I recently bought a copy of Online Marketing for Busy Authors: a step-by-step guide (Australian & New Zealand edition) from Major Street Publishing. The book is written by Fauzia Burke, the founder and president of FSB Associates, and while her name didn't ring any bells with me whatsoever, I was interested to see what was put forward in this ANZ edition.
I've met thousands of authors over the 27 years I've been in the publishing industry and many of them are lucky to be published by some of the larger publishing houses. But there is also a downside to that if you want to have more control over your own communications to your readers and the way you build your brand in the longer term. And with those that self-publish or publish with small to medium presses, this book will serve them well. In fact, it is designed for them.
Online Marketing for Busy Authors is a basic step-by-step guide, which is practical and informative for newcomers to the book marketing field. Personally I would have liked a bit more detail and a tad more depth, but I'm not the audience! I was keen to see a copy so I could recommend it for those the book HAS been published for - busy authors and newcomers to publishing who know little to nothing about the online marketing world.
Many authors struggle with branding, communications and marketing in today's online world. They know how to write but they don't know how to market. This is the perfect introduction for them and gives them checklists and tips to make them really think about what they want to achieve in their publishing career - and not just five minutes down the track.
The first chapter deals with branding, which I think is a good place to start. It provides questions for authors to help identify their brand. And from there it goes into strategic planning, identifying your reader, and how to "get real with your goals". I thought the chapters on "Your Priority List" and "Building Your Website" were good overviews but would have liked to see more detail. Again, I'm not the audience! The latter chapters on "Blogging, Podcasting and Videos", "Social Media and Social Networking", and "DIY Online Book Publicity" are very practical and provide some good bulletpoints to review and assess.
This is an easy-to-read summary for busy authors and it's the type of book that publishers should all have on hand to give to their new authors. Whether they are large or small presses, I think this book is excellent for author engagement and marketing planning. For the smaller presses in particular, I think it would work really well as part of an overall "author care" approach. Give your authors a copy of the book and get talking about online marketing and managing expectations. We all want a post to go viral but it's very rare. Let's get practical. Let's be honest. And while we are at it, let's have a frank conversation about what's really possible in the online world. This book is an excellent place to start....
Online Marketing for Busy Authors is published by Major Street Publishing and distributed by Woodslane. Pub Date: October 2017 | Paperback | 192 pages | AU$29.95
A number of months ago a good publishing friend - a director of an Australian press - told me I should have kept freelancing as more and more publishers need to call on experience and expertise, particularly in sales | marketing | distribution | operations - which is what I've essentially done for 27 years! With budgets getting tighter and tighter, and headcount always a bone of contention, having someone to provide the suite of services I do "on demand" was attractive because 1) financially the model makes sense (an hourly rate, 14 day account) 2) publishers, vendors and distributors know they can outsource tasks and projects to someone who knows what they are doing and 3) I had a great reputation in the marketplace for listening to what clients - and customers - wanted and delivering a professional service.
I thought about this for a while. The business had been very successful when I originally set it up and I had been regretting letting it dwindle, particularly in the past 12 months, while I worked full-time for a previous client. Once I went full-time, it was exhausting trying to do both for the first year or so but there was something attractive about freelance | contract | consulting work that appealed to me and I was beginning to miss the variety, the clients and the work. And then when not one, but two restructures (!) hit me, I knew it was time to go back.
Many publishers, booksellers, libraries, specialist resellers, authors, academics and professional associations know me and have worked with me in a variety of roles over the years I've been in the book trade. I'm probably most known for my work as publisher relations & marketing communications manager at James Bennett (a Baker & Taylor company), where I worked for 11 years. I had an amazing time there working not only on the library supply chain (primarily with academic publishers and digital vendors) but also on the wholesale/distribution side of Inbooks, which reported to me and was in many ways my "baby". I covered everything "e" and "p" and worked on some wonderful strategic projects with publishers. From distribution to marketing, ops and sales, I had a blast - getting to know publishers locally and internationally, from the small to the large, and distributors and vendors as far as the eye could see. It was a heck of a lot of work, particularly when I took on marketing on top of everything else, but I thrived in that environment -- and learnt a lot in the process.
So what can I do for you? What can't I do would be an easier question! (The answer is mass market publicity --- there are publicity experts out there with well established media contacts for your high profile authors. Oh, and I'm not experienced in video editing but am currently working on it using the apps I have through my Adobe Creative Cloud subscription). We can start at the very beginning - Writing, Proofreading, Editing - the basics are ingrained! Design. Flyers, brochures, POS materials. I like being creative. Digital Marketing - social media, email campaigns - I output campaigns with ease. Campaign Management. I love it. And let's talk Sales. Whether it's sales management or key accounts or even targeted business development, I know a lot of people and have a good network to call on. I've sold - and marketed - digital products for years and in my most recent role called on accounts directly for print as well. Double whammy! Library supply. In my blood. Special accounts. I love servicing the specialist resellers. Websites. How can you not love them? Planning and preparation, content management, design, analytics. Fun stuff! Operations. I'm not too shabby at the serious, back-end stuff and know my way around Bookmaster after more than 20 years of using it (oh remember those green screens!). Distribution. It's a tricky one (see my old blog post). I'm not doing it myself but I have worked with publishers on researching the market, getting feedback from customers, and making the right call on who they should use. These days it's a hard reality but the UK and US wholesalers do a pretty good job at reaching the ANZ market and if you can't get a local distributor to take on your list, let's talk about how to best use who does sell books successfully to this market. Once you've got the supply chain set-up, let's talk about sales and marketing. And re-read this paragraph to see how I can help you.
And lastly, don't take it from me. Go to LinkedIn to see what others say about me including all my years as a publisher relations manager. There's some wonderful recommendations and endorsements there. Then when you are ready, contact me.
Rachael McDiarmid has been in the Australasian book trade since 1990. Working in trade, academic and professional publishing as well as library supply and book distribution, she's known for her no bullshit approach. This is her blog.