Guest Column: Unite Marketing and Publicity
In most publishing houses, marketing and publicity are separate departments. And they should be. Even though each is tasked with book promotion, their methods and responsibilities are actually quite different: Publicity reaches the consumer through the media, and marketing reaches the consumer directly. But just because they're different, it doesn't mean the two departments can't — or shouldn't — work closely together. In fact, in this ever-changing marketplace, they need to work together like never before.
One area where there's obvious need for close collaboration is social media. At Da Capo Press, where I work, the marketing department handles Facebook and Twitter. However, every time one of our books gets a great review in a major newspaper, or one of our authors is the subject of a major profile in a national magazine, the publicist sends the link to the marketing manager so that he or she can post and tweet it. And the same goes for links to audio interviews (NPR stations are particularly good about posting them) and video interviews (national network morning shows and most of the national cable shows post them pretty regularly, and most local affiliates are on board now, too).
Our marketing team also likes to use social media to alert people in advance so that they can tune in to a particular show to see or hear our authors. And they promote online video chats our authors do via platforms such as Shindig, Livestream and Google Hangout, and text chats via Facebook and Twitter that are hosted by women's magazines and other media outlets with strong online communities.
Collaboration between marketing and publicity is also a natural when it comes to bookstore events — specifically, getting the word out about them. Our marketing department tweets invites to all of the talks and readings we set up for our authors, be they at bookstores, libraries, museums or festivals. And they post the event details on our Facebook page as well. They also create book cover blow-ups for the stores to use in window displays prior to the events. When they help in these ways, it frees the publicist up to focus on lining up local media interviews for the author while they're in town — preferably in advance of the event so that the author can plug the event on the air.