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Books PR & Marketing Questions Answered Part VIII:

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For my last post in April 2022 I asked a few authors at different stages in their careers, what did they learn about book marketing and PR which was surprising. The feedback I received from writers was that these little nuggets of book marketing communications wisdom really hit home. So I’m at it again with advice from five savvy authors.

The Differences Between PR and Marketing 
“I think I didn’t realize at first that book marketing and PR were two completely different entities! In the beginning, before someone explained it to me, I thought PR and marketing were all the same thing. believing it all came under the umbrella of any kind of exposure for your book. It wasn’t until a dear friend explained that marketing “cost the publisher money” to ensure a novel was “seen” by potential readers with promotions like advertisements and blog tours, did I fully understand it was something that was guaranteed because it was paid for by the publisher. –Alyson Richman is the USA Today bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of several historical novels including The Secret of Clouds and the forthcoming The Thread Collectors with Shaunna Edwards.

A Holistic Approach
I originally thought that the objective of marketing and PR was to get my book sold. Period. What I’ve learned is that marketing and publicity create channels to reach readers via influencers, podcasters, bloggers, traditional media, etc., who then serve as conduits directly to readers. The more channels you employ to draw attention to your book, the better because this is an extremely competitive industry in terms of getting your pages onto the eyes of readers. It’s also imperative to collaborate on the marketing and publicity of your book and to not assume you can sit back and let your publicist and/or marketing professional do all the work. Yes, they understand the business of pitching and positioning your book. But, you know your story better than anyone, so when you have an idea or an angle that you feel can influence readership, go with it. Or, at least, run it by your publicist; she’s a wonderful resource.-Eileen Brill has written professionally for the restaurant, hotel, and commercial real estate industries. A Letter in the Wall is her first novel.

PUBLICITY BASICS 101: Get to Know Your Publicist 
Okay, so you have been working with your wonderful editor on this precious book of yours for a long, long, long time. You feel that you now know your editor as well as you know your husband or parents or child and your editor most likely feels the same way about you.

But what do you know about your publicist?

Most likely she or he is a total blank in your mind. So although I’m saying get to know your publicist, you really want them to get to know you in a way that your editor might not know you— or at least they don’t know what you feel is important about your book in terms of connecting with the marketplace. A slight footnote here: Editors don’t really like the word ‘market’ or market place—it’s too coarse for them I’ve discovered. Too transactional, etc. The vulgarity of the terms probably give editors indigestion. But your publicist is all about that. You need to tell the publicist what they need to know about your book. For example, let them know who you think is the ideal reader… and who your book will connect with…additionally think about who is the reader? Should you consider their level of education? Their hobbies? Interests? Or even income?

Next, tell your publicist what drew you to this particular story. Share any anecdotes. For me, for example, I have always been intrigued by Georgia O’Keeffe. But I didn’t really have a visceral passion for her work until I saw an exhibit at the Met in New York City. I looked at some of those flowers and felt as if I was falling right down the throat of a Calla Lily. I was 21 years old. All the other people in the gallery just melted away – it was just me and this calla lily with desert light. It was truly a wonderful physical reaction. I have always felt that the Southwest desert is one of the most compelling landscapes in America. This is what I told my publicist (Laura Rossi!).

AND I could tell my publicist another anecdote or two. Here’s one: My husband was a National Geographic Photographer. He also did a documentary film. I would often be the sound person. Once we were working out in the desert on this project and Chris my husband wanted to get a cut-away shot of a rattlesnake with sound. Now I am desperately afraid of snakes so I wasn’t sure what I would do if we actually found one. Well, we did. Guess what? All you can hear in the short ten-second take is my heavy breathing as I pointed the mike at the snake. It totally wiped out the sound of the rattler!

Tell these tales to your publicist – they love to have this sort of material to feed to a potential interviewer. You and your publicist will have success if do this — I know because I’ve published over one hundred books!” –Kathryn Lasky is the author of over one hundred books for children and young adults including the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series, which is a major motion picture, Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole. Kathy returns to writing adult mysteries with LIGHT ON BONE: A GEORGIA O’KEEFFE MYSTERY out September 6, 2022 (Woodhall Press).

The Importance of BookBub
“As a new author, one thing I’ve learned that surprised me is the popularity of BookBub. Before my books were published, I admittedly didn’t really know what BookBub was. But now, I’ve been surprised to find it’s an increasingly popular platform for readers to discover new books, learn about deals, and share reviews. –Elissa Grossell Dickey is a former journalist who now works in higher education communications. She is the acclaimed author of suspense novels The Speed of Light and the just-released Iris In The Dark.

Book Publicity Means Author Publicity 
In the three decades that I’ve been publishing novels and children’s books, the industry has gone through many changes. But the one thing that has remained constant is the fact that part of an author’s job is promoting her/his work. Simply getting published doesn’t equal success. An author must budget some time and money into creating a plan that helps promote your work to the right people. Your publisher might have its own marketing and PR plan, but you, the author, must also have a flexible plan that complements what is being marketed, and helps connect your book with the right readers.

There are so many tools at our fingertips to self-promote and market directly to readers today that did not exist when I was first publishing books. You’re not expected to be savvy at every social media avenue out there, but you are expected to have a consistent presence. Use the platforms that best fit your interests, where you are already building relationships, and then work to do a really good job at it. Being willing to learn. Stay connected. Engage with readers in authentic ways. And be flexible because some of your promotional attempts will flop while others will soar. Learn from it all and keep going. Along the way, you’ll grow your business, and you’ll make great friendships with readers and fellow writers too. Those surprises are treasures in this wild, demanding, and wonderful world of writing. 
I’ve learned that book publicity means author publicity — it used to be that publicity was title specific and that was it. Publicize the new book and move on…That has changed as publishing has changed.  My advice to all authors, remember even if you do not have a new title out in the world at the moment your real-life passions, personality, and writing process are all part of publicity – 24/7 and 365 if you choose!  PR is not an option – it’s an active, required, and essential piece of being a successful author. *Of course you can and should control your publicity presence so that it truly reflects you because the best publicity and marketing is authentic and organic. –Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 books. Nearly 8 million copies of her books have been published worldwide, she’s earned numerous accolades and awards including induction into the South Carolina Academy of Authors’ Hall of Fame, and her bestselling novel The Beach House is a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. In addition to her adult fiction, Mary Alice Monroe has also published children’s books which complement the environmental themes she is known for in her adult novels. Monroe’s middle grade series, The Islanders, debuted #2 on the New York Times in 2021. The second book in the series, Search for Treasure, will be released on June 14, 2022. 
Did you just learn something new? Drop a comment below with the morsel you took away.
Have more to offer? I’d love to hear it. Write me at am@getredpr.com.


About Ann Marie Nieves

Ann-Marie Nieves (she/her) is the founder of Get Red PR, and an award-winning communicator with experience across a broad range of industries in both the business-to-consumer and business-to-business sectors. She has experience within all communications platforms including public relations, advertising, marketing, copywriting, website development, community relations, and social media.

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