Monday, March 18, 2019

Marketing and the Publisher-Author Relationship


I recently had the Saturday Spotlight Feature at Ellen Jacobson’s site, The Cynical Sailor. If you want to know more about the workings of Dancing Lemur Press, Minions, penguins, and a workaholic publisher, please stop by.

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The subject of marketing as it pertains to the author comes up a lot. Writers question the need for a marketing plan and those publishers and agents who request one. But what they don’t realize is the days of writers hiding away just to write are long over. Authors HAVE to market themselves – and they better be ready to do so.

The latest Independent Book Publishers Association magazine’s feature article was all about the “Collective Engagement” – authors and publishers working together on marketing. How important is it for an author to work with them on promotions? Read this excerpt from that article:


I think there is a lot of wisdom and truth in both statements.

A book has a much better shot at success if the author and publisher work together to promote it. More than just the author doing some appearances and the publisher sending out review copies. They have to work together and match & meld efforts. That means a game plan and communication.

And yes, authors will be expected – required – to market. In the IBPA article, Armida Publications states: “All authors, prior to launch, are required to start focusing more on their social media as well as identifying people willing to assist in our efforts to promote the book.”

REQUIRED.

At Dancing Lemur Press, we work with our authors and prompt them down the promotion path. Depending on their abilities and time available, we map out the best possible way to reach their target readership. We work with them to find more reviewers, set up an online book tour, schedule appearances at libraries, schools, and bookstores, etc. We supply them with marketing materials in the form of files, ads, images, bookmarks, etc. We do our best to ensure they have what they need to effectively market their books. And we try to build that solid relationship with them.

If you are a writer not yet signed, you now know you will have to market – but if you find the right publisher, you will not do it alone. If you are with a publisher or agent, make sure they are also willing to work with you to promote your book(s).

Together you can plan:
• Reviewers and sending out review copies
• Advertising and graphics
• Bookstores, libraries, and schools to target
• Appearances
• Virtual tour
• Media release
• Target websites, magazines, etc.
• And more!


Have you developed a marketing plan? Does your publisher work with you?


This coming weekend - March 22-24, 2019 – FantaSci!
Dancing Lemur Press will be there all weekend with a booth
Location - Hilton Doubletree, RDU, Raleigh, NC
Special guest – author Timothy Zahn
If you live near Raleigh-Durham, come see us!

40 comments:

nashvillecats2 said...

It's always interesting to read about the different publishers that are around for writers. Thanks for sharing Diane.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was told when I signed to get my butt online and start marketing and I did!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I'm 'out there' but need to probably give ads a go this year.

Jemi Fraser said...

Marketing is definitely a vital part of today's author's job!

Jacqui Murray said...

I agree--about the wisdom. It is a collaboration, hopefully creatively also. Nice to see the changes.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane - if you're the author you want your work to succeed because of you - with others help yes, but not because of them. As Jacqui says - collaboration and encouragement ... cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

With ads, you just have to test many ads and venues to find what works.

J E Oneil said...

I definitely wouldn't want to go it alone. I'd have no idea what I was doing!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I definitely agree that it is a collaborative process. If I could use my existing Literary Rambles presence, develop other social media presence, work on online promotion, and just do limited appearances, I could do my part. But I always fear that isn't enough. It holds back my writing.

Pat Hatt said...

A collaborative approach sure is the best way. Have marketed galore at our shore, but not so much recently.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Natalie, you have a huge site. Plus so many agent contacts. When you are ready to submit and publish, you will be in great place.

Liz A. said...

I'd have no idea what to do to market. Good thing I don't have a finished book...

Mason Canyon said...

I'm sure some authors feel like it's taking time away from their writing to do marketing. However, I would think it shows an author believes in their work and who better to get the message across about what the book is about than the one who created it. Good tips, Diane.

Maurice Mitchell said...

That makes sense since the author knows the book and the publisher knows the technique

Tonja Drecker said...

Going it alone would have be much harder. But then, don't they say that many things are easier when working together?

Unknown said...

Hi Diane, Thanks for the tips. Sounds like a team effort, leading to success!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Great article, Diane! My publisher does expect the authors to take an active part in marketing, using as many of the techniques you mentioned as possible. I've tried to focus most of my own efforts online, but getting out and meeting the readers makes a difference, even when it seems there are few sales as a result. It's a tough world, and a writer cannot sit back and expect the publisher to carry the marketing burden.

Sherry Ellis said...

Thanks for the Big Dig to China photo on this post! Appreciate the subtle shout-out. Yes, unless an author is with a big publisher, the only way to get the word out is by the author working with the publisher to market the book. It's a huge amount of effort for both parties. Hopefully it will all lead to success!

Mark Koopmans said...

Fantastic post, Diane, and I think it's one you should repeat every X amount of time.

I'm not in the market, nowhere near, but I learned a lot and have saved this for the just-in-cases.

Thanks!

Sandra said...

Thumbs up, Di. I can't imagine any publisher working harder for her/his authors than you do.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Meeting readers in person can make a big difference.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You're welcome, Sherry.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you, Sandra.

Christine Rains said...

No matter how frustrating marketing can be, it is vital. Thanks for sharing some wisdom with us.

LD Masterson said...

I find the whole marketing thing rather scary. I have the time and the willingness, but not the skills. I was an IT person in my earlier life (the way behind the scenes part) and that's about as far from marketing as you can get.

emaginette said...

I didn't call it a plan but I did rally blogmates to sign-up for my cover reveal and virtual book tour. The tour alone was a month long party. It would have been helpful if I had some guidance when it came to social media and brick-and-mortar promotions though.

Anna from elements of emaginette

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Well said. Marketing is the single most frustrating part of the business, but I understand that it is necessary. Wish I was a bit closer so I could attend the conference this weekend.

Sandra said...

Have fun this weekend:)

Anonymous said...

As you know, I'm the worst. I don't market at all. I'm too afraid to "show" myself so I sit quietly in the corner. Maybe one day I'll be able to yell from the mountain tops. One day. :)

Elsie

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I wish I could attend the one you're going to soon.

Sandra said...

I'm going to work on reviews this time. We'll see.....

Fundy Blue said...

Thanks for this informative post, Diane! I learned a whole lot about marketing and the publisher-author relationship while helping my youngest sister promote her books. The process is not for the fainthearted or unenergetic, but it is necessary and doable. Thanks also for the link to Ellen's post, another informative one. All the best and success to you at FantaSci this weekend!

Nicki Elson said...

Oh, how I would've loved to have been with a publisher like Lemur from the beginning - one that understands the "together" part. My experience has been too much publisher control of marketing at release and then leaving the author to fend for themselves with zero helpful direction. It's very good advice to authors to learn more about how the marketing actually works at a publisher before signing on.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Um, in a word, NO. My publisher (ME!) sucks at marketing. I'm far from being a spring chicken, so I opted out of pursuing traditional publishing after I finished my first book because of how long the process usually takes. I figured time probably wasn't on my side. That may have been a foolish decision on my part, especially since I'm working on the second book of a trilogy now. After going the DIY route for my first book and for book one of this trilogy, I'm kinda stuck with my earlier decision.

Arlee Bird said...

Very informative post. Personally I'd prefer the marketing and engagement better than the writing.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

A good publisher-author partnership would be nice. I continue to fly solo, until/unless something better comes along.

PS Got something for you at my page.
Be well.

DMS said...

I agree that the publisher and author working together to market is the best way. I wish more publishers thought so. Marketing is a lot of hard work and working together can do so much more. :)
~Jess

SpacerGuy said...

I have the plan all sorted and I can visualize the end game, its just putting it all together sheeze, one trekker said to me once. "Your hiding arent you?" haha

Sandra said...

How was Fanta Sci?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

A lot of fun! And we sold books.