So your novel got picked up by one of the leading publishers in the country, and they gave you a hefty advance. Think they are going to do a great job marketing your book? Yeah? Think again. Here are three examples of authors who were signed by leading publishers but received no support marketing their book.
Author A was a well-established author with a healthy track-record. She received a low six-figure advance from her publisher. Several months before publication, the editorial, publicity, and marketing departments told her agent and her that their entire marketing plan was to send out advance reading copies for reviews to build word of mouth. That's it. Author A proceeded to jump through her ass to get media coverage on a national morning television program and an excerpt in a major weekly magazine. Still, the publisher wouldn’t increase print runs, wouldn't push to get the book into more stores, wouldn't pay for prime placement at the chains, and wouldn't send the author on tour. Upon release, the book floundered.
Author B received a two-book deal. The first novel did alright with little to no support from the publisher and maximum support from the author. The second novel got good reviews but wasn't even mentioned in the publisher's monthly email newsletter about upcoming releases. One month after its publication date, her editor--not her in-house publicist--approached her to discuss publicity and marketing efforts. Thankfully, Author B had already hosted a launch party, planned a regional tour, advertised through AuthorBuzz, and scouted different publicists to further spread word of her novel to the media, libraries, and schools.
Author C didn't need to live off her advance. She took her mid-five-figure advance and reinvested it in marketing consultation sessions, paid a web designer to create her website, hired the best publicist on the west coast, received media training, and hosted a launch party. The publisher took notice. They pushed to have a major bookstore chain feature her book, and instead of the originally planned local book signings in her neighborhood, they sent Author C on a sponsored regional tour.
The moral of these three stories is that you must have a marketing plan for your book no matter how large your advance or how big the publisher. You should have already begun developing it by the time you've signed off on final manuscript edits with your publisher's editor, and it should be finalized at least six months before publication.
What's Your Plan? [Reading Under the Covers]
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