Thursday, April 03, 2014

Lonely Road

John here.

I'm enormously fortunate this year to have two novels being published in a nine-month span. Part of the pre-publication process includes landing reviews and digging up additional media opportunities. I've been trying to pull my weight and help my respective publishers.

I was struck recently by how differently my two publishers approach the author's role in promotion – and I'm left scratching my head.

This One Day, was published in January. I was told right from the start the publisher had meager resources to assist me in marketing the book. Therefore, the bulk of the promotional legwork would fall to me. I’ve contacted several reviewers and stores but gotten little traction on either front.

Bitter Crossing will be published in August. The publicist at this house has told me to resist reaching out to media outlets and reviewers – unless I have a prior relationship with them – since most media members don't want to hear from authors directly. Put simply: it looks amateurish. My job, I’ve been told, is to provide contacts and ideas; the publicist will take it from there.

The fact that a publicist has been appointed to Bitter Crossing probably explains a lot. Obviously some of this has to do with the size of the publisher (both houses are indies) and how many resources the house is allocating for each title. Bitter Crossing has been deemed a "front list" title, so it receives additional support.

However, what I keep coming back to is how tied an author’s hands can be. If the publicist is right (and I have no reason to think otherwise) an author has little chance to generating reviews or feature opportunities on his own. It's a catch-22: if you don't reach out to journalists and reviewers, no one else will; however, to do so looks amateurish.

In the end, it comes down to the fact that if no one is marketing your work, you have little to lose. So you might as well contact as many media outlets as you can and cross your fingers.

1 comment:

Eileen Goudge said...

It's a wing and a prayer for the most part. I've been traditionally published my entire career but am venturing into the uncharted (for me!) waters of self-pub with my next title, the first in a mystery series. Good thing I already know what's involved in marketing and publicizing, since I've been doing a lot of it myself for years.

Congrats on your new title!