'Susanne McDadd is a former non-fiction director of Faber, and was a founder of Metro Publishing; that firm was eventually sold to John Blake. Now she runs a company which offers a range of valuable services for small publishers and authors.'
Grumpy Old Bookman Blog (5 April 2005)
A Guardian top-ten blog
'Sheer efficiency.. an unusual characteristic in the publishing industry!'
Historian and spywriter Nigel West (2007)
'Susanne McDadd's experience, expertise and energy has transformed the marketing and promotion of our books'
Managing Director Timewell Press (July 2007)
'More energy went into promotion of this title than of my previous books combined'
Timewell Press author (July 2007)
We offer outsourced services for smaller publishers, authors and organisations.
We take on book publicity campaigns, as well as offering access to a complete publishing ‘umbrella’. Our core services are sales and marketing, with optional distribution, and we also work closely with a team of experienced print brokers, designers, editors and other suppliers.
Our main areas are general non-fiction/fiction and trade niche areas (eg green topics).
We aim to build turnover through increasing our clients’ sales, as opposed to taking on more and more lists or books.
NB We are not consultants, although we give advice on a wide range of publishing matters as part of our services to a client.
We work on a retainer or project basis and take no fees from any third-party introductions.
The Publishing Context
Book publishing is a saturated market, where titles compete with over 200,000 others a year for media and shelfspace. In this context, effective marketing is key, at both the ‘selling-in’ (to the booktrade) and ‘selling through’ (to end consumers) stages. We drone on about the importance of having early sales and marketing material (covers, AIs, publicity updates, ‘About the Author’ sheets, catalogues and proof copies or blads as required). In some ways, this is as important as having a good book or list.
We know our clients will rarely be able to match the conglomerates in terms of sales and marketing spend. But we believe there are ways to level the playing field.
These are the principles which underpin our activities:
- Marketing is not bolt-on
Marketing begins at book conception stage – not when the book is printed. A title’s concept, format, price, timing, cover, inside-page design and so on all contribute to successful marketing. Is the cover (including the spine) effective – and does it work as an on-screen image? Is the book well written and edited? Are key account and publicity lead times being met? The earlier we are able to give feedback on these areas, the better.
- Quality is all
Do you print covers on 200gsm card, or books on yellow flimsy paper? Do you cut costs by proof-reading yourself and dispensing with an index?
Yes, this will no doubt save money
– but also sales. If you do not think a book is worth investing in, why should the consumer?
- Co-ordinate sales and publicity
Q: When is a glowing national newspaper review not a cause for celebration? A: when the title concerned is not in stock in the bookshops. Or, to put it another way, why push for an increase in wholesaler orders if there is no advance publicity to pull sales through? Sales and publicity are not discrete but work in tandem.
- Involve authors
Bestselling authors apart, ‘author involvement’ in the publicity/marketing process used to mean the odd bookshop signing or local radio broadcast. With today’s proliferating opportunities, publishers and authors alike benefit from an author’s active – and wider - involvement in marketing their book. Here are just a few ways in which authors can help: generating ideas and angles for different media outlets; seeking endorsements/advance quotes; listing personal contacts, internet sites and/or associations for the publisher to follow up; visiting local bookshops.
In order for such a partnership to work, the publisher needs to treat authors as genuine marketing partners, for example by soliciting cover, AI and press release input, introducing authors to staff (in sales as well as marketing/publicity), giving access to dues and sales figures and so on.
- Be realistic
If one could only secure the golden ticket of Richard and Judy or Start the Week the basis of a campaign would have been laid. Approach them by all means but best not to rely on such take-up. If, in contrast, one builds a campaign on the basis of the accumulation of small-scale results, anything else is an extra. The ‘drip effect’ may be less glamorous, but it lays solid foundations.
- Market fragmentation
The growth of the internet and related offshoots – ezines, podcasts and the like – and the rise of digital printing have opened up opportunities for grassroot marketeers. So too has the phenomenal growth of festivals and book groups. Take advantage of the myriad of small-scale opportunities alongside all the usual sales & media outlets.
The Publishing Services Umbrella
We offer a publishing umbrella in association with
Signature Book Services and Central Books for distribution.
The rationale for this arrangement was to enable start-up/smaller publishers and selected authors/organisations to aggregate their turnover and thereby meet the threshold criteria for acceptance. However, if a publisher is established enough already to have a distributor, we are happy to work with them.
For more detailed information click on the relevant link.