Welcome to the Fifth Estate is dedicated to Soleil Maya Livingston, pictured above.
After you publish a book, you don’t need a brochure. You walk in with the book, and give it to them. If your book does really well, you don’t even need to hand them a business card. They already know who you are. Instant name recognition and credibility are two primary benefits of writing a great book. Unfortunately, these by-products of disseminating (hopefully) noteworthy ideas have become the primary purpose behind many marketing voices’ books.
Back before publishers sold their souls to Mephistopheles (and marketers), books used to get published because they were unique, offering completely new views, or different ideas and approaches to older topics. That was the whole reason to publish; to bring new ideas to the table.
As a teenage boy and a college student, there was great joy reading new fiction or nonfiction with fantastic ideas. Today, it is disturbing to see the rewards of publishing are surpassing the original reasons to embark on the endeavor.
The benefits for authors included the accolades, new book contracts, and yes, credibility and perhaps business. To this day, these are the primary benefits for authors. Writing books doesn’t pay enough to cover the mortgage.
Marketers have awoken to the image value that writing a book brings. And publishers love the fact that marketers pimp their books so well! Unfortunately, most publishers are no longer printing original business thought anymore. Instead, they are publishing 200 page brochures and business cards.
Perhaps what is worse is the way many of today’s authors go out and shamelessly pimp their book like it is the second coming of that carpenter guy. Instead of showing how their ideas can help people or the industry as a whole, they turn their books into self promotion vehicles.
There is one fellow author who literally uses any casual mention on social profiles to name drop the title of his book. It is one of the most shameless behaviors of book pimpery yet (right after the above baby photo). But it’s not surprising.
That’s a travesty. Seriously. It’s a damn shame that within the marketing and social media industry publishing a book is a coveted trophy for buzz.
The saturation point may be coming, too. People are growing weary of receiving the shameless arm wrenches and the self posturing. God forbid if you contest any ideas in said books. The egos involved can’t handle people feeling differently.
Business books need to be better than a platform; they need to spark their readers and make them better at their jobs. Unfortunately, it seems most authors or publishers don’t view it that way. Perhaps Seth Godin’s book title was right, “All Marketers Are Liars.” Will they say that about all marketing authors, too?
Special thanks to Rich Becker for suggesting this topic.