Ministry marketing pioneer, social media expert and PR coach Pam Perry helps African American Christian authors garner publicity and leverage online strategies. A 20-year PR veteran, she is also the co-author of Synergy Energy: How to Use the Power of Partnerships to Market Your Book, Grow Your Business and Brand Your Ministry. For a free MP3 of What Every Author Should Know, go to Pam PerryPR.com. She's also the creator of the ChocolatePagesNetwork, a social network for Christian authors, and the Chocolate Pages Show at Blog talkradio. She offers free help at her blogsite MinistryMarketingSolutions.com with her monthly Ezine and teleclasses.
Those Golden Days of Publishing are Gone!
In the golden days, an author would secure a book deal through an agent, publish the book, go on tour escorted by the publicist or media escort - and if they scored enough publicity, they'd become a "best selling" author.
Or at the very least, the author's book sales would cover the tour, pay back the advance and make the publisher some money. Profit was the name of the game - and the system was working - until about 2005.
Suddenly bookstores, media properties and publishing houses began to crumble. The internet was the "game changer" and the traditional book publishing and promotion process have become ineffective.
Up until this point, the world wide web was for those techy-geeky folks and had no real impact on book sales. But now Amazon.com, print-on-demand, viral marketing messages, social media and powerful online communities have leveled the playing field.
Bookstores, agents, fat clunky press kits and publicists scoring traditional media are not the keys to an author's success anymore. There are tons of self-published or independent books that have made history - and surprised the publishing world. Like The Shack, a Christian novel by William P. Young was originally self-published in 2005. And as of February 2010, over seven million copies in print worldwide, spent seventy weeks holding the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list, and it continues to remain in the top ten to date.
The success of The Shack demonstrates what word-of-mouth and community networking can do for a self-published book, but more interestingly, the market strength of religious books in the United States, within and without the book publishing industry.
So let's compare old school and new school way of doing things:
Old School: Traditional hard and soft-cover books
New School: Digital books, ebooks, Kindles, iPad and other wireless reading devices are on the way!
Old School: Book tours
New School: Blog tours & webinars
Old School: Getting reviews in magazines and newspapers
New School: Getting reviews on Amazon and in book communities where readers hang out like Shelfari, Goodreads, Librarything.com, Rawsistaz and more
Old School: Web 1.0 (webmasters needed for HTML and complicated stuff)
New School: Web 2.0 (freedom - just a Blogger blog or WordPress.com blog) Two-way communication!
Old School: Mailing out ARCs, books and big press kits
New School: EPK(electronic press kits) and ebooks
Old School: Media Escort
New School: Virtual Assistant
Old School: Press releases emailed and mailed to media
New School: SEO press releases sent or using online media matching service like Pitch Rate or Reporter Connection
Old School: Printing, stamping and mailing newsletters to mailing list accumulated over the years
New School: Sending out eNewsletters & continual email marketing campaigns using autoresponders and broadcast emails
Old School: Creating & updating media lists
New School: Capturing emails of interested readers using an "opt-in" database program like AWeber
Old School: TV interviews
New School: Creating book trailers, viral videos and streaming LIVE online
Old School: Authors visiting reading groups and libraries
New School: Teleconferencing or streaming live to many groups at the same time from the comfort of your home via Skype or a bridge line
Old School: Postcard mailings to readers, bookstores and organizations
New School: Eblast postcard to thousands using email marketing services like Goodgirlbookclub, BlackGospelPromo, ChristianPRGroup or DetroitGospel
Old School: Radio Interviews
New School: Podcasts and internet radio shows (heard online or downloaded via itunes)
Old School: Magazine features
New School: Ezine Features
Old School: Writing a column in newspapers
New School: Syndicated articles submitted on article directories like Ezine using keywords and generating web traffic or writing a regular blog
Old School: Stigma that self-published books "didn't cut it" and that's why they're not with a major house
New School: Savvy self-published authors are doing it big, getting noticed, making money and living a successful career doing what they love - writing!
Old School: Generating publicity in media outlets and getting no immediate input from audiences
New School: Building relationships, getting direct response from readers and creating communities online
Old School: Getting radio, TV, Newspaper and magazine reviews
New School: Creating thousands of followers, friends and fans online who interact with you and are connected with you through your whole career.