Carolyn Howard-Johnson Wonders Why
Even Experts Don't Understand Who the Real Stars Are
I wanted to scream. It's as if we authors and their readers were
all time-warped back to the fourth grade when we didn't "get
it" that we should memorize the name of the author along with
the title of her book.
Here I am reading the LA Times, a paper I love
if for no other reason than I love good journalism, and I come across
an article on publishing they picked up from the Associated Press.
I expect that if both the AP and the Times thought it worthy, I
might learn something new. This one titled "When a book's only
mystery is its author" would naturally intrigue an author.
Turns out it is about how the sales of "The
Traveler," an anonymously written mystery, is disappointing
all even after it was cited by the New York Times and other newspapers
as a sure winner.
Author Hillel Italie says, with what I imagine
to be a straight face, that "the publisher has to depend on
the slow, uncertain process of reviews and word of mouth."
That idea is so outdated that I'm surprised the savvy crowd at the
LA Times didn't pick up on it and boot this little essay out of
the layout before it went to print.
Of course, if they'd done that they would also
have noticed that the part about "an author tour might have
helped, but the strategy that got (this book) so much attention
also limited the publisher's ability to keep the momentum going."
The article is about how Traveler, like many books printed
anonymously, lost its impetus after the initial high praise of reviewers
wore off. Of course it's true that no real branding can go on beyond
Publisher Weekly's initial raves without an author. No author, no
tour, no TV appearances. So where's the news in that?
It's been said that the author is more interesting
to the public than the book. That is supported by Italie's rundown
of other anonymously published books that were revived when the
author magically appeared. However it goes deeper than that. Authors
everywhere have realized that if they don't steer their own little
books to stardom, no one else can or will.
For an indication of the sorry state of marketing
in the publishing industry one only need read as far as the publisher's
comment, "But I'm thrilled we put as much effort as we did
into this book." Mmmm. I'll bet that editor is as surprised
as he is thrilled. Let's face it, from the big traditional presses
to author-published books, everyone in publishing knows that today
the only books with a promotion budget are the ones that don't need
it and the only thing that drives sales for all the others is the
author. The author's personality. The author's promotion expertise.
The author's money.
Each month in this box, Carolyn lists
a writing or promotion tidbit that will help authors and a
tip to help readers find a treasure among long-neglected books
or a sapphire among the newly-published.
demand for my THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR
PUBLISHER WON'T has been so great I started a free newsletter
called “Sharing with Writers” that will continue
to feed tips and resources on book promotion and writing to
authors long after they’ve read FRUGAL. Send an e-mail
with “subscribe” in the subject line
of ways for an author to promote, writers will want to check
Janet Elaine's Smith's Promo Paks and her Personal Marketing
Plan. For those without the time or the experience, such guidance
from an experienced promoter can be what is needed to put
a new book on the road to success. Go to www.janetelainesmith.com.
Tip: If you're tired of the lip
service being paid to "Support Our Troops" and would
like to do some small thing that would actually help, consider
this little gift book by Eric Dinyer. The publisher, Andrews
McMeel, is donating some proceeds from its sale to Fisher
House, a charity that supports the families of injured troops.
I wrote the foreword for Eric and love that the book includes
a ribbon car magnet. It would make a fine memento for anyone
who loves someone who is serving our nation.
MyShelf.Com. All Rights Reserved.