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.