The Tao of Book Publicity:
A Beginner’s Guide to Book Promotion
by Paula Margulies
Paula Margulies is the owner of Paula Margulies Communications, a public relations firm for authors and artists. She has received numerous awards for her essays and books, including her nonfiction handbook, The Tao of Book Publicity, her historical novel, Favorite Daughter, Part One, her debut novel, Coyote Heart, and her short story collection, Face Value:Collected Stories. She has been awarded artist residencies at Caldera, Red Cinder Artist Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and Centrum. Margulies resides in San Diego, California. For more information, please visit paulamargulies.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
- You have been a book publicist for more than 25 years. What made you finally decide to write a guidebook on promotion for authors?
In the course of my publicity work, I’ve received calls from hundreds of authors, many of whom ask the same questions: When do I start my publicity campaign? How much should I plan to spend? Do I need a website? How do I build a platform? What price should I give my book? Do I have to use social media and, if so, which sites are best? Should I print a hardcover version, or will a paperback suffice? Do I need to enter contests? How can I get more reviews?
These are all important questions, and since so many authors seem to have the same concerns about their books, I decided to share what I’ve learned over the years as a publicist in one convenient, inexpensive resource guide.
- The Tao of Book Publicity has a Zen look and feel to the cover and title. How does understanding the Tao principles help authors to promote their books?
I chose the Tao as a way of offering authors a practical philosophy on how they might approach book marketing. There are many authors who find promotion crass and time-consuming; a good majority would rather be writing than spending time trying to develop promotional material and schedules for themselves and their work. But I’ve found that book promotion can be a rewarding and fulfilling activity if done with the right perspective in mind.
- What other aspects of book publicity to do you cover in the book?
I provide how-to explanations for developing publicity material, including front and back cover text, press releases, Q&As, media and blog tour queries, and newsletter and media lists. I also cover topics such as social media, book pricing and sales, book tours and media interviews, and author websites. In addition to explaining how book publicity works, I also discuss practical topics such as publicity costs, timing, and considerations when hiring a publicist; I’ve found that many authors want to know upfront about fees for services and what steps they should have completed before they contact a publicist like me.
- If you have one piece of advice for new authors, what would it be?
That’s easy – write a good book!
Of course, that’s easier said than done. I’ve found that oftentimes authors, especially those who have chosen to self-publish, are in a rush to get their books out. In their hurry, they forgo important steps like workshopping the book, spending time on revision, hiring a professional editor and cover designer, and developing their platforms. As a result, many of their books, sadly, don’t sell. If authors want their books to be well-received by booksellers, the media, and (most important) readers, they must take the time to carefully edit, polish, and package them well – there is no substitute for these steps in the publishing process.
- Can you describe how an author might use this book as a guide to his or her own publicity plans?
Authors can read the chapters in any order they like (each chapter is designed to be read as stand-alone unit) and see what sounds as if it might be a good fit for them and their books. If something doesn’t sound right, they don’t have to use it. The information in the chapters is there to provide guidance and insight into what I believe are the common practices of most book publicists, but none of what’s there is meant to be a hard-and-fast prescription for any author’s individual book publicity plans.
- Are you working on another book? If so, what can you tell us about it?
In addition to this latest book, I’m also the author of the short story collection, Face Value: Collected Stories, and two novels: Coyote Heart, which is a modern-day romance about a married woman who falls in love with a Pala Indian man, and Favorite Daughter, Part One, a first-person retelling of the life story of the famous Native American legend, Pocahontas. I’d like to get back to writing fiction and plan to spend the next year completing Part Two of Favorite Daughter.
One People Press
March 9, 2016
Kindle: 0.99; Print: $9.99
“I know a lot of writers, and nearly all of them have one thing in common–they love to write, but they hate marketing what they’ve written. Fear not, writers; Paula Margulies is here! With patience and a friendly, knowledgeable voice, she walks us through all the nitty-gritty of getting what we’ve written in front of other people. Paula reminds us that marketing and publicity can be easy, manageable,and even fun. Who knew? Buy this book, read this book, and then go sell the heck out of the book you’ve written.”
-William Kenower, Author Magazine editor-in-chief, Huffington Post featured contributor, and author of Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion
“Writing a great book is one thing. Selling a great book is another. Thankfully, The Tao of Book Publicity distills the many mystifying aspects of getting book-buying readers’ attention into a single, go-to resource for every author, regardless of budget or path to publication.”
-Michael Steven Gregory, Executive Director, Southern California Writers’ Conference
“This is a MUST READ book for every author! The Tao of Book Publicity is filled with easy-to-implement, savvy, practical advice from an experienced industry insider. Paula Margulies breaks down the often-confusing landscape of book publicity with clarity, humor, and insight. Don’t promote without reading it first!”
-Marni Freedman, University of California, San Diego writing instructor, screenwriter, playwright, and therapist for artists and writers at Ewriterscoach.com
“Everything in this guide is spelled out clearly and sequentially, though, as the author points out, each chapter can be studied on its own. From the basics of good editing, to the power of using social media, Paula has covered all angles of book publicity. This is an excellent tool for all authors seeking advice on how to promote their written word.”
–Emily-Jane Hills Orford, Readers’ Favorite