Authors: Pick Up Publicity Where Your Publisher Leaves Off

Author. Old School Writer

(DGIwire)  It’s no secret: the publishing industry has gone through something of an overhaul in recent years with the rise of self-publishing and the near-ubiquity of e-books. Today it’s harder than ever for an author—especially a new one who does not yet have a big following—to stand out among the rest. After all, not everyone can drum up the same buzz as Karl Ove Knausgård, whose series My Struggle has earned him the nickname “The Norwegian Proust”; Lena Dunham, whose essay collection Not That Kind of Girl garnered a $3.7 million advance; or Thomas Pynchon, who publishes books so infrequently that the 2013 release of Bleeding Edge was akin to glimpsing Halley’s Comet.

Even with the help of the (usually modest-sized) public relations departments at traditional publishing houses, the vast majority of authors still must do significant self-promotion to get their books into the hands of a sizeable number of readers. Many authors are turning to social media to interact with those who have read their book and will hopefully recommend it to others, and those they hope will turn into readers—posting updates about their new book, answering questions about their work and informing them on upcoming events such as readings, book signings and literary talks.

Unfortunately, for any artists—especially authors—time is of the utmost importance. Spending so much time on promotion—including creating and maintaining a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, and your own personal website—can take precious hours away from your actual work. So what can the published author do on his or her own to supplement the limited promotion his publisher is able and willing to do, in order to make sure the book gets into the right hands?

“In this crowded book market, publishing houses are inundated with authors and don’t have the people or, frankly, the budget and willingness in many cases, to create a targeted, personalized public relations plan for each book,” says public relations specialist Dian Griesel, Ph.D. “And while self-promotion through social media can do a lot,” she adds, “it is highly time-consuming, which takes time away from writing the next book or making a living in some other way. Working with an independent publicist you hire yourself can ensure your books get seen by as large an audience as possible.”

As President of Dian Griesel International, an award-winning media relations and news placement agency based in New York City, Griesel has successfully represented a wide range of clients, from multinational corporations to individual authors.

Griesel is a 10-time author herself. Her most recent title is ENGAGE: Smart Ideas to Get More Media Coverage, Build Your Influence & Grow Your Business. ENGAGE shares 226 “smart ideas” that companies and their PR teams can use to capture the attention of their target audiences and build influence as they establish expert status and power up the growth of their business.

Book on antsWhere will your book take you? It could sit, catching dust in your publisher’s warehouse, or you could employ a publicist to help get it into the hands of readers and perhaps make you a recognizable literary figure. Who knows? With some PR help, you could be the next Knausgård, Dunham or Pynchon.