Promotion and Publicity

There are two aspects of ‘promotion’

publicity and advertising


The difference between the two is that publicity is free, whilst advertising is paid for. However, good publicity can result in ‘free advertising’.


When promoting your book, keep in mind that it needs to stand out from the thousands of other books that are published each year. Booksellers and book reviewers receive literally hundreds of catalogues, information sheets and review copies of ‘bestsellers’ each month, and will need more than your personal guarantee to be convinced that the book has something to offer them.

Emphasize your book’s unique qualities clearly and interestingly, and provide all the necessary information about your book (keeping in mind that sometimes less is more). There are many avenues for publicizing your book, and you should plan your publicity strategy even before the book has been printed.

Press Releases

What is a press release?

A press release is a short notice of something the media might be interested in using as a story. You can send your press release directly to media or to a newswire. Your press release should be well-written before you submit it to the media.

Our ‘Press Release Advantage Package’ can give you a boost!

If you believe that your book is unique in its subject matter, or takes a new approach to a subject, or if there is an interesting story behind your decision to self-publish your book, newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs may wish to interview you about it. Send a press release about your book to a range of publications and programs, and be sure to address them to the appropriate person. Pay as much attention to writing your press release as you did to writing your book.

Remember that you need to grab the attention of the editor or producer who makes decisions. Offer them something timely, new or quirky, but make sure you approach the relevant industry contacts for the type of book you are publishing: if your book is light-hearted, don’t approach a serious, current affairs magazine or program.

If you are not confident about speaking on radio or appearing on television, don’t approach them. Also, don’t expect to be paid for any of these appearances; this is ‘free advertising’ for your book. One of the best resources for deciding where to promote your book is Margaret Gee’s Media Guide (published by Information Australia), which lists contact details for media outlets all over Australia.

What makes a good press release?

The most important thing to keep in mind are the editors who’ll be getting your release. Hundreds of releases vie for their attention each week, so make yours relevant and accurate. Here are some tips to help improve the chance of your release being used:

Write a headline that grabs attention and summarizes your main point.

Then, because the first paragraph is often the only one that’s read, make sure it covers the who, what, when, where, why and how.
Be brief. Keep your release to one page or 400 words. The end.

Be current.

Highlight something about your product in your release that’s relevant to current events.

Be available. Make sure you put your current contact information (E-mail, phone number, fax…) so that those that are interested can reach you.


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 Review copies

You will need to set aside a number of copies of your book for promotional purposes. Sending out review copies can prove to be an expensive exercise if you don’t achieve your goal, so before you send out finished copies, plan your strategy. You may decide to send written material only, stating that a review copy is available on request.

Be sure to establish the reviewing policy of the publication in question. There may be particular guidelines that you should follow to increase the chances of your book being reviewed; a magazine may commission books for review, rather than accept unsolicited material. (For example, D W Thorpe’s book industry journal Australian Bookseller & Publisher does not review books in every issue, and reviews books two to three months ahead of their publication).

As well as general publications, target any specialist publications that might be interested in your book. Many clubs and associations have their own member newsletters and are always keen to review a new product that relates to their special interest.

You might also choose to send a review (or ‘reading’) copy to any bookshops that you think may be interested in your book. Many bookshops like to support self-publishers, particularly local authors. If you have a good relationship with your local bookseller, talk to them about the possibility of promoting your book with them.

You may find that they will support a reading and signing session in their store if your book will be of interest to their local market. When sending review copies, including an information sheet providing details about the book’s subject, some information about the author, the price and format (hardback or paperback), the book’s ISBN and your contact details.


While you can’t control word-of-mouth publicity for your book, you can tell as many people as you can about it, and be proud of your achievement. Word-of-mouth publicity can also come about as the result of booksellers recommending it to their customers, or readers recommending it to others.

It’s one of the best forms of publicity you can hope to get.

‘AusBiP’/‘GNAB’ Be sure to complete the forms and provide a copy of your book for listing in D W Thorpe’s Australian Books in Print and consideration for inclusion in Guide to New Australian Books (see Chapter Three – Australian Books in Print).

This is free publicity that ‘advertises’ your book to booksellers and librarians.

What’s a newswire?

A newswire is a service that sends your press release to newsrooms, websites, radio and TV stations and other media outlets worldwide. It’s your best bet for getting your press release to a large number of media outlets that, it must be said, may or may not publish it or air it.

What newswires should I use?

It’s up to you what newswire service you select, here are some recommendations:
These ones are free services – and and these two are fee-based services: and

Who will receive my press release if I use a newswire?

Public Speaking & author Larry James present articles of value to Authors & Speakers: Book Signing Tips, How to Be a Great Radio Guest!, Self-Promote or Disappear! and many more.

marketing plan


If you are going to pay to advertise your book, you want to be sure that you are spending your money effectively. You can pay to advertise your book to both booksellers and consumers, but if you have limited funds, you should concentrate on letting booksellers know about your book through advertising.

Don’t advertise your book until you have finished copies to supply to booksellers Customers want to be able to buy something when they want it, and booksellers need to be able to have your book on their shelves in anticipation of customer demand. Trade publications such as Australian Bookseller & Publisher and the Weekly Book Newsletter are ideal places to advertise your book to booksellers. If you do decide to pay to advertise your book directly to customers, you should consider advertising in special-interest publications and bookshop newsletters as well as newspapers and magazines, as they may be less expensive options.

You may also be able to purchase mailing lists from special-interest groups so that you can ‘direct mail’ advertising material and order forms to them.

Australian Book Review
The Bookseller (UK)
Publishers Weekly (USA)
Bowker’s Bookwire (UK)
Good Reading Magazine
Weekly Book News / Australian Bookseller and Publisher

Selling Your Book

In general, newswires reach online news sites, general search engines, syndication networks, newsrooms, freelance writers, magazines, etc. Specific media reached by the different services: reaches Google News, NBCi News, AskJeeves News, Topix News, MSN News, Yahoo!, and more. reaches Google News, Yahoo! Search,, Moreover, News now, Technorati. reaches Google News, NBCi News, AskJeeves News, Topix News, MSN News, Yahoo!, and more. reaches Associated Press, radio,, national or regional newspapers, national or regional TV stations, etc.

When publishing a book, consider whether or not you want to sell it, or whether you’d rather just supply it to certain people (say your family, friends, local library, people within your writing group). If you decide to make it available outside of this ‘circle’ – to retail outlets for example invest time and energy into promoting and selling your book. You may wish to pay a professional to handle either the promotion or distribution, or both, but even if you do, be aware of the options available to you. You will want to be confident that the person you are paying is doing a good job, and you may wish to do the additional promotion yourself.

Promotional Items

Branded giveaways have long been used by marketers to attract potential customers. Products that have a long shelf life will help keep your business in the forefront of a customer’s mind. Weeks, months, and even years after a product is purchased or a service is performed, promotional items will remind the customer of your brand.


Solicit product reviews from reputable industry sources, magazine reviewers, bloggers, or industry journalists. Product reviews lend credibility to a product or company.

Keyword Advertising

In order to help your website’s search engine ranking, use keyword advertising. Focused and targeted keyword advertising will drive web traffic that has a genuine interest in your product or service.

Niche Directories

Use online niche directories to promote products or services. Visitors who frequent topical directories have a strong interest and are more likely to purchase.

Viral Marking

Once known as “word of mouth” marketing, viral marketing has taken on a life of its own. Encourage product buzz, as well as customers referring customers.

Opt-In Email Marketing

Use email as a marketing tool to notify your existing customers about specials, new products or services, or product releases and updates. While some say email marketing is dead, others say that measured results of email marketing tell a very different story. Opt-in, targeted email marketing works and produces results when done correctly.

Partnerships / Strategic Relationships

We see large companies leveraging their assets every day, and small online businesses should too! Whether it be as a partner, an affiliate, or a strategic relationship, all of these relationships can benefit small businesses. Businesses can use strategic relationships to penetrate niche markets. Affiliates can expand their reach and tap into the customer bases of similar products. Partners can provide additional value to existing products or services. Determine what types of relationships could be beneficial to your small business.

Online Classifieds

Craigslist is likely the best known online classified system. Classified systems increase visibility and are often overlooked by small businesses. Consider posting classifieds that relate to product or services, and monitor the results.

Sponsorship / Contests

Contests not only encourage customers to have fun but also generate publicity and draw attention to your company and brand. Sponsor industry events, run contests, or donate prizes to industry contests in order to increase visibility and generate goodwill.


Communication is critical to all businesses, and small businesses are no exception. Be sure to establish a communication channel with customers and potential customers. Newsletters are a very popular communication channel for software developers.


RSS is growing in popularity. It is an alternative communication channel that has the benefit of reaching a larger audience through syndication. Supplement and enhance email and newsletter campaigns by providing an RSS channel for their content.

Forums / Newsgroups

Participation in newsgroups and forums will result in building credibility. Business relationships will often result from online dialogue in industry forums and newsgroups. Actively participate and always behave in a professional manner.

Forum / Email Signatures

All forum posts and emails you send should contain a “signature” that advertises your business name, tag line, and URL.


Blogging and posting comments on blogs can result in an increase in web links and traffic. Socialization and engaging others with well thought out comments can establish a business reputation and generate product interest.


YouTube is a boon to business. If you are creative, consider compiling an educational or humorous video. YouTube is a huge distribution channel and can generate a product or industry interest.

Press Releases

The avenue to inexpensive press! Write a press release to promote new products or services and reap the benefits with media attention.

Article Syndication

Writing articles can help lend credibility to your product line and improve your business reputation.

Local Newspapers

Contact local newspapers and pitch a unique story to them. Publicity is free and can generate discussions and interest. Consider exploring alternative channels for advertising and marketing. Keep in mind that advertising need not be costly; creative marketers can often find inexpensive avenues that will result in a great return.

Identity Continuity

Create continuity between an online website, logos, letterheads, business cards, and packaging. Create an identity that will make your business stand out from the competition, and leave a good initial impression on potential customers.

A professional image associated with your company or product will remind customers of their past brand experiences and will reinforce your product line.

Trade Publications

Niche publications are journals or magazines that focus on a specific market. If your product or service is appropriate for a specific market, then advertising in their trade publications will allow you to immediately drill down and target that very specific audience.

Terms of Trade

‘Terms of trade’ are the terms under which you supply your book to booksellers. If you complete your form for free listing of your publisher details in Australian Books in Print (see Chapter Three).

You will be asked for details such as what discount you offer, whether you charge for freight, whether you have a ‘small order surcharge’, and what your ‘returns’ policy is These are your ‘terms of trade’, and if you choose to supply your book yourself, you need to understand these terms and think carefully about them.

Your terms of trade are very important decisions and should be based on sensible business principles.

Freight – ‘FIS’ stands for ‘Free Into Store’, which means you bear all the costs of getting copies of your book (regardless of quantity) to the bookshop. ‘FIS + service charge’ means that you apply a set charge for supplying any quantity of your books.

‘Freight charged’ means that you charge the bookshop for the actual cost of sending the books to them. As a self-publisher without the distribution facilities of a large publisher, you will probably want to charge freight at cost.

Small order surcharge (SOS) – As the name suggests, this is a charge for supplying a small number of books, usually based on the number of copies ordered or the net value of an order. For example, a publisher may impose an SOS of ‘$5 on single copies’, or ‘$5 on invoices under $50 net’.

Returns – ‘All orders firm sale’ (FS) means that booksellers must pay for all copies ordered and cannot return them. ‘Sale or return’ (SOR) means that a bookseller can return unsold copies, usually within a time frame specified by the publisher.

You might also wish to offer your books ‘on consignment’, which means the bookseller takes a certain number of copies of your book, pays you as they are sold, and can return unsold copies within a certain time frame.

If you choose to sell your books at the firm sale, booksellers will expect a higher discount for ‘taking the risk’ on your book.

Discount – You need to offer a discount to booksellers to sell your book for you. When planning to self-publish your book, you need to include this discount in your costing; if the GST-inclusive retail price of your book is $14.95, you will not, of course, receive that amount for each copy! Discounts may range from 10% up to 60%, but the ‘standard’ discount is 33-40%.

You may wish to offer a range of discounts based on the number of books ordered – see SOS above.

GST – You should ensure that the GST inclusive recommended retail price is quoted on all your promotional and other material.

Faulty copies – If your book is faulty in any way – for example, misbound, or damaged in transit to a bookshop – booksellers will expect to be able to return copies to you and receive either a credit or a replacement copy.

As the publisher usually bears the cost of returning faulty copies, you may wish to specify that the bookseller can ‘return title page’ rather than ‘return whole book’.

Distribution for book self-publishers provided by Self Publisher Resources- Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Darwin, Canberra, Hobart & Australia-wide!


Marketing is a three-syllable word that seems so simple, yet encompasses so much. Marketing is a multi-faceted approach to promoting a product or service.

Both traditional and unconventional marketing methods have a place in the small business world. Marketing helps small businesses focus on building their brand and identity.

There are few limitations to marketing options, and the opportunities listed here are just a few that will generally result in a decent ROI (Return On Investment) for most small businesses. That said, do not be afraid to be creative — no one knows or understands a small business like its owner, so think outside of the box and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Create strong relationships

The founding principle behind successfully selling anything is by establishing genuine and positive human connections. Taking the time to initiate and cultivate lasting relationships with bookstore owners and buyers will dramatically increase your chances of getting your book on their shelves. Even if initially, they feel your work is not right, by presenting yourself as a professional and credible author and self-publisher – they are significantly more likely to be open to being pitched on any subsequent projects you may develop.

Even if they do say no the first time, keep the relationship open and positive. Send a short follow-up email or letter thanking them for their time regardless. It could pay dividends in the future.

Know what the bookstores want

Referencing your marketing plan within the sales letter is important. It indicates your proactive and professional business approach to the sale of your book. Bookstores will want to know what you are actively doing to promote your book. They do not like to sit on dead inventory. If they feel confident that any books they buy from you can be promoted and sold through marketing and promotional activity is directly driven by you – they are more likely to purchase.

Getting your sales letter right is vital. Keep it at two pages maximum, and ensure it contains all the core points.

The Australian Publishing Association also has a list of book stores and distributors in Australia that authors can contact.

Distributing Your Book
All the promotion in the world will come enough taught if you cannot follow through and provide copies of your book quickly and efficiently.
You can choose to distribute your book yourself or employ a distributor or agent to supply your book to booksellers for you. Download our Distribution List

Doing It Yourself
The biggest disadvantage of managing distribution yourself is that it takes time and is an ongoing job.
You need to be easily contactable (by phone, fax, and, increasingly, email), and able to provide a quick turnaround of orders.
You will also need to be vigilant in your accounting and offer standard terms of trade to booksellers.

marketing 2

Using A Distributor

The biggest advantage of using a distributor or commissioned agent to sell your book for you is that they have the expertise and resources to do the job effectively.

The biggest drawback is that you will need to supply your book to a distributor at a high discount, as they are bearing the costs of supplying your book to bookshops (including a discount to booksellers).

Also consider that if you are distributing your book yourself, you can focus all of your resources on it, whereas a distributor or agent is handling many titles at once.

You need to be confident that a distributor will do justice to your book.

Be sure to ask all the questions you need to feel confident that the distributor will promote your book as effectively as possible; ask about their publicity policy, the strength of their sales representative force, what they require in terms of discount, and their accounting procedures (that is, when you receive payment for sales of your book), and compare them with others.

You will also want to establish whether you are also able to promote and sell your book yourself, as some distributors may prefer an ‘exclusive’ arrangement.

Some distributors are known for specializing in particular types of books and are able to market your book effectively to outlets that will have a particular interest in your book. Both the Australian Publishers AssocAPAion (APA) and the Australian Booksellers Association (ABA) sell lists of Australian book distributors, which will help you, establish which distributors might be interested in selling your book.

Good luck with your personal endeavours, and maybe sometime soon we’ll see your name on the bestseller’s list!

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