Truman Capote on Promoting Your Book

Truman Capote

” A boy has to peddle his book.”

One week after the publication date of Migrations and my mind has been on book promotion and marketing. The quote above is what Capote supposedly told John Knowles months before the release of his novel, A Separate Peace. Capote meant that you have to be more proactive in marketing your book. Easier said then done, of course.

I don’t know about other writers, but for me it’s uncomfortable to go out there and “peddle” my book, and by extension, myself. But I also understand it is a necessary evil because as it has been often said, “no one will buy your book if no one knows it exists.” Knowles took Capote’s advice and actively promoted the novel, which went on to sell 9 million copies. Book marketing has changed since 1959, when A Separate Peace debuted. Today we have social media, fewer publishers and bookstores, and readership is declining. All of this makes marketing more challenging, but Capote’s advice still holds true, perhaps more so, in a time when algorithms determine your book’s category and what constitutes a “best-seller” is cloudy.

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