The Accidental Book Publicist

One thing I’ve learned through the years is that you never know how a freelance project might come your way. I was reminded of this in the spring when author John Coyne asked me to help promote his latest golf novel, The Caddie Who Won The Masters.

John and I got acquainted through my golf blog, and in 2008 we attended a Monday practice round at The Masters. Since then we have kept in touch and occasionally see each other when I’m in the New York City area.

John is a seven-time bestselling author. Most of his 25-plus books are in the horror genre (he has called himself the poor man’s Stephen King), but in recent years he has turned to golf, a game he fell in love with as a teen caddie and caddie master at a Chicago-area country club. The Caddie Who Won The Masters is John’s third in a series of popular caddie novels.

The new book was different in at least one important way. John decided to self-publish his latest novel. (Most of his other books have been published by major publishers.) This was a bold new experiment, and one that’s becoming increasingly common due to the growing number of cost-effective publishing platforms.

That’s how I got involved. John would not have the usual marketing and publicity support of a major publisher. And he didn’t want to be his own book publicist for a number of good reasons. He enlisted my help because of my writing and marketing background and my contacts in the golf world.

I did a number of things. I wrote the book press release. It was creative and fun–not your usual corporate press release. I developed email lists for various media: bloggers, traditional journalists, radio and broadcast. Then I pitched them via email, including multiple followup efforts.

The initial response was good. We sent out lots of review copies and received promises of coverage and radio bookings. But actually getting the coverage and bookings was much harder. We got some, but not as much as hoped for. Efforts may resume next spring when The Masters again marks the unofficial start of golf season.

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