Blogger: Rachelle Gardner
We know you probably get tired of talking about platform… about building those mailing lists, and engaging on social media, and connecting with your audience. But it has never been more important that you do those things. Your publisher needs your full participation in reaching your audience.
Why is this? You might think, “It’s a publisher’s job to promote my book. They have more resources than I do. Why do I have to do all this platform-building stuff?”
The publisher definitely does their part in promoting your book. After all, it’s an expensive proposition to publish a book, so they’re highly motivated to get people to buy it. But the more you can contribute to the marketing, the better chance your book will have.
Why is it so much harder for publishers to reach your audience these days, as opposed to, say, 25 years ago? There are many reasons, but you don’t need to look any further than this one major factor, which has been a total game-changer in publishing:
Too Many Books.
According to Publishers Weekly, a million new books were self-published in 2017. One. Million. Books. In one year. And those are only the self-published titles. Add to that the books published by traditional publishers, and the number of new books each year is mind-boggling. But wait. Those are just the new books, so add them to the tens of millions of individual titles already in existence.
How can any single book stand out in that large of a field? It’s very difficult. The problem is known as discoverability and it means the odds are stacked against us when we want to bring readers’ attention to our books.
This is why the publisher needs your help—it’s important to find your audience, that specific group of people who will like your book. They need you engaging with your audience, connecting with them, doing your part to make them aware of you.
Even with all this work, it’s still hard to make your book discoverable. It’s not anyone’s fault. Publishers are not conspiring to make life difficult for you. They’re not being unreasonable by requiring authors to participate in marketing. It’s simply the situation we find ourselves in—there are too many books, so we all have to work so much harder to each one stand out to its unique audience.
I hear a lot of frustration from authors about the difficulties of platform-building and marketing. I get it! But there are a lot of readers out there, and you can find yours.
What are some creative ways you’ve found to make your work “discoverable” in the crowded book marketplace?