Every author with even an ounce of self-promotional instinct seems to have a blog these days, but how many editors and publishers do? According to Booksquare blogger Kassia Kroszer, the whole publishing industry needs to step up in this department if they truly want to see their authors’ works succeed.
Just as authors need to better market themselves and their books, so do publishers. While the audience for a publisher website is diverse ” authors, booksellers, journalists, agents, readers, and more ” talking about books on your website the same way you talk about books in your catalog simply isn’t cutting it. In printed material, you have various constraints. On the web, you have the ability to do something special: tell the world what excites you, the publisher, about a particular book. […] If blogging can help you throw off the corporate chains and lead to a more natural, casual, exciting discussion about your books, then call it blogging.
Kroszer’s suggestion is certainly food for thought, but we can’t help thinking it’s maybe a little too Utopian. If we can assume, for a moment, that most publishers and editors routinely have to publish works they don’t personally care that much for, how can we expect them to muster blogger-style enthusiasm? That’s why dull catalogue copy was invented “ it’s a passive, neutral voice that can be applied equally to works that editors truly love and to works that they are simply publishing to make money. And if an editor was to go on at bubbly length about a new Atwood title, say, but then stay curiously silent about the new Ondaatje, we would all suspect they hated the Ondaatje. Indeed, Kroszer practically acknowledges this herself:
Publishers, for reasons known only to them, are bizarrely hands-off when it comes to talking about their products. Sure, you get the occasional enthusiastic comment at a conference or during an interview, but the approach is more we love all our children equally¦ so we won’t talk about any of them.
Sadly, if you ask us, that’s the way it’s always been, and that’s probably the way it’ll always be.
(Thanks to Galleycat for the link.)