Thursday, July 11, 2013

Marketing and Publicity

What's the difference between "marketing" and "publicity"?

This can be confusing. Am I marketing my book? Or am I publicizing it?

To differentiate the two, let's go back to basics. Marketing your book is two-fold. First of all, it means figuring out who and what your audience is. In other words, you need to define your audience. Who is going to read this book; why would it appeal to them; and how do I reach them? The second part of marketing is coming up with a plan to sell your book to those readers and to sell books as fast as you can.

Your marketing plan is something you think about long before you finish writing the book. As you write, you can jot down notes in a marketing notebook. 

This is not to say you don't think about publicity as you write. Publicity, however, means getting your book (and you) mentioned in as many media forms and as often as possible. Newspaper, book reviews, TV, radio, church bulletins, blogs, ezines, websites, alumni magazines, and so on.

Marketing and publicity are words that are sometimes used interchangeably. And, of course, when you publicize your book and yourself, you're marketing your book. But if you can try to keep the basics in mind when you're using the two words, you'll understand more of what your publisher's marketing person is saying to you.

And speaking of the marketing department, you can't depend on them (or her/him) to do all of your marketing. You need to be prepared to do it yourself. So, develop your own marketing plan and media/VIP contact list.

Helen Ginger
is an author, blogger, and the Coordinator of Story Circle Network's Editorial Services and writing coach. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops. You can follow Helen on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn. Helen is the author of 3 books in TSTC Publishing’s TechCareers series, Angel Sometimes, and two of her short stories can be found in the anthology, The Corner Cafe. Her next book, Dismembering the Past, is due out in 2013.


  1. Publicity is part of promotion, which is one of the 4 P's of marketing:


    I'd encourage writers to get Product right first - a well-written, well-edited book with a professional cover that clearly fits within a known genre or market segment.

    Look at price and place (your responsibility will vary depending on whether you are trade or self published).

    Develop and implement your marketing plan. Then you can focus on publicity, as outlined in your plan.

    1. Having a plan is really essential. Thank you Iola.

  2. Ideally, marketing and publicity will go hand in hand to increase book sales. This, of course, entails the creation of a master plan, which should be in place at the outset of the writing process.

    1. I agree, Linda. Creating that master plan is often overlooked.

  3. Geez, Helen ... did you just give me an assignment?

    1. Yes, Christopher, I did. Have you finished it yet?

  4. There are two chances of that happening, Helen ... and I think you know them both: Slim and None ... and you know Slim just left town.

  5. Great to hear this distinction again, Helen, since the two have differing goals. Thanks!


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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