My Wiley colleague Jason Marcuson was kind enough to send me a link to M.J. Rose’s blog, Buzz, Balls & Hype. M.J. is a talented writer and an outspoken critic of the publishing industry. We need more passionate authors like M.J. to help get publishing out of the rut and develop new and exciting products and promotional activities.
Here’s the heart of M.J.’s point:
When we, as an industry, continue to rely on the old ways of doing business and refuse to make any real marketing and advertising breakthroughs as to how we publicize books and incentivize readers - things aren't going to change for more than a tiny handful of books each year.
Absolutely. But I believe we also need to quit trying to live in the old blockbuster world. All too often a publicity budget is disproportionately tilted towards a very small number of what are hoped to become breakout titles. When some number of those titles flop, and they will, it only magnifies the lack of spending on the rest of the list. You don’t need to spend a fortune on each title to give it a chance. Just look at the impact Amazon’s “buy-x-get-y” program can have on a book.
I also strongly believe publicity is a shared responsibility between author and publisher, hence the desire to only hire authors with solid platforms. I can think of several books my own group published where the author’s platform delivered considerably more sales than any P.R. activity we could have initiated from the publisher side.