Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Mighty Power of the Digital Promoters

All authors have now got the message that they need to “create a platform” for themselves. We understand that the bulk of the marketing burden for any book will lie on our shoulders until we are a big enough brand for the publishers to be able to justify on-going advertising or public relations budgets for us.

No one is ever going to give us or our careers as much thought and attention as we are - why would they? - so no one who wants to earn a living from their writing can hope to escape the responsibility of being their own marketing department on a day-to-day, year-on-year basis.

Having said that, when the big boys do wade in with some promotional help the power of their clout can be stunning.

This month Amazon put the price of “Secrets of the Italian Gardener” down to .99p in a promotion negotiated through their White Glove Service and the book went straight to number one on Kindle’s political books list. Whenever Wattpad puts “The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride” or “The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer” on their “featured” pages, the number of hits soars from hundreds to thousands per day.

The only individual authors who could hope to rival this sort of promotional power would be celebrities with millions of followers on Twitter, or people, like J.K. Rowling and E.L. James, who manage to become front page news stories.

Authors once longed for their books to be picked as Book of the Week on BBC Radio 4 or to be selected by their publisher for window displays in Waterstones, but the potential power of the great digital promoters now bestriding the globe makes such efforts seem quaintly parochial.

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