Struggling as an Author? Success Depends on Marketing More than Words


Publishing in a world today, where the market is saturated by wannabes and talent, is growing increasingly difficult. Navigating your way around the industry has never been more difficult, contrary to all the self-help blogs out there.

The author as publisher must consider marketing trends and professional networks if any moderate amount of success is to be achieved. How these practices influence the role of marketing (one of the single most important strategies to guarantee author success), coupled with the author’s role in promoting the book, and how product placement sees the book into the hands of a ‘gatekeepers’ will inevitably determine success.

It’s a long-winded process, with no short cuts available. The new trends and challenges are unprecedented, and with price wars between billion-dollar franchises like Amazon, Kmart and Walmart selling books below cost to entice customers through doors, the logistics of publishing an author to success are becoming increasingly challenging.

The publishing world has long engaged with agents, proof-readers, editors, and marketers, as well as sales representatives, illustrators, and publicists, but not until recently has the industry directly engaged with its consumers to survive. A move driven largely by independent publishing.

The importance of the publishing companies’ engagement with the consumer—and this includes the self-published multitasking author who dons the publishing and marketing hats—is vital for success.

Ventura Press publisher Jane Curry agrees that marketing is central to success, but competing with big publishers is tough. The bigger the publisher the larger the profits made. Smaller publishers are pushed into increasingly niche markets to compete against global giants like Hachette.

However, it isn’t all bad news for the author. The development of new media flooding the market has a silver lining, explains editor Anabel Pandiella. Professional networks are reliant on collaborations across new media; streaming platforms and well-placed entertainment magazines enhance this.

Yet, what remains of the role of the author?

Tasked to doing most of the work themselves, the evolution of large-scale self-publishing has changed the face of the author’s role, even in a traditional setting with a publisher. Editing, marketing, and the author’s ability to maintain their own webpages, and other digital promotion is now commonplace. The alternative self-publishing mode has created a publisher’s requirement that an author must have proof of ‘membership’ within the literary community through networking, even if minimal.

The author’s “genuine” involvement with their books when marketing on social media platforms, attributes publishing success to the author’s display of authenticity for the public to identify with. This becomes more important if what Pandiella suggests is occurring with notable consumer interest dropping away from Internet and digital marketing.


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