Monday, September 9, 2013

Top Three PR Moves Authors Should Make

This month, I'm giving the blog floor to friend, author, and public relations and business development consultant, Makasha Dorsey.


Makasha Dorsey, managing partner of the Dorsey Group, is a public relations and business development consultant with more than 15 years experience in implementing communications strategies. With a keen talent for relationship building, Makasha creates alliances with thought leaders to get her clients the exposure they need.

As a former Atlanta-based, public relations executive, Makasha wrote copy for various entertainment websites and worked on projects for LaFace Records, Coca-Cola, New York Life Insurance, and DARP Studios. Dorsey has cultivated relationships in collegiate sports, the publishing industry (books, music and film), information technology, and various media outlets. Her client roster includes award-winning singers, musicians, and producers, highly sought after public speakers and writers.

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I went to Makasha about a week or so ago and posed the following question: "What are the top three PR moves, in your opinion, that authors should make to get their book noticed... and hopefully BOUGHT by readers?"

Makasha provided an excellent response that has great advice for writers.

#1 - Start with a Blank Page
Why a blank page? If you are writing for the public, then that is your audience. Every word on the pages of your book should benefit the reader in the form of entertainment, education, motivation, etc. The benefit to your reader should be a quality product, your book. If your book is good—from story to cover to suggested book club questions—then you’ve done your duty to give the reader a return on their investment.

Starting with a blank page gives you an opportunity to create a product instead of just another book. Know who you’re writing for, what they’re reading, and what motivates them to buy books. Large companies call this product development. Your audience should always be present in your mind along with your characters.

When you write a good, marketable book, it is easier to promote and garner sales. Your readers become your promoters as they recommend your book because you took the time, before one word was written, to write for them. So, it starts with a blank page.

#2 - Go to Your Readers, You are Not the Queen
So many authors set up a website and a few social network profiles and think that is what moves books. It’s not. Engaging with the public sells books. Yes, you can do this online, but relationships beget relationships.

Go to your local bookstores, book clubs, and libraries so that you become human to potential readers. Offer a workshop or chat about the subject matter in your book. You wrote about it so you must be an expert, right? Appearances will help you sell books.

Follow the local news to see if your story ties in to current events. Is your book about a war in Syria? A coming of age story about a child star who goes overboard in her quest to prove that she is a grown woman? Or, is it about an architect who designs a building that turns out to be dangerous for the local ecosystem? At some point, all of these events happened, and if your story is related, then pitch the local media so you can get in front of your readers.

#3 - Use Your Resources
Time. Talent. Money. Car. Possessions. Anything you own, or even partially own, should be used to promote your book. Spend 20 minutes a day on your social media plan. Take bookmarks and postcards with you to the doctor’s office, restaurants, and post office to give to potential readers. Use that latte money for the week on an advertisement or two. If you’ve got cute kids, have them peddle a book or two.

In other words, you have to spend money to sell books.

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You can learn more about Makasha and all she does by visiting her Website, DGPRwire.com, Twitter [@makasha and @DGPRwire], and Facebook.

Makasha’s personal essay, "Diary of an Aspie Mom" is included in ReShonda Tate Billingsley’s The Motherhood Diaries, published by Strebor Books. Click the cover to learn more!


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Shon Bacon is an author, doctoral candidate, editor, and educator. She has published both academically and creatively while also interviewing women writers on her popular blog, ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. She's the author of mysteries, Death at the Double Inkwell and its sequel, Into the Web, the short story "I Wanna Get Off Here" (in the short story collection, The Corner Cafe), and the romantic dramedy novella, Saying No to the Big O. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her Website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment. Currently, Shon is busy pursuing her Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University ... and trying to find the time to WRITE.

15 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. "Start with a blank page...to create a product." Fantastic advice!

    "Go to your readers, you are not the queen...engaging with the public sells books." More fantastic advice!

    "Use your resources...time, talent, money, car, possessions, anything you own." Think about it -- if you are serious about being an author, you must be 100% committed. Either make the commitment or don't make it. That's the bottom line.

    This is great post, Makasha. Thanks for sharing it, Shon. :-)

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  3. Thanks for having me here. It is an honor.

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  4. Excellent post. The first piece of advice is the most important, without an excellent product the rest of it won't do you any good.

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  5. At a seminar on Indie Publishing yesterday, our speaker (Courtney Milan) gave a list of all the tasks one has to do to create a product. She set it up with a chart with headers that included: Do, Buy, Beg, Trade, and Ignore. You have to know what you can do yourself and what you'll have to pay for. She made it clear that if you aren't good at any of the tasks (which include marketing), you have to budget for it. Engaging readers, as you said, is the key. You shouldn't be selling your book; you have to sell YOU.

    Terry
    Terry's Place

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    1. So very right. Books are an extension of a brand!

      Love the Do, Buy, Beg, Trade, and Ignore.

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  6. So, to sum this up ... 'do everything that Chris doesn't'.

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  7. Well, based on observation, I have to disagree with Diana. I've seen some pretty mediocre titles get a big slice of the pie based solely on extreme marketing. I do rather like Courtney Milan, Terry. I just read a couple of her titles. Christopher, I had to look twice at that punctuation! LOL.

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  8. I'm so glad Makasha decided to play BRP Bingo today. LOL I loved her responses, and most importantly, especially for me as a writer, I saw where I fall short and what I need to work on in the future!

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  9. Dani, I was thinking more of indy/self pubbing. You are correct in asserting that tradtional publishing is no guarantee of quality, especially the pulp variety.

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  10. Dani, I was thinking more of indy/self pubbing. You are correct in asserting that tradtional publishing is no guarantee of quality, especially the pulp variety.

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  11. Late to the party—was away for the day yesterday—but these are great points, and timely for me.

    My tweak for #2 though, since mine is a book club book, is to try to facilitate discussion about the premise as opposed to lecture on it. I'll let you know if it works...

    Thanks for coming, Makasha!

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    Replies
    1. Can't wait to hear how that turns out, Kathryn.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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