Today’s Ask BHP question is more specific to me, Amy Green, BHP’s fiction publicist: “What’s one of the hardest aspects of working in the publishing world?”
If we’re talking “hard” as in “What part of my job is the hardest?” I have a few frontrunners:
- Planning book tours, because so much goes into it: arranging times and flight schedules and hotels and sending posters and trying not to mess everything up so the authors/bookstore owners/librarians don’t hate me forever.
- Fixing HTML errors in the things I code. Let’s face it, I am significantly more creative than detailed, and finding one tiny mistake in a page of code is like a treasure hunt…if the treasure was a missing </p> and there’s no map and you’d rather just leave it for the next pirate to find.
- Cutting things out with an Xacto knife. (If you think I’m joking, you have never seen me trying not to hack off a finger cutting out a mounted book cover for an author. I have our designers print me an extra, because I almost always have to start over at least once. I can mess up straight lines even when using a ruler, which, come to think of it, is pretty impressive.)
But if the question is asking what is the hardest part of working in publishing in general, I’d say that one thing that tends to frustrate me as someone who works in marketing—and I’ve heard the same thing from coworkers in editorial—is when a really talented author’s books don’t “take off” the way we’d like them to. They’re getting great reviews, but not the blockbuster sales they deserve, and no one is quite sure why.
The good news is, you can help with that! Probably right now you’re thinking of a book you read that isn’t by a super-famous author. Maybe none of your friends would recognize the name. Maybe the book is in need of a little love on Goodreads.
So leave a review. Post a picture of you with the book on Facebook to recommend a cozy fall read. See if the author has a contest or sale or announcement you can share on social media. Write the author a note of encouragement via his or her website. Buy another copy of the book and give it to someone as a present. I always love seeing readers doing something a little bit extra for their favorite authors, so thank you!
We can start it right here: what’s a book you read recently (or not-so-recently, if you like) that you want the whole world to know about?