Self-Help Books, Promoted Well, are Media Darlings

Founded in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run in a bedroom office to one of the leading book publicity agencies in the world. Founder Dan Smith’s goal for the company was to offer unparalleled customer service and work to exceed, not simply meet client expe


Books that help people, when promoted smartly, have excellent chances for success in receiving media coverage. Along with popular online searches such as how to market a business book, self-published authors are looking for PR advice in record numbers. It’s because their genre is one of the fastest growing and most successful in all of publishing. Self-help books are an extension of the personal development industry which does about $10 billion in sales annually, so you can see why business is booming. Given the high stakes and tremendous opportunities, your need to get is right with publicity.

Veteran PR people have lots of advice for authors and publishers in the self-help genre. One of the most important is to establish newsworthiness from the start. The most direct route to it is to identify a unique or controversial aspect of a book that sets it apart from others – because the genre is fast growing the competition is fierce. Giving a new perspective to a well-understood but universal topic like how to lose weight can lead to significant media coverage. The author’s expertise and credentials on the topic also can help. Doctors write book on medical topics, lawyers on legal issues, and so on.

One of the most recent and highly effective book PR tactics is writing bylines articles for the media. Authors who pen an article and have it published have a brief bio at the end where a book can be mentioned. When readers get to the end of the article, it’s likely they have an interest in a topic and want to find out more by way of a book. With staff and budgets at media companies being cut these days, they need more outside contributors for content. Authors are seen as experts in their field and it’s a natural to write an article. Experience is showing that it is a highly effective way to promote a book.

The online world holds many excellent book promotion opportunities if it is handled optimally. The internet can be fussy about authenticity and anything rushed or random can be harshly criticized. It’s why publicists advise authors to authentically build social media followings years before publishing a book. When people have an established rapport with someone who then writes a book, there’s a better chance they might buy a copy and view the effort favorably. If you jump in at the last minute and use social media with a hard-sell to market a book you’re nearly guaranteed that your will have a flop.