Press Kit: What It Is, And Why You Need One

by Allison Pottern Hoch

WHETHER YOU’RE A PUBLISHED AUTHOR or planning to be, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared for the day when someone wants to feature you: at an event, on a blog, in a newspaper, etc. That’s where a press kit comes in.

A press kit is a collection of documents and images that contain promotional material about you and your projects. It is used in conjunction with a promotional pitch to media and event outlets. You can have these documents collected in a folder on your hard drive or have them downloadable on your website. Having a well-organized press kit is a double win: it makes your life easier and shows that you’re professional and invested in your own self-promotion. Continue reading

Quick and Dirty Events—Ask an Event Coordinator!

by Allison Pottern Hoch

ABOUT A MONTH BEFORE AN EVENT with a debut author, I’d get a call from them. They would be bursting with enthusiasm—and terror. They were about to get up and do…what? For how long? Would anyone be there? We would take some deep breaths together and I would answer their questions. Here are some of the most common queries:

Do people even come to book events?

YES!

How do I get people to come?

People will only come to your event if they know about it. So make sure to pick a venue/date/time that will appeal to your audience and then get the word out. Send out invites to the people you know and post flyers and promote through co-sponsors and social media to the ones you don’t.

Should I dress-up?

Wear something you feel good and comfortable in, with an eye towards looking professional–unless you’re dressing to match your book. I’ve worked with authors dressed as pirates, lighthouses, you name it. That works too! Continue reading

Aiming High and Aiming True: Finding Your Book’s Audience

by Allison Pottern Hoch

WHILE WORKING ON YOUR BOOK, you probably imagined your ideal reader. Maybe an eager young bookworm so drawn into your story they miss their stop on the subway. Or a retiree relaxing by a pool, cracking the spine on your newly minted tome. While this is a great tool for crafting your novel, when it comes to marketing, you need to think bigger. I guarantee you have other readers beyond that ideal, readers you may have not even thought about yet. The key, of course, is getting those readers to show up.

If you read my first post or attended one of my workshops, you’ll know how strongly I believe in preparation. When it comes to marketing yourself, it’s important to have both realistic expectations and a sound plan. Knowing your desired audience before you lift the phone to make a cold call is critical. “Readers” or “fans,” even “children” or “adults” isn’t sufficient. In pitching yourself to any venue or media outlet, they’ll want to know who is going to tune in and how many.

Audience is key to everything: it’ll help determine the best venue, event style, promotional partners, and event date and time. Most books have more than one audience; that’s representative of a rich and varied narrative, bravo! But trying to aim for all those different audiences at the same time, while not impossible, can stretch you thin. By identifying the key audience for an event or marketing strategy, you are focusing and amplifying your energy to reach those specific readers. You’re designing a program in which a consumer can easily see themselves and their interests. And if you know who you’re marketing to, your venues and media outlets will too.

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Before You Do Anything Else … Know Your Marketing Goals

by Allison Pottern Hoch

WRITING OR ILLUSTRATING A BOOK can seem easy compared to marketing, because marketing involves talking to other people. About your book! And yourself! Pure agony for us bookish introverts. Allison Pottern Hoch.jpgBut listen, I have good news. Marketing can also be fun. Once you start to crack the code on how to market, it becomes a creative endeavor, the same as writing or making art.

When I coordinated author events for an indie bookstore, I interacted on a weekly basis with authors who were nervous and overwhelmed by the prospect of hosting a book event. I’ll tell you the same thing I told them: The secret to great marketing is preparation. Making sure you’re prepared for your events and marketing outreach ensures that you have less work to do in the long run—and that you’ll have greater success.

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