Monday, October 13, 2014

Using PR and Advertising to Grow Your Writing Career, Part 1

If you’re looking to develop or redevelop your public relations (PR) and advertising activities for your writing career, it’s good to first differentiate between the two sets of activities and then take time to consider how each will benefit your career.

Before doing so, however, you do want to think about two things: 1) how you will brand yourself and 2) who you are trying to reach because without knowing these two things, developing PR and advertising activities won’t connect with your career goals and with those (your audience) who will help your career grow.


PR image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Let’s build a relationship for the long haul.
PR often has a long-term goal in mind. You are attempting to build a relationship with your public so that they become loyal to you, so that they begin to trust you. In building that long-term relationship and the loyalty and trust, your public ultimately comes on board to buy your product, support your causes, etc.

Once you know how you’re trying to pitch yourself as a writer and you know who you’re trying to pitch to (your audience), there are several activities you can pursue to build your audience and strengthen your relationship with that audience.

Some of those activities include
  • building and developing a Website, a blog, and a social media presence;
  • creating a strong media kit with information that caters to both your fans and the media (contact info, full bio, headshots, upcoming appearances, product info, endorsements [for you and for your product], and goodies for your fans);
  • writing strong press releases detailing news related to your writing career (news and feature releases);
  • seeking reviews and press for your work;
  • finding causes and topics and trends in your work that can be repackaged into articles that build awareness of your work to your audience;
  • having giveaways;
  • building relationships with other authors and pursuing guest blogging experiences; and
  • developing book tours both online and offline.

Activities such as these will define who you are and give both the media and potential fans the ability to learn about you, your work, and decide whether they want to hop on your train and build a long-lasting relationship with you.

Tomorrow, I'll be back to talk about advertising!


What PR activities have been successful in your writing career? Share them below!


Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator, whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.

14 comments :

  1. Good advice, Shonell, but every time I hear the word 'branding' I think of the TV show starring Chuck Conners: 'Branded ... marked with a coward's shame ... what do you do when you're branded, and you know you're a man." Maybe that's why I have trouble with my 'brand'.

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  2. It's easier for a company to "brand" themselves, and nonfiction writers. For fiction writers, it is more about picking a specific genre (i.e. built-in audience base) and finding ways to connect to readers who love that genre. Cute kittens and puppies on the cover don't hurt. : )

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    1. I'd buy a book with a cute kitten and puppy on the cover in a heartbeat. LOL

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  3. Good thoughts. I'm about to release my next book (I think it's #14), and am planning an on-line launch party, since there's nowhere else to hold it given where I live. I was thinking about swag, and decided to go with my logo/name as a brand rather than have to reinvent promotional materials for every new release. I've got pens, notepads, and post-its on order, which I figure will work as handouts just about anywhere.

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    1. Congrats on your next release, Terry, that's awesome. I'm liking the swag you're going to use!

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  4. I agree with Diana about it being easier for a company or a non-fiction writer to brand themselves than it is for fiction, especially for those of us who don't stick to one genre. I've tried, but these other stories keep popping up and won't go away. Like the one I am working on now. It's very different from anything else I've written, but the story and central character are pushing me along.

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    1. I think as fiction writers, we often get stuck on thinking about the GENRE when we could be focusing instead on the THEMES and TOPICS and IDEAS that we tend to weave through our stories. Sure, it would be hard to have one succinct brand when you write in multiple genres, as I know we all do, but I think most writers, no matter the genres they write in, tend to delve into similar universal themes through the course of several works and could use those instead to build their platform upon.

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    2. Because I write in different genres, at least in the traditional sense, I like the idea of themes. For example, every book I have written or intend to write has a family theme. Is this too broad? Perhaps, but it's a starting place to find a more unique one. Interesting post, Shon.

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  5. Great post. I posted it on one of my loops. I'm a terrible self-promoter. There's a fine line between promoting and overkill. There are writers I'd probably never read because of their deluge of promos. Lately, a few places have come to me, which is really great.

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    1. Thank you, Polly, for the post! :-) And you're right about overkill. I tend to see that a lot on social media spaces, especially Facebook.

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  6. I am late to the party, but hope not to late to comment! Great post and I have a question regarding something you mentioned in the comments section, Shon. As a fiction writer you suggested to brand ourselves around themes, topics, and ideas. Would you be able to expand on that and give some examples?

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  7. Great post. I agonized over my "brand" until a reviewer described my cozies as having "feel good" humor and I decided that was the perfect way to describe my brand. I give short motivational speeches that are basically just funny stories about the writer's life. (If you don't mind speaking, local organizations are DYING for speakers and they buy books - I just sold 51 books at a ladies luncheon where I gave my standard 20 minute speech) And the majority of the buyers turn into raving fans. You can't beat that type of word of mouth promotion.. I also make my FB posts and blog posts entertaining hoping people will check out my humorous mysteries as well.

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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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