Why Author PR can be more Important than Book PR

We all know that you have to promote your books if you want them to sell. We should also all know that book PR is a great component of that whole process - the part where you show your book is relevant to potential readers, bring it to their attention, and get some buzz generated.

But when working on a book PR campaign, I think some authors (especially of the self-published or e-published variety) forget about something that can be even more important - author PR.

Why do I think author PR is more important than book PR? Because buzz built around your book will help to sell that book. Buzz built around you will still help to sell that book, but will also help to sell other books you've already written or will write in the future (not to mention any other products or services you may be offering related to your book).

Author PR is about building your exposure and reputation as an authority in the niche or genre in which you're writing. I think it's much more important in non-fiction publishing than fiction (although fiction writers shouldn't neglect it - how often do people buy a new novel just because they recognize the author and have liked their past work?).

The idea is that by getting people to recognize your name, and have some positive image tied to it, you'll get them to be more open to buying your books. For example, if a well-known self-help guru publishes a book in their area of expertise, they'll likely sell far more copies than a similar book coming out by someone who (even with equal credentials) is completely unknown to the target market.

There are a lot of ways you can build author publicity, and I'll be sharing an author PR checklist with you that includes a lot of them within the next week or so. What I want to know right now is what you think about author PR. Is it important in selling your books? Obviously unknown authors can still sell books - they all start out that way after all. But could they sell more, in your view, by putting more emphasis into their own publicity prior to that first book launch? Or should they focus on book marketing for their first title, and let that lead to some recognition to build on?

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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, consultant, and indie author. She runs numerous websites & blogs including All Freelance Writing, Freelance Writing Pros, NakedPR, and Kiss My Biz.

Jenn has 25 years' experience as a professional writer and editor and over 20 years' experience in marketing and PR (working heavily in digital PR, online marketing, social media, SEO, new media, and thought leadership publication). She also has 19 years' professional blogging and web publishing experience (including web development) and around 18 years of experience as an indie author / publisher.

Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names and is an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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4 thoughts on “Why Author PR can be more Important than Book PR”

  1. I work for a TCI-Smith Publicity, we specialize in promoting books. Your assessment is dead on! We call author publicity “personality cultivation”–raising awareness of an author in their genre on industry. It is an essential (and very successful!) element to book promotion, especially in non-fiction books. Plus, as our president Dan Smith always states, no one wants to interview a book. Promoting the author is key.

  2. Hi,

    I’m new to the newsletter, but what a great post for initiation! My first book, Heart of Stone, is due out probably by the end of this year. (No official release date, yet.) I’ve joined many social networking sites, and posted a blurb about my book, but I figured the real promoting would come closer to the release date. In reading your post, I’m thinking I should be promoting myself now. I’m looking forward to reading future posts.

    Thank you,

    Sandra Kay
    Heart of Stone (TWRP)
    Time For Romance (TWRP)

  3. I’m banking on author PR. It took me several years to get my book published simply because it took me that long to get established in my niche. Even now that my book is published, it’s a continual effort to get my name out there as someone who really knows what’s going on. When people know me by name, that’s when I sell my book, because it stands out in the piles of other books in my niche.

  4. Another excellent post. I agree wholeheartedly. The theory is absolutely sound.

    I just wish I could make the PR thing work for me. I run two blogs, each with new posts several times a week. I participate on Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo Answers, have Hubpages and articles on other sites, been interviewed on numerous other blogs, yet still my book doesn’t shift.

    I have good feedback from people who HAVE purchased, in Australia, South Africa, Canada, the US and the UK, yet no movement. I’d just like to know where I’m going wrong.


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