Publishing in the Age of Visual Content

According to Bradley Wilson, consumers from the Gen Z population are more attracted to interactive and visual content. With shorter attention spans and the need for more stimulating content, this generation presents a unique challenge when it comes to not only capturing their attention, but also their loyalty. According to a recent study, Americans spend an average of six hours per day consuming digital media, while only eight minutes a day is spent on reading, and these findings skew even more when it comes to Gen Z consumers. This new generation also has a need for “mobile-friendly communication.” This can prove problematic if publishing companies continue with traditional modes of advertising, because Gen Z has indicated a preference for more personalized messaging and the ability to connect with brands through word of mouth and influencers. Publishers are reaching a point where they need to start rethinking the way they deliver and market their stories, because it’s important to provide consumers with material in the ways that they consume them.
One way publishers are doing this is with the use of visuals novels, which are defined by Cecil Choi as “text-based stories told in a digital medium, often accompanied by relevant visuals and/or audio.” This offers publishers a way to merge the digital and visual needs of this generation with the stories they are already producing.
Surges in the popularity of story-based apps is something that the industry should be closely monitoring. For example, a popular app that was designed specifically to market an already-produced television show is called Love Island: The Game. Based on the popular British reality television show that shares its name, this app is written with the arc of an entire season of the show in mind. Drawing on plot lines from the show itself, writers developed a story that readers were then able to play out. The game has been a highly successful marketing tool for the show, and has spawned an online community of readers who have created more buzz on social media through sites such as Twitter, Tumblr, and Reddit. This is important because relationships that are formed on social media “have become a central life aspect” for Gen Z. There is so much untapped potential in the publishing industry for expanding into this market, and it is something that I feel publishing companies should strongly consider if they want to keep the attention of Gen Z while also redefining their own interactive digital marketing.
Marketing a novel using these avenues has the potential to be incredibly beneficial to publishers. It gives readers a chance to develop more interest and hold more stake in the success of the novel, since they are allowed to insert themselves and interact with the story in a way that they can’t with traditional publishing. This is a strategy that can be used to make backlist titles relevant and timely again; there is also potential to merge graphic novels with this visual formatting.
All in all, I believe that it offers incredible value for both designers and marketers. These apps are not only successful in that they are popular with Gen Z, but they are also lucrative. Many times these apps have the option to “buy in-game currency” (such as “gems” or “diamonds”) that lets readers make different choices or gives them the option to not have to wait until their “lives” are back in order to keep reading. This could potentially replicate the success that the industry has recently seen with new formats such as audiobooks, which saw a surge of “thirty-three percent last year,” and it is helping to keep the digital business of book publishing profitable. Because this is something that gaming and design companies seem to have a monopoly on at the moment, a partnership with one of these companies might be recommended for now.

Tips for Getting Your Author Ready for an Instagram Takeover

Social media is a great way to generate publicity for a book, and one trend that has recently gained popularity is Instagram takeovers. For authors who aren’t familiar with Instagram, the platform can look incredibly complicated at first glance. Knowing the basics of the platform is crucial, especially given the frequency with which it’s updated. In this post I will offer tips to get your Instagram-newbie author ready for a takeover in no time!

  1. Get Them Familiar with the Platform
  2. Most takeovers usually happen on Instagram stories, but the buttons to add this content may not come across clearly. Make sure your author knows that in order to access this button, they will need to either swipe left or locate the circle at the top left of their screen. I always find that screenshots and examples are incredibly helpful in this step! A great way to get comfortable with this feature is to practice—have them create test posts on a private or personal account so that they have a better idea of what to do when the time comes. This will also allow you to gauge their understanding of the platform as well.

  3. Set Expectations
  4. The idea of a takeover may seem overwhelming to authors who don’t know what to expect. They may ask questions like “How often should I post?” and “What kind of content do I share?” Giving your author some guidelines can help soothe some of this anxiety. Let them know specifics like how often they should post (i.e. once an hour vs. ten posts total), what the time frame is for their takeover, and what you and your viewers expect to see during that time. Make sure they know what they are getting into. I always recommend that authors share fun facts about themselves, pictures of their pets, and other material that allows viewers to get to know them. This will look different for everyone, so make sure you are as clear as possible every step of the way.

  5. Communicate
  6. Given everything going on in the world with social distancing, virtual meetings, and geographical limitations, it is more important than ever to establish effective communication. While emailing back and forth is convenient, giving a step-by-step tutorial in text can be overwhelming. Sharing screens or having an audio connection is a great alternative that will help take stress off your author and make them feel like they aren’t alone in figuring this out.

  7. Know Your Resources
  8. One of the great things about the “new normal” of virtual meetings is that it is easier than ever to find a video tutorial that can do some of the work for you. This video by Louise Henry is very in-depth and effective at covering all of the options that Instagram stories has to offer. In his tutorial, Dusty Porter offers a quick, but thorough, rundown on Instagram stories. These are just a few examples, but you always have the option to take matters into your own hands and screen-record your own tutorials as well.

  9. When in Doubt, Take Over
  10. Some authors just won’t get the hang of Instagram, and that is okay! I recommend that you sit down with your author and plan out content that you can post for them: choose photos to share and create captions with together, or offer a Q&A session via email so followers can still have authentic engagement with the author. There are endless possibilities!

  11. Move On
  12. An Instagram takeover will not make or break a campaign, so if things really aren’t working out, then it’s time to move on. With that being said, always be patient and allow your author the time and space to acclimate to Instagram. Only move on as a last resort.

Instagram takeovers are a fun and low-stress marketing tool that anyone can take advantage of. With these tips, you may be able to help your author in a big way! Just make sure to do your own research, because in the world of social media, the platforms we know and love can change in an instant.

Front cover of the book Finding the Vein which portrays the title on a forested background.

Positive Predictions for FINDING THE VEIN

As of writing this, Finding the Vein is on the verge of publication and the entire team is so excited! We’ve been working on a number of things to ensure that the book has an excellent launch. Ooligan has partnered with Hood River’s favorite indie book retailer, Waucoma Bookstore, to host our virtual launch event. Our team has been hard at work creating content for our social media campaign, and we’re getting the word out through our local library partners. While this post will be going up after the launch for Finding the Vein has officially kicked off, rest assured that our team will keep the enthusiasm rolling as we continue to promote Ooligan Press’s first mystery novel.
The Finding the Vein team partnered with Waucoma Bookstore to host our Zoom launch event on April 20, 2021. As Ooligan’s third foray into digital launches, it was an interesting event to set up and gave our team members the opportunity to work with an independent bookstore to arrange an evening that would serve the interests of the press, the author, and the shop itself. The terms of the launch had to be negotiated carefully to ensure that everyone was happy with the outcomes.
Originally, the bookstore wanted to do a traditional Zoom room for the event to allow the audience to pop on camera and ask their questions during the Q&A. The case they made for this modality was in good spirits, and the bookstore representatives wanting to allow for a similar kind of audience engagement one would have at an in-person launch event is understandable. However, our team was concerned about some of the hazards this modality could pose to the event’s schedule and that it might cause lag if the event was well attended. Most of us are familiar with Zoom-era horror stories of someone forgetting to turn off their microphone or have experienced firsthand the bandwidth problems of having too many cameras on at once. On top of that, we were also concerned that if people decided to keep their cameras on that it could distract from the author and do a disservice to the launch experience. Lastly, we were worried that the chat, which we wouldn’t be able to disable in a standard session, would also distract from the questions audience members wanted to ask. It took us a bit, but we got everyone on board with a webinar format instead as it would bypass so many of the problems we were hoping to avoid. Of course, by the time this blog is released, the event will have already happened, and because of the team’s careful planning and dedication to quality, I’m certain that it will have been a hit!
The Finding the Vein team is also hard at work creating engaging social media content both for the launch event and for the weeks following the launch. We’re leaning heavily into the mystery plot and imagery of the Pacific Northwest for our campaign, tapping into some of the most celebrated themes of the book to engage readers. On top of social media, Oolies have been distributing posters throughout the city to advertise the launch, using the beautiful Oolie-designed cover to catch the eyes of passersby. We’re not alone in promoting Finding the Vein as our partners at the Multnomah County Library Writers Project are also busily working to distribute the book through their system and help increase patron awareness of it once it officially launches.
With the launch of Finding the Vein, it’s only natural for one to think: “What’s next?” We have an exciting new project on the horizon—but all I can tell you right now is that it’s going to be awesome. The incoming project manager, Wren Haines, will be taking over for the outgoing manager, the amazing Bailey Potter, at the end of the term and they will be announcing the new project in detail soon! So stay tuned to Ooligan’s official channels for an update about next year’s Library Writers Project release.
Finding the Vein launched on April 20, 2021, in both trade paperback and ebook formats. To learn more about the Library Writers Project and how to submit work to the Multnomah County Library, please visit their website.

A blue and green postcard with book cover, description, and author bio

Ramping Up to Launching FINDING THE VEIN

The ramp up to the launch of Finding the Vein has begun! Just as a quick reminder before the publication update, Finding the Vein, written by Jennifer Hanlon Wilde, is Ooligan’s first mystery title and follows both campers and police detectives as they investigate the death of a beloved camp counselor. Little do they know that his death is just the tip of the iceberg of secrets at Heritage Camp.
Whereas fall term was mostly about planning our marketing outreach campaign, winter term found us actually following through with those plans. We sent out advance review copies (ARCs) and digital review copies (DRCs) to national review outlets, finished our postcard (see image above), sent out blurb requests, wrote our social media copy and paired posts with images, prepared email templates, and finished our press kit. The Ooligan web page for Finding the Vein has also been created! Additionally, the interior of the novel has been designed (by yours truly, I might add) and the print and ebook proofreads have been completed. The project team, department managers, and other Oolies who have volunteered for certain assignments have been working diligently and I’m so excited to see the seeds of our efforts take root and bloom into fruition.
I’m happy to say that a few blurbs have come in so far, one of which was written by the previous Library Writers Project author, whose book published just last year:

Finding the Vein has a multidimensional cast of characters, with interwoven backgrounds and complex emotions. Vivid, sensory descriptions drew me into the story, and a plot full of tantalizing hooks kept me guessing right up to the end. Jennifer Hanlon Wilde has penned a satisfying mystery!

Cindy Hiday, author of Iditarod Nights

Finally, the day has come to publish Finding the Vein! On April 20, you’ll be able to find this thrilling and sweet mystery novel in bookstores everywhere, even here! We’ve been ramping up to this launch for months now, and are so excited that Waucoma Bookstore is hosting our virtual launch event, but also that best-selling novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz is joining us to interview and converse with Jennifer Hanlon Wilde! This event is going to kick off the publication of Finding the Vein and will (hopefully) herald in a new age of Ooligan press delving into more genre titles in the future. Speaking of which . . .
In other Library Writers Project news, we are moving forward with our next LWP title set to publish in 2022. I can’t say quite yet what it will be, but while Finding the Vein has been chugging along in its final stages of the publishing process, the copy chief, Erica, and I were been busy reading among the collection of LWP titles at the Multnomah County Library in search another self-published ebook to publish in print. We have chosen our next title, reached out to the author, officially acquired the manuscript, and have begun the process of developmental editing. While launching Finding the Vein will be a dream come true for Jennifer (the author) and all of us at Ooligan who have devoted our time and hearts toward its publication, we are all very excited to begin the rewarding process of publishing all over again with this next title.
To learn more about the Library Writers Project and how to submit work to the Multnomah County Library, please visit their website.

Sign that says time for change with led lights in background.

Demanding Diversity with BookTube

BookTubers are a well-known part of the book-loving community. BookTube is the place on YouTube people go to hear others rave about books they love or discuss all things wrong with the books they don’t. Throw in some fun bookish tags and it is the perfect space for readers to get more content when they aren’t curled up with a book. That being said, BookTube has gone through some important changes over the years and one vital change is that the personalities and faces of these channels are becoming more and more diverse.
Diversity is something the publishing industry has long struggled with, but BookTube isn’t letting that stop them. Anyone who has a passion or an interest can upload a video onto YouTube, and that is no different for the book community. These videos afford BookTubers an audience and platform to speak their minds and call for change, much like the creator Christina Mitchell does consistently. Mitchell’s channel takes the issue of lack of diversity head on and calls out the community in dedicated videos. One video, which criticized the attendance of BookCon, resulted in the Con giving her a panel to speak on issues that concern her, such as diversity.
Mitchell’s example of speaking out isn’t the only headway the community is making on diversity. YouTube recently released a trailer for a BookTube video featuring David Sedaris. While Sedaris is highlighted, this video also features a panel of numerous BookTubers including Cindy Pham, Joel Kim Booster, Jake Roper, and Francine Simone, a small selection of people that still showed a more diverse set of content creators from the platform. This support from YouTube itself shows that people are taking notice and their platforms are just as successful as the white creators from BookTube’s inception. This is also a show of growth as YouTube’s previous feature with Michelle Obama consisted of a largely white panel of BookTubers. A HuffPost article was even written with Black BookTubers criticising the choices of creators included in this video and the missed opportunity YouTube had to highlight a marginalized group of the book community. These outspoken creators are a huge part of the visibility of these issues and a huge step into holding the publishing industry as a whole accountable.
BookTubers aren’t just making callout videos—they are also uplifting authors and books that are already representative of the diversity they seek. They are still coming up with popular BookTube content while also featuring people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and so much more. For example, Cindy Pham from readwithcindy even posts an annual Asian readathon in the month of May to highlight Asian Heritage Month. This event is specifically targeted for Asian authors, characters, or both. These creators are using their platforms to both create a positive and fun space for book lovers while also giving a spotlight to issues they care about. These content creators are unapologetically calling for change out of love for reading, something their audiences can no doubt identify with. BookTubers are making it quite clear that they won’t stand for the industry’s lack of diversity, and with their impact we can look forward to how that will change the face of the industry in the years to come.

Image of laptop with a plant leaf in top left corner. On the desk is a tablet with the words "online book marketing" and a graph. A pair of glasses are to the right of the tablet and a cup of coffee is above them.

Reinventing the Market for Classic Novels

What makes an old book new—at least in the eyes of the consumer? Publishers of classic novels face the distinct challenge of marketing books that have already been extensively read, loved, discussed, and marketed. More often than not, publishers are not selling the content of the book—after all, the words are already tried and true—they are selling the experience.
The New York Times best seller list is ever changing, with new books entering the lineup every week. Most books do not stay in the public eye for more than a year or two before they are replaced by the next best novel or the newest hot author. However, there are some novels that never sway from mass public consumption, withstanding not only the test of time, but also the constant influx of current best sellers. Novels such as Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and Dracula, as well as collections of short stories by Virginia Woolf, poetry by Emily Dickinson, and plays by William Shakespeare are all shelved neatly together, collectively given the term “classics.”
These novels are, in a sense, timeless; they coined phrases and pioneered ideas that are still being gleaned from today. However, while these novels remain popular well after their initial publication, what keeps them flying off the racks, so to speak? How do publishing houses convince a consumer to purchase their seventh copy of To Kill a Mockingbird? Publishers have had to reinvigorate and, on occasion, redesign the market for classic literature. Using book cover redesign, contemporary author introductions, and celebrity audiobook performers, publishers have had to get creative in order to keep classics afloat amid the tide of new releases.
Penguin and Puffin Classics are great examples of how publishers can use a book jacket revamp. According to children’s book publisher Sharon Cullen, an old classic can get a facelift with a new cover: “From Treasure Island and Heidi to the Secret Garden and The Wizard of Oz, these books have been firm favorites of children across the generations and their striking new jackets will ensure they remain popular for many years.” After all, a dazzling new book cover for a classic like Dracula could convince both a reader who already owns a copy (but a different version) and one who does not have it to pick it off the shelves, even when surrounded by new releases.
Modern Library, a renowned publisher of classics, has a history of bringing new life to their classic catalog. In 2000, they published a series of classics with newly added introductions by contemporary authors of the time. More recently in 2019, they launched a series of classics “penned by women.” Via Publishers Weekly, “the series, the publisher said, will ‘honor a more inclusive vision of classic books’ by ‘recognizing women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance.'” Furthermore, Modern Library repackaged the included novels with redesigned covers and introductions by contemporary women writers.
On a more digital aspect, publishers and businesses have experimented with adding celebrity names to audiobooks and ebooks. According to Publishers Weekly, in 2012, Audible.com “released the first of four planned waves in their ‘A-List Collection,’ audiobooks of classic literature read by some of Hollywood’s biggest stars.” For example, Anne Hathaway read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, while Samuel L. Jackson read A Rage in Heaven by Chester Himes. While the authors themselves have varying degrees of public recognition, actors such as those listed above afford both a great fanbase and a sense of intrigue to the audiobooks. In 2020, Audible advertised Little Women performed by Laura Dern and The Great Gatsby narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal.
Many of the sales techniques and strategies surrounding the market for classics are conditional based on specific moments occurring during the period in which the books are being sold. Much like book covers and marketing campaigns, the novels themselves need to be positioned toward cultural, political, and current social themes. Classic novels will always carry a sense of nostalgia, while also bringing about a wave of timelessness with each turn of the page. However, while such novels will continue to be taught in curriculums and read by aficionados, the classics continue to need facelifts and facetunes in order to be repurchased and re-digested by the masses. Classic novels have managed to not only stay afloat in modern times, but to also make new waves and their own splashes within the tumultuous sea of best sellers, new releases, and backlist titles.

A phone screen with apps for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest visible

Personal versus Professional Branding in the Business of Book

In the age of social media, the art of personal branding is a vital aspect of ensuring the books that authors and publishers are putting out into the world are making it to the right audience. Everything from the cover design to the publishing business logo to the author’s Twitter account are all part of the message telling readers that this is a professional publication.
So what is the difference between personal branding and professional branding? Why does it matter, and when is it better to use one over the other? Let’s start by defining what each one is. According to Pamela Wilson of Big Brand System, a nationally recognized company that specializes in building online presences for both businesses and individuals, personal branding is “built around you—your personality, your interests, your lifestyle.” On the other hand, professional branding is “built around an identity that you create for your business.” This is not to say that a personal brand is not professional or that a professional brand cannot have a personal aspect or touch to it. More specifically, a personal brand focuses on an individual and a professional brand focuses on the business.
This is important for bookselling because, as mentioned above, branding fits into almost every aspect of writing and publishing. If you are a publishing company, you will need to have a brand for your business that represents what your goals and missions are. It should represent just what sort of books you will publish. Within your company, it is likely that you will either have inhouse editors and design teams, or perhaps you will work with freelance editors and design teams. In either case, these editors and designers likely have their own personal brand, even if this falls under the umbrella of the publishing company. They have a specific way they represent themselves to the authors and agents with whom they are working. If they are freelancers, they more than likely have websites, portfolios, and business cards with their own logos and individual branding that reflects the way they want to present themselves, both online and off.
Authors, too, have spent time building their images. At one point in time, we looked to the author’s personal history or biography, their book cover designs, and even their work itself as the evidence of how this author was meant to be perceived. I’m sure many of us remember high school or undergraduate Shakespeare classes where we discussed authorship debates. The things that we use to define a play or sonnet to be “Shakespeare’s” are the marks that his work has revealed with consistency: iambic pentameter, sonnets and the syllables and rhyme schemes therein, and the themes of the plays. This, for all intents and purposes, could be considered Shakespeare’s personal brand.
It is still more important today for authors to build their personal brands. So much of life’s interactions are done online these days, from Twitter to Instagram, Facebook to Snapchat, LinkedIn to TikTok, and email or personal web pages. Many well-established authors have, at very least, some form of social media. Many others have websites that are also linked to social media. In all of these aspects, they have learned the importance of building their online personas, or in other words, their personal brands.
A common misconception of personal branding and social media, especially among novice authors, up-and-coming artists, and other such individuals, is that self-promotion is a bit of a narcissistic trend when it is in fact a rather vital aspect of the success of one’s personal brand. It’s important to have that presence and persona in order to network both online and off, as well as aid in the success of your book sales. So yes, it is self-promotion, but for the purpose of self and for the purpose of your audience finding what very well could be their next favorite book. You want your work to make it into the right hands: the right agent, the right publisher, and the right readers. Making sure you are well-represented through a personal brand is the foundation on which you will build your career. Make sure it reflects yourself well.

Thumb hovering over Instagram app on a smart phone.

Learning the ABCs of Bookstagram

I started my bookstagram page at the end of September 2020. In under half a year, I have amassed 3,400 plus followers, held conversations with some of my favorite authors, and made many bookish friends. There are many tips and tricks only accessible to those engaging with other accounts, consuming a lot of content, and running an actual bookstagram account. Thus, I have gathered my most useful tips and tricks on how to create, operate, and brand a successful bookstagram account.

  1. Realize your definition of success.
    1. What do you want to get out of your account? Do likes matter? Do followers matter?
    2. Know your own value. Likes and followers only hold the weight you place on them. Big or small, this account is ultimately for you!
  2. Develop your content strategy.
    1. Will you be posting book reviews? Do you want your feed to be aesthetically pleasing and uniform in style or color? Will you post other content besides books?
    2. Many followers first engage with your image—this is Instagram, after all. Having good lighting and photo quality are a great first step to running a professional account. Many bookstagrammers use props like fake flowers, bookish merch, and other knickknacks to create a theme, while others use a consistent filter or color scheme.
    3. Your inaugural post is a great way to introduce yourself to the bookstagram community! Why did you choose to begin? What books do you like? Why is your account unique?
  3. Design your profile.
    1. Start with your account name, a.k.a. your @ handle. Making it book related helps alert others to your interests.
    2. Another critical part of your account is the profile picture. Some choose to pay for a designed logo, but you can make your own in many different apps, Adobe Creative Cloud, or even Word. A picture of books or you with books would work, just make sure it is recognizably your account. This is your chance to stand out!
    3. Many times people decide to follow and follow back based on your @ handle, profile picture, and bio. If you choose a random selfie or obscure name, other bookstagrammers may not recognize your account as a book page.
    4. You have the option to switch your account to a “business profile.” It is not required, but it can be worthwhile because you are able to see the best times to post, the demographics of your followers, and engagement rates of your posts.
    5. You can also create highlights on your profile from the Instagram story feature. You are able to further brand your account by creating cover images for different highlights.
  4. Extra tips.
    1. Engage. With. Other. Accounts. If you follow an account, like a few of their photos, and even comment, they are more likely to return the favor! You will also create friendships and start to carve out your own space in the bookstagram community.
    2. A big part of success on Instagram (and beating the algorithm) is consistency. Most recommend posting at least once a day. However, post as much or as little as you can manage. Do not overwhelm yourself!
    3. If you choose to use hashtags on your posts, choose ones with fewer than fifteen thousand posts and more than one thousand. This will help your post be shown to more accounts.
    4. There are many apps you can employ to help you. Instagram layout apps are great for planning your feed, follower apps can help you keep track of any spam accounts or bots, and editing apps can make your images pop!
    5. Follow trains are useful for beginners looking to make new friends and find new accounts to follow; you can often find them under hashtags and around general bookstagram.
    6. Do not follow too many accounts or like too many posts in a short period of time, especially when you have a new Instagram account. They will temporarily block your account. Since the numbers frequently change, you can google the current Instagram algorithm and rules.

Ultimately, successful accounts bring something new to the table! Convey your unique voice via your reviews, use unique props, or just find your people. If you are confused about any steps or features of Instagram, Google will most likely have the answer. You are also free to message me on Instagram, @fringebookreviews, and I will try to address your questions! You can also use my account as an example. Good luck, and happy reading!

Person holding tablet with the pages of a document on the screen

The Anatomy of a Press Kit

Not just a pretty document, a press kit provides the media with information about an upcoming book release that could potentially lead to earned publicity for the book and the author. A good press kit makes it easier for journalists to learn quickly about an upcoming book release. There are six vital components to creating a press kit that will catch the media’s eye and get your author the attention they deserve. Below, the anatomy of a press kit will be dissected so your book can launch successfully.

Contents of a Press Kit

COMPONENT ONE

The first part of a press kit provides all of the details about the book’s outward appearance. It also shows important information like when the book will be published and whether it is paperback or hardcover. These details include:

  • Title, subtitle, and author
  • Metadata
  • Image of the book cover

COMPONENT TWO

The second part of the press kit contains all the information about the book. This includes information about author appearances and reviews. It explains why a reader would want to pick the book up. This is usually done with a press release. Another option instead of the press release is to do a one-page book description and another page on author appearances and events.

  • Press release
    • Should include a hook, summary, reviews and praise, information about launch events and other author appearances, author bio, subject matter of the book (why they want to buy it, how it pertains to the reader), when the book will be published, and where it can be preordered. Remember to keep each of these sections short and to the point.
    • The bottom of the press release should say something like, “For more information, to receive a copy of [title], or to interview [author], contact: [contact information of publicist or publishing house].”
  • Or, a one-page book description and one page about author appearances with dates and locations.

COMPONENT THREE

The third part of the press release is the author bio and photo. While the author bio is also included in the press release, feel free to go into more detail here.

  • Author bio with a photo of author

COMPONENT FOUR

The fourth component of the press kit keeps the book breathing: praise and reviews. Make sure to include key reviews from important people or organizations for your book. Praise is there to show the media that your book is worth taking a look into.

  • Praise and reviews

COMPONENT FIVE

The next part of the press kit allows the media to get a running start on articles and interviews for the author and book. Adding talking points to your press kit will make it that much easier for a busy journalist to write a great piece on your upcoming book release.

  • Talking points
    • These can be talking points about the book for interviews, or a filled-out Q&A with the author (needs to include questions and answers).

COMPONENT SIX

The last component of the press kit is a section on the publisher and who they are. This does not have to be long and can just be a normal publisher bio.

  • Publisher bio

Contents of a One-Pager:

The one-pager is basically a one-page press kit. It also resembles a tip sheet, but it is sent to media outlets instead of salespeople or publishers. The one-pager includes the following:

  1. Title, subtitle, author
  2. Hook, book description
  3. Book cover
  4. One to two blurbs (keep it short)
  5. Author bio
  6. Metadata

What is publicity?

Think of a publicist as an author’s strategist, promoter, organizer, and cheerleader. Publicists are evangelists for the books they are working on. Publicity is often referred to as earned media because it is not paid for. Some examples of publicity for books are articles, author interviews, author appearances, reviews, and blog posts. Publicity depends on a third party to spread the word about an upcoming book release. Because it depends on someone other than the publisher to talk about the book, consumers tend to think it is more trustworthy.

And that’s all there is to it. So go forth and get that earned media for your book.

Reaching Unconventional Contacts

Welcome back to Finding the Vein by Jennifer Hanlon Wilde, Ooligan’s third title in the Library Writers Project, our partnership with Multnomah County Library. Ooligan’s first mystery title follows two detectives, a teen sleuth and a police sergeant, as they and their respective partners-in-crime (or in-justice, as the case may be) investigate a camp counselor’s death. In addition to the multiple potential murderers and classic mystery genre red herrings, Finding the Vein is filled with comedy and heart.

When we developed the marketing plan for this book, we included unconventional contacts that were appropriate for the themes in Finding the Vein. These included adoption associations, libraries, book clubs, and summer camps, in addition to the typical contacts that a project team collects such as national and regional publications and magazines, independent bookstores, individual bloggers and book reviewers on social media, and podcasts. Our question was this: How do we reach the unconventional ones? Thankfully, some of the libraries are already taken care of through our partnership with LWP: Multnomah County Library purchases a few copies of the LWP books as they are published to distribute among Multnomah County’s library branches. For the adoption associations, other libraries, book clubs, and summer camps, though, we needed to get more creative. Due to COVID-19, our options were limited because we didn’t have the usual physical collateral that teams include in a sales kit.

We decided that we needed to design something versatile that could be used both physically and virtually in both our marketing and social media campaigns, and we came up with the idea of designing a summer camp–themed postcard. We have a small budget set aside for collateral, which we haven’t used yet, so this is a completely doable strategy. First, we’ll send our contacts an email that informs them of the forthcoming Finding the Vein, gives a summary of the book, describes why it may be of interest to them, and encourages them to tell their colleagues about it. If we get a response, we will send them a physical postcard; that way we don’t waste any by sending them to contacts who won’t be interested or informed of its relevance beforehand. Hopefully we will receive more sales through these connections. At most, we may receive a couple of reviews or an announcement in a newsletter out of our efforts, both of which would be fantastic to have from these more specialized contacts.

The additional benefit of designing a postcard is that we can use it virtually as well. I’ll be sending it to Jennifer, the author, in case she’d like to use it during her email preorder campaign in the early spring of 2021, as well as for usage on her website and blog. They can also be printed out and used as flyers, so we’ll be sure to send the independent bookstores and libraries on our contact list a virtual copy as well. Lastly, the design can be used as an image on social media. Through the combined usage of the postcard design, we are essentially creating an immediately recognizable image that nearly every one of our contacts (and their associates) will eventually see in some format. This ensures that if they or a member of our intended audience sees Finding the Vein on a bookshelf or an online store, they will be that much more likely to purchase it, and in turn, tell others about it.

I’m excited to see how our postcard campaign moves forward, and I can’t wait to see its results!

Finding the Vein will launch on April 20, 2021, in both trade paperback and ebook formats. To learn more about the Library Writers Project and how to submit work to the Multnomah County Library, please visit their website.