Getting Your Promotional Ducks in a Row for 2019

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

If you are like me, the beginning of the year is filled with enthusiasm and new projects, and that’s great! But is that also great when the project is the publishing of your new book? Maybe not so much...If we begin the planning of our new title at the start of the year then the book will most likely come out towards the second half of the year. That isn’t bad, but planning before the new year begins, the ground work for promoting will be done by the time the book is out. And that is better!

Here are some things authors should figure out before sending the final, professionally edited manuscript to production:

·         ARC Copies Ready for a List of Book Reviewers.  If, in the PR Campaign plans you have included book reviews by Publisher Weekly and other printed media, you have to consider their deadlines for submission which can be anywhere between 6 to 3 months before publication. Having endorsements for the back cover, also takes time. Having these figured out and ready to go at the beginning of the year will make the book promotion more effective.

·         Book Publicity Campaign Plan Worked Out. Before the year starts it is also wise to have a list of events and an online platform worked out, so that you can begin scheduling your book signings, tours and interviews with the venues and media list you put together based on the genre and topic of the book and its audience.

·         A Press Kit and List of local Bookstores and Libraries. Publishing a book and not hitting your local stores and libraries makes no sense. So have everything ready to go and send the kit with an ARC giving them all the information on when it comes out, as well as your contact information. Make sure you have the right person as your point-of-contact before sending the package out. This will make it easy to call for follow-ups later on and to try to get in for a book signing or speaking events.

In short, before the beginning of the year, putting all your ducks in a row can make the difference on PR and sales, as having the extra time ahead of the publication will give authors an edge to create momentum. For more information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

Indie Publishing and Book Distribution

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

By the time their second book is published, Indie authors should know enough about book distribution to understand the differences between a distributor, a wholesaler, and a bookstore or online bookseller.

Okay, for those that don't know this is the deal:

Distributor - gets your book into wholesalers and bookstores (See list of top independent book distributors http://www.bookmarket.com/distributors.htm) Distributors may sell to wholesalers but not vice-versa.  Distributors have sales reps, wholesalers don't (they just wait for the phone to ring). Distributors need 60 to 75% discount.  For wholesalers, typically 55% is standard.

Wholesaler - takes orders from bookstores and libraries unless they are a distributor themselves (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc.)

Lightning Source
- this is neither a distributor nor wholesaler.  They are a printer of print-on-demand (POD) books.  But, their parent company, Ingram Book Company, distributes books that are printed through them.

Amazon.com - this is a seller of books, no different than your local B & N. They sell to the general public - the reader.  They do not distribute or wholesale books.

How an author sells their books really depends on their ultimate goal. Working with a distributor gives some advantage of having books accessible to multiple stores and libraries across the country.  Even though they are currently more flexible than in prior years in a local level, bookstores like Barnes & Noble most likely will require that their stores order only through a book distributor rather than dealing with individual authors on a national level. Other stores may just prefer to order only from a distributor like Ingram or Baker & Taylor because it’s easier to pay one vendor instead of fifty individual authors. If you want your book in a major bookstore chain or in some libraries, you’ll need a distributor. (Some libraries do order direct from the author or Amazon.com but not all of them.) Here are some tips when deciding how to figure out how to publish and sell books based on distribution:

·         Do your research on publishers before choosing one. If your goal is to try to get your book in big stores, then making sure the publisher uses the stores’ main distributor is a must.

·         The above step is true also when choosing the print-on-demand platform.  So don’t be afraid to call and ask questions before signing up. In my case I chose Outskirts Press because they have Ingram and Baker & Taylor as distributors.

·         Don’t stop at the publisher/printer’s distributor. Look for others yourself and sign up with the ones that make sense for your personal goals and title.

In the end what really makes the difference in getting your book out there is your knowledge of the industry and willingness to research before doing the work. For more information on how we can help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Authors – What NOT to Do When Promoting in Bookstores

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

By far the hardest thing an author has to learn to do when their first book comes out is promoting. I was lucky in that I had worked in retail in my younger years, so all I had to do was tap into my long-forgotten sales persona to sell myself to bookstores and other businesses where I hoped to do book signings or have them carry my book. Even so, I made a number of mistakes. Some molded the way I do things now…others I rather forget because they were embarrassing, but they do bring laughter to others when my husband tells the stories…Either way, mistakes are how we humans learn so don’t be discouraged by them. Below are some things I learned not to do whether through my own mistakes or those of others:

·         Don’t expect to be seen by the Manager or Buyer of the store when visiting unannounced. Yes, I was that person. Not even once was I seen by the manager or buyer just because I stopped by to honor them with my visit. The best thing to do is to visit the business to see if your book is a good fit. Once there, become a customer by purchasing something (even if it is some mints from the cashier’s counter) and request a business card or contact information for the buyer or store manager. If you want, you can actually leave a copy of your book with the sell sheet for them to follow up with an email.

·         Don’t restock you consignment books directly on the shelf yourself. Let’s say a store agreed to take a number of copies of your book as consignment. If you are like me you will probably go at least once a week to check on how your book is doing. But if you do what one author did (not me than the heavens…) and keep re-filling the shelf every time he/she saw they were selling without going through the buyer…you won’t get paid! What you should do, is blast out through social media that your book is in stock in that store and as you see the stock going down, offer the buyer or manager more copies. 

·         Don’t try to sell your new book at regular price in a used bookstore. Yes, this was one of my mistakes…I did a book signing at a used bookstore. The buyer ordered the books directly through the publisher and expected me to sell them during my signing (that was the mistake as my price could not compete with the used book prices, as their customers were there because of their discounted tags). In the end, they returned all the copies they purchased and got a refund. What I should have done is bring my copies and work out a discounted price tag under a consignment arrangement. Having my name on their marquee was really cool though…

Marquee.jpg

 ·         Don’t change your books’ placement in the store. You got your book into a store! That is a big, big accomplishment! Oh wait, they didn’t put them on the Best Seller table…instead it is in the Local Author section…I know it’s tempting, but don’t do it! Moving the books around is not going to help you sell it. The bookstore people know their customers…and believe me, they do want to sell all of their books. So let them do their jobs. What you can do is drop off bookmarks and postcards about your books at the information desk, the cashier’s counter and the café. Although, this was not my mistake…I found that all stores appreciate the bookmarks and if you are nice to them, they might even put them inside the purchased books with their customers’ receipt!

Sometimes, authors just have to trust the stores and hope for the best. All we can do is to establish a respectful relationship so that they always welcome us and our books back! For more information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com

 

 

An Indie Author’s Perfect Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

T’was the day before Thanksgiving when Susan Violante, a beautiful mature woman who had the looks of a 25-year-old brown-haired, hazel eyes, athletic woman, and the mind of a world-traveled 55-year-old, finally finished her own memoir. It was her first draft but with all of her Best Seller and Pulitzer-worthy books under her belt, she no longer needed to re-write anything…nor the services of a professional editor. She no longer needed to consider traditional publishing either, as her own Indie Publishing Company was better known than the Big Five all over the world. She decided to wait until after the holiday weekend to put it in the printing queue as she did not want to deal with all the exclusivity pleads from book distributors and bookstores. Publisher’s Weekly was already stalking her for a launch date and an interview, and Oprah Winfrey made her promise she would be the first to have a copy of her book and first appearance.

Sheri Hoyte, also an accomplished Best-Selling Children’s author and Susan’s partner in the biggest International Indie Publishing Company of the world was due to arrive at the luxurious office any minute. Sheri was also beautiful with a 55-year-old world traveled mind, but she looked like an athletic 26-year-old instead of 25 because of her hesitation in coloring her hair purple. But that did not affect her astonishing writing and editing skills. She was known as the best Editor Eye in history.

Susan actually didn’t realize Sheri was already there working next to her desk, as the three VP’s of Security were the quietest dogs in the Universe. This is why Susan had already finished her impeccably written thank you speech to all of the Book By Book Publicity and I Have Something To Say Press customers. Susan and Sheri knew that without them, nothing described above would be possible…

“Susan, do you have the editorial ready? I want to finish work early today so that I can get to cooking for tomorrow.

“Oh Sheri, can’t believe I didn’t hear the dogs barking…Yes girls, I know she is here THANK YOU! Yes, let me save the editorial in your Dropbox – I’ve been working all night and I think I felt asleep while writing it, please make sure it makes sense…you know I need a lot of editing!”

For more information on how we help Authors pursue their dreams please visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

 

Book Sales Accounting – When Reality Sets In

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many of us have been here already. Right before our first book launches we have about five thousand copies, a book tour set up, and our suitcase packed with optimism.  As the year moves along and book sales slow down before we break even on our investment, we realize two things:

1. We didn’t do as good as we thought

2. We spent the money we got from book sales celebrating.

If you are finding yourself in that spot when reality sets in don’t despair, you can recover from it! If you are working on your first book launch, you are still in time to avoid a sour moment of regret. Below are some tips on how to spend your book sales money wisely.

·         Save it all! Yes, I went there…you do not need to spend it! Put it in a separate account and hold on to it for at least 6 months. Watch your account grow as you sell your books one by one. Remember, this is not a hobby anymore. You are now in the business of writing and publishing, and as such you need to create your business capital.

·         Record selling expenses before touching sales dollars. Forget that you are cashing in for a while to give your capital a chance to grow, and in the meantime make note of the cost of selling your books. These are not production costs…those you should have recorded as you invested in writing and publishing the book already. I am talking about traveling, fees to book stores for shelf placement, consignment discounts, personal image, marketing, promotions, etc.  Make sure you know the total cost of producing and selling a book.

·         Budget before digging into your sales money. Nope, you still shouldn’t spend your sales money celebrating! Chances are that you sold between 500 to 2000 books during the first year. If you did, you most likely didn’t break even. Yet, you are fortunate as a huge number of first time authors do not even hit the 500 mark. If you were strong enough and did not touch your sales money, pat yourself on your back as you now have a startup dollar amount for your next book, which already has a platform - an experienced author and bookseller (you), and a realistic budget plus a bunch of contacts in the industry!

If you are looking to publish your book as a hobby, then these tips do not apply, but if your goal is to make a career out of writing and publishing your books, and/or being a public speaker on your topic of expertise, then remember that a business is built over time, and as such the income needs to be re-invested in order to grow. For more information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.  

Holiday Sales Tips For Authors

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Authors who want to sell books must take on the holiday season. There are so many options available during the busiest shopping season of the year to sell books and build customer connections. Below are some tips to cash in on a fun holiday season.

Plan Ahead. The more time you give yourself, the more ideas you can come up with and the more you can refine them, so they will be effective during the holiday season. Planning ahead is crucial especially for holiday events. Christmas art and craft shows begin the vendor application process about two months before the event takes place. They also require a vendor fee, so planning and budgeting ahead is necessary. But the author can also organize other type events during the holiday season like appearances on open mikes, book signings, speaking events…etc., all of which require booking and planning.  For Fall book launches, remember pre-publication PR campaigns are a must!

Participate in Holiday Entertainments. If you’ve written a children’s book, you might get yourself a booth at the mall when Santa is there so your target audience of children sees you. If you can find an open mike holiday event, such as a poetry reading, go and read from your book so people hear it and want to buy it. Is your downtown area having a special holiday shopping night? Then ask one of the storeowners if you can sell your books that night in the store.

Donate Books for Christmas Fundraisers. Christmas is the season of giving. So why not give copies of your books to local charity events, church bazaar, local Toys for Tots or other book drives, charity auctions or anything else that offers your book a chance in the spotlight. Remember that you can also offer to make an appearance at any event where you donated books.  If you volunteer with any holiday fundraiser, remember to keep copies of your book in your card, and book cards in your pocket. You never know, other volunteers might be looking for the perfect gift and your book might be it! So, don’t be shy and let yourself be known to others who already have the volunteer work in common with you!

Don’t Forget to Offer Holiday Specials. If you attend a Christmas craft show, make a sign announcing you have an “Exclusive Show Special” and offer a discounted price for your book, or better yet, if you have several books, offer a “Buy Two, Get the Third Free” or other package-type deal. Don’t forget your website! Offer specials and send out emails to your readers, plus post messages on Facebook and other social media sites where you can reach your online readers to let them know you have a special limited time offer.

Remember to be cheerful and festive and friendly, because when you connect with people at holiday events they are usually in a joyful mood and when you imagine people tearing open wrapping paper to discover your book under their Christmas trees, it can be quite an invigorating experience. For information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

Got Horror Books for Halloween?

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Halloween to me has always been the most fun time of the year.  It’s a chance to let loose and dress ugly! OK and for some sexy… All the television networks show old horror and fantasy movies, and many readers re-visit old Stephen King and Harry Potter books. But if you are like me, you are also looking to get spooked by new thrillers and scary stories. Now that I don’t have any young kids at home, I love dressing like a witch and sit outside to give out candy and marathon read or watch scary movies…most times I do both especially when Halloween falls on a weekend instead of during the week! We have reviewed our fair share of books perfect for Halloween this year. Below are a few selections to check out if you are looking for new thrilling reads!

For Adults:

For Kids:

We wish you all a safe and fun Halloween filled with treats and reads! For information on how we help Authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

It’s Okay to Get Help…Wisely

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Contrary of the popular belief that Indie Authors self-publish due to traditional publishing rejection, many if not most Indie authors don’t even wish to knock at the doors of the big five publishers because they want full control of their book and its profits. In fact, many Indies are already successful entrepreneurs, and established professionals in their fields when they decide to publish a book, and as with any self-made hands-on pros they are ready to give it all as Indie authors. But there is a problem with this self-sufficient attitude when venturing into a new Industry while trying to wear all hats. This is usually a quick way to learn about the industry, but it comes at the toll of little to no profits from the first and even second book. In my own experience, the biggest lesson is that it is okay to get help! Here are some tips on how to get the help needed without over spending:

·         Educate yourself. There are currently so many inexpensive ways to learn about the self-publishing industry and process, whether through online classes, networking, writer’s associations or groups, etc. This step is crucial and the money invested in knowledge is money well spent in the long run.

·         Create a business plan and budget based on the acquired factual knowledge that specifies the different steps of the publishing process.

·         Make a decision on which tasks you should invest your time directly and which tasks are better off delegated to an experienced professional.

Remember that it is your project and you will be calling the shots but be wise enough to get and take advantage of the knowledge of others to ensure you have a successful first book! To learn more on how we help Indie authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.