Breaking barriers, one book at a time.

At Books Forward, our mission is to elevate diverse voices, promote inclusive literature and celebrate books that move the world forward. We believe barrier-breaking books should reach as wide an audience as possible, and we’re passionate about providing authors with promotional resources to accomplish this goal. Throughout the year, we offer pro bono publicity opportunities to authors whose voices, perspectives and work contribute to diversity and representation within publishing.

Pro bono promotion could include featuring your book to our active network of online influencers, a one-on-one partnership with our awesome publicists to place your guest articles and op-eds with media outlets, free NetGalley listings, downloadable templates and guides for creating your own press kit and email pitches, and constructive audits of your social media or website to help strengthen your online presence.

Learn more about our pro bono PR offerings and the voices we are seeking to represent below. Tell us about yourself, your book and your promotional goals, and let’s work together to help you reach readers!

Make your voice heard.

We offer pro bono publicity opportunities to authors who:

  • Self-identify as a marginalized person historically underrepresented in publishing. #DVpit has a great explanation for this: “This includes (but is not limited to): Native peoples and people of color; people living and/or born/raised in underrepresented cultures and countries; disabled persons (including neurodiverse); people living with illness; people on marginalized ends of the cultural and/or religious spectrum; people identifying within LGBTQIA+; and more.” We also encourage #OwnVoices work. Authors do not have to disclose anything they are not comfortable with; please note however that due to limited pro bono slots available, we do ask authors to share a marginalized identity at their discretion. Please also share a few sentences describing your motivation for writing the book, what sets your book apart, and why you would be a good candidate for pro bono work.
  • Do not have resources for a traditional publicity campaign. We believe great publicity should be accessible for everyone. Our pro bono program is designed specifically for those who do not have the financial resources for a traditional publicity campaign, in order to provide an opportunity for more authors to promote their work.

Get your work noticed.

We personalize our pro bono offerings to fit the needs of our clients, and also the capacity of our publicity team. While we do not offer all authors every single promotional item below, we do customize our services to help authors meet their highest-priority goals. Our pro bono opportunities may include any of the following:

Social Media Influencer Eblast

We will promote your book through our monthly email newsletter to our network of book influencers (many of whom have hundreds or thousands of followers online). Note that influencers prefer to receive physical copies, as their coverage is visual thanks to their dedicated book accounts on Instagram and other online platforms. Some influencers will accept a digital copy or be able to download from NetGalley. The purpose of this opportunity is to create a targeted visual campaign so readers can see your coverage for your book across multiple platforms and accounts, creating a groundswell of interest in your work, and boosting your brand recognition.

Guest Article and Op-Ed Placement

One of our experienced publicists will partner with you to help get your guest articles and op-eds published through mainstream and topic-related media outlets. Our publicists will create a personalized, targeted media list for your work, and will submit up to three guest articles or op-eds you’ve written. (Note that the guest article or op-ed should be original, exclusive to the outlet we approach for placement, and not previously published elsewhere.) Media outreach will include one pitch and one follow-up per outlet (with us approaching up to five outlets as needed to place each article).

Social Media Audit

Social media is a dynamic and ever-changing area of promotion and requires a high level of engagement. We will conduct a thorough and constructive audit of your current social media efforts to identify which platforms would be most effective to your unique goals. We will provide you with a written report that outlines specific opportunities for growth and improvement. We’ll discuss your personal comfort level and online strengths, and help you understand which social media options will maximize your time and resources. We’ll also send you our extensive Social Media Tip Sheet with step-by-step recommendations on social media best practices that can help you increase your engagement and exposure.

Website Audit

We’ll provide you with a written report that provides specific guidance on ensuring your author brand is being represented online in the most effective way. We’ll discuss how to create a user-friendly experience on your site that directs viewers easily to the areas of the site you most want them to reach, ways you can appeal to booksellers, and how to strengthen your content, copy and keywords so you can have great visibility online.

Netgalley Listing

NetGalley is an online platform where librarians, educators, booksellers, bloggers, media and reviewers can download a digital copy of your book for potential review. As a bonus to combating online piracy, the book will also be available to the site’s more than 500,000 subscribers for a limited time. Once on NetGalley, your book can be read on any e-reading device, can’t be forwarded or printed, and will disappear from the site on a set date. We will reserve a month-long spot for your book listing, manage the listing and personally follow up with each person who downloads a copy to encourage them to post reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, their blog and social media.

Templates for Press Kits and Email Pitches

Make a statement with our professional, easy-to-personalize Press Kit Template and email Pitch Template. We’ve adapted the media kit our publicists use every day and made it easy for you to fill in your details. We also provide step-by-step instructions to help you customize the various sections of the press kit, including the news release, written Q&A and specific talking points about the book. This is a great tool that you can use and update indefinitely to promote your work.

We’ll also help you make a great first impression with our email Pitch Template. A “pitch” is the initial email you send to grab the attention of media and events contacts. A good pitch is typically more effective than press materials alone, and it can make or break the amount of interest/responses you receive. Our template will help you create an eye-catching pitch, and includes instructions for how to personalize and reach out to the media.

How to Apply

We’re always interested in hearing from authors who are helping break barriers in the publishing world. Even if you’re not sure what you need or if our services will work for you, don’t hesitate to reach out; our team may have some fresh ideas for promoting you and your work. To learn what’s possible, fill out the application form below. One of our team members will be in touch if we are able to offer a pro bono service for you and your book.

Who We Are

Books Forward is an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.

Interested in what’s possible for your book sales and building readership? Check out some of our successful book publicity campaign stories.

Application Form