A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
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Friday, March 16, 2018
What Authors Should Ask Publishers About PR Plans For Their Books
writers have a book accepted for publication by a publisher they feel
excitement, relief, and anxiety.They
are happy to know their book will be published, relieved that the search for a
home is over, and anxious because now they have to actually write the
book.But what authors really need to do
once their book is scheduled for publication is ask to speak to their
publisher’s publicity department to ascertain exactly what the publisher plans
to do – and not do.
authors – yes, the majority – receive little or no promotional support from
their publishers.This is a known,
accepted practice that has gone on for decades and has deteriorated further in
the last few years.It’s not that book
publishers don’t want their books to succeed, they just don’t want to bare the
burden of making it successful.
expect authors to promote their books.They will, on occasion, get involved in the publicity for their bigger
books or books they feel warrant their resources.Some publishers release hundreds, if not
thousands of books each season.They are
short-staffed and have an under-budgeted public relations department. Even when
they land support for books, it’s usually in a limited, short-term way.
some publishers are better than others, and some authors do get help from their
publishers, so it’s not like all authors are left blowing in the wind.But authors should understand that whatever
support most publishers give, if any, is not enough to accomplish what most
need publicity that will:
them as experts.
a positive message out to their targeted readership.
them for awards.
their author profile to land a new book deal.
them get more website traffic.
them to sell backlist or related products and services.
them get more speaking gigs, including paid ones.
them as writers.
most publicity generated by the publisher usually focuses on the publisher’s
sole need:to sell books.True, authors and publishers share in that
common goal, but for the publisher, it’s their only mission, whereas authors
have many other needs.
will likely need a book publicist to be hired to represent their needs, someone
whom, at the very least, will supplement what the publisher does, or more likely,
do what a publisher should be doing. So
how do you know what a publisher will do for you and what should you ask them
inquire early on in the process about what the publisher will do to support
your book.If possible, have your
literary agent put it into your contract.Be specific. How many review
copies will you get for free?How many
will they send to media?Which
media?Will they have galleys available
at least four months prior to publication?When will they draft a press release and will you have input or
get a marketing plan from the publisher. What will they do and when?Get a detailed timeline – don’t accept
vagueness.They will miss deadlines at
times but at least let them commit to something.
what’s their approach when it comes to road tours, setting up book signings and
appearances, providing help with your website, creating promotional materials such as
postcards and flyers, and having a budget for ads in trade pubs or digital ads?
where do they see the market for your book and how will they reach those in
will they assist in getting testimonials for your book, or to have someone
write a foreword, introduction, or preface?
will they set you up on things like Goodreads or NetGalley?
aside from doing some type of book mailing to the media, will they follow up
with calls and emails?
what will they do in regards to social media, specifically Twitter, Facebook,
YouTube, LinkedIn and Instagram?
do they have information, resources, or advice on what you can do to promote
will they media coach you?
sooner you have detailed answers and a specific plan, the better position you’ll
be in to determine what else you’ll need to do to ensure your book and brand
are getting the attention and support they deserve and need.
may want to look to hiring your own book publicist to guide you through the
maze.It’s worth utilizing a
professional when you have a lot riding on the successful launch of your
book.But before you hire someone, find
out what your publisher is really going to do for you.
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