Radio Quotations About Book Publicity

What the Pros Have to Say
About Book Publicity

Excerpted from William A. Gordon's 1001 Tips For Writers—a collection of quotes from the who's who of famous writers and prominant publishing industry figures.


  • "The most difficult of all (tasks) that a mortal man can embark on is to sell a book."
         — SIR STANLEY UNWIN, The Truth About  Publishing
  • "The main difference between marketing a book and marketing soap is that a book is a one-shot deal . . . and a book usually only has 90 days to make it or it’s dead."
         — CAROLE DOLPH, former promotional manager, Doubleday & Company, interview with Publishers Weekly
  • "Traditional publishers stop marketing a book when the month-long introduction ends or it stops selling--whichever comes first. There is little input from the author. As a self-publisher, you control this decision . . . You can keep your book in print forever--or at least as long as it takes for readers to discover your book.
     — GUY KAWASAKI and SHAWN WELCH, APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur  
  • "Call it the curse of abundance . . .only a small percentage of what’s published catches the attention of the public."
        — JUDITH APPELBAUM, How to Get Happily Published
  • "[Be] shameless.  Try anything within reason to get your book noticed."
       — WILLIAM TARG’s advice to editors, “What’s an Editor,”  Editors on Editing
  • "Even if you have the next Gone With the Wind, it will not sell itself."
      — BARBARA GRIER, vice president, Naiad Press, Small Press, November/December 1985
  • "I suspect that if any current product, be it an automobile, a vacuum cleaner, or whatever, were to be honestly described, there would be few takers.  Books are no exceptions.  You cannot permit them to come barefaced into being.  They must be cosmetized, bewigged, perfumed, given padding where needed for the sake of appearance."
        — DONALD MACCAMPBELL, The Writing Business
  • "A new book is just like any new product, like a detergent. You have to acquaint people with it.  They have to know it’s there. You only get to be number one when the public knows about you."
      — JACQUELINE SUSANN, quoted in Lovely Me:  The Life of Jacqueline Susann by Barbara Seaman
  • "No matter how prestigious or enthusiastic your publisher is, your book probably won’t be treated the way it should be.  It’s not that publishers don’t want to support your books, or that they don’t know how to generate sales; it’s just that they don’t have enough staff and money to give each book the attention it needs and deserves.  As a result, most general-interest titles fizzle out fast."
      — JUDITH APPELBAUM and FLORENCE JANOVIC, The Writer’s Workbook:  A Full and Friendly Guide to Boosting Your Book’s Sales
  • "If you have a book coming out, you have to get heavily—and intelligently—involved in marketing it or prepare to see it fail."
      — JUDITH APPELBAUM, author, How To Get Happily Published.  Interviewed in WritersWrite:  The Internet Writing Journal, June 1998.
  • "In today’s market, writers can’t just be writers.  They have to be performers and publicists as well." 
      — Novelist JOSHUA HENKIN, “Writer with a Roadshow” (op-ed page article), New York Times, July 5, 1997
  • "Publishers lavish promotion on books likely to sell, written by bestseller writers."
      — JEFF LIPPMAN, Wall Street Journal, September 2, 1997
  • "Everyone else pretty much has to fend for himself."
      — ROBERT CRAIS, author of the Elvis Cole mystery series, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, September 2, 1997
  • "Simon & Schuster runs a sales contest every year.  The winners get to keep their jobs."
      — JACK O’LEARY, former Simon & Schuster sales representative, half-joking about the company’s approach to sales,  Newsweek, July 24, 1984
  • "One of the wonderful, sad and desperate things about this business is that nobody really knows how to sell books."
      — ROGER STRAUS III, publishing executive, quoted in the Wall Street Journal, August 2, 1990



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