It used to be, if you got picked up by a halfway-decent publishing house, your book got a publicist whose job it would be to make sure that the world knew about it. No more. Or, not so much if you aren't already a mega-star.
A recent Washington Post article explores the world of the new and midlist author in the literary jungle these days. "Authors are expected to behave like mini-entrepreneurs," the Post quotes Kamy Wicoff, founder and CEO of She Writes, a Web site devoted to helping women writers promote their books. "Writers with small advances and limited resources are expected to treat their book as a new company, with marketing and promotion and PR."
That costs money.
And eminent blogger Colleen Mondor says, "If you really want to promote your books most effectively then you have to become part of the blogosphere. Basically you have to invest some serious time - like several days at least..."
That costs time.
Careers are made or broken daily - not because the author is a good writer or a bad one, but because the author is good, or not so good, at self-promotion.
But there is still one thing that is beyond price, that cannot be bought and paid for, that cannot be wheedled or bullied or blackmailed out of people. Word of mouth. If you like a book, particularly if it isn't by a superstar like Dan Brown, tell other people about it. Go shout it from a mountain.
That shout, that's something - that's ONE thing - that your favorite author doesn't then have to do themselves.