The soul of selling…
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.
yep. Let’s see, a sales force listing you in their catalog, maybe making a direct mention of your book in a phone call (but unlikely). I’d say that took the publisher an hour of true labor (after you take out the corporate heirarchy of staff meetings, approvals, etc). They put in 5 percent of the work and get about 40 percent of the money, and that’s with a print book. With an ebook they put in 5 percent of the work and take 75 or more percent.
Hi Scott… ultimately it does all come down to dollars and cents, doesn’t it? I’m watching favourite mainstream authors batting away at blogs, FB, Twitter etc. You name it they still have to do exaclty what we are doing, but then hand over that 75% at the end of the day. I’m not denying that in total they sell mega numbers of titles to what I sell, but I still stand by what I said about what I do for my won titles in amongst the other demands of my real life and whether what they do, AND CHARGE FOR, is really fair.
Prue, you are a star! Just FBed, Rted and linked to my own post which also mentions Rachelle, although a different reference.
I’ve been accused of being provocative and malicious by one agent for daring to question what the gatekeepers get up to.
All dues to Rachelle for her honest and forward thinking blog posts. I’m sure Rachelle would be happy to have the debate, unlike some out there.
The efficiency and efficacy of the Big Six and their agent cohorts has for far too long been an unchallenged “fact.”
I love that someone with your hectic lifestyle can suggest otherwise.
Once again the Emperor has been shown to have no clothes.
“I love that someone with your hectic lifestyle can suggest otherwise.”
Ah well, Mark… we all know that women, especially women in the home, can multi-task like a devil possessed. Don’t we?
Nonetheless, it’s a kind of daunting list 🙂
Servetus, daunting… but not impossible. You just chip away at the foundations to make a foothold and each time you get that bit higher and that much more accomplished.
Just read through your extensive and exhausting list, Prue, and was nodding my head all the way at the “done by self”. And like you I multitask – teacher by day/writer by night. You say
“I’m watching favourite mainstream authors batting away at blogs, FB, Twitter etc.”
but do they FB and Twitter themselves? There are authors who have the financial resources to pay others to maintain their social media for them, freeing them up to write. We don’t have that luxury…yet. (Mind you, I enjoy the social interaction with my fellow authors and readers so not sure I would give it up anyway!)
And I couldn’t have said it better myself when you say
“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…. I have been truly fortunate with my readers and also fellow authors who have chosen to support me. The worth is incalculable.”
Fabulous post! thanks for sharing.
Hi Lucinda… I’d forgotten that some authors pay for substitutes. I hope my faves don’t do that as I do love engaging with them. I think that’s the key, isn’t it? Engaging on a personal level. Do you think that might be the backbone strength from which independent authors draw? That one on one engagement with their readers?
I love it. I love the camaraderie with writers and readers globally and wish that to continue.
In addition, I’d urge anyone reading this post on mesmered to go to Mark’s post linked above and also Anne Allens’ which is referred to in Mark’s post. Both required reading on an industry that changes its face daily!
I SO enjoyed this read. I’m printing this and hanging it in front of my desk :-).
Thank you Scribbler. It’s certainly a bit of an eye-opener, isn’t it? I’d rather pay myself for the jobs that need doing than pay someone-else. I always remember many years ago when we were selling a house, the copy written by the realtor was sooooo bad that my husband took over (journalist at time) and wrote all press and then demanded a discount on the realtor’s fee. I wonder if writers get to reduce the %age that publishers take when they have to do a lot of the work themselves. NOT!
I buy myself lunch 😉
That’s so funny! Of course you do. I do too… mine’s a sandwich in the kitchen, what’s yours?
Bagel, fruit salad, smoothie… or maybe a cheese toastie when it’s cold outside. (mmm, cheese toastie…)