Welcome to the second day of publicity and marketing for Small Press 411. Let's dive right into the rest of the questions.
What kinds of things have your authors done on their own to market themselves?
Kaamna from Coliloquy: Authors have pulled out all the stops with their own fan bases or with their contacts. In terms of exposure, when it comes to rising above the noise, having the right connections is a very powerful tool. Further, in the social media world, a genuine voice is the most effective so we find its best when authors maintain their own online presences.
Cindy from SHC: We’ve found that signing tours can be super successful, as well as online blog tours and chats. Readers love to meet the authors, even if it’s just online.
Heather at EP: They have their own websites, swag, contests, etc. They attend conferences and do book signings. They interact with their fans which I think is the most important.
Jaime at EP: I agree like I said above fan interaction is key. And not just talking about their books. I know some authors are very private but when you see them on twitter or Facebook talking about TV shows they love or even other books you just want to join in on that conversation. But yeah the websites, contests and swag are really good too.
Do you expect your authors to consult with you if they decide to hold a publicity/marketing event on their own?
Kaamna from Coliloquy: We prefer that our authors coordinate with us, so that we can help publicize the event and foot the bill. :-)
Cindy from SHC: My authors have been very good about keeping me in the loop of any extra marketing they are doing and I’m happy about that. I think open communication is essential to the publicist-author relationship. I'm only one of the publicists across the whole company, but we all try to be aware of what's happening with our authors.
Heather at EP: I don’t expect them to consult with me, but if Entangled is involved in any way, I’d like to be involved with the marketing event. Even if they’re holding it on their own, I’d like to be an extra set of eyes and ears just in case.
Jaime at EP: Yeah, I’d like to know for sure if it’s an Entangled book. That way I can tweet and post on Facebook, etc. to let more people know.
Do you consider an author's platform during the editorial meeting before acquiring a manuscript?
Kaamna from Coliloquy: Quite honestly, we should, but I'm afraid our editorial team just can't help themselves when they fall in love with a book.
Cindy from Spencer Hill:
I’m sure an author’s online platform, whether existent or nonexistent, is discussed, but that detail alone wouldn’t make an editor choose or not choose to purchase a manuscript. At the end of the day, the most important thing is the quality of the writing and the story itself. Since it’s usually well over a year before a book is released, we can always work with an author to establish an online platform.
What would you say to writers who would hesitate to sign with a small press because of concerns about on marketing/publicity compared to larger publishing houses?
Kaamna from Coliloquy: You should absolutely be concerned about the marketing and publicity resources of a small publisher. We simply cannot compete with the big guys on certain types of marketing and PR campaigns. HOWEVER, we are also a tech-savvy, Silicon Valley-based company, so there are also types of marketing and PR campaigns where the big guys can't compete with US. For the author, it's a matter of intelligently evaluating your book and its PR needs. I'd also note that we are a very personal publisher -- our authors have direct lines to the entire staff whether it's a technical, editorial or marketing. Plus, we are super fun!
Cindy from Spencer Hill: I would tell any author to do their research. If you’ve been offered a publishing contract with a small press, be sure you truly read the contract. Then have someone else, preferably an attorney, read the contract as well. Talk to other authors who have been published with them. Find out if they are happy with the marketing they received. Whether you’re signing with a big press or a small press, or even an agent, you should always inform yourself before making a final decision.
Heather at EP: Keep in mind that it’s a personal preference, but from what I’ve seen, there’s more time put into marketing/publicity in our smaller press house than in a larger publishing house. There is more camaraderie between the author, publisher, editor, and publicists, (and agents) and it seems like more of a collaboration between all of us.
Jaime at EP: It is a personal preference but, I feel that we give our authors more one on one attention than the bigger houses can. I know for myself at least I make myself available practically 24/7! I think that we have become one great big family who loves our authors and supports them fully.
There you have it. Four points of view about the role of publicity and marketing at various small presses. What do you think the most interesting pieces of information were in the last two days? Anything else that you are still dying to know?