We start the year off with the one and only Nathan Bransford. I'm sure we all follow his famous blog as he steers us through the publishing world. Today, he's here to share some of his Marketing knowledge.
Hi Nathan, thanks for joining us. As if you are not busy enough! Pretend that some people here don't know who you are and tell us about yourself.
Curtis Brown Ltd. is a New York-based agency that has been representing authors since 1914, and over the years has represented an incredible array of legendary/bestselling authors. I was fortunate to have joined Curtis Brown out of college in 2002 as an assistant in the San Francisco office. I had grown up in a small town in Northern California (my parents are farmers), and living in San Francisco and working in publishing was a dream. I’ve been with Curtis Brown ever since, including a few years in the New York office, before I returned to San Francisco and began building my list in earnest.
I also recently wrote a middle grade novel called JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, which will be published by Dial Books for Young Readers in 2011.
Nathan also runs a very popular blog - if you have not checked it out yet. It is a valuable resource! You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook. It's OK he likes to be cyberstalked! ;)
Congrads on your book deal. Give me a corn dog and space any day! Thinking with both an author hat and agent hat, what do you think are the top 3 things authors should do to promote their book?
I actually only have one thing on the must do list, and that’s to have some sort of Google-able, professional web presence, whether it’s a blog, website, Facebook page… anything that is there on the Internet so that someone in publishing who hears about your work or is looking to contact you can do so easily.
Beyond that, I actually think the best marketing strategy is to recognize your strengths as a potential marketer and to spend your time where it would be best utilized. For instance, some people are really good at pounding the pavement and talking up bookstore owners and arranging appearances and signings. Some people are more introverted and would rather blog and build up their online presence. Others are very plugged in with the media and can utilize those connections to get attention for their book project.
There are many, many ways to promote a book. While I would encourage all authors to do everything they can to promote their work, I think it’s best when authors devote their time and energy where it would be most effective.
Well, you are definitely a great role model when it comes to a cool web presence (aka cool new site) and an extensive platform (aka over 1 million visitors last year). In your mind, what are the major marketing mistakes you see authors make?
- Failing to have a professional web presence – in this day and age it’s essential
- Forgetting the importance of always conducting oneself professionally online and in person. The Internet is always watching.
- Feeling like they have to blog or be on Facebook or do this or that just because they think it’s what’s expected. For example, if you don’t have a passion/talent for blogging it doesn’t really pay to blog just for the sake of blogging: a little-trafficked site isn’t going to sell books. Devote your energy to endeavors that will pay off.
I definitely Google authors to see what their web presence looks like, though I wouldn’t say it’s something that’s terribly important to me.
Having a great book is the most important thing, and a web presence can be developed down the line.
But I do like to get a sense of who I might be working with. That’s why it’s so important to have a very professional online presence and to be mindful of the way you “look” on the Internet – I don’t mean physical appearance, but rather the character of your web presence. Is it professional? Does it present the picture of someone who would be easy to work with? Etc. etc.
How have things changed with agencies promoting their author books? What things do agents/literary agencies do to help promote their author's books?
Traditionally it wasn’t really the agent’s job to promote books, but I think that may be changing somewhat with the times.
Personally I promote my clients’ books on my blog and through my personal online network, and I’m always looking for new ways to effectively market my clients’ works.
And actually, speaking of which, this week I’m having an exciting blog contest for Jennifer Hubbard’s incredible debut YA novel THE SECRET YEAR (Viking), so please stop on by!
Can't wait to see what the contest is for Jennifer! As an agent, what are you looking for in 2010?
I’m always on the lookout for fresh voices and compelling plots. I represent a little everything, so when in doubt please feel free to query me.
Thank you for taking time to stop by!