What's Your Point? Five Questions Authors Should Ask

04/08/2015 04:19 pm ET | Updated Jun 08, 2015

What's the point of your book marketing campaign? That's the question at the core of all successful book promotion efforts.

It's likely that you hope to increase your book sales through a combination of your online book marketing and conventional book promotion efforts. There's a lot of competition in the marketplace for readers, and you want buyers to choose your work over their other options when they're in the market for a book on your topic.

Book sales alone, though, don't necessarily justify the time, money, and energy you'll invest in a book promotion campaign, because book sales are only tangentially related to book promotion. Even the most successful book marketing campaign may only lead to a modest increase in the number of books you sell overall, or it may result in only short-term sales gains. So why are you really investing so much time, energy, and resources in book marketing?

If the reason for your book promotion efforts is to generate opportunities to disseminate your messages to your target audiences, then the media will work with you to help you make your points. You can help the media and turn your book marketing campaign into a worthwhile endeavor by answering these five questions:

What does the media want from you? The first step in convincing the media to give you some bandwidth, editorial space, or bandwidth is to convince them that you have information to impart that matters to their audience, readers, or visitors, and that have the expertise, credibility, and skills to deliver it. The media doesn't necessarily get excited about enabling authors to announce the publication of their books. (In fact, the media tends to frown upon giving authors "free advertising" opportunities, and the media decision-makers want to feel as if you're providing value in return for the opportunity they're giving you.) The media does, however, need authorities to shed light on news stories and current events, and to provide new perspectives on recurring themes (such as holidays, seasons, and the like). And the media always needs engaging guests who can entertain and keep audience members and readers coming back for more.

Where's the beef? In a sentence or two, what's the most important point you want to convey? What do you hope to tell the masses? Develop an elevator speech that contains your upper-level message, and be prepared to deliver it in under 30 seconds. That may be all the time you have!

What are your supporting facts? If you've captured the media's attention, and you're invited to drill-down beyond your headline, be prepared to share additional data. This is where you can expound upon your topic, so have your supporting facts ready to go.

Where's the controversy? You might be an expert in your field, but if you're saying exactly the same things as your colleagues, then the media doesn't need you. Find something that differentiates your position from that of other authorities, and even take the contrarian's point of view, if that's not too much of a stretch. The more controversial your position (as long as you can support your point of view), the more media interest you'll generate.

Will they bite? One of the best ways to create memorable messages is to deliver your points via sound bites. Find pithy teasers that compel the media to get the rest of the story from you. Garner their curiosity with your verbal bait, and you'll be able to reel them in!

When the information you want to convey becomes the core of your book promotion campaign, you can measure your campaign's success by the number of people you've been able to reach. So what is your point, beyond increasing your book sales? As soon as you've determined that, you're ready to launch your book marketing campaign.

Stacey J. Miller is a book promotion specialist and founder of S. J. Miller Communications. Visit her at (connecting with her on Facebook or Twitter is strictly optional).