Blogger: Mary Keeley
Location: Books & Such Midwest Office, IL
A little farther down the hallway at Your Publishing House, Inc. is the marketing department. You may be introduced to the marketing manager assigned to your book project as soon as the ink is dry on your contract. But if not, be assured the marketing staff were aware of you even earlier. The acquisitions editor surely consulted with marketing and sales staff to get their assessment of your revenue potential before deciding to take your proposal to the publication committee.
Marketing has already determined a marketing budget for your book. Don’t be disappointed at the amount and think they aren’t really invested in your book’s success. A universal reality is that publishers expect authors to do a major portion of marketing and promotion. For a nonfiction author, you must build a broad and growing platform before your agent can submit your proposal. It could even get you through the door ahead of someone with a better manuscript but smaller platform. Ouch, I know that might hurt. But hopefully this tour is providing you with a better understanding of some of the nitty-gritty realities publishing houses face.
Once contracted, what can you do to help market your book beyond building a platform and gathering readers’ contact info? Seek as many book signings as possible—in retail and church stores and anywhere else your creativity can muster. Or move beyond a singing and do a reading from your book. Or present how you did your research. Or tell the story behind the story–how you came up with the idea of your book. Seek endorsements from experts on your topic or genre, and so on. As Janet Grant mentioned in her blog a couple of months ago, marketing loves to hear about all your creative and fruitful self-marketing efforts (about once a month). They thrive on this news; it builds their enthusiasm for your book. And don’t we all want that!
The marketing department continually monitors trends to pinpoint current efforts that provide the greatest return for the limited dollars they have to spend. So while you are doing all you can to increase name recognition for yourself and your book, your marketing manager is spending your book’s budgeted funds as effectively as possible.
Everyone, chime in here and share your creative marketing efforts that reaped a great return for you. We’ll all benefit from this conversation.