C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

Book promotion: I was wrong

I used to be a book publicist and, as a book sales rep, have worked with book publicists. Gotta say: not impressed with the breed. Most have a shiny coat, bark loudly, no teeth. I expected a lot of them. I don’t think I was wrong then, but now that the tech and culture have changed, I realize I’ve expected too much from publishers and their publicists.

In the old days, publicists organized events, book tours, mailed out advanced reading copies (ARCs) and hoped for reviews. The publicists I knew were pretty smug and full of themselves, especially considering how frequently they were unsuccessful.

The other wrinkle in the mix from an author’s point of view is, if you’re with a trad publisher, the publicity department has little time to get attention to any one book or author. The other continual complaint is, besides the small media/promotion window, most of the promotion budget always goes to the author who seems to need it least. That’s the publisher trying to maximize profits (rather than pimping a mid-list author.)

The world has changed and authors need to shift expectations: Publishers don’t publicize your book much and mostly download marketing duties to the author. That annoyed me. Now I think that’s the way it should be.

My reasoning is that the author/reader relationship has changed. Readers don’t want to interact with your publisher. They want to interact with you. Who cares about publishers. With the exception of Harlequin—the one company where you always know what you’re going to get—publishers don’t have brands. Authors have brands.

Old model:

Send stuff out (press releases, ARCs, bookmarks, catalogs, book tours) hoping media will bite.

New model:

Engage readers directly with Twitter conversations, blogger reviews and blog tours and hoping they will bite.

Yes, there’s still room for old model tactics, but they are either limited, outmoded, less effective or costly.

So nevermind that your publisher’s publicists aren’t returning your calls two weeks out from your book launch. Chances are they’re busy with another book and have expended your promotional budget. You can do better for yourself over the long run, anyway. (Or you can hire your very own publicist and do it up right for a longer time.)

Publishers unloaded marketing responsibilities to authors for budgetary reasons. Authors should shoulder that responsibility for a better reason:

Your readers want to talk to you, not them. 

Filed under: authors, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, Rant, , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 10,019 other followers

Brain Spasms a la Twitter

%d bloggers like this: