As important as book marketing and promotion is, building relationships is even more important. In fact, it’s really part of marketing and promotion—the most important part. In marketing textbooks, it’s usually mentioned as “networking,” but the word “networking” can obscure the real meaning behind relationship building.
We all know what building relationships is. The thing is, with the advent of the Net, the possibilities for relationships are so much greater than they were. Relationships have become—if not a more important part of a good promotion campaign—at least more widespread. “Social networking” is the new term for some of that relationship building and I don’t neglect that concept in the new edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter (www.budurl.com/FrugalBkPromo ). Having said that, the basic concepts and tools of public relations with an emphasis on building relationships are still the drivers behind promoting with any kind of marketing including using new media.
Marketing and all it encompasses (PR, branding, promotion, building relationships, and more!) works. But it works incrementally better when relationships are built and maintained.
You may well ask, “How do I do that?” Fair question, but unneeded. You’ve been doing it all your life so you know how. Parents. Friends. Teachers. The trouble is, too many writers don’t put that knowhow to work when they go to promote their books. In order to do that “maintenance part,” you will need to keep up your contact lists. But when you think about it, you’ve been keeping lists all your life, too. Think “holiday greeting card list” and you about have it.
Until we get into the habit of applying “relationships” to everything we do, it might help to make yourself a little sign and paste it to your computer. It should say something like “Relationships First.”
That sign will also remind you to apply relationships to every aspect of your marketing campaign. That means encouraging interaction. Maintaining your voice. Using humor. Keeping in contact. Writing thank you notes. Sending birthday and/or holiday wishes. But especially in trying to be as helpful as possible to those who are helping you.
So you make relationship building an integral part of:
You blog or blogs.
Your social networks.
Your contact list building process.
Your everyday e-mail correspondence.
Your online launch campaign.
Your book signings at bookstores.
Your book reviews.
Your interactions with editors and bloggers.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .