Monday, March 14, 2011
SELLING BOOKS TAKES WORK BY EVERYONE
If you are so lucky as to have a bona fide publisher, and are not self-publishing or using a vanity or subsidy press, you are extremely fortunate. I don't have to tell people who read this blog that there are fewer and fewer traditional, bona fide publshers out here in book world.
However, that being said, one thing authors may not realize is that even if you have a bona fide publisher, you're still going to have to work your ass off to sell your book. Your small publishing houses cannot do everything for you.
In fact, many publishers don't do anything for the author, unless they are John Sandford or Stephen King, etc.. No advertising, no reviews, zero, zip, zilch. The author gets the books published at no cost to him/her, and that's about it. If the book doesn't sell, most publishing houses pull the book after six months and it's sayanora to the author, and good luck finding another bona fide publishing house once you've been dropped by one.
Even Stehen King has to get out there and do book signings and appearances. Why shouldn't you?
Publishing is, in many ways, a dying industry. Certainly the traditional publishing house is rapidly declining. The problem with self-publishing or using vanity and subsidy presses, is that all too often the books are poorly done with little or no editing, inferior paper and print, crappy covers, etc. Not always, mind you. Just usually, which is why self-published books have a hard time making it in the commercial market, although some rare exceptions do.
When you find someone who is willing to invest their time and money in your work, the very least you owe them is some willingness to get out and help sell this creation of yours. Just because you've written a book does not mean the world will greet you with open arms. It's a sad lesson many new, aspiring writers learn. Who do they blame when the book fails to fly off the shelf? The publisher. Not themselves and their lack of energy or interest in promoting their own work.
We at Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc. work our asses off for our authors, quite frankly. We scrounge for legitimate, professional reviews for the books (we never pay for reviews); we advertise the books; we take the books FREE OF CHARGE to book events where we display and sell them at no cost to the authors; we blog about the books; we tweet the books; we do, basically, everything possible that we can afford to do. We also give the authors huge discounts to buy their own books to sell; and we pay way more than the industry standard in royalties. We are very upfront about our expectations from the author: we expect authors to take an active interest in selling their books. If they can't do that, then they should most definitely not ask us to invest our time and money in it.
We've been very fortunate at Moonlight Mesa, for the most part. Some of our authors are go-getters and are making a lot of money out there selling their hearts out. When these people work as hard as they do, we are inspired to work even harder for them.
Our authors, mostly, have been tremendous. They appreciate our efforts on their behalf. They appreciate the beautiful books we've put out for them at no cost to them. They understand the publishing/marketing process and understand that NO ONE CAN SELL THEIR BOOK AS WELL AS THEY CAN.
This year we committed to five books; it looks like we'll only be doing four and will be carrying one title over to 2012. In 2012 we are doing only one or two books and are spending our time and money on marketing ploys instead of publishing. Whether we continue publishing or simply market and distribute books is up in the air at this time.
However, no matter which small publishing house does your book, you're going to have to put some energy, effort, time, and even money into making your publication a true success.