In my last article I explained the process I underwent in writing my book and getting it published without compromising for the benefit of others. Now, with publication so close, it makes sense to explain some of the ways in which I had to consider marketing it. This is just as important as the book itself as you want to try to make your work as successful as possible and the avenues, in this age of the internet, are numerous. There are two major areas to consider: marketing and PR. While many may think these are one in the same there is a marked difference between the two which is the reason I also drafted in some experts onto my 'team' to help me in these endeavours.
So, let's break it down. What is marketing? The Charted Institute of Marketing defines it as "the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably." It's a little dry but the essentials are covered. When it came to my book the first thing I needed to find was a target audience because I wanted to sell the product to someone. This involved the use of market research to see what people were spending on, when, and where. Then, I had to work out if my book was suited to the results of this research. It was and therefore my marketing could get under way.
PR (public relations), meanwhile, is about gaining coverage in the media aimed at the audience that you have already assessed as your market. For example, if you have a book aimed at teenagers, you'd be wasting your time having an ad in the Telegraph. PR is about maximising your reputation by making everyone involved with the book as happy and excited about it as possible. This means your audience will want to buy it and your publisher and other stakeholders can make money out of those sales.
Almost all marketing happens months and months before the book reaches the public's attention, so remember that your campaign starts as soon as you know your book has what it takes to make a (hopefully profitable) impact.
Once the audience was identified (and it is worth remembering that we have marketing campaigns aimed at different audiences, too) my tram and I needed to ensure that we reached them in their comfort zone - we needed to bring the book to them, not make them look for it. This is where our advertising comes in. If we are looking at a slightly more mature generation, we go for magazines, radio shows and newspapers that reflect their reading and listening habits. Given that we're in the 21st Century, we'll also need websites, which will provide further information for those who seek it. By giving someone the opportunity to find out more, it makes the product more interesting and it also increases the likelihood of them telling a few of their friends.
If you're looking at the younger generation, social media, and the internet in general, should be a big part of your campaign. Every major brand has a Facebook page, and it seems almost every teenager and adult in the Western World has one. That's a hell of a lot of people who are a few clicks away from you at any time. Add Twitter and Tumblr to the social media ranks, plus YouTube, Pinterest and Flickr, and there is something to entice audiences of all different tastes.
So, how do we properly engage our audience? The first thing to know is that having a million Facebook likes for any page by no means guarantees a million sales. Far from it. So, from day one, never assume that being "Facebook popular" (insert any social media name there, if you will) makes you "real-world popular". The goal here is not to chase Likes or Followers with spam, but to ensure that the Likes and Followers you have are being repaid for their attention, and that they spread the word. For example, Flickr and Pinterest run primarily on photos; Twitter, on short statements. If you have a YouTube channel, and you're selling a book - post a video of the author reading an extract. Upload the book's cover to Flickr. Do a Q&A on Twitter, and bring all those links together on Facebook. Suddenly you have an audience that is being treated as individual humans that are excitable and inquisitive, not mindless data-absorbing machines.
If you can bring your social media strategy into your marketing campaign with hashtags and bit.ly's (shortened URLs) in your poster campaigns or radio interviews, you're giving the maximum number of people access to your product with maximum, instantaneous efficiency. This is basically "Marketing 101" in a nutshell, but it works! And remember, if your marketing campaign is engaging and exciting, your PR stance will increase, too.
So although different, marketing and PR work very much hand in glove and you ignore either at your peril. Only time will tell if my plans yield the interest and sales that I hope they will but I have found the whole process extremely enlightening and an experience that I am sure will stand me in good stead for any future venture.
Pam Warren's new book - "From Behind the Mask" - Coming 4 March 2014 - The inspiring true story.
Pam's new book 'From Behind the Mask' will be released in March and tells the story of Pam's experience before, during and since the Paddington train crash.