Sunday, August 18, 2013

Floundering in Reality

I’ve been bookmarking articles and blogs about how to sell books, how to build a platform, and even found an authors’ marketing app. But then I came across a blog from BookMarketingBuzz, the title of which is “Why Do Authors Demand More Than They Deserve?”

The author of this piece, Brian Feinblum, (he’s chief marketing officer for a large book promotions firm) states that many authors simply aren’t being realistic in their expectations. He poses some really good questions authors should ask themselves, such as how good is your book compared with others, how unique is your viewpoint, is the timing right, and are you willing to pay handsomely for a good publicist? Keep in mind that Feinblum’s addressing traditionally published authors, however, self-publishers should be asking themselves these questions too.

Clearly, these are questions that few authors will be able to answer realistically. Feinblum also says that many authors start promoting too late, or do too little, or don’t know how (or perhaps can’t afford) to hire the right publicist. He points out that the media doesn’t help authors stay realistic when someone’s silly video propels them into stardom overnight, however he does put authors’ frequent dissatisfaction squarely on their shoulders.

So, here’s the thing: I could list links to good articles on marketing (some with conflicting opinions), but Feinblum’s blog makes me wonder if all the tips and articles in the world will help if authors refuse to face reality about our their books in the first place.

Yet, here’s another side of the coin. There are more than a handful of self-published genre authors (you can find some of them at the Writers’ Café on, who are doing just fine. Not all have fame and fortune yet, but their royalties are paying their bills and these folks are developing a following. They’re also writing a lot.

I’m trying to make sense of all the information I read each week, to put some perspective on the constant bombardment of diverse opinions and strategies about the road to fame and fortune. But at the end of the day, I think Joe Konrath was right when he once said, who the hell knows which books will become blockbusters and turn authors into household names? It’s still the biggest mystery in the publishing biz today.

1 comment:

Pat Bertram said...

I always appreciate your sharing what you learn about the book industry, and I especially appreciate your commentary on the matter. Despite new opportunities, it's a difficult business and probably always was, since it's true -- no one can predict what books will become blockbusters.