Book Marketing with a Traditional Publisher
Thanks for having me here, Damyanti! As requested, I’m here today sharing my experiences as a recently published author with St. Martin’s Press. My debut historical novel, Between Two Fires, came out in August 2016 and is available wherever books are sold.
Over the course of my ongoing tour, a lot of people have asked me what it’s like working with a major publisher and how much book marketing is expected of a traditionally published author. The answer is, it’s great, but it’s also a lot of work. In fact, based on my conversations with self-published authors, I can tell you that the book marketing effort required by a traditionally published author is about 99% the same as what’s expected of a self-published writer.
What do I mean by that? Basically, you’re the author, so the buck stops with you. It’s up to the author to run the show and get their book out there, regardless of who represents them in the marketplace. Blog tours, Thunderclap campaigns, speaking engagements, media reviews, etc. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of things people assume a traditional publisher will do for a new author, like run a book tour, get your novel reviewed by a magazine or put up cash to advertise for you. That’s still on you as the author. It doesn’t mean that your publisher won’t be willing to support you in some ways, but you must be the one to drive whatever book marketing effort means the most to you.
It’s important to remember that traditional publishers have a lot on their plates and have very limited time to offer each writer they represent. For instance, the imprint I signed with at St. Martin’s Press publishes something like 175 titles a year. That means they literally have a new book coming out every 2 or 3 days, all year, every year. You are just one author of many who has a slot in the production line, and your publisher will have a lot of other authors on their mind that they have to take care of as well.
That being said, there are some definite upsides and downsides to choosing a traditional publishing route over a self-published route. Publishers are great at getting you set up with an ISBN number for your book, running giveaways on Goodreads, and coming up with a cover. These are potential headaches that a traditionally published author can count on their publisher to handle. On the flip side, you sign a contract, so the publisher has final say on things like what the cover looks like, the length of your novel, and ultimately what your book will cost consumers when it hits bookshelves.
The truth is, I’m still learning and am very much on my initial journey through the wide waters of the traditionally published author market. It’s been a fun, wild, long, hardworking, and exhilarating ride so far, and it looks like it’s just getting started. I hope I’ve given you some idea of what to expect when marketing your novel with traditional publishers. I’ve also posted some useful tips below.
In the meantime, keep reading, keep writing, and keep enjoying every minute of it.
Mark’s Book Marketing Tips
– Don’t be afraid to ask. Sounds simple, but it has helped me a lot. Ask questions at bookstores, libraries, and with fellow bloggers online. Everyone has some insights that can really help you.
– There are no rules. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. You have to find a book marketing plan that works for you. It may rely on blogs, it may not. It may favor public speaking events or podcasts or Twitter posts or a hundred other things that all provide widely varying degrees of success to various authors. The key is to find the sort of book marketing that works best for you. Sometimes trial and error is the only way to find out for yourself.
– Free advice is the best. I know some folks will disagree with me, but I can only speak from my own experiences. I prefer to form personal relationships with people, rather than have a relationship based on money. I’ve paid editors to edit my work before and they’ve done okay jobs, but critique partners who have volunteered to edit my work have given me quality edits that were 100x better. Why? Because the person who cares about you, cares about your book, will help you more than a paid person ever will. They also know that you’ll be there for them.
Are you a reader, a writer, or both? Do you read more short stories or novels? Are a self-published or traditionally published author? What are the pros and cons of each, according to you? Do you have any book marketing tips to add? As a reader or writer, do you have questions for Mark Noce?
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