It is a truth universally acknowledged that writing a book is one thing – promoting that book is quite another..
But thinking outside the box about book publicity can give an author more avenues to promote their book, and is also very satisfying. All too often new authors worry about what’s not happening with their book, so taking control of what you can do really helps.
Nobody knows this better than Dani Vee, whose first picture book My EXTRAordinary Mum was published in 2022, and whose second book My EPIC Dad! Takes Us Camping (book one in a six-part series) is out now.
With many strings to her bow, including podcaster and commissioning editor, Dani was better placed than most debut authors to understand the nuts-and-bolts of book promotion – but even she found herself having to think outside the ‘publicity’ box to maximise her efforts.
Fortunately, she’s dropped by to share her experiences in this guest post.
The excitement of signing my first book deal lasted about 10 seconds before the terror hit.
What if it didn’t sell and no-one ever signed me again?
Ten seconds. The exact amount of time we allow ourselves to celebrate!
Leaving nothing to chance, I created a juggernaut of a spreadsheet of all the bloggers, reviewers, podcasters and book people I could contact.
I planned book shop visits, a book launch, social media posts and contacted local newspapers and magazines.
But I also watched others, and what I noticed was that the most successful people were creating content outside their books. They were creating a story around their story.
My picture book My EXTRAordinary Mum had been written from my own experiences of motherhood – and I realised that created an opportunity I hadn’t yet tapped into.
Creating stories around your book
I started writing articles about identity after motherhood, the expectations of motherhood and who you’re ‘supposed’ to be, the challenges of single motherhood, feminism, and even what it was like having a Gwyneth Paltrow LAT (Living Apart Together) relationship.
In other words, I wrote about the ideas, thoughts and feelings that were behind my picture book. When it comes to publicity, you have to work to your strengths and show an authentic and vulnerable self. I think the more Instagram posts we like and the more filters we use, the more authenticity we crave – and it seemed to work.
Those articles were published by Mamamia, MamaMag, local newspapers and magazines and other media outlets interested in stories about motherhood, women and feminism.
Even though the articles were not directly about the book, they were topical. And they all featured my byline and my bio at the end – a bio that related directly to my book and led interested readers to my website to find out more.
How to find your story
You can do this too – all you need to do is to find an angle.
We know what your book is about, but what is it really about? What’s the story around the story?
What inspired it?
What is it about you and your experiences that resonate, inspire or interest others?
Sit down and brainstorm a list of the things that drove you to write the book, as well as a list of the themes and ideas that developed as you wrote it.
Once you have those lists, think about how they might crossover into articles or blog post – and which publications and bloggers might be interested in running them.
You’re not always going to get it right when it comes to publicity and promoting your book, but thinking about different ways of presenting your work is probably a good start!
Dani Vee is the podcast host of Words and Nerds, and author of picture books My EXTRAordinary Mum and the My EPIC Dad! series. She also works in publicity and acquisitions at Larrikin House, judges books for crime awards and may just have a crime novel in her somewhere one day. She is currently working on her first junior fiction novel. Find out more.