Who’s Supposed to Be Marketing My Book?!


I don’t understand why my publisher, Ingram and Amazon aren’t marketing my book. Isn’t that what they do?

This is a common complaint I hear from authors. Unfortunately, many new authors are confused about traditional publishing vs. self-publishing. Some believe they’ve landed a traditional contact…even though they’ve paid to have their book published.

Many POD publishers upsell authors on pricey marketing products and services. However, these are usually just a greedy revenue stream for the POD publisher. Authors rarely sell enough books using these products/services to make up for the money they paid. While there are many ways to successfully sell a book online. which I’ve covered extensively through my 11-Part Online Book Marketing That Works Series, paying your POD publisher for press releases (often more spam-like than real PR), bookmarks and coffee mugs isn’t likely to sell many, if any, books. However, your POD publisher will be very happy to take your money for those items!

Your POD publisher isn’t going to market your book for free because they know they can make money charging you for their marketing services. On the flip-side, the good POD publishers don’t take rights from authors and let them terminate at anytime, or with just a few days notice, so, if your marketing efforts are successful, you could very well land a traditional contract and the POD publisher wouldn’t be able to profit from those past marketing efforts. If a POD publisher were offering those services for free, they’d be shooting themselves in the foot since good marketing can lead to high sales and a traditional publishing contract for the author. That’s another reason they don’t market books for free.

When you sign with a traditional publisher, they are taking a risk on your book. They front the publishing expense and tie you into a long-term contract. They’re occasionally willing to put marketing money behind your book (very rare these days!) because you’re stuck with them and they know any book sales will benefit them directly, not some other publisher in the future. Unfortunately, most traditionally published authors are still almost 100% responsible for the marketing of their book, including the fees associated with that marketing.

Traditional publishing means you’re trading the rights to your book for the publication expense of your book and, if you’re lucky, some marketing dollars.

Self publishing means you retain the rights to your book (unless you made a huge mistake and signed with one of those rights-grabbing POD publishers), but that you are responsible for the publishing expenses and all marketing activities and dollars. And, you should be able to terminate your contract with the POD publisher at anytime (don’t sign with a POD publisher that doesn’t let you immediately terminate you contract or one that makes you pay for early termination!). This is important because many successful self-published authors have landed traditional contracts and a traditional publisher isn’t going to wait around for months or years while your other contract term is in force.

Here are some success stories from self-published authors who landed traditional publishing contracts:

Can Self-Published Authors Land Traditional Contracts? Heck, Yeah!

Another Booklocker.com POD Book Lands Traditional Contract! By Paul Clayton

Self-Publishing Leads to Traditional Contract By Tom Douglas

Self-Publishing Leads to Another Traditional Contract By Henry Mark Holzer

Another BookLocker Author Lands a Traditional Contract! By Kevin Coolidge

From Self-Published Author to Traditional Publishing Contract By Ronnie McBrayer

Finally, Amazon.com is a bookstore. If you want them to actively promote your book, you’ll need to pay them a LOT of money to do so.

Ingram is a book distributor. They are not responsible for promoting your book, even if they are distributing your book.