In this second of three posts about her day at the Bookseller’s Marketing & Publicity conference, Cherry Potts of Arachne Press focuses on ‟brand”. In my own experience the b-word is always a vexed issue amongst publishers, with starkly divided views on whether any publisher (with the honourable exceptions of Penguin and Faber) can ever truly market themselves as a brand. About 15 years ago I struggled to gain agreement to programme a session on brands at a publishers' conference, such was the level of feeling that brand marketing just isn't what publishers do. I'm pleased to say that I've seen a big shift in this attitude over the years since, and Cherry's succinct post below highlights two aspects of brand marketing which publishers — particularly independent publishers — are becoming very smart at: (i) building affiliations with compatible or like-minded brands and (ii) supporting, growing and leveraging the author brand to maximum advantage. Here's what she has to report:
Natalie Ramm who has been working with Pushkin Press talking the power of brand partnerships impressed me. She had found a number of high profile brand partners for them, and for the price of quite a lot of free books, the cost of a pop-up shop, and her own (I’m sure not inconsiderable) fee, had gained huge reach and recognition, and made the money back in book sales. That’s the sort of publicist I want!
Author-led marketing: remember in my first post I said that everyone is more interested in the author than the book? Getting the author involved as much as possible was the theme of the day, whether by persuading them onto social media, channelling them to get an authentic voice for your marketing message, getting them out on book crawls, or being aware of how you as the publisher can work to create the author as a brand. Conversely make sure the author knows how you are pitching them.
In the final post of this series, next week, Cherry will be reporting back on review coverage and reviewers. Tune In then, because it’s a goodie ... Meanwhile a number of useful slide decks from some of the presentations made at the Bookseller's Marketing & Publicity Conference are available for download here.