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Publicising your book


Gaining publicity is one of the biggest hurdles a new fiction or non-fiction writer faces. After all, without it, no-one will even know your book exists.

Alison Smith-SquireHere, media agent Alison Smith-Squire offers some top tips…


Many new writers imagine they will only gain publicity in a national newspaper, women’s magazine or on TV if they have a huge deal with a mainstream publisher. But this is simply not true. Journalists are just interested in a good story and whether you have a publisher or literary agent or have self-published your book won’t matter to them at all. What they will often be interested in is the story behind your book. Does your novel pose a controversial question that might make a debate feature? Does the heroine or hero reflect your own unusual life in some way? As a published author, you might also be the perfect person for them to ask for an ‘expert quote.’

Sell yourself

Even authors with a publishing deal will often find it’s still up to them to be proactive and gain publicity for their book. And obviously if you have self-published, you will certainly have to push your book yourself. Of course you can send out copies of your book to national newspapers and magazines to be reviewed and it might be.

But often the way to publicity is selling a story about yourself. You can approach a publication directly or go through a media agent. The bonus of going through a specialist agent is that that person can market your true-life story to maximise your publicity. Usually this is a free service as the agent is paid by the publication for providing your story.

In fact, I’ve often found the real-life story behind an author's novel is the key to gaining them great publicity. This is because most national newspapers and magazines are more than happy to put a plug as a payment at the end of a feature for your book. So, for example, maybe your own relationship break-up inspired you to write your chick-lit novel? Or perhaps surviving an illness gave you the impetus to pen a health book? If so, then telling your personal story to a magazine or newspaper might give you the double page spread you yearn for.

And if you don’t have a real-life story to tell, then maybe you have a health story? It’s no coincidence that celebrities and well-known novelists often reveal their story of postnatal depression or recovery from meningitis just as their new programme, song or book comes out…

Be prepared for publicity

It’s best to ensure your book is published (or has a date) and is readily available on a website such as Amazon, before your story is printed. That way the plug for your book can tell readers where to buy it. Consider also having an accompanying website or blog up and running. This way other journalists or TV researchers can easily find you for that follow-up story…

Alison Smith-Squire is a media agent selling stories to the press for the ordinary person and she runs sell my story website FeatureworldWebsite of Alison Smith-Square, who acts as a media agent selling stories to the press for the ordinary person. (