It is daunting to publish a first book, as I discovered this year. So much effort goes in to writing, finding a publisher, revising and polishing, you can overlook how to get the book to the people you want reading it. Book publicist Dana Kaye has done newbies a favor by sharing her expertise in “Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-by-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales.”
The book does just as its title promises—guides the writer through the basics of marketing communications. She covers topics such as creating and establishing an author brand, communicating with traditional and online media, how to pitch your book and how to create a press release. Kaye addresses social media and provides handy data on using appropriate platforms to reach specific audiences. I appreciated her discussion on the pros and cons of Facebook author profiles versus pages as an effective marketing tool amongst the other questions I have pondered.
A fellow writer recently told me to say “Yes!” to every opportunity, just after I had said no to an out-of-state literary festival. I feel less guilty now that I read Kaye advising me “to scrutinize each opportunity and avoid the temptation to say yes to every speaking invitation that comes to you.” She gives practical advice on how to assess the value of bookstore readings—who do you know in the town? Is it worth it? Being clear on audience and purpose are key. Maybe you won’t sell books immediately in some venues, but you may build name recognition. Conferences, live-lit events, book festivals, trade shows, literary salons and networking functions all provide different opportunities.
While geared toward popular and trade titles, writers of poetry or literary small-press productions could also benefit from “Your Book, Your Brand.” It contains a clear, well-organized road map for new writers and seasoned writers looking to individualize their campaigns now that publishers’ in-house publicists are spread thin. The best advice: “always write a good book…Write the book you need to write…if it isn’t high quality, readers won’t keep coming back.” (Toni Nealie)
Dana Kaye will speak at Wilmette Public Library, 1242 Wilmette Avenue, Wilmette on 10/26 at 7pm. Free and open to the public.
“Your Book, Your Brand”
By Dana Kaye
Diversion Books, 238 pages, $16.99
Toni Nealie is the Literary Editor of Newcity and the author of the essay collection “The Miles Between Me.” A Pushcart Prize nominee, her essays have appeared in Guernica Magazine, Rust Belt: Chicago, The Rumpus, The Offing, Essay Daily, Chicago Quarterly Review, Hobart, Entropy and elsewhere. She worked in magazine journalism, politics and PR in her native New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore and now edits, writes and teaches in Chicago. Find her at toninealie.com and on Twitter @tnealie. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.