DIY Book Marketing

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Joanne Kaufman is looking at how authors are becoming their own marketing departments.

Changes in technology are shrinking the profit margins - and marketing budgets - of traditional publishers. The emergence of social media means there are new ways to engage with readers. With some 1500 books published in the US every day, some web-savvy writers are taking matters into their own hands and taking a DIY strategy to marketing their books.

So how are they going about it? Giveaways and twofers build reader goodwill and bump up numbers on Facebook and mailing lists. Writer Ayelet Waldman rewarded customers who preordered her 2009 essay collection Bad Mother with a free copy of one of her husband Michael Chabon’s novels. The result: an appearance on the New York Times bestseller list. Of course, not everyone is married to Michael Chabon, but giveaways boost preorders and help convince publishers to push a book.

Waldman acknowledges the DIY approach can be unpalatable to writers accustomed to traditional modes of marketing. “I’m sure there are plenty of people who think ‘she’s so tacky.’ And I say: ‘I have four children to feed. I wish I had the luxury of not being tacky.’”

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