Friday, January 23, 2009

Cri de coeur

The author quoted in Team? What Team? filled me in some more. Alas, it's a story I've heard far too many times--most recently from participants in the Teleseminar I gave yesterday--and it always makes steam come out of my ears:
I've done everything you suggested, to no avail. At a marketing meeting with my "Acme Publishing" crew before the book was published, I told them what I was planning. They told me nothing of what they intended to do. In hindsight, that should have been my first clue.

My agent told me not to believe anything the Acme publicist promised, but to follow up on everything myself. I thought my agent was exaggerating; it was unbelievable to think that the publisher who had paid thousands of dollars for my work wasn't going to promote it.

But it seems my agent was correct, because all of the interviews, newspaper articles, book signings and speaking events I did were set up by me. Distribution was excellent, but publicity? Zero.

I suspect sales are below my publisher's expectations, and worry that Acme is going to blame me. I feel like a failure, even though I know I did everything I could to promote my book.
"I can imagine your crushing disappointment," I wrote back.

Then I started wondering: How can a business survive by spending oodles of money to bring a product to market, only to ignore it? WTF are publishers thinking???

And how do agents manage to keep doing business with people who always lie? I'm not saying agents shouldn't, else they wouldn't do much business. (Though it sure would be nice if publishers' toes were held to the fire.) How do agents--and authors--keep themselves going amidst such falseness?

Remember, I wrote to the author:
  1. You're not a failure.
  2. You did your best.
  3. The world is filled with wankers.

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