Publisher’s/Author’s Marketing Responsibilities

What is some of the advice you give new authors as far as how to market their book and what they can do to get it out there. Also, what are the responsibilities of the publisher in marketing an author’s book? What should I be expecting them to do?

This really varies between publishers; and also between books with the same publisher. When a book comes out, it’s ranked as frontlist (books expected to sell well), mid-list (moderate sellers) or backlist (lower sellers or older books). The amount of marketing done for your book depends upon which list it’s on, which is based on pre-sells, with frontlist getting the lion’s share of the publicity.

There’s usually an initial marketing budget. Minimum that you should expect is to be listed in all catalogs, put on their website, and some sort of introductory announcement to bookstores—a brochure, postcard or e-mail blast. A business card or bookmark for you to hand out at signings and other appearances (although you might be asked to chip in on these). Review copies and press releases sent to Utah newspapers (because that’s where the majority of the LDS buying public lives), to your local newspapers, and other reviewers. Presentation at LDSBA the first year it’s out. If they offer a discount on your book, that can come out of the marketing budget too. That’s bare minimum and it might be all you get if the pre-sells aren’t good.

From there it can go to posters, racks, ads in catalogs and newspapers, book signings (you may have to pay travel expenses), radio ads and/or interviews, billboards, and any other neat thing they can think of.

After the initial marketing budget, most publishers plan to spend a set percentage of profits on marketing. The more books sold, the more money in your marketing budget.

What you’re expected to do is be a willing and enthusiastic participant in any marketing ideas the publisher has. If you can come up with some suggestions, that’s great too. Some authors hire PR people and pay for marketing out of their own pocket. Talk to other authors, see what they’re doing and adapt the ideas to your book. Get a copy of Jump Start Your Books Sales by Tom and Marilyn Ross. It has lots of great ideas. Another one is Guerilla Marketing for Writers.

Get your own website (I’ve talked about this before). You can either sell your book from your site or link to your publisher’s site. Or you can link to Deseret Book through their affiliate program.

If your publisher doesn’t give you business cards, then invest in these yourself. Make them full color with your book cover, ISBN number and Publisher’s logo or name on one side. ISBN & publisher helps bookstores find it. Put your contact info on the back: name, website address, e-mail address. Mailing address & phone number is optional. Many authors choose to be contacted through their publisher.

These need to look really nice, so hire a graphic designer who knows what they’re doing. is a good place to have them printed. They’re fairly inexpensive, they do a good job, and once you’ve purchased from them they send you regular promotions with great discounts. Then don’t be stingy with those cards. Give them to everyone.

One thought on “Publisher’s/Author’s Marketing Responsibilities”

  1. One thing I’d like to insert, especially for new authors, is that regardless of how much publicity your publisher does on your book, you as the author still need to get out there and promote it as much as you possibly can. Do signings, book clubs, library events, church events, school speechs, radio interviews, newspaper interviews, etc. There is nothing like the personal touch to get someone to buy a book, and the personal touch is something that the publisher can’t do because that comes from you. So even if your publisher says they’ll do a great job in getting the word out, please don’t think your job is over. Once you type the words “the end,” your work has just begun.

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