Book Marketing: A Publisher’s Role and Responsibilities

Amplifying the Author’s Voice via Broad Digital Distribution, Direct Marketing, and Social Media

By David Parker, Publisher and Co-Founder

Allow me to begin with a somewhat provocative statement: In marketing any individual book, the publisher’s responsibility is to provide a platform from which the author can market their title. The publisher does not market a book so much as amplify the voice of the author. We provide our authors a platform from which to build a relationship with readers, faculty, and libraries. The obvious exception to this view is in the case of authors who enjoy an existing reputation in their respective academic fields, or who enjoy broader popularity, such as famous actors, politicians, or athletes. This is fundamentally so because the reader does not have a relationship with the publisher of the book but, rather, with the book itself. Pause for a moment and reflect on the five or so books that have had the deepest impact on you. You can recall the title, the author, but can you list off the publishers?

Often, publishers are asked by prospective authors about the marketing plans and approach that will support their books at publication, and then respond with a laundry list of actions that will follow the book’s launch. These actions are, in fact, not marketing so much as the necessary introduction of a new title to the mechanisms of digital content distribution. At Lived Places Publishing we are deeply committed to empowering our authors and in presenting each new work to the world through a variety of digital channels and platforms. Our digital distribution and marketing program for each new title includes three key elements:

  1. Launch via social media and the Lived Places website,
  2. Broad digital distribution into key channels to include: Consumer, professional, corporate, and academic and,
  3. Selected faculty-direct marketing.

Launch Via Social Media and the Lived Places Website

As each new book is signed, we immediately add the new title to our website with a fully designed cover image and a “coming soon” for publication date. This entry is inclusive of critical descriptive data, including a short description and keywords derived from the book proposal. We regularly post across social media platforms and we are certain to announce each author’s new, forthcoming title. But the fullest power of social media is realized when an author announces to the world the purpose of their book via a detailed blog post that the Lived Places team can amplify from our website. Here is an example from our Education Studies collection editor Janise Hurtig: In Search of Education’s Hidden Protagonists

Once this blog post is live, the author and the Lived Places team can extract short segments, quotes, and key phrases for posting in social media platforms like LinkedInTwitter, Instagram, and Facebook. And the author can use this blog post across other web presences, such as faculty pages, personal websites, and even include in shared bios in support of the many digital spaces and places each of us occupy. The critical point is that Lived Places Publishing offers each author a platform from which to introduce the world to their perspective, reason for writing, and reason for caring about the topic; in other words, to begin building a relationship with readers in support of their book.

Broad Digital Distribution into Key Channels: Retail, Professional, and Academic

Without question the majority of online book sales flow through Amazon. But how many authors are aware of the more than 50 digital distribution partners reaching more than 100 countries addressing unique markets, such as university libraries, public libraries, corporate digital bookshelves, and more? A primary reason for choosing a publisher is access to these many digital distribution channels. At Lived Places Publishing, we ensure that authors’ titles are broadly available in digital distribution:

Selected Faculty-Direct Marketing

The Lived Places distribution model is conventional in regard to the digital sales channels described above. Our unique focus on university-direct library collection sales sets us apart from the field. We are deeply committed to affordable access and supporting open access publishing and electronic inter-library loan. We achieve these objectives by offering libraries our entire annual publishing output as a collection of titles for a single price with perpetual ownership. This collection is offered without digital rights management usage restrictions, unlimited access and, for an additional fee, a single user digital loan right per ebook in the collection.

In order to increase awareness of the Lived Places library collection offering, and to increase awareness of our commitment to affordable course reading content, we regularly promote titles from our collection to faculty. This marketing takes the form of selected titles presented via email campaigns to faculty in specific disciplines aligned to specific titles we have published. For example, Lived Places Publishing introduces a new title in the Queer and LGBT+ Studies Collection that examines the intersection of gender identity and sports. We would then market this new title via email and social media to faculty teaching in gender studies programs, sports marketing programs, and, of course, Queer and LGBT+ Studies programs. Our objective is to connect content to faculty and then encourage faculty to advocate with the library in support of specific books available in our institution-friendly, affordable collection.

This summarizes our approach to marketing the books we publish. We provide our authors a platform from which to build a relationship with readers, faculty, and libraries. We use social media channels to amplify our authors’ writing, blogging, and posting. And we are forever expanding distribution of our books through the many digital sales channels that reach different consuming groups.

To submit a proposal and pitch to become a Lived Places author, please see our Call for Authors.

If you would like to talk to someone about what a proposal might look like for you, please contact our collection editors to talk about your ideas:

If you have an idea for a collection, your collection does not yet have an editor, or you want to speak to us about anything else, please contact the Publisher here.

IMAGE CREDIT: Cristian Dina, used under the Pexels License


Written by: David

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