Most of us who hope to be published will never see the contract of a major publishing house. We’ll take alternative routes, because we accept full-time rock star status is only given to a few.
There are many complicated factors here, but I want to concentrate on just one…marketing. The big publishing houses are in the business of publishing what they think will sell. That’s why so many great authors get passed up. Once they have their sellable book and author (yes, both have to be marketable), then they throw tons of money at it to get it in front of as many people as possible. Once the book turns a profit, the publisher’s happy. If the book proves better than expected, the author might see a second contract.
That’s the simplicity of it, but the nuts and bolts are more complex. But that’s another post, and honestly a negative one. So I probably won’t go into that.
On the indie publishing scene, things are different. Indie publishers focus on great writing first, not necessarily sellability, though that certainly helps. Indie publishers are keeping excellence in the craft alive. But indie publishers don’t have the capitol to mass market their products. The author is expected to do the majority of their own marketing. In addition, indie publishers don’t have contracts with chain bookstores, so these books often don’t make it to shelves.
Let me sum up the picture for you.
- Focus on excellent writing.
- Little capitol for marketing.
- Can’t get into bookstores.
Big publishing houses:
- Focus on marketability.
- Lots of money for marketing.
- Gets books everywhere.
Die harders for the craft obviously prefer the indie scene. But if you want any hope of being able to write full time you have to keep shooting for a big publishing house…because they make money.
So now that the lesson is over, let me tell you what Grace (Splashdown Books) and I are trying. We want to break the mold and show that an indie book has marketing power too. There’s two things we’re doing. First, I’ve designed a pretty dynamic marketing strategy. Most of you have seen the book trailer, but if you haven’t just click my name up at the top. We’re pushing this momentum to June 1 by strategically releasing sample chapters and a second trailer. We’re also trying to get 1,000 people to commit to buying the book either on release day or within the first week of release. Don’t laugh. There’s already over 100 committed and over 2,000 invited. Want to get involved? CLICK HERE. And then after the release, I’m going to attempt to keep momentum by tapping into my 100+ core fans and doing as many appearances as I can at schools, libraries, and bookstores. By then the snowball should be rolling.
Yes, it’s ambitious. But if we pull it off, Winter will shoot to the top at Amazon and prove that an indie published book can do it too.
So what’s the moral of the story? Big publishing is an exclusive club. Don’t expect to get in anytime soon. Write well and work your tail off, and you just might land an indie publisher. But that’s only the beginning. If you want to be successful, the work never stops. Plan for it. Some indie publishers will ask you this up front before offering you a contract.
You were creative enough to write your story, but are you creative enough to present it to the world? How will you market your book when it’s finally published? Have you even thought about it?
The time to start is now. But there’s a word of caution too. If you market too much too soon, you’ll burn out your fans as they wait. And waiting could take longer than you expect. Keep your mad marketing skills at the ready, until the time is right. Just make sure you’re ready.