Four Reasons Why You Must Take Responsibility for Your Own Marketing

Several years ago, I had lunch with a prominent, formerly best-selling author. He was angry that his sales had been in steady decline for several years. Unwilling to accept any responsibility, he poked his finger in my chest and hissed, “My job is to write the books; your job is to market them.”

A Businesswoman Holding a Business Card - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Cimmerian, Image #3338142

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Cimmerian

In the old world, he was right. Authors created the product and relied on their publishing company to market it. But that world is dead. That doesn’t mean that publishing companies expect you to do everything. But it does mean that they are more effective if you have a platform already in place. It provides something for them to leverage.

If this is true for authors who publish with traditional publishers, it is even more true of self-published authors. Yes, it is easier than ever to get a book into print, but it is more difficult than ever to sell it.

As a result, marketing is not something you can afford to leave to others. You must take responsibility for it yourself. This isn’t just true for authors. It applies to almost every other field as well.

There are at least four reasons why this is necessary:

  1. No one knows your product better than you. I hear authors complain all the time, “My marketing director hasn’t even read my book.” I’m sorry but that’s the norm. Get over it. Post-recession, the typical marketing director is responsible for 50-plus books per year. Even if they did have time to read your book (which they almost certainly don’t), they will never know it the way you know it.
  2. No one is more passionate about your product than you. Do you really think anyone could care about your book more than you? I doubt it. You took months—perhaps years—to write it. You kept going when that little voice in your head told you that you were crazy. You endured a string of rejections from agents and editors. But you kept going. Why? Love. You were passionate about your message or story. You just had to share it with the world.
  3. No one has more skin in the game than you. If your book fails, the marketing director at the publishing house will go on to the next project. It is not that he or she doesn’t care; it’s just that the publisher’s bets are spread across a portfolio of projects. Not so with you. Your publishing fortunes rise or fall on the success of your current project. If it succeeds, you reap the lion’s share of the rewards. If it fails, you suffer the consequences. Your career is on the line.
  4. No one is likely to do it if you don’t. I wish this weren’t the case, but for 95 percent of all authors it is. Sure, a traditional publisher will deploy a standard set of marketing activities. But these are generally not enough to get your book noticed—especially in a world where more than one million new book titles are published every year. Marketing directors and publicists generally don’t have the time and resources necessary to make your book a success.

This is why you must take matters into your own hands. Let me suggest that you take a long look in the mirror. The person you are looking at is your new Chief Marketing Officer. Stop complaining about the fact that your book is not getting the marketing effort it deserves. Instead, take responsibility for your own publishing success and invite others, including the publisher, to join you in the endeavor.

Question: As an author or prospective author, how do you feel about taking on this role? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    I think my first (e-)book is maybe a year away, but I have to admit I don’t feel up to it.  Since it would be a side-project for me, I feel like I don’t have the time to market it the way it would need.  

    I’m already overwhelmed trying to do the social networking needed to get my blog off the ground.  

    With all of that said, I don’t think I would actually “publish” unless I had the time to spend marketing, and doing it right.  I agree with you–self-marketing is vital to getting a book (or any creative project) off of the ground.

    • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

      Don’t stress it Dave. You will get there. Personally, I am working on my first book. It is being edited right now and I am currently outlining my second book. As much as my instincts tell me not to, my first book will be free. Always. Great marketing tool to get your name out there. No risk for the reader.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Seth Godin has endorsed a similar strategy. However, you might want to get something in return. For example, I am giving away my new e-book, Creating Your Personal Life Plan, in exchange for a free subscription to my e-mail newsletter. I have added more than 20,000 names in two months. That will ultimately be more valuable to me than whatever I would have charged for it. Everyone wins.

        • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

          Good call Michael. Thanks!

        • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

          Would that strategy work for a longer work? I have a completed novella, but agents I have talked to turned me down without a word of advice until Chip Macgregor told me that it is just that novellas aren’t worth the effort unless I already had a published piece.

          Now I’m really, really thinking hard.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Yes, I don’t think it matters, provided you are giving your readers something they want. I also agree with Chip—novella are almost impossible to sell to traditional publishers.

          • barry

            With such a hurried society, why is a novella out of vogue? Tuesday’s with Morrie?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            The problem is that for traditional publishers, a novella requires the same amount of marketing effort as a full-length book. (It still must get noticed.) But you can’t charge as much, so the return is much less. In other words, the return doesn’t justify the investment.

            By the way, I wouldn’t consider Tuesdays with Morrie a novella. For starters, it’s a true story. Second, it’s 192 pages long. Thanks.

          • barry

            Good point about the true story (but TWM was 31,000 words – is word count the best way to categorize a work of fiction like “The Five People You Meet In Heaven” or “Big Fish” as a novella? 

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Avoid the word novella. It has a negative connotation with publishers. They are simply shorter books. 31,000 words is not really that short in today’s market.

          • barry

            Very helpful – as always.  Your insights and resources are greatly appreciated.

          • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

            I don’t know if the intent of your post was to merely get us thinking or to spur action, but you are doing both for me. You have also connected a thought from Jeff Goins a few days ago, that he also offered as an ebook for signing up (for the record I have both his and yours).

            Moving forward with the idea brings other questions to mind, the biggest of which is can a 35k word novella be as attractive as the shorter easier to read e-books the two of you offered?

            I believe I saw a post on how easy it was to make one a few weeks ago. I’m assuming I can find that in your archives. However the question remains, how can I get someone else to edit/overlook the novella before I try to create an e-book?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Forget about the length. It is not a barrier. Readers don’t buy length or word-count, they buy education or entertainment. The book should be long enough to accomplish that purpose.

          • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

            I know I buy based on whether I like the content or not. Word count means very little as you can write very little but have much, much power behind those words.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            White space probably influences a read for me, and with Kindle (my wife bought one this week and loves it), that’s what you’ll notice because every book is just as thick as any other (about an 1/8th of inch, I’d guess). I can handle lengthy stories or fictions but I get a sense of rapid reading if I’m turning the pages (which white space definitely encourages). If you check out my website, I tend to use that style to a fault.

          • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

            It would be a little off topic to ask about some more specifics on creating an ebook here, but I’ve been looking into it over the last few days and these first four words have probably done more to decide to do this than any other thing you have said.

            Thank you.

          • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

            You should try publishing as a Kindle book… I’ve looked into that a bit and seems cheap and easy.  Some people have made some decent money on Kindle publishing too.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Yes, this is true. But it still must be marketed.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            How does e-publishing and e-book sales influence a “normal” publishing path?

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            How much is it?

          • K. Rowe

            I just self-pubbed a romance novella- Cowboys and Olympians, and with a little work, it was #1 best seller on Smashwords in May- not bad considering I published the beginning of April. My advice- get it out there and offer free coupons to get readers, blog, find all the websites you can to list the book. Yeah, it’s hard work, but keeping at it will have rewards.

            No, I’m not some rich Indie author, in fact, I’m $6K in the hole after publishing 3 books. So I got a long way to make up for that, and I hope more readers will come my way. It’s a total crap-shoot, but I love to write, and I’m willing to suck it up until that magical book takes off.

          • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

            I had hoped to sell my novella, not expecting to get rich, but excited to get it out to readers. It’s been sitting on my hard drive for two years now while I work on my novel. This post has re-invigorated my desire to get it to readers and money is the least concern. I hope that it will be what it takes to get more viewers. The only drawback is that I think I need to change from the free WordPres site I currently have and want to do that before I start giving it away.
            I’m just trying to figure out the diferences and see which way I need to go. Ultimately, I’m headed in the hole like you are but the story will get out.

        • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

          Amazing. The cool part is whenever you do sell your next book, you have a much larger audience to market to. And I’m sure we’ll all buy it :)

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          Which is harder to market: ebook or printed copy?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Marketing has little to do with the format. The challenge for both is to get prospective readers attention.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Gotcha! Would you say that ebooks are easier to get published?

            _____

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Yes, because it requires less investment.

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            That’s so true, Mike. But I do have some hard numbers about my $2.99 ebook. It’s selling better than all my other (11!) traditionally published print books COMBINED. There’s some power in that Kindle store.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Wow. Amazing. Good for you!

          • http://twitter.com/jsanty Jeremy Santy

            Great Mary! With a price point like 2.99 it’s a low enough price point for most but enough of an investment for them to actually read the book too! I actually did this with Radical by David Platt on the Kindle (purchased it a month or so ago for 2.99). I’m reading it now. :)

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Mary–you offer a solid example of the question Ellen and I discussed just yesterday while walking the dog. Despite her experience as a freelance editor with three different publishing houses (and the fact she loves her new Kindle), she fears the e-book path for me. I appreciate your sharing some vital information for authors learning the business and the craft at the same time. Thanks–Tom

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            Tom, here’s a post I wrote about how (easily) to publish your ebook: http://www.marydemuth.com/2011/06/publish-your-e-book-in-seven-simple-steps/ I hope that helps in your journey.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Thanks, Mary, for opening a path for us who follow into the writing world. I’ll check your post out.

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            Mary, that’s a stellar article! Very detailed, and easy to see the process.

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            Thanks Robert.

          • Reyshawnd Bobo

            Thanks Mary that website was extremely helpful.I am new at this writing process. I just finished a book and i really how no clue how an E book worked.
            Thanks–Reyshawn bobo
             

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            So glad it helped!

        • Terri

          Does this strategy work for fiction?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Yes, I think it could.

        • http://suburbiauncovered.com/ Matt Powell

          doing something like that seems so counter-intuitive but it obviously works… efforts like Noise Trade are another good example.  Thanks for helping think outside the box.

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          In “Quitter” (thanks, Mike, for a great read, by the way), Jon Acuff got an invitation to speak in front of Dave Ramsey’s people. He stressed over whether to ask for an honorarium or not. In the end, he chose not. He did well, got asked to speak two more times, the third time Dave pulled him aside and offered Jon his dream job. Jon said, if he’d have asked for reimbursement, they politely would have answered, “Thanks but no thanks.” If free opens the right doors, it is a good strategy for marketing purposes.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I think the key is to do what you do strategically, not because you are afraid to ask to be paid.

        • http://twitter.com/joshlawsonwaco Josh Lawson

          Mike, in terms of offering your books for free, do you have any thoughts/advice on how to provide your book for free through Amazon?

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Unfortunately, I don’t. Sorry.

    • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

      Yea, Dave I would recommend giving it away for free too. It’s really a great way to build your following. A lot of free ebooks I’ve seen aren’t massive in size, which is kind of nice. You don’t need to slave over it as much as you would a full length book. I have an idea for one as well. It’s just a matter of sitting down to write it :)

      • Terri

        A novella might sell better as an ebook too.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        I know a friend connected me with a website where they have free downloads for Kindle, and these are complete novels or non-fictions plus partials (example The Message’s Proverbs). Each day has a new and different list of available titles. Unfortunately I don’t recall right off hand the name, but the fact is that free downloads (as does Michael’s free book giveaways) enhance marketing and book sales. Good stuff gets talked about but only if it’s seen and read.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Keep in mind, Dave, that your blog and social networking are probably the most important components of your marketing platform. You are already doing marketing!

    • http://wewannado.com Ryan K

      If you spend a solid year on your blog you will have a loyal following who will help you market your book. Just focus on the blog until you have a solid following and learn what people like to hear from you and then you’ll know what to write about and be able to sell it.

      • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

        Ryan,
        Thanks.  I’m only in month 4 of hitting the blogging hard… but I’m just impatient. ;^)

        • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

          It takes awhile to build it…I have been blogging for almost 2 yrs now, but I did switch to WordPress until March this yr. If I would have from the beginning, I would be way ahead of where I am right now…

          Keep in mind that it takes time. I personally started out with 2 followers in the first 6 months. I have now grown to over 50 in 3 months with WordPress! It all takes time…

          • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

            Brandon, Just curious why switching to WordPress helped the following. I’ve been on WordPress from the get-go, so I couldn’t tell the difference.

            Coach Theresa

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Well, I was with a company known as “Webs” from the start. They were
            decent…very easy to navigate and everything, but the SEO and actual
            blogging was lacking. Mr. Hyatt and some of the other fellow bloggers I
            follow kept telling me about WordPress. I finally made the switch, and I
            haven’t regretted it!

            My site is a ministry. I want to be able to use it effectively and to the
            best potential! I think that it will continue to grow with WordPress…

            _____

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            I found the same thing when I switched from TypePad to WordPress. I saw a big spike in my traffic almost immediately.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Yeah…and comments! I went from an average of about 2 comments to 12 (some
            months even more) with WP!

            _____

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            I’ve been blogging 8 years. It’s a long haul, but very worth it.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Wow! That’s a long time! Which service do you use to host your blog?

            _____

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            It’s on a wordpress platform http://www.marydemuth.com. I used to use blogger, but this works much better.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Yeah, blogger is decent, but WordPress is so much better! Do you mess with
            the CSS on your site much?

            _____

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            I have http://www.authormedia.com mess with it on my behalf, though I do a lot of tweeking myself. I probably drive them crazy.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            It’s good to know about this resource.

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            They are affordable, reliable and they have integrity. They also offer social media mentoring.

          • http://www.brandonkraft.com Brandon Kraft

            I’ve had a site since 1997, but didn’t move to a CMS until 2002. I was with Movable Type for many, many years when (in my opinion) it was much more powerful than WP.

            I switched over to self-hosted WP about a year or so ago and it was well, well worth it. The community is much stronger in terms of free plugins/themes to get your feet wet and more robust premium content. Additionally, the development community for troubleshooting and creating your own plugins and themes is much stronger with WP.

            I’m working on a massive redesign to launch later this summer that I’m excited to see produce the expected results. Mike’s tips on blogging and creating vision formed me, allowing me to create a much more comprehensive vision than before for my site.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            I have heard great things about typepad, but not many people use it anymore.
            I eventually want to switch to self-hosted wordpress. What’s the URL to your
            site?

            _____

          • http://www.brandonkraft.com Brandon Kraft

            I was using Movable Type self-hosted, but when they launched TypePad, all of
            the resources seem to go that way leaving the self-hosters on their own
            (unless, I suppose, you purchased some big support contract).

            Don’t judge the site yet; I’ve stopped improving this design, deferring to
            the new one! http://www.brandonkraft.com/

            The new design uses Standard Theme (same as michaelhyatt.com). My goal is to
            make it easier to produce content by having a site that just works. As part
            of the process, I’m working on how to reinvent myself from a somewhat random
            personal blog to a website that attracts an audience.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Just checked out your site…very nice! I think that the Standard theme
            would do wonders for your content! If I was with self-hosted right now, I
            would go with the standard theme. It really is one of the best themes out
            there…and really custom friendly!

            Since I am with wordpress on my site (http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com), I
            use a theme called Bueno. It looks pretty cool, and it is really great to do
            things with! I can’t wait to see your site when it goes through the huge
            redesign!

            _____

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            I went to WordPress as well in March (which is my start month) based on both Michael’s and John Saddington’s (TentBlogger.com) experiences. I’m no geek (the letters CSS make me think, “Confederate Southern States?”) but I’m working my way through the process with little difficulty. I’m limited but learning.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Same here. I haven’t messed with the CSS at all. I’m kind of afraid to! :)

            _____

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Brandon–thanks for sharing your experience. Giving numbers helps root us all in reality.–Tom

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            No problem. Giving numbers, like you said, really helps see the growth or
            decline. I usually check my stats a few times per month to see where things
            are. If they are on a decline, I have work to do. If not, then I keep doing
            what I am doing…

            _____

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            After reading “Quitter,” I recognize that I’m in the developmental stage. I want to see growth but I’m really learning more about the discipline of blog writing and developing my own voice. Of course, I’m in the front half of the first year. Of course #2, I’m currently procrastinating my work by commenting on someone else’s blog. :-D

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            While I agree with you on #1, commenting on someone else’s blog is very
            important. http://www.tentblogger.com explains it as well. (I highly encourage you
            to check his site out!) Commenting can really help increase your traffic as
            well…but I do agree with you on thhe fact that if all you do is comment,
            and you don’t work on your own blog, then you are not being productive.

            What’s your blog URL?

            _____

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Thanks for asking, Brandon. It’s http://www.tnealtarver.com. You could say this is my beta testing site. One other thing I’ve noticed, at least when I check out other people’s comments, is that if I click on a name (I did this with yours–you’ve got a contest going on right now), the name takes me to the person’s website. I don’t know how this magic happens or how I’m able to do it but it’s pretty cool.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Ya…that is one of the best things about blog commenting! And I will check
            out and subscribe to your site! Make sure you enter the contest…I’m giving
            away 2 free ads so you might have a great chance!

            _____

          • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

            I love how many new blogs I find from Michael’s website…

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Yes! I have found almost every blog I follow now from this site!

            _____

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

            Just subscribed!

            _____

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Glad to have you aboard!

            I wanted to respond to your “blog commenting” because I recognize it’s a means of letting others know you’re out there (i.e. marketing which is the theme of Michael’s post) but, for me, as an extrovert who works in a cubicle environment of my own choosing/making, this connects me with ideas and relationships that fuel my passion. Folks like you, Brandon, make this an interesting and, at times, very entertaining venture.  So glad to connect in this way.

          • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon
        • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

          I, too, get impatient.  I am about 6 months into my blog.  This past month has seen an incredible up-tick in activity – I believe it was because of hitting a specific hot topic at the right time.  However, the couple of months before that were a bit discouraging – because I was not seeing the amount of visits that I was hoping for.

          • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

            I understand the discouragement. Especially when it seems your doing everything “right!”

          • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

            That’s when we have to remember our motiviations for what we are doing – and keep doing the right things for the right reasons and not get too focused on the peripherils.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Keep in mind the seasonal impact also. I have always found the summer months weaker in terms of traffic.

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

          That statement reminds me of Jon Acuff’s guest blog on this site. He wrote: “Never compare your beginning with someone else’s middle.” In football, we call that getting your reps in. The more reps generally the better the performance. By the way, that quote was fished out of my Evernote file without any problem.

      • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

        Totally agree!

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

        So, Ryan, as a newbie to the writing a blog experience, I’m curious as to what you’ve seen happen with your blog. I’m assuming you’ve had at least a year under your belt and have some lessons learned during that time.

        Two things I’ve learned already. 1) Blogging needs to happen often (some folks post too little for me to find interesting). 2) The more you write, the clearer your style and focus becomes (or at least that’s been true for me).

        • http://wewannado.com Ryan K

          TNeal, I have blogged for a while and have transitioned to some other web ventures lately. You need to decide what the purpose of your blog is and how readers will benefit. Think of the things you provide friends on a daily basis as far as advice is concerned and then think of ways to turn that into 3-5 posts a week. Your unique skills in life and personal experiences are what makes you interesting and you need to find a way to communicate that.

          When writing, think of a truth you want people to know in each post and start with that. Then communicate a few supporting facts about that truth. It seems like you are a good story teller from your posts but sometimes the truth you are trying to communicate is unclear until the end. Like you said, as you write more your style will become clearer.

          To get more reader involvement, think of things you can provide them up front to gain their support while your blog improves. Michael gives away books each month to the top commenters. Also, get involved on other blogs by commenting and writing guest posts. Comments help build a blogging community for you and guest posts build your reputation among readers and search engines.

          God bless and let me know how it goes.

          • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

            Ryan–thanks for your reply. You offer sound advice (I’m putting your comments in Evernote and building a checklist off of what you’ve shared). Thanks to “Quitter,” I’m more focused on what my real dream is, what I’m passionate about, and how blogging fits into all of that. I’m still somewhat lost in the blogging world but at least folks like you hand me a map that says, “You Are Here,” and this how to get “There!”–Tom

          • Reyshawnd Bobo

            This is my first day on this website and I must say everything you guys are saying is is  unbelievably helpful. Thanks Ryan for your comments

    • Joe Lalonde

      Dave, once you get your blog off the ground that will work as a wonderful marketing tool. Your readers will, more than likely, be interested in your eBook. Use it to your advantage.

      • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

        Thanks Joe.  

      • Terri

        Does your blog need to be something related to writing? Or something related to your book? Can it be devotional or maybe on an interested that may be only touched on in your book?

        • Terri

          Oops, I meant can it be about a topic that is loosely related to your book? (Example: the blog could explore the occupation of the main character).

        • Anonymous

          HI Terri, it’s generally best when the blog is related to the book that you’re trying to sell. The format of the posts, whether devotion, or excerpts depends partly on what you believe the audience will be interested in as well as what you want to write. There is also no rule that says once you post one thing, all the rest has to be the same. Mixing it up is advantageous for both the writer and the reader. For example, maybe on Mondays you do a short excerpt with a little more discussion, and on Wednesdays you do a devotional. Really, the possibilities are almost endless.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Generally speaking, it should be something related to your book. You want to build a blog audience that will be interested in going deeper with you in a book.

          • Terri

            Thank you Cheryl and Michael. So, should you have a blog for each book you will sell?

          • Marcia Richards

            All the advice I’ve heard on that topic is ‘no’. Use only one blog. Mix up your posts if you wish, but keep it all together on one blog. And your blog title should be your name so people get to recognize you.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Agreed.

          • Anonymous

            Actually, that would depend on if the books are at all related and how you choose to represent them. For example, if the blog is under your name, you could talk about different books. However, if they’re totally unrelated, like say a romance and a how to about gardening, there’s really no way to keep both audiences happily returning if you try to switch from topic to topic throughout the week.  Hope that helps.

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    One of the tasks of the marketer is to be constantly thinking of the value you bring the customer. As you write your book and share that value remember to be clear on who they are and be thinking about how they will use it.  

    • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

      Alan, I agree. My first pulishing endeavor, a six week Bible study, was born out of a message that I give when I speak. I wrote it with a mental picture of all the women and girls to whom I have spoken and who has said, “that is a message the world needs to hear”. I believe in the value of the message/book and my audience has confirmed it.

      • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

        Thank you Leah. Having said that, we sometimes have to think of the value we bring as a stake in the ground that will grow over time. When I published my book it got some rave reviews, but not much more. It took some time for people to start fully understanding the point of view I took. I suppose it’s about what you measure. I didin’t  bother checking sales of the book. I was measuring the impact it had on people.  

        • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

          Alan, for me to keep checking numbers is like a right-handed person learning to use the left-hand. But I know I have to start doing this kind of thing.

      • http://wewannado.com Ryan K

        Speaking first and turning that into a book is a great way to go. Then you know what people want to hear. I’ll check out your book Leah.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is very true and vitally important.

  • Carl Thomas

    Platform building has two purposes. One is a marketing chanel for sure. But it also gives a place to find out what people are interested in. Blog stats retweets facebook comments and youtube views are a goldmine of information on your audience and your (in) ability to move them.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

      true.

  • http://chriscornwell.org Chris Cornwell

    Thank you Michael. I continue to learn so much from you!

  • http://jeremysconfessions.com Jeremy Statton

    If the first 3 items do not convince you, then surely the last will. If your really believe in what you wrote, then wouldn’t marketing the book be just as much fun, if not more fun, than writing it?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Personally, I love the marketing aspect of writing. In fact, I write the book differently just knowing that I will be the book’s Chief Marketing Officer.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

        That’s a good point. I’m shifting my focus more that way these days.

      • http://www.brandonkraft.com Brandon Kraft

        Would you say you write differently knowing that you’ll be the CMO because you craft the book more toward your audience or something else?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yes, it makes me much more aware of the audience, AND what will interest traditional media.

  • http://twitter.com/SubhakarRao Subhakar Rao

    Marketing will be success if you do in the right way. Social Media Networks helps us to know the positive and negative points from the audience or customers.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Amen & hallelujah! Would love your thoughts on leaders/authors taking responsibility for their personal brands, as well. Is that something that can be outsourced or successfully managed by someone else? It seems that the world’s best personal brands are managed by the people themselves.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think in most cases you are right. There are some terrific personal managers out there, but they are few and far between. I think you have to assume that you must take responsibility yourself.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        It’s an investment, right? I guess the same principles for having someone manage your finances would apply. You need to be involved, even if you’re not the one actively managing the portfolio.

        • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

          Definitely agree.

        • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

          I’m reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk right now and he’s a perfect example of this. He’s a social media machine, personally responding to comments on Twitter, Facebook, and his blog. He’s got ridiculous amounts of followers yet he still sees the importance of each individual. The book is very insightful.

          • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

            I haven’t gotten the book, but really would like to read it.

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            I need to get this book. Thanks for the recommendation!

      • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

        What do those brand managers cost? Any ballpark ideas?

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Most take a percentage of the revenue they generate, typically 10–20%.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      You are you and most passionate about your brand.

      • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

        hopefully

  • http://davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    I couldn’t agree more. I talk to musicians & artists all the time who have this old mindset. They are looking to others to build their Twitter & Facebook following. They’re hiring others to do their marketing for them so they can just focus on the art. A nice thought, but if you don’t personally get involved with building your following, you won’t sustain your fanbase. They want something human. They want you to interact with them.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Exactly. I know that I won’t follow a band or group if they are not running it themselves…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Absolutely. A hile back, I wrote a rant on Ghost Blogging and Twittering. This is not something you can have someone else do.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

        I think it’s creepy when companies/bands/celebrities hire ghosts to blog and tweet.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Me, too!

        • Terri

          If I could persuade him to do it, would my husband count as a creepy ghost? lol

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      It’s the same in writing circles. Folks say, “I just want to write. That’s it.” The problem comes when you no longer sell, so then you can no longer write.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Your last sentence is (no pun intended) the money quote. No one will pay you to write books if they don’t sell.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

          It’s true, though I’ve been a midlist author for a few years now, and I’m still getting contracts. So there is the sovereignty of God in all this too.

  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

     Marketing is easier to do when you love your project and believe it adds value to others.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    Wow!!  Light bulb ON!!  Thanks for this very encouraging and informative post. I learned very quickly that what the self-publishing company I used to publish my Bible study (http://www.leahadams.org/2006/01/point-ministries.html ) called a marketing package was little more than words on paper. I agree that it is up to me to be my own Marketing Director and you are so right…having a platform already in place is crucial. I use my speaking events and my website for that, but am finding that I need to do more. This was my first publishing endeavor and consequently I know very little about marketing a book. Perhaps your next post could address what activities you see as crucial for an author to undertake in order to get the word out about their book….please?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m actually working on a whole book on this. I will be doing some posts on it.

  • Danasilcox

    I find this realistic and discouraging.  I am an American living overseas.  Published in America.  All promotion opportunities nearly impossible and the shipping  to expensive for me to import my book here to market.  Ah well.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

      Have you considered selling through Amazon and letting them do the shipping for you? 

      • http://twitter.com/ToddVaters Todd Vaters

        Great idea, Connie. There are probably at least a dozen more creative ways
        around this challenge. I say that not because I can think of a dozen way but
        because I’ve seen this in my life in many times over. Pray and think and be
        open, Dana. You’re “Ah well” seems like you are giving up too easily. Is there
        a way to have them printed where you are? “Internationally published author”
        might be a cool line in your bio. If not, there are other ways but you have to
        believe it before you see it, not the other way around.

        • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

          I like this way of thinking. Yes, look for creative solutions, “believe it before you see it, not the other way around.” Believe he is able. Today’s technology has made so many good things possible, marketing isn’t just personal appearances. “Internationally published author” is definitely a cool line for a bio.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I wouldn’t give up. Because of social media, YouTube, and even Skype, you can have a presence here. No one needs to know that you aren’t in America.

    • Joe Lalonde

      There should still be plenty of opportunity for you to promote your book. There’s Facebook(check out Ted Dekker and his promoting – http://www.facebook.com/teddekker), Twitter, a personal blog, etc. If you’re looking to sell your book overseas, look for a publisher where you are at. It could cut down on import costs and the publishing costs may turn out to be lower where you are at.

    • Anonymous

      What is the possibility of an ebook version? Some publishers will say it’s now a no-brainer to have both print and digital formats. No shipping barriers there and tons and tons online opportunities for promoting.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I released my first three books when I lived in France. It is do-able.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Thanks for speaking into this, Mary.

  • http://twitter.com/NathanAndersonJ Nathan Anderson

    I feel excited, yet a little nervous I won’t know or have the capability of doing the things that need to be done.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That posture is the beginning of success.

    • http://wewannado.com Ryan K

      Don’t try to figure out your entire path to success today. Get started on the first few steps and then you’ll see the next steps that need to be taken and so on. As long as you know the direction you want to head in you can start moving today.

      • Anonymous

        I agree whole-heartedly. Keep it simple, try one or two things and then add as you can and need to.

  • Bryan Vartabedioan

    In 2007 I published with Ballantine/Random House.  The best advice I received: Act, market and self-promote as if you were self-publishing.  Probably more applicable even today.  Nice post, Michael.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That was great advice.

  • http://thisismethinking.com/ Darrell Vesterfelt

    I agree with this:  I would say that people even trust a book more now a days that is being marketed by someone who has written it.  It shows a personal connection from the author — we like authors like that rather then guys who are “too good” to market their own stuff.  

    All of us little guys are pumping our own materials and blogs, if Mr. Big-shot cant do it to, we probably wont trust him.

    • http://wewannado.com Ryan K

      Yea, I love how everything is getting more personal via social media. People have to be real to get sold and that’s good for everyone. Less fluff.

    • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

      Yep. We like authenticity these days, and it seems more authentic when the author is also personally doing a lot of the advertising.

  • http://www.kathimacias.com Kathi Macias

    As someone who has “survived” the CBA world for a quarter century, I can heartily say amen to this post. When I first came into this industry, I wrote a book, turned it in, and went on to the next one. About ten years ago my books quit selling and I stopped getting contracts. An editor I deeply respected sat me down and said, “We all know you can write; now you need to show us you can sell.” It revolutionized my thinking and restored my writing career. I now spend nearly as much time marketing as writing–not by choice but by necessity. And my rising sales numbers justify it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. So many authors resent this or avoid it. The only person they hurt is themselves.

  • Pd4infull

    I agree however I also believe you must staff your weakest area…. your article inspired me to instead of staff it exercise that part of my life to the point I become a master of it. it will not happen overnight but I cannot give up…thank you

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristyensor Kristy Townsend Ensor

    I couldn’t agree more!  Regardless of whether you’re a writer, musician or business owner – it is imperative that you get out there and market your products and/or services.  I work with a few indie artists on the side, and while I do some promotion for them, I try to encourage them to step out of their comfort zone and do a bit of self-promotion for their music.  Also as an aspiring writer, I’m in the process of trying to develop my blog and platform so that I can have a way to market my books and such when the time comes. 

  • http://cynthiaherron.wordpress.com Cynthia Herron

    Like anything in life that’s worthwhile, we best be in it for the long haul. Social media can be daunting, but if we look at it from a marketing perspective, it can really be an exciting time. Sure, it’s somewhat frightening to think of ourselves as our own best “marketing tool”, but if we had the preliminary vision to write our book(s) in the first place, then who better to do this? Staying focused, driven, and positive are key, and having a “can do” mindset is crucial.

    Oh, just out of curiosity…where is the author (you spoke about) today?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That author’s career is on life support. Two decades ago, he would sell 250,000 copies of every new book. Today, he sells 10,000–15,000 copies. Sadly, he is bitter and clueless.

  • http://twitter.com/ToddVaters Todd Vaters

    So true! As I read this I was applying it to music. Every indie artist and band needs to read this, too. The old model is no longer in play in the music industry either.

  • http://byrdmouse.wordpress.com Jonathan

    Since getting published is a goal of mine, I don’t mind the idea of taking my marketing into my own hands. Especially because of all four reasons you list (hard to pick a favorite top item either #2 or #1). The trouble is not knowing what to do. That is why I have been following you, and some of the agents and others you recommend following. You and those you suggest are giving guidance and ideas that allow me to begin to build my platform.

    I don’t mind doing the work in addition to the writing, but I love that you’re leading the way by showing me what I’ll need to do to get there.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great, Jonathan. I hope it is helpful.

  • http://twitter.com/BobbyWarrenTDR Bobby Warren

    Michael, another factor is the fact that newspapers are not devoting as many inches to book reviews as they once did. For instance, at the newspaper where I work, we primarily deal with local authors. We are a community newspaper and focus on all things local. So, if some person at corporate HQ calls or emails trying to pitch a book, he or she will not have as much sway with us than the author who lives in our readership area.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good point. That’s why I think it is so important to build a communications asset (like a blog) that you own or control. You can’t always count on the platforms of others.

  • Anonymous

    My first book is due to be released in Jan ’13. Any sources for an effective marketing plan I can put into place now?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Read everything you can on building a social media platform. I would start with Seth Godin’s book, Tribes.

      • Anonymous

        Done and doing all that. I’m looking for a comprehensive strategy that includes all applicable platforms with goals and content strategy. 

      • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

        This is a great book!

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Awesome what is your book about?

  • http://www.fivestonefight.com John

    I have no problem with marketing – I actually enjoy it for all the reasons you mentioned. I just finished my book proposal (based on your ebook) and three sample chapters. The problem I have is building a following. 

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    I see this more and more and I’m up for the challenge. Writing is something that has come on later in life so I’ve had the blessing to be able to get well-versed in business. 

    I worked at a web design company and we did plenty of grassroots marketing. I learned a lot of what works and what doesn’t. Writing isn’t my only strong suit. I’m just praying that once I finish my book, I’ll be able to successfully employ what I’ve learned.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      How far along are you with the book?

  • http://www.timemanagementninja.com Craig Jarrow

    Michael, love your thought here and wholeheartedly agree.

    I think there is another marketing angle… which is that social and the Net has changed everything. 

    Gone are the times that you can simple write and “push” it out there. You have to be part of the community. You have to participate, listen to, and engage your audience.

    In changing times, those who don’t adapt will be left behind. Or as @GaryVee:twitter would say to those those ignoring the current shifts… “See you in 2015!”

  • http://profiles.google.com/happypostalvan Raymond Schwedhelm

    Thank you Michael. A wonderful example of an artist who has enjoyed success through her devotion to her music is Lisa Lynne Franco. Lisa Lynne is a renowned Celtic harpist. She writes and produces her own music. She reaches out to others through her passion to make a positive difference in the lives of others. She is her own Chief Marketing Officer and does a great job. As an example to others, she can be accessed by searching Lisa Lynne or Lisa Lynne Franco.

    Keep up the good work!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for that example. I think seeing others do it is inspiring—and instructional.

  • http://www.paulbevans.com Paul B Evans

    As usual a great article and insightful comments.

    Michael is so right about the power of building your list. While I love traditional publishing for the credibility, brand and reach; I love self-publishing for pure profits and immediate reach.

    (If the following is inappropriate for the comment section because of mentioning $$, please delete.)

    In the past month I launched two digital products to in house lists only. One ebook did around $12K and another ebook with additional training did $21K. Neither project took more than 3 weeks to complete.

    However, without taking responsibility for the marketing, both projects would have created $0.

    1. Let’s say you have 3 products you sale online via advertising. You make sales, but you never concentrate on building your audience.

    2. One the other hand you’ve made it your number one goal to increase your audience and you have about 5,000 who regularly read or watch your content. They’ve all opted-in for your email newsletter. 

    Some internet anomaly occurs and all your websites and all the content vanishes. You lose your products because you failed to keep backups. ( I know, this would never happen.)

    In scenario #1 your business is gone because you never really had a business. You were making advertising dependent sales.

    In scenario #2 your business barely takes a hit because as fast as you can release a product (or affiliate product) your profits are there. You were making audience dependent sales.

    Grow your audience (marketing); grow your publishing business.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a great concrete example. I like that you included the numbers. It makes the example more real.

  • http://wewannado.com Ryan K

    I agree that people need to take responsibility for their success and I don’t have any book experience, but are their ways to hire someone to help you market yourself? Maybe this makes you CEO of the book and you hire a CMO. I just can’t imagine that every good author is also a good marketer but with the right help people may love the author’s books.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You can definitely hire people to help. I am merely suggesting that you have to take responsibility for the outcomes.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great resource, Michael. The world of online marketing can be very complicated and frustrating, especially for new authors. Here are three things that have helped me along the way.

    1. Get The Big Picture. This blog is a great place to start. Michael has a number of great resources here to help you get started in social media and blogging. You can get your feet wet with a free WordPress.com blog and a Twitter account. Once you get going, sites like copyblogger.com can help you fine tune your message to a specific audience. The best way to understand things is to dive in and start exploring.

    2. Find a Mentor. Find other writers that are using social media effectively and make a note of what they are doing. There are quite a few writers that check in here regularly that have helpful sites to get you started. Jeff Goins and Mary DeMuth are two bloggers that have online resources to help you write better and get your personal brand started. It’s also helpful to find a writers group or Toastmasters club to meet people in your local area that you can sit down with and plan a strategy.

    3. Realize Things Take Time. The world of publishing can be very frustrating. Writing a book is hard enough, but getting a publisher to pick you up, is full of rejection and hard work. If you know this going in, it will make it easier to keep going. The good news is, once you embrace online media, a whole world of income producing opportunities open up. You may find yourself making more money with an ebook, template, or webinar, than with a published book itself.

    Bottom line: While marketing yourself can seem overwhelming and complicated at first, it can become fun and profitable if you stick with it.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Excellent, solid advice, John. Thanks for contributing.

    • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

      Great advice! I am with wordpress.com right now…haven’t ever regretted it! Also, John at tentblogger.com has really helped me narrow my focus!

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        John at Tentblogger is great. His posts have been very helpful.

        • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

          I’ve been enjoying TentBlogger for a little while now. He has some great
          ideas.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yes, John delivers some outstanding content. I have learned a ton from him.

  • http://sevensentences.com Geoff Talbot

    Thanks Michael,

    I feel like there are still so many unexplored formats and authentic marketing strategies out there waiting to be discovered. Most of them will be discovered through relational type marketing strategies where “traditional readers” are totally involved in the marketing process. Maybe…

    1. Blog Readers will be involved in the writing of the book?
    2. You could release the book online a chapter at a time (for free) or buy the whole thing at once.
    3. More interactive type storytelling

    The main thing for me, is the internet provides us (authors/creators) with a way to build content loyalty before the book is even published, through blog writing, releasing excerpts etc

    Geoff
    sevensentences.com

  • Matthew Gross

    Thank you again Michael another great post. I feel like the little gupie fish in the ocean full of sharks. I love writing and have since I was a kid and until very recently never told anyone about it. I am taking a step of faith and have started writing my first book, everyone I tell about it says “wow that sounds great, you need to write this book”. I have found encouragement in very suprising places and I agree that no body will have the passion to market my book more than I. I thought  all I had to do is write and let others market for me, but thanks to this post I realize this isn’t true. Now if I could just figure out my schedule with my full time job (my prison) and my family (wife and four kids) this dream can be a reality. Thanks to your posts I am learning along the way.  

  • Matthew Gross

    Thank you again Michael another great post. I feel like the little gupie fish in the ocean full of sharks. I love writing and have since I was a kid and until very recently never told anyone about it. I am taking a step of faith and have started writing my first book, everyone I tell about it says “wow that sounds great, you need to write this book”. I have found encouragement in very suprising places and I agree that no body will have the passion to market my book more than I. I thought  all I had to do is write and let others market for me, but thanks to this post I realize this isn’t true. Now if I could just figure out my schedule with my full time job (my prison) and my family (wife and four kids) this dream can be a reality. Thanks to your posts I am learning along the way.  

  • http://twitter.com/LazyChristian R.A. Snyder

    This is the part that scares me. I think if I get a little boost from a publisher—some store displays, some book signings, ads, etc—I’d be a little more encouraged to continue promoting the book on my existing platform. Sometimes I think I should have been born in the “good old days.” Then again, they probably weren’t quite as good for women in publishing…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Store displays are almost impossible to get, even for the big authors. Too many books, too little space. Book signing are mostly a waste of time, unless you have built a decent Facebook or Twitter following.

      I don’t mean to discourage you, but these items are over-rated. This is why it is better for you to invest your energy in building your own platform.

  • Shawn Lamb

    I feel lousy about having to do my own marketing. I’m stressed out and overworked with my 4th book in 18 months coming out in August. The author you cited is correct – I’m a writer not a PR person. Promoting and marketing has gotten to the point of interfering and stifling my creativity, so where will I be after this?

    No, I think it is plain WRONG that the entire burden of marketing falls onto the author.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Let me know how that works out for you. I don’t mean to be cruel, but the world you want no longer exists. You can deny that, resent it, or embrace it. Personally, I think this world is better. There are way more opportunities and you have much more control.

  • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa Whittle

    Thanks for this, Michael. I am proof of what happens when you don’t do your own marketing…the book just doesn’t sell.  This time around I have gotten over feeling like I was being forced to do something I didn’t want to do and determined to do with my hands what I can do to help move the message forward.  It is, after all, why I wrote the book.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you!

  • Joe Lalonde

    While I’m not an author, this type of marketing and the role it makes you take on excites me. It encourages you to interact with your fans and build a community. Another thing is you get to talk and market something that you are passionate about. If you do it right, and well, I can see it increasing your passion and joy for the work that you are doing. Who doesn’t get energized and excited talking about what they are passionate about?

  • http://lksienkiewicz.wordpress.com/ Linda K

    I understand that authors should be invested in marketing their work, but I think it’s backward thinking for a company to produce something and neglect to market it, or to leave the marketing up to someone else.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Publishers don’t leave the marketing to someone else. They want to partner with you to market it. But they need something to leverage. Increasingly, publishers won’t take on authors who don’t have a platform.

  • http://twitter.com/promobrain Mike Freestone

    This is SO TRUE!  It’s important to remember no matter what business  you are in or even if you are just promoting a project or organization.  Off to be my own best marketing director for Good Life Granola and Adventures in Advertising!

  • http://twitter.com/ToddVaters Todd Vaters

    So the challenge here, Shawn, is to become something you are not. On the surface this sounds completely wrong but it can (and must) be done in a way that ‘adds’ to who you are instead of ‘taking away’ from who you are. We tend to think of it only as the latter. Don’t limit yourself. As you expand you will have more to write about, too.

  • Anonymous

    As an author I happen to love the new world of marketing.  Once I accept responsibility for marketing my own books, a whole lot of possibilities open up. 

    I have a book proposal out with publishers right now.  Ten chapters – approximately 240 pages.  But working with a major publisher is only one of the options we’re considering.

    One of the options we’re evaluating is that we (my company 48Days.com) could release each chapter as a complete ebook with audio and video content links.  If we sold 5000 copies of each chapter as it was released for $10 that would be $500,000.  A teleseminar with 500
    participants at $10 each for each of the ten chapters would add $50,000.  Then if we released the book in its entirety for $20 and sold another 10,000 that would add another $200,000.  Those are small numbers compared to my previous book sales — and compared to publisher projections — but that would be a $750,000 project.  

    And yes, I started building my audience years ago before it was seen as a necessity for authors.  I use newsletters, blogs, and podcasts to stay connected with my readers. Now that audience provides a ready market for my products and I don’t get bogged down with
    unrealistic expectations for my publishers for the part they play in getting my books out there.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Beautiful example, Dan. Thanks for the specifics. I think that helps authors visualize what is possible.

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  • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

    I find it challenging to balance the creative, writing side with the marketing side. They’re different skill sets. Juggling them is an additional skill. I’m not where I want to be yet. It is hard work.

    I read Do the Work this weekend. Great resources are available to help do the work, one step at a time for however long it takes. Yet the challenge remains to do it. Faith is an essential gap filler.

  • barry

    Marketing is really nothing more than TELLING THE STORY of your book and your reason for writing it. If you love to write, you already possess the skills to be a succesful marketer.

    • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

      Marketing is more than repeating a portion of the story or its essence. Marketing is bridging the gap between story and reader. It goes fishing for readers. It invites readers to the party. It offers solutions to a reader’s perceived needs. It engages readers by adding value outside the story. Marketing acts as an advocate for the story, presenting it to potential readers as something that will or can meet a need they have (for entertainment, a specific knowledge, etc.). Marketing interacts with readers and finds other ways (web sites, promos, blog tours, events) and resources (print, book clubs, etc.) to get interactions that build buzz, relationships and such in motion. Marketing is more involved with others and what they want and need than writing the story. IMHO

  • David A. Todd

    Michael:

    I’m just curious: If the experience of that former best selling author was fairly universal—that is, if the pub houses used to market and the writers used to write without being burdened with the marketing—when that change happened, did the royalty rates go up for that author? Or the advances? I mean, if you are expecting an author to do more or the work, shouldn’t you pay the author more?

    But my perception is that, even as pub houses do less and less marketing and maybe even less and less editing, advances have gone down and royalty rates remain flat or even have edged down.

    What exactly does the pub house do for the author these days?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The publishing house does plenty. They just need an author with a platform they can leverage. You can make a moving object go much faster, but it is hard to start one that has no momentum.

      No, advances and royalty rates have not gone up. This a supply-and-demand issue. Too many authors, too many books, competing for the same amount of publisher slots and retailer shelf space available.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    This is probably one of my top 3 favorite post. I like the fact it talks about publishing, building an audience, and marketing. But the core of the content – for my money – can be stretched across any area of life. My favorite part is “Personal Responsibility”.

    We see more and more of an entitlement mentality in today’s culture. It’s even mentioned in today’s post. It’s in line at any given store where the guy holding the six-pack of beer cusses out the cashier because HIS gift card doesn’t work. (Yes. This happened 4 days ago in front of me.) It happens in the voting booth where people vote for the candidate because they think they’ll “get more _____ money from his stash.” It’s everywhere.

    If we would concentrate more on our personal responsibility instead of blaming others for what we don’t accomplish, I have no doubt we’d be, have, and do more. If not for any other reason – because our focus is in the right place.

    Stepping off my soapbox now.  :)

    Twitter: @WMarkThompson:twitter

  • barry

    Marketing is  TELLING THE STORY of your book and your reason for writing it. If you love to write, you already possess the most important skill to be a succesful marketer.

  • http://profiles.google.com/suthenangel Kristyn Phipps

    The thought of handling my own marketing is overwhelming at times. I’ve not finished my book yet, but I knew going into this as a self-published writer, that it would all rest on my shoulders. I am simply taking it one step at a time. I can’t market something that doesn’t exist, and I can’t write while I’m so focused on the other parts of publishing. 

    I’ve made a list of my priorities. I’m sticking to it for the most part, unless an article like this comes along and grabs my attention. I read, take notes, put the notes in my filing system and continue writing. 

  • http://twitter.com/tribalthirst Mark Kola

    This idea of self marketing can be more broadly applied.  As a person who has coached and mentored software developers, I try to help them with basic marketing skills.   Some of these are create a professional presentation, summarize your accomplishments, or be seen as the team player. 

  • http://rmabry.com Richard Mabry

    Right on all accounts–doggone it. As is often the case, I got into this thing called writing after some significant changes, most of which put the onus squarely on me to do something besides just sit at the computer and listen to the voices.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jastreich Jeremy Streich

    You talk of authors, but this advise is good for anyone starting their own thing. I needed this, thanks for the reminder.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jeremy. It really does apply to more than authors.

  • Anonymous

    I think you wrote a similar post that motivated me to build my platform. I have a long way to go but I have been encouraged by the progress I’ve made the last 8 months. It makes perfect sense and it is fun to identify your audience and build your following. One day when I do write one of my book ideas and get it published I will already have guaranteed sales! Hopefully that will be encouraging to the marketing director that is responsible for me and together we can expand that market.

  • http://www.cheaplovebook.wordpress.com Carrie Starr

    Our first book comes out this summer and no one is more excited about it than we are!  I’m glad to take the lead with marketing our project.  You’re right!  No one knows this topic like we do.  This is our story- our passion.  A fire has been lit and we’re the best ones to spread it!  Thanks for the encouragement to make this happen.

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      Congratulations on your book, Carrie. That’s awesome!

  • Beth West

    I’m a painter rather than a writer, but from my observations much of what you’ve said would apply to my field.   What are your favorite resources for people looking to market their own work?  Do you know of anything that would be specifically tailored to helping strongly introverted people learn how to be comfortable interacting in person with people they are not acquainted with?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You might start by searching my archives on social media and marketing. CopyBlogger.com and ProBlogger.com are two of my favorites.

      I am introvert, too. You just have to do it. Focus on the outcome. Build in time for re-charging.

    • Jason E

      Beth,

      Can I recommend two books for you? You might start with Love Is the Killer App, and The Likeability Factor, both by Tim Sanders. Good luck.

      • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

        I think this advice can be true for any creative person… or any person in
        business for themselves, really! Marketing your service or product is HUGE,
        and if you’re a one-person shop, you need to get good at it.

  • Anonymous

    Seth Godin over at the Domino Project, posted a spreadsheet an author used to help market her book. Although her book was published traditionally, she approached the marketing of her book as a self-published author.  I found it insightful. 

     http://www.thedominoproject.com/2011/06/a-spreadsheet-for-the-self-published.html

    • http://profiles.google.com/sequoiajoy Connie Brown

      Laurinda, Wow. That spreadsheet is an awesome resource. It does so much of the brainstorming work for an author. Thanks for sharing that.

      • Anonymous

        I thought so too Connie.  It is eye-opening. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is a fabulous resource. Thanks for pointing it out!

  • http://jasonfountain.blogspot.com Jason Fountain

    Wow – I just read all of the comments with fascination. I totally “get” the idea that authors have to be their own marketer in this day and age. It is daunting and exciting at the same time. I’ve only been blogging for a couple of months and, I guess, my focus right now is just producing good content and building a following. I feel like right now that I’m pushing that huge stone wheel up the incline. Some days it feels like too much – can I make it over the top and get some momentum. Michael, I feel like this post is a ways down the road for me, but it is exciting to think about the possibilities. Your insight is appreciated.

  • Colleen Coble

    I think the biggest thing to remember is that publishing is a partnership. I write the best story I can then talk to my publicity and marketing gurus about how we can get the word out TOGETHER. I often have ideas that they jump on or they may tell me that what I want to do has been tried and it’s not a good use of my time. They have things they ask me to do also that they think might be beneficial. Keeping the lines of communication open is crucial.

    But like you said, Mike, it’s my passion for my book that drives everything. :) I know my book better than anyone. I know the issues that are in there, the setting, other areas of interest that my team can help me leverage to do the best job we can. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your insight, Colleen. You are, in many ways, the model author for the new world.

  • Audrey4j

    I have an ebook pubbing, hopefully within the next two weeks. R U Bullied? is s a teen book with helpful, Bible-based instructions on how to stop bullying in your life. I signed up with Smashwords because they send the ms. to every POD publisher on the planet, and they have great instructions. And someone posted on one of my writers loops a blog post by Dean Wesley Smith outlining a networking procedure that should work well:  Print cards similar to ones that are sold on racks in stores. On the front is the book cover, and on the back is a number the reader  can use to buy the book online. Sett upa button on your blog, attend conventions, give cards to anyone who’s breathing, use the social networks, etc., and give away the first (100) books free. Do the usual book signings, interviews, articles written as takeoffs from the book, etc. Take it from there. I’m waiting to send press releases until I’m sure the book will publish on time. I’ve waited until Blogger finished their updating because the last two posts fell off the wall. You’re welcome to look at it, but please realize it’s not the best impression because of the above-mentioned factors. http://www.audreyhebbert.com

    You can google “Dean Wesley Smith’s blog,” and it comes up. The link I use doesn’t work for most people because it’s a May 23 post.

  • AnneGale Nester

    I’m excited to know that I am allowed to be my own CMO and not receive any backlash from the publisher. I am passionate about my book(s) and will enjoy working in concert with the marketing director. 

  • Rjbernabe

    I’ve written one book that was published by Thomas Nelson. Thanks to them and this blog, I learned a lot about marketing my material. Mr. Hyatt is correct – you must take responsibility. This includes social media – of which you must become a master. You must also take responsibility for creating relationships with radio personalities. In my case, I wrote a book on personal finances, so the topic is broad and extends beyond the initial marketing period of the book.
    I’ve now written a second book and but I need to expand my platform before I can get it published. Competing against the likes of Dave Ramsey isn’t easy!

  • http://www.bigb94.wordpress.com Brandon

    Great points…although I will probably not publish a book anytime soon (later when I become a successful doctor maybe), but it applies to running a successful blog. All of the marketing and things that make it successful rely on you.

  • Daniel

    Michael,

    Traditionally, I’ve wanted my publishers to provide me with editorial assistance (development editors, copy editors, tech editors), production assistance (book design, typesetting, printing), distribution assistance (getting it into bookstores and onto amazon), and marketing assistance.

    In my experience, publishers are doing less and less of these while still taking 90% of the net sales. If the publisher expects me to do more then their take must be less.

    Daniel

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This won’t happen for one simple reason: there is more supply than demand. There are thousands of authors vying for a handful of slots. You can argue that this isn’t fair. Meanwhile, the publisher will simply move to the next author in line.

  • Jasondbyerly

    For me this is very empowering. I write because I’m passionate about what I have to say. Who wants to sit around and wring their hands hoping that a marketing department will do all the work and believe in it as much as you do? I love being able to get in the game and be an asset to my publisher. After all we both want as many people to read my work as possible. Game on!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lee-Cole/100002242913529 Lee Cole

    Hi Michael! I’ve been reading your blog for some time. I got here from Dan Miller’s 48Days. My question is this. I can easily see how to build a platform for a non-fiction book. Weight loss…build a blog, speak in public, teach classes, Facebook, Twitter, etc. But how do you do this for a work of fiction? My wife is finishing her first fantasy novel. I do online marketing for a living. But I can’t figure out how to do this for fiction. Any insight would be appreciated! Lee

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Lee, unfortunately, I don’t have a good answer. because I am not that versed in fiction marketing. You might try following some successful fiction authors who are marketing online. Colleen Coble and Ted Dekker come to mind.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lee-Cole/100002242913529 Lee Cole

        That’s a great idea! Thanks! 

      • Jason

        It would be great if you could convince someone from Thomas Nelson who’s responsible for marketing fiction to guest blog on this topic. It might benefit a lot of your readers. Just a thought.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          That’s a good thought. Thanks.

  • http://twitter.com/coccyTW Cinzia Rinelli

    Self marketing is surely important since you can build your credibility starting with those who already trust you and then move on. Also, often marketers are driven by their target results and do not see these results as a way to get to YOUR target. I wrote this post about how to have a better look at marketing today..  http://bit.ly/jDN18A

  • Terri

    I don’t mind the idea, but I feel unqualified and ineffective.

  • http://LookingForPurpose.com Dylan Dodson

    As I have just self-published my first book, I am well aware that all of the marketing falls on me. I’m doing what I can, unfortunately “what I can” is not nearly as much as what I would like.

  • http://www.billprettyman.com Bill Prettyman

    Great advice, Michael, for authors but this is true even for those of us who are not authors. Each of us must take control of our own marketing in order to reach the goals we have. When we create a platform for ourselves that will benefit others, we can move into a more opportunistic position. Social media platforms give us more opportunity to create a platform for ourselves in service to others and not depend on others to do it for us. After all, who is more passionate about us and our message? We certainly need a plan that gives us a general direction but we need to get started taking action like creating a blog. When you start moving it is amazing how God begins to put the next step in front of you.

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    This is great advice. As an aspiring author this can be intimidating but it’s still good to know. I like your advice about building your platform. I am in this stage now and it is quite fun and challenging. I look at it as an investment. In the end it will pay off.

  • Al Pittampalli

    You’re right Michael. The position of full-time author, sitting alone in a cave writing, and then handing off to the publisher to sell, is dying (if not already dead).  In such a cluttered marketplace filled with an enormous supply of books, it has to be up to every author to spread their own message by starting their own movement, leading their own tribe. That’s the way books sell in a sustainable way these days. And it’s impossible for a publisher to do all that for an author.

  • Dbrennanj

    Michael, great post. This was one of the main reasons why I self-published. The competition is huge as you point out. I never had dreams of a best-selling book. But the stories of impact from those who have read it have been big. Those readers have become marketers for the book. I have been pleased with the success of the book.

  • Rick Dorr

    What are some current marketing strategies that you would recommend.  Maybe you could post that in your next or future blog.  I think most of us are willing to do the leg work, but not quite sure where to step..  Thanks,

    Rick Dorr

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think it is difficult to provide a general marketing strategy or even tactics. Each book requires a different marketing plan based on the genre, topic, targeted audience, etc. Having said that, I am planning to write more posts on the how-to.

  • http://twitter.com/cheetosrapper Dan Greegor

    I agree. Who better to promote a book/idea than the author?

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    As an in-waiting author, I’ve grown accustomed to the fact that I have the highest investment in my own manuscript and have to learn a lot more than how to write (which is a tough lesson in itself). I know that I’m the “Chief Marketing Officer” (which sounds pretty cool when you think about it).

    “Hi, I’m Tom, Chief Marketing Officer for ‘Neat and Memorable Title.'”

    I’ll try that boat out with friends and family and see if it floats.

    A few questions to follow up when I get another opportunity to comment. Uh, oh, my boss (see 13 ways to frustrate…) is coming.

    Oh, oh, that’s right. I work at home.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    I feel fine about taking on the role of marketing. I know it’s my responsibility. And, thankfully, with social media, what I do takes time, but not tons of capital.

    The frustrating part of marketing, though, is not knowing exactly what “works.” I study this all the time (and I think you do too, Mike). I’ve tried a lot of things, and failed. I guess if I can figure out what always works, I could write an ebook on it and make money!

    I hate to say this, but an analogy I heard when we raised support to be church planters in France sticks with me in terms of marketing. Picture a long gravel driveway. Under five of the rocks is a red X. Your job is to turn over every stone until you find the five rocks. That’s a lot like marketing. You turn stones over. A lot merit nothing. Some merit a lot. But the key is a huge amount of tenacity and perseverance.

    I also believe that authors have a strange idea about their job, that if they write a book, they’ll automatically be granted money and success. The truth? It’s HARD work. Every single dream we have has hard work attached. I can usually tell the authors who will succeed by how well they bounce back from failure and whether they keep trying or not.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love the gravel driveway analogy. Perfect. It is hard work. Most would-be authors aren’t willing to do this. But, for the few that are, it’s a competitive advantage!

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

        Yes, but it’s also tiring sometimes because you have to turn over so many “Unsuccessful” rocks.

    • David A. Todd

      So Mary, how do you market via social media without appearing to be a spammer? I’ve friended a number of fellow writers on FB, and all I see from them is spam. No way am I going to do that to friends and family.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

        I’m just myself. That’s it. If I see a verse I love, I share it. If I’m frustrated, I share it. If I am praying something, I pray it. Occasionally I’ll tweet about my stuff, but mostly I’m just being me.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I wrote about this in a post called, “The 20-to-1 Rule.” This has helped me find the balance.

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

            Great post! Good reminder. I just tweeted it.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Thanks, Mary.

    • Terri

      I’m not encouraged, Mary. lol I’m on your newsletter list and have read more from you than anyone else I follow. If you struggle with being an effective marketer, whatever will I do? –I’m not really hopeless about it, I’m not ready to begin marketing, but it does make me stop and think. Thanks for sharing honestly.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

        It’s certainly a skill to be learned and you must be tenacious…

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    I can see this post spoke to a lot of writers or aspiring writers. It’s not even 9 am PST, there are already 164 comments. I was one of those writers who would gladly have someone else do the marketing for me. Then I attended the Christian Writers Guild conference and woke up.

    I heard that writers nowadays spend 50% of their time to do marketing. Michael, you think this is an accurate figure?

    The barriers I have to overcome are: dislike for marekting and lack of know-how. I would do much better if I have a marketing manager to hold my hand a bit, and I’d do the public speaking etc etc. :) Of course $$$$$!

    I have been blogging and doing social media stuff and I am still working on pinpointing the target audience. Much to learn.

    Great discussion here.

    Coach Theresa

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I think 50% is about right.

  • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

    This advice applies very well to people on a personal level – personal brands, advancements at work, volunteering with an organization, any creative endeavor, etc…   If we wait for someone else to be our champion, very rarely will we ever achieve the levels that we want.

  • http://twitter.com/CoachTheresaIF Theresa Ip Froehlich

    Mary, This is truly sage advice! I haven’t reached the point of like marketing yet but I have accepted the fact that I have to take responsibility for my own writing. The analogy of the five choice stones is a great illustration. I think, though, it would help if writers can find some custom coaching re: marketing strategies. Sometimes, we don’t even know there are five stones to be discovered. We look at the pile of rocks and we don’t even know there are five to be discovered.

    My book proposal has just gone to literary agents. In the meantime, I am hard at work blogging, Facebooking, and Twittering.

  • http://www.christopherneiger.com/blog Chris Neiger

    Great advice, hard to swallow, but great nonetheless. Thanks for the reminder that I need to be in charge of getting my own content seen!

  • Ginger Carr

    I don’t have a problem with doing the work involved in marketing, but as a new author, I don’t know where to begin and where to stop.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I know it can be overwhelming, but like everything else, you must start, educate yourself, and adjust as you go. I can’t offer you a silver bullet.

  • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

    I don’t understand people who think if you build something well, it will just sell itself, by word of mouth.  There are very few products where it happens that way (Google, maybe).  Most best-selling products were marketed well, usually at the expense (time, energy, money) of the person that’s most invested in the product.  Thanks for the post, Michael.

  • Pingback: Michael Hyatt on Marketing | whyifailed.com Blog()

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500218954 Alyssa Avant

    I’m writing my first “for print” book (self-publishing) and I really want to have a book that I hold in my hands. I will use it as a platform for speaking and I plan to publish it to Kindle as well. 

    What’s the most important thing that I do when it comes to marketing?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If I could pick one thing, it is this: build a great landing page for the book. I would not host this as a separate site. Run it as a page on your own site. Keep the URL simple. You can then use the link to this page in every other marketing piece.

      For example, this is the landing page for Creating Your Personal Life Plan.

      Thanks.

  • mary snyder

    My book comes out in Dec 2011 — I am thrilled to be working on the marketing right now.  I’m speaking on the Girl’s Get A Way cruise (perfect fit for the book) but I do work for the cruise company, so that was not too difficult.  Also, I’m planning a two week road trip (again fits in with the book)  where I’ll showcase the book, the message and the fun.  

    Also, I’m getting sponsors to support the cost so I’m not asking the publisher for much, if anything.  I want to handle my marketing — I love that part of the business. 

    • http://twitter.com/jsanty Jeremy Santy

      Sounds like you will have a lot of fun Mary! What’s the name of your book?

  • Anonymous

    I think it’s vitally important. I believe the moment we become too entitled with the “because my book has been published, now I just sit back and wait for the interviews to come in” attitude, we’re asking for trouble. 

    I’ve learned so much about this in reading Guerrilla Marketing for Writer. It was a great and insightful Christmas gift from my friend @jenniferowhite:disqus 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for the reference to that book. I’ll have to pick it up.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    That was head on! Thanks for sharing this message today!

  • Drusilla Mott

    I am so new to all this, I feel like I am stumbling in the dark.  I submitted my first novel to Christian Manuscript Submissions and it is now in the review process of an ebook publisher; but I did not realize that it was up to me to help sell it if it gets published until I started reading your posts, Michael.  I am not a ‘social person’ and am trying to learn about twitter and blogging and all this other stuff, which is making me feel like I am drowning.  I never would have thought about giving a book away.  Who makes that decision…the author or the publisher?  Forgive me if that’s a stupid question, but I am entering this world on the ground floor; and don’t even know what I need to know.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You would typically make this decision together. You will forgo royalties; the publisher will forgo their profits.

  • http://www.jasonvana.com Jason Vana

    This mentality that it’s not just a professional marketer’s job to do the marketing is true in every form of business. People tend to forget that marketing is just about price, location and publicity. You can have a great marketing campaign, but if your customer service is crappy, the product doesn’t live up to its claims, if employees aren’t talking good about your company, it’s going to affect your sales. Everyone is responsible for marketing, cause marketing is more than just advertisin.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree with that, Jason. I have preached it for years.

  • http://beckfarfromhome.blogspot.com/ Beck Gambill

    I so appreciate your strait shooting approach of saying what needs to be said and not what we would all like to hear regarding the publishing world. I’m certainly stretched and not at all sure I’m ready to meet the challenge, but I’m glad to know honestly what’s expected of me as a writer!

    Is it best to have an established blog audience before releasing a book? I’m struggling to find time to finish my novel and build my blog’s reputation and audience. Do you have a suggestion on how I should divide my time? Thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is definitely a challenge. I don’t know of any other approach that to schedule these two things on your calendar. Both are important. Thanks.

  • Dmbunker

     I agree that the days of monolithic placement of product
    are over. I also agree that self directed opportunities and platforms for
    authors are available and needful. However, it is clear that most of the contracts
    and the legal and financial back end of author publisher relationships still
    reflect the “good ol days.” In other words, books are now being used
    by publishers as fodder and filler. To say to an author that he or she has responsibility
    to help sell their own books is true. To watch a company place said
    product out in the marketplace in financially cheap seats if you will begs the
    question. So what is the publisher’s job now? Is it to sit back and wait until suction
    hits and what constitutes suction in today’s marketplace? 100 units sold, 1,000
    units sold? 5,000 units sold? My experience is that authors are still hoping
    for the good ol days and publishers are willing to let them think that during
    the honeymoon book deal signing pre marriage time. In other words, you wouldn’t
    tell an author that the chances are good that all the time and effort they have
    put into this book will probably not be seen or acknowledged by anyone and it
    may just die on the vine. For me that realism must be part of the conversation
    for any projected responsibility to be placed back on the author to “help”
    market his or her book. Truth is everyone is fairly confused right now as to
    how to sell books and in this market condition many many many books will get
    lost and poorly announced & placed into the marketplace. My experience once
    again is that that is the experience of the majority of authors signing with so
    called larger publishing houses. It is not worth your life work to give someone
    access to your writing for 1,000 units. Keep it & go it alone. And don’t
    get guilt tripped if you have sold 2,000 at speaking engagements and they (publishing
    houses) have sold 500- total. That’s right 500.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, I think publishers are trying to figure this out. However, I think the best publishers partner with authors. They can’t peddle the bicycle by themselves, but they can add a lot to an author who is willing to get on the bike with them.

  • Anonymous

    I think that for some it is difficult, especially if you come from a position of humility.  It is hard to step into the limelight and to be pushy about ourselves.  However, I recognize that if you do not do it then you will be left in the dust, especially in the publishing business.  The key is to find a happy median where you can promote without feeling like you are flaunting yourself and taking all the attention.

  • http://girlmeetspaper.com Jane Graham

    You’re totally right on! The frustrating part about that is…that you’re totally right on! Building a platform takes years, and often times the wait feels tedious and unfairly slanted to those with celebrity status. The wonderful thing is that we have more free social media avenues at our fingertips than ever before. Now to channel our efforts and use our time wisely!…perhaps the most challenging thing of all.

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      Yes. I agree Jane. Grabbing the time to do what needs to be done can be a little confusing. What’s the best avenue? And now there are SO many social media places. In a way, this blog is a social media avenue. I love it! Yeah. I think I’ll stick around here.  :)

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I’ll bet that the best authors spent about the same amount of time building
      their own platform as they did writing their first book!

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Yep. I think you are probably right.

  • Gordon Kirkland

    This is nothing new. My first book came out from a traditional publisher in 1999 and I was expected to do all of the marketing. When speaking at writers conferences about book marketing, I always get one or two people with deer-in-the-headlights looks who fully expect that someone else would do the marketing. I tell them that when they type “The end” that is the beginning of the real work.

  • http://twitter.com/ShareeLynn ShareeLynn

    After reading your e-mail and finishing a class in internet marketing strategies, I stumbled on this today: *Genius.com, the #1 Marketing Automation and Demand Generation solution, just released the first-of-its-kind FREE demand generation platform.*I think this tool will be helpful to your readers who are planning to author (like me) or  have authored a book. It has analytic tools, etc. for every promotional/advertising item on a website. It enables users to analyze their marketing efforts and adjust them to develop a working revenue marketing strategy. It’s definitely worth checking out!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t know this particular service, but I would caution people to be wary. There are literally thousands of sites that promise to deliver the secret to making thousands of dollars a month.

  • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

    I like writing the most but also love this part of writing… being the Chief Marketing Officer. It is fun to interact with people, I’m finding more and more of my inspiration through these interactions. Thanks Michael!

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      Chris, I agree. Going out there and promoting seems like a fun part of the
      book process.

  • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

    As a former foreign missionary we learned, support is not what we want to do but to do what we want to do we need support.  In the same way “marketing” what matters to you be it a book, project or message, works best when you are behind it. The benefit, when you get people with you who believe in you God can do greater things.  We were created for one another. 

  • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

    So this is interesting to me because while what you say is that publishers want authors with a platform and the willingness and capability to self-market, what incentive are publishers going to have to sway authors to even want to go with traditional publishing? I realize I’m talking about something to come down the road, with digital books changing the game for authors, but should publishers be thinking about wooing authors with serious marketing help? Please believe me when I say I in NO way think traditional publishing is dead (or even limping), but I do see a shift in that the authors who are willing and likely to market will just as willing to self-publish digitally and not only make a name for themselves (in the sense of possibly becoming a bestselling author) but also a better income (because they keep their profits, minus Amazon and such). 

    What are thoughts about one day seeing publishers wooing self-made authors with a serious marketing incentive? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think smart publishers are already doing these things. They don’t do the same for every author, obviously, but they will do what they need to do to add value.

  • Marcia Richards

    I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when that client poked his finger in your chest. i’ll bet you handled it masterfully! I am fortunate to have begun my writing career late last year when all the bloggers were writing about marketing and being verey specific with the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’. I don’t have the experience of someone doing it for me, so it’s quite natural for me to do it myself. I love it because I get to build a community of people who are interested in what I have to say and will likely read my books when they are published. The reader benefits from my personal marketing, because it’s me they are talking to and not some publishing house employee. I also think that authors who are used to someone else doing the work for them are feel entitled to that perk and have gotten spoiled. Since when can you have a small business and not do the marketing yourself? Thanks for the wonderful post, Michael. Very timely.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Michael–If we’re our Chief Marketing Officer, what role does a publishing company now play in today’s world where authors can publish and market on their own (with a little help from some friends)?

    I’m pretty sure you will or have addressed this issue in a post (me thinks the latter).

    Thanks–Tom

  • Thematty

    I don’t like the idea of taking on that role, AT all….I too will be giving away a free book, to children in shelters, but need to find the $$ to print it, and marketing is not my forte. Thanks for offering a free download of your e-book, I will sign up for it.

  • http://twitter.com/jsanty Jeremy Santy

    Michael,
    I couldn’t agree more, in fact, I recently was part of creating a product that is meant to help authors with this. It’s called Megaphone and I’m really excited about the potential of it. 

    You were very helpful in the development of this idea, especially your post ‘Why Every Author Needs a Powerful Online Presence’
    http://michaelhyatt.com/why-every-author-needs-a-powerful-online-presence.html

    If you, or anyone else is interested, check us out!
    http://www.megaphonesites.com
    @megaphonesites:twitter 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Awesome. The book I am writing right now uses this same metaphor.

      • http://www.megaphonesites.com Jeremy Santy

        Yes! It’s a very relevant metaphor. I’m looking forward to reading your book once it’s out!

  • Ben Komanapalli

    As a prospective author it is both exciting and a little scary. Exciting because you have control and have the opportunity to try different ideas and scary because of lack of experience and knowledge.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Lack of experience might actually be an asset—especially in this world where everything is changing.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com Patricia Zell

    One of the real benefits of self-publishing (POD)  is that I don’t have to worry about a publisher getting antsy about selling a certain number of books in a specific time frame. Since I have a demanding day job, I’m able to take my time with marketing. My goal is to build a slow, steady fire that will grow in intensity. My book (with the look inside feature) is listed everywhere and comes in three formats (hardback, paperback, and e-book).  My publisher is working on a targeted press release campaign for me and when it starts by the end of July, I will be mailing postcards to independent bookstore owners. Then, we’ll see where God leads after that.

    Just a little plug–so far, the feedback I’ve been getting from people (not relatives) who have read the book has been positive.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dennis-Brooke/1642870187 Dennis Brooke

    Passion persuades! Who is more passionate about your work than you?
    I took a great seminar on marketing for authors from Randy Ingermanson (Author of Writing Fiction for Dummies). Personally, he hated marketing but learned to do it because, as Michael has said in this post, it’s the way of the world today.
    Randy mentioned talking to authors who say about marketing: “Jesus will take care of that.”
    In his irreverent style he asked, “But he didn’t take care of the writing or editing? Is he bad at those but good at marketing?” He may inspire, but we’re the ones who roll up our sleeves.
    Embrace ALL elements of the writing process. You owe it to yourself and your future readers.
    http://www.dennisbrooke.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I love that quote. Perfect!

  • Jmhardy97

    Great post. There are many good points here.

  • Jmhardy97

    Great post. There are many good points here.

  • Jimmy

    I completely agree! 

    However, I would love for you to blog about the publisher’s responsibility in this “new world.”

    • turner_bethany

      I agree. That would be an interesting read. 

  • http://www.theinvitationstory.com Sk8

    I have a hard time with self promotion but at the same time I feel like our book has a message to share.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      You are not promoting yourself but the message. You have to develop this mindset.

  • Antdina

    I think you hit this one right on the head. However the thesis extends to more than authors. One could argue that any project even inside of a large firm would benefit from this principle. In fact, when I lead a team of messaging professionals, I would suggest this formula for them: publish…promote…promote. Repeat. The key is the proportion of creation to advertising. It takes 2+ times the effort to get the word out. Because a great painting is not great until someone sees it. Otherwise it’s just a swirl of pigment and resin on a board stuffed into a dark closet. The key recipe for nearly every endeavor is participation. And that requires awareness first.

  • David C Alves

    Mike, I’ve followed your blog for several years and continue to enjoy it. But this post begs the question “What 7 Premiums a Traditional Publisher Can Offer an Author.” Sounds rather like we’re not needed. If we do our own writing, our own editing, our own marketing, we should collect our own money. Why include a fair-weather friend? Not griping, just wondering.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This probably deserves a full blog post. More than I have time to write in this comment. But thanks. Duly noted.

  • http://twitter.com/swj_thewriter Sherri WilsonJohnson

    I have my first novel coming out this year with OakTara and I am totally ready for the challenge of doing the marketing myself. I have already begun to do so to build up the anticipation with future readers. Like you said, no one loves your product or knows more about it than you do. You have to take responsibility.  http://sherrijinga.wordpress.com/

  • Anonymous

    Well said. I think the same applies to my school and district. We need to become adept at telling our story in the face io rising competition from charter schools, who seem to get the lion’s share of positive press.

  • Maril Hazlett

    I started reading this, then had to stop in a guilty panic and rush to update my blog platform. Between garden, family, and work, I had let it slide this past week. Not a great approach to marketing.

    One new blog entry later I came back, finished reading your blog entry (excellent, as always), and now am taking a moment to say – thank you!

  • Kristy Ensor

    While I completely agree that you should market yourself,  one question I’ve been pondering is how to do it without it seeming like your bragging.  Any suggestons?

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  • Craig Curtis

    As an author in the making the marketing of my books actually excites me. I already have a web site envisioned to compliment my books and spur further exploration by my readers. I also want to get out and meet my future readership. Go to book shows, schools (my initial series is intended for middle school age), store appearances, interviews, etc.. I believe reclusive writers become forgotten writers.

    • turner_bethany

      Your plan sounds great! I wish more authors would do things like that. 

    • http://brevis.me Robert Ewoldt

      I think you’re right, Craig. If authors don’t get out there, then they are
      forgotten.

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    This is so true. I’m not working on an eBook project right now, but I am working on an event that I’m pushing through social media venues (http://artsfestaltar.com/). I’m finding that stuff happens when I make it happen, which is a little counter intuitive maybe, but a great learning experience.

  • Robert – CEO

    We are a publisher of 3000+ authors, an author marketing company, and a global foreign rights consultancy.

    One nuance is that “taking responsibility” doesn’t mean that you have to do the work. You do have to understand that nothing in life is free and if you hire a marketer, it is very rare they they work for commission only.

    There are a lot of marketing techniques that you can have done for less than $200. You might visit http://www.AuthorMarketingIdeas.com for a list of them, including a bunch of free ones.

    We think that the number one goal for an author is to saturate the Internet as much as possible and then, if the book is destined forquick  success, it will naturally pick up steam. If you are like the rest of us “20 year overnight sensations” then you just keep plugging.

    We tell authors that marketing is cheaper than golf.. so enjoy the process and just keep adding unto..

    Best to all authors!

    Robert Fletcher – Chairman
    http://www.PublishOnDemandGlobal.com
    http://www.AuthorMarketingIdeas.com
    http://www.StrategicBookPublishing.com

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  • Christina

    I wrote and self published a diet and health book ten years ago. I didn’t know anything about marketing and still don’t. I am in the process of re-editing and self publishing again but the thought of marketing myself is daunting. It isn’t as if I haven’t tried to learn, I have been to seminars read others insights but it still alludes me. As a film maker and seminar speaker I find I can’t get away from self promotion. I keep thinking I will find someone who believes in me and has those skills. I know I’m dreaming. Any suggestions?   

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-OLeary/1023443846 John O’Leary

    Man, is this a cornucopia of publishing and blogging wisdom!  The comment thread is as hot as the post — which is a credit to the blog. I just learned a half dozen things I didn’t know I didn’t know. Just signed up for the newsletter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chana-Vowell-Keefer/1016503719 Chana Vowell Keefer

    Thank you so much for an excellent article.  I am in the process of printing my first novel–e-formats available too–and I admit the marketing/distributing aspect intimidates.  However, if I keep the focus off numbers and more on the joy of connecting with and, hopefully/prayerfully, touching people, the business intimidation aspect slips away.  Every mountain peak reached reveals another mountain, eh?

    Blessings,

    Chana Keefer
    http://www.thepassionfields.com

  • K. Rowe

    As an Indie author, I find it extremely time consuming to market. But I don’t have a huge bankroll of royalties to hire a PR person, so between me and a few other authors, we’re working together to find the right places to put our books so we get noticed, but don’t have to spend hundred of hours marketing when we’d rather be writing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.vogler1 Daniel Vogler

    Great insight! Thanks!

  • http://www.thesingingnurse.com/ Dawn Ginese

    As a Christian I get a little stuck on,”Let another man praise you”.  It seems that there is a balance between honking your own horn and believing what you have to offer would be helpful to someones life.
    Thanks for your blog. I’m writing a lesson book with a Sing-along CD that helps parents/teachers/health advocates teach healthy living/hygiene to children.
     Like giving birth, you have to keep going, no turning back, got to deliver this baby.
    Thanks, Dawn

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think it is so much about promoting yourself as it is promoting the message. This helps me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=743860065 Jay Inman

    1st Book written and published… In my opinion, most Christian fiction is wimpy… slow… whatever. I am guilty of “waiting” for my publisher to “Help.”  I took charge and stood up a facebook fan page.  Also did the cheapest advertisement possible… 77 “likes” in three days.  There is a large audience for hard charging fiction that wrestles with things like nation building, science, revolution, aliens… in the context of hard scripture.

  • Anne Lyle

    On the whole I’m OK with it – I’ve been online for over a decade, I’ve built up connections and enjoy talking with fellow enthusiasts about my genre. As a result, I already have a number of pre-orders for my debut novel, months ahead of its release – not family and friends, but people I’ve never met. I’m pretty sure that never happened in “the good old days”!

    At the same time I appreciate any advice my agent and publishers can give me about how to exploit those connections further. Publishing is a cooperative venture between author and publishing house – or should be.

  • Anonymous

    Michael,
    I appreciate your insights in this industry.  I’ve read this from you before, and it raises the question in my mind – why continue to work with publishers at all?  If the publishers need authors to write the material, and demand that the author has his own platform, why don’t authors vanity publish their material?  What is the value that publishers are bringing to the table? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It’s because of what publishers can do with a platform. They can leverage and make it bigger than you could on your own. But they have to have something to start with.

  • http://twitter.com/beapositive1 Mike Chamberlain

    Michael,

    One of the most common misperceptions about marketing is that it is only about promotion. Marketing really starts with the development of the product and includes pricing and distribution in addition to promotion. So, the reality is that the creator should be involved in every stage of the “marketing” of their work, not just how the finished product is advertised.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I couldn’t agree more. I plan to have a whole section in my book on the product. It will include many of the items you mentioned.

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  • Anonymous

    What you’re talking abut in this post is something we discovered to be so profoundly true in our ministry that it completely changed our direction a couple of years ago.

    I’m the Artistic Director for a Christian production ministry.  For years we told ourselves, “We are filmmakers, not a sales and marketing team – so we need to forge a strong partnership with an organization that can do that job well.”  So we partnered with some of the biggest names in Christian publishing…and despite the stories of life change that came from those using our resources, our products languished in terms of sales.

    Eventually, we came to the same conclusions that you have made here – that we are the best people to move our mission, our message, and therefore, our products.  In fact, we believed that so strongly that we didn’t just start paying attention to marketing, we actually formed our own publishing company, taking our marketing, sales, and distribution in-house.

    Our first product released under our own steam is on track to surpass the sales of all our other films combined within the next 12 months.

    So here’s my question… What really is the place of the publishing giants anymore, when what you’re saying is certainly true?  We sure won’t ever go that route again.

  • Patricia Leonaitis

    I am scared because I am 79 years of age and I don’t know a thing about marketing my books. They are poetry books, by the way. Thanks, Patricia Leonaitis,RN, ret.

  • Patricia Leonaitis

    My books–“Horses are Stars” and “November Dreamer” were published by X-Libris Publishers, but I haven’t had the money to buy any of their marketing packages, so I guess I will have to do it myself—Help!!!

  • Robyn Leatherman

    My debut novel, Summer Rain: Getsikahvda Anitsalagi is on my editor’s desk now. I’m on twitter and have a blog in place because I realize that there is a great need for me to have my own platform in place before my book hits the shelves. I’m working at gaining a greater audience so sales will be higher. When asking an author if s/he has yet compiled a marketing list of their own – the question I ask is: who wouldn’t want to do that?

  • Jim Waugh

    Michael, very good words of wisdom. In the case of my book, “Living Safely with Electromagnetic Radiation”, I am having to create awareness of a subject that is not well understood and market the book as the best source of information. There is no doubt that the author is the best person for the marketing job.

  • Clwedd

    5. Increasingly readers expect personal contact with authors. I.e. twitter, facebook etc.

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  • EnnisP

    I can’t imagine an author not wanting to find ways to successfully market their work but I can understand why they don’t.

    Writing is kind of an isolated process. Musing doesn’t go hand in hand with socializing so it is easy to get comfortable sitting in one’s private space while waiting for someone else to bring the customers. But, with everything else in life, adjust or die.

    Thankfully, there are free options for marketing oneself today, which writers must make use of.

  • http://www.vilate.tateauthor.com/ Forksinthedishwasher

    You know, I felt like I had gotten alot accomplished when my book was accepted for publication.  The whole process was new but I loved the 8 months or so it took for the book to come to fruition.  I have been very disappointed with the marketing department and what they have done or are willing to do.  Marketing is not my talent and I struggle to push my own product.  What I needed was a marketing department that actually talked to me and followed up once in a while instead of saying, “follow me on Twitter and Facebook.”  I am willing to do any interview, any book club or book signing but I don’t know how to open those doors.  I am not sure how to get newpapers and magazine to review your book. 

  • Tamika sims

    This is an excellent article. I am a newly published author (less than a year). I realized this a few weeks ago after hiring a publicist  – that this was not her SOLE responsibility. I knew that I had to be a partner in my own success. Since adopting this attitude, many new opportunities have come my way and I’m very excited about the doors God will continue to open.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      It’s really freeing to acknowledge that you are responsible for your success!   It sounds like you are well on your way, Tamika!

  • Kristyspeer

    I have already begun lining up future book events I don’t expect my book to even be ready for actual book events until roughly October and I didn’t stop there I’m already writing the second book to my three book series!! This is my new world and I don’t want other people doing things for me I want my hand in every pot on this book and the next two to complete my first series!! This article was spot on for me.

  • Laura Michelle Thomas

    I firmly believe that being a successful author is a sales and marketing problem, not a literary one. http://www.laurathomascommunications.com

  • David G. Johnson

    I have my first two novels coming out at the end of the year, but one of my challenges is that my family and I live overseas and are only in the States for about 6 months every three years or so. That means things like book signings, etc only have a limited window where I can do them. Fortunately our stateside window is going to coincide with the release date of my books this time, but for future work, or for ongoing marketing, what types of things can an overseas author do to keep active with promoting books?

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Thanks. Yes, you may link to it. That’s fine.