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Friday, 3 March 2017

Authors Are Marketers, Discuss...

There is no discussion required, in truth. Only if you are Stephen King, do you have no obligation to promote your book, but that won't have been the case in the 1970's when that best-selling author started out. First premise, no-one, (NO ONE!) outside your immediate social  circus circle could care less that you have written a novel. If anything, it's probably more difficult to market your deathless-prose nowadays with self-publishing and indie-publishing flooding the market with more books than anyone ever can read.

 Self-published books: marketing = author's responsibility
 Indie-published books: marketing = author's responsibility pretty much. Funds are limited in  these small companies. They need a "unicorn" just as much as a tech start-up does. That is unlikely to be your book. To tell the truth, the indie gang don't know which of their titles it's going to be, any more than one of the giants like Penguin/Random House does.
 Large Publishing House-published books: marketing = part of the deal struck, most likely, with the author's agent. The large publishing house deal used to include an advance if they were willing to take a risk on you. That's why it was so hard to get published. It must have taken a brave soul to risk 10,000 smackers of the publisher's money on a debut novelist. One would suppose that very few advances are paid outside of the Vlogger and Celebrity deals nowadays. I would think a story like Jo Rowling's (and it was no overnight success by the way) will become rarer and rarer in the future

However, it is easier to publish a book. Self-publishing can be done by anybody, and, cruel though it may be to say, whilst everyone probably does have a book inside them, in the vast majority of cases, that is probably where it should stay. In this vast flood of dross your book is bobbing about like a cork in the Atlantic. No matter how many tweets, hashtags, facebook posts, vimeo videos, or linkedin articles you post, that will probably remain the case.
Crowd-funding and indie publishing is also slightly easier. For a start there is a better than even chance that someone will eventually read a manuscript, this is the most fantastic fluke at somewhere like Little, Brown or Penguin/Random House. But the fact remains, that your indie-published book, however good it is, is no more than a slightly bigger cork and it's still in the ocean of books.


Tim Atkinson said...

It can be hard work to get that cork bobbing up a little higher than everyone else's, but... there are so many tried-and-tested tricks of the trade (partner promos, book bloggers, competitions etc. etc.) that I'm surprised more of the big boys (in publishing terms) don't use them more often. They could save a shed load on their marketing (of already well-established authors) and share a little bit of that pot out among the rest of us!

Ewan said...

Yes, I know. Having visited the Unbound operation, I think maybe it's a lack of manpower and resources; they're doing their best, I'm sure. They have quite a few titles published now... I was gutted when they did Steve Gerrard's (auto)-biography. That took a bit of their shine off, for me.