Whose Responsibility Is It?

In the past few weeks, I have run into two authors who told me that they were having books published by a small publisher. Each stated that she did not know what, if any, marketing the publisher would be doing for her book. Both inquired for help in knowing the best way to ask their publisher for this information.


Knowing what your publisher will be doing to promote your book is important. You do not want to waste time or money on services or advertising that your publisher is going to be doing. You need to know so that you can make the best use of your resources in promoting your books.

What type of marketing do traditional large publishers do for books they publish? The answer all depends on the author. For best-selling authors, traditional publishers provide complete marketing services including hiring a publicist. For new authors, traditional publishers often do little marketing aside from securing pre-publication reviews, sending out press releases, and paying for a minimal amount of advertising.

New authors wanting to break into better sales, even though published by a traditional publishing house, often have to spend their own money to promote their book. They may hire a designer to create a website, pay for an advertising campaign, or hire their own publicist.

Communication between a publisher and author is important. Knowing who is responsible for each piece in the book promotion puzzle creates the most comprehensive marketing plan. Following is my response to these authors as well as a message for small publishers.

Message to Authors:
If you are having your book published by a small publisher, don’t be shy about asking what they will be doing to market your book. You don’t have to beat around the bush or be tactful. You need to know what the publisher is doing so that you can augment their marketing activities on your behalf. Ask outright: “What type of marketing can I expect from you for this book?” “What marketing efforts do you want me to engage in?”

Message to Small Publishers:
If you are publishing authors other than yourself, be clear with your authors about what marketing efforts (if any) you will do on behalf of their books. Preferable, this should be included in your author contract. Additionally, you should make clear to the author that they have some responsibility in marketing their book. Providing authors a helpful guide listing ways to market a book including having a website, utilizing social media, as well as speaking engagements, should be part of your regular communication with authors.

Authors and publishers working together to promote a book produce the best results. Lone rangers aren’t as effective as teams.

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2 thoughts on “Whose Responsibility Is It?

  1. You have a great site with very useful information for small Christian publishers. Most of the blogs I read seem a little dated, like from 2015. You’re still blogging and the SCPA is still active and growing? (I just purchased your 2015 Guide to Marketing for $45.)


  2. Yes, Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) is still active and growing. Enjoy the Guide!


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