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Monday, April 29, 2013

Writers Read This: You Are Marketers


I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel about publicity and marketing at the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) this past week.  For those of you not familiar with them, check their site out, www.ASJA.com. One of the things that became clear during a Q&A session with the audience, is authors still believe or hope their publishers will do a lot for them.

Surprisingly, for all the years I’ve been promoting authors, I still see authors who expect or think their publishers are doing all that should be done to promote and sell their books.  They believe this because it seems logical. Why wouldn’t a publisher that invested in your book, not want to help you succeed? They believe it because they are told by their publishers that they have marketing covered.  They believe it because sometimes a publisher does help an author and so then others think that is the norm.  They believe it because they want to, otherwise the time and money needed to promote it falls on the author.

Ladies and gentlemen, please let me clue you in on something that should not be a secret: Do not expect your publisher to do a lot for you when it comes to publicity and marketing.  It’s up to you and in your hands to do the things you wish your publisher was doing for you.
I tell you this for a few reasons.  First, I don’t want you to be deluded into living a dream that comes crashing later.  Second, if you understand it’s up to you to promote, you’ll be empowered to act now to take matters into your hands.  Third, I think the publishers would welcome your help.

Some people at the ASJA event asked if they are stepping on toes by doing things they think their publisher should be doing.  The panel unanimously said that authors have to realize they need to take matters into their own hands.  They have more to lose in being silent and immobile than in potentially annoying their publisher.

Authors should speak with their publishers, five-six months prior to the scheduled release of their book.  Find out which publicist has been assigned to you.  Ask for a timeline of what they will do for you.  Offer to support them and fill in the numerous gaps.  They can’t do everything for you – do what they are not doing.  Get specifics from them, and work together.

If I can impress anything upon you, it is this: Take matters of PR and marketing into your own hands.  Few people are solely writers – most writers also must promote and market their work, or hire others to assist.  But if you just have wild expectations, hopes or misguided beliefs about your role and what publishers do for you, you’ll find yourself frustrated.  You are a writer, and you are a promoter, and marketer, even if your business card doesn’t say so.

Interview With Author Meredith Bond

1.      What type of books do you write? I write Regency-set paranormal romance.

2.      What is your newest book about? I’ve got two books which I’ve recently published. The first, Storm on the Horizon, is a novella which is the prequel to Magic in the Storm, a novel I put out last year. The story of Storm on the Horizon centers around Tatiana, the villain in Magic In The Storm. I love to know what makes a villain tick. What makes them who they are, and why do they do the evil things they do – and Tatiana is definitely a very cruel person. She tries to kill her son immediately after his birth. Why? Because he’s male and was supposed to be female. So, Storm on the Horizon is the story of how Tatiana met the man she later marries (and with whom she has seven children, including the hero of Magic in the Storm) and fell in love. Sometimes it’s not easy being destined to do great things.  The other book I’ve recently published is a re-release of one of my first traditional Regency romances which I published with Kensington Publishers many years ago. An Exotic Heir (originally title Love of My Life) is the story of a young woman who is demeaned by a man she thinks is going to ask her to marry him. She runs to her parents in Calcutta, India where she meets Julian Ritchie, an Anglo-Indian who is looked down upon by the English society there because of his mixed blood. It’s a story of revenge and how it can turn back on you, and how it can lead to love. 

3.      What inspired you to write it? As I mentioned earlier, for Storm on the Horizon, I love to know how villains become so mean and nasty. I had to explore what Tatiana was like as a young woman. I really think readers come away from reading her story with a good understanding of who she is, so that when you read Magic in the Storm, you know why she does what she does.     I wrote An Exotic Heir because Calcutta during the Raj was a fascinating place. The British had a love-hate relationship with the Indians there. This story reflects a period when the balance tilted closer to hate, and that, naturally, affected those who were products of the time when it tilted the other way. And revenge can be so much fun.

4.      What is the writing process like for you? I am a plotter. I plot out my stories in detail before I write them. I do endless worksheets on my characters trying to get to know them before I begin to write their stories. And after I do days, sometimes weeks of work on my stories I usually still have to restart my book at least three or four times before I get it right. Once it’s started, though, I can usually keep on writing straight through to the end without too many stops to figure out where I’m going next.

5.      What did you do before you became an author? I was and still am a mother of two wonderful people (now teenagers) and I teach writing. How does it feel to be a published author? Fantastic. I love being a published author. I’m very lucky because no one has ever had anything unkind to say to me when they find out I write romance novels (I’ve heard horror stories of some things said to other romance writers).

 6. Any advice for struggling writers? Work on your craft. Read all that you can of books within the genre you write, books outside you genre, and books on writing. Where do you see book publishing heading? Ha! If I only had that crystal ball... I think ebooks are going to become as common-place as print books, but I don’t think print is going to go anywhere. People still love to browse a bookstore and hold that physical book in their hands. Traditional publishing houses need to get smart if they’re going to continue to dominate the industry, otherwise more and more authors are going to switch to self-publishing. And e-retailers have got to figure out a way to challenge Amazon’s dominance in the market -- probably with some sort of fabulous new technology, just as the Kindle blew everyone else out of the wate

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013 

6 comments:

  1. Excellent about marketing your book. I have spoken to so many authors who were disappointed with the publicity and promotion of their book. They hadn't realised that they need to be out there promoting their book as well.

    http://roundtablewriting.wordpress.com

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  2. So, if the publisher doesn't do much to sell your book, why not publish it yourself with POD? You will earn more per book sold, and the publisher isn't doing much anyway.

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  3. The downside to publishing one's own book is that it is difficult to get it reviewed. Many newspapers and other traditional book reviewers (who influence a large market of readers) have a bias against self-published books. In some respects, third party publishers act as filter that provides reviewers with a degree of confidence about a book's value.

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  4. As a self-published author who queried for a year without success because of my subject matter, I'm now in the process of learning to market. At first I hated it, that is, until I found my NICHE! Forget all about the money you dream of and FOCUS on finding your NICHE. This is #1. Who will buy your book? It's a science in research. I read two statements that were seared into my mind ...Remember, an author sells ONE book at a time, and a book's success should not be judged for the first three years!" Great News. I have 2 1/2 yrs to go. My book came out Dec 5, 2013, and right now I have so much going on I can't keep up. Once you found your NICHE, let your imagination go wild. Never give up!

    I sent my memoir to the White House on June 29th and it was picked up today! Who knows what will happen. Never know where the journey may lead you. :)

    Never give up and think BIG! :)
    http://blogofavetswife.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you! You've given me a shot of aspiration this morning. In 2012, I wrote, illustrated, and launched a trio of children's books. The first of my books 'How Orples Came To Be' was self-pulished through Strategic Publishing. My other works are solely my own.

      Between working (drawing house plans), focusing on my next set of books---the 'Brides Series' (another trio) and the temporary setback of being slapped with lymphoma, out of the blue, I have finally managed to publish two, out of three, of my latest books in the 'Brides' saga---a journey I began about 4 years ago. As I continue to tweak book 3 of Brides, I sit here, wondering how to even begin to market my work. I really haven't taken my Orples books anywhere, so no one knows they're there. I'd begun an 'Orples' blog through 'Wordpress', and got so sidetracked at that point in time. Thus, I quit blogging, altogether, for awhile. I need to boost my incentive, desire, and knowledge relative to marketing, big time, and remarks such as yours, are a true inspiration for those of us who don't know where to begin. So thank you, again, for a little dose of sorely needed encouragement.

      http://orples.wordpress.com/category/orples-overview/

      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Orples&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3AOrples

      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Brides.+Book+1+.+Sarah+%26+Yvonne

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  5. This is true, but it is complete idiocy on the publisher's part. Any company that has a product to sell and doesn't market that product is destined for failure. I'm not saying that the author should sit around and do nothing, but a business that doesn't advertise it's merchandise does not succeed. It's a time tested fact. Any publisher that tries to tell you that you are responsible for your own marketing is not business savy and you should avoid them.

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