The other day I came upon this piece about bestselling author M.J. Rose and it made me realize that there are still many authors who don’t take the bull by the horns and accept responsibility for the process of publishing their books especially in the area of promotion and marketing.
So often I hear clients say that the publisher is postponing publication of their books yet again, and I wonder why they don’t realize that publishers won’t put a book into a final publishing schedule until the final manuscript has been accepted. When the author is late with either his initial delivery or returning his edits, of course his book’s publication is going to be affected.
Then, there’s the author who hates the cover art for his or her book but then doesn’t suggest an alternative. This is part of the authors’ responsibility and it’s why we insist that there be language in the contract offering them consultation on the cover, and while it can be challenging it can also be fun. Ditto for the title. So many authors hate the titles their publishers like; they object, but they don’t come up with any alternate suggestions, and as a result, they are often truly unhappy with their work’s title.
Finally, of course, comes the promotion and publicity and it is here, as M.J. Rose so correctly says, where the author really needs to take full responsibility. No longer are most publishers willing to foot the bill for extensive publicity campaigns for two reasons: 1) they don’t have the money in many cases and 2) most of the methods that were once effective in publicizing a book are no longer working. Today, it is the author’s “job” to promote and sell his or her book—by using social media like Facebook and Twitter, by blogging, by calling on independent bookstores themselves and by doing this every day, especially for the initial six weeks after their book’s publication.
No more can or should an author complain about his or her publisher. This is counterproductive. Instead, the author should take charge in every way possible to get his or her book out into the marketplace and reach a wide reading audience. Only when that has been done effectively can the author become a writer again.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this so let me know.