There’s a big misconception that the literary industry is struggling to stay afloat. However, book publishers know that the opposite is true. Book readership remains steady in the United States, and publishers are continuously reporting greater profits each quarter. So, why the misconception?
Though profits are up for the Big Six publishing houses, the same cannot be said for small-time publishers, self-publishing printers, and self-published authors. Part of this dissonance can be attributed to the fact that the publishing world is an oligopoly – few companies control the majority of the industry. However, that doesn’t mean smaller publishers are doomed: with the right marketing tactics, publishing houses big and small can reinvigorate their sales and literary communities. Let’s discuss how.
Social Media Savviness
You already know the basics of a strategic marketing plan: hitting target demographics, pushing out promotional items, speaking like your readership, etc. Implementing a strong social media strategy can take these things to the next level.
For starters, the majority of the literary industry – including both authors and booksellers – can be found on Twitter. Publishers that haven’t yet utilized Twitter to promote their books to their readership are falling behind because the literary conversation has largely shifted to the microblogging site. Additionally, sites like Facebook can help you target local audiences for your authors’ books, and Instagram is a key site to build a literary aesthetic for your readers. We’ll get to what that means later; for now, start taking notes on what other publishers are doing on social media, and start drafting content to be a part of the conversation.
Do you ever visit the website of a publishing press or literary journal, and the site looks like it was designed in 2004? Part of the reason publishers don’t always stay afloat is that they haven’t kept up with the times – their web UX is poor, their links are broken, their content is outdated, and their website simply doesn’t appeal to any readership. An effective marketing tactic starts at home base, revamping your site with SEO-friendly messaging, great graphic design, and a blog to showcase your participation in the literary conversation.
Your readers read books because they like books. That sounds like an obvious statement to make, but in reality, it’s important to remember that book readers are book lovers – most people don’t read for pleasure unless they’ve made time for it since reading is a much more active pastime than other forms of entertainment.
We say this because a book lover’s bibliophilia is your greatest asset. On social media, on your web blogs, in your emails, and even in your book launches, encourage conversation – get people to talk about your books. Discussions can range from the literary and philosophical – How do you feel about this character’s struggle? What is this object a symbol of? – to the fun and creative – How would you have built this author’s world instead? Do you want the protagonist’s magical powers?
When you encourage conversation, you push your readers to share your book with those who haven’t read it. Additionally, you end up encouraging them to talk about the book on social media and other web pages, which helps push your books to new readership!
Start a Consistent Newsletter
The role of the book marketer is an interesting one. Yes, you want to push books, but because new books only come out periodically, the focus of marketing is to build and maintain a community. Your relationship to your readers defines how they perceive your books and authors; a newsletter is the best way to foster these relations. By discussing new publications, the success of your authors, developments in the literary world, and anything else you can connect to your readers, you can make your company more successful and sustainable
Build a Literary Aesthetic
Literature is an intellectual experience, coaxing us to create and imagine complex worlds and characters. It’s also an entertaining experience – something the reader can lose themselves in. As such, your marketing should focus on creating an aesthetic.
You can do this in a few ways. Your branding design should be elegant, intelligent, artistic, and accessible, and this design should be tailored to the genre of your audience. This design should then be implemented everywhere: your logo, your email headers, your Instagram posts, your book covers, etc. When you create an experience that’s both artistic and literary, your readers will come to associate your publishing house with a certain aesthetic that can’t be reproduced, which boosts your brand identity.
The publishing industry sits at a unique crossroads of community development and literary salesmanship. If you’re struggling to make your marketing plan work for your company, we can make it sparkle. From book cover design to company rebranding, article writing, SEO, and everything in between learn more about what Summit Collaborations can do for book publishers and independent authors, and let’s connect today.