by Don Stevens, Merge Publishing —
I went to a library book signing for an author I published to show support. As we stacked her books on the table and surveyed the area and the crowd it occurred to me how many publishers do not join more authors to functions such as these. This is just one thing that differentiates small publishers to the big ones. It seems we care about the author, not about the bottom dollar.
Help with Marketing and PR
I’ve heard of stories of how publishers do not arrange book signings, or even discourage them, saying they’re a waste of time. Some of the things we do at Merge is arrange book signings, blog tours, podcasts, videos, and radio gigs. We also seek reviews and manage some marketing. We still encourage authors to find their own opportunities but we help in any way we can.
While it’s impossible to be there for every book signing, it is nice to pave the way and expect that book signings will happen for the author. Offer book signing materials such as pens, postcards, and bookmarks. To secure book signings, be prepared and create an attractive press kit, help the author with their platform, and maybe a little refresher for social media. Giving the author the tools he or she needs will foster a professional and successful relationship. Gone are the days of signing an author and crossing your fingers that their books will sell. Be active!
IBPA member Selene Castrovilla signed copies of her newest book, Melt, during BookExpo / BookCon 2015 in New York City. Her line went all the way around the corner!
Nourish the Author Ego
Look for ways to plug the author or their book via social media or in person. Get them inspired to write and help them keep motivated. If they’re blogging or creating awesome social posts, share them or comment. It will make them feel important. There’s nothing as disappointing as talking to an empty audience. Remember they’re writers and thrive on readers and fans.
Here are a few great (very shareable!) social media examples from Twitter:
Remember Birthdays or Special Occasions
Pay attention to a special occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary, or when your author might be under the weather. Send them a greeting card or call them. Show you care. Don’t just contact them when their deadline is approaching. Contacting them more frequently makes it easier if you have to make unpleasant business calls.
If you have many authors and think this is difficult advice to follow, remember that you are in the business of cultivating relationships. Authors are human and deserve to be treated as you would like to be. And happy authors makes for better business.
About the Author
Don Stevens is an experienced writer, marketer, and blogger as well as the President of Merge Publishing and Finger Lakes Copywriting.
Don Stevens, Merge Publishing
Don has helped authors reach their potential in the publishing business with Merge and help build their author website platform and press kit with Finger Lakes Copywriting. His experience with PR and marketing offers writers a chance to grow their audience.
Don currently resides in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, where he also reviews food and wine and is the author of the Finger Lakes Wine mysteries (coming 2015). Merge Publishing is currently seeking submissions for quality fiction in Mystery/Thriller, New Adult, and Romantic Suspense.