When considering how to publish your book and the pluses and minuses of various approaches, be sure to plan for how you will promote your book. Yes, how you will promote it. Publishers expect the author to promote and sell the book. If you run into a Web site or self-publishing organization that says it handles promotion, be extremely skeptical before you spend a lot of money for very little return.

            Because of movies and other fantasies, many authors believe that promotion of their book – leading to big sales and lots of money – somehow comes from the publisher. That is not how publishing works. Authors think the publisher will set up bookstore signings that will translate into numerous sales; arrange promotional tours that will have people hungering to buy the book; schedule radio and TV programs where authors talk about their books. Books can be promoted in these ways—but it is the authors themselves who do so, for example by signing on with a publicist. But the effectiveness of these promotions is at best uncertain.

Think about this: selling and promoting your book is really promoting you and your professional work.  Books that sell large numbers—which are often ghostwritten with celebrities’ names on them—do so because they have a built-in audience. For example, Bill O’Reilly has two books on the best-seller list—which he promotes every night on his show, which is viewed by millions of fans. O’Reilly has no trouble selling his books. If a well-known media figure’s name appears on a book, and that person promotes the book to his or her media audience, then a lot of fans will likely buy the book. But that applies to celebrities, not to authors in general.

            One big reason that publishers give advances to authors is to give the authors money that the authors will spend on promotion. A seasoned author who has produced several books might receive an advance as large as $10,000—which the publisher expects will all be spent on promotion.  But $10,000 barely makes a dent in today’s media environment, where there are so many communication channels, all with different requirements, and so many people out there trying to get other people to pay attention to their message.

            Ask yourself: how many non-celebrity authors’ books have you heard about and become interested in during the last week? The last month? The last year?  There is far too much clutter for most books and most authors to pierce.

            So, you may be thinking, why not just hire a publicist? As noted, some authors do, and there are plenty of publicists willing and ready to take your money. If you want to try self-promotion using a publicist, there are hundreds and hundreds from whom to choose. Here is a web site that may help you, with an alphabetical (and partial) list of publicists and information on what sorts of services each offers. Contact many of them to find out their rates and details of their services. None will “guarantee” book sales, although many of them will be able to get you some appearances in various media—notably Internet media and possibly local radio, a medium with a huge amount of air time to fill and an unending appetite for interview guests.

            Co-publishing with Ronin will not relieve you of the need to promote your book—as noted, all publishers expect the author to push the book. But Ronin has tools that will put you ahead of the game in promoting your work. If we co-publish your book, we will give you access to a series of promotional tools created by our distributor, which is  the leading book sales and distribution company in the United States—and a company that has more than 40 years of experience in book marketing and sales. These user-friendly tools, which you can easily learn to use, will help you cut through the clutter and get your message out to your audience. You will design the promotions yourself, and they will look professional, even elegant, thanks to these special, proprietary tools—to which no self-publisher can provide access.

            If you think you may have a Ronin Publishing book in one of our fields of specialization, contact us. We focus on self-help, medicine, life skills (with attitude), spirituality, psychedelia, and a “fringe series” of unusual and offbeat topics, such as ghost hunting and underground comics. Send a query for more information about co-publishing with Ronin.