Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book Marketing Makeover: The Difference Between Book Publishing and Book Printing

Guest post courtesy of

Pubslush Question: With the advent of print on demand technology, the meaning of publishing is evolving. Can you talk a bit more about your perspective on what it means to actually be published in the 21st century?

Susan Henderson's Answer: Well, first I think it’s important to make a distinction between printing and publishing a book. Anyone can take their writing, give it a nice font, add a pretty cover, and make it available for purchase. That is not a published book.

What publishing means is that someone has a plan for getting that book onto the radar of the people most likely to enjoy it. A publisher has a relationship with booksellers, book bloggers, readers, and reviewers, and so hopefully doesn’t rely on spam or the writer’s friends as the marketing strategy.

I think the reason self-publishing has such a poor reputation with booksellers and readers is that the field is flooded with impatient writers—writers who are not avid readers themselves, who haven’t taken the time to hone their craft, who take rejections from agents and editors to mean that the system is unfair rather than their work isn’t ready.

However, I think the pressure these outside publishing models are putting on the traditional system is a good thing. The current system overworks and underpays all of its players, and the big money is made primarily from celebrity memoirs, calendars, and diet books, which doesn’t say a lot about the system’s staying power or its protection of the arts.

These alternatives (whether they’re self-publishing, print on demand, small press, or direct e-publishing) are trying to address the parts of the system that are broken—the classically poor treatment of writers through the submission process, the lag time between getting a book deal and seeing the book on the shelves, the wildly miscalculated print runs, and so on. I don’t think anyone’s found the ultimate answer yet, but I’m convinced it’s going to come as a result of these outside pressures.

For the entire informative interview with Susan, see

About the Author

Susan Henderson

Susan Henderson is the author of Up from the Blue, a debut novel published by HarperCollins in 2010 (with four printings so far). She blogs at LitPark and The Nervous Breakdown.

Pubslush is a new publishing company that uses crowdsourcing to select books for publication. Authors submit their manuscripts to us, and visitors vote on which ones they like the most. Check out their website at
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