I was sitting at my computer for a good long while trying to figure out what I wanted to write about this week. And I came up with nothing.
All the editors that I'm waiting to hear back from are still in the "waiting" box (which is a box that lives in my mind and also in a Word document), I'm still super psyched for Thanksgiving, I'm still working away trying to read lots of editor revisions.
But then I came up with a brilliant way to keep myself from thinking too hard and hopefully provide some great insights for you. Tom! You may or may not remember, but Tom is one of my new roommates and he works in the marketing department of NYU Press. Given that Dan was talking about the some of the social media and self-promotion he's involved in when I interviewed him on his pub day, and that this is something that is becoming more and more relevant for authors today, I figured what could be better than banging on the next bedroom door and getting some insider information?
Have you met Tom?
First off, can you tell me a little bit about what you do at NYU Press?
I'm the Marketing Associate/Exhibits Coordinator/Awards Coordinator. I have a few different hats. I manage all of our awards submissions for each season, as well as booking conferences, designing promotional materials, organizing receptions, and other related conference-related details. On the marketing side of things, I help develop marketing plans for each of our books, create promotional materials for authors, and act as a liaison between authors and the various members of the press.
Do you think its important for authors to take marketing and publicity into their own hands in addition to what is done for them by their publisher? Why?
Yes, definitely. While we're absolutely here to help, if you're a ruthless self promoter in every regard your book will only become more widely recognized. One of our authors, for example, hand mailed over 1,200 postcards for her book. The more ways you can get your work out there, the better!
What are some essential things that you think authors should do in terms of marketing themselves/their works?
Kind of related to the postcard story above is the idea of promoting yourself wherever you go. Authors regularly ask for materials for various conferences and other events that they're going to, which is really key. Having your book on display (if possible) is one thing, but having something to show people that you're talking to is awesome too. We develop postcards and flyers (with discount codes and order info), so potential customers can easily get back to our website and order from there if they'd like to.
What is the best way to spread the word about yourself and your book online?
Facebook, Twitter, and blogging platforms! If you have a fairly large social media following, there's almost nothing more direct than reaching out to people via whatever platform is best for you. Blogging is great, too. We have a press blog on our website which our authors regularly contribute pieces to, many of which tie into their books or related subject matter. It's a really quick and easy way to get your name and your work out there, especially if something you write gets widely shared.
How useful is it to use programs like Google Analytics or to know about SEO when being involved in social media to promote your book?
I think that both of those are great assets to have regardless (I need to brush up on it myself...), but not entirely necessary. When it comes to social media, it's more a question of eye catching and concise as opposed to certain buzzwords. Getting your book to come up in search results, however, is an entirely different game which I am not very familiar with.
There you have it. If you can think of any other questions you wish I had asked Tom, let me know in the comments section and I'll corner him in the kitchen and ask!
Also, Jane Friedman has a great post about marketing and publicity on her blog that you should check out, too. And please, please, please check out my +1 More Thing post on Google+ this week. It's worth it.