Readers buy Authors, not Publishers

We know that having a  little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Sometimes we get some information and think we know what we need to know about a topic. Unfortunately, that’s seldom the case.

People new to the book publishing world think the author writes the book, so the publisher should market the books. Reality is the author writes the book, the publisher publishes the book, and the reader buys the book based on one of two things–the content or the author’s reputation (both of which are author-driven, not publisher-driven).

Whether you’re published by a royalty publisher who purchases your intellectual property (which means you no longer own it) or you pay for publication (which means you own your books and the profits from sales are yours), the marketing of your book is up to you.

When new authors hear about huge cash advances or thousands of copies of a title sold, they envision the same success for their own book. Publishers, if they throw any marketing effort at your book at all, will only invest marketing money in authors who prove they can create demand for their books.

That’s why you see authors all over the media. That’s why you see authors making in-person appearances. That’s why you see authors hiring public relations consultants. That’s why you see authors making book trailer videos on YouTube. The list goes on and on of things authors do to get their books noticed in a crowded marketplace.

Of course, the quality of your writing is important, but just as important to your writing success is your likability. For example, professional speakers often gauge the success of their presentation by how many books they sell in the back of the room. When people like you, they want to take a piece of you (in the form of your book) home with them.

Write clearly. Write conversationally. Several books we’ve published are written with the feeling that the reader and author are enjoying a cup of coffee together. In essence, when you write a book, you’re asking someone to invite you into their home.  They’ll only do that if they like and trust you.

Readers buy authors, not publishers. You, as author, are responsible for marketing your book. Once you’ve become a recognized money-maker, your publisher might help you, but until then, you’re pretty much on your own in terms of marketing.

Be honest with yourself about your expectations for marketing your book. Your success depends on it.

Happy writing!

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3 Responses to “Readers buy Authors, not Publishers”


  1. 1 Carol Ann Hoel August 15, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Marketing I find much more daunting than writing. Nevertheless, if one writes well, one should be able to market. This statement should encourage me; but, alas, for the undeniably difficult requirements of marketing, I languish. It takes much more time, more concerted effort, more intense learning of the trade, more this, more that, more, more, more… Still, I will launch my boat out into the deep and drop my nets for a kill. Why waste a boat? Thank you for sharing valuable information.

  2. 2 expertbookpublishing July 23, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Good question regarding the difference between authors, bloggers, and Internet marketers you have on your site. Here are my thoughts in response to your question.

    Traditionally, people who write are placed into two categories–writers and authors.

    Authors write books. Writers write everything else. That’s why we say “he/she authored a book.” An interesting splitting of hairs to this idea of author versus writer is some people don’t consider anything not published (that is with an ISBN) as authored. To them, until a book is published, it is imply written, not authored.

    In the writing world, blogging is a fairly recent type of writing. Since anyone can write anything and post it on the Internet, writing blogs would fit in the writer (versus author) category. Yes, blogs can be considered published since they are public, but the publishing world is still figuring out how all the public information fits into the standard publishing model of ISBN (books) and ISSN (periodicals).

    Finally, Internet marketers may do a lot of writing (and thus be writers), but marketing is a different science that includes much more than writing.

    Thanks for the comment and question.


  1. 1 Waroeng Internet Trackback on July 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm

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