Monday, October 13, 2014

What Do You Bring to the Table?

Independent presses have a lot to offer today's aspiring authors. The slush pile is smaller and the chance for an unknown, untried author to get a contract is greater. Unlike large publishing houses, there's still very personal interaction between editors and writers. Unlike self-pubbed books, the publishing house takes care of cover art, lay-out, printing and distribution. Authors are nurtured and a bond builds between the author and publisher.

What most authors fail to realize is that they are expected to don the hat of promoter once the ink has dried on the paper. The job's not finished when THE END is typed on the last page of the novel. In fact, the hard work has just begun.

Anyone aspiring to a career in publishing cannot be blind to all the posts and forums talking about book marketing. It's the #1 topic discussed today. Yet, when the long-awaited novel is finally on the shelf, there it sits. Why? Because authors are unprepared or unwilling to dirty their hands in selling the book to the public. Isn't that someone else's responsibility?

Depending upon the contract, the average amount a publishing house gets is less than $2 profit per book sold. It takes the sale of approximately 200 books before a small outfit sees any profit on a title. That covers production cost, plus Amazon gets their cut and the author gets royalties. Industry stats say the average book will sell about 500 copies. Nobody is out to get rich, but in order to keep producing more books, money has to come from somewhere.

Independent houses exist only when authors and publishers work side by side to do book promotion.  


Anonymous said...

Completely agree. I do a lot of promo including guest posts, e book giveaways, send in books for reviews, and am now tapping into the global market. Let's not forget that China, India, Italy and so many other places want to read books in English. And work on their English skills as well. Great post.

Liane Spicer said...

We all just have to suck up this reality and deal with it. I do promo every day now, and I'm seeing the results. It used to take me months to reach the $100 minimum for Amazon to cut me a check on my indie titles. Now I'm getting paid every month.

Is this a result of the promo or the fact that I released two new titles in July and gained some momentum? I don't know, but I'm not going to stop the promo in order to find out.

Sunny Frazier said...

I think it's important to look at the long range effect. No marketing creates immediate response. You build with name recognition; the more you interact, the more people remember you. How you are perceived online makes a big difference. Develop the image you want people to respond to. And, for goodness sake, pay attention to others! I try to make every person who interacts with me feel special--because they are!

Charles Gramlich said...

Promo is exhausting.

Sunny Frazier said...

Nah, Charles. It doesn't have to be.

Anonymous said...

Fortunately I just signed with a new company that began as a PR company, then decided to publish books. Their goal is to help with promotion as well as publishing beautiful books. They do a lot that I can't do, plus show me what subjects to tweet, where my audience is, etc.
Let's hope this is the future of small publishers.

authorlindathorne said...

If you want to get into being a professional writer, one of the things I learned early is the huge role you need to play in marketing your own book. I know you, Sunny Frazier, told me about this a long time ago and then I had the periodic reminders. You were right, course. I didn't like hearing it any more than many other authors, but it is a reality and some people enjoy it. The publishing industry is under tough restraints to make a profit. My novel is under contract, but not out yet, so I imagine I'll learn a great deal more with that process.
This was an interesting post.

Unknown said...

Promoting your books and yourself can be hard work, but it can also be a lot of fun. That's what I try to focus on, and if the sales come, then it's an added bonus!