Today, we seek to answer a question many author’s pose: I’m published–now what? It turns out that getting yourself into print is only the first step. There are many ways of putting your novel in front of people; here’s just one: branding. I’ve asked Claire McKinney, of the PR firm by the same name, to share a bit about what she does and why “branding” matters. Welcome, Claire!
What we do:
Claire McKinneyPR, LLC is a full service public relations firm that creates and executes individualized campaigns for authors and books, thought leaders, CEOs, and spokespeople. We have over eighteen years of experience working with a wide range of people and projects though we do specialize in fiction and in non-fiction: health and wellness; popular science; business; public affairs; cooking; and history. Our philosophy is that there are no generic campaigns and that each project or person needs to be evaluated exclusively for what it/he/she can bring to the conversation.
What is it about branding these days? I will argue that before radio, TV, and now the internet, what you had to say was more important than what you represented or how the masses “felt” about you. I’m sure there were stars in their midst but without the power of satellites and jet planes, the number of people in your fan club was probably pretty small.
So enter radio and all of a sudden there are dozens of voices out there, perhaps talking about the same thing. Add TV and it’s not just what they are saying, but it’s how they look on screen. Add the internet and part of the game is about how many people can you entertain in 140 characters or less?
Recap: We used to be invested in the ideas and information we consumed because we had to DO something to get it, either actively listen or read it. Now, we are bombarded with hundreds of thousands of images and sound bites, our attention spans are limited and our loyalties shift rapidly.
Personal Anecdote: I once worked with an author who wrote a book about the rise of brands that was very controversial and sold a lot of copies. I guess it made sense that she would know all about branding herself, and she was super specific. There were some media outlets she absolutely had to do, as they related to her message and kept her close to her core audience. She had a uniform of jeans and short black boots with a blazer. And most importantly she did not go anywhere publicly without a professional blowout. In other words, she was her own brand. And it worked.
Richard Barrios, Oxford University Press (Dangerous Rhythm: Why Movie Musicals Matter)
Gretchen Archer, Henery Press (New book, Double Strike)
Jon Derek Croteau, Hazelden Publishing (Memoir)
Cathi Unsworth, House of Anansi (Mystery)