The digital revolution of self-publishing has empowered many self-published authors to promote their own books in creative, low-cost ways. Innovative eBook pricing programs, for example, enable an author to self-promote at virtually no cost. Likewise, social media has emerged as a viable and often effective way to build a personal brand and connect with potential book buyers. Most book marketing experts agree, however, that digital book promotion and social media usually aren’t “stand-alone” ways to effectively promote a book, but rather excellent tools to augment traditional book marketing.
The amazing self-publishing and self-promotion stories that we read about make big news splashes precisely because they are special and unusual, i.e. so few authors “make the big time” solely through their own efforts, it’s newsworthy when one does. The vast, vast majority of phenomenal bestsellers and literary sensations are the result of a combination and convergence of various things including professional publicity support, aggressive, energetic and engaging authors who self-promote through social media and, of course – an excellent book. Carefully structured and implemented campaigns by book marketing experts who have the connections, resources, and expertise – in addition to motivated self-promoting authors – are usually the reasons self-published books become huge successes. For traditionally published books, the sheer name recognition and power behind major book publishers can propel a book into the sales stratosphere.
While an ambitious author can do many things on their own, they cannot perform them as efficiently, strategically or powerfully as a publisher or book marketing firm. Access, experience, and contacts are key – and most authors don’t have these.
Traditional publishing still offers various advantages over self-publishing. Every significant publisher, for example, has a sophisticated distribution program that opens doors to on-shelf placement of books. Navigating the complex world of book distribution is beyond the means of most authors. In addition, having a household name imprint on a book cover can itself open doors to sales. While publisher budgets vary by the size of the publishing house and the track record of the author, publishers can still bring a great deal of clout and power to a book marketing campaign.
Even the large publishers often work with book marketing firms to work with their authors. This can include aggressive national media outreach as well as organizing book tours, book signings, and trade show representation. They often are tasked with following up on requests for books, sending out review copies, setting up blog tours, and creating video book trailers.
In addition to the experience and connections, book marketing firms are structured to work with individual authors as well as publishers to create and execute all other aspects of a comprehensive book marketing plan. These firms can adeptly handle and customize everything from book signing/event support to interview preparation, media coaching and beyond. They also have the ability to provide the personal attention to maximize the effectiveness of social media as a book marketing tool.
Every author must remember that they are the brand, and are therefore integral to maximizing the effectiveness of the efforts of a publisher or book marketing expert.