The future of book promotion is online and by the author.You already knew that, didn’t you? That’s because you’re in the trenches, working to get your name and book in front of the public’s eyes. You’re building a website, a blog, a Facebook presence, and a LinkedIn account with umpteen-hundred connections. You’re tweeting and befriending and guest posting as yourself and as your characters.
Jesse Kornbluth shouts out to publishers, in hopes of waking them up to what authors are already doing and to what they, the publishers, need to be doing, in a Publishers Weekly article called “Authors’ -- and Publishers’ -- Shifting Responsibilities.”
Here are some snippets of what he has to say -- and as I said at the top of this post, some of it, you already know and practice:
Book publishing has been trying to commit suicide for all the decades I've been writing, and now it's finally getting some traction on that project.I think up and coming writers already know most of this. The responsibility has shifted to our shoulders. It’s a burden we don’t necessarily want to carry, but times have changed.
Authors are beginning to grasp that the job description of “writer” has changed. Writers may be artists. They are also brands.
More typically, publishing contracts are for one or two books; in that truncated relationship, a publisher can only do so much for its writers. The heavy lifting of a career will fall to writers and their agents, or it just won't get done.
So unless they are geniuses—and recognized as such—writers who want attention for their work need to cultivate some 21st-century media skills. They should be camera-ready, because they'll want to make YouTube videos. They should know their way around social networking sites. They should have some experience with book clubs, and they should be willing to spend as much time there as they used to spend on book tours.
My vote is for the publishers of books that stand a chance to succeed to attach $5,000 to $10,000 to the advance, money the writer can use only for digital marketing expenses and Web site enhancement.
It's equally sane to demand that writers take major responsibility for their careers.
Kornbluth had some recommendations for publishers, ones authors may or may not like:
Meanwhile, like everyone else, I have a laundry list of changes that publishers might make in the interest of their survival. Some of my thoughts are obvious and universal: a massive scaling-down of the number of books published, more aggressive editing of what does get released, and a shattering of the template that says a new book must be bound between hard covers.While all this may not be new news to you, it does indicate a possible shift in not just the thinking of the publishing world, but the reality.