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Publicity for Authors and Publishers


Author Bob Mayer

Bestselling author Bob Mayer says authors need to take control of their publicity campaigns.

Photo courtesy of Bob Mayer

Publishing is changing fast. More and more books are being sold digitally. Amazon.com isn't just the a huge online seller of books, but is stepping into publishing itself.

Authors are also embracing the web and social networking as a way to reach their readers.

Is it smart to put all your faith into the web -- or should authors try more of a hybrid strategy?

Bestseller Bob Mayer on PR for Authors in a Chaotic Publishing World
"Ninety percent of books fail because authors fail to promote it." That's what bestselling author Bob Mayer said at the 2011 Pacific Northwest Writer's Association conference. "They think the publishers will do all that," Mayer said. "They can't." Mayer advocates that authors take their PR and publicity seriously, because unless you get a six-figure advance, publishers won't typically spend much promoting and publicizing your book. This lack of publicity support has pushed many authors to lean hard on blogs, websites and social media. Mayer said this is a flaw in strategy. "Have a purpose on social media," Mayer said. "Why are you on it?" He suggests setting concrete, measurable goals, not just with social media, but with anything an author spends time on.

Book Buzz - Building Relationships is Key to Publicity for Authors
Liz Berry wants to put the networking back in "social networking." The executive director of ThrillerFest and says, "It's social networking, not 'pimp my book.' It's meant to meet people and build relationships." Authors are putting too much faith in the viral power of social networking, Berry said, thinking they'll tap the viral power of the internet. "An author I know had 6,000 downloads of his free first chapter," Liz said. "That's a ton, right? Huge." Total sales related to those 6,000 downloads? "Seven." The real viral power, Liz said, is more old-fashioned: building relationships and tapping into word of mouth.

How the Web is Changing Publicity for Authors
Public relations and publicity is critical for any author, since they make their living being in the public eye and getting the attention of readers. You can't do that one-on-one alone -- you have to talk to the press, be on the web and use social media like Facebook and Twitter. Heather Drucker, associate director of publicity for HarperCollins, took the time to talk about how the web and social media are changing things for authors.

Public Relations for Authors - Barry Eisler
Barry Eisler doesn't just write about spies, assassins and tough guys. He used to be an actual spy for the CIA, and he earned his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center in Japan. His thrillers have been translated into twenty languages and have won the Barry Award and Gumshoe Award. Eisler is expert at how authors today can't just write sit at a desk and write their books. They have to get out there -- in person, on the web and in the mass media.

Job Profile - Book Publicist
Book publicists work on behalf of authors to publicize new books -- whether printed on paper or sold digitally at sites like Amazon.com -- doing everything from helping craft author bios and websites to organizing book tours, arranging for media interviews and scheduling authors on radio and television shows. Many book publicists work directly for publishers, usually in major publishing centers like New York City and London, though there are book publicists who work for PR firms or on a freelance basis.

How to Get a Job as a Book Publicist
If you love books and dealing with the press, a job as a book publicist might be for you. Here are the details on education levels, salary ranges and typical job duties for a book publicist, whether you're working for a publisher or as a freelance publicist for authors.

How to Maximize Social Media for Public Relations
Social media is a great tool for public figures and the public relations field, and especially important for authors and publishers today. While mass media -- TV, newspapers, radio and the internet -- can reach incredible amounts of people, it's a one-way message. There's no dialogue, no feedback, no interaction. Social media like Twitter make it personal. They make it social. You can connect with the press and public in ways that mass media simply can't let you do.

Tips from the Field: Heather Drucker, Book Publicist
Book publicists work with publishers, authors and the media. Most of the jobs are centered around publishing hubs like New York City and London, though there are freelance book publicists. Heather Drucker is an Associate Director of Publicity for HarperCollins based in New York City.

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