Both first time writers and established authors like to dream of a world where we don’t have to do our own marketing. We’d all love to do nothing but write, mail the occasional manuscript to our editor, and watch the accolades (and the royalty checks) roll in. In our dream world, publishers market writers; we just write.
Here in reality, many publishers do promote their own writers. The Big Five do it with big budgets; independent publishers like AutPress do it more strategically. But every author, large or small, promotes their own book – at least if they want it to sell.
Here are three writers you’ve probably heard of who are engaged in their own marketing:
1. J.K. Rowling
Rowling’s publishers have plenty of money to support her marketing efforts, which is how Rowling produces lush interactive websites like Pottermore instead of your average author blog. But Rowling is also active on Twitter, where she’s as well known for her political wit as she is for talking books.
2. Stephen King
Stephen King has produced approximately one book a year since the 1970s; Google’s answer to “How many Stephen King books are there?” is “At least 107.” There’s no doubt that King works with a publisher that promotes its own writers.
But King promotes his own work as well. He’s active on Twitter and still does public appearances. He also promotes his books by writing more books: On Writing, published in 2000 (and released again in 2010) encourages new readers to pick up King’s books by offering a bit of insight into how they were written.
3. N.K. Jemisin
Yet another writer who loves Twitter, N.K. Jemisin uses the platform to connect with other writers, share publishing news, and tweet images of her adorable cat, in between writing bestselling books. Jemisin has also leveraged Patreon’s creative platform, where the support of her patrons has put her well over her original monthly income goals.
To give your own book its best chance to be read and loved, it’s important to choose a publisher that promotes its own authors. But it’s even more important to choose your own promotion approach. No matter how famous your book becomes, you’ll need to market your own work.