Monday, July 19, 2021

Traditional Publishing and Getting More Marketing Help

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Authors may complain that publishers don’t do enough, but traditional publishers really want to come alongside their authors to help with marketing. It needs to be a team effort. The biggest key to success is communication. For authors, that means to connect with the publicist or marketing department and let them know about your promotional activities. 

Pre-release Efforts
Before publication be sure to connect. I find many of my publishers want my input on the back cover copy and catalogue copy. Some lift phrases from the proposal (yes, the proposal is a great marketing tool and editors know that). I saw this in my first book release a few decades ago for a puppetry book titled Finger puppet Mania. In the hook I mentioned teachers could let their fingers do the teaching. In huge letters across the back cover they printed, “Let your fingers do the teaching with finger puppets.” 

I always ask if we can have a pre-release marketing call. Those are great to share ideas and hear what the publisher will do. They first focus on the ad copy for catalogues and any places where they will place an ad. If I know I’ll get an article placed and can get a free ad in the magazine I ask if they will design the ad and have always received an affirmative response. 

This is the time to ask for help and bargain for what is do-able. When I’ve mentioned I’d like bookmarks and share how I’ll use them, I find some publishers will design and print the bookmark and others with smaller budgets will design the bookmark and send me the copy so I can get it printed.

My publishers have all sent copies to media when I send a list, especially with media outlets who have already agreed to book me as a guest. One publisher was so pleased when I scheduled several TV and radio shows that the publisher hired a publicist. 

I always send the link to any online connection to the shows and articles. That includes sending the social media links of the station when they advertise that I will be on and the actual feed of the show whether it is on the station’s website or put up on social media. My publishers post on their social media about my activities and share those links.

For a recent book as my publisher watched my marketing start weeks before the release with guest blog posts and podcasts guest spots, they chose my book to be the center of a fund raising campaign. They have a branch of international missions and anyone who gave a donation received a copy of the book. That was a great way to spread news of the book.

Grace Fox appreciates her first publisher, Harvest House, who sent her on a media tour, and her current one (Rose Publishing/Aspire Press) who garnered media interviews for her. Many publishers set up media interviews.

Big Helps
Sometimes we are blessed with special opportunities. Years ago, Harper Collins flew my daughter (co-author) and me to a big library event in Texas and also set up for me to speak to librarians on a group call to share about the book. These opportunities are special, but they do happen to authors.

Recently a publisher asked my daughter and I to share crafts on video plus patterns for an online event that will also promote out upcoming craft book release. They discussed other ways they will use the promo materials we created.

On Going Efforts
No matter how long ago a book was published if it is still in print, I look for promotional opportunities. For one book that released a decade ago I recently met a podcast host whose focus is on the topic of the book. She does not have guests but reads entries from books she likes. She read from the book and plans to use ore devotions from that book. I sent the link to my publisher who is thrilled to see I am still promoting the book. I’ve done a new release with the publisher and they are considering other proposals from me. My persistence in marketing adds weight to their decision and is part of why they have continued to contract books with me.

Publishers also have ongoing efforts. They develop email lists, send newsletters, provide review copies of books for authors attending trade shows, create and send posters and other materials for events, and develop a blog where they schedule authors to be guest bloggers.

Appreciate Their Efforts
I browsed a sale catalogue from a distributor recently and noticed a one line ad for my book that released a few months ago. That’s smaller than ads the month of release but it’s great they continue to advertise the book. So, I emailed my editor to say I was happy to see it. I want to express thanks that they continue to invest money in promoting the book. When I see ads, I also mention that on my social media to show appreciation.

Marketing is tough for both authors and publishers and we all want the book to succeed, so keep that team spirit in mind. 


Karen Whiting (WWW.KARENWHITING.COM) is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-seven books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table reflects her passion for bread and growing up helping at her grandparent’s restaurant. Check out her newest book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. It's full of heartwarming and teary eyed stories of moms.

Karen has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than eight hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Crosswalk. Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting Pinterest KarenWhiting FB KarenHWhiting