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About Book Publicity and Marketing

Publicity, marketing and social media are critical to book success


Fifty Shades of Grey book jacket

Publicity and word of mouth helped make the erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey a runaway bestseller.

Writers Coffee Shop
A book's publicity and marketing campaigns* are the business levers that can make a New York Times bestseller. Whether you're DIYing it or being published by a traditional publisher, you should understand the dynamic elements of a book publicity and marketing effort.

*"Campaigns" because in most cases in a traditional publishing house, the publicity and marketing departments keep each other informed about their respective efforts, but generally work separately. Most in-house (that is, publisher-driven) campaigns involve three major areas: publicity; marketing (which includes advertising); and Internet/social media.

A book publisher's publicity department or a freelance book publicist is the person who ensures that the print (newspapers, magazines) and broadcast media (television, radio) are aware of your newly-published book, and that you, the author, are available for interviews. Your publicist is also the person in charge of your press materials, the "spin" of your book's press release (and other materials) so that television and radio producers and magazine editors, etc., are fully informed about the ink- or airtime-worthiness of your non-fiction book topic or your brilliant first novel — or you, as an engaging author.

The publicity department generally also handles author appearances. Read more about what book publicity entails, including:

• Basic publicity campaigns — that is, the bare bones campaign that gets the word out to the media.

• Additional elements for a more robust publicity campaign — book launches, tours… not every author can expect these.

• Wisdom from a book publicity veteran — Rick Frishman (publisher, author, and leading book publicist) shares his opinion on what to do — and what not to do — when you're looking for book publicity.

• Advice for self-published authors — "Book PR Girl" and strategist Laura Rossi Totten gives great tips for all authors and some special advice for those who are self-published.

• Frequently asked questions about publicity from new authors — from the importance of pub date to local interviews, these are some publicity issues that come up during the publication of a book.

• Book signings — which are generally arranged and coordinated by the book publicity department. Publicity fields requests from booksellers who want authors to do in-store signings; publicists also pitch other signing venues, such as book festival programmers.

Book Marketing
Book marketing encompasses a variety of non-media, public-facing efforts, such as the development and placement of advertising, or managing the design and creation of point-of-sale materials for the book.

Read more about book marketing:

• Book marketing basics — what new authors can expect.

• Frequently asked questions about book marketing — including "Why do I hear only silence from that quarter?"

• Helping your book to start strong — what marketing you can do yourself before your book publishes.

• Seasonal book promotion — to everything there is a season, and book marketing is no different.

Social media and the elusive "word of mouth"
Due to the fact that the Internet is a relatively recent tool in the ancient toolbox trade of book promotion, different aspects of web marketing are handled differently at different publishers. In some houses, blog outreach is under publicity; in some, it's under marketing. Sometimes social media is centralized in a publishing house; in others, it's handled within the publisher's imprint. But everyone acknowledges the Internet's power in bringing readers to books.

Read more about how the Internet and social media networks are affecting book publicity and marketing — and how good old offline social networks can jump start "word of mouth":

• The importance of social media to a book promotion campaign — and some key things authors must do.

• A social media checklist — used by Laura Rossi Totten helps focus an internet campaign.

• How to start getting the "word of mouth" about your book going — with these tips from BookBuzz maven Sandra Beckwith.

Now that you know more about the in's and out's of book publicity, put your knowledge to work. Read about how to:

• Craft your own publicity and marketing campaign, step-by-step.

• Effectively use Twitter to promote your book.

• Produce your own online book trailer.

• Develop your author website.

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