Posts Tagged ‘publishing’


Branding and Marketing Lessons From Publishing a Book

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Branding and Marketing Lessons From Publishing a Book Lauren Skidmore BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas What is Hidden Public Relations PR Marketing Branding

Image posted with permission from Lauren Skidmore

by Lauren Skidmore*

You’ve written a book. Great! But that’s only the start of publishing. Even if you do public relations or marketing as a day job, marketing your own debut book can feel like shouting into a void, especially when you don’t have a built-in audience from a large publisher to do half of the work for you. My debut novel was released a month ago, but the work that went into marketing it began long before that. Here are three quick tips on how to jump start getting that book into the hands of readers.

Create an Online Presence

People need to be able to find you. The general recommendations are to pick two or three social media platforms to do, and then do them well. An author website is a must, even if it’s just a simple landing page – you can always expand it later, and you’ll be glad when you’ve claimed your domain name early.

Facebook and Twitter are also strongly recommended, but it also depends on which platforms your target demographic use. With a young adult fantasy novel, I split most of my time between Twitter and Tumblr because that’s where many of my readers are (and it’s where I have the most fun). I also use a Facebook page and my blog for big announcements so readers can always quickly find out what’s new with me.

Build an Audience

When I pitched my novel to potential publishers, one of the things they wanted to know was how many followers I already had online. As a hobby, I had a Tumblr with over 4,000 followers at the time – that’s 4,000 potential readers right there! Publishers don’t like to take risks, and if they see you already have thousands of potential buyers, that’s one more mark in your favor. Again, pick the place that works best for you. It doesn’t really matter whether you do this through blogging, Twitter, or elsewhere, just get that follower count high.

You also want to hold on to your audience, and newsletters are great for that. People can sign up and get updates right in their inboxes. I suggest only sending these newsletters when you have big announcements, such as a book release or promotions, and definitely no more than once a month so you don’t spam your readers. MailChimp and Constant Contact are two popular tools for creating your own newsletters, and if you’re under 2,000 subscribers, MailChimp is free!

Brand Yourself

What will people associate with your name as an author? For non-fiction writers, you should establish yourself as some sort of authority or expert in your field. You can write guest blog posts or maintain your own blog, participate in social media or forum discussions, or whatever you can think of to put your name out there.

For fiction writers, it’s a little different, although doing any of the above certainly won’t hurt. You’ll want to define your genre, as well as what you’re bringing that’s new. For example, my novel was essentially pitched to publishers as a Cinderella retelling in which Cinderella has to rescue the prince.

Genre? Fairy Tale Retelling. What’s different? Role reversal. My target audience knows right away if this was something they’d be interested in, as well as what makes it different from every other retelling.

The good news about doing all this early is that the groundwork will already be done when your release date is here, and you can hit the ground running on your next novel.  Because in the end, the best thing you can do is keep writing and keep releasing new material. Your books will begin to advertise for you as they take up more shelf space and loyal readers return to see what else you have in store.

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Lauren Skidmore author What is Hidden BurrellesLuce Broadcast Public Relations PR MarketingLauren Skidmore is the Broadcast Keyperson at BurrellesLuce by day and writes by night. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Teaching and double minors in Teaching English as a Second Language and Japanese. After graduating, she lived and taught in Japan for a year before returning to the United States where she spends far too much time on computers and the internet. What is Hidden is her first novel.

Murdoch’s bold new plan: News Corp announces split of Entertainment and Publishing

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

News Corp announced on Thursday that their board unanimously agreed on a plan to split its company’s entertainment division (which includes Fox News, 20th Century Fox, and Fox Networks) from the publishing division (which includes The Wall Street Journal, Harper Collins publishing, and The New York Post), reports The Economist. This comes as music to the ears of News Corp’s investors, who for years blamed the publishing arm for weighing down the entertainment division. (The entertainment division is responsible for 75 percent of the company’s profits.) Splitting the company in two is the “ultimate dream” of investors, says Michael Nathanson of Nomura, a stockbroker. News of the split sent News Corp’s stock up 10 percent.

This announcement and Rupert Murdoch’s “never say die” commitment to his beleaguered publishing arm come as little surprise to those of us who have followed the News Corp over the years. In a Thursday morning memo announcing the split to the News Corps employees, Murdoch made it very clear Family Guyto everyone that his long love affair with publishing is far from over, and even spoke optimistically about his portfolio of newspapers and publishing companies. “Our publishing businesses are greatly undervalued by the skeptics. Through this transformation we will unleash their real potential, and be able to better articulate the true value they hold for shareholders,” stated Murdoch.   

You have to admire the bold vision Murdoch unleashed for his new publishing entity, especially in the wake of the News of the World hacking scandal in the UK, and at a time when two of his newspapers – The New York Post and The London Times – are losing money, comments PaidContent.org. Even though newspapers may be on life support, they are still emitting a slight pulse. In The Economist article linked to earlier in this blog post, Jeff Logsdon of BMO Capital Markets added, “The newspaper business may not be growing, but it generates enough cash flow to sustain itself.”

Murdoch points to new global markets and platforms as major reasons for this publishing arms rejuvenation, with plans to accelerate growth into Australia and Latin America and citing the fact there are over 75 million tablets worldwide ready to receive information. “Our publishing company will deliver on the promise of a well-informed society as we aggressively grow our business across borders and new global platforms,” Murdoch is quoted as saying in this Wall Street Journal article.

While many remain a bit skeptical when it comes to publishing, especially newspapers, my colleague Johna Burke confirms in a recent Fresh Ideas post, Mobile Aids Growth of Traditional Media. She writes, “[…]unless you are seeing your coverage from ALL types of media, you won’t have an accurate representation of how your messages are playing out and influencing ALL of your audiences. […] a digital focus alone, that doesn’t include traditional media, is blindingly misleading and can be equated to looking at the Grand Canyon through a straw. Sure, it’s pretty, but you miss more than you see!” 

So, in 2012 one thing remains clear: content remains king and nobody knows that better than Mr. Murdoch.

2012 Social Media Trends from IABC DC Metro

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Even though we know digital and online media continues to change, IABC/DC Metro started 2012 with a chapter meeting tackling the latest Social Media Trends.

The panelists included:

Emerging Social Media Trends
Each panelist brought different industry point-of-view to the discussion. Radick took government. Horowitz gave the agency perspective, Steigman reviewed the small business view and Dunham brought insight from publishing and the media.

  1. Government Use: Radick dispelled the myth that the government is behind the curve, but he did see them stalling in advances for 2012 because it is an election year.
  2.  Internal Communications: Radick also thinks there will be more enterprise 2.0 or social media behind the firewall to internal audiences.
  3. Integrated Efforts: Both Radick and Horowitz confirmed they see more integration into all lines of communications.
  4. Influencers: They felt the days of the “social media guru” are dying fast. Horowitz said it’s time to look for persuaders or influencers who can help persuade others to your thinking or agenda.
  5. Small Business: Steigman sees social media platforms as a reliable ecosystem and wonders how they can be used to make it easier to reach customers. She suggested reading Phil Simon’s The Age of the Platform: How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google Have Redefined Business. She also feels it will be key for business to understand search and the data around it.  
  6. Digital Skills: Dunham is amazed by the use of tablets for tweeting, video, etc. Because many of his colleagues are not digitally inclined, he relies on interns to provide new ideas for using social media to drive more readers to their media properties.  

Social Media Best Practices for 2012
As with all social media discussions, some great best practices come out. Radick reminded us, “Don’t concentrate on social media tools, but concentrate on the principles behind them.

“When asked how to best measure social media, Horwoitz said, “You need to measure based on business goals, don’t measure on tactics.”  

For more helpful social media best practices, you can read Steigman’s highlights of the session on her blog.

What social media trends do you see for 2012? Please share them with the BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas readers.  

In PR and the Media: August 29, 2011

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Legislator Calls for Clarifying Copyright Law (NYT)
“When copyright law was revised in 1976, recording artists and songwriters were granted “termination rights,” which enable them to regain control of their work after 35 years. But with musicians and songwriters now moving to assert that control, the provision threatens to leave the four major record companies, which have made billions of dollars from such recordings and songs, out in the cold.”
New Economics Rewrite Book Business (WSJ)
“At least 80% of all books purchased are still physical copies, however, which means that publishers must still pay legacy costs at the same time as building their e-book business.”
Bloomberg to Snap Up BNA (WSJ)
“Bloomberg LP agreed to acquire legal-research firm BNA in a deal valued at about $990 million, a bold move in the financial information company’s evolving efforts to diversify its business.”
Stephen King Offers Early Access to ‘Mile 81’ for Power Klout Users (SocialTimes.com)
“Publishers Weekly notes that users of the “digital influence” tracking site Klout, with the requisite social media power, have a chance to download the story for free from any of the major ebook merchants. The free download started today according to King’s website.”

The Music Business Rocks On… Shrugging Off Internet Challenges From The Past

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010
Image Source: The Age.com.au

Image Source: The Age.com.au

Over the last 10 years the music business has resembled the “boy” in lyrics from any of the countless number of songs written over the years about “boy meets girl,” “boy loses girl,” and/or “boys falls back in love with girl.” The music industry has been in a tailspin since 1999 (coincidentally the same year Napster was spawned). The advent of peer-to-peer services caused massive music piracy and, with free music just a click away, proved to be the direct blow that would send CD sales plummeting and ultimately crippling a once very profitable industry.

However, the music business seems to have bottomed out and actually managed to grow over the last two years (the entire British music business grew 5 percent from 2008 -2009). One way it has managed this is by returning to its roots – live performances. When I attended my first concert, (Ozzie Osborne –  What was I thinking?), I had no idea at the time Mr. Osborne, for the most part, was touring as a way to market his new album. Although I would like to think the bands I saw back in the day were there because they truly enjoyed playing live (I’m sure some did), the concert was more of a live commercial to promote their new albums and get people to buy them.

These days’ bands are touring again to cash in on booming ticket sales (with top acts commanding over 100 dollars) and are laughing all the way to the bank as they play in front of sold out crowds. “Many of the acts selling out stadiums are old,” says Rob Hallet, the president of international touring at AEG Live. The top three American touring acts last year were U2 (average age: 49), Bruce Springsteen (61) and a double bill of Billy Joel (61) and Elton John (63). All have contributed to a surge in ticket prices – tripling from $1.5 billion in 1999 to $4.6 billion in 2009.  It’s not that more people are going to live performances, but rather paying more per ticket. According to Pollstar, a research firm that tracks the market, the average ticket price should be $35.30 today if they increased in line with inflation. Instead the average price of a ticket costs a whopping $62.57.

Bands not only are relying on live performances. They also are looking to alternative revenue streams to help mitigate the drop in CD sales, such as merchandising, sponsorships, online streaming and emerging markets. One area that is booming is publishing. Music’s best customer is television “Watch any evening’s worth of TV and count how many times you hear music in the background,” says Jeremy Lascellas, chief executive of Chrysalis.

If the music business could figure out a way to share a synergistic relationship with the Internet, other forms of media and entertainment can surely learn from their long strange trip. Although the music industry is relying less on CD sales and more on alternative revenue streams – one thing is certain: people continue to pay a premium for quality content regardless of whether it’s coming from a 3-D movie screen ($20 average price per ticket in New York) or Mick Jagger’s 67 year old vocal pipes.