In an era in which book publishers and other traditional media sources are evaporating, it is more important than ever for writers to promote and market themselves in creative ways using social media.
That was the message delivered by Gary Grossman ’70, an Emerson Trustee, former television producer, journalist, and author of several crime thriller novels, most recently Executive Treason (Diversion Books, 2013) and Executive Command (Diversion Books, 2012), during a lecture in the Beard Room on October 22.
“They’re going to count on you to do the publicity and the marketing,” Grossman said of many book publishers today. “What will they do for you? Very little.”
With the decline of paperback and hardcover books, and the continuing closing of bookstores, Grossman said there are fewer opportunities for traditional promotional events for authors, such as book signings.
There is hope with the rise of self-publishing, he said. But that means writers need to learn how to market themselves.
“You need to figure out what your brand can be, how to manage a brand, and how to be distinctive,” Grossman said.
To help promote Executive Command, a fictional thriller about a terrorist attack on America’s vulnerable water resources, Grossman filmed a simple yet high-suspense book trailer that drew more than 66,000 views on YouTube.
In the two-minute video, a character named Kyle films himself talking to the camera as his siblings lay dying in a nearby bedroom because they were poisoned by drinking water. Sirens are heard blaring outside as Kyle coughs and appears pale.
“[The readers] will only see Kyle in two scenes but that is what comes through for them,” Grossman said. “The publisher had never seen a book trailer like that, and I was pretty happy.”
Grossman’s career has included stints producing for NBC News, CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox, PBS, and 36 cable networks.