News & Highlights

From Nardi Media

An Author’s Guide To Promoting Their Book: YOU Are Your Best Marketing Weapon!

So, you decided to launch a book. First, CONGRATS! Whether you just teamed up with a publisher or your book launch is days away, promoting your book is incredibly important to build awareness for both you and your book and drive sales when it hits the shelves!

I recently had one of my most important conversations on Instagram Live with my dear friend Jennifer Canzoneri, Senior Marketing Director at BenBella Books! Jennifer has worked on hundreds – yes, hundreds – of book campaigns throughout her 16 years working at BenBella Books, and she had a lot of incredible insight to share!

If you’re an aspiring or current author, keep reading for Jennifer’s expert tips for promoting your book!

A: You’ve said that all authors are their own best marketing weapon. Can you tell us what you mean by that?
J: Don’t underestimate your own knowledge – this is your book and this is your message! Plus, I’ve seen readers get behind books, but I’ve also seen them want to know the authors behind that book. There’s nothing that can replace the author-reader connection.

A: A lot of authors think that hiring a PR firm will automatically get them on the bestseller list or that the firm alone will do all the work to get them there, but I find that campaigns are most successful when authors meet their PR team halfway. Can you speak to that?
J: I agree, you need collaboration! It has to be comprehensive, too. You have to partner with your publicist or whoever is helping you get your message out, and be involved in those conversations and immerse yourself in the process. Don’t take a backseat!

A: How do you organize your contacts and when should you be reaching out to them to market and promote your book?
J: Even before you finish your book you should create a spreadsheet and write down everyone you know and people that would want to help. If your mind is going a mile a minute (and it will!), an assistant might be a great investment. When you’re ready to reach out, think about a clear and specific “ask”. And remember that reaching out to a friend is different from reaching out to someone at your local library. Share every part of your book process with your personal audience, but for your external audience, I suggest starting outreach 3-4 months before you publish. Then, follow up and follow up often!

A: How do you put that “ask” together? What’s a good starting place?
J: First, spend time getting to know the person you’re asking through their website, their podcast, etc. Also, think about what this relationship is. If it’s your friend, ask them to review it on Amazon! I actually recommend putting an “ask list” together to refer to and help you see which “ask” makes the most sense for each individual you reach out to. Is it a review? Is it a podcast guest? Is it posting it on social media? Is it recommending it to your book club? Is it talking to your local library about author programming and events?

A: What are some other “asks” that you would recommend authors consider?
J: Instagram and Facebook Live are great ones! Generally think about your relationships, the platforms they have, and if your book fits in with any of those platforms. Amplifying your message often gets overlooked, too. Draft some posts and share some sample graphics to your contacts to use to promote your conversation if they’re willing.

A: As a forthcoming author, I have to ask, how do you get over the fear of spamming all of your contacts?!
J: When I see that an author hasn’t promoted their book on Instagram because they don’t want to feel annoying or salesy, I tell them your audience will only be as excited about your book as you are. Also, be consistent and share it often because sometimes your contacts miss it the first time!

A: You’ve mentioned finding that sweet spot for book promotion. What do you mean by that?
J: As early as you have a cover image or something tangible to share, share it with your personal audience! Even if it’s you at your desk or with your advance reader copy, they’ll get more and more excited for you and your publishing day. But don’t forget, for your external audience, you want to wait until 3-4 months before your publish date.

A: Do you have tips for making new connections and not coming off as salesy?
J: You just have to come at it from a human connection as you would with any other authentic relationship. Show interest in them. If they have a new book, support them!

A: What are the three things authors need?
J: #1 is a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy, it can even be a robust LinkedIn page, just something to point people to. #2 is a contact list, which we’ve talked about. #3 is a quick synopsis of your book. You should also edit it for each audience. What you’re sending to a business magazine is different from a podcast about book writing, so it’s a smart idea to tweak them or have different versions on-hand and ready to go.

A: Does Amazon count as an author website?
J: Amazon does allow author pages where you can provide a lot of information. It’s a great placeholder to have while you see what kind of questions come in and if it’s worth investing in something else or not. But websites these days can be really straightforward and easy with your cover image, your author photo (another thing every author needs!), and anything visual that helps get the media excited to work with you.

A: This has been amazing! Any parting thoughts?
J: Don’t underestimate how much you know about marketing without realizing it. You know the relationships you already have and the ones you’d like to pursue. Also, competition is really healthy and helpful for motivation. See what other authors are doing, write down what you like, and use that as inspiration for your own campaign.

CLICK HERE to watch the full IG LIVE with me and Jennifer!

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Tracy Mccubbin

AUTHOR, MAKING SPACE, CLUTTER FREE

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

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Susan Peirce Thompson, Ph.D.

New York Times Best Selling Author of Bright Line Eating: The Science of Living Happy, Thin, and Free

"The biggest piece of advice a first-time author is given is to “hire your own publicist,” but what they don’t tell you is to “hire your own Ashley.”  Looking back, I don’t know how I could have released my book without Ashley & her team.  We started working together before the book was published.  First local TV and small blogs and as I got more seasoned and the book got closer to coming, she booked me appearances on bigger and bigger outlets. 

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Susan McGinnis

Correspondent, CBS Newspath

“I am so pleased that Ashley is embarking on this new venture. For many years she has shined as an outstanding booker and producer at CBS News and at start-ups including Clean Skies News.  She was my first hire at Clean Skies, and was the shining star among the pack. She has always had  tremendous dedication to her work, and an untiring ability to accomplish whatever faces her, letting no obstacle stand in the way of an outstanding product.  She consistently goes above and beyond expectations, and never takes “no” as an answer, and never settles for less than outstanding. I would hire Ashley again. And again. And again.”

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Jennifer Oko

Partner, Mad Squid Media

“Ashley and I have worked together is a few different capacities, including CBS News, energyNOW!. I cannot say enough good things about her. Ashley is smart, thorough, quick, creative, and incredibly hard working. Most importantly, to be a successful media liaison and guest booker, relationships are everything. Ashley is a genuinely lovely person, and she wins the respect and trust of everyone she works with. She is the first person I call whenever I need a guest booker or segment producer.”

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Margaret Ryan

Energy Journalist & Analyst

“Ashley Bernardi is a dynamic professional who consistently produces excellent results.  In my three years working with Ashley as the head booker at Clean Skies News/EnergyNOW!, I never saw her fail to complete a job she had been assigned – and complete it admirably. Ashley is creative, energetic and goal-oriented, a true team player who works congenially with other professionals but can also be relied on to execute an assignment on her own. Ashley is the person I wanted on my team when I faced a challenging assignment!”

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Hardy Spire

Senior Producer, CNN’s Reliable Sources. Former General Manager at CleanSkies News and Senior Producer at CBS News.

“Ashley Bernardi has every rare quality in a TV producer — aggressiveness, insight, creativity, a strong work ethic, and pure charm.  She has all this plus she’s a kind and positive person.  And she has great contacts!”

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Silvio Marcacci

Principal, Marcacci Communications

“Ashley is hands down the best media trainer I’ve ever worked with, and she uses her considerable producing experience to make clients feel at ease and ready to learn. In addition, her ability to book clients on television and radio interviews is quite impressive – be ready for hours of interviews if you’re working with her!”

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Mary Jordan

Washington Post National Correspondent and Founding Editor of Washington Post Live

“There is nothing Ashley Bernardi cannot do when it comes to media.  She books top people for TV shows and national conferences and knows the business inside out. I worked closely with Ashley at the Washington Post  and she is not only savvy, but great to be around. She is the always cheerful, smart voice on the other end of the phone who persuades busy people to drop everything they are doing and do what Ashley tells them.”

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Scott Behson, PhD

best-selling author of The Working Dad’s Survival Guide: How to Succeed at Work and at Home

“I was a relatively unknown first-time author and Ashley was fantastic in getting my name out there, and ultimately booking me on national TV and radio, as well as major podcasts. She also provided top-notch media training and was always a great listener and advisor. Finally, she was on top of everything and we communicated constantly. I couldn’t have been happier about her efforts on behalf of my book launch!”

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Ron Friedman, Ph.D

author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace

“Ashley Bernardi is extraordinary at her job in every way. Smart, strategic and relentlessly energetic, Ashley is someone I’d want on my team in any public relations campaign.”