Planning for Promotion and Publicity
Without any question the most important part of the marketing plan is detailing the ways and means of disseminating information about the book. If customers hear about it and demand it, sales outlets will follow. Having the book on sale in every bookstore in America is useless if publicity does not generate reader/customer interest.
Generally speaking, books (unlike clothing and some other products) do not sell because they are stocked and displayed in stores. They sell because people hear about them and seek them out. Getting the word out is the indispensable step in successful publishing.
Promotion for your book is everything that you do to generate interest and attention from and through retailers and wholesalers of the title. Mailings to booksellers, advertising and announcements in trade publications (Publishers Weekly, American Bookseller, Bookselling This Week, etc.), trade shows, posters, personal appearances in bookstores, etc. are promotional efforts.
Publicity for your book is everything you do to tell the public through the media (print, radio, television, internet) about your book, its subject, and its availability.
Advertising is promotion and publicity notice that you pay for. For promotional purposes you should produce a flyer or catalog of your titles which describes the content of each book, who is going to buy it, any independent praise it may have received, and any special events, advertising, or promotion that may accompany its publication. This document should also prominently detail the Title, Author, Price, ISBN Number, Trim Size, Type of Binding, Format, Special Features (maps, illustrations, charts, index, bibliography, etc.) , and Number of Pages. It should provide your retail and wholesale discount schedules, returns policy, and, of course, an order form and the publisher name, address for orders, and fax and phone numbers. Together with an appropriate cover letter this selling piece is designed to fully inform anyone buying your book or books for resale of the content and terms of sale.
To sell effectively and to represent you professionally, your catalog should be attractive and complete in its presentation. For publicity purposes you will need to prepare a press release which is, in essence, a news story about your book. Although effective press coverage is usually the result of personal contact by letter and phone it is very important that your press release be professionally prepared to meet the needs of editors.
Many books and articles on how to write a press release are available in your public library and should be consulted. To work effectively in these areas you are going to need the current edition of:
LITERARY MARKET PLACE
The Directory of the American Book Publishing Industry
Published annually by: R.R. Bowker
121 Chanlon Road
New Providence, NJ 07974
(Current Ed. 1998, 2 Volumes, Pb.: $189.95
“LMP” is the basic reference work for publishers and includes the so-called Industry Yellow Pages (Vol. 2) with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of every important contact in book publishing for essential services, suppliers, and the media. You can find copies in the reference section of your public library but you will probably conclude that you need your own copies readily at hand on your desk for constant use.