From author Catherine Ryan Howard:
We all know I love publishers. I still hope, should I ever finish The Novel, to be published by one of them. Say silly things like legacy or gatekeepers, or use something as serious and tragic as the Irish potato famine—or rape or Stockholm Syndrome, for that matter—to describe the relationship between the author and the business that has risked its money to get that author’s book to market, and you go straight onto my Naughty List.
(Well, there isn’t actually a Naughty List. Who has the time? I will roll my eyes at you though.)
I don’t believe for a second, for instance, what is pretty much an accepted ‘fact’ by the majority of the self-publishing community: that traditional publishers don’t publicize and/or care about the books they publish. I’ve seen for myself that this is simply not true. The bad publishers might not, but it’s up to you not to sign contracts with them. (Or at least not sign contracts with them twice, or tarnish all publishers with the same brush just because of one experience.) Even if I took away what I’ve seen firsthand, there would still be the evidence of logic: publishing is a business, and any business that isn’t run by morons wants to recoup their investment, i.e. any advance paid, printing and staff costs. They market and publicize and support their product as much as they can because it’s in their interests for it to sell.
. . . .
Anyway, I tell you this because I want to make it clear that despite my self-publishing background, I ain’t a publisher-basher. But there is one area where some of them do need a stern talking to, and that’s their attitude towards using social media to promote their books. The Big Ones are all over it (that’s probably why they’re The Big Ones) but others aren’t even making an effort, which is crazy as they’re the ones who stand to benefit the most on the internet’s level playing field.
. . . .
Do any of these statements sound at all familiar?
- ‘But does Twitter really sell books? So-and-so has 10,000 followers and he only sold 500 books…’
- ‘Ugh. I can’t be bothered with Facebook and all that silly stuff.’
- ‘Why waste your time on that when books have sold fine without all this rubbish until now?’
- ‘There’s no evidence social media does anything except suck away time.’
- ‘I have NEVER bought a book because someone on Goodreads recommended it to me. NEVAAAH!’
- ‘Is this over yet? Call me when Twitter is gone.’
- (From the writer) ‘But I want just to WRITE!’
. . . .
But Wait… Does It REALLY Sell Books?
Yes, it does. It sold mine, it sells the books of my self-published friends, and it’s worked wonders for countless traditionally published titles. But most of the time, we can’t prove it. No one listens to self-publishers because for some reason self-published success is still treated like a total fluke. Even when the author says ‘Well, I did this and then I did this and then sales really picked up when I started doing this’, no one listens. They just think wasn’t he lucky?! And publishing houses use lots of different methods to sell books, so they can’t reallysay for sure why a certain book was a bestseller, only that, as a whole, the campaign worked. The other problem is that it doesn’t sell all the books, and the skeptics latch on to each Twitter-flavored failure and hold it up as high as they can. If it fails, it means they don’t have to worry about it.
Link to the rest at Catherine Caffeinated and thanks to J.M. for the tip.