AND THAT IT'S UNREASONABLE TO PUT IT ON THE AUTHOR'S BACK?
I think that publishers, particularly mid-size to small publishers, are often not very well-versed in promotion and thus don't do it well. And for those publishers who are large enough to have PR and Marketing departments, they often have too many authors they need to promote so that the budget gets stretched quite thin and thus the marketing efforts are not adequate for many authors. Only if an author is already a big celebrity will a publisher devote significant resources to marketing an author.
I do feel that an author has to be committed to marketing his/her own book. However, I also feel that the process might work better if there were a perceived partnership between author and publisher, so that they can work together to market the book. As you have previously pointed out, there are many no-cost and low-cost ways to do effective marketing, and authors need to participate in that and not be passive. However, I think there is a need for more of a collaborative or partnership feel to marketing, so that the author does feel some support from his/her publisher.
I don't know if it's unreasonable for authors to promote. I think it should be a joint venture, which it isn't.
Monique, I completely agree with you that the author has a huge stake in seeing the book succeed. But don't publishers also want the books they publish to succeed in order to recoup their investment in the book?
They won't pull the book, they just won't put fresh support into it.
My sense is that publishers have accumulated too many non-performing marketing investments to have much faith in the process. They will try to get significant reviews and media placements, because that doesn't cost much and can stimulate other opportunities.
It should be the job of whoever is interested in seeing that the book succeeds.
I completely agree! Oh, wait..
Mostly that's the writer.
I completely disagree. The publisher has made an investment in the author. A significant investment. Whether they can continue on as a business depends on whether those books sell. To not publicize the book means they are creating a product and not doing what they can to see that it finds its way to customers. It's just plain bad business.
They may have made a significant investment, or they may have made a small investment. They have other books to promote too, and if a 50 Shades shows up, they're going to move on to what's going to make them the most money and sideline my sad little book, which may not be making as much. A lot of books land with a thud, and publishers aren't putting as much money into new authors as they used to because of that. So while we'd like them to care as much as we do, unless they're looking at a big money maker, they just don't, because sinking more costs into something that's not doing as well as we'd hoped is also bad business. Sunk costs and all that.
The publishers try to cut their losses in reverse by simply not signing books that don't appear to have a built in profit; that's why author platform is a passport.
Do publishers ever take chances on authors before they've built a platform?
Yes, but it is still a business decision. If the market is ripe for that book, they may take a chance on an unknown author. For example, if you wrote a compelling zombie book two years ago, they might think your book could sell on the appeal of the zombie trend. Or if you wrote a book on an up-and-coming diet trend, and the market isn't yet crowded, they may think "people will be looking for this, let's do it."