If I had a dollar for every tweet an author puts out asking about “free publicity,” then I could afford a lot of lattes. Let’s face it, we, as authors, are poor and struggling (unless your first name is Stephen and last name is King). We can’t afford high-powered public relations firms or large advertising budgets. What’s worst, many of our publishers can’t either and much of the grassroots marketing has to be handled by authors, or at least require a significant effort from authors.
That being the case, following are three things authors should know about book publicity before the marketing phase begins:
1. There is a difference between publicity and public relations
I know, it sounds redundant, but there really is a difference. Publicity is a type of public relations that is specifically about product promotion. Public Relations is a field of marketing that, among other things, communicates messages to audiences. In other words, book publicity is critical for getting awareness out about a book, but a fully-built public relations campaign will communicate to potential audiences the importance or relevance of the book topic, the communications platform and brand of an author, and all core messages that make the author relevant. In short, authors need public relations, but books need publicity.
So it is important when developing a marketing plan to not only consider ways to get the word out about a book, but how to build overall awareness of you as an author, i.e. who you are, what you represent, what makes you different/relevant. Equally important, how to communicate your platform to your target audiences—this may include the media and book reviews, but could also include speaking engagements, webinars, advertising or any other type of communication that your audience pays attention to.
2. Publicity is only one part of the marketing mix
There is a common misconception that publicity and/or public relations sells books and/or widgets. That is not the role of public relations. That is the role of “marketing” which includes public relations. Product PR, in short, is about creating awareness of a message or product so that, when a person is ready to make a purchasing decision, your product ends up as one of the ones considered. PR could also develop awareness about an idea, a particular message, or public policy. The role of PR is to disseminate a message to an audience. This can be done by the media, or by influential everyday people. PR can lead book-buyers to you and to your book, but it cannot sell it. There are other tools in the marketing mix for that: price, availability/distribution, point of purchase, book cover, promotions, etc. So, unless you are doing all of the things in a marketing mix to sell your book, PR alone can only do so much.
3. Publicity isn’t only about media relations
Many times people equate publicity (and public relations in general) with media relations. Once upon a time, that was probably true. However the definition of “media” has been so expanded over the years, that really publicity is about leveraging influencers. These are people, in the media or not, that influence your target audience’s buying decisions. Now more than ever people rely upon their peers or other consumers to make purchases. Certainly it helps if the New York Times does an article on your book (it mostly will give you the credibility you need within the book industry for wider distribution), but nothing beats a referral from a trusted person. This is not limited to social media either—influencers are everywhere. They influence at work, at home, in the grocery store (and yes, on Twitter). So your task is to think about who your audience is, then identify who influences them, then partner with those influencers.
In the fall of 1947, Will Shakespeare saw the world collapse around him. Shakespeare, a secret soldier for the Knights Templar, barely escapes the slaughter of his entire knighthood at the hands of a rogue militant arm of the Vatican in a small Montreal church. With orders to escort Templar business associate Dorothy Wilkinson back to her home in Bermuda, Will must locate and rescue the most important secret treasure in human history before it is devoured by a hurricane in the watery caves beneath her father's property. The spiraling quest sends Will and Dorothy into uncovering dark secrets that make up the origins of the knighthood as they confront the traps and puzzles that masterfully protect the world's most coveted treasure.
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Genre – Action, Adventure
Rating – PG
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