- “There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be an Author,” by Scott Watrous
- “GUARANTEE -- The Most Controversial Word in Book Marketing,” by Dan Smith
- Smith Publicity’s creative new venture -- Welcome JaneScott Brand Catalysts!
- Visit Smith Publicity Staff at Upcoming Book Industry Events this Fall
There’s Never Been a Better Time to Be an Author
by Scott Watrous, co-founder of JaneScott Brand Catalyst
When I first walked into the Paperback Booksmith in 1981 looking for a job, I had no idea my life would center around bringing books to life. For 32 years I have put my heart and soul into words and images, made available in every conceivable form and function. Whether it was selling and marketing to drug stores or superstores, books and their magic have given my life the spark of joy that dream jobs are made of.
Today, though the publishing business has gone through incredible changes, the power of a book—and publicity –has not been diminished. Whether the book comes as a digital download, or a traditional paper format, the gravitas it brings can catalyze your business overnight. If your goal is to really breakthrough the noise, and succeed BIGTIME…traditional media outlets can be the key—and publicity opportunities need professionals to make it happen…
I have never been more energized about this business than I am today. Old school publishing was an elite club, open only to those few who were able to get through the well guarded doors. Even if you were lucky enough to get your book or idea looked at by an editor, the chances of getting published—and supported—were not great. Today, the level playing field is ready and waiting for everybody to play on! Boutique operations like JaneScott are ready to offer expertise and service, as well as bigger agencies and operations dedicated to giving self-published authors an opportunity to bring their messages to the world.
"Sea change" is defined as "a striking change…often for the better" and in the case of book publishing, I fervently believe this is an appropriate description of what the last decade has brought. The millions of frustrated would-be authors are no more—and the Internet has utterly changed the definition of "marketing". With the power of traditional media intact—and new opportunities being created everyday—authors and creatives have infinite opportunity to not only publish…but excel in ways unimaginable back in 1981.
like to describe today’s marketplace as the "un-matrix"—obviously referring back to that iconic film that has made it's way into our daily vernacular. Instead of the iron bars and metal boundaries that define the "matrix," this new structure is flexible and inclusive, and grows more powerful as more people bring energy and creative force. As old-school companies contract and consolidate, new businesses spring to life, fueled by ever-increasing ways of creating and sharing meaningful content. With the Internet as the rich palette of opportunity, publishing continues to redefine itself on a daily basis, offering infinite possibility to all who are willing to join. To all those who dream of "the good old days" of book publishing, I say wake up! No day is better than today to get started on the path of publishing success.
About Scott Watrous, co-founder of JaneScott Brand Catalyst. After decades of experience in the world of traditional publishing—with S&S, Random House, Adams Media and Globe Pequot Press in the rearview mirror—Watrous decided it was time to help define the new landscape for self-published authors and entrepreneurs. Never satisfied with the publishing options that existed, Watrous committed to creating a first class “boutique” where authors could receive the personal care and expertise that they deserved. With well over 3,500 books published, he and his partner Jane Ashley, another publishing veteran, brings a finely tuned expertise and energy to the marketplace.
The Most Controversial Word in Book Marketing
by Dan Smith, Founder/CEO, Smith Publicity
Authors unfamiliar with book marketing are often surprised when a publicist tells them that nothing is guaranteed when it comes media coverage and book sales. I understand why they’re surprised and disappointed. An author is going to pay for services but be promised nothing in terms of results? If I wasn’t in the industry, I’d probably be confused and surprised too.
Book publicity is a unique service. When a promotional campaign launches, there are many unknowns, many variables, and many directions in which the campaign can go. The fact is, as publicists, even if we think a book has enormous potential, we have absolutely no idea what is going to happen when we pitch the author and book. If a publicist tells you they know exactly what will happen when your book is marketed, they are lying. Run away from that publicist. Fast.
However, there are some book marketing firms that offer guarantees. For example, an agency may have a “radio tour” service which guarantees 10 interviews for an author. This could be a good service, and some authors have success with such programs. However, even if an agency actually does guarantee placements, and follows though and gets those placements or interviews, you might walk away disappointed.
How is it possible to be disappointed by your guaranteed 10 interviews or placements?
If a publicist guarantees radio interviews, for example, it’s possible the shows you get on, actually aren’t very hard to get on…because they aren’t that popular and might have a minimal impact on book sales. The same thing applies to guaranteed print placements. The bigger and better media outlets are much more selective about who they interview or write about, and therefore probably aren’t going to be part of guaranteed publicity services.
The fact is: Guaranteed results are only as good as the results that are guaranteed.
To be fair, some agencies surely offer quality guaranteed placement services, and as I mentioned earlier, some authors love these services. It all comes down to being careful as to exactly what you are asking for, and what you are promised.
Additionally, guaranteed publicity services represent but one element of a book marketing campaign. In fact, these services are not “campaigns.” A book publicity campaign includes a multi-tiered plan designed to secure coverage in all types of media. A true campaign is a fluid, evolving process. Media response is gauged. Pitches are adjusted. Different approaches are used for different media. A campaign is comprehensive, carefully designed, and rolled out in a logical, sequential pattern.
At Smith Publicity, we stand on our track record. We don’t guarantee results, but we guarantee we will do everything we say we will. We do guarantee that if you don’t market your book somehow, no one will ever know about your book!
Because results are guaranteed, this doesn’t mean you are guaranteed success. On the other hand, paying money, sometimes a lot of money for publicity services, and being guaranteed nothing can be a very scary proposition. It’s a risk some authors just aren’t willing to take.
As with any investment of money, do your homework and due diligence. Look closely at what an agency says it will do, or what it guarantees. Look for testimonials. Track records. Get references.
I guarantee if you fully understand exactly what a publicity firm will do for you, and what it won’t do, and what it has done for other authors, you will understand the risks and be more confident and comfortable with your decision.
Smith Publicity Announces Joint Venture with JaneScott Brand Catalysts
JaneScott and Smith Publicity are combining their expertise to help authors bring their brand and content to life.
JaneScott draws upon over 40 years of founders Scott Watrous and Jane Ashley’s experience to teach authors about marketplaces, trends, and strategic positioning of a book. JaneScott offers:
• Concept and strategy
• Writing and editing
• Design and formatting
• Print-ready digital files, epub and kindle formatting
• Distribution and sales strategy
• Website and brand identity to support the book and your business
• Book Agenting
• Customized book publicity campaign options designed and executed by Smith Publicity
JaneScott’s “Write & Publish Your Authentic Book” program offers you the opportunity to work closely with top pros in the publishing business. Scott Watrous has published 3,000 books during his career as Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Simon and Schuster and Random House, including New York Times best-selling author Kris Carr. Jane Ashley’s background as a psychotherapist, combined with her experiences with Art Direction and Book Design at Globe Pequot Press (GPP), offers authors a unique set of skills. JaneScott utilizes powerful coaching and transformational method, specifically designed to bring the best book possible from their clients’ creative energy and vision.
With this new partnership, authors have a publishing partner and publicity team working together from conception through marketing.
For more information visit://www.janescottbrandcatalysts.com/HighPriestess/.
Visit Smith Publicity at Upcoming Book Industry Events
The Smith team will be at four different industry trade shows this fall including:
The Collingswood Book Fair, Collingswood, NJ, October 5
PubWest, Santa Fe, NM, November 7-9
Self-Publishing Book Expo, New York City, NY, November 9
Miami Book Expo, Miami, FL, November 22-24
Sign up to make and appointment. Visit us for a free consultation to discuss your work and goals!