So first up.... what even is the difference between marketing and publicity (because there is a difference apparently).
Okay I went and googled it, and here is the difference:
Okay, so when I prepped this post I was meant to go and google it just now but actually my internet is stupid and apparently writing a blog post is all good but googling something is definitely not all good.
I really need a new computer.
So ANYWAY .... hopefully someone can tell me the difference between marketing and publicity in the comments.
But here is the gist of what I DO know:
If you are lucky enough to have a publisher involved in this stuff, they will be doing some of the marketing/publicity for you. So that means approaching booksellers. Trying to get your book into schools, all that back-channel stuff where you usually need connections and contacts and a lot of know how in the industry.
They also might try and organise interviews and articles and stuff like that for you too, or point you in the direction of opportunities you can get involved in.
The flipside is all the self-promotion stuff.
And again, my understanding here, is this is pretty much the author.
Yes, a publisher can give you support here too, but I really think it is up to the author to make the most of every opportunity you have with your book. I can totally see why some authors may feel frustrated by that, and I totally agree that I got into this game so I could write books, not be active on social media, but still, I look at it this way:
Everything I do now to further promote my book, also promotes myself. And I want to be doing this for a long long time, so anything I can do to promote me and my work, can only benefit me in the end. It is like the first step in building my future.
It actually feels like the very first time in my life I've been actively working hard to build something that belongs to me, as opposed to someone else who owns the company I work for. And that has felt AMAZING.
To me, it makes all the difference.
Sure, you might ask, have you made any money on your debut book?
No. I really did not.
So you might wonder how I can bear to spend all that money on promoting it? (bookmarks, postcards, pins, giveaways, postage, delicious and cute food for my launch etc.)
Well, because I guess the truth is I feel like no matter how much time and money and energy I sink into this book, for the first time in my life I am building something that belongs only to me, instead of to a company owner.
And yeah, of course I know if my book does well my publisher will benefit too, but that is a fully mutual benefit, and I am sharing in the huge rewards of my book being a success, and the better this book is received, the better I will always do in the future, this is my debut into a whole new industry! (and of course for everyone success is different! For me it is a successful launch and my first step into the world as an author, I'm not so much talking about sales right now).
So anyway .... I kind of forgot what I was talking about.
And it's kind of late at night.
I'm pretty tired!
(Why is this post so long? Oh my gosh!)
Okay .... I seem to have changed the topic now, but like I said, it's really late.
So we will just roll with it!
So... the author brand. The online presence. The author platform.
Firstly, nope, I absolutely don’t believe it is necessary to have this stuff in place in order to get a publishing contract (though a little bit of presence is probably a good thing because then publishers can google you and check to see if you are completely crazy or not, which might potentially help your case if you are not being racist or bonkers on twitter or whatever).
once you have that contract in your hands, having a platform to me does seem like it is a really, really, really, really good thing. It is a massive thing. It makes a BIG difference. There are a million wonderful things that I got the opportunity to try because of my author platform, that I never would have if I hadn’t.
Here are some of them:
(Gosh! Why is this post so long?!)
Sooooo.... let's change the topic again!! :)
And please do remember that I am a debut author, and my journey to publication has been my own and all my advice is only what works for me. I hate when I read articles on the internet and they they say 'this thing here specifically worked really well for me, so you HAVE to do it, it is the ONLY way, if you don't do it you are STUPID'.
That stuff sucks.
So these are tips and ideas and stuff from my own journey, bu you should always listen to your heart and figure out what works best for you. Gosh, if I listened to every single internet 'you have to do this or that' post I would have died from an overwhelmed heart ages ago.
So what was I waffling on about?
MY TOP TIPS FOR AUTHORS in the PROMOTION STAGE:
Gosh! Turn to the self-publishers!
They are the absolute experts in all things self marketing, in social media marketing, in free or cheap or innovative ideas on how to bring your story to the attention of other people.
Indie authors who are successful know what they are doing! They are definitely the ones I wanted to emulate.
Take #LoveOzYA fantasy author Helen Scheuerer for instance, an author who I greatly admire (both for her writing and stories, but also for her professional approach to her business): She self published her first book, and she did everything herself, and she was super successful. She seriously killed it!
So how did she do it?
Well she marketed the hell out of it, professionally and enthusiastically, and she managed that process all by herself, with no publishing house to back her up. She was the publishing house. I can't help but be impressed by that and find her journey extremely inspiring.
I just kept telling myself that if an author like Helen Scheuerer could do all that by herself, then I could at least work hard to do everything I could for my own debut release, and anything extra my publisher could do to pave the way of my book into the world was a fantastic and wonderful extra that I was VERY lucky to have.
So basically what I’m saying is, if you are traditionally published, even with a massive publishing house, you really probably shouldn’t rely only on your publishing house to do all the work for you. You have to take control as much as you can and do the best you can to self-market.
It is indeed hard.
And I definitely didn’t do everything I could have done.
But I did what I could manage, and I pushed myself to do more than I felt completely comfortable with, because I wanted to give myself and my book the best chance to do well that I could.
Because what is the point of all that hard work and dreaming for all those years if I couldn’t even do that?
So, very luckily for all of us, Helen Scheuerer documented a lot of her own self marketing challenges via her writers resource website, the Writer's Edit, and that is one of the places where I found out about a LOT of interesting things you can do to self-promote (check under the self-publishing tab for info on self-promotion and author marketing).
I also read other blog posts too, I listened to a million podcasts and I copied what other authors did (when I saw them promote via twitter and Instagram).
I also did a lot of googling for specific articles too – on book swag/merchandise, on giveaway ideas, social media management, author brand building and promotion, launch lead up tips etc. etc. the list is endless.
(This post is actually disgustingly long.
So anyway, what I did was I wrote the hugest list of ideas and missions for myself but to be honest I only ever managed to actually achieve a very small handful of them. There is so much to do, so much to learn and the mountain is HUGE.
And I couldn’t do it all.
I just couldn’t.
I work a full time day job, I have other projects going on, so I did the most that I could do without sending myself crazy, and I figured out the things I enjoyed and concentrated more on those (Instagram, blogging) than the things I find more difficult or scary (twitter. Ha!)
The other tip I have for the launch lead up, and something that really really helps, is connecting with other writers in your community. Don’t ask me how exactly this happens, because it is such a difficult thing to set out to do, it is more something that occurs organically online from frequenting the places you like and talking about the stuff you love, you make connections, and eventually you start seeing the threads connecting you into that community, which is a really cool thing.
Writers are nice. And readers are nice!
People I have met over social media have boosted my posts, shouted about my book launch, said lovely things when I’ve posted book photos and been generally absolutely lovely and encouraging.
Every day I feel less like I am shouting into a void and more like people are actually listening, and that has been both wonderful and an utter relief.
For someone like me who is a little afraid of social media, everything that has happened and the cool connections I’ve made are the absolute best case scenario and make me happy every day that I can be part of a community that is so nice and supportive towards eachother, both the readers, bloggers, reviewers and other authors.
So... I feel like I wrote a really long post but didn’t actually end up saying a lot!
But hey, maybe that is my thing.
Cos apparently if you have an author platform, you should have a thing! Ha!
Mine is clearly waffling on.
Anyway, thank you for reading!
I always love to hear from you!
Leave me a comment!!