Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Column: The Business of Writing - The Rule of Threes for Book Promotion by Linda Rohrbough


One of my favorite principles I use in my own work is the “Rule of Threes.” It goes like this: Make sure you get three benefits from everything you take on. In my publishing life, I use the rule of threes to maximize my efforts in promoting my book. Here’s what that looks like.

When I set up an event, like a book signing, speaking at a conference, or speaking to a local readers group, I employ the rule of threes. I put together a press release and fax the release to the main newsroom of the media sources. I hit radio, TV, and print media as early as four months out. If there are local online sources for “what to do” I make sure I hit them as well.

I also put together a “calendar item” which looks a lot like a press release but it’s basically a request for the media outlet to add it to their local events calendar. The idea is to get at least a mention in the community calendar about the event or workshop, which is relatively easy to do.

So I never just do an event, like teach a workshop or speak to a group or do a radio show. I make sure I send something out to the media as well. In some cases, I’ve had a publication send a reporter over to interview me after they received a number of my press releases and calendar items. Then I become local news.

Once I get a calendar item or coverage by a media source, I am sure to Facebook it and Tweet it with the URL of the media source as the link. Then it’s not me talking about me, but it’s someone else talking about what I’m doing. Of course, I put this stuff up on my website, but that’s me talking about me and that’s not as interesting (or as credible) as someone else talking about me. I do the same thing if I enter a contest and win. (I’ve got three national awards now for my novel The Prophetess One: At Risk.)

I’ll bet some of you are wondering how I get this stuff. I started small. I talked to anyone who would talk to me, including the local PTA, a Girl Scout group, anyone at all. Then I publicized the event. Because now it’s local news. After a while, I was speaking to bigger and bigger groups. Now I often do packed workshops or national conferences. And I’m winning national awards. I don’t spend a lot of time on this, but I’m steady about it. I am doing something to promote my work, using the rule of threes, at least twice a month, if not more often.

You know, I heard that in a contest to cross the United States by foot, the person who won did walked twenty miles a day, every day. Some people were faster or did more miles daily, but then they took a lot of time off. They didn’t win. My take away is it’s steady work, done consistently, that will get you there. When I first started trying to write, I did one thing a day toward my goal. Sometimes it was as small a thing as getting a stamp for an envelope so I could send off a request for information. At the end of the year, and not working on Sundays, I had over three hundred things done toward my goal.

So the next time you have an opportunity to promote your book or your work, remember the rule of threes. Try to find at least three ways you can get the word out or leverage what you’re doing. It makes a difference.

About the Writer:  Linda Rohrbough has been writing since 1989, and has more than 5,000 articles and seven books to her credit along with national awards for her fiction and non-fiction. New York Times #1 bestselling author Debbie Macomber said about Linda’s new novel: "This is fast-paced, thrilling, edge-of-the-seat reading. The Prophetess One: At Risk had me flipping the pages and holding my breath." The Prophetess One: At Risk recently won three national awards: the 2012 International Book Award, the 2011 Global eBook Award and the 2011 Millennium Star Publishing Award. An iPhone App of her popular “Pitch Your Book” workshop is available in the Apple iTunes store. Visit her website: www.LindaRohrbough.com.