Is your new book about to hit the shelves? Congratulations!  It’s an incredibly satisfying and exciting time, but the hard work is far from being over. For many authors, the “home stretch” of publicizing and marketing their book is invigorating, but it can also be overwhelming.

Garnering publicity for books is its own art form. As authorities in the book PR and marketing space, we’ve put together a short but comprehensive guide that will help you approach the process like a seasoned pro. Use these proactive tips to reach the widest audience from the very start of your book launch and beyond.

1. You’re the Expert

Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, a cookbook or a memoir, a children’s book or a business book, you are now a go-to source. Your book offers a timely opportunity to discuss your viewpoint, your research, your experiences, and your expertise to a wider audience. It’s also an opportunity for you to be an influencer, someone with a strong core group of followers who share your expertise and champion you to their own communities. To learn how to harness your influence, read our 3 Ways to Build Authority as an Author.

2. Seasonal Tie-Ins Work Great

Is your book about the best national and state parks in your area? Spring and summer show a big uptick in visits and vacations to these parks, offering a perfect tie-in. Consider posting blogs or guest articles at those times when online searches among your audience is high. Does your book examine the science behind global warming? The lead-up to Earth Day is prime time to get the word out. You’ll find many TV news reporters, newspapers and magazines searching for experts to interview. Is your book about children and technology? If your local library is hosting an event for parents and children on the topic, don’t miss the opportunity. Be on the lookout for ways to tie your book and your authority back to a seasonal topic that offers another way to bring your book to a new audience.

3. Start in Your Backyard

Another crucial step in book publicity is to cover all the local bases. Explore opportunities with your hometown newspapers, radio shows, microblogs, online forums, libraries, neighborhood bookstores, meetups, YMCAs, and schools.  These avenues provide opportunities like speaking and workshops, book readings, contributed articles, interviews, and guest lecturing. Your neighbors will always champion authors in the community, so make sure they know you have a book!

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Partner Up

Look for ways to build ongoing or long-term opportunities. Perhaps you could hold a regular workshop for your local chamber of commerce, a professor could adopt your book as a course addition, a national organization could list your book as a resource, or a reading club could champion your book as a featured pick. Hook into groups and organizations that will give your book added visibility to the right audience.

5. It’s Never too Late to Think Visually

While you may be a word person, don’t devalue pictures (a picture is worth a thousand words, after all). If your book includes scientific research, consider creating highly shareable infographics that explain the ideas in visually compelling ways. A bookmark or business card that recaps your message can be popped into copies as they are being sold. Need more than just a stand-alone image? Consider a SlideShare presentation. If you have compelling footage, images, or photos, look into creating a simple book trailer. If you have beautiful quotes or superb endorsements to share, create compelling social media images that can go viral.

6. Yes, Social Media Is Important

If you don’t have a voice on the big social media networks, the time is now. Not sure where to start? Read our primer on Social Media for Authors. You don’t need to be on every social network, but you should choose one or two to give your book publicity a fighting chance. Love taking photos with your smartphone? Instagram may be perfect for you.  Facebook can give you a great start with friends and family and help you build up a following. And LinkedIn is important if you’re looking to broaden your business brand and connect with fellow professionals.

Now that you have a better understanding of how to market your book like a pro, remember: It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Pace yourself and look at the publicity and marketing process as requiring diligent and daily “training” that creates the foundation for a well-executed campaign. Along the course, be ready for unexpected opportunities to break from the pack. A well-cultivated relationship may provide a new avenue for you to share your book with a fresh audience. A breaking news story may provide a moment for you – and only you – to show off your background. That’s when the daily work you’ve put into your campaign will pay off.

Marketing your book isn’t easy, but it’s critical as you navigate what we call The Road to Influence. That journey starts with your book, but publicity along with a strong brand and digital marketing is what will take you from author to influencer. And the best news? You don’t have to navigate the journey alone. Find out here how we can help.