The definition of Public Relations in business is “Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between businesses and the public”
In the past my focus has been on book marketing, which did include how to reach potential readers with blogs, social media and as part of the writing community. Whilst this recycled series will revisit those platforms along the way it is an opportunity to focus on some key areas of our public profiles that might influence the public to buy our books.
The focus this time is on you.. the author.
Over the last four weeks I have shared the various elements which come together to create a professional public image as an author, intent on selling books as a business. For those of you who might have missed the posts or would like them all in one document I have created a pdf for the series. Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for a free copy.
Here are the links for the previous posts:
Author Profile Photograph: Part One
Author Biographies: Part Two
Getting Ready for the Red Carpet: Part Three
The Pros and Cons of Social Media; Part Four
For this final post I am going to explore another area, apart from readers, your online presence might impress, which might lead to an increased interest in your books and a different path for your future writing.
I started my publishing journey in 1998 with an agent for my first book, a memoir and health guide, Size Matters. He was amazing and went through my manuscript and picked up on a number of issues which I corrected. He then forwarded the finished MS to seven UK publishers.
The reaction was positive about the actual book, however their concern about me as an author was the reason for the rejection.
- I was unknown.
- I was already 46 years old and this might be my only book.
- I had no public presence in the media. This would make it challenging to get me appearances.
- It was non-fiction when the trend was for thrillers and romance.
- The conclusion I was not marketable and therefore unlikely to recoup their outlay.
This is when I made the decision to self-publish, first with Trafford Publishing in Canada, who in fact published Size Matters and then Just An Odd Job Girl, before we took the titles back in 2004 when we started Moyhill Publishing.
I took to heart the constructive criticism from the publishers and set out to get a better public profile.
- At the time of the launch of my own edition of Size Matters, I sent out press releases to local and national media and was interviewed for two local papers, a national and a UK national woman’s magazine.
- I held a book launch in Ireland which received some good publicity.
- I dropped copies of books off at radio stations in Spain and the UK which lead to six years as a radio presenter, two years as chat show host, newsreader and station director of an online television channel, and director of my own video production company.
- Prior to the advent of Amazon and the Ebook, I attended book fairs and fetes selling the print copies of the first four print books to establish a readership. Prior to Covid I still sold most of my books in print through fairs and events.
- Once WordPress, Facebook, Twitter were established, I set about building an online network to promote my books, and in the last seven years the books of other authors.
- At this point, the books I am writing are unlikely to be block busters, but I am quite keen on perhaps getting one of two of the books into either a television or film project. This may well be independent and funded by me, but I will certainly be looking to go the agent route first.
In Part Four I asked the question, is the time and effort of building a network on your blog and social media worth it? The answer is dependent on whether you wish to take your writing ambitions further. If like me you are an indie author and are hoping for a publishing deal with a mainstream house, then it is an absolute YES. In fact it is essential.
Here are some of the reasons why.
What is likely to be one of the first things an agent or publisher is going to do when your submission crosses their desk? – And it may not be reading your manuscript!
When they put your name in the search box… what will be the first references to you and your online presence they will see?
This is the search I put in recently just to illustrate how every blog post, tweet, guest interview you have done, Goodreads account, reviews about your book you have shared on social media, your Amazon account and profile etc are stored somewhere and when you Google your name add ‘author’ so that you don’t get too many other same name connections. The more presence you have the better when you are approaching an agent or publisher with your book… make that presence count.
I have been branding Smorgasbord Blog Magazine for the last 11 years and you will notice all my blog posts have Smorgasbord in the title… and if the post is by me it has my name on it too. Every post you write for your blog needs to have that identifier on it and this now includes my Soundcloud account.
And if you have already published a book or books the agent or publisher will be checking out your Amazon Author Page and looking for some clues as to how your book might perform if they publish it.
- How many reviews have you received on your home site?
- What are the readers saying about your books?
- What genres are your books and are they in line with the market trends?
- Do you already have a professional profile they can work with?
- Do you have an updated and professional profile?
- How many reviews do you have from the international community?
- Do you review books to support other authors? (This is usually reciprocated and it also may lead to help in marketing your books)
- Do you interact by sharing your blog feed?
They will also check your social media…
- Is there anything in your personal interactions online which might work against you when being marketed?
- How many followers do you have who might be potential buyers of your book?
- Do you actively market your own books on FB and also in groups?
- Are you active on this platform and how many followers do you have?
- Do you already actively market your current books?
- Have you tweeted anything which might be detrimental to a marketing campaign?
- Do you use the tools to market your books such as a pinned tweet?
Having checked you out… how much more likely are they to read your manuscript and follow up on it?
To be honest having been in businesses over the years, requiring a marketable public image, I would be disappointed if any competitive and established publisher, did not do their due diligence on any author they are considering signing.
The number of print and ebooks hitting the market each week is approximately 20,000 just on Amazon. Marketing budgets are not what they used to be and there is great deal to be gained from having an already established client. If they sign you as an author, they need to know they are hitting the deck running with the groundwork in place.
Other options than a book deal
If you already have books, particularly a series that would make a great film or television series, or children’s books which would lend themselves to animation, there are opportunities to consider. Knowing the right agents to approach is important as you could spend precious time finding them.
Also like me, I am sure you are inundated with publishers who say they are interested in your books and offering their services. For most their offering usually comes with a price tag.
May I suggest you make an investment in an invaluable publishing bible if you have not done so before… I have six copies on my shelves, all a few years apart. The new updated 2023 edition is likely to be available in July 2023 in Kindle and is worth every penny of the cover price.
About the yearbook.
The 2022 edition (I will be picking up my 2023 edition soon) of the bestselling guide to all you need to know about how to get published, is packed full of advice, inspiration and practical information. The Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook has been guiding writers and illustrators on the best way to present their work, how to navigate the world of publishing and ways to improve their chances of success, for over 110 years.
It is equally relevant for writers of novels and non-fiction, poems and scripts and for those writing for children, YA and adults and covers works in print, digital and audio formats. If you want to find a literary or illustration agent or publisher, would like to self-publish or crowdfund your creative idea then this Yearbook will help you. As well as sections on publishers and agents, newspapers and magazines, illustration and photography, theatre and screen, there is a wealth of detail on the legal and financial aspects of being a writer or illustrator.
Articles in the 2022 Edition:
Peter James Becoming a bestselling author: my writing story
Femi Kayode Shelf space: a debut writer’s journey to claim his place
Sam Missingham Building your author brand
Jonathan Myerson Audio dramatist or novelist?
Ed Needham Setting up and editing a new magazine
Ingrid Persaud The winning touch: the impact of winning an award
Cathy Rentzenbrink Reading as a writer
Sallyanne Sweeney What a debut novelist should expect from an agent
David Wightman Getting books to market: how books are sold
Jonathan and Louise Ford Managing your finances: a guide for writers
I hope that this has given you some food for thought…and see you at the Oscars!!!
©Sally Cronin 2023
About Sally Cronin
Sally Cronin is the author of sixteen books including her memoir Size Matters: Especially when you weigh 330lb, first published in 2001. This has been followed by another fifteen books both fiction and non-fiction including multi-genre collections of short stories and poetry.
As an author she understands how important it is to have support in marketing books and offers a number of FREE promotional opportunities on her blog and across her social media. The Smorgasbord Bookshelf
Her podcast shares book reviews, poetry and short stories Sally Cronin Soundcloud
After leading a nomadic existence exploring the world, she now lives with her husband on the coast of Southern Ireland enjoying the seasonal fluctuations in the temperature of the rain.
Thanks for dropping in today and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask… Sally.