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We can always use more information on how to market effectively. Good thing at Writer’s Digest we have an interview by award-winning author Kristen Harnisch with Caitlin Hamilton Summie, owner and founder of Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity. They discuss how marketing has changed and what are the best practices to get your marketing plan running effectively.
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New and established authors alike struggle with how to best market and publicize their books. In my interview with publicist Caitlin Hamilton Summie, we discuss the changing landscape of book promotion and how to get the most marketing and publicity bang for your buck.
Caitlin Hamilton Summie is the former Marketing Director of MacMurray & Beck and also of BlueHen Books/Penguin Putnam. At each company she also managed imprint profile and directed all publicity, hardcover & paperback. In addition, for nearly two years she simultaneously directed and handled sales nationwide for MacMurray & Beck. In 2003, she founded Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, an independent book publicity and Marketing firm. Hamilton Summie wrote book reviews for The Rocky Mountain News, author profiles for ABA’s Bookselling This Week, and has published both short stories and poems. She is a former independent bookseller who earned her degrees at Smith College and Colorado State University. Her first book, a collection of short stories called TO LAY TO REST OUR GHOSTS, is being published by Fomite in 2017. Find Caitlin online at caitlinhamiltonmarketing.com.
1. What changes have you seen in the marketing of books during your tenure as a publicist?
I’ve seen huge changes over the course of my career: the shrinking of book review pages, the rise of the Internet and Internet media, the development of the citizen (consumer) reviewer, and the creation of online engagement through social media. It has all vastly changed how we publicize and market books.
2. What do you see as your highest and best use as a publicist in today’s market?
I think the answer depends on what each author needs, but in general, for everyone, it is to create the kinds of publicity and marketing plans that help authors meet their goals. Do authors want sales, visibility, or both? A publicist should be a creative partner and guide for an author.
Before a writer contacts a publicist, I’d advise that he/she decide what his/her goals are and what expectations they have of a publicist.