The Publishing Process: Marketing Part 2- The Marketing Coordinator
As mentioned previously, marketing your book is one of the hardest parts of being a successful author. If you choose to self-publish, you do a lot of the work that a major publisher would normally do for you. However, many self-publishers do have a marketing department, and while they will not do the work for you, they are to guide you and help you get a good sense of what to do to get your book out there. But like everything else, you need to be careful and trust the person assigned to you.
What A Coordinator Does
In a traditional publisher, a coordinator would act more like an agent- they work a campaign, set up book signings, publicity events, and other promotional methods (which we will get into in future entries). A marketing coordinator in self-publishing works on a smaller scale- they will require payment, and do not set up events, but educate you in ways to promote yourself. I personally learned about online methods, like Twitter and Facebook to promote my book, and got help in finding different venues to promote my work. And even though my time with the coordinator was temporary, it gave me the tools I needed to continue to market the work without her.
However, this experience came about as a result of my time with a previous coordinator. I bring this up because while there are many coordinators that will work hard to help you develop a campaign and be informative, others will not be as helpful. My only bad experience in my self-publishing came when I was first assigned a coordinator. The person I was assigned outlined three different campaigns, which contained events like a trip to Pitchfest (an event designed to allow writers to pitch ideas to Hollywood), a small team working to promote the book online and various other options that sounded profitable. However, all of the packages quoted to me were well out of my price range, and I was seriously considering working on my own. However, I spoke to my previous editor, who agreed with me on the high prices and looked in this particular coordinator. She learned that he was working outside of the US, and had been instructed to get clients to spend as much money as possible. She instructed me on how to request a change, and specifically how to get an American agent, which allowed me to get similar services at a far better price.
While this story might paint my publisher in a bad light, I tell it to illustrate two points. One, that even the best publisher in the world can have bad people working for them, who simply want to make money and move up. The second, is that no matter how your work gets out, you have to be on the lookout and decide if what you are being offered is truly in the best interest of your book, or is just a scheme. One further point, is one of the earliest lessons I learned about marketing your first book- that it is your first book. Someone established might have a book campaign that takes them all over the country, promoting in different areas and venues, because they have that large fanbase. When you start, you have nothing, and if you self-publish, you need to use your funds wisely. Don’t look to immediately do the biggest, farthest reaching campaign that will exhaust your funds to reach an audience that doesn’t know you (especially with social media allowing you to reach out around the world). In the beginning, work locally and around you, reaching out to institutions that would be glad to have a local author come in. If you can build a strong audience around you, then it can spread out and your next book will already have a receptive audience.
Getting someone to help you with marketing is a valuable step, and with the proper precautions can be well worth the money. You need to know what can be done to market the book, and the best process to set up to maximize your avenues. But just like you did with your publisher, get a good feel for your coordinator. Make sure you can really use what they offer and that you can afford to get it. And don’t be afraid to ask for someone else if you aren’t getting it. And above all else, be sure to remember that no one retires off their first book, and throwing money around to promote to foreign audiences is just throwing money around, especially in today’s high tech world. But we’ll get into that more next time.