By Elizabeth M. Garrett
Today’s marketplace differs drastically from the publishing landscape of ten years ago. Traditional publishers are accepting fewer books, royalty checks continue to shrink, and the accessibility of independent publishing and self-publishing continues to drive a competitive environment.
Plus, with the powerful emergence of social media marketing, your success as an author largely depends on your willingness and ability to engage with readers, both online and in person. Just like you’re more prone to purchase from a known source you can trust, potential readers follow suit.
In their book The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, branding experts Al Ries and Laura Ries recommend any new marketing program start by generating publicity and then shift to advertising after the public relations objectives have been achieved.
I know it’s hard for many of us to embrace our role in book promotions. For the average author, it’s a lot more fun to just write. But clearly, if you want to properly position yourself in the marketplace, a powerful public relations plan incorporated in with your marketing will provide you with maximum results, especially for the independent-published and self-published authors. Even if you’re traditionally published, there’s an increasing demand to be engaged with your audience.
With all the focus on building your author platform, brand, and marketing, I think we often forget the power of relationships. According to a recent online article by Forbes magazine, word of mouth among family and friends drives more purchases than any other marketing form.
To be effective, your public relations plan has to include both traditional communication channels and social media venues, which require a lot of personal, dynamic interactions.
If your time is limited like mine, you have to streamline whatever you do and stay focused. We often think we’ll save time by just doing and not planning. When launching a book you’ve endlessly labored over, however, a strong public relations plan can go a long way in establishing and building rapport with your target audience.
Think of it as your map or personal tour guide, which will help you reach your destination. A good, strong plan maps out how you will reach your goals and take care of what it is you need to accomplish.
If you’re not a planner, it may seem unnecessary, but in the long run a plan can save a lot of time by keeping you on track, plus help generate the visibility your work deserves.
Elizabeth M. Garrett fulfills her God-given purpose by writing, editing, and serving as a public relations coach through her business, Polish Point Editing. With thirty years of experience in public relations and editing, she has just completed writing the “Masterclass in Public Relations for Authors” available through booksgosocial.com. Her creative works, both fiction and non-fiction, have been published in three collections, with another one on the way.