The Creative Penn has published an interesting piece about the views of author Gary Vaynerchuk on the way authors should be marketing themselves, and one quote caught my eye:
he never even considered marketing to be the publisher’s job, that’s just not part of their relationship. His tone of voice suggested that he was kind of incredulous that anyone would consider publisher’s should do any marketing.
As the PR guy for four different imprints (one comics, one SF/fantasy/horror, one shared world SF/fantasy/post-apocalyptic, one YA) I do my absolute best to try and cover all of these angles, to get the book out there to bloggers and push every title members of the mainstream media, as well as alerting loyal Solarites, Abaddonites, Raveonstoners (?), and Earthlets (long story) – but that’s a LOT of ground to cover. It’s a hard slog sometimes but in such a war it’s always best to have allies. But the best ally I can have? Authors that have created and cultivated an audience – and in these days of online engagement that’s worth its weight in gold.
I’d draw your attention to Solaris past masters Lou Morgan and Gareth L. Powell, both of whom created and built their audience in slightly different ways. For Lou, she built hers by blogging, by being a member of the wider SFF community, by getting involved, by talking to people about the process and struggles of becoming a writer; thereby making a personal connection with her readers. Gareth did exactly the same things but when his new book for Solaris, Ack-Ack Macaque, featured a singular simian protagonist he created a fantastic personality on Twitter that interacted with its community and sold the book (after the success of the first book, #2 is out next month and he’s currently working on #3). Two different approaches, same outcome – an audience eager for more.
Yeah, in any genre you shouldn’t rely on a publisher to be the be-all-and-end-all of marketing; but I prefer to think of it as a team effort – from the writer to the PR guy to the editor to the publisher, we all have an interest in making great books. And readers only discover a great book if you tell them about it.