Post by Catherine Ryan Howard
WARNING: This is one of them long ones. Better go get a fresh cup of coffee before you start…
We all know I love publishers. I still hope, should I ever finish The Novel, to be published by one of them. Say silly things like legacy or gatekeepers, or use something as serious and tragic as the Irish potato famine—or rape or Stockholm Syndrome, for that matter—to describe the relationship between the author and the business that has risked its money to get that author’s book to market, and you go straight onto my Naughty List.
(Well, there isn’t actually a Naughty List. Who has the time? I will roll my eyes at you though.)
I don’t believe for a second, for instance, what is pretty much an accepted ‘fact’ by the majority of the self-publishing community: that traditional publishers don’t publicize and/or care about the books they publish. I’ve seen for myself that this is simply not true. The bad publishers might not, but it’s up to you not to sign contracts with them. (Or at least not sign contracts with them twice, or tarnish all publishers with the same brush just because of one experience.) Even if I took away what I’ve seen firsthand, there would still be the evidence of logic: publishing is a business, and any business that isn’t run by morons wants to recoup their investment, i.e. any advance paid, printing and staff costs. They market and publicize and support their product as much as they can because it’s in their interests for it to sell.
Here’s a nice relaxing photo for you this Monday morning. You’re welcome!
Anyway, I tell you this because I want to make it clear that despite my self-publishing background, I ain’t a publisher-basher. But there is one area where some of them do need a stern talking to, and that’s their attitude towards using social media to promote their books. The Big Ones are all over it (that’s probably why they’re The Big Ones) but others aren’t even making an effort, which is crazy as they’re the ones who stand to benefit the most on the internet’s level playing field.
This is something they have in common with a lot of self-publishers, as luck would have it, so let’s talk about this attitude and the reasons behind it here today.
One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “Should I hire a book publicist?” Whether I am speaking at a conference or tweeting about the state of book publishing, writers are often fickle when it comes to the hows and whys of the publicity for their book. I can’t say I blame them—it seems like there is a new “platform” every five minutes along with articles about the death of newspapers. Though it may seem difficult, there are some things one should know before working with a publicist.
Branding is a simple concept. For an author, in a nutshell, it’s what people expect when they hear your name attached to a book (or story).
If you think of the name Mark Twain, or Stephen King, or Toni Morrison, or J.R.R. Tolkien … many things likely pop into your head. For me, the name Tolkien conjures up images of a professorial fellow with a pipe, the smile of a raconteur on his face, eager to spin long tales that I suspect I’d like hear, maybe sitting close by in a comfy easy chair by the fireplace in his study, sipping a little sherry and traveling to a far-off imaginary land …
This post offers tips to help you think about your brand – how to identify it, strengthen and refine it, and present it to your adoring (right?) fans.
There’s an interesting book I read some years ago that comes to mind to help you think about branding. It’s called Primal Branding, by Patrick Hanlon, a marketing guru who’s worked on famous brands like Absolut, LEGO, IBM, and others. His book equates a strong brand with a culture of belief, one that is similar in many ways to a religious faith.
Before you get illusions of grandeur, let’s look at his points of comparison. Like a religion, Hanlon says, a strong brand has these key elements:
- Creation story
- Sacred words
It’s interesting to think in those terms about you and your author’s brand. To translate:
an article by Barry Eisler.
The choices offered by digital publishing can only be good news for writers, says Barry Eisler. So why are traditional publishers so angry?
Until November 2007, when Amazon introduced the Kindle, the only viable means of book distribution was paper. Accordingly, a writer who wanted to reach a mass audience needed a paper distribution partner. A writer could hire her own editor and her own cover design artist; she could even hire a printing press to create the actual books. The one service she couldn’t hire out was distribution. And publishers didn’t offer distribution as an à la carte service. If a writer wanted distribution, she had to pay a publisher 85% of her revenues for the entire publishing package: editorial, copyediting, proofreading, jacket design, printing, and marketing, all bundled with distribution.
Was a price of 85% of revenues a good deal for this packaged publishing service? For some writers, it clearly was. JK Rowling became a cash billionaire via the traditional packaged publishing service, and obviously there are hundreds of other examples of authors for whom the packaged service has represented a good value.
But for every author who wanted and benefited from the packaged service, there were countless others who took it – if they could get it at all – only because they had no alternative.
Day 20: #FIREFLYBookBlogTour. We’re winding things down on the tour, and it’s almost time to pick winners! There’s still time to enter the giveaway and hunt Easter Eggs ♥ In the meantime, hop on over to Roxana’s lovely Romanian blog and read my guest post on what I’ve learned about love from books!
Day #13: #FireflyBookBlogTour! YeeHaw! Here are today’s TWO stops:
Day #10: FIREFLY Book Blog Tour! YEEHAW!!!
Check out these lovely stops and don’t forget to drop your name in the hat for the prizes! Have you been hunting for Easter Eggs? It’s not too late! :-D
Day #8 FIREFLY Book Blog Tour! #fireflybookblogtour
Are you following along? If not, you’re missing out on tons of chances to win some really cool stuff! Today some hand-made bookmarks were thrown into the mix of giveaways!
Check out today’s stops for a review of FIREFLY, an interview with LB & moi, guest posts, and even the FIRST EVER GLIMPSE OF BOOK THREE over at “I Rawr Books”!!!!!
Day 7: FIREFLY Book Blog Tour! #fireflybookblogtour YEEHAW, Peeps! Have you been following along? It’s not too late to participate in all sorts of fun activities and earn chances to win some really neato SWAG!! Not to mention signed PAPERBACKS! Oh, my!
Pop over to these blogs today to read reviews, guests posts and enter the madness that is the FIREFLY Book Blog Tour! And please show these blogs some luvvvv!
Day 6: FIREFLY Book Blog Tour
First off: TODAY IS LB’s BIRTHDAY, AND WE’VE GOT A BIRTHDAY BASH PLANNED! Stay tuned throughout the day for fun and festivities! And stop over at Books and Broomsticks to wish her a Happy Birthday!
Check out these two blogs for a review and an interview with LB:
Don’t forget to show these lovely blogs some luvvv!!!! <3
Day 5: FIREFLY Book Blog Tour <3
Are you following along in the fun? If not, you’re missing out on loads of fun, contests, and prizes! We’re stopping by these two gorgeous blogs today. Please hop over, check out the posts, enter the contests, and most of all, show these blogs some love <3
Day 4: FIREFLY Book Blog Tour!
Check out these lovely blogs to read Guest Posts by my cover designer LB at Books and Broomsticks! And don’t forget to join in the Easter Egg Scavenger Hunt and also enter to win awesome prizes!
♥ SURPRISE VALENTINE’S DAY CONTEST!!!! ♥
I promised a fun contest in honor of my new website reveal! Well, that time has come! Check out my gorgeous new website. Oh, it’s so pretty! So fancy! Oh, la-la! www.bellewhittington.com
In honor of the unveiling, here’s a little contest.
You can also access the rafflecopter link on the Giveaways tab on my FB fanpage.
What is the prize? It’s an “I ♥ Everett” window decal! YAY!