As we move into a new year, with many exciting book launches planned, I’ve been thinking more and more about marketing and publicity.
You see, the hardest part of being a new, niche publisher that specializes in printing not-overly-commercial fiction by first-time authors is that, well, you’re up against a pair of obstacles: You, the publisher, have to build a reputation; and they, the authors, have to build a reputation. You don’t have a long-cherished readership to build on. You don’t have brand recognition. You’re clawing for every review, every sale.
It’s a challenge.
You can put out the best, most wonderfully written, well-designed, astonishingly beautifully-covered book in the world, and it does you no good if people don’t hear about it and pounce on it. Getting that book in front of people, in front of readers, is key – and that’s tough, when you’ve got one book on your list and you’re not a print publisher (yes, people are still very much discriminating against digital publishers).
So publicity and marketing are key.
I recently reread this article on O/R Books, where they state their philosophy on publicity – namely, that it should be primary. They spend virtually their entire budget on advertising.
I’d love to do that. I mean, the Strunk & White Impropers and I already work for free, basically, and the cover designers we work with are very generous with their time and talent. But there’s still costs associated with producing a top-quality book, and there’s still budgetary concerns. Candlemark & Gleam can’t sink $100k into publicizing a book, as much as I wish that were possible.
So it’s down to balancing affordability and effectiveness, and trying to come up with marketing and publicity campaigns that work, without costing an arm and a leg (we’ve gotta save up some money to move into print,y’know). O/R Books got onto TV, and into magazines. We don’t have the budget for that. We send out review copies to bloggers, and send authors out on blog tours and do giveaways. Beyond that, it’s wide open. Time to start making lists of magazines to advertise in, and places to get our name out…
So what do you think, cats and kittens? What would catch your eye in terms of advertising for a book? Where might be an unusual place for a book ad to turn up? Where might you pay attention? With a small budget, you’ve gotta be creative – fighting for top Google keywords is a losing battle, so where do you go?