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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Thursday, May 14, 2020
How Should Authors Promote Books During A Plague?
any given day in America, people die, suffer pain, or loss, fall victim to a
crime, or battle something tragic. Millions battle an affliction, an illness,
an addiction, or a dangerous environment. This was before corona – and life in
the nation went on. People went about their business.
the majority of the nation is challenged by an unstable economy that has led
to tens of millions instantly unemployed. Further, over 85,000 families have
had to bury a loved one, while hundreds of thousands of others had to deal with
a hospitalization. Can we still promote books like nothing has happened?
anything else, there is a right time, a wrong time, and a better time to sell or
promote something. You don’t see gun ads a day after a mass shooting. Nor do
you see airline commercials after a major crash. But what about books? And what
about when it is not a single-day event that we have to navigate around, but the
next year or more?
are both needed and desired. They will educate, enlighten, inspire, and
entertain us. They are invaluable and for the past six centuries have helped
preserve history, while creating some history too. One might say that books
help society go on, and so any marketing of books that is necessary for them to
thrive should be not only permitted or accepted but embraced.
should not feel guilty, shy, or ashamed about promoting their books. Life goes
on. It has gone on during times of war and terrorism, or political unrest, or national
disasters, or civil strife, or past health panics. Today, with corona, is no
can rebuild the economy. We can treat the sick. We can morn the deceased. We
can unite to honor heroic workers. We can plan better for the next stage of the
outbreak. But none of those things should prevent us from celebration, selling,
promoting, or reading books.
what should authors be doing in a time when there is a fragile sensitivity to
what has fallen upon our nation?
promote with class and professionalism. They treat people with respect and
kindness and don’t market in a blind vacuum. They acknowledge the crazy times
that we live in and make announcements about their books in the context of a
pandemic that is a living hell for some.
act with flexibility, whether it means changing marketing plans or book launch
dates, or switching specific methods to promote their book.
collaborating with a charity, donating some books or a percentage of profits to
a corona-oriented cause.
are doing things virtually, in the absence of bookstore signings and in-person events.
They have ramped up their social media and aggressively pursue media
making themselves more accessible to readers by doing online readings,
webinars, and online courses.
are either highlighting how their book provides a welcome reprieve from corona
24-7 – or they show exactly how their book relates to corona.
are experimenting. This is foreign territory to every industry. How do any of
us sell and promote anything when retail opportunities have shifted, when
consumers are suffering, when finances are tight, when there is no proven
formula on how to act? Try something, anything, and keep at it until you find
of this may feel natural or comfortable to you. Marketing a brand, selling a
book, or promoting a message to the media always has its rewards and pitfalls.
Certainly during a pandemic that has taken a mental, financial, and physical
toll on many is not easy, but it is necessary if we are to ensure that books
stay in the forefront of our country’s consciousness.