We’ve been talking about the paths to publishing and what each path entails so that authors can make the best possible business decision. For the last few weeks, we talked about the need for every author to market their books regardless of their publishing choice.
I was asked, are there exceptions? Does everyone really market?
The truth is that there are exceptions. Below are some examples.
Example number one:
I have an author friend who has been writing novels for a particular romance publisher for a bazillion years. Okay, literally not a bazillion years but definitely somewhere in the vicinity of four decades. The publisher of these romance books has a loyal following of readers and so sales have always been good. Consequently, my author friend has never marketed a day in her life. She didn’t have to. She’s written four books per year and got reasonably good advances. Her advances, though have decreased over the years, as they have for most authors.
If my author friend wanted to continue to write four romance books a year for the next hundred years, she probably could do that and still never have to market her books. She has a good thing going.
What if she wanted to write something different? What if she wanted to write a mystery or romantic suspense?
Her romance publisher doesn’t do romantic suspense or mystery or any other genre so my author friend would have to start from scratch. She’d have to find a publisher, and make a website, and go through all the things that the majority of authors go through to market their books. It wouldn’t matter that she’s written close to 100 novels. She would have to find new readers, and that’s the rub.
This new writing project would in effect make her a new author. She would have to market.
Example number two:
I have another author friend who is a writing machine. She writes eight to ten (yes, 8 to 10) books per year. She has multiple publishers and she publishes multiple series with each publisher. She also does very well for herself.
This author friend also appears to be a marketing machine. She is on Facebook, and Twitter, and Tumblr, and Pinterest, and she does newspaper interviews, and Youtube videos and a ton of other marketing tasks. Not only does she post different information on each different social media platform, she does it several times per day. She engages her followers personally and interacts with them. Each of her followers probably feels that they have a personal relationship with this author, and the result of it is that she is able to create a big readership for her books, regardless of publisher.
But here’s the reality. This author friend loves writing. But she hates marketing. Luckily she is able to afford a full-time marketing assistant, and that is all they do.
Hiring someone to do your marketing if another exception. But I don’t know many authors who can afford to do that.
The important point I am trying to make with the everybody markets rule is that it is easier to plan to be an author who markets than it is to plan to be the exception, because you can’t really plan for that.
Remember that even James Patterson, who sells a gazillion books per year still does commercials for each book.
Next time: Self-Pub, Indie-Pub, or Big 5? Part 6