A big theme during the books portion of the NYU Summer Publishing Institute that scared me as a writer was that many publishers were publicly announcing that they would not take on an author–even if they were so in love with their manuscript or book proposal that they wanted to marry it–unless they had a platform and a pretty established following of readers. They either have to have a popular blog, or an avid twitter following, a lecture tour, a string of exhibits (think how well-known and well-established Postsecret was before their first book came out), or a kagillion fans on Facebook. Maybe Google+ will start factoring in sometime soon, but at this point I agree with Neil Gaiman on that front.
After reading that, is anyone else having a major panic attack right now?
I was assigned a publicity role in a group project at the Institute and learned how to navigate a lot of these things I once had a great deal of distaste for (key example: twitter. But now I like it because it’s like Facebook updates with the distinct purpose of being interesting for an audience, but I’m not clogging up my friend’s news feeds the way a lot of them do with “I love you” and “I love you more” posting banter…I digress). I appreciate the amount of work that publicists do. When I become an author, I totally want my own publicist. But I agree with Nathan Brandsford and, at the same time, desperately don’t want to be my own publicist. It feels a little skeevy. And if you’re a self-published author, it’s probably even worse because you’re pretty much a one-man band and you’re really responsible for getting the word out there. What do you think? Is self-promotion a necessary evil in today’s publishing world? Do you embrace it like bad-tasting medicine, love it like candy, or pretend it just doesn’t exist?
For those of you who are published, do you think it’s really necessary at all? Does your book do fine without heaps of self-promotion?
Questions of our time.