Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Publishing, marketing and complete and utter bollocks

"The publishing industry has changed drastically over the past decade and because of these changes, authors must now carry the responsibilities of marketing, promotions and publicity for their books. This is a daunting task, and many authors fail, losing their publishing contract or possibly any future contracts."

I recently came across the above on a particular publisher’s website.

This is such complete and utter bollocks that I had no choice but to mention it here in the hope of firstly stopping a new writer from believing it and subbing their work to this publisher, and secondly, dispelling a myth.

Yes, publishing is undergoing some big changes in terms of how people read and how authors interact with readers, but people are still reading which is the most important thing. Whether they read a paperback, hardback, an ebook on their Kindle or any other reader, they’re at least reading. However, if any publisher – small or one of the big boys – wants to stay afloat and have readers consistently coming back to their authors, they need to let those readers know they’re out there. While the author would do well to have an online presence and tell people about their books, it’s sure as hell not the author’s sole responsibility to market, promo and publicise their work. Their job is to write a book to the best of their abilities, target the right agent or publisher for it and then work with the agent/publisher to get the book as close to perfect as can be (there’s no such thing as a completely perfect book but that’s a post for another day).

A small, or even micro, press obviously isn’t going to have the same marketing department as one of the Big Six which doesn’t have to be a problem. As long as it engages with readers and gets the book out there to the right people (professional bloggers/reviewers who in turn speak to readers is a good start), it’s on to a winner. If it simply churns out book after book and leaves them to sink or swim on their own, it’s cocked up for itself and for its authors. Ultimately, the author’s time is better spent working on the next book in order to keep readers interested while letting people know as and when they can that the first book is available. The author is not a marketing, promo and publicity department all rolled into one.

Any publisher who tells writers otherwise should be avoided at all costs. Otherwise that writer will see their book vanishing without a trace.

7 comments:

  1. I just posted a long comment and blogger ate it.

    Anyway, I agree most mightily. Any publisher that puts the onus for promo onto the author is lying, and dodging their responsibilities as a BUSINESS.

    And if they're taking a percentage of my royalties for doing sod all, why wouldn't I then just self-publish instead and save myself the hassle - and a whole heap of cash?

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    1. I don't often use rude words (okay, that's a lie) but I felt pretty strongly about this one. I've seen small publishers say something along the lines of 'we don't have a big marketing department so we'll work with you on promo etc', but the quote from the publisher is SO very wrong.

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  2. PS: Any publisher that tells you YOU are solely responsible for promo is stopping you doing what writers' main duty is.

    To write the next book.

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  3. Nice post, Luke. Timely and relevant. Agents next, please!

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