Take Marketing Responsibility
Communication snafus are everywhere. It happens for many reasons and most often it's a lack of communication or the assumption that something is happening when it is not happening. For example, in the book publishing world, it takes a lot of work for a writer to get a publisher interested in their idea and concept. The writer has to learn the craft of writing and build credibility through writing magazine articles or ebooks or other media to build their credentials and abilities. Finally they craft a book proposal and get a publisher to issue a book contract. Their book is released into the marketplace. Because the publisher has invested a large amount of money and energy (and the writer has as well), the writer assumes the publisher will market the daylights out of their book and sell many copies. Now my last sentence is full of wrong assumptions. Publishers do want their books to sell and be successful but they count on a partnership with the author to get the word out about the book, build buzz and sales for each book. Some times it happens in the early stages and other times it builds to a loud clamor in the marketplace.
My encouragement for every author is to take responsibility for their own marketing. Let's assume the traditional publisher will have good distribution (which in some cases is an assumption). Your book has entered the market and is widely available through distributors, sometimes in the bookstores and can easily be purchased at the major online places. It is not a time for the author to sit back and work on their next book (well maybe some of the time but not all of it). The author needs to continually take responsibility for their own marketing--even if they have had measures of success in the past. The public quickly forgets.
Last week I received a book proposal from an author who is eager for me to represent the project. The marketing section is two paragraphs and all fluff with the major responsibility on the publisher. I groaned the minute I looked at it because this author will need a huge amount of education on my part before this person can put together an attention-getting marketing effort. Yes, this person has had mega sales in the past but it will not necessarily transfer to this new direction and this new proposal. To believe it will transfer, the author is operating on a false assumption which may fall completely flat.
I'm personally limited about what I can put in these entries about the writing life. I have the same 24 hour constraints that you operate under. I’m going to give you some resources and places to turn. First, make plans to attend a Mega Book Marketing Event. They are coming to many different places around the country and the next one will be in New York City later this month. Unfortunately I am not going to be able to attend this event but it looks great. If you can't go, then make sure you listen to the free preview calls and gain the insight of the speakers. Either listen to them live when they happen or listen to them after the fact through the replay buttons. This training is absolutely free and valuable to any writer no matter where you are in the journey. You can learn from these experts.
In other entries, I've written about Debbie Macomber, one of the leading romance novelist and someone that I know personally. There is a fascinating article about Debbie in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Here's a writer who has over 70 million books in print and is on the current New York Times bestseller list. She has not assumed her publisher will market her books and is taking a continual active role in this process. Notice the article points out that Debbie has a mailing list with 75,000 readers--and not a list she has purchased but people who have contacted her personally. I'm one of these readers and I get emails from time to time from Debbie. Every writer should be working on developing their list of readers. I've got my free Right-Writing News. Several times a month, I will email this list with single letters around a particular product that I am recommending. Then once a month, I will send a regular newsletter which is full of how-to-write articles. In the back issues (which are only available to subscribers—and free), readers have access to over 400 pages of information. I am continuing to work at growing my list and expanding it. If you have no idea how to write a newsletter or what to say, I'd encourage you to follow the links and learn about it, make a choice and get started. It's another way for you to take responsibility for the marketing of your own books.