There’s no question that the publishing industry has changed dramatically in recent years. In many ways, it’s more difficult to publish a book now than ever before. However, a good publicity team knows what authors are up against, and can help you cope with various challenges, ultimately setting you up for success. What are some of the challenges that authors face with book publicity today?
An estimated 3 to 4 million books are now being published annually, making it even tougher to break through. But despite the wealth of books hitting shelves, the market remains stagnant. According to Publishers Weekly, book industry revenue was $25.3 billion in 2000 and only $25.7 billion in 2020. When adjusted for inflation, this “growth” becomes a loss. And according to Gallup polls, the average American adult read 12 books in 2021, down from 15 in 2016. While it’s too soon to tell how much of this is a result of COVID-related restrictions, it’s certainly a reflection of the current struggle to capture the attention of target readers.
A good publicity firm will provide targeted outreach to the readers that will best connect with your book, helping to position it in front of audiences with influence in the book world. They should use unique pitches and creative brainstorming to rise about the crowd.
Over 300 bookstores have opened in the U.S. in the past couple years, and they’re stocking more diverse books than ever before. This is a serious victory, but physical bookstore space is still drastically limited compared to the rapidly growing number of books being published annually. Publicists can help connect authors with booksellers to cultivate relationships with these valuable tastemakers.
Marketing resources are stretched thin, and more than ever before, authors are required to take on the majority of marketing and publicity efforts for their book. Many publishers have excellent guidebooks that coach authors on the ins and outs of publicity, but taking it on alone can feel extremely daunting. Not to mention that many authors would rather spend their time writing their next book than posting on social media.
Publishing is an ever-evolving industry where authors are forced to quickly adapt to each new challenge. Having a book publicist as a partner can provide you with the support and guidance you need to make sense of a complicated industry. Plus, having a dedicated publicist putting in the hours will help your book stand out from the millions of other titles being published each year.
Jackie Karneth is a publicist with Books Forward is an author publicity and book marketing firm committed to promoting voices from a diverse variety of communities. From book reviews and author events, to social media and digital marketing, we help authors find success and connect with readers.