Why Even Household Names Must Promote Their Books

English: Jamie Oliver in Toronto

Ask yourself: “What would Jamie do?” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With 96 days to go till Christmas, the bookies are already taking bets on which book will be the 2012 Christmas bestseller.

It’s a dead cert that the bestselling author will be a household name. The smart money’s currently on Jamie Oliver’s 15-Minute Meals, with  J K Rowling’s first book for adults, A Casual Vacancy, a close contender.

But are these celebrity writers resting on their laurels, confident that their books will fly off the shelves of bookstores? Oh, no. You can bet they’ll be out there working their Christmas stockings off.

Some top-selling authors make the act of book promotion look like an easy pleasure. Jamie Oliver is definitely one of them. Comfortable in the public eye, he is a natural self-promoter. Whether fronting lucrative supermarket television commercials or campaigning for less glamorous causes such as the improvement of school dinners, he is a great and charming self-publicist. Would he sell so many books if he retired from public life? No, and he knows it. There are plenty more food writers out there keen to take his place, and to work just as hard at book promotion as he does in order to get there.

You might think that for J K Rowling, it would be a different matter. She’s renowned for her reclusive habits. Her publishers’ publicists have cleverly turned her reclusiveness into a talking point. As Greta Garbo discovered, wanting to be alone can be very alluring. The rarity of J K Rowling‘s public appearances inflates their value. But even she is going to be stepping out next month to promote her new book, a risky departure into what is for her a whole new genre, adult fiction. She’s headlining at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature.

So if, as the winter nights close in, you feel weary of the marketing merry-go-round, comfort yourself that you are in good company. And then cheer yourself up by making a list of all the things you can do to make extra sales in the run-up to Christmas.

For some ideas for your Christmas marketing campaign, read this post: Festive Opportunities To Sell More Books

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