Archives: Facebook

Trying to publicize a book, particularly by way of newspapers and magazines, can be so challenging for already published or just publishing titles that authors in this position are often turned down by publicity firms. Finding the right publicist has become a bit like finding an agent.

There is enormous value to be had in the months until publication, and when consulting with writers, this has become the starting point of any conversation. Carving out ample lead time to promote or think about promotion can make the difference between a book published proactively and a book published reactively. With 3-6 or even 8 months to plan what you want your publication to look like, the reading world is your oyster. You can begin to craft a marketing strategy including those blue sky ideas that, when you’re publicizing a book retroactively, will be near impossible to achieve. With 3-8 months ahead, you can do a lot by way of networking, social or otherwise, and have a much better shot at mainstream publicity.

But for lack of knowledge or budget, or for relying too heavily on their publishers, many authors find themselves in the retroactive position. Instead of tossing in the towel come what may, I think there are avenues to market or publicize your book in a way that builds an audience perhaps slowly, but also more meaningfully and permanently. Before you begin, it’s crucial to shift your objective from ‘buy my book!’ to ‘learn about my book and see if you like it.’ Don’t fall prey to algorithms and popularity contests. What good are those thousands of followers and friends, those form letters to no one in particular, if these are not people who would realistically enjoy your book?

Here are a few ways to use free social platforms available to everyone to genuinely connect with readers at an individual level:
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The Ten Most Overused Terms in Publishing
Do you know how MBAs all tend to use the same terms (“the space,” “leverage,” “revenue opportunity,” etc.?) Here is our equivalent vocabulary for publishing–and we’re all guilty.

What Your Publisher Can’t Tell You About Your Book’s Publicity
Surprise: there’s alot you didn’t know. Here are some positive ways to take action in promoting your own book.
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Would you choose a literary agent or publisher based on brand name, or based on their knowledge in new media?

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Before the telephone, there was the telegram. Before electronic mail, there was the facsimile. And then there was Twitter.

As “electronic mail” and “facsimile” are terms that we’re now hard-pressed to remember, so, too, will the word “tweet” sound indecipherable to our grandchildren. But what Tumblr did for blogging, so Twitter seems now to have done for email: reduced our communication to the byte-size essentials. And in a content-saturated world, this has both importance and value. Media editors and journalists are more likely to respond, and quickly, when I DM them a book pitch in a line, since we already follow each other and it isn’t coming cold, or worse, long. We’re all trying to obliterate the email issue. We’re all trying to define who we are, what we want, why it matters, in a line.

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Do you hate newsletters? I do, too. Often.
Do you read some over others? I’d love to know why.

I’ve been known to encourage authors to send mass emails and newsletters. (Bansky’s going to oppose me on this one: even if all of Bansky is a form of lobbying for something.) And so, in my “year of walking in an author’s shoes,” to better understand the whole experience of social networking that’s now non-negotiable in author promoting, I’ve decided on my stance where newsletters are concerned. I believe there is value in getting your books on the radar
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Here is the last segment of this week’s social media series before we say sadly say goodbye to Man of la Book. If you missed prior posts in the series you can find them here and here. And we’ll be back with more interviews with authors, bloggers, and publishing experts on in our next series on Authors and Social Media, coming soon.

First question: are there any favorite author Twitter feeds you follow? Why?

My favorite authors to follow are Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) and Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter). They talk about writing, life, research, and you can always find them engaging with their followers.

It seems that the most popular tweeters constantly a) tweet constantly and b) link to breaking news, blogs, etc. According to your profile, you are a book blogger, engineer, “wood worker,” father and husband. How is that you can also tweet with such enthusiasm?

My secret is that I’m pretty good with technology. Combine that with obscene laziness and you find good solutions for such issues. I use the cotweet online utility to send out tweets at intervals (30 min. to 1 hour), but check Twitter several times a day to answer questions, interact with others or see what I might be missing (sometimes not much, but that doesn’t stop all of us on Twitter from checking anyway).

But don’t be fooled: it takes great patience, persistence and hard work. Though often a great substitute for real work.

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Authors on Twitter: A Weekly Series
In the next month, I’ll be interviewing authors, book bloggers, and other experts in the entertainment industry on best practices for using Twitter to grow a following, in all of its myriad promotional and informational ways. I’m launching this series with Man of La Book, who I first noticed on Twitter. His tweets encouraged me to look, to link, and to read–whatever he was telling me to. And at 3,000+ followers, I couldn’t have been the only one who felt similarly compelled…

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I heard it then when I started in book publicity at HarperCollins, and I still hear it as a consultant 8 years later.

The author asks: “Does publicity translate to sales?”
And the publisher responds: Not always.

“Am I going to get the Today Show, the New York Times, and NPR?”
Unlikely.

“Then, what is feasible?”
Well, unfortunately, it’s sort of wait-and-see.

“How do I increase visibility?”
Start a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account. Here’s a template to guide you through it. (This answer is new, and even the question is, because it was understood the publisher would do everything!)

“Do pre-orders help? Special sales?”
Yes.

“How are you handling these?”
Please direct your question to  xxx@publisher.com and he’ll be happy to answer!

As devoted as publishers are to the books they acquire, the industry, in the last few years, has seen fewer acquisitions of debuts and “mid-list” (not quite bestselling) titles. Publishers are still gambling on the rare blockbuster bestseller: which means the books with the most commercial, often those written by celebrities and not writers, per se, are given the most investment in the ramp up to publication day. This means all remaining titles can fall to the wayside, and this can be hard to swallow; challenging even for those authors paid a substantial advance and naturally expecting that “the love would be there” come launch. with in-house publicists particularly good in approaching radio and television connections for appropriately “big” (i.e. controversial, political or celebrity) books. These publicists turn to proprietary media lists, which they figure, if these outlets worked for one book, should theoretically work for the next book in a similar category. But this is a paint-by-numbers approach. There’s rarely time to craft a comprehensive promotional strategy in the short lead time to publication when, given production time, finished books have just hit your desk. There’s negligible bandwidth to listen to an author’s specific ideas, to manage those expectations, or even to leverage an author’s particular connections, possibly the best resource authors have to promote themselves.

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