When I googled publishers in
last year, my search engine threw up many names, several names I had never
heard of. As I waded through the
publishing houses: some new and few old, I was taken aback to see
that one publishing house had a form
writers had to fill before submitting their manuscripts online. “What are the
things you are going to do to publicize your book?” was the question. It was
followed by a condition that the writer had to pick half the books that were
Assuming that the first print run was a 1000 to 3000 copies for a new author, that would make it anything from 500 to 1500 copies that writers had to sell on their own. That’s way too much to give away free to family, friends and acquaintances, because no one will buy books from the writer, everyone would expect a free copy.
Many times I have seen writers trying to sell books on their own, I would always wonder why. As writers we can and should talk about our books, spread the word around, but carrying the books everywhere we go to dispose of the copies dumped on us by publishers somehow doesn’t feel right to me. In such cases we may as well sit at the street corner and sell our books.
Selling books should be a joint effort, with the publishing houses undertaking major portion of the work ( most publishing houses, with the exception of very small ones, have a wide network of distributors and retailers). Most writers have blogs and websites, so they are already in the marketing/building a platform game. Writers can chip in by attending events organised by the publishing houses, having book discussions and interactive sessions with readers who attend the events many large book shops conduct on a monthly basis. Publishers can even give writers a list of libraries and book clubs in their towns, I am sure most writers would grab the opportunity to publicize and discuss their work.
I have seen atleast in
that when these events are organized by publishers it carries more weight, than
when a writer does it all by himself/herself. At events arranged by the
writers, only family members and close friends turn up. Very few people, unless we have a
personal connection with the people in
authority, will go out of the way to plug our books. India
Do you think its right for publishers to demand that the onus of selling books should fall on a writer’s weary shoulders. Writing a book is a demanding job, getting it published more demanding, and on top of that expecting writers to take responsibility for selling them is asking for too much. It’s like asking a sick man to donate blood. Would you take the responsibility of selling half your books? To what extent would you go to help your publisher? Please share your views.