Want Book Marketing Tips from a Published Author?

Here on Daily (w)rite, as part of the guest post series, it is my absolute pleasure today to welcome Mark Noce, an author of historical fiction, who shares insights on book marketing.


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.

Book marketingWhat 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.

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Book marketingMark writes historical fiction with a passion. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, he’s an avid traveler and backpacker, particularly in Europe and North America. He earned his BA and MA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. By day, he works as a technical writer, having spent much of his career at places like Google and Facebook. His debut novel, Between Two Fires, is published by Thomas Dunne Books (an imprint of St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan). It is the first in a series of historical fiction novels set in medieval Wales. To learn more about Between Two Fires, and any of his other upcoming publications, check out his Books section.

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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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I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !

31 comments

Add Yours
  1. Paul Davis Solutions

    Thanks for your viewpoint Mark! Marketing is hard work, but it seems like there is never a golden opportunity to grow any business apart from that hard work.
    It’s a good reminder to independent authors to keep up the good work.

  2. macjam47

    An interesting post. I’ve checked out BETWEEN TWO FIRES on Amazon and added it to my wish list. It looks like an interesting read.

    • Mark C Noce

      Yeah, it’s surprising just how much traditionally published authors are expected to do, but it also gives writers more opportunities to connect.

  3. Sid Balachandran

    Not yet an author of a fully-fledged book yet, but this whole marketing thing scares me. Yet I know how important it is. I’ll bookmark this for future reference though 🙂
    PS: The work never ends with just writing, does it? 😀

    • Mark C Noce

      In a way the work never ends, but neither does the fun. The key is to keep it fun and always remember why you started this in the first place:)

  4. inquisitivegeet

    Those were some really valuable inputs! I sometimes fear for asking help. And I’m not a good marketer as well. And there is so much of the stuff that keeps on going in my head, that stops me from doing so many things!

    I found this post really insightful!

    Cheers
    Geets

  5. hilarymb

    Hi Damyanti and Mark – can quite see what you’re saying here and it makes sense. I guess the basic help of making sure your marketing skeleton is in place … ISBN, listings etc put you on the right path … and a quick entree in to the Publishing House for the odd question … it’s being ahead of the game, and on top of your own life (book work) … thanks for sharing … cheers Hilary

  6. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    Good new/bad news. You CAN get published, but the work is never ending – I imagine that best selling authors feel the same way! Congratulations, best wishes for the raging success of your books and future projects — and thanks for sharing.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • Mark C Noce

      Thanks, Madelyn. It’s certainly possible, and even though it’s a lot of work, so long as you love it it’s all good. In a way, it’s kind of like raising kids (although kids are 100x harder). The work is never ending, but it’s worthwhile still:)

  7. Jennie

    Excellent post! You paint a clear picture, where many others do not. Roughly! how much time do you spend promoting your book? Many thanks!