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Book Publicity Case Study

by Marcia Yudkin

Most authors I know understand the importance of publicity when they release a book.  They write or hire someone to write them a news release.  They enclose the release with review copies of their book sent to media outlets and reviewers, they distribute it on PRNewswire, PRWeb or another distribution service and they post it at their own web site.

All good moves.  But for me, that's just the beginning.  For a typical nonfiction book, there are a multitude of angles you can use for publicity.  Here's a case study to inspire you that features easy slicing and dicing that would apply to just about any book or information product containing distinct sections.

Publicity for Persuading People to Buy

In August 2010, I created and distributed nine news releases for my new book Persuading People to Buy.  This book was the first of five paperback volumes that were to be issued one a month, so the first two of the nine releases highlighted the series, while the other seven used techniques that could be repeated, with appropriately changed content, for each of the subsequent volumes in the series.

Persuading People to Buy by Marcia Yudkin

News release #1

[Headline] Bringing Back a Hundred-Year-Old Tradition, New Marketing Book Series Available by Subscription

This release announced the first book in my series with an angle that I knew would be of interest to the book trade: the fact that I was selling my series of five books by subscription.

In this release I included more details about my previous books than in any of the other releases to increase my credibility for those interested in the publishing industry.  Ditto for the reference to Mark Twain.

Notice the inclusion here (and in all the other releases) of the cover of my book.  Images accompanying releases draw the eye, especially when a majority of competing releases on a page are all-text.  I could have used my author photo here instead of the cover photo.

News release #2

[Headline] One of the Longest-Published Marketing Newsletters on the Internet, The Marketing Minute, Now Available in Book Form

This release took a very different approach to describing my book series by focusing on the historical significance of the newsletter from which the contents of the book series derived.  None of the other releases so much as mentioned the fact that the chapters came from my Marketing Minute newsletter, because I designed the books to stand on their own to non-subscribers as well as to appeal to subscribers.

You'll see that all the releases inserted the URL where people can purchase the Marketing Insight Guides series both in the first and the last paragraphs.  I do this in all my releases and those I write for clients so no one has to hunt for the click to the company or product site.

Publishing a Book? Tame the "Should I?'s" into "To-do's"!
If you're an author or small publisher, a sample marketing plan I created for the author of a non-fiction book can give you an idea of creative ways to reach potential buyers as well as a feasible timetable for generating sustained attention for the book.  It's a bargain compared to my $2,995 fee for a customized marketing plan.  24 pages, an instant PDF download.  Sample book marketing plan details.

News release #3

[Headline] "Know Your Audience" is the Paramount Principle of Marketing Psychology, Says Author of New Book on the Topic

Here I started concentrating on the content of Persuading People to Buy.  The book consists of seven parts, so I wrote seven news releases, each highlighting the theme of one part of the book.  If you're really interested in understanding my strategy, you can compare the table of contents of the book to releases #3-9.

I emphasized the topic of the book in this release (and in the remaining releases) rather than myself, which is the appropriate strategy where an author is not a household name and the book content is something readers search  for, apart from browsing for books.  

Underlined phrases in the releases are those I selected to be hyperlinked, with the links going to my sales page.  These hyperlinks make it more likely for my material to come up in search engine searches when people looking for information perform searches using the terms I've selected.

News releases #4-9

[Headline] Why Should Clients Hire YOU? New Book Offers Insights into Marketing Psychology and Customers’ Perception of Value

[Headline] What Motivates Customers to Buy? New Book Offers Insights on Identifying Buyers’ Hot Button Reasons for Signing on the Dotted Line

[Headline] With Knowledge of Persuasive Principles, You Can Capture Attention and Sell, According to New Book on Marketing Psychology

[Headline] Beware of Persuasive Backfire, Warns New Book on Marketing Psychology by Persuading on Paper Author Marcia Yudkin

[Headline] New Marketing Book Details Twists and Turns of Pricing Psychology

[Headline] Make New Customers But Keep the Old: New Book Offers Insights on Retaining and Upselling Customers

Each of these releases had an identical structure:

  • headline/subhead

  • opening paragraph that describes a problem and portrays my book as offering a solution to it

  • second paragraph with a quote from me offering commentary or examples

  • third paragraph setting up a series of bullet points from the book

  • four to six bullet points

  • final paragraph repeating the title with its ISBN number (a unique number that identifies books within the publishing trade) and explaining where to buy the book 

(Feel free to use that structure, and my slice and dice method, for releases about your own product.)

The bullets in the releases were more restrained in style than the way I generally write them in a sales letter because it is paramount for a news release not to have a sales-y tone.

Even where I repeated almost the same idea from release to release, as in the last paragraph, I did not use the same wording.  The reason for this is that a release that too much resembles another that was picked up in Google News may lose its chance to be featured there, too. 

Getting picked up in Google News is a major goal of issuing news releases - not only does it put you in front of journalists and news hounds, it very much hastens your appearance and improves your rising up in rank on Google proper.

Write News Releases That Attract Media and Boost Sales
Learn the crucial differences between a so-so news release and one that gets you onto the airwaves or into print.  You get 24 before-and-after transformations of news releases to study and use as models.  Learn to write better news releases.






Press Release Makeover Course

A Side Benefit of Slicing and Dicing the Books

I'm a big proponent of repurposing as much work as possible that I've done once, and after I'd written a few of the last seven releases, I realized that I could collect the bullet points from those releases, punch them up to be more tantalizing and incorporate them into the sales page for the books.  I'll be taking care of that soon. 

Further Possibilities

And why stop there?  Each of those news releases could in turn become an article I could post on and other article banks.  I could even write a release about using the very article you're reading now as a secondary - or let's see, it would be tertiary - publicity device.

In addition, I posted a copy of this article in a members-only Internet marketing forum that I belong to and sent it to the publisher of a newsletter for the book trade.

Notice also that I've got a "Tweet Me" button on this page that invites readers to let others know about this article.

That's as far as I'll take it, though, because the self-referential corkscrews of publicity about publicity about publicity are starting to make me dizzy.

Copyright 2010 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.

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