Authors unfamiliar with the book publishing industry can sometimes stumble on the path to publication by not understanding the definitions and roles of people in editing, production, distribution, and sales. By having clarity on the function and purpose of service companies and freelancers, authors can be smarter about hiring the right help.
The pattern is as predictable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west. A new marketing tool or tactic comes along, and a few early adopters have noticeable success with it. More authors try it and may find it works for them, too. But eventually, the new idea becomes old and ineffective—and the trend is deemed to be “over.” Everyone starts looking for the next new thing that will work when marketing their book.
I’ve been speaking at writing conferences since 2002, and over the last 15 years, the one topic of conversation that has changed the most dramatically is self-publishing. Not only has the substance of the conversation changed, but everyone’s attitudes have completely transformed. The trouble is that while this change has been largely welcome (at least from my point of view!), it hasn’t always been for the best.
Book marketing and book promotion packages are a common offering from author service companies as well as publishing service providers—and for good reason. There’s demand for them and first-time authors, whether indie or traditional, need guidance.
When it comes to social media marketing, even though I am personally comfortable using it and have been successful in my book marketing efforts through a range of channels, I sometimes feel at a loss when authors specifically ask me what they should do. It’s like trying to tell people how to be themselves or how they should behave in public—we’re all quite different. However, it is easy to tell authors what they shouldn't do on social media.
If you’re one of the many authors who tried to get traditionally published first, and are now considering or pursuing self-publication instead, then this post is especially for you. Some authors really want that “traditional” experience, but don’t know exactly what it looks like, where the most value lies, or what aspects of it can be feasibly translated over to the publishing process of an independent author. Having been through both experiences myself, here’s what I would give the most thought and consideration to when deciding how to publish a book.
Think of it as the Oprah effect: whenever someone with a bigger platform than you pays attention to your book, you are nearly guaranteed a significant sales boost that can sometimes jump-start your author career.
by Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman), The Hot Sheet
Whether you’re an unpublished or published writer, one area where everyone should exercise caution is when entering book contests and competitions. The rewards of winning them can be very low, and the cost to enter very high. Still, contests can play an important role in helping emerging writers get noticed and achieve recognition for work that might otherwise go unnoticed.
by Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) The Hot Sheet
One of the key elements of a professional marketing and publicity campaign is the advance review copy (ARC)—also known as a galley—usually produced and distributed three to six months before the final book goes on sale.