Thursday, January 14, 2010

Blog publicity dos and don'ts

by Michael

Lauren pointed me to this excellent post about dos and don’ts for publicists from blogger Lindsay Robertson. The don’ts should be obvious, but sadly, it seems that they aren’t. What I found more interesting, and possibly surprising, were the dos. The rule that really caught my attention was “Pick Eight Blogs.” She suggests that publicists pick eight blogs to publicize to. Yep, just eight. By targeting the most appropriate outlets and building relationships with them, the contention is that coverage will be both better and wider. But how is that possible if you’re only pitching eight blogs? Because the bigger internet sites scan the smaller sites to find their content. And by not throwing things at everyone in sight, you can get higher-quality coverage that people actually pay attention to. Very savvy, very practical, and much more fulfilling for the publicist, I think.

It strikes me that there are lessons here for authors. By being smart and focused about submissions, whether when looking for an agent or promoting one’s own work, authors increase the likelihood of a hit. In a world where it’s easy to communicate broadly, who doesn’t appreciate a tailored message? I know that I more carefully consider the queries that are specifically tailored to me. By doing the research and narrowing the list, an author with an attractive project is more likely to find an agent.

The same is true when author goes to promote her own book. By selecting a limited number of bloggers to approach and tailoring the pitch to each blogger’s interests, an author is more likely to get serious attention. It likely takes the same amount of time as blindly contacting hundreds of people, but the quality of the hits you get will certainly make up for anything lost in numbers.

I know this is something I’ll have in mind when talking to authors and book publicists in the future, and I’m sure this concept can be applied to other aspects of book publishing and beyond.


  1. I’m a participating host on the WOW Women on Writing Blog Author tours. As a hosting blog, I choose the authors best-suited to my theme and readership, and then the author tailors their post accordingly. The author blog stops that get the best response/most enthusiastic comments are the definitely ones really well tailored to my blog. So perfecting that match is key. The results are seen immediately with a very active dialogue ensuing in the comments.

    So as a blog host, my advice to authors is to find that niche audience similar to your readership. And when the match isn’t perfectly aligned, find a common thread between your work and the blog audience and use it to engage and expand your audience.

  2. This is very interesting! Eight, huh? To me, this makes a lot of sense. I'm about to start the query stage and I have a short list of agents to query - they are the ones I have got to know through blogs or having met face to face and they rep the type of book I write. Even though everything to do with writing is subjective, I do feel when the queries go out to my targeted agents I will have a better chance as I have taken the time to study what they like, what clients they have, etc. At least, I like to think my chances are better by doing the homework... :-)

  3. Very good idea. Specific and limited. Allows you to quickly focus and develop your relationships without feeling like you're missing something somewhere else (which will happen anyway. Find 100 blogs, and there'll be No. 101).

  4. I've sat in a bar in the Philippines and watched two people sit at the same table sending SMS to each other - truth is stranger than fiction

    I think the telling line in your blog is "who doesn’t appreciate a tailored message?". We have devices which enable us to be heard better than ever before, but our ability to communicate has in many cases depreciated. I am hoping that this is a curve that reverses.

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