On 12 September I went to a SCBWI-BO Professional Series talk by three publicists from major publishers about promotion.
They answered the following questions and told us: publicists are event planners, pitchers and do social media. What is the difference between marketing and publicity? Marketing is advertising and selling, and can overlap with social media. Publicitiy is free and marketing is paid for eg marketing is things like posters and flyers. Publicity is putting them out there. The publicity is done three months before publication of a book.
When they read books, they look at them with the view of commercialism, sales and lists. They read them from reader and publicist views.
And they do Google you as an author, to see what you look like.
What does the publicity plan look like? The basic plan for majority of books is on review makings, social media angle. Then work out what to do as a separate book. There is a template, then look at parts they can expand on. This includes the AI sheet (author information) and its selling point.
How much has changed for their online work? 2/3 was but now 4-5 jobs each. Digital now as well as other tasks. They say that parents' views on books are more important than nationa reviews. It is good that authors be digital and will work on them.
How much is plan, how much luck? Need people to know name of book and author. They constantly feed info to sales. Build a brand. Orion is a career publisher and will keep with you. Building awareness of author. Be opportunistic. Orion lets authors plan school visits themselves. Said that sales from Amazon ranks went up after radio talk. Focus towards sales.
There is a new age range called 'New Adult' which is for 16-26.
Top 5 things to do on a budget: Social media. Start local, inc bookshop, press. Short stories to give as free ebooks from well-known authors based on characters or settings they have written about. (I later said this is a good idea). Make friends with local librarian. Pitch at local festivals. Talk to people who think like journalists. Think of what they went and not want to talk about. Be honest in what you talk about. Exploit what makes your book unique. Events - word of mouth.Go to Edinburgh and see what events are like for authors who write like you. Be true to what you do.
What can authors do to be more helpful to you? Online. Have niche and work on that. Think how you can sell yourself. How book is different. Your backstory. Talk to people. Don't be afraid to talk about what you do.
Trailers - there are some good and bad. Now not so many because was too many at one time. Works better for picture books. Series ones are better than stand-alones. Bloomsbury has a Youtube and FB page.
Sock puppets were mentioned (writers who review their own books under another id):Best to be honest. If their author did it, they'd tell them to stop. Be yourself and know to be so if you're published, then check with publisher before hand.
Group blogs - depends on author but interesting idea.Push the blogs to readers and they point out blogs. Group tours - Good idea. Cautious about cost. Good for Skype events. Google hangout - look ]at where other authors live.
Pay for festivals - Bloomsbury pay for travel and accommodation. If it is outside of publicists range then the organsiser has to pay. Authors have to give a compelling reason to want to do it. If author has book late in, then still send pdf of it and can still go. But if you don't want to do it, then publicists can say no for you.
So there you have it. That is what publicists do and the difference between marketing and publicity.