What Writers and Readers Don’t Know
Two thoughts have been floating through my mind the past few days. One concerns writers, the other readers.
One: Writers don’t realize writing the book is only half the job. The real work begins once it’s published – when the marketing and promotion begin. The naive writer kicks back, smiles, and waits for the reviews, accolades, interviews and royalty checks to pour in. NOT. As long as Roger and have been in publishing, which is almost 40 years, one thing has remained an absolute: You have to promote your book. No one can do as good a job as you. The publisher will promote it only when it begins to show promise. The publisher doesn’t make it show promise – that is the author’s job. My first bestseller, The Naked Computer, was successful because John Gantz and I spent over half our advance on promotion.
Two, and this is really for writers as well as readers: Who cares who your publisher is? Ask your friend, colleague, spouse, anyone, what they’re reading. They’ll tell you the title. Ask who the author is. They’ll tell you. Ask who the publisher is. Nine times out of ten they won’t know. So why should you publish with a name-brand publisher? There is a big new opportunity open to writers these days, and it’s called self-publishing. You do the same amount of work, both writing and editing and marketing and promotion, either way. The big difference is with the “80/20” Factor. Go with an established publisher and you get 20% or less. Self-publish and you get 80%.
That isn’t to say you should self-publish. But you ought to think about your reasons for going one way or the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Create a list. Compare. Talk to people, gather as much information as possible. An excellent source is a site called writersreaders.com, from which I filched the title of this blog. It’s run by Jerry Simmons, who was in New York publishing for over 25 years.
It’s a big decision. Think it through until you know the best solution for you and your book.