Every author needs a publicist. That is, if you actually want to sell any copies of your book. Publishing is 10% writing and 90% marketing (or it should be). With a professional publishing company who publish your book for free you will get their marketing services included (which could mean in house or outsourced to the likes of us). The quality and quantity varies, but at least you will get some (it's always worth asking how much, since many indie publishers will spend little time marketing each book). With self-publishing you get zero. So you need to figure out how your book is going to get into people's hands yourself.
People self-publish for many reasons, and many are satisfied with seeing their book in print and having their own copies. But the majority publish to sell, and that is where marketing comes in. We've worked with lots of publishers and authors over the years, and cannot overemphasise the importance of professional book marketing. No matter your budget, if you want your book to sell, you need to factor in the cost of at least a bit of marketing. Some authors are happy to do the work themselves, they learn as they go. But it will take years to do what a professional can do straight away.
Marketing gets your book noticed, builds awareness, creates opportunities, builds your brand, allows you to develop your sales pitch, and defines you as an expert in your field, giving you credibility and authority. Of course, marketing begins with the product. A professional cover design, title, book description and blurb are all vital to the success of the book, and yet unfortunately are often overlooked (especially by self-publishers). Having a good product to begin with is crucial too!
Some of the key services we provide for authors, which together form a comprehensive marketing campaign for any book, are:
An author website
Social Media accounts
Author profile on Amazon
Each of these is effective in their own way. Often we are asked which are more important, given that most people cannot afford to do everything. The problem is that each book marketing tool is independent and will reach different people. A website would be a good starting point, and publicity has the potential to reach a huge number of people. Those are usually the basics of any book marketing campaign, but even they are still really only scratching the surface.
Key factors to remember:
Build interest, collect email addresses and contacts, talk about your experiences on your blog and on social media, and most importantly contact magazines as early as possible. Most magazines (and many other publications and reviewers) have long lead times and want their information to be relevant and up-to-date. Telling them your book has just been published is too late! To give your book the biggest advantage you need to have a proofed manuscript with all bibliographic data confirmed six months ahead of publication, and printed copies four months ahead.
Get to know your market:
What are the relevant media outlets for your book? Of course, this used to mean only magazines and newspapers, radio programmes and the like. These days, it means anyone with an audience. Blogs, podcasts, YouTube, review sites, online news sites, Facebook pages, Facebook groups, Facebook videos... the possibilities are endless. A breakdown of the types of media outlets available (all of which we have excellent relationships with) include:
Put yourself in the journalist's shoes:
Why would their readers want to hear about you/your book? What key points can you make to attract their attention? Can you find a particular journalist with an interest in your book's subject matter? Media relations take time to build, and this is often where a professional publicist makes the most ground. Most journalists don't put their contact information online, so a professional will build a strong media contacts list and build a relationship with each contact.
Don't be a salesperson online:
Social Media is for conversations, not sales. Blogs are for information and commentary. People will soon get tired of you if all you do is advertise your book. This is one thing many new authors make the mistake of doing. You need to build relationships, produce engaging content for your followers, be interesting, informative and entertaining without being pushy or arrogant.
Get yourself out there:
A proactive author is a wonderful thing. If you're doing your own marketing, it helps if you actually enjoy the process. Get out there and meet your readers, give talks and signings, attend events and festivals. Speak to your local shops about stocking your book. The local connection is powerful. The more you can do, the better, even if you also take on the services of a marketing professional.
If you want your book to have a real chance of selling, you need to focus your attention on marketing early and remember those figures - publishing is 90% marketing, 10% writing! Get in contact if you would like to speak with us about what we can do for your book/publishing company.
At ALS Marketing, we love what we do.