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Do Publishers Market Books? (And Other FAQs)

If you've landed a book deal with a traditional publisher or are aiming for one, understanding what lies ahead is key to a fruitful partnership. Drawing from my experience at a traditional publishing company, I'll answer some common questions about publishers and book marketing. Let's dive in!

Do Publishers Market Books? (And Other FAQs)

What is a traditional publisher?

A traditional publisher typically refers to one of the "Big 5" — the USA's largest and most well-known book publishing companies. These publishers have dedicated sales teams and extensive distribution networks, helping to get books to a wide audience. The Big 5 are:

  • HarperCollins

  • Penguin Random House

  • Hachette

  • Simon & Schuster

  • Macmillan

When you get a book deal with one of these, you'll typically work with an imprint they own. For instance, a deal with Penguin Random House might have you collaborating with Viking Books, one of their imprints. There are also additional publishing houses that are considered traditional publishers. What separates traditional publishers from others (I.e. hybrid publishers, vanity publishers) is the advance paid to the author upon acquiring a book.

Do publishers market books? 

So, do publishers market books? Well, it depends on the specific traditional publisher and imprint you work with. Generally, most will provide:

  • Advice from a marketing expert

  • Advertising and promotional support

  • Help with content writing and graphic design

What will publishers do to market your book? 

Each traditional publisher and their imprints have different approaches to marketing your book. Before signing a contract, make sure you understand what the publisher will do and what you need to do. Always ask your publisher if you're unsure. Typical marketing strategies from a traditional publisher may include:

  • Designing a professional book cover

  • Writing a compelling and keyword-packed book description

  • Optimizing the Amazon page for consumers

  • Designing quote graphics for social media

  • Creating extras like book club guides, journals, etc. for promotional giveaways

  • Suggesting social media post ideas and providing ready-to-use captions

  • Providing support and strategy for growing an email list

  • Developing marketing plans and creative ideas

  • Creating a book trailer or other video content for social media

  • Designing a landing page for your book

  • Sourcing endorsements or blurbs for your book pre-publication

  • Featuring your book in magazine ads or at conferences, alone or with other releases

  • Getting prime placement in bookstores and online retail through their sales team

  • Having their internal publicity team pitch your book to media outlets

  • Hiring an external publicity firm for additional media outreach

  • Sourcing speaking or book signing opportunities

  • Running Amazon ads for new releases

  • Conducting Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns for book visibility

  • Mailing finished book copies to your contacts and other influencers

  • Connecting you with similar authors for cross-promotion opportunities

What won't publishers do to market your book? 

Traditional publishers might manage some marketing, but as the author you'll usually need to handle tasks like:

  • Posting on your own social media

  • Sending newsletters to your email list

  • Networking and outreach to your community


Working with a traditional publisher offers many benefits. They provide a team of experts to guide you towards a successful book launch and have a vast distribution network and sales team with strong retailer relationships. However, it's important to remember that they won't do everything for you. While they might offer valuable marketing strategies and materials, as an author, it's your responsibility to follow through and implement them.

Whether you’re in the midst of the writing process or have already finished your book, now is the perfect time to consider a marketing strategy. To help you get started, I’m offering a FREE download of my guide, 10 Things You Need For A Successful Book Launch. This valuable resource is packed with expert tips and strategies to empower you to craft an effective book launch and connect with a larger audience of eager readers.

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