I have a lot of friends who run their own book publicity and marketing firms, and as much as I bitch and moan sometimes about working for ‘the man’ at a large publisher, with all the red tape and corrupt standards, I don’t envy the dog and pony show my friends have to put on for prospective clients. But lately it’s gotten worse.

These prospective clients have started to want just one dog and maybe only half a pony, but the other half should be on call, naturally, plus a couple clowns who do balloon animals throw in gratis – because you can and WANT do that, right?

It’s outrageous. We’ve now entered a new era that I call McMarketing. Yes, I know the other chain is “have it your way” which would also make sense, but there’s something nefarious about the one I’m parodying and it’s already socially acceptable to hate them because they’re making the entire world fat. Yet I digress.

McMarketing, by my definition, is a growing trend where potential clients feel entitled to negotiate (sometimes verging on demand) a customized variation of whatever campaign or strategic plan a firm has already offered them. Forget that you approached said firm because they’re well known for the work they do or because they were recommended by someone whose opinion you trust – trivial! Forget that they’re in this business, and assumedly successful at it, for a reason – irrelevant! All that matters, apparently, is that the client deserves to get whatever the client wants, which includes being able to substitute a small fry for a large at no extra charge. It may not be the right plan of action, it may not be for fair, let alone competitive, compensation, it just has to be…you saw it coming didn’t you?…the right price.

Yes, every author has a budget. But every author also has goals. And somewhere generally not in the middle but leaning toward goals, is the money spot – no pun intended. That not exactly in the middle money spot is where your goals can start to take shape, and more often than not it’s going to require the average author more capital than they originally thought. Why? Because they’re not in marketing. It’s not their fault, they’re not supposed to be up on what marketing campaigns currently cost. But that doesn’t change reality.

So by now you’ve probably already wondered, is this just a rant or does she have some pithy words of advice for those out there looking to get their books marketed? I guess both. I’m always a little of both, right?

If you’ve read this far you’ve gotten the rant. So for the advice, I’ll just say, if you’re an author, resist the urge to try and McMarket your way out of a potentially successful book promotion. Not only is it offensive to the company you’re trying to hire to spend their time, effort and brain power to support you, you’re also not doing yourself any favors in the long run.

Sure, McMarketing is cheap and it’s satisfying for the time being, but it will get you no closer to your goals and you’ll just feel a little ashamed and lethargic soon after it’s over. You know the feeling, nobody wants that.