Publicity & Book Marketing are NOT the Same!

22 May

by Carly Willsie

Publisher, distributor, publicist, agent, marketing team, editor . . . The list of titles in the publishing world could go on for half a page. It may seem like there’s a small army of people working on your book, and many authors become understandably bewildered by the number of job titles involved. It can consequently be difficult to discern who does what tasks for your book.

Have you ever found yourself wondering what the difference between your marketing team and your publicity team is, and what roles they play in relation to your book? You’re not alone. One of the most commonly confused and misunderstood aspects is the distinction between a publisher’s marketing duties and a publicist’s.

The truth is that the duties of a marketing team and of a publicity team do often overlap. But, in essence, your publicity team is trying to get you and your book media and public appearances, while your marketing team is focused on making your book visible to your target audience via ad space, online efforts, etc.

A book publicist is going to be the one writing press releases day and night, soliciting media, scheduling your book tour, and creating promotional materials. Meanwhile, your marketer will be buying relevant ads for your book, optimizing your Amazon account, distributing your book trailer, spearheading your online marketing campaign, and more.

Agent Steve Laube points out that marketing is “all about creating multiple impressions,” while publicity is “all about meeting the author.” He warns authors against confusing the terminology, and getting angry at marketers for not doing things like setting up media interviews or organizing speaking engagements—things that aren’t in their core business.

Oftentimes, publicity will feel “more real” to the author since its results (ie: television and radio appearances) are higher profile while marketing is more behind the scenes but equally important.

As you move forward with your marketing efforts, be sure to ask the people you work with what, exactly, they do. Your book’s success is going to be inclusive; it will depend on you and your publisher, and all of the employees therein. Knowing what they’re expected to do will not only make you more empowered as an author, it will also allow you to harness your team effectively to make the best publishing experience—and book—possible.


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