As an author, then you know that marketing your book is essential to its success. However, traditional marketing methods can be expensive and time-consuming. Online PR is a great way to get your book in front of more people, and can help create buzz and generate interest in your work. In this blog post, I’ll share the two ways you can use online public relations (PR) to market your book: Actively and passively.

Active Online Public Relations

Now that so many people in the media use the Internet to find and research stories, it has become easier for authors without big marketing budgets to catch the eye of the press. Yes, it does take time and effort, but it can be done and it can be successful. Here are some things you can do:

Online Press Releases

Write press releases and post them on online press release sites. This does two things for you — potentially helps the media find you and adds to your website’s off-page search engine optimization. However, be aware that this is not a sure-bet way to be press coverage. It just helps.

Pitch the Media Directly

Get the emails of reporters who cover your topic and send them a customized pitch letter. This takes a lot of thought and time, but when done correctly can really get you some good press. Be helpful, polite, and on target. Don’t send emails to reporters that would have no interest in your proposed story.

Build Relationships with Reporters

Build relationships with reporters whose beat is in alignment with your books. The best way to start this process is to find them on Twitter and follow them. Re-tweet and comment on their stories and tweets. Show yourself to be a valuable resource of information and promotional partner. You can also do a little bit of this on LinkedIn, as well, but Twitter is the best place to start.

Why active online PR?

Active PR works best for authors who are either experts on a topic or are multi-book authors. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use it if you’ve only written one book. Promoting your book using all the tools available through the Internet is always a good idea. This includes using your blog, social media platforms, email, and more. And the beauty is that it can be all free or at a very low cost.

The goal of active online PR is to either place stories about you or your work in the media or to be quoted in the media. It takes effort, but the return on investment can be quite valuable.

Passive Online Public Relations

After the media has discovered you, make it easy for them to do the story. You can do this by creating an easy-to-use media room on your website. You can see what I’ve done for my book here.

The most important things to include in your media room are:

  • A bio
  • Potential questions and story angles
  • Images of you and your book
  • Contact information

You’d be surprised how many people forget that last bullet!

Another passive online PR activity is just making sure that you’re visible on the web in the first place. These are all the activities you’ve been doing to catch the eye of readers and clients … they work just as well at catching the eye of the media, too. This includes blogging, guest blogging, and a variety of other content marketing activities.


Including both active and passive PR in your marketing mix can help amplify any other marketing efforts you may be doing, and all it costs is time. Yes, you can hire someone to do much of this for you, but be very careful when you do so. It can often cost more than what you actually get out of it.

Note: This post first appeared on in April 2011. It has been updated for content.

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