Tips for taking your video interview skills to the next level

Help! How can I use video interviews to promote my book?

As the popularity of video conferencing continues to grow, more authors are being invited to record interviews using Zoom than ever before. 

Are you prepared to make the most of a video interview? Read on for answers to our frequently asked questions–

How should I prepare for a video interview?

One of the first things you should do is watch some episodes of the show! The more episodes you watch, the better you’ll be able to understand the host, the format of the show, and the tone of the interview.

If the host shares a list of questions or talking points, be sure to look everything over prior to the interview. If they don’t have an outline for you, feel free to send them some suggestions for topics you’d like to discuss.

How can I reduce the chances of tech issues?

First, ask the producer or host if they have any equipment suggestions. Some interviewers will want you to use headphones or specific recording devices. Familiarize yourself with the technology in advance of the interview.

Next, be sure to test that your microphone and camera are working properly.

You should also double check that your wifi connection is strong and stable for video interviews.

In order to ensure that your audio recording is sufficient, be sure to reduce background noise by turning off fans and closing open windows.

How can I make sure that I look good on camera?

Start by selecting your recording environment–background and lighting make a huge difference! Choose a quiet, well-lit space (natural light is best), with a clean, neutral background. Many authors choose to record video interviews in their office or in front of a bookshelf, but any private space will do. You can use the “blur” feature to hide your background if you’re worried about showcasing your home to the public,

As far as clothing goes, you should aim to wear something that’s comfortable, professional and, most importantly, that feels like “you.” While it may be tempting to wear a suit jacket with pajama pants, we don’t recommend it. It’s best to dress from head to toe–even if no one can see the pants or shoes you put on, having a fully put together outfit can give you the confidence boost you need to succeed!

If you tend to talk with your hands, try to reduce the amount of gestures you use during the interview. You should also practice using a neutral facial expression, such as a soft smile, throughout the interview. This helps to ensure that your image stays professional, even if the video software glitches or freezes.

How can I promote my book during the interview?

Just like with a radio interview, the host will give you opportunities to talk about your book. However, unlike radio, you can actually show your book’s cover to the camera!

Be sure to keep a copy of your book nearby and hold it up to the camera at appropriate times. If you’re running a giveaway using swag like tote bags or t-shirts, you can also show those off!

What else should I know?

The most important thing is to have fun and be yourself! If you were invited to be a guest on a podcast or television program, it’s because the producer or host saw something special in you–and your book. Now, go on and share your message with the world!

A classroom with children raising their hands and text that says "Do you need an educator guide for your children's book?"

What is an educator guide and do I need one for my book?

Calling all children’s book authors! Are you considering making an educator guide for your book? Keep reading to find out if it’s a good fit for you.

What are educator guides?

Educator guides are resources that help teachers adapt literary materials for classroom use. These guides are typically tailored for the class’s age group and are designed to meet current curriculum standards. Educator guides often include discussion questions, hands-on activities, and worksheets that teachers can print out and use.

Should I have and educator guide?

If you plan on reaching out to schools to schedule classroom visits, an educator guide would likely be a good fit for you. We all know that teachers have packed schedules, so the more time-saving resources you can provide for them, the better!

In addition to sending these materials directly to teachers and librarians, you’ll also want to incorporate them on your website.

Here are a few examples of guides on author websites:

What should I include?

A discussion guide with open-ended questions for students to consider after reading can be used to spark classroom conversation. You can also include hands-on activities related to your book, such as word searches, crafts, and coloring pages, with downloadable materials, if appropriate. If you know of other books that explore your main subject, consider making a list of recommended reads for students who want to delve deeper. Remember to keep the age of your ideal audience in mind as you put your educator guide together!

How can I get an educator guide?

While some authors choose to create their own guides, it may be best to hire professional help to ensure that your materials meet current curriculum requirements. Many former educators have small businesses dedicated to making classroom materials, such as Rm 228

By partnering with educators, you can reach more students with your book while making a memorable impact on communities. 

Looking for tips on how to schedule school visits?

Check out our previous article here on best practices for scheduling school visits.

Write on!

Do I need beta readers and sensitivity readers for my book?

What are beta readers?

Did you know that rom-com classics like Pretty in Pink (1986), My Best Friend’s Wedding (1997) and Scott Pilgrim vs the World (2010) originally had very different endings? After audiences reacted negatively to the endings in test screenings, the scripts were reworked to have the endings we know today. 

Just as test audiences preview films prior to release and relay critical viewer feedback, beta readers do the same for books. These unsung heroes read manuscripts prior to publication, providing their honest opinions. And they often do it entirely for free.

Acting as a general audience, beta readers typically focus on:

  • the likeability/believability of characters
  • the tone and pacing of key scenes
  • the believability of the plot (keeping an eye out for plot holes)
  • their emotional responses and gut reactions to specific scenes and the book as a whole

How can I connect with beta readers?

Finding beta readers–especially those willing to read for free–can be challenging. It’s best not to rely on your friends or your writing colleagues, but to seek out readers who will be unbiased in their feedback. You can try networking with readers by using the #betareaders hashtag on Twitter or posting on the r/betareaders subreddit, offering your manuscript to interested readers.

If you aren’t on social media or want to expedite the process, you can pay for beta reading services. Just be sure to research various options so you can make the best decision for your book and your wallet.

How do I work with beta readers?

Once you’ve found beta readers interested in your work, it’s important to provide them with everything they need to succeed. Help them help you!

You should:

  • Offer your manuscript in various formats (.mobi, .epub, print)
  • Provide realistic deadlines for their feedback
  • Ask specific questions that you want them to focus on (without trying to control their responses)
  • Be open to criticism
  • Compare notes from all readers before making changes to your manuscript

How do sensitivity readers (SRs) differ from beta readers (BRs)?

Sensitivity readers take a more specific approach to reading than beta readers. SRs often focus on how markers of identity and lived experience such as race, culture, religion, gender, sexuality and disability play a role in a book and influence its characters. Most authors think SRs eliminate stereotypes in books. While that’s part of what they do, they ultimately help authors create realistic characters that readers can relate to, believe in, and stick with. SRs are almost always paid, given the level of niche expertise and focused feedback that they provide.

Some beta readers may touch on aspects of identity and other sensitive topics in their feedback. Still, depending on the book, it can be worthwhile to seek out a professional opinion from a sensitivity reader as well.

Just like with beta readers, it’s important for authors to be open to criticism when working with sensitivity readers. Take all feedback to heart and use it as a learning experience. Remember that it’s not possible to be an expert in everything, and the best authors enlist lots of help throughout the writing process!

 

Do I really need a publicist to help me market my book?

There’s no question that the publishing industry has changed dramatically in recent years. In many ways, it’s more difficult to publish a book now than ever before. However, a good publicity team knows what authors are up against, and can help you cope with various challenges, ultimately setting you up for success. What are some of the challenges that authors face with book publicity today?

An estimated 3 to 4 million books are now being published annually, making it even tougher to break through. But despite the wealth of books hitting shelves, the market remains stagnant. According to Publishers Weekly, book industry revenue was $25.3 billion in 2000 and only $25.7 billion in 2020. When adjusted for inflation, this “growth” becomes a loss. And according to Gallup polls, the average American adult read 12 books in 2021, down from 15 in 2016. While it’s too soon to tell how much of this is a result of COVID-related restrictions, it’s certainly a reflection of the current struggle to capture the attention of target readers.

A good publicity firm will provide targeted outreach to the readers that will best connect with your book, helping to position it in front of audiences with influence in the book world. They should use unique pitches and creative brainstorming to rise about the crowd.

Over 300 bookstores have opened in the U.S. in the past couple years, and they’re stocking more diverse books than ever before. This is a serious victory, but physical bookstore space is still drastically limited compared to the rapidly growing number of books being published annually. Publicists can help connect authors with booksellers to cultivate relationships with these valuable tastemakers.

Marketing resources are stretched thin, and more than ever before, authors are required to take on the majority of marketing and publicity efforts for their book. Many publishers have excellent guidebooks that coach authors on the ins and outs of publicity, but taking it on alone can feel extremely daunting. Not to mention that many authors would rather spend their time writing their next book than posting on social media.

Publishing is an ever-evolving industry where authors are forced to quickly adapt to each new challenge. Having a book publicist as a partner can provide you with the support and guidance you need to make sense of a complicated industry. Plus, having a dedicated publicist putting in the hours will help your book stand out from the millions of other titles being published each year. 

Think publicity might be a good fit for you? Learn more about what we do at Books Forward here and drop us a line if you want to connect.

Tips for Building Your Author Website and Blog

As an author, your website is your home base! It’s an important platform for developing your brand and inviting contact from readers, book industry leaders, and media professionals.

You’ll want your website to be:

  • Attractive, with a color scheme and tone representing your genre/brand
  • Easy to navigate
  • Adaptable for use on mobile devices
  • Safe and secure (you should obtain an SSL certificate)

Content-wise, you’ll want to make sure your site has:

  • Information about you and your books
  • Links for purchasing all of your titles (we recommend Bookshop.org, Barnes & Noble, your publisher’s website, and Amazon)
  • A blog (this can help with SEO, sending more visitors to your site!)
  • Useful resources (press kit, educator guides)
  • A press page with links to media coverage for your books
  • A call to action (e.g. sign up for my newsletter, subscribe to our podcast, check out my recent interview)
  • A contact page so visitors can reach out to you!

Here are some examples of well-done author websites:

One of the main questions we get about author websites is should I have a blog?

We do recommend blogs to most authors. They are especially helpful for authors looking to boost their brand and searchability (SEO) in the long-term. If you are a multi-book author (or if you plan to write more), then a blog will be particularly useful for you!

One important thing to note: ideally, you’ll post on your blog at regular intervals. This can be once every two weeks, once per month, or whatever works best for you. Consistency is key!

Maintaining a blog can:

  • Act as a sample of your writing style, enticing prospective readers
  • Show an alternate, more personal side of you, helping you connect with readers and fellow writers on a deeper level
  • Help you promote upcoming book releases, events, and other “happenings”
  • Help you network with other authors through blog-swap promotions

A few ideas for what to explore in your blog:

  • Writing craft – tips, sample exercises, lessons learned.
  • Personal notes – memoir-style entries about your life, current thoughts and experiences that are shaping your writing career.
  • Book features – what you’re currently reading and enjoying.
  • Blog-swap – promotional information from an author in your network. Ask them if they’d be willing to promote you on their blog in return!
  • Publishing inside scoop – cover reveal, behind-the-scenes look at the editing process, networking tips.
  • Side projects – any non-book project you may have: a poem or short story you wrote on your morning bus ride, an art piece, essay, recipe, podcast.
  • Promotion – information about your upcoming releases, giveaway links, events.
  • Excerpts – exclusive “sneak peek” at your book, whether it’s available for pre-order or currently on sale.

To make the most out of your blog, you can link it to your social media pages, so each post is automatically shared through your other channels.

Keep in mind that starting a blog is a long-term investment. You won’t see thousands of visitors to your blog in the first few months. But if you consistently post engaging content, offer “exclusives” like giveaways and excerpts, and use your writing network to help expand your reach, you’ll see a dedicated audience slowly grow over time, helping your brand for years to come. 

For more must-have elements of your website, check out our previous article here: https://booksforward.com/must-have-elements-on-your-author-website/

Guide to Celebrity Book Clubs

Looking for a new book club to join? Lucky for you, these celebs have you covered!

Celebrities choose their favorite books to share with fans, usually by working directly with major publishing houses and selecting a frontlist title that speaks to them. Occasionally, celebs will pick a backlist title from their personal library.

Oprah Winfrey

The queen of the celebrity book club, Oprah started her now-iconic club back in 1996. Fans of classic literature by Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, Leo Tolstoy and Gabriel García Márquez should be sure to check out Oprah’s picks. She features the best of books, old and new!

Jenna Bush Hager

The TODAY book club, #ReadWithJenna, features fan-favorite backlist titles like Donna Tartt’s “The Secret History” released in 1992, as well as hit debut titles like Jessamine Chan’s “The School for Good Mothers” released in 2022. Jenna has only been selecting books since 2019, but we already love her taste, which ranges from historical fiction to mystery, memoir, and beyond!

Reese Witherspoon

Reese’s Book Club has quickly become a favorite among readers, and we can see why! Picks like “Where the Crawdads Sing,” “Little Fires Everywhere,” and “Daisy Jones and the Six” have been major crowd pleasers. She even has a few YA picks for both young and young-at-heart readers.

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts and her best friend, Karah Preiss, run the book club Belletrist. Picks often feature protagonists in their 20s and 30s and explore questions related to womanhood, identity, queerness, race and coming-of-age. Notable picks include “Sex and Rage” by Eve Babitz, “Her Body and Other Parties” by Carmen Maria Machado, and “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones.

Gwyneth Paltrow

The Goopiest celebrity on this list, Gwyneth Paltrow has been on a book club hiatus since June 2022, but you can still check out backlist picks like “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” by Deesha Philyaw on the Goop website.

Noname

Musician Noname has a phenomenal book club with chapters across the country, so you can check if there’s one in your area! There are also Zoom sessions available to all. The club’s one major rule is don’t buy from Amazon, and support a Black-owned bookstore if you can. If you can’t, the library is always a great option. Author picks include the legendary Toni Morrison, bell hooks, Yaa Gyasi, James Baldwin, Angela Davis and Alice Wong, to name a few.

Kaia Gerber

Supermodel Kaia Gerber runs a casual book club through her Instagram page, often featuring memorable conversations with other celebrities such as fellow supermodel Emily Ratajkowski, actress Laura Dern and author Carmen Maria Machado. 

Emma Corrin

Emma runs a semi-secret book club on Instagram under the handle @someb00kswotiread. They don’t have a strict monthly format, so this is a great fit for anyone who wants to read more but gets stressed out by scheduling. A few of their notable picks: “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin, “Swimming in the Dark” by Tomasz Jedrowski and “The Mermaid of Black Conch” by Monique Roffey.

Dua Lipa

Dua is the newest book club girlie on the scene, and we love that for her! Her book club, called Service95, started in June. Her first two picks are “Shuggie Bain” and “Pachinko.” Join this club if you feel like starting something new!

Florence Welch

Musician Florence Welch, of Florence and the Machine, runs a book club called Between Two Books. Recent picks include “If I Had Your Face,” “The Haunting of Hill House” and “Priestdaddy.” If you gravitate toward genre-bending titles or horror books, you should definitely check this one out!

Andrew Luck

If you think book clubs are just for the girls, think again! Former quarterback Andrew Luck is also an avid reader and book club founder. Although his club has been on hiatus since August 2020, the backlist picks are worth checking out. Take a look on Instagram at @albookclub.

Emma Watson

Watson ran a popular book club from 2016-2019 called Our Shared Shelf. The club began as a way for readers to engage with intersectional feminism. Be sure to check out Watson’s backlist picks, including “Pachinko,” “Beloved,” “Sister Outsider,” “All About Love,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Color Purple.”

Isabella Boylston

The principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre, Isabella Boylston, is also the host of the Ballerina Book Club. A sci-fi and fantasy lover, Boylston recommends top genre picks such as “The City We Became” by N.K. Jemisin.

Shonda Rhimes, Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Jessica Parker

Still not satisfied with these celebrity book clubs? Try digging up reading recs from other literary stars like Shonda Rhimes, Jimmy Fallon and Sarah Jessica Parker. 

Or maybe your favorite author is a celeb whose book club you’d like to join! You can check out Fable to choose from thousands of book clubs, including ones moderated by your favorite authors.

Best of luck on your bookish journey! 

Organizing events around your release date

Organizing events around your release date

If you’re the type of person who loves to socialize and meet with readers, you’re probably wondering what steps you should take to arrange a bookstore event surrounding your publication day. Here’s the rundown:

Selecting Bookstores

You’ll want to start reaching out to bookstores at least four months before your release date. The earlier you can contact bookstores, the better, especially if you’re looking at stores in major cities like New York or Los Angeles. For a small town bookstore, though, three months’ notice may suffice. 

Before contacting a bookstore, it’s important to find out whether or not they host events because not every bookstore does. Peruse their website and see if they have an event calendar. If they do, dig a little deeper and see if they offer the type of event you’re looking for (in-person, online, storytime, book signing, etc).

Approaching the Bookstore

Before approaching the store to request an author event, make sure you have everything in order. You’ll need a press release that contains your book data (such as ISBN and release date) and any pertinent ordering information such as discounts.

You’ll also need to let the bookseller know how many people you can draw to the event. Bookstores often have to pay employees overtime to work events, and having an approximate audience size helps them estimate book sales, which in turn gives them an idea of the kind of profit they’re looking at. Do NOT tell the store you can draw 100 guests to your event if that’s not realistic. You don’t want to ruin your relationship with the store, so always be as honest as possible about attendance size.

Booksellers will also want to know how your book appeals to their own customer demographic. Give them your best elevator pitch and explain why their customers would resonate with your book. 

Remember that event coordinators are extremely busy, so be respectful in your communication with them. Try to call ahead or email them instead of dropping in unannounced, as many booksellers won’t have time to meet with authors in the middle of a hectic sales day.

Preparing for the Event

The bookstore agreed to host you–woohoo! Now what?

Make sure you tell the store about any accommodations you may need, such as elevator access, a podium, a PowerPoint set-up, etc.

Prepare your presentation and select the excerpts you’d like to read. Usually the store will give you an idea of how long they’d like you to read for, so be sure to time yourself during your practice reads.

Consider your book signing, if you’re planning one. Decide if you want to sign books ahead of time or during the event, and think about how exactly you’ll personalize the books–do you want to use a catchphrase, add a doodle or share a meaningful remark?

You should also add a buy link to the store’s pre-order page on your website to show them you’re serious about driving sales to their store.

Spreading the News

You want people to show up, so don’t keep your event a secret!

First, tell your publisher and/or publicist about your event plans. This will help them best support you. Your publicity team may contact local media outlets to try to get coverage in advance of the event.

Next, tell everyone you know. Seriously! Add the event information to your author website, send out an email newsletter, and post about it on social media.

Wrapping It Up

After your event, you’ll want to thank everyone at the store who made it possible. You can show your appreciation in a few ways (the more the merrier!) Try:

  • Sending a handwritten thank you card to the store
  • Purchasing someone else’s book the day of the event
  • Sharing photos from the event on social media, tagging the store and singing their praises

If you can, stay in touch with the store and continue to shop there. If you’re a local author, they may invite you back for a book club session or to be a panelist or moderator for future events. Building a strong connection with a store now can benefit you as an author for years to come!

Tips for Authors Preparing for an Interview

We know that radio and TV interviews can be nerve-wracking, especially for debut authors. You’re ready to share your book with the world, but you’re worried about your ability to respond to questions with polished, engaging responses. Radio and podcasts can be great tools for marketing, and just like anything else, it’s easier to be prepared if you have a strong game plan in place.

It’s completely normal to be feeling nervous, and we hope the following tips will help guide you through the stress and into a more confident place!

Step One: Pre-Interview

There are several tasks you should complete in advance of your interview. 

Familiarize yourself with the program you’ll be a guest on.

Listen to a few episodes so you can get a feel for how the hosts typically chat with guests. Each show has a unique “flow.” Take note if the conversation seems to be casual, funny, upbeat, serious or news-focused. 

Know what’s expected of you. 

You should have the date and time (and time zone!) of your interview written down, along with the details for how to connect (Zoom link, call-in number, etc). Additionally, you’ll want to know how long the interview will be, and whether it will be live or pre-recorded.

Select an excerpt from your book to read. 

Choose a 1-3 minute excerpt from your book to read on air. The host will usually let you know in advance if they plan on having you read from the book. Be sure to follow their cues, and don’t start reading until prompted.

Identify 3-5 main points you want to get across in the interview. 

It’s much easier to steer a ship when you have a destination in mind! If you know in advance what you want listeners to take away from your interview, it will be easier for you to guide the conversation. If you’ll be in a longer interview (think 60 minutes or more) you may want to prepare closer to 10 talking points.

Prepare soundbites based on each of your main points.

You won’t want to sound like you’re reading from cue cards throughout your interview, but you will want to have “checkpoint” phrases or sentences prepared in advance. You don’t have to use all of your prepared soundbites, but they’ll be there for you if you need them. Like using a compass, if you start feeling lost during your interview, reorient yourself with a few of your key phrases. 

Boost your confidence.

Remember that the host invited you on the show because they are interested in your book, and they think listeners will find you engaging and entertaining. The host won’t be trying to stump you or embarrass you! On the contrary, they feel confident in your ability to shine for their audience. So, you should too!

Step Two: The Interview

Now, it’s time for the main event!

Choose a quiet space to chat.

Find a quiet area with little to no distractions to complete your interview. Try to remain seated during the conversation to reduce background noise. If you’ll be on video chat, choose a well-lit area, and wear something that makes you feel like the best version of yourself.

Test your microphone and camera.

If needed, be sure to test your computer’s microphone and camera before the interview to make sure everything is working properly. If you’ll be using headphones, check those as well.

Pretend you’re on TV, even if you aren’t.

Whether you’ll be on Zoom or doing an audio-only interview, it always helps to pretend you’re in front of a live audience. If you smile and stay upbeat, the audience will be able to hear the enthusiasm in your tone of voice.

Remember to state your book’s title.

If you can, be sure to mention the title of your book multiple times throughout your interview. This will help listeners to remember it, making it easier for them to look you up or buy a copy later on. This is also important for live interviews, as you’ll help listeners who are just tuning in to discern who you are and what you’re talking about.

If you need to correct the host, do it kindly.

Sometimes the host will get it wrong. They may mispronounce your name, or make an error in reference to your book, such as stating an incorrect publication day. If this happens, take the opportunity to share the correct information with the audience, but be generous and kind when doing so.

Keep your answers personable and succinct.

Try to respond with short, focused answers, aiming for roughly 30 seconds per response. If you talk for minutes on end, it may be hard for listeners to maintain their focus. Aim for clarity, and arrive at your main point quickly.

Avoid jargon and filler words.

There’s a time and place for everything. Technical programs may warrant more technical language, and casual programs may warrant more uses of “like” or “um” in your speech. But for the most part, try to avoid these faux pas.

Use the “bridging” technique.

This will help you transition from the host’s question into an answer that you feel comfortable providing. A few sample “bridges” are:

  • I’m really glad you asked that because…
  • Now that you mention it, this relates to something I’ve been thinking about…
  • It’s funny you should say that because…
  • Thinking of that from a more broad perspective…
  • Along the same lines…
  • I’m not sure I can answer that precise question, but I did want to mention…

Wrap up on a positive note.

While you’re still on air, be sure to thank the host for their time and mention that you enjoyed the conversation.

Step Three: Post-Interview

Don’t neglect these last few tasks!

Follow up with the producer/host via email.

Send a personal note thanking the team off-the-air. When you’re ready to promote your next book, you’ll be glad you did, as you may have another invitation to come back on the show!

Ask if/when the interview will be posted online.

Keep an eye out for the link and share it on your social media. Be sure to tag the show as well.

Playback the interview and make notes for improvement. 

No one will have a perfect interview on the first try. But if you choose to learn from your mistakes, you’ll make your next interview that much better!

If you implement these interview tips, let us know how it goes. We can’t wait to see you succeed!

What are the benefits of different types of media coverage?

Yes, book reviews are great, but they aren’t the only type of media coverage that can be used to promote your book! As an author, it’s best to be open to other unique media opportunities. If you extend your sights beyond the traditional book review, you’ll find various effective promotional tools you can use to get your name in front of readers.

Guest articles

Articles you write, whether they’re being published in a newspaper or online, are an excellent tool for author branding because they allow you to position yourself as an expert. In an article, you will get to emphasize your viewpoint, sharing what you’re passionate and knowledgeable about in your own words. Here are some tips for writing guest articles.

Local and regional media

Some authors get their strongest support from local and regional media; people love to see members of their community succeeding and doing positive things with their lives. And as a bonus, this local coverage helps show independent bookstores in your area that there’s interest in your book within the community.

Promotional giveaways

Giveaways put your book directly in the hands of avid readers, which will help drum up support for your work over time, as these readers leave reviews for your book online, or spread word about it to their friends and family. You can try setting up a giveaway on your social media or, Goodreads offers authors access to their giveaway program for a fee.

Radio shows and podcasts

Audio interviews allow you to express yourself. Hearing an author’s enthusiasm about a book is infectious — you may be surprised to discover that you can pull in potential readers with little more than your personality! Check out more here about how radio and podcasts can be valuable marketing tools.

Book blogger spotlights

Features with book bloggers can be easy to arrange, and are great for SEO! When a blogger is swamped with review requests and can’t possibly add another book to their TBR, ask them if they’d be willing to share a spotlight for your book instead. All you’ll need to do is share the book blurb, your bio, cover image and headshot, and *tada* you get exposure.

Cover reveals

One way to take advantage of a beautiful cover is through a cover reveal. These scheduled unveilings help build excitement for upcoming releases and may help increase pre-orders as well! Learn more here about setting up a cover reveal.

Excerpt placements

Excerpts give potential readers a sneak peek at your book. If you highlight the right excerpt, you’ll have your reader hooked, and they may buy a copy of the book simply because they’re dying to know what happens next!

Bookstagrammers, TikTokers and other Influencers

Think about the advertising rule of 7: A potential reader must see a book at least 7 times before they’ll be enticed to buy it. This is especially true for debut authors or those who don’t have a fan base built up already. Ideally, readers will need to see your name and the cover of your book various times on social media. Before long, they’ll begin to wonder, “what’s this book everyone’s been raving about?” and they’ll grab a copy of their own to find out. Influencer support is very powerful!

It’s true that not all media opportunities will work for every author, but we encourage you to try as many of the above as possible. Having a diverse array of coverage for you and your book will help you to reach new audiences all while solidifying your position as an author-expert!

For more information about these different types of media coverage, be sure to click the hyperlinks above and check out our other articles.

 

How to write back cover copy

A book’s front cover should be eye-catching and inviting enough to compel a reader to pick up your book. But, that’s only half the battle! Without enticing back cover copy, your book — with its beautifully designed front cover — may go right back on the bookseller shelves. 

The back cover, though less glamorous than the front cover, does most of the work when it comes to convincing readers to pull out their wallet. So, it’s important to give it the attention it deserves. In this article, we’ll share a few tips for nailing your back cover copy.

Research what other authors in your genre have done.

After seeing what’s been working for your competition, you’ll have a better idea of the structure and style you should use in your own copy. This will vary depending on your genre. For example, fantasy and romance authors may rely more heavily on taglines to get their message across, whereas nonfiction writers may use bullet points for the same purpose.

Remember that researching does not mean copying. Even if you find inspiration from what other authors have done, you have to put your own spin on things!

Consider your target audience. 

What are your readers looking for? What keywords will draw them in — and which ones will push them away? 

For nonfiction authors, readers are typically looking to learn something new. Often, they are searching for an answer to a problem. Your copy should acknowledge the problem/question they have, and then promise to provide an answer. Tell your reader exactly what they will take away from the book.

For fiction authors, especially genre fiction, your copy might take inspiration from a movie trailer. You’ll want to showcase the suspense, drama, excitement and romance contained in your book’s pages. Readers should get a feeling for the emotional content of the book in addition to a basic understanding of the plot.

Start drafting.

As you begin drafting options for your copy, try to fit everything into one or two paragraphs and aim for 200-250 words. If you go over this limit, your potential buyer may feel overwhelmed.

Include a tagline.

A tagline is an optional way to hook your reader before diving into the full description. A tagline can be a short descriptive sentence or a memorable quote or phrase from the book. Here are a few examples:

From Sarah Winman’s “Tin Man”:

This is almost a love story.

But it’s not as simple as that.

From Ta-Nehesi Coates’ “The Water Dancer”:

A magical gift. A devastating loss.

An underground war for freedom.

Fom Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”:

“I have a great honor,” The Giver said. “So will you. But you will find that it is not the same as power.”

From Min Jin Lee’s “Pachinko”:

“There could only be a few winners, and a lot of losers. And yet we played on, because we had hope that we might be the lucky ones.”

All of these taglines are short and snappy, capturing the reader’s attention, and encouraging them to read on.

Include a review quote.

Either instead of, or in addition to, a tagline, you might include a review quote or testimonial from a respected source. This may come from a well-known author in your genre, from an expert in your field, or from a trusted industry source like Publishers Weekly or Kirkus.

Consider your author bio and headshot.

If you have room, you might feature a short bio along with your professional headshot on your back cover.

An author bio is most important for nonfiction authors, as this will give you the opportunity to establish your credibility and expertise. Be sure to state clearly what experience you have and why you are a good fit for writing on this topic. Space will be limited, so aim for 1-2 sentences or roughly 25 words.

Get feedback from your network.

At long last, you have a draft (or two or three!) complete. Consider sending it to your writing group or network of trusted friends for their feedback. Authors learn best from each other, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!