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Was just browsing around a few publishers websites today and saw this on one of their submission guidelines:

Promotional Plan (Please do not tell us you are open to suggestions. Tell us what writing groups you belong to, with whom you network. Tell us about your Web page and the writing groups (online or local) you belong to. Take time to research opportunities. Do your ideas need to be set in stone? No. But we are looking for authors who want to interact and hobnob with readers through chats and signings and who will jump at any opportunity to talk about and share their books.)

Maybe it's just me, but if you are giving up 60% or more of the fees/royalites of your book, I'd want them to do something, not just have it all down to the author! Which seems to be the case here. More and more of them seem to want a marketing/promo plan when you submit, even before they've offered you a contract.

Take care,
Annette
 

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Publishers really like authors who interact and have a platform. Some take it to the extreme.
For 60% or more they better wipe my...glasses too.
 

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This is something I've read about. It seems like Publishers do not handle much themselves unless you are a very well known author. The only thing they really seem to be good for is if you want to get in to some kind of organization that requires you to be published by an established publishing house, or if you're name/story is so big that it can mostly carry itself. It seems like the better route would be to go self-publishing first, and then if/when you become big enough for the publishers/agents to come to you, then make the switch if you feel you want it. You would probably get a better deal this way, too(just a guess tho).

 

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Patty Jansen said:
Publishers who have that on their website would be the ones you avoid.
The same question will come up with Random House or Harper Collins. They'll want to see your author platform; they'll coach you into using Twitter, FB, GR more. Almost all of the promotion is left up to the author, which makes sense to me. It's the individual authors who should care the most about getting their works out there. It would take an army of staffers to promote each and every author in their stables. Much better to diffuse that responsibility.

The exceptions, of course, are the handful of books a year that get a huge push. I don't know how publishers could give that push to double or triple the books. There's not enough shelf space or air time. It's a problem with no other real good solution (except for the opportunities to be had online via Amazon and other distributors).
 

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The solution is for the publishers to cherrypick authors from the self-published pile, but also for them to stop preying on the desperate. What publishers do well is to distribute physical books into physical bookshops. Let them concentrate on that.
 

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Hugh Howey said:
The same question will come up with Random House or Harper Collins. They'll want to see your author platform; they'll coach you into using Twitter, FB, GR more. Almost all of the promotion is left up to the author, which makes sense to me. It's the individual authors who should care the most about getting their works out there. It would take an army of staffers to promote each and every author in their stables. Much better to diffuse that responsibility.

The exceptions, of course, are the handful of books a year that get a huge push. I don't know how publishers could give that push to double or triple the books. There's not enough shelf space or air time. It's a problem with no other real good solution (except for the opportunities to be had online via Amazon and other distributors).
It's perfectly reasonable for an author to handle promotion. Nothing wrong with that. But it eliminates one more item in the list of what the publisher is providing.
 

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Hmmm...

What do we do for our cut?

1. A content editor works with the author on pacing, character development, etc.

2. A line editor works his/her magic on the book.

3. Multiple proofreaders go through the book.

4. We provide a professional cover.

5. We provide professional formatting.

6. We create a FB page for the book and promote it.

7. We schedule a blog tour for the book.

8. We purchase ads to promote the book.

9. We promote our brand, which helps sell the books. (See our current contest as a case in point.)



Yes, we ask authors to participate in their own publicity.  :p
 

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Hugh Howey said:
The exceptions, of course, are the handful of books a year that get a huge push. I don't know how publishers could give that push to double or triple the books. There's not enough shelf space or air time. It's a problem with no other real good solution (except for the opportunities to be had online via Amazon and other distributors).
And here's the key to understanding when and under what circumstances a publisher really can help you - when they're bringing that huge push to the table. Until or unless that's potentially in your contract, and given that the author isn't just left to do the promotion, the author is actually MUCH BETTER at doing the promotion (in today's digital world), it makes sense to self-publish first.
 

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They have a netgalley account and they get your book in physical stores. I can't think of much else, other than prestige of their name.
 

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The last contract I signed with a big publisher came with pages of marketing questions I had to answer. It was a whole folder on its own and had to be returned to the marketing dept. within a certain date  :p It was fortunate that I belong to a public speaking club otherwise I would have been quite daunted by the whole thing.
 

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I think the biggest thing they do is not let you (the indie author) make mistakes, like putting a book out with an unusual cover. Their job is to put on the cover that looks exactly like the other popular covers, despite your screams that the hair isn't curly enough. And other things. Because they just know, from experience.

Unless it's a big deal, with co-op ad money and placement, they don't do much. What's one email out to their mailing list worth? $400? Basically BookBub, etc., are providing that same service a la carte.

You're paying for the experience and the data.

I could take someone under my little wing here and they'd probably do better with me than on their own. And there'd be NO WAY for me to get paid enough for the work, unless I took a lot of their future money. I'd probably take dumb risks with some and lose money/time on a few. Sorry, author, I was just playing Sims with your book. You are chaff/pawn! (It would be very Ender's Game and I'd have to be sooooo cold and calculating, which is so not me!) Anyway ... I'm not keen to do this right now, for many reasons. Maybe in the future, if I have something to offer.
 

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Authors doing their own promo is not new. Publishing doing big promo for you is a myth. It happens very rarely. Most of the time when you see a lot of press on an author it is not because the publisher was able to swing it (if it were, they'd do that all the time) but because the media are interested in the story for some reason.

I am sure that Hugh's publishers have been busy working on things, but the fact is that it's more the indie to print-only and movie deal which is making the press pay attention. It's what is happening with the property that turns heads.

If he were just another author making just another book, even if it sold well, he wouldn't be getting this kind of attention, despite how much his publisher might want it.
 
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