In my latest column for Publishers Weekly, I discuss how authors must refine their approach when seeking support from influencers or the media. (I call this “earned media”—where you get attention or coverage for free. Sometimes publicists help with this.)
First, never assume that the influencer needs to read a copy of the book—or have a copy—in order to support it. Not true. I write:
Consider that reading a book takes hours of time that someone might not have. Though it may seem counterintuitive (and some authors are hurt by the implication that not everyone is eager to read their books), if your targets already know you or your work very well, don’t put them on the spot to read the book. They may already be prepared to support you. Of course, you should always offer to send a copy. Just don’t make that central to your ask—e.g., “May I send you the book?” Instead, think about what you’d like to see happen if they agree to support the book. Do you want them to tweet about it? Post on Instagram? Have you on a podcast?
There’s a second mistake that gets made—read the full column to find out what it is.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.