First, it?s important to point out two things:
1. Publishers are very reluctant to let figures about marketing out of
the bag, because *every* author wants his or her book publicized
widely, yet publishers only want to spend real money publicizing books
if they think they might end up being blockbusters. In addition,
publishers don't wish to publicize to the competition just how many
books they are buying (or not buying) that they feel may be potential
2. Each book is publicized differently; therefore, the information
given here must be for the ?average? book.
The average book gets very little publicity directly from the
publishing house. The book will be featured in the ?new releases?
section of the publisher?s catalog (paper or online), which costs the
publisher cents per book, in most cases. And sometimes that *all* it
If the author presses a little, sometimes the publisher provides color
flyers or brochures for a book, which might cost a few hundred
dollars. Most publishers also send out press releases to appropriate
magazines and newspapers. (So called ?mainstream? books are more
difficult to sell in this fashion; books that can be slanted to a
particular audience are easier to target. For example, a book about
weddings under $5,000 will get press releases sent to the bridal
magazines; a book on growing bulbs will have press releases sent to
gardening magazines.) Press releases cost the publisher very little,
especially in a day and age when they can be sent via email.
Publicity for almost all books also includes sending out review
copies. Most books don?t get sent to The New York Times, but they go
to specialty magazines-?or virtually anyone writing for a magazine or
newspaper who will put a review in print. The cost here is the actual
cost of printing the book (which, of course, varies widely from book
to book), plus mailing.
And that?s *all* the average book receives from the publisher; the
author is left to do the rest, if they choose to. As you can see, the
"average" book might cost the publisher $1,000 on the high end.
If the author is more vocal than average, and the publisher?s belief
in the book is high enough, the author may be able to convince the
publisher to pay for a book tour. Here?s where some real money comes
into play. According to a Senior Editor at St. Martin?s Press, ?You
can easily spend $8,000 to $10,000?on a whole promotion tour of
singings?A tour of twelve cities can cost $20,000 and up, which is
something most publishers can do on very few titles.? (As quoted in
?Book Editors Talk To Writers? by Judy Mandell, John Wiley & Sons,
Then there?s a tiny fraction of books that receive what?s sometimes
called ?The Big Push?--meaning that the publisher feels confident the
book will be on the New York Times ?best seller list,? and that they
can make some money off of it. According to an Executive Editor at
HarperCollins, about 5 percent of the year?s books get The Big Push at
the ?major? publishing houses. Fewer (and sometimes none) get The Big
Push in smaller houses. (?Book Editors Talk To Writers? by Judy
Mandell, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.)
Big Push books get ads in The New York Times (prices vary according to
size, day, etc., but between $17,000 and $20,000 per ad is a good
estimate), the publisher will buy radio ads (another few thousand,
depending on when the spots are and how often they are run); in rare
instances tv ads will be purchased (the frequency is rare in most
cases, so figure $20,000 to $30,000). A publicity tour will be planned
(easily $20,000 or more), mailings to ?movers and shakers? (perhaps
$1,000)?the publisher may even work a deal with a major bookstore
chain to ?buy real estate? within the store for the book. The Big Push
can easily cost $60,000 to $70,000 or more per book, depending upon
how many ads are run (and when) and how many cities are toured.
It?s also important to note that many books start out with minimal
publicity from the publisher, but through word of mouth (and the
author?s hard work) end up growing in sales. For example, ?The Bridges
of Madison County? started out with minimal publicity, but as sales
rose, the publisher suddenly realized they might have a blockbuster on
their hands, and starting giving the book The Big Push.
Smart writers supplement the publisher?s publicity scheme by speaking
in public (which costs little or nothing; sometimes the author even
gets paid a little), arranging to be interviewed in the local press
(which costs mostly time), writing articles (the author gets paid for
this), sending out post cards to local bookstores (a few hundred
dollars), creating a website (up to a few hundred dollars), etc. For
example, when the book ?I?m Ok, You?re Ok? first came out, first year
sales were 20,000 copies; not bad, really. The next year, sales jumped
to 100,000 copies, and continued to grow until the publisher of the
book finally realized they might have a blockbuster on their hands.
When sales got to 1 million, the publisher gave credit to the author,
who spoke in public frequently and had his own promotional campaign.
(?How To Get Happily Published? by Judith Appelbaum, Harper Perennial)
In fact, most books succeed despite little to no publicity on the part
of the publisher.
Researcher?s personal knowledge
Searches through the books mentioned above, and others.