Leveraging Current News to an Author’s Advantage

Immigration issues made headlines on every news station in the months surrounding the release of Chaithanya Sohan’s America Deconstructed, a collection of personal stories from immigrants to the U.S. While much of the national news coverage devolved into debate, Sohan’s book brought a human perspective to the conversation. Her fresh approach to a timely, trending news topic gave her publicity campaign three major advantages.

Because Sohan is an immigrant herself, Books Forward underscored her expertise on the immigrant experience, ensuring her personal story and dedicated research would truly shine. Her guest articles on her experiences were particularly well-received by Women Writers, Women’s Books and Girl Talk HQ

We also promoted Sohan’s book as a featured pick within #ownvoices, a trending online social movement that highlights diverse voices in literature. We targeted outreach to Bookstagrammers who were part of this ongoing push for diverse, inclusive lit. These influencers responded with overwhelming excitement and support for America Deconstructed, helping to generate lots of buzz around the launch. 

By strategically using the author’s expertise on a subject in the national news cycle, we were able to ensure her work received the visibility it deserved and made a lasting impact.

Boosting a Business through Book Promotion

A book can do so much more than launch your literary career; it can boost your business as well! 

The Books Forward team was thrilled to help Dr. Tiffany Breeding grow her platform as a health expert with the launch of her book, The Metabolic Makeover. With a PhD in Health and Human Performance, and a Masters in Kinesiology/Performance Psychology, “Dr. Tiff” combined exercise, dieting and intention into a transformative strategy for healthy living. Her goals were focused on increasing her local private fitness clients through the sale of her book and growing her fitness brand through publicity. 

We set to work creating a brand-building campaign that resulted in both national and local media attention. We coordinated an interview with NBC, arranged an expert Q&A with Sanctuary magazine and organized a SiriusXM radio tour that solidified her as a credible fitness expert in the national eye. 

Since her customers were primarily Nashville-based, we secured solid local coverage with Nashville Fit magazine, Nashville Lifestyles magazine and News Channel 5’s “Talk of the Town,” one of the city’s most popular morning television programs. We even snagged a feature for her in one of the debut issues of Nashville’s newest lifestyle and health magazine, Nashville Edit. And, we partnered her with local online influencers, fitness Instagrammers and lifestyle bloggers for a big online / social media boost. 

We are happy to see Dr. Tiff’s brand and business continue to skyrocket. With a little savvy promotion, she was able to get the visibility her business deserves!

Designing a Unique Mailing to Win Big Media

Media outlets receive dozens of books on a weekly — sometimes daily — basis. We knew we had to make our media mailing for Ann Stampler’s YA thriller How to Disappear stand out to get attention, so we got creative! 

This edge-of-your-seat thriller follows a teen named Nicolette and her race to escape a hitman, so we decided to re-create both the hitman’s “hit packet” from the book, as well as the disguise kit used by the protagonist.

Our media mailing included a copy of the book, a personal note from the author, and two large, special envelopes. The first envelope read “Are You the Hunter?,” and included the hitman’s info on Nicolette as described in the novel: “photos” of Nicolette and her house, her “driver’s license” and a checklist of her personal information. (Yes, we created these things!) The second envelope read “Are You the Hunted?,” and included Nicolette’s disguise kit (complete with sunglasses and a tube of hair dye!), the fake ID she uses in the novel, a road map and a “room key” to the hotel she stays at in the book! 

The mailing received a lot of love and attention from the media, who responded warmly to the book (instead of tossing it in the “to read” pile). After the mailing, we were thrilled to see How to Disappear featured multiple times on Buzzfeed (which tweeted a photo of the mailing!), Bustle, B&N Teen Blog, USA TODAY Happy Ever After, Hypable, Heroes and Heartbreakers, PopCrush and more! 

A little extra imagination helped ensure that Ann’s incredible novel won’t “disappear” off the best teen reading lists!

Selling Out an Initial Print Run

Named a Best Indie Book of the Year in 2018, A Year of Living Kindly was an immediate darling of national media and reviewers, earning a coveted starred review by Kirkus Reviews. As the contentious 2018 midterm elections were setting fire to national headlines, author Donna Cameron’s warmth and authenticity became a sought-after perspective as she examined the transformative power of civility. 

Books Forward maximized Donna’s visibility by positioning her as a “kindness expert,” securing placement for her guest articles in The Washington Post and more, and our team helped grow media buzz around her brand.

Our partnership with Donna made a difference. She already built a wide fan base with a blog she began writing a year prior to publication, and the media attention we secured for her grew her readership and solidified her position as as an expert in the field of kindness.

And the buzz didn’t stop with publication–at the start of 2019, Donna’s expertise continued to make a splash across multiple media outlets, and she was even showcased in Weight Watchers Magazine

As a result, Donna’s publisher She Writes Press announced that the book sold out of its first printing in just a few months, and is now in its fourth printing. We’re thrilled that readers took notice of this remarkable book!

Organizing the World’s Longest Book Tour

A book tour can be a great way to make a splash, and when you’re working with an author as great as Jenny Milchman — it’s an opportunity to create a tsunami! 

Books Forward helped Jenny launch her highly anticipated thriller, Cover of Snow (Ballantine Books), at the venerable Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan. Next, we arranged for her to speak to hundreds of bookstore owners and booksellers at the Southern Independent Booksellers Association trade show. Jenny and her novel made a lasting impression; more than a dozen bookstores requested her for events! Although Cover of Snow takes place in upstate New York, the SIBA booksellers fell in love and hand-sold the thriller so that it hit the SIBA bestseller list right out of the gate. 

And that was just the beginning; Jenny is an all-star networker, and she ultimately received 300 bookstore event invitations thanks to her extensive list of contacts that she cultivated in the book industry. She partnered with us on what Shelf Awareness dubbed the “World’s Longest Book Tour,” as she and her family hit the road for an epic cross-country tour over nine months. Our team worked tirelessly alongside Jenny to garner local media attention in every city and town she visited.

After her first epic trip, we teamed up again for the launch of her second book and a brand new tour opportunity: “100 Events in 100 Days.” We assisted with event organization, coordinating private book parties and dinners for her in multiple cities. We also secured reviews and media coverage for Jenny’s amazing efforts. Not only did she get to make new connections and meet tons of her reader fans, but it was like a homecoming when she returned to the independent bookstores who supported her from the start. 

Today Jenny is a USA Today-bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author. We’re thrilled to report that her current publisher has recognized the value of her book-touring skills and sponsored an extensive national tour for her latest novel! 

These days, writing an incredible book is only the first step; authors must also be willing to throw as much energy into promoting a book as writing it in order to be successful. When you make the effort to personally connect with readers and booksellers, and grow your network, the results can be amazing!

Creating an International Bestseller

The book market is crowded with memoirs every year. But when Books Forward first encountered Barbara Donsky’s incredible true story of her mother’s disappearance, we knew we were onto something special, and the media agreed!

Barbara’s memoir, Veronica’s Grave, caused something of a media frenzy (with a little help from our team!). Books Forward carefully crafted the press materials to emphasize the book’s unusual story and narrative strengths. We also strategically pitched her story as a Mother’s Day feature to a targeted number of Bronx and Manhattan media outlets (Barbara’s home and the setting for her book), emphasizing the book’s local connections.

And the hook worked. The New York Post, New York Magazine and NY1 News all ran features on Barbara’s book. In fact, the story started trending on The New York Post, becoming the outlet’s most viewed story of the day and landing on the home page. From there, Barbara’s story was shared by Bravo TV Online, Yahoo News, Gannett News and the Independent Journal Review.

Coupled with a national radio tour and features on Shelf Pleasure, Women Writers, Women’s Books and Book Pleasures — the fusion of unusual, gripping storytelling, great timing and targeted outreach made Veronica’s Grave a success. The international rights were ultimately purchased by a traditional publisher, and this small press winner received a second life as a traditionally published book!

Becoming a New York Times Bestseller

Andrew Maraniss’ debut Strong Inside (Vanderbilt University Press) powerfully told the true story of Perry Wallace, the first African American basketball player in the SEC. Our team was honored to represent such an inspirational book, and we wanted to help make the launch an epic success. 

Andrew coordinated a launch party at the legendary Parnassus Books (owned by bestselling author Anne Patchett) in the story’s birthplace of Nashville, Tennessee, featuring an author Q&A led by Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. It was a sold-out success! And he went on to celebrate with widely attended events at Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C. (where The Washington Post heralded the book) and at several other venues across the country.

Books Forward targeted national media, from snagging a “Book of the Month” pick in Southern Living, to organizing national television interviews with Meet the Press and The Keith Olbermann Show. We also arranged features for Andrew in book industry publications like Shelf Awareness and Writers Digest

The buzz around such an important book elevated its status, and we were so proud when Strong Inside landed on the New York Times bestsellers list!

We were just as thrilled when Andrew returned to Books Forward for the promotion of his second book, Games of Deception (Philomel Books), his YA nonfiction about the first U.S. Olympic basketball team. We secured literary and local media coverage in outlets nationwide, including Book Riot, BookPage, Read Brightly and more. 

To this day, Andrew’s work continues to be a slam dunk!