If your publishing house acquired a debut novelist with radically ambitious (by traditional standards) marketing ideas for the book (ex: corporate-sponsored book tour; alternate reality game played by fans in real time around the country; basically, any idea that hasn’t yet been proven effective):
- How likely would you support those efforts?
- If you found the ideas sound and would pledge support, what form of support would likely be offered (contacts/mailing lists, media training, money…)?
- If you would deny support to any ideas outside of those previously tested and proven (ex: book review copies, press materials, author page on house website) on what would you base this opinion?
The corporation you work for is welcome to sponsor your book tour with our blessing. If you expect your publisher to sponsor it, you're living in a real-time alternate reality game.
Nowadays authors are expected to promote themselves. Print up bookmarks and other crap and send them to bookstores in hopes that they'll give it away to customers. Or take them to conventions and put them on the freebies table. Negotiate for dozens of author copies so you can send them to booksellers in hopes that they'll talk up your book. Get yourself booked on Oprah. Arrange a book tour and spend hours sitting in entrances to mall bookstores being ignored by customers.
If you don't spend at least twice your advance promoting your book, you aren't doing enough. If we think you might be the next Grisham, we might pony up the money to have your book placed in the front of the store, but we don't think you're the next Grisham.
1. Not likely at all.
2. A telephone call offering encouragement and a figurative pat on the back.
3. We're poor.