One of the biggest misconceptions held by published authors is that once the manuscript and rewrites are finished, so is the author’s job.
Not so! Especially in today’s book market.
One of the points I diligently stress to the authors I work with is that ours is not a 50-50 relationship. If we go with the numbers game, then the breakdown is more like 80-20, with the author on the 80-percent part of the equation.
Unrealized by many authors—and, admittedly, a few of the ones I work with—is the fact that a publisher’s marketing rep is in place to help the author market, not do it for them.
I liken my role as a marketing publicist to that of a counselor: I can guide and offer suggestions of what to do, but ultimately it’s up to the author to sell the book.
We, the marketers at Cedar Fort, have an unofficial slogan we go by: Cedar Fort’s job is to get the books on the shelves and the author’s job is to get them off the shelves!
That said, a marketer’s responsibility is to offer marketing support, which, in my personal experience, comes in the form of keeping the author focused on our common goal of selling books.
From the author’s point of view, this goal can come in the forms of common book-promoting activities, including book signings, launch parties, blog tours, and media interviews.
To further illustrate my point that authors are their own best marketing resource, I’d like to share a personal experience.
I’ve pitched most of my authors to a host of media outlets and have had minimal success in attracting attention. Recently, an author of mine took the bull by the horns and pitched herself to a local TV show. A day or two later, she heard back from the show’s producer and now has a TV interview lined up.
I encourage my authors to do the traditional book-promoting activities—and whatever else comes to mind, no matter how farfetched it might seem.
Authors should never dismiss the power of social media and its ability to reach a large audience of prospective buyers. Facebook, Twitter, and author websites and/or blogs have the potential to meet hundreds, if not thousands, of people for whom the book was written!
It’s not enough to just set an account up on these social networks; the author needs to provide fresh, engaging, and entertaining material on a regular basis for it to work.
In summation, I can’t stress enough the importance that authors abandon the notion that a publisher’s marketing rep will do all the marketing work for them. Most marketing reps juggle multiple authors—in my situation, I’m dealing with upward of 30 authors at a time—so expecting us to devote the time that you would like to marketing your book is unrealistic.
This doesn’t mean we don’t want to devote all of our time to your book; it just means that we simply don’t have the time to do so.
Kelly Martinez is a Marketing Publicist for Cedar Fort, Inc. You can follow Cedar Fort on their blog, www.cedarfortbooks.com and their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cedarfortbooks.
2 thoughts on “Author & Publicist: It’s Not a 50/50 Relationship by Kelly Martinez, Cedar Fort”
I mean no disrespect or snark, but if the author is doing 80% of the marketing, why not just self-publish? Especially if they are savvy enough to have a blog, write press releases, Facebook presence, get themselves on a talk show… It seems like they could just put out an ebook and get a larger margin share for the same amount of work.
I wonder, in this age of new media, what is the value of going with a traditional publisher if you are doing the bulk of the marketing yourself and bookstores are becoming less relevant?
Publishing through a traditional publisher gives authors access to established sales-retailer relationships that drastically increase a book’s chances of getting onto a bookseller’s shelves. Publisher’s services such as editing, cover design and established marketing connections are things that most authors are ill-equipped to handle themselves through the self-publishing method. In short, though an author may be a go-getter as far as marketing goes, it’s unlikely he/she will have the know-how to get the book’s sales to the level that a traditional publisher can.
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