Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Going to the Market

I know how to choose a good avocado at the supermarket, or a melon at the farmer’s market. But blimey if I know how best to market a book, and books are what I read, write and live.

Other than self-publishers, authors have little to no say about marketing. The title, the cover, the rest--- are the provenance of marketing, and there are specialists for these in the publishing world. This is what they do. Many of my published writer friends roll their eyes when asked, “How did you choose the cover?” 
They didn’t.

I have written about letting others change the title, (mine are too prosaic) and the covers, (my tendency is to the too-precious and not fitting for market) but I think this article in Publishers Weekly by the amazing Jane Friedman-- gives the whole story as authors experience it.
{In case the inserted link doesn’t work, here it is again:
Because this is how much I like it}

Marketing folks make mistakes, too. But what they know is different enough from what writers know that it's a good idea to accept their input, even though it can sting. If our stories are our children, a title/cover suggestion is akin to having to accept a teacher’s plan for your child that feels oh-so-wrong. But is it?

To quote Winnie the Pooh: “Think, think, think.

And then let it go. Because unlike your flesh and blood child, you have to. And the marketers are often right, anyway. It’s a long road to market, and we need all the friends our books can have.


Vijaya said...

That was a good article, Mirka, and this SP author is learning very slowly how to market. It's a long road--thankfully I have writing friends like you to walk with.

Mirka Breen said...

Self publishing is not for me, Vijaya, for the reasons I wrote about. I definitely need a marketer's expertise.

Evelyn said...

I agree that a book's cover can make a huge difference in how attractive the book is to its intended audience. But I do sometimes wonder how some covers managed to be chosen by those who do the choosing.

Mirka Breen said...

It would be interesting to research the evolution of iconic covers.

Janie Junebug said...

Marketing is scary to me.


Mirka Breen said...

It's not a natural extension of literary writing. Many of us are less than comfortable with it.

Sue said...


Barbara Etlin said...

I used to subscribe to Quill & Quire, a Canadian magazine for publishing professionals. It would sometimes do an analysis of the cover decision/revision process, written by the cover designer, of popular covers. It was interesting to see why the publisher chose the final draft.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I self-published one book years ago. But I have to say, since I finally found publishers and have put those choices in their hands, the covers have all been much better than anything I would have come up with.

Mirka Breen said...

Speaking for myself, Elizabeth, I think I would like my self-chosen covers but they would not be as successful with others... If you self publish you can hire professional designers, but the final design choice is yours. This would be my achilles-heel.