Friday, July 19, 2013

You can shun the N-word and F-word, but should understand the important P-words in Publishing

Unless your eyes and ears have been closed, you are probably aware of the "N-word" and the "F-word" (sometimes referred to as the "F-bomb") and maybe even the "C-word."  

Book publishing involves several related and sometimes confusing or nearly synonymous “p” words.

Someone does promotion (which often includes public relations) to achieve publicity for a product.

  • Publicity is lots of people knowing about your book and hopefully buying copies and/or urging others to buy.
  • Promotion is all of the efforts intended to achieve publicity.
  • Although publicity is the end result of promotion, many people call themselves book publicists and relatively few call themselves book promoters. (Publicists used to be called "press agents").
  • The public must be receptive to and stimulated by promotion in order to be convinced to buy your books.

A publicist or promoter can guarantee to provide promotion, or public relations, but cannot guarantee that you or your book will achieve publicity. For book promotion to work, the promotion must stand out among many simultaneous promotions for other books (as well as movies, foods, vacations, sports teams, software, smartphones, stores, cars, banks, restaurants, cosmetics, websites, candidates, countries and maybe even wars). 

Despite its name, public relations is not directly concerned with relations with the public.

Media are intermediaries. Writers and their publicists hope to attract the attention of media people by sending out press releases, or by contacting journalists, editors, bloggers, talk show hosts, TV producers and movie makers.

Promotion includes more than public relations. It may include public appearances, publicity stunts and platform building.

Platform is a major buzzword in current publishing. It’s not the same as a political party’s platform. Think of it as a metaphor for a structure that will boost you up and make you visible to potential readers, sources of publicity and bookstore buyers. Components in your platform include websites, blogs, business connections, social media, radio and TV appearances, quotes in media, online men­tions, speeches, articles, friends, neighbors, etc. Your first book is part of your platform and should help sell your later books.

If you want to learn more about press releases, this inexpensive ebook will help:  

The One Buck Author's Press Release Book

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