How Published Authors Still Have to Do Most of the Promotional Work

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At this year’s Romantic Times convention, BookBaby interviewed the New York Times Bestselling romance and mystery author Jennifer Ashley. We asked her what an author can expect when working with a traditional publisher.

She said that new writers (who she says are “bottom feeders” from the large publisher’s point of view), don’t get much in the way of “cookies.” In most cases with genre titles, they pretty much throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. The publisher will help with content editing (spotting and helping to iron out character or plot anomalies), as well as some line editing (which Ms. Ashley doesn’t need, as she delivers the book mostly clean).

If you’re higher up on the totem pole, the traditional publisher will spend more on marketing – but she has no idea how the publisher decides who “gets the cookies!” Jennifer’s book Primal Bonds got such a marketing push: Berkeley purchased some advertisements and promoted it on the publisher’s blog for a week or so.

But even if you’re high on the pecking order at a publisher, you have to promote to readers yourself. While publishers market toward distributors and booksellers to get them to order more books and push it, authors are responsible for all direct-to-reader marketing.

Jennifer has to do all of the tasks of social networking and book promotion:

  • website content generation
  • blog outreach and blog tours
  • attending conventions
  • making and distributing promotional materials (such as bookmarks and trading cards)
  • Facebook contests
  • Tweeting

The moral: no matter how successful an author may become, the writer is in almost all cases responsible for all fan marketing.

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