Hughes | September 30, 2011 | Reply

  12. Wonderful book, much like books that deal with this issue. It would be if there were relatively more authors dealing with this subject.
    Best regards

    Comment by Internet knjizara | February 28, 2013 | Reply


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