Blogger: Kathleen Y’Barbo, Publicist
Location: The Woodlands, Texas PR Office
Weather: Sunny and 75 degrees
You’ve landed the book contract, and the book has been written, edited, and proofed on galleys. Now what? Marketing, of course! But while you’re working on getting the book into the hands of reviewers, influencers and, eventually readers, don’t forget an important group of folks: the sales force. After all, a reader can only buy a book if he or she can actually find it.
Depending on the publishing house, the sales force can be a handful of dedicated folks or a small army of people. Whatever the number, they should be remembered, considered, and thanked with each book release.
First, remember to provide them with all they need to get the word out about your book. There are so many great ways to do this. You could put your promotional materials–including a trailer, author interview, press materials–onto a disc that can be slipped into the sales person’s laptop during sales meetings. Because time is so limited and the number of books being presented is generally high, anything you can do to make your book stand out will also help the salesperson.
Second, consider how hard these folks work to see that your book is not only noticed but also selected by buyers for venues from the major chains to the mom and pop stores. Many miles are covered, and many hours are spent by this dedicated group of people. Don’t dismiss how important their input is to your sales numbers.
Because they are an essential link in the sales chain, don’t forget to thank the members of your sales force. Your editor or in-house publicist can guide you in this, but I recommend at least thank you notes after the book releases. As an aside, don’t limit this courtesy to the sales force, but send your appreciation to anyone who had a part in the book’s creation. Some authors go beyond this to send gift baskets to sales meetings or at Christmas, often with themes that match the book’s topic. These are great, but if you’re not the creative type, don’t fret. It is the rare author who considers these hardworking individuals. Any kindness, if it is heartfelt, will be appreciated and remembered.
So, when you’re meeting your sales goals and being rewarded with royalties, don’t forget the ones who helped you get there. True, you wrote the book. And truer still, your editor chose it to be published. But try to imagine how well you would be doing without those dedicated individuals who saw to the placement of that book on store shelves.
Next week we will explore the topic of marketing before publication in a bit more detail. Until then, I would love to hear your sales force thank-you success stories. What did you do that worked? What wouldn’t you repeat?