Our Services – Publishers
I work with both authors and publishers. Clients include the educational reference specialist Lucas Publications
and the history specialist Peter Lang , whose inaugural list includes
John Laughlands A History of Political Trials and Amit Chaudhuri's Clearing a Space.
I am currently holding a series of seminars for The Society of Authors, on how authors who are not eligible for the top tier
of promotions might work with their publishers to maximise sales.
A typical niche publisher would have an existing infrastructure and publishing history but have focussed on sales outside the booktrade.
A typical general trade publisher would have access to media-friendly authors capable of getting coverage in a saturated market.
Initial trade turnover would be in the range of £50,000 to £500,000.
Here are some principles we have found helpful.
- Flexible, small-business approach
What a small publisher lacks in financial resources it can compensate for by being quick, flexible and responsive to trends.
As editorial, sales and marketing overlap, avoid rigid demarcations.
- Author involvement
In today's competitive publishing environment, publishers benefit hugely from active marketing help from their authors. The days when this would have meant authors blocking out a few days for the odd local radio interview around publication are long over. A genuine partnership between author and publisher involves both parties doing their bit.
If you involve authors in all aspects of the marketing process as early as possible – for example, by sending them author questionnaires, draft cover copy, cover designs, marketing plans, review lists, press releases etc – you will be much more likely to secure their support for the heavy time commitment needed to promote a book effectively later on.
Finally, always release dues or sales figures on request - even if they are poor. The sales team for Ebury (Random House) were exceptionally good at this during the publication of Don Shaw's The Hike in 2005.
- Marketing is not bolt-on
Just as a publisher benefits from involving the author from the outset, so too with the sales and marketing team. A book's price, format, publication date, cover and inside page design, paper and editorial quality all affect the marketing effort, as does the advance provision of sales and marketing material - the wholesalers need AIs and covers some five months ahead of publication. If you are a larger publisher with the budget to take part in more ambitious trade promotions, you may well need material furhter ahead.
Even better is to secure sales and marketing feedback when commissioning books in the first place...
Not all the tasks listed below will be needed by publishers, but they are included here to give an idea of the potential range.
- advice on a book's title, price, positioning and publication date
- feedback on cover copy and design
- feedback on inside page design
- access to editorial, design or print contacts
- drawing up a Sales & Marketing plan per title
- identifying non-booktrade outlets
- drawing up costings
- recommending relevant promotional material (eg posters, flyers, showcards)
- arranging for submission to Amazon, Cilip and BookData
- helping to prepare key selling tools – eg Advance Information sheets, press release and catalogue
- advice on endorsements
Selling-in: trade sales outlets
- submitting to the trade press
- mailing and presenting to key accounts
- arranging cover illustrations in wholesalers' Buyers' Notes
- advice on supplementary mailings – eg library, school, wholesaler
- monitoring dues
Selling-in: non-trade sales outlets
- Identifying any additional non-trade sales outlets such as mail-order catalogues
Marketing and publicity
- marketing as identified in the Sales & Marketing plan
- researching print review lists: national and regional newspapers, magazines and newsletters
- identifying relevant websites and ezines
- prioritising publicity targets
- submitting for bookshop and other events + arranging POS support
- telephone follow-up of relevant outlets
- arranging radio and/or television coverage
- finished-copy review mailing
- mini publicity campaigns for reprints
- continuing to promote where possible
- monitoring sales
- stock reduction/remaindering if a book has not sold well
How We Operate
- Small budgets
We are used to working on small budgets and to slotting into a publisher's infrastructure of mailings etc.
- Success-fee component
Unless we are handling a one-off publicity campaign, we take on publishers as retainer clients.
To align interests, we combine a fixed monthly retainer with a success-fee for turnover in excess of an agreed threshold. The success fee is calculated as a percentage of net turnover. If sales do not exceed this threshold, the success fee doesn't kick in. In this way we hope to create a win-win situation for all parties. Each year a new success-fee threshold is calculated as halfway between the old threshold and the turnover achieved.
Contact us at editor@Publishing-Services.co.uk for further information. All enquiries will be treated in confidence.