Author Questions: Distribution
Author Questions: Sell-through Data

Author Questions: Marketing & PR

Megaphone Yesterday I launched a new series of posts, each of which will feature a question (or set of questions) I feel authors should ask their editor/publisher.  The topic of yesterday's post was distribution and today I'm turning the spotlight to marketing and PR.

The key question every author should ask their editor/publisher is, "what sort of marketing/PR investment will be made for my book?"  The answer is likely to be something no author wants to hear.  These days, marketing is frequently limited to placement in the publisher's catalog and on their website as well as a product page on each online retailer's site.  Many titles benefit from e-mail blasts and other focused initiatives but few are promoted in major magazines and newspapers, for example.

Author platform is king.  If you're an author with an enormous mailing list, an extremely popular website/blog or someone who speaks in front of tens of thousands of people every year publishers will climb over each other to sign you to a project.

Most blockbusters are the result of author platform.  There are exceptions, of course.  William P. Young's book, The Shack, is the most notable recent example.  He was an unknown before The Shack and now has a huge platform thanks to the popularity of this excellent book.

You need to know if the publisher is assuming your platform is the key to your book's success. Ask your editor/publisher what tactics other authors with large platforms have used to drive sales for their books.  Better yet, see if any of those other authors might be willing to join forces with you.  The collective platform promoting all the books is likely to be more powerful than each platform promoting individual titles.

Comments

Michael A. Banks

This is all true enough (and I was delighted that a publisher was sending out several dozen galleys of a new book--unusual). But it should also be said that having a big platform is no guarantee of success.
--Mike

Jess H

Now THERE'S a question I love to avoid as an editor. It seems that we do more than some other publishers are able--we send out about a dozen galleys, we work with the authors to set up book signings, occasionally we get them on TV or radio shows if they're big enough names--but I don't think we're ever able to do as much as authors would like us to do. But it is a great point that authors who already have a big following should let the publisher know! I know of a book we published recently that has sold well above our expectations due to the number of hits the author gets on her website.

Great post... It's something I want to address in my own blog (http://bookpublishing.today.com).

Jess

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