The Author Ingredient: How Writers Add Marketing Power

November 2004
by Linda Carlson

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Looking for ways to improve your marketing? Look at your authors. A savvy, hard-working author can be the crown jewel of your marketing program: a valuable and cost-effective extension of your publicity efforts.

Both publishers and authors probably expect author appearances to be part of the publicity campaign. Publishers may also have factored back-of-the-room sales arranged by an author into anticipated sales. But there is so much more the author can do, especially if the publisher provides appropriate support and reassurance.

If you’re a publisher who’d like to make the best possible use of your authors, here’s what I’d recommend. These suggestions are based on my experience since 1981 as an author of nonfiction, as a self-publisher, and as a marketing consultant to publishers.

Ask your authors to compile mailing lists. Authors who have conducted interviews for their books are likely to have the names of dozens of people who should be contacted–either by you or by them, since people who have developed personal relationships with the author may prefer to buy directly, especially if the books are inscribed.

When I attended company-town reunions for my Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest (University of Washington Press, 2003), I circulated a sign-up sheet asking for attendees’ contact information. When the book was published, I wrote each person on the list, offering the book at a slight discount…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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