I’ve always said that for promotion to be effective, you had to approach it like a mosaic: a variety of small efforts need to come together to form the big picture. One or two tactics alone wouldn’t be enough to move the needle.
As publishing changes and the way we receive our information shifts, this concept is more important than ever. As a publicist, my primary role is to obtain media coverage. But since media coverage alone doesn’t move books, my job description begins to shift. I do more than send out review copies and schedule book tours. I consult on my clients’ social media presence. I arrange for ad buys and marketing campaigns. I send books to influencers on Twitter and Facebook and am always on the lookout for the next big thing.
Publicity alone doesn’t move books and Sean Chercover, author of THE TRINITY GAME, is the perfect example. While he was well reviewed in the National Post and a variety of online networks, I didn’t book him on the Today Show, there was no review in the New York Times, and he wasn’t a guest on Morning Edition. What we had instead was a widespread marketing/advertising campaign across many platforms. Ads played on CNN’s airport TV, a video promo was produced and played on THE TRINITY GAME Amazon page, and if you have an ad-supported Kindle, THE TRINITY GAME may have shown up as your screensaver. Dozens of bloggers posted reviews and THE TRINITY GAME was a topic of discussion across many social media platforms.
Last week, Amazon sent an email to literary agents disclosing some of their sales figures. They reported that THE TRINITY GAME was on its way to surpassing 100k copies. If you’re not familiar with average sales figures, 100k is a damn good number, especially since the book came out only 7 weeks ago. It wasn’t the reviews that moved the needle, or national TV appearances. It was extensive marketing, advertising, and online reviews.
Whether you’re hiring a publicist or planning on doing publicity yourself, it’s important to keep this fact in mind. Traditional media isn’t enough. In order to move books off the shelves, advertising and marketing are necessary components. This fact has prompted me to shift my role from publicist to all around PR consultant. My proposals have always included recommendations for social media and other forms of marketing, but those sections are becoming far more extensive. If you’re thinking about hiring a publicist, I urge you to find someone who’s making this shift. If you’re handling your own publicity, make sure you’re focusing on more than just review coverage and media interviews.