I thought I would answer some of the questions I have gotten offline about book marketing and publicity. A few have asked about me and my "day job" of running my own marketing and publicity business.
What exactly do you do?
Besides write....I own my own marketing and publicity business (bilaninc.com) where I help companies market their business. I also help small businesses develop marketing materials and publicity campaigns.
Do you help authors with their marketing?
Yes. I've done just about every job in marketing, from planning to execution--author school visits, booking conferences, swag and promo pieces, curriculum/learner guides, bookstore tours, online marketing and book publicity campaigns.
Because I love to read and write children's books, my favorite is working with children's authors in their marketing or book publicity needs. So much so, that I give 30% off my standard prices to SCBWI members and 20% off to other authors. I can do any of the following:
- Designing and creating swag packages, such as bookmarkers, postcards, posters, bookplates, stickers
- Planning and executing online publicity campaigns, including blog tours
- Creating a marketing strategy/plan for authors/book releases
- Identifying niche outlets for publicity and marketing
- Creating supplemental materials, such as discussion guides, curriculum guides, and event kits
- Coordinating book release parties, bookstore signings, and tours
- Writing press releases and pitch letters, bios and background materials
- Customized backgrounds for twitter, blogs, and web sites
- Manuscript and query critiques
What should authors look for when hiring marketing or publicity professionals?
There are so many people doing marketing these days especially with the amount of layoffs.
- Know what you want and what you are getting.
- Always ask for references and samples of their work.
- Get written quotes and compare.
- Be sure to read the fine print.
- Do your research.
- The publicity potential of your book.
- Good communication.
- Reasonable prices.
This really depends on the person. There are some people who want to hire a book publicist to handle everything because they can't be bothered. There are others who only want certain things done.
If you want a publicist - prioritize your needs and your budget. Use a publicist for things you can't do yourself. For example, I find most authors need:
- Professional consulting to get ideas on how to best market your book
- Someone to get them started by creating a marketing and book publicity plan
- Custom designed materials such as web sites, business cards, online templates and swag packages
- Creating formal and professional media kits
- Organizing book tours/speaking appearances
It all depends on how good you are at marketing yourself. I usually like to see what a publisher is doing for an author FIRST before I take on a project. Sometimes it may not be the best expense if the publisher is already doing a lot for the author.
How can an author prepare to work with a publicist?
First, you need to know exactly your goal? What do you need the most help with? How much to you want to spend? What can you do on your own?
Once you know your goals, know what your publisher is going to do and then really evaluate whether you need outside help.
If you do, it is critical for your publicist to work with the house's publicity department to ensure a seamless plan.
Is book publicity expensive?
Like anything, book publicity can get expensive.
However, every author should know their strengths and what they may need help with. It does not all have to be done at once and authors should ask about smaller projects that they can afford.
It does not have to be all or none!
What is one piece of advice that you want people to take away?
Start now! It is better to start your marketing and publicity campaign at least 6 months PRIOR to your publication date. I can do more for you if you are early. If you come to me 6 months after your book has released, you have lost critical time.
Hope that helps you guys understand book publicity more.
What other questions do you have?