One of the realities that authors may not know about the publishing industry is that when a book is published, the publisher pays a fee to publish the book. And this fee is paid each year by the publisher. The reason I mention this is because if you wonder why a book goes out of print, that fee is one of the reasons. Because Immanion Press is a small press and we run on tight budget, we keep books in print for as long as we can, but when the book sales don’t support the fee getting paid, we pull the book from our lineup. This is one reason its important for an author to market their books. Books don’t automatically sell. What sells a book, more than anything is the author, because what people are really buying when they buy a book is access to the author.
When a book gets published, an author might be tempted to believe that the heavy work is done. After all the book is written and surely that was all that needed to be done. The reality is that the heavy work is just beginning for the author. There are no hordes of readers eagerly awaiting your book unless you have already established your presence enough that people want more of your work. In order for your book to sell you’ve got to do the work of promoting it, as well as promoting yourself. The reality of being an author is that you essentially start your own business when you write and publish a book. Unless you treat it like a business, chances are your book won’t sell.
Some authors are turned off by the idea of marketing their book. They feel that marketing takes away from the artistic aesthetic of the book, but if anything I’d argue that any successful author will tell you that marketing is part of artistic aesthetic of the book and just as importantly part of what calls a person to write. You likely aren’t writing a book just to write, but to actually share what you are writing with someone else. So if you are writing for that purpose, then marketing your book and yourself shouldn’t be too much of a stretch for you. What it involves is telling people about the subject material of the book and related topics. It’s not complicated and if you love talking about those subjects then it provides you the perfect opportunity to do so.
Of course marketing isn’t just on the author. The publisher should do their part to market the book as well. At Immanion, we’re in the process of trying a couple of marketing ideas out and we’ve recently found a designer who can help us with the advertising. We want our authors to succeed and we want to help them sell books so that their audience can read and appreciate the work the author put into the book. More than anything we want to keep the books in print so that people have access to them. So the marketing is on us as well. And if the author and publisher can work as a team the marketing that occurs can make the book stand out and help the author get the recognition they deserve.