Two years back I interviewed a self publishing millionaire who had sold 500,000 copies of his Special Effects Cookbook, and had a great way of getting free publicity.
Here is what he said ..
“As the author of a cookbook, I’ve been on full page in the food section of a Newspaper – full color. The whole first page is my face and my story and all my contact information. And if you get a big story in Boston or LA or Chicago or New York, millions of people are going to see that.What do you think happens when a full page comes out in a big city like that?”
I’ll tell you what happened to him…
When a full story breaks in a big city like that, you sell a lot of books! And he did!
As a self-published author, publicity becomes your new best friend. And in most cases, there’s no perfect time to launch a publicity campaign for your self-published book. You do it pretty much all year long.
He began sending press releases by mail during a time that email wasn’t as prominent, but even now, email and just doesn’t work as well. Neither does fax. Instead, direct mail is the way to go. There are special ways to do direct mail. You put your press release in a big red envelope and you use a magic marker for your return address and you just write in big letters all over it so that this envelope really looks special. I’m talking a big red envelope, 8 x 10, #10. You can get them at Staples.
Just be outrageous. Like the guy who wears a red suit, he walks into the room and you’ve got to see him.
So you send your press release out in a big red envelope and with a black magic marker you just write the guy’s name in big black letters. Use a couple of stamps, and hand-write the address. You only need ten a day.
He sent out hundreds a year for his book. You can do a little bit every day so that you get that constant flow of interest from TV, radio or newspapers, lastly of which can work the best because you can get a write-up; usually a full page.
He puts an 800 number in the press release, and a computerized system where it’s all automated that can handle 10,000 calls simultaneously. Calls can come directly to you from the press release.
The way a press release works and looks is that if you have to follow a format. At the very top of the press release, the upper left hand corner, you just type in for immediate release.On the other side, right across from that, you say for further information, contact… and then you’ve got to have your name and your office phone number. You can leave a number with an answering machine, but I don’t recommend that. You want to handle all the media contacts yourself.
The person who calls you is usually a journalist and they have an editor. And the whole point of writing a press release in the format that I recommend is that you’re not selling anything. You can’t sell anything with a press release. Make them look good with your story. When they go to their editor and they say “hey Mr. Editor, I found this great story”…. it makes the editor look good, so you let him write and let him sell it for you. It works like a charm. It really does.
If you want to see your sales skyrocket, put together a publicity campaign that will get you noticed. Be Unique. Let them know there’s no one like you out there. Use his advice on using this big red envelope. It works.