This topic recently came up in the Murder Must Advertise Yahoo group, and when Karen Syed, publisher at Echelon Press, joined in and shared her experiences, I am sure there were a few horrified readers. What do you mean authors aren't promoting their own books? That must only be a few, right? Wrong.
Talk to a handful of writers about what they've done, are doing and how many books they've sold as a result and you'll discover that there are a lot of uneducated, lazy writers out there who feel it's up to a publisher to sell the book.
They're wrong. Authors need to think of their publishers as their business partners. Or even as a coach. A partner or coach can only assist you so far; you still have to do some of the work and carry your fair share of responsibility. Then you can both celebrate your success.
I wandered over to Karen's blog and wasn't surprised to see she'd blogged about this. Hey, look what I'm doing. Book marketing, or lack thereof, is an important topic--and it's my livelihood, as an author and a book marketing coach.
Here's the comment I left on Karen's blog:
ALL of Karen’s authors should “die trying”. You should all realize how fortunate you are to have a publisher who took a risk on you and your book and then did all the things she does to promote it. Many authors with other publishers are lucky to get even half of what she offers.For those authors who still haven't figured this out, I suggest you check out Karen Syed's blog post You've Got to be Kidding!
As an author who has shamelessly promoted her books everywhere I go, I can tell you Karen is right. It’s YOUR book! If you haven’t got the time, money, energy or interest to promote your “baby” and your possible future as a career author, then why should she?
Please note: I’m not one of Karen’s authors. I’ve never met her. I don’t even know if I know any of her authors. But I can tell you from experience and from working with other authors as a marketing coach, her experiences are common.
Too many authors are either uneducated about the book industry or they’re too lazy to market their own work or they’re too lazy to learn or they’re just not interested in writing as a career.
As the former creator and organizer of Authors’ Row, a multi-author event that no longer exists, I can assure you I’ve seen and heard it all. All the excuses why you can’t or won’t market your book. I’ve watched authors read their own books at signings and completely ignore potential fans.
Connect! That is a hugely rewarding part of signings and events–meeting people. Hand out bookmarks or promo items. Have a draw for a gift basket. SMILE!
Sorry, but if all you want is a book published so you can sell a handful (or 100 in a year) to your family and friends, then self-publish it.
When a publisher takes on the risk, especially financially, they have the right to certain expectations. That you’ll market your book is one of them.
If you don’t know how to market your book, learn.
If you don’t WANT to market your book, step aside, so that those of us who will “die trying” can have a chance with your publisher.