When it comes to your approach to book publicity are you a buyer, borrower, or a builder?
A buyer hires someone to promote their book for them.
A borrower is someone who gets some publicity as a result of his or her publisher’s efforts.
A builder is someone who builds their brand and takes an active role in securing his or her media exposure.
Sometimes an author can be pieces of all three simultaneously. Which one are you? Why?
Most authors, if their book is published by a reputable book publisher, will expect or hope for the publisher to provide some marketing muscle for their own product. Often, authors are disappointed by the quality and duration of such efforts, if any activity was actually initiated at all.
They need to have a Plan B to supplement where the publisher, even under the best intentions, falls short. An author has too much at stake with his book and brand to leave it all in the hands of a publisher that may lack the resources or the desire to do a full-court media press on your behalf.
Authors who self-publish or whose publisher clearly indicates little or nothing will be done to promote his or her book, the choice becomes clear: buy or build?
Buying is not as easy as it sounds. Buy what? For how long? From whom? For how much? Authors may not know who is good or bad, for many promoters have the illusionist’s ability to talk a good talk and seek to take advantage of an author’s dreams, fears, ignorance, ego, and operating beliefs.
But leaving the details aside, let’s explore the concept of buying publicity. The idea here is that you lock in a professional who can contact the right media, in the way media wants to be approached, with a great pitch, at the right time. You look for experienced guidance, strategy, connections, and media coaching from this person. The publicist can improve your website, guide you on social media, and offer ideas, creativity, and connect you to those who can be of assistance. It’s like hiring a contractor, a lawyer or even a surgeon – you are getting someone who advocates for you and can quarterback the big picture.
Your publicist is not a brick-layer, a lawn guy who merely cuts grass, or a person who changes the oil in your car. Those jobs can be performed by the unskilled. Book publicity is not brain surgery, but it does require knowledge, media contacts, passion, good writing skills, excellent research skills, media savvy, an assertive personality, and a competitive mindset. A good publicist can take you far.
Building your publicity makes sense if you have no choice, as in no budget to hire a pro and no publisher to rely on, but it’s a time-consuming process with a huge learning curve. I champion those who play an active role in their publicity, but I always caution against doing it solo. By the time you figure out how to do this efficiently and successfully, it’ll be too late.
Be a builder, but don’t go it alone. Borrow what’s available to you and always look to be a buyer because only then do you take ownership of your fate and seize control of your book marketing.
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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at email@example.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”
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