I recently had major foot surgery and for the first time in my life I experienced first hand what it is like not to be self-sufficient. After I got out of the hospital, I did have the aid of what is called a “knee walker” and a wheelchair. But for what seemed like eternity I could not put any weight on my left foot. When I wanted a glass in the kitchen or something from my closet, my husband would gently say, “Be patient. I’ll be right there.” When I went to the doctor for a follow-up appointment and asked about how much longer I had to be non-weight-bearing, he would remind me that it had only been a few weeks since the surgery and I needed to be patient while the foot healed. A few years ago when my husband had back surgery and made a similar comment to his doctor about wanting to drive, he said to the doctor, “But it has already been 6 weeks!” The doctor responded, “No, it has ONLY been six weeks.” I think a lot of patients don’t have much patience.
What does this have to do with publishing? Authors and publishers need to learn to be patient, too. While this was much truer in the days before the Internet and Social Media, it is still a good lesson to learn. The instant an author or publisher has a book in his hand, he wants the reviews and interviews (and sales) to start rolling in.
While sometimes the coverage can be “instantaneous” with postings on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., most media coverage still takes time. Recently I got an email from a magazine editor to whom I had sent a galley/ARC almost a year ago, followed by the finished book when it came off press. The magazine is planning to feature the article in their next issue and needed cover art, which I sent with my return email. In another instance, I got a call from an organization that was planning a big promotion to their membership of 150,000. They were putting together a set of books they felt all of their members should have on their shelves. One of them was a book we promoted two years ago. I was happy take the information and pass it along to the publisher. I am waiting to hear if the deal is going through. We are keeping our fingers crossed.
The two examples above were just a matter of having gotten the book into the hands of the right people, and patiently waiting to see if anything would occur. Of course we had done appropriate follow-up, but when we were politely told, “It is under consideration and we will let you know if we decide to do something,” it was time to step back and wait.
I am not suggesting by any means that you sit back and don’t continually promote your book, your ideas, or your expertise. You need to do something every day to keep your name and your book out there. But remember, sometimes you have to sit back and be patient.
Doug’s back is great with no residual problems. And I am finally walking again, if still a bit slowly. My healing has a way to go, so I continue to try to practice patience while also doing all the exercises the physical therapist prescribed.
If you do your publicity and marketing exercises, and sometimes practice patience, your book should be off and running soon.
Kate Siegel Bandos has been doing book publicity for more than 40 years, the past 22 on a freelance basis from KSB Promotions (http://www.ksbpromotions.com). Over the years she has worked with thousands of books and authors, and can’t imagine how many media contacts she has made during that time. It still amazes her when she realizes she makes a living reading and working with books – the things she loves most (after her family).