Don’t Leave the Book Marketing to the Publisher

Not entrusting the publisher with all of the promoti0n of your book is another key reality of the business book world. In today’s hyper-competitive book markets, it has never been more important for authors to use every weapon in their arsenal to attract attention and garner interest in their newly published works. 

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This is why the author’s “platform” is so closely scrutinized by the publisher before any deal is stuck. Editors search the author’s bio to see what the writer can bring to the marketing table.  Specifically,  publishers look for authors who do any combination of the following:  give 75- 100 speeches per year or more, do tons of seminars, appear regularly on radio and TV, especially on the cable news networks, have a great website and blog, are followed by many thousands on Twitter, have an e-mail list of tens of thousands of names…well, you get the idea.

But—you might be thinking—isn’t marketing (promotion and publicity) the responsibility of the publisher? Yes and no. Of course, the publisher must play a huge role by doing all sorts of things for the author, depending on the book, its market, etc. For example, the publisher’s marketing team should be sending out dozens of book galleys to the press and other key “influencers” three to four months ahead of publication. 

If the book has honest to goodness publicity potential, then the publisher’s marketing team should be pitching different media on the book, print, radio and television (although most business books won’t lend themselves to TV).      

The publisher should help the author to develop his or her “social platform” by educating them on developing a book Website, blogging and Twittering, if the author is not already active in those areas.  

One thing publishers should not be doing—except in rare instances—is buying advertising for the book. That almost never pays off. One can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising and barely move the needle.

Ultimately, all activities must be coordinated between the author and publisher. This is key so that the author and publisher don’t cover the same ground. But the days of the publisher handling all of the promotion of a book is a long-forgotten relic of the past. And instead of authors getting upset about the new state of things, they should roll up their sleeves and get to work.

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