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I visited my local Barnes and Noble today.

Now you have to understand - I love bookstores.  I used to spend hours just wandering up and down the aisles and I've spent many thousands of dollars on books over my lifetime (probably mid-five digits). 

Today I walked out with nothing (well, a magazine). 

It seemed that half the books in the store were 'DaVinci Code' wannabes or 'Twilight' clones.  I'm not saying anything against either of these two books but I've read them already.  I want something different.  Your article at least partially explains why I'm not finding anything.
 

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I think there's a slight misconception that traditionally published authors get a pass on marketing. Many of the ones I've met do a ton of publicity, marketing and promotion, and while it's not a contractual requirement it's definitely expected.
 

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Sarah Woodbury said:
My traditionally published friends have done ALL their own marketing. Even to the point of having to use part of their advance to pay a publicist.
I have seen some of the American crime and thriller writers I know do this and it astounded me. I know why they've done it and I don't blame them, but it's pretty poor form that their publisher won't run that end of things when they are taking the lion's share of the money. I think it's a big part of the reason behind the migration of authors away from traditional publishers in the US.
 

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mmm... maybe they´ve published with small editorials. Here in Spain it´s very typical that a small editorial just put the book on the store. But the marketing and promotion is an author´s job.

But with big editorials (random house, etc.)things change: they do most of the job. They prepare press interviews. They send press notes. The organise book presentations. They have community manager to handle online marketing...

I don´t say authors do nothing, but they just follow the editorials efforts.

On the other hand, indie authors or authors published by small editorials have to do most part of the Mk job.

So... Which is the advantage of a traditional publication when not done by a big editorial? In my opinion, none.

But being published by one of the big 6... well... that´s a different story! :)
 

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BarbaraKE said:
I visited my local Barnes and Noble today.

Now you have to understand - I love bookstores. I used to spend hours just wandering up and down the aisles and I've spent many thousands of dollars on books over my lifetime (probably mid-five digits).

Today I walked out with nothing (well, a magazine).

It seemed that half the books in the store were 'DaVinci Code' wannabes or 'Twilight' clones. I'm not saying anything against either of these two books but I've read them already. I want something different. Your article at least partially explains why I'm not finding anything.
Sorry to hear that. My local B&N, and the few Borders that survived, do a pretty good job of promoting a variety of different books, and the shelves are always filled with something that catches my eye. The trouble for me is price. And as much as I love the brick & mortars, when I'm holding that book in my hand I know full well I can buy it far cheaper on Amazon. This is where bookstores lose. Badly :(
 

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Javier,

Even with the Big 6, I think you would honestly be surprised. Superstar authors like Lee Child and Michael Connelly got there by doing a huge amount of leg work. Absolutely, a big publisher will market and promote but authors are expected to put a lot of work into promotion on their own and to be pro-active. The one thing a big publisher does get you though is coop (front of store, chart placement, 3 for 2 offers), which is hugely valuable.
 

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I've been published by a few of the big 6 and I've had to do ALL my marketing and advertising, they did nothing.  Except for Harlequin.  They do some stuff for their authors.  But they also have a huge readership so authors don't really have to do too much to sell.

 

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Sarah Woodbury said:
My traditionally published friends have done ALL their own marketing. Even to the point of having to use part of their advance to pay a publicist.
I agree. I do a lot of work for traditionally published writers -- designing postcards and banner ads, not to mention web sites. Most of the trad published authors I know who are mid-list and below work just as hard as we do.
 

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You can argue that the big six are no longer gatekeepers, yet the vast majority of book sales come from their books. Virtual bookstores hold more books, including ours, but the big sellers of today aren't a lot different than the big sellers of 10 years ago. I think indies are simply these annoying gnats that the big six haven't even bothered to swat at yet.
 

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Javier Gimenez Sasieta said:
mmm... maybe they´ve published with small editorials. Here in Spain it´s very typical that a small editorial just put the book on the store. But the marketing and promotion is an author´s job.

But with big editorials (random house, etc.)things change: they do most of the job. They prepare press interviews. They send press notes. The organise book presentations. They have community manager to handle online marketing...

I don´t say authors do nothing, but they just follow the editorials efforts.

But being published by one of the big 6... well... that´s a different story! :)
Spain? I don't know about Spain but here in the USA it is quite different. A few months ago I met a popular Franchise author at a social thingie and we hit it off and BS'd a bit. Anyway it was a surprise to find out how much work he had to do to market himself--even today with a large solid core readership and 7 well selling titles out there. When he first got signed (after over 90 rejections) his new publisher wanted him to tell them about how he was going to market the book. What??? He was surprised because he thought they would take care of all that and they did roll him out like they usually do but he had to do more than he ever expected. That first year he traveled all over the US and spent $11K on marketing his first book (tiny advance) and himself in addition to what the big publisher did. It's eight years later and now he spends alot more. This is all out of his pocket--not the publishers. That said, it is a small fraction compared of his royalties. His biggest problem is all the time all the traveling sucks up.
 

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Fascinating article.  I never got as far as being turned down by a publisher, but I did send out over 40 query letters for each of three novels--120 letters for which I received all of two (2) requests for full manuscript.  I was briefly a member of an online critique group that arranged its activities around a competition, with one prize awarded every several months.  The prize?  The opportunity to write have your novel reviewed by an agent.  How pathetic!  I dropped out of that rat race, but only because I read the fine print at the site, which said anything uploaded to the site became the property of the site's owner (the literary agent), who then owned the copyright in the works.  When I inquired, the admins (lackeys?) at the site confirmed:  the literary agent owned everything submitted.  While I didn't think any such claim would stand in court, I left the site immediately.

I'm much happier being an indie.  I bring home enough money from book sales to pay for groceries every month and then some, which is not saying a whole lot, but it's something, and much more than I would be receiving if I continued to sweat and worry over query letters.  Apparently it is quite true that New York publishers are not uniquely qualified to determine quality.
 
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