You’ve written, revised, edited, and designed your book. You’ve gotten peer reviews, and everything’s ready and how you want it. But what now? How do you get people to buy and read your book, and just as importantly, who’s in charge of seeing that happen?
As painful as it may be to hear, you are ultimately in charge of your marketing. That can sound like a daunting statement, considering you probably didn’t become an author to sell books. You had a message and a calling to share it with the world. Surely, other people are responsible for getting it out there?
Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
The company I’m using for self-publishing promised to do marketing.
With widespread access to the internet today, self-publishing has become a booming industry, and there are countless vanity publishers popping up to serve that market. For a fee, they promise to handle all of the duties normally performed by a traditional publisher, like editing, printing, marketing, and distribution.
However, with a few rare exceptions, what they deliver generally falls far short of expectations. The author ends up paying a large fee and having to do a lot of the work themself anyway.
I’m publishing through a traditional publishing house.
Check the terms of your agreement carefully, especially if you’re a new author. Chances are the publisher expects you to at least be heavily involved in the marketing of your book, if not almost completely in charge of it. They have to weigh the investment with the possible returns.
Also, you taking an active role could mean the difference between a successful launch or even a bestseller and your book being quickly relegated to the publisher’s backlist, never to reemerge.
Can I hire someone to do the marketing for me?
Of course you can. In fact, many successful indie authors hire people to help with their marketing. However, if you’re just starting out, if this is your first book, there are a couple of problems with this approach.
First, hiring another professional to work on your book costs money, and if you don’t yet have a history of successful publication and a good, solid expectation of sales, it may be hard to justify the expense. Unless you have a pile of money lying around. In that case, have at it. It’s your money to spend how you see fit. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t in that position.
Second, you and your book are what people are buying, not the reputation of the publisher or the marketing pro. Most people pay no attention to the name of the publisher. Can you name the publisher of the last book you read?
So, even if you hire a marketer, you’ll still need to be involved in the process. No one knows your book better than you do, and no one cares about its success like you do.
You might be able to get away with delegating your marketing to someone else, but chances are you’ll have to be involved in and responsible for the process, especially if you’re still establishing yourself as an author.
However, while marketing may sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be as bad as you think. As the internet has created new avenues for independent publishing, it has also made marketing more accessible to the average person, and in a later post, I’ll discuss some ideas for how to get word out about this awesome new book you’ve written.
Rebecca Miller is a professional copyeditor and general fan of all things having to do with the written word and the English language.
You can check out her website at Oakdale Editing or connect through Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, or Email.
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Rebecca has a passion for helping you fill the world with great literature and making sure said literature doesn't get passed over for the lack of a little editing.