Schedule time to market your work or pay the consequences
Committing to writing involves more than just working away at a new Word file. It also requires the commitment to promote and market the eventual work as well. This does not come naturally to everyone, but this dedication to help spread the word about the work is equally important as the content itself.
Whether it is a journal article, a monograph, a textbook, or some other form of academic communication, marketing is essential to the success of the material.
Many academic writers shy away from the responsibility of promoting their work. Frequent comments include: “Isn’t marketing the responsibility of the publisher?”, “Selling seems commercial or needy”, or “I want to participate in the marketplace of ideas, not be caught hawking my book to strangers.”
These are all off base. The author has a responsibility for marketing and promotion. Who knows the work more in-depth than the author? Who can speak to colleagues and customers in the field on such a complex topic better than the author?
A dedicated author will schedule time to write and hold themselves accountable for their writing goals. A successful writer will do the same, once the project is nearing completion, with goals for marketing and promoting the work.
Depending on the form of the project (for example, journal article versus book), there are many no cost/low cost ways for academic writers to participate in marketing that will help spread the word about their work:
- Send out interesting aspects or key points from the work via all your social media accounts. Do not simply say, ”buy my book.” Make the Tweets, etc. interesting. No social media accounts? Now is the time to start one. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and many others await and can prove very beneficial.
- For books, create a vibrant author page at Amazon. It’s easy and painless.
- Make sure you have a complete profile at Academia.edu, ResearchGate, and other academic social media sharing sites. Share or promote your work on all these sites. Connect with key leaders in the field.
- Have your institution issue a press release about the work and send it to local and national media, as well as in your specialty area.
- Keep your page at your academic site/department up-to-date. Some sample ideas to post instead of just a bibliographic listing and link are: key take away points from the work, or explain how you came to write the book/article.
- Solicit comments or reviews about the work from key media outlets or colleagues. Coordinate these with your publisher. Use these comments in your posts or marketing.
- Identify blogs where you can provide guest blog posts on the topic of your work.
- Create short videos related to your work. These are very easy to make using a smartphone. They are easy to post and have high value with users/readers. It is easier than you think.
- Create a website for your work using a simple URL to find the site, like BooksByJohnBond.com. Simple, personal websites are very easy to create. Providers like Squarespace, Wix, and many others have fast and easy templates. Most people – after a brief tutorial video – can be online with a personal website that showcases and links to all their work in a couple of hours or less.
- Talk, talk, talk. Speak at every opportunity you can. Show your cover. Give them the URL for your website.
- Become a member of Goodreads. It is a proven, broad avenue to post about your book.
Writers or academics simply want to create. Many do not want to sell. Most would, however, not want their work to land with a thud.
Schedule a couple of hours or so each week to participate in marketing and promotion as the work is accepted and being readied for publication. Doing this when the publication is new is the path to success.
John Bond is a publishing consultant at Riverwinds Consulting and the host of the YouTube channel “Publishing Defined.” He has been in scholarly publishing for 30 years. In his career, he has directed the publishing of over 500 book titles and 20,000 journal articles. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.