Promote Yourself Like a Rockstar

Tammy Brackett is the owner of Moonstruck Promotions, a solo publicist, consultant and writer,  booking agent and former tour manager and performer. Over the past 16 years, she’s crafted a business from the music industry. Tammy is the author Another Nightmare Gig from Hell, Fifty Ways to Tour Without Getting in the Van, Fifty Rules of Rock, Backstage Pass: Organize Your Band, and Backstage Pass: Book Your Band. She’s an expert in practical music matters and writes blog for musicians at  She can be reached at

The art of marketing, whether your product is a piece of music or a new novel, is essential to increased sales and visibility. Without proper publicity and promotion, your work of art stands a chance of remaining in packing boxes or on store displays growing sad and dusty and terribly alone.

A good publicity plan doesn’t have to include the expense of a professional publicist.  Consider how the music world promotes and publicizes events, adapt their marketing model, add a dash of your own creativity and you’ll be promoting yourself like a rockstar in no time!

A bare-bones publicity plan should include the following:

  • A brief press release. Be sure to include contact name and information. A great press release is short, informative and appropriate for publication. Many publications no longer staff dedicated reviewers. Keep in mind, your press release may be printed verbatim. Keep it short and simple and interesting. Follow up your email press release with a phone call to ask about setting up a review or interview. Be sure to have sample books on hand to send to interested writers and reporters.
  • Flyers, posters, quarter page handbills still remain a staple in getting the word out for bands and musicians. A simple informational poster or flyer works wonders and is inexpensive and easily distributable. A small table tent announcing your new book can be easily placed in coffee shops, restaurants, museums, art galleries and other non-traditional outlets.
  • Explore radio possibilities. Many NPR affiliates have book-related programming. Take time to explore sites and find contacts. Radio is still a viable medium in many markets.
  • Don’t forget wonderful social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The trick here is to not slam followers and friends with constant information about your new work. Post quotes from your book, interesting tidbits but eschew the desire to continually try to get people to purchase. The Facebook and Twitter communities are invaluable marketing.
  • Collect quotes and reviews and create a one sheet to slip into your new book as it’s mailed out. For you to talk about your book is one thing, but for other people to be talking about it is quite another. Collect your quotes and reviews and make them work for you.

Innovative marketing ideas can also include cross-promotional opportunities. Consider sales outlets outside terrestrial or online bookstores. Many art galleries, museums, natural history sites, and local attractions have gift shops. Put pen to paper and really explore the angles of your new work. An exercise book may have a market outside the fitness community. Maybe it could be marketed to belly dancers or boomers. A new cook book may be attractive to the powerful market of stay at home moms. Learn to explore and develop new markets and new customers outside a target audience.

With a bit of thought, a creative publicity plan is easy to conceive and implement. Have fun finding new customers and fans. Give yourself a round of applause for a job well done. Heck, you deserve a standing ovation!

Booklife Guest David J. Williams, with “Viral Marketing Case Study: Or, How I Built Fake Websites to Sell My Real Books”

Today, a great guest post by author David J. Williams , whose futuristic military thrillers I quite enjoy–tightly written, intelligent, and exciting. This is being posted on Tuesday rather than the regular Wednesday due to a WordPress issue. – JeffV

er, hey, is this thing live? Well, first of all, thanks a ton to Jeff for inviting me to say a word or two about how I’ve been marketing my Autumn Rain trilogy (consisting of the books THE MIRRORED HEAVENS, THE BURNING SKIES, and the forthcoming THE MACHINERY OF LIGHT). I’ll also say a bit about Lessons Learnt and all that…

First, let me reveal the Actual Strategy, and then I’ll break it down a little from there. “Viral marketing” has more definitions than you can shake a stick at; it seems to me that the essence of the best campaigns is that they’re not transparently related to the author, but instead help to generate a buzz by virtue of their being a little mysterious.

The core of my campaign was the following site:



That dastardly terrorist group Autumn Rain! Who the #$# are they? I.e., we’re dropped straight into the world, with a faux news site with CNN-like look-and-feel, reporting on the aftermath of the catastrophic event that opens the first book. There’s plenty of “apparent” content and even (if you click on the graphic at the top) an actual video, in which a doomed reporter broadcasts his final hapless transmission. Of course, if you try clicking on the other links, you rapidly realize that there’s really not much to this website: it’s just a shell, intended to convey the emotional impact of Something Really Huge Going On, creating the illusion of verisimilitude…an illusion that’s carried still further by the page that virtually every link takes one to:

The world of 2110 is one where the government has the Internet in “lock-down”, so it ties in thematically…but the point is that this website is like a cat that arches its back and makes all its hair stand on end to appear larger than it actually is. (I apologize for that somewhat-forced analogy, but as I write this, my feline friend Captain Zoom is sitting on my lap and intruding upon my cognitive processes, in addition to making it that much harder to type).

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