Thursday, July 30, 2009

Will a publisher do the book marketing for me?

I often receive emails from aspiring authors who want to know if they can find a publisher who will do all their marketing (or most of it) for them. Sometimes the author isn't confident they can promote their book; sometimes it's a matter of the author having no money to invest in their marketing endeavors. Getting a book published is only half the battle, and authors need to recognize that and prepare for the other half--marketing their books.

In my experience, and from everything I've read and heard from publishers, agents and other authors, there is no such 'free' ride. Authors must be willing to promote their books if they want them to sell. Publishers nowadays only want to take a risk on new authors who are enthused about marketing their books. In fact, they often ask you upfront, before they sign you, what your marketing plans are. And you have to have some. It's that simple.

Most publishers do little marketing beyond their initial catalogues, industry notices, ads in magazines or newspapers--unless you're a big-name author. It's really up to authors to get the word out. Your publisher might print some promotional material for you--posters, bookmarks or business cards. Most authors pay for their own expenses during book tours, including travel, lodging and meals. The distributors have sales teams who go into bookstores to try to sell books to the store owner/manager. Sales teams often don't do much for authors who don't promote their books. Why should they when they have other authors out there busting their butts to sell books? :-)

An author in today's world--who wants to be successful and actually make some money back to pay for their marketing endeavors--must be proactive.

The five musts that every author should have:

  1. a professional author's site with domain name and no free hosting
  2. a blog that's updated at least once a week
  3. Facebook account and knowledge in how to use it properly
  4. MySpace account and knowledge in how to use it properly
  5. Twitter account and knowledge in how to use it properly
Those are the basics in today's marketing. Nothing is free. It takes hard, dedicated persistence to make a book successful. The meaning of success can vary from person to person. I look at success in two levels--basic level: lots of readers who love the book and enough sales to pay for the $5000+ it costs to market a book efficiently; and advanced level of success: major traditional publishing contracts, great distribution, and major bestselling status, which all equals money I could live on.

What I've described above is the real world of publishing. It's a tough industry to break into because the competition is HUGE! You're competing against billions of authors. If you want your book to sell and be successful, you have to be part of the marketing--a huge part.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author & book marketing coach
http://www.shamelessbookpromoter.com
http://www.cherylktardif.com

1 comment:

ptbertram said...

I still don't know how to use Twitter effectively, though I post tweets a couple of times a day. And Myspace? Haven't a clue. I post a blog, sent bulletins occasionally, have tried to do "events" but their new event program crashes my computer. So much to learn!