SPF-021: Tapping into the Traditional PR Machine as an Indie Author

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Indie authors have long taken pride in their ability to use the tools at their disposal to create works of fiction and nonfiction that easily rival the quality and appeal of those published through the traditional channels. But using the traditional PR (public relations) channels has been a bit of an enigma to this point as many of the existing gatekeepers appear to still be in place. Not intimidated by such things, Mark and James took it upon themselves to do a bit of an experiment in the PR world to see what reach and exposure Mark could generate for himself both as an author and as an authority in the indie publishing niche by hiring a PR firm. In this episode you’re going to hear what’s come of that PR experiment so far and get some lessons you can use right now.

PR is no longer only for the traditionally published author, but it’s not for the faint of heart.

Most self published authors understand the hustle it takes to gain exposure for their writing in the crowded book markets of the online retailers. But stepping into the world of bookstores, media outlets, and television stations is another world entirely. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible, as Mark demonstrates on this episode. His recent foray into the world of traditional PR did cost him a pretty penny but it was worth it in both results and in learning, and he’s not shy to share all of that information with you. Hear how his PR campaign took place, what came of it, and how you can take some of the principles he learned to advance your own reputation as an author and an authority.

Why traditional PR could be an important step for you at some point.

While the “rebel” nature of self publishing enables us to accomplish a lot of good for ourselves by going around the traditional gatekeepers of the publishing industry, we can’t allow our independent spirit to keep us from taking advantage of opportunities that may seem a bit more traditional. The typical PR route is one of those that can yield great results if we’re willing to use it. The exposure that comes from features on TV shows, traditional newspapers and their online equivalents, and radio shows is still unmatched in many ways. In this episode you can hear how Mark was able to leverage those to his advantage and why he thinks it could be a great way for Indie authors to gain even more exposure as their career advances.

Even in self publishing the market is getting crowded. You’ve got to set yourself apart.

We all love self publishing because it enables us to go around the gatekeepers and empowers anyone to publish a book. The bad news is… anyone can publish a book. That means your baby is one of the crowd and you’ve got to do something to make yourself and your writing stand out (apart from making it very, very good). In this episode Mark and James discuss how a PR campaign could help give you that boost in attention that you need to get on the radar of more and more prospective readers. It could be the added tool in your toolbox that gets you the notice your writing and your book really need.

Outline of this great episode

  • [0:40] Mark’s mixed feelings about paying for PR.
  • [1:50] The need to build reputation and credibility as an author.
  • [4:42] Mark and James’ discussion of the experience with the PR firm.
  • [5:44] Why Mark was impressed in his meeting with the PR firm.
  • [10:04] The authors the PR firm has worked alongside.
  • [11:05] Why PR could be an important step up for authors at some point.
  • [13:13] Approaching potential readers who are engaged with “old media.”
  • [15:00] The importance of having print books for this approach.
  • [15:55] Measuring the price and success of this potential PR campaign.
  • [18:14] The potential of reaching new readers through the campaign.
  • [20:41] Why this is a long term investment (and how you can follow along).
  • [23:31] 12 weeks later and the costs involved: $6,000 pounds.
  • [25:00] The option of going solo and what Mark got out of his investment.
  • [28:51] Additional notice that may have come from corollary sources.
  • [32:06]  Why mark wanted to do this campaign in the first place.
  • [34:30] How a growing self publishing market demands you set yourself apart.
  • [36:10] Letting readers know that “vanity publishing” is gone now.
  • [39:02] Other PR options for smaller budgets.
  • [42:22] Moving forward with the PR company: how it could look.

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