As we have noted elsewhere, the marketing function (which includes everything from advance reviews to endorsements to publicity, to radio and TV appearances, book signings and public appearances as a speaker “authority,”) represents about 90% of the success of any book.
Truth be told, once the decision to write a book has been made, the marketing effort should begin — not just the planning, but also the execution of a well-thought-out plan that will help assure that the time, talent and treasure an author invests in his or her “baby” pays off in an income sufficient to offset costs — and perhaps even to yield a satisfactory profit.
Yes, as authors ourselves, we’re happy, indeed, to pay taxes on the profits we receive from a book we’ve written or worked on — we see it as the ‘proof of the pudding’ because at the moment a book passes its break-even point financially it becomes an asset — no longer a liability! Every author should take that into consideration, partly because it just plain makes sense and partly because by planning early, a positive outcome becomes much more likely.
The problem, of course, is that authors write — they don’t usually market! To us, that means that most authors probably need much more help with their marketing, publicity and promotion than they do with their book! But most authors deceive themselves into thinking that the world is waiting for their book, that Oprah will definitely want them on her network . . . you’ve heard it already from lots of other authors, right? But how many of them have actually been on any mass media program at all, much less on Oprah or NPR?
Good Idea #1 — A Marketing Plan
As a full-service consortium of book industry experts, each of whom has specialty areas of professional competence, we happily consult with authors to do market planning for their books, and the sooner the better.
A short list of marketing support products and services — all of which should be executed well in advance of the publication date of your book — appears below as a “starter”. But the list is really almost endless; it’s as long as your imagination and creativity want to make it.
We recommend that you allow us to work with you a bit before you embark on the larger project of developing and producing your book, so that you will have a reasoned and reasonable plan to follow once you make the enormous commitment necessary to give birth to a book.
For a more complete rundown, and to obtain a handy planning guide we call “Pathways to Publication,” Contact Us — or take part in some of the upcoming live and online events we plan to offer in the next year or so.
Marketing Support — Products and Services
Prices for the following items and services, where we refer to them, are solely dependent upon what the author or book promoter wants. We list them here because our consortium can produce or manage them all, but we can’t attach specific prices to most of these products and services because of the customized and specialized nature of their content. Remember, too, this list is far from complete. We’d be happy to confer with you regarding your needs.
Postcards, bookmarks, business cards, stationery
Promotional items like these are often distributed with books sent to customers and booksellers and to call attention to your book in any communication mode and to encourage pass-along interest in your literary products. Our talented consortium partners can design and produce materials for you quickly and economically.
“Sell sheets” for booksellers, distributors and potential retail customers, set up as single- and two-page fliers and/or folded brochures, can be produced to advertise and promote a book to its audience, particularly to a niche audience that is seeking such reading fare. Collateral sales literature is also helpful in attracting attention from book distributors and institutional book buyers (libraries, schools, corporations, book clubs).
Use of audio, video and other media
Once your book is published as a print volume (and perhaps as an e-book), you can produce the material in other media and thus create a “product line”. Audio books are once again regaining popularity thanks to the I-pod, the Blackberry, cell phones and other devices that can download and contain spoken word products as well as music. Another choice may be to produce a CD of your spoken-word book. And as time passes, new media are being created and perfected that can even further assist an author’s outreach. We have experts in our consortium who can assist you with any of these media choices.
In addition, the popularity of video book “Trailers” has been increasing as the cost to produce them goes down over time. We work closely with a number of video producers and are happy to refer our clients to them for discussions about video production and marketing in support of both print and electronic books.
Author or Book Web Site(s)
Most self-publishers today sell their books through web sites such as Amazon.com and others, but no book producer should be without a “personal” web site for himself/herself and/or “the book”. Lots of information about the author and the book belongs in a web site, and it can also be a point-of-sale device that can make authors relatively independent of a book marketplace that strongly favors major publishers. The website can also serve as a publicity vehicle, containing a complete “press kit” for all media (sound and video are easy to include nowadays). Web sites may vary in cost from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars, but our web design experts specialize in doing an economical job for the authors we serve.
Yes, the social media represent a major challenge to all of us — they are everywhere and anywhere we look, but each one has its advantages and its shortcomings. At the bottom of it all, social media marketing, publicity and promotion is already close to becoming a college “major” already. And it’s not getting any easier, even as it’s becoming more and more effective as a means to every author’s ends, a way to talk to people about your work on a personal, conversational, meaningful and persuasive level.
We suggest that you use your local library, the Internet, and local colleges and junior (or community) colleges as source guides and learning platforms. Spend the time it will require to become at least familiar with what each of these online media offer to you as an author. Don’t overlook any of them in your market planning (even though you may currently have no idea how they could benefit you), and make the chore of ‘studying up’ on Facebook, Twitter and the others an integral part of your growth as a “content creator” — which is the new term for “author!”
Publicity and Promotional Services
A variety of personal appearances such as book signing events and tours, radio and TV interviews, lectures, speeches, workshops and seminars are possible even for local authors with books of limited interest. Soliciting and arranging such things is a professional area of expertise, however, and we often refer clients to people who can make such arrangements. These folks usually price their services in terms of “campaigns”, and costs can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, so be prepared. But remember this: even a short segment on a local or regional program such as “Good Morning, Arizona” (Phoenix daytime TV market) can result in many, many book sales.