Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why Marketing Should Not Be a Second-Class Profession Among Authors

The argument that marketing is just too, too crass for authors doesn't seem to go away, does it? 

It feels as if more is a work here than rational argument. Do the literary minded feel threatened? Do those who market their books feel both deprived of writing time or feel they are being discriminated against by the literary world? Do we in the publishing industry really want to behave like politicians?

Here's the thing. Marketing as always been part of publishing. It's just that these days publishing houses' budgets are smaller and many authors' marketing skills (by necessity or preference) have blossomed. A book simply is unlikely to sell unless someone is doing the marketing. So what about a nice balance of writing and marketing for any author.

Publishing is a partnership and authors have always been partners--even if not full partners--in the marketing of books. It takes the author to do book tours, to sit on panels, to sign books, to be interviewed on the Today Show. Always has. Always will. So if authors extend those skills to benefit their books while balancing that time against writing or taking a reasonable amount of time away from writing to get their book on the right track...well, isn't that what is best for book, author, publisher—and the reader who can't read a book unless he or she knows about it.
Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a frequent contributor to Writers On The Move. She is a multi award-winning novelist, poet and author of the HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including the highly acclaimed Frugal Book Promoter ( Learn more and sign up for her SharingwithWriters newsletter at


  1. Right on, Carolyn. Often, creatives are introverts, so it is difficult to get out there and toot their own horns. But it is essential these days, whether you have a big-name publisher or are self-published.

  2. Carolyn, this is so true and today more than ever. Publishers actually expect authors to have a platform before contacting them. They want to know the author knows how to market their own books.

  3. If we can't be proud of our own work, then why do it to begin with? Right? Done right, marketing is about giving and sharing, not selling.

  4. I completely agree with you, Carolyn. If, as writers, our life's work is in service of others - to share our stories and visions - then a significant part of that process is in the marketing.

  5. Carolyn, I agree writers must market. The trick is to how to do it right so it feels like sharing.

  6. Interesting article. Not "there" yet - but wise information for me when I get there. Thanks, Carolyn!

  7. Like the emphasis on sharing. Thanks Carolyn.


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