Your publisher has all the bases covered for your book marketing.
Or perhaps not.
It happens a lot – I hop on a phone call with a new contact to discuss the potential of partnering with them on their upcoming book launch. It’s their first book. They have a relatively small platform, but do have a publisher (sometimes big, sometimes a smaller indie press) that’s promised the moon in terms of marketing and publicity for their title.
So, as we’re sorting through what holes we can fill to supplement what the publisher has promised, it inevitably ends up feeling like there’s not much for us to do. Maybe some additional publicity support to bloggers and podcasters, probably some social media support to grow the author’s platform and email list. But the rest? The publisher is going to handle it.
Sadly, I’ve found time and time again that it just doesn’t pan out this way and our client ends up disappointed, not getting the results they hoped for and scrambling in the midst of what is already a stressful period, to bring us on for added support at the last possible moment. So, how can you know for SURE what to realistically expect from your publisher? I have some tips:
Your advance can be a BIG clue.
Generally speaking, (but even this isn’t fail-proof!) the more the publisher has shelled out for an advance on your book, the more skin they have in the game and therefore the more they are likely to put some sweat equity into the promotion of your book. Essentially the less money you’re given, the less they’re likely to do.
Not sure what to measure against? If you’ve received less than $30,000 in an advance (and consider any buy-back agreements that might be woven into your contract that require you to buy x copies of your own book), don’t count on the publisher to do much more than print a handful of galleys to send to a few long-lead publications, share about the book a bit on their social media channels, maybe design and print a promo postcard for you to use at events, mail finished books about a month prior to publication to some short-lead media and not do a lot of concentrated follow-up, and call it good. You MIGHT get lucky with some co-op placements with Barnes & Noble where they pay to have your book on a new release table within select B&N stores the first month of publication. Or, if your book is geared toward the business traveler set, maybe some airport bookstore placements. But, even that type of placement can be something an author has to pay for out of their own pocket.
It goes without saying that every book a publisher publishes is listed in their catalog and discussed at sales meetings. So, while some publishers may tout this as a big deal, it’s not.
The books that receive 6-figure advances tend to have more publisher support with extra effort on publicity, an ad budget for social media, google adwords, better co-op opportunities with both Amazon and brick and mortar retailers, etc.
Communication Is Key
Here’s what I HAVE seen happen that can seriously kick a publisher into gear to put umph behind your book: pre-orders, pre-orders, pre-orders.
The more books that are pre-ordered — which means you rallying your audience months in advance to buy the book — the more the publisher sees the momentum stirring. They then communicate these #s in their sales meetings with book buyers at retailers which increases their enthusiasm, their initial orders of the book, and get the publisher excited to do more promotion.
Just recently, we had this happen with one of our launches. Our client has a large, engaged following on social media, and a large email list, but this was a first book for our client, so the publisher didn’t have past book sales to prove how well this book might sell. Therefore, their efforts were in line with what I shared above: some publicity, but not a lot of enthusiasm overall. Until…we started pre-selling the book like hotcakes with incentive offers and coordinated a ticketed book tour where folks got the book as part of their ticket price, which quickly started totaling up to thousands of books pre-sold. And BOOM…
More calls happening with them. More interest in what we were doing. More ideas flying around about how they could help. More concentrated publicity help. More co-op opportunities on the table. More booksellers putting in larger orders. And sadly, the publisher even treated our client differently! Now that it was proven our client could sell books, calls were a lot warmer and kinder. Kind of a shame, huh?
Bottom line? The onus is on you.
It’s your platform and your efforts that influence what type of advance you may receive and what kind of engagement you’ll get from your publisher. Even if you *think* they’re going to provide a lot of support from the beginning, why leave your fate in their hands?
Work hard on building an engaged platform, continue to provide consistent quality content, work to create a solid marketing plan for the book, and do as much as you can on your own to prove to your publisher that your work is worthy of paying attention to and getting behind. It’s a win/win for all.
Want to know more?
Jayme went LIVE to share more insider publishing tips:
3:33 Jayme explains why you should expect galleys from your publisher, what galleys are and process of getting the galley.
5:03 What galleys are used for.
6:52 Why it’s great to have galleys for speaking opportunities.
7:48 Why it’s great to have a galleys for organizations and businesses.
9:12 What co-op is and paid placements at bookstores.
11:00 Self publishing and paid placement in bookstores.
12:21 Amazon co-op, buying of ad space, and marketing.
14:14 Advertising in airport stores, the expenses of working with an airport store, including “shelf talkers” marketing.
16:12 The importance of the book’s cover design.
18:18 What happens with your finished book.
20:20 On Sale options.