services provided by publishing houses?

News, trends, and the future of publishing
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Re: services provided by publishing houses?

Post by Margo » March 26th, 2011, 1:14 am

siebendach wrote:Can anyone tell me any fiction book (new author, old author, anyone) that's being advertised by a traditional publisher --- anywhere?
I know they still take out ads in Locus and lots of ads on book blogger sites, which is better than print or tv ads, in my opinion. The magazine ads are absolutely paid for by the houses, but the authors might be taking out the blog ads themselves.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves.

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Re: services provided by publishing houses?

Post by kveenly » March 26th, 2011, 4:58 pm

In terms of advertisements, I imagine publishers focus on those areas likeliest to produce results. While marketing James Patterson on TV makes sense, is it wise to be marketing books to an audience watching TV? Most writers don't have that sort of spillover potential. From my knowledge of publishing (I work at an independent publisher and so don't know what the Big 6 do exactly), publishers focus their attention on traditional and non-traditional marketing strategies. Traditional marketing strategies focus on advertising through local media (local to the author's hometown or towns featured in their stories; radio, newspapers, TV shows focusing on local news). I imagine the Big 6 explode this further and focus on national, not just local media. Non-traditional marketing strategies focus on social media -- word-of-mouth online is super important. I have seen lots of advertisements online of books, though my ultimate thought is that an advertisement is useless for a book that just doesn't capture the imagination of readers, because word of mouth is just so important in this business.

In terms of what publishers/agents are actually able to provide writers -- I think it's more than just what sounds like the nitty gritty of publicists and editorial work, etc., which I think is true, someone in Amanda Hocking's position could hire people to do that individually. It takes time and energy to coordinate/manage people like that, though, and I can see why she wouldn't want to. But more than anything else, it takes vision and energy and knowledge that one person just may not have (I certainly don't). At a publishing house, several people gather to figure out a strategy, and this more than anything else is what a publishing house can provide: a team that coalesces around a concept. Self-publishing is great, but I see it as something that's really best for people who are very, very good at marketing and communicating their concepts, a talent not everyone has -- and not all writers are really made out for that kind of marketing. (I think of as doing something similar to what authors who are self-publishing are doing. Some ideas catch on at Kickstart and some don't. And writers who are very successful at self-publishing I think are the ones who are able to come up with ideas people can easily grab onto. Sometimes this is more about being able to communicate that idea than it is about the worthiness of that idea.)


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Re: services provided by publishing houses?

Post by kveenly » March 26th, 2011, 5:05 pm

Sorry, I also forgot to mention the importance of book clubs (huge for the adult market).

Also, I wanted to share this article about why some ideas catch and why other ideas don't. I found it pretty convincing and think it explains why not everyone who has used self-publishing succeeds and others don't (and why for some the traditional path might be better, because publishing houses sort of train themselves into understanding why some ideas succeed and others don't): ... 29,00.html

More of this is covered at (ideas that stick).

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Re: services provided by publishing houses?

Post by wordranger » March 26th, 2011, 11:21 pm

Funny... I've been thinking for a long time whether I should just try to self-publish, or if I should go the query route.
Something inside me want to be justified by knowing a big publishing house would stand behind me... but if it takes me a year to get there, and they are not going to do any promotion... what real value do they add?

Yes, maybe a cover... but I've heard so many comments from authors that they were surprised when they saw their cover. Personally, I'd like to see my cover and have some input. I've seen people who will do it for $500 or so, and I have not really dug too deep yet. That's really not all that bad if you think about it. There are also free-lance artist out there who will do art for --are you ready for this-- $70 a painting. Gack! I have a feeler out with one of these whose artwork is just phenomenal. Who knows?

Honestly, the only value-add I can see is that they will get your book into bookstores for you. With the recent fall of Borders, and Barnes and Noble being the "Last Man Standing" I'm not so sure if that is really all that important anymore.

Maybe, if I can figure out how to promote my own work (which will be hard, but it sounds like I will have to do that anyway) I will just pay Amazon a visit and see what this self-publishing thing is all about. The more I read... the more I am thinking this is the wave of the future.

The only problem is, that the market could easily get flooded with "not so good" novels, and good authors will need to work harder to prove that they are worthy of being read.
Words are your friend.
Don't be afraid to lose yourself in them.

Jennifer Eaton, WordRanger
My Novelette LAST WINTER RED will be published by J. Taylor Publishing in December, 2012

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