Events and outreach: if you’re a new or prospective student of book publishing, chances are you’ve come across this term once or twice when looking into the program or researching the publishing industry in general. The term itself can be a bit vague, since it can encompass a lot of things. I didn’t know exactly what it was either when I first started at Ooligan. At the time, I knew it had something to do with a conference, and since I’m an avid convention goer, that was enough to hook me in. But once I started working with the team, I got a better sense of what it was, how important it was, and what it meant to be a part of it.
Authors are, in a sense, a business unto themselves. In a digital age when personal presence is what sells the book on social media, it is critical for authors to have a consistently branded page or account for users to follow and engage with. But this consistency, this need to post only certain tweets or pictures, might be considered the epitome of the “social media as a false reality” argument. Does having a consistent brand make someone inauthentic online?
Nonfiction sales have been on the rise as of late. As book publicists, we must embrace current market trends and learn how to use them to our advantage.
Big companies have the money to outsource photographers, and that’s great. It provides freelance photographers work and gives them a great source of income. Many smaller businesses, and especially publishers, do not have those kinds of resources. So we have to make do. But how?
Keeping a consistent brand, no matter how personal the account, is so important. People want to follow accounts that they can trust will post fairly similar art, because they like that art. You wouldn’t commission an artist who gave out a different-styled piece every time someone requested their services; in a similar way, people will not give you that follow if you remain inconsistent and unpredictable.
As a publicist, I am always curious about how much of an impact publicity actually has on a book’s success. So I decided to conduct a small experiment. For an entire week, I asked everyone I saw reading a book two questions: Where did you first hear about that book? And, why did you choose to read that one in particular?