More people than ever are becoming authors by self-publishing their books. It has shaken up the publishing industry in recent years and is a trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Many authors decide to hire a book publicist to help promote their work and make sure the book attracts an audience. PR pros who specialize in books know that a well-conceived marketing plan is an essential element for success. It's crucial to begin far ahead of the publication date and have a strategy for reaching potentially interested readers. A well-rounded campaign has supported most successful books.

There are a couple of bits of advice about marketing that can be valuable to every first-time author choosing to publish a book independently. The first thing is that it's possible to handle book publicity DIY. But it's time-consuming, and when you do it for the first time, you'll learn many lessons – often at the expense of your book. Developing a media contact list, for example, is a significant endeavor. The second thing is that while there are stories of new books going viral, they are rare. Relying entirely on social media or trying to become an overnight internet sensation for book promotion isn't a wise plan.

Traditional book publicity programs, including media outreach, are still helpful to most new books and their authors. They work in tandem with social media and online PR. One tactic that has grown in popularity and effectiveness is for authors to write bylined articles in their areas of expertise. When published in media with the right target audience, they can quickly spark reader interest in a book. Nearly all articles conclude with a brief author bio in which the book can be mentioned. By the time a reader reaches that point, they are interested in the subject matter and primed to buy the book.

By this point, nearly every author accepts the need for a personal website that acts as an online hub of information about their books and work. But the websites need to meet quality standards for their design and content to be beneficial. Both media and prospective book buyers are likely to visit a site, and it must do an excellent job of sparking their interest. Make sure you have a bio and headshot along with a dedicated page for your book. Today's most effective book PR also takes full advantage of the book and author promotion pages on high-traffic internet booksellers -- make sure your pages are completed.