Publishing Tips

When it comes to Publishing, we've been there, done that, now serving 35 tips in 8 categories ranging from Book Festivals to Writer's Conferences.

What Promotional Expenses Will My Publisher Fund?

· Most publishers, at the minimum, will provide the author with fliers, bookmarks, or other printed support materials for the release of the book.

· If the book is a top tier book, the publisher may provide advertising co-op dollars to promote the title’s release. This may include the ads on the web, appropriate print publications, the purchase of a targeted e-mail list to receive a press release, or billboard signage. Funds may also be available for radio advertising.

· Some publishers will provide a budget to tour an author to a limited number of cities. They will cover the transportation (air and ground), food and hotel.

· A book launch reception may be part of the overall book campaign funded by the publisher.

o Hard copy invitations created by the publisher

o Postage for the mailing of the invitations

o Food, drinks, music, etc.

· The publisher’s publicity department will usually send out review copies, a press release and directly contact key media outlets in order to pitch your book.

· It’s possible that the publisher may share in the expense of hiring an outside publicist or PR firm.

· The publisher may host a webinar, tele-seminar, or pod-cast.


Should An Author Hire Their Own Publicist?

· Hiring your own publicist to focus on your title can only help the exposure of your book.

· Even though the publisher will provide some publicity support for your book, keep in mind that the publicist assigned by the publisher will also have other titles they are responsible for which cuts into the amount of time they can actually focus on your title.

· There are a number of advantages for hiring your own publicist:

o Since you are contracting with an outside publicist, you will have the ability to have a greater amount of attention focused exclusively on your book.

o You can straightforwardly dictate the direction you wish the publicist to go in.

o The publicist will be held accountable to the terms and outcome that you both have agreed upon in your contract for your book’s publicity.

o The PR firm may have contacts that the publisher doesn’t have.

o You can determine the length of time you wish the publicist to devote attention to your book; as long as you’re willing to pay, they will keep pitching, provided it makes sense.

o As a contractual agreement, the author can insist upon seeing a list of media who the publicist has pitched and the results.

o The author can demand that the publicist continue to research new media outlets and to pitch them.


The Publicist Assigned To My Book Has Left The Company

Your book is about to release and the publicist who was assigned to your book has left the company. What can you do about it and how do you know the replacement is qualified?

You’ve already spent three months or more communicating with the previous publicist and now you have to start from scratch with the replacement. It’s not easy for you or the new publicist. To make matters worse, your book is lagging in booked publicity and now it’s almost too late.

· Unfortunately, this happens and as the author there really isn’t a whole lot you can do about it. The publisher is providing a service and you need to trust their judgment that the publicist assigned to your book is qualified and will do a great job in pitching your book to the press.

· You can make your concerns known to your editor to ensure they are in the loop, in that way they will be monitoring the publicist’s efforts.

· The publisher wants to do their best in representing your title as it’s in their best interest, too.

· One of the hardest things to do, as an author, is to “let go” and trust that the publisher knows the marketplace and what to do in order to generate maximum sales for your book.

· As a precaution, it’s beneficial for the author to connect with his/her own media contacts and/or hire a publicist on their own as a safety net.


Will My Book Go To A Paperback Edition?

· Not all hard copy editions go to paperback. The publisher looks at each book on a case by case basis.

· If the book is selling very well in cloth, the publisher may decide to extend the cloth’s edition beyond a year’s time (usual length of a hard copy edition).

· The determining factor for a cloth edition to go to paperback is almost solely on the sales history in hard copy and the sale ability of the book once it goes to paperback.

· If the cloth edition’s sales begin to slow, but the publisher thinks that a paperback edition may increase or pick up the momentum, the publisher may opt to produce a paper edition.

· Another reason for a cloth/hard cover book to be published as a paperback is because there is a significant amount of updated information and rather than print the revised text in cloth, the publisher may choose to publish the newly updated book in paper.

· The advantage of a paperback book is the price and convenience factor for the customer. Therefore, allowing the publisher to earn higher gross margin and sell volume.


Appearances Prior To Your Book's Release

Let's say you've been asked to speak in front of a group of 100+ and your book is not yet available. What should you do? Turn down the speaking engagement or go ahead?

Ideally, appearances should take place at the time of the books' release (the pub window); however, sometimes things don’t work out that way. To make the best of the situation, have your publisher create postcards, bookmarks or fliers that you can make available to events' attendees. At least this will plant the seed and act as a reminder to your audience that you have a book coming out and provide them with the information necessary to order your book. The publisher can also provide you with bookplates (adhesive backed signature cards) that you can pre-sign and distribute to the attendees if they pre-purchase a book through their local bookstore.

Approach the local bookstore and invite them to take advantage of promoting your book to these attendees by providing a percentage off coupon. Bookstores are always looking for ways to increase book sales and their customer base.

Ask the hosting venue to maintain a link on their website to your website where their client or membership base will be reminded to purchase your book. Some venues may be able to pass along the list of attendees from your lecture enabling you to directly communicate with them about the release and purchase of your book.


What To Write?

Being a writer brings forth all sorts of conflicts. First, one has to consider what to write and that in itself can be all consuming. Why I must have at least a hundred ideas of topics to write about. How do I narrow it down and actually choose or focus on one topic at a time?

If I follow the trends in what is selling today, I should write my memoir, become a financial strategist, invent a new form of social media, tell how to be a super working mom, and write about how my dogs are beyond "best friends" to me. Well, it's good to know there's no shortage of hot topics to consider, but which one suits me, right now? And that is the question to ask yourself.

To begin with, the old adage of Write what you know, can actually help eliminate some topics that may be on your idea list. So, start with where you are, right now, today and what you are passionate about. Maybe you’ve already begun writing something, but have run out of what to write further. Wherever you are in the writing process, it’s really about the following:

· Write everyday, without fail.

· Write wherever you are, don’t allow any excuses as to why you can’t write.

· When you reach a point and can’t go further, take a break. Go for a walk outside, being outdoors is one of the best ways to refresh your mind and to release tension.

· When you are at your computer or with your notebook, pen in hand, ask your muse for help. I mean communicate with yourself. Ask questions about the next step in the piece you are working on. If you listen carefully, you will get answers.

· Do you have a designated time and place to write?

o Writing first thing in the morning suits me the best.

o I have a studio where I can shut the door and lose myself in my writing. I also have a ritual of lighting candles and calling forth my muse. It helps to put my mind in the present and center me for sitting down at my computer.

· I recommend not sharing what you’re working on unless you have a trusted friend that will contribute constructive criticism or wave you on to victory. Let the editing come from your inner critic.

· When your piece is completed or at a point where you can submit it, get it out. No writing in the world will be seen if you continue to keep it locked up in your computer or under your bed.

· Submitting your work will help you to do more and to refine your process.

· It may help to follow the steps of your favorite writer and know that he/she started exactly the same as you, at the beginning.

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PJ Campbell
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