Self-Publishing: Patience, Buzz and Marketing
post # 424 — August 29, 2007 — a Strategy and the Fat Smoker post
One of the attractions of self-publishing, I hoped, would be to put things on a faster track than is normal with publishing houses.
I have never quite understood why it takes them fully nine months from the time you hand over a manuscript until the official publication date.
I’m beginning to understand. By self-publishing, I can get my books physically produced in a small number of weeks, and theoretically at least, listed on Amazon immediately. That would be one option.
However, it’s now becoming clear that the campaign to bring it to the audience’s attention is going to take a lot longer. All the advice I am receiving, from both traditional book PR experts and on-line blogging PR advisors, is that I should allow time for the marketing before the book is available, not afterwards.
Apparently, media outlets have already (late August) received galleys of forthcoming books to be published in January. They would be unlikely to consider looking at a book submitted now that was publishing earlier: it wouldn’t allow them the time (given how many others they have to look at) to consider it. To even have a chance of review in major media outlets, I am told, I should plan publication for my book in, say, January.
So, it appears that the long lead-times I have experienced in the past may not have been publishers’ inefficiency, but a response to the way mainsteam media works.
What’s also interesting is that my “internet and blogging” advisors basically say the same thing: serve the blogging community by giving them the chance to review and comment on the book before publication. Allow plenty of time to build the buzz.
In a way, it feels paradoxical. Surely, I think to myself, it would be better to get some attention when people can actually respond and buy the book! Don’t you lose effectiveness if people can’t buy it when they read about it?
Friends and advisors point to what happens in record and movie marketing: word of mouth is terrific, but a great opening weekend really helps!
A really interesting description of how a current top best-seller (The 4-hour work week) was marketed is given here.
Of course, since my book (STRATEGY AND THE FAT SMOKER) is all about having the patience to bet on the long term and defer immediate gratification, I should be able to understand all this. But the truth is that I wrote the book because I find delayed gratification hard, not easy.
I’ll keep you posted on what I learn about marketing my book. Meanwhile, I wouldn’t complain if you wanted to build a little buzz for me!
Anyone else been through this? Any views on pre-release marketing versus post-release marketing?