Friday, August 10, 2007

Roll With The Punches

It is a refrain that I hear often from writers--particularly new writers. "I don't want to learn about marketing or promotion. I just want to write then write some more." It may be their desire yet reality often deals you something quite different. My advice is to get ready and make sure you can roll with the punches. Yes, a few elite writers don’t have to worry about promotion because their publisher will send them on book tours, arrange all sorts of media for them or they have an “assistant” who handles a lot of these matters. For the majority of writers, they will have to learn some of these aspects of the business. Or they will have to outsource to a freelance publicist or website designer or webmaster. If they do not take these steps, then those writers will lament their weak royalty statements. If you have taken these steps and still garner small sales, then at least you know that you’ve done whatever you could do to get the word out about your book.

Last night I was reading the latest Publishers Weekly to arrive in my mailbox or the August 6th edition. I live in the West and understand that people in the East get their magazine earlier in the week. The Soapbox column tucked inside the back cover has become something I almost never miss. This week Gerard Helferich writes “Mergers, Acquisitions and Me.” It reminded me of the truth that change will often occur during the book publishing process and you have to roll with the punches. In this author's case, for the publication of his second book, a five city book tour had been planned. The publisher was sold and Helferich's publicist decided to leave the company the week before his tour. He writes, "Although there had been some nibbles, no media had been finalized in the tour cities, and it was clear that extensive follow-up was needed. But the new publicist wouldn't start until August 1--a week after my tour would end."

Thankfully Helferich took a proactive approach and set up his own media--including an hour-long piece on National Public Radio. He concludes, "Looking back, I wouldn't trade my under-the-gun publicity experience for anything. It was a real pleasure to see, in this age of multilevel media platforms, that dedicated booksellers and engaged reporters and producers can still connect directly with authors to help get a book into the hands of readers."

I'd encourage you to read the entire article and learn from Helferich's experience. Ironically, I did a quick google search for "Gerard Helferich" and only found this link with much background information on the author. It points that there is always more to be done.

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