What's YOUR Brand? Writer Publicist Dana Kaye Explains

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Promotion can be the most daunting and confusing part of the publishing process. From building a website, to navigating social media, to booking events, there are many facets that make up a successful book promotion campaign. But where do you start? Dana Kaye, owner of Kaye Publicity and author of Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales, sheds light on the process.

This interview is with Dana Kaye, owner of Kaye Publicity, Inc. and author of Your Book, Your Brand: The Step-By-Step Guide to Launching Your Book and Boosting Your Sales. Known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends, she frequently speaks on the topics of social media, branding, and publishing trends, and teaches online courses at KayePublicity.teachable.com.

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This interview was conducted by literary agent Babara Poelle. You can follow Barbara on Twitter @Bpoelle.

What is the role of a book publicist? What can authors expect from their book publicist?

A publicist’s primary role is to secure media coverage for our clients. This entails sending advance copies to book critics and bloggers, pitching radio and TV shows, and scheduling events. In-house publicists usually stick to these responsibilities, but as outside publicists, we have expanded our scope to include social media marketing, content marketing, and advertising opportunities. I try to take an active role in all aspects of the promotion process, whether that’s pitching media or making sure our authors don’t say anything stupid on Twitter.

What are some common missteps authors make when it comes to promoting their books?

The first is not keeping their eyes on their own paper. Authors are too focused on what other authors are doing rather than focusing on what’s best for them. Another is being so consumed in the promotion process that they forget to write. There’s no point in promoting your first book if there’s not going to be a second.

[Want to land an agent? Here are 4 things to consider when researching literary agents.]

What was your motivation for writing Your Book, Your Brand?

Over the past few years, I’ve taught workshops and given talks around the country, and a common thing I noticed was how many misconceptions there were about what it takes to effectively publicize a book. Very few authors understand how publicity works, they receive little guidance from their publishers, and with so much misinformation out there, it’s easy for them to feel confused and overwhelmed. I wrote Your Book, Your Brand to empower authors around the world with the tools they need to effectively launch their book and boost their sales.

Is branding important for aspiring, yet-to-be-published authors?

If you write nonfiction, then definitely. Nonfiction books are sold almost entirely on platform. If you don’t already have an engaged, captive audience for your book, either online or through your professional affiliations, then it will be very hard to secure a book contract.

For fiction, it’s a bit different. Most novels are sold based on the quality of the work alone, and while having an established brand is definitely a plus, it’s not necessary. That being said, once the book is sold, the branding discussion isn’t too far in the future. Having a clear understanding of who you are as an author and what you write could help inform your query letter, social media presence, and future promotion discussions with your publisher.

Obviously, there’s a lot that goes into a promotional campaign, but if authors were going to do just one thing to aid in the promotion of their book, what would it be?

All authors need to have their online house in order. This may be cheating, because there are many components to this, but all authors need to have their websites, social media platforms, Goodreads pages, and Amazon author pages claimed and up to date. Even if they don’t actively use them, there should still be all the relevant information about them and their books.

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Brian A. Klems is the editor of this blog, online editor of Writer's Digest and author of the popular gift bookOh Boy, You're Having a Girl: A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

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