I’m my marketing man’s nightmare.
Rachelle Gardner posted an interesting topic on her blog today and I’m afraid I just couldn’t help myself. I had to go through all that she said publishers did for one and tick off what I actually do for myself. To see if I represent ‘the soul of selling’ as much or as more as a grandiose marketing team might. I should point out that I live in Australia, my print publisher is based in the UK and all e-pubs are carried out through Amazon and Smashwords, based in the USA.
Have ‘look see’ and if you’re a writer, do tell me what you do for yourself and your books off that list.
Prepare promotional materials
▪ produce and print ARCs (advance reader copies) which are far more expensive on a per-book basis to produce than the actual book Done by self.
▪ write flap copy, back cover copy, all catalog and marketing copy Done by self.
▪ create a press kit for soliciting reviews and author interviews Done by self.
▪ provide printed material to assist author’s own promotion: postcards, bookmarks, flyers, etc. Done by self.
▪ Book signing/event support (posters, press releases, bag stuffers)
Trade advertising – print & retail
▪ placement in publisher’s print catalog Done by my POD publisher.
▪ product placement in retailers’ catalogs & fliers
▪ print advertising in trade magazines
▪ in-store product placement (special tables or endcaps)
▪ print & web ads with distributors (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Spring Arbor, etc.) Done by my POD publisher.
▪ shelf talkers for retail outlets
▪ a page on publisher website
▪ working with Amazon & large online booksellers for placement Done by publisher and self.
▪ assist author in developing their Facebook, Twitter & blog presence Done by self.
▪ email blasts to publisher’s list which can include hundreds of thousands of names, including consumers, librarians and retailers
▪ organize online contests Done by self.
▪ set up blog tours Done by self.
▪ may help with creating a video book trailer Done by self.
▪ advertise in online magazines and newsletters appropriate to the book
▪ Facebook advertising
▪ banner ads on appropriate websites
Specialized promotions (specific to type of book)
▪ work with author to capitalize on author’s own areas of influence, which could include organizations they’re a member of, alumni associations, professional associations, local historical societies, etc. Done by self.
▪ promotion to book clubs and reading groups (email blasts or even a mailing of the book)
▪ pitch to large national reading groups
▪ submit books to major contests
▪ trade shows
▪ pitch to trade magazines for review
▪ organize book tours & book signings
▪ press releases, especially locally or regionally where the author has influence Done by self.
▪ sending press kits to all appropriate media outlets: radio, TV, newpapers & magazines. Done by self.
▪ following up on requests for books, sending out review copies Done by self.
▪ booking print, broadcast, and online interviews Done by self.
▪ included in targeted publisher newsletters to consumers
▪ send out influencer copies”
Rachelle continues: “Most publishers have a sales team (or rep group) who proactively sells titles to retailers. They service the approx. 10,000 bookstores still left in the U.S., chains and indies combined, plus Walmart, Target, Costco, etc. In addition, the sales department interacts with book clubs (Book-of-the-Month, Literary Guild, etc), international accounts, rack jobbers (for grocery stores and gift shops), nonprofit organizations, and special accounts. This is a “sales” function (not technically marketing) but it’s something publishers do that you, the author, are unlikely to be able to do yourself. And it’s another way your book gets “out there.”
I am my sales team. Granted my sales are a drop in the ocean to what they might be if I had a Big Six team behind me. BUT, if I can do a good proportion of the above, plus help run a farming business, look after acres of garden and write other books, I wonder if that raises issues about the efficiency and efficacy of what a publisher’s sales team actually does.
NB: One thing that is not included in the above list and which I should like to mention is how important the fellowship of readers and writers is in advertising and on-selling. No matter how good a sales team might be, in the end it’s word of mouth between the members of the marketplace (ie one’s readers) that will let a book sink or swim and I have to say right here and now, that I have been truly fortunate with my readers and also fellow authors who have chosen to support me. The worth is incalculable.
As the year draws to a close, the idea floated that The Stumpwork Robe and The Last Stitch have a bit of advertising thrown at them. At the beginning of the year they had the infamous book trailer whose making was featured quite heavily in the early days of Mesmered.
I have just posted a comment on Hyaline Prosaic’s blog. She’s a historic re-enactment enthusiast and has just spent the weekend cooking over a traditional campaign campfire. Not just pottage and crusts . . . but roasts and coq au vin. This is happening in the States as we speak.
This piece was written by a very close friend of mine, Michael Keane, as an offering for The Masked Ball. It’s a beautifully haunting piece of lyrical writing and I’m so thrilled that Mike is in talks with Macmillan to publish his mother’s memoirs entitled Views from the Balcony. It is Catherine Duncan’s vibrant observations on her long life living in Paris until her death recently. Obviously the ability to express thoughts in the most elegant way is a gene that has been passed down and I am sure you will all be enticed by this piece below. To see similar lyricism, go to: http://thevelv.blogspot.com/
Before I add another chapter to The Masked Ball, this time from myself, I must tell you that my Niccolo de Fleury is a mere caricature, a light pencil sketch, even a cartoon. He was loosely inspired by the real Nicholas van der Poele, alias Niccolo de Fleury, who is one of the most extraordinary creations in the world of Historical Fiction. Nicholas van der Poele, (de Fleury) is a blonde Renaissance man from Bruges with a stupendous intellect that enables him to range across all the political, economic and cultural demesnes of Europe in his time. Dorothy Dunnett wrote 8 books about him and I love every single one of them and would like to say without fear of correction that I believe she is the greatest historical fiction writer the world has ever seen. Equally my Sir Percy is a caricature of the most excellent Sir Percy Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel and if either of my characters prompt you as reader to dash off and read of the real characters in the afore-mentioned books then I will, quite simply, have done my job. Having said that, if ever there was a movie made of The House of Niccolo, I can actually imagine Richard Armitage in the role as he has proved himself time and again through North and South, Robin Hood, Spooks and no doubt with his upcoming and more contemporary TV dramas that he could pull off the convoluted and intricate character that is Nicholas van der Poele. I must also add, if anything has really inspired me in this whole Masked Ball story, it’s the perfect creations from Bo Press Miniature Books
When I began the journey to hold a Masked Ball on Mesmered’s blog, I never dreamed that a story would emerge from it, two stories in fact. One is a short-story called The Masked Ball which is entirely different than the blog-story and which Pat from Bo Press Miniature Books is using in one of her brilliant limited edition creations. But here on Mesmered, another story is developing and it’s exciting for me to see what my co-conspirators come up with each day. Till now, we haven’t communicated a story-line with each other, we have just run off with the last line of the previous submission to write our own submission and move the story forward. It’s become an exercise in fleet wordage and spare detail for me and I find I am learning quite a lot about the craft of writing and getting the message across in the shortest possible time. Please sit back now and enjoy Pat Sweet’s continuation of her part in The Masked Ball as Parthenope Neroli: