We all know that you have to promote your books if you want them to sell. We should also all know that book PR is a great component of that whole process - the part where you show your book is relevant to potential readers, bring it to their attention, and get some buzz generated.
But when working on a book PR campaign, I think some authors (especially of the self-published or e-published variety) forget about something that can be even more important - author PR.
Why do I think author PR is more important than book PR? Because buzz built around your book will help to sell that book. Buzz built around you will still help to sell that book, but will also help to sell other books you've already written or will write in the future (not to mention any other products or services you may be offering related to your book).
Author PR is about building your exposure and reputation as an authority in the niche or genre in which you're writing. I think it's much more important in non-fiction publishing than fiction (although fiction writers shouldn't neglect it - how often do people buy a new novel just because they recognize the author and have liked their past work?).
The idea is that by getting people to recognize your name, and have some positive image tied to it, you'll get them to be more open to buying your books. For example, if a well-known self-help guru publishes a book in their area of expertise, they'll likely sell far more copies than a similar book coming out by someone who (even with equal credentials) is completely unknown to the target market.
There are a lot of ways you can build author publicity, and I'll be sharing an author PR checklist with you that includes a lot of them within the next week or so. What I want to know right now is what you think about author PR. Is it important in selling your books? Obviously unknown authors can still sell books - they all start out that way after all. But could they sell more, in your view, by putting more emphasis into their own publicity prior to that first book launch? Or should they focus on book marketing for their first title, and let that lead to some recognition to build on?