"I can help you!"


I've worked for over 25 years in advertising, promotions and sales, and spent nearly 2 years as a motivational speaker for a major international company. Currently a bestselling novelist and 'shameless' promoter, I've shared my experiences and techniques as a Book Marketing Coach for nearly a decade.

Whether you're published or unpublished, I can help. My last publisher called me a "marketing guru" and "whiz", although I prefer to think of what I do as teaching, or coaching.

"Dare to Dream...and Dream BIG!"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Whose responsibility is it to market your book--the publisher or yours?

While the answer to the title of this post may seem obvious to most, the answer is: BOTH!

This topic recently came up in the Murder Must Advertise Yahoo group, and when Karen Syed, publisher at Echelon Press, joined in and shared her experiences, I am sure there were a few horrified readers. What do you mean authors aren't promoting their own books? That must only be a few, right? Wrong.

Talk to a handful of writers about what they've done, are doing and how many books they've sold as a result and you'll discover that there are a lot of uneducated, lazy writers out there who feel it's up to a publisher to sell the book.

They're wrong. Authors need to think of their publishers as their business partners. Or even as a coach. A partner or coach can only assist you so far; you still have to do some of the work and carry your fair share of responsibility. Then you can both celebrate your success.

I wandered over to Karen's blog and wasn't surprised to see she'd blogged about this. Hey, look what I'm doing. Book marketing, or lack thereof, is an important topic--and it's my livelihood, as an author and a book marketing coach.

Here's the comment I left on Karen's blog:
ALL of Karen’s authors should “die trying”. You should all realize how fortunate you are to have a publisher who took a risk on you and your book and then did all the things she does to promote it. Many authors with other publishers are lucky to get even half of what she offers.

As an author who has shamelessly promoted her books everywhere I go, I can tell you Karen is right. It’s YOUR book! If you haven’t got the time, money, energy or interest to promote your “baby” and your possible future as a career author, then why should she?

Please note: I’m not one of Karen’s authors. I’ve never met her. I don’t even know if I know any of her authors. But I can tell you from experience and from working with other authors as a marketing coach, her experiences are common.

Too many authors are either uneducated about the book industry or they’re too lazy to market their own work or they’re too lazy to learn or they’re just not interested in writing as a career.

As the former creator and organizer of Authors’ Row, a multi-author event that no longer exists, I can assure you I’ve seen and heard it all. All the excuses why you can’t or won’t market your book. I’ve watched authors read their own books at signings and completely ignore potential fans.

Connect! That is a hugely rewarding part of signings and events–meeting people. Hand out bookmarks or promo items. Have a draw for a gift basket. SMILE!

Sorry, but if all you want is a book published so you can sell a handful (or 100 in a year) to your family and friends, then self-publish it.

When a publisher takes on the risk, especially financially, they have the right to certain expectations. That you’ll market your book is one of them.
If you don’t know how to market your book, learn.

If you don’t WANT to market your book, step aside, so that those of us who will “die trying” can have a chance with your publisher.
For those authors who still haven't figured this out, I suggest you check out Karen Syed's blog post You've Got to be Kidding!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Copyright infringement: an act of honoring or theft?

Recently, a fellow writer posted an article written by another author to our writers' group. He was trying to be helpful. But he openly admitted he didn't have permission to reproduce the article. He hadn't bothered to contact the author and ask, and the article author isn't a member of our group, as far as I know. This led to a discussion on the issue of copyright infringement.

My fellow writer's argument: he was trying to be helpful, was promoting another author who would be grateful for the extra promotion, and he hadn't profited from posting it so it wasn't infringement.

My argument: if you haven't received permission from the author and you've posted their article, especially in its entirety, it's copyright infringement. And as writers, we should be very careful not to cross that line.

Is it copyright infringement if you reproduce an article without the author's permission? Yes.

Even if you don't make any money off it? Yes.

Even if you're trying to help that author? Yes.

There were two solutions to this issue that the writer could have explored. He could've emailed the author for permission; most authors will say yes but may have guidelines/rules. Or he could've posted the link to wherever the article was posted legally.

Over the years, I've found a handful of my articles printed online without my permission. One misspelled my name. One didn't include my name. One altered my text. One added their own advertisement links where I had linked to sites like Facebook. One didn't include a link to my website. I can assure you, I didn't feel honored and I doubt I made any sales from them. In fact, I usually asked them to either attribute me correctly, or in the case of one person who thought it was their God given right to print whatever they wanted, I asked them to remove my article. But if someone asks me first if they can reproduce one of my articles (without any changes) and adds my name (correctly spelled) and a live link to my site, I am happy. And honored.

I know I'm not the only one who has experienced this. I once reproduced a post from a newsletter. The owner of the newsletter stated they had permission to use it and so did the subscribers. After I posted it, the author contacted me and asked me why I'd infringed on her copyright. I explained I thought she'd given permission, as was mentioned in the newsletter. She didn't even know her material had been used in that newsletter. She was pissssed!

I don't blame her, and I felt pretty awful about it. I offered to immediately remove my post, but she graciously allowed me to use it. I'd already attributed her and had included a link to her site (which was how she found out I'd printed her post).

Have you ever found your material illegally reproduced online? If you did, how did you respond? If you haven't, how would you feel about it--especially as I've mentioned--without your name or incorrectly spelled, no links to your site, edited text etc?

I think this is something every writer should be wary of. And anyone who feels that by using someone else's material, they're honoring them or helping them. You're not. Get permission. Or use links; they work. :-)

For some interesting insights into copyright, please check out the following:
Laws vary slightly by country, but simply put: get permission to reproduce anything you did not write.

My fellow writers and I will appreciate your respect.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
Bestselling author & book marketing coach

P.S. In case you're wondering, this blog post is copyrighted. If you'd like to repost it on your site, blog or to a writers' group, please email me via http://www.cherylktardif.com/. Or feel free to add just the title and link to the article here. Thank you. :-)