Every month Laura and I sit down together to have a marketing meeting where we discuss books that are currently in production, are about to be published or have just been published. This is a chance for us to outline a bespoke marketing plan for each book and check up on its progress at key points throughout the publication process.
Shortly after a book goes into production, we have an initial meeting about it, in which we take a look at the documents filled out by the author and the commissioning editor (this is when the Author Questionnaire comes into its own!) and devise a personalised marketing plan for it. The commissioning editor will have pointed out the book’s unique features and flagged up anything else that might help us to market the book (does its publication coincide with a relevant day, e.g. World Heritage Day or is there a particular news story that ties in with the book’s content?)
The AQ is another source of valuable information to us at this point, as it contains details of relevant conferences, journals, blogs, newspapers, magazines and organisations that we can contact to spread news of the book’s publication. If you have any specific contacts, like a journalist for example, make sure you include this on your AQ, as it can be a challenge to successfully make contact with newspapers or magazines without one. In the past, the books which have had the most exposure have been the ones whose authors have given us plenty of ideas for publicising the book and have put us in touch with relevant people who will help to spread the word. When it comes to the media, local contacts should not be underestimated. It’s often local papers and magazines that will be most receptive to being contacted and – particularly if your book is of local interest – more likely to want to feature a piece about it. If you’re able to establish contact prior to the publication of your book, it will be easier for us to go back and notify them once the book comes out.
At the end of the initial meeting, we outline a plan for the book and assign tasks to each of us. I deal with all the social media promotion (including arranging blog posts, publicising the book on Twitter and Facebook, posting any accompanying videos on our YouTube channel etc.), as well as contacting any media and organisations we think might be interested. This could be anything from print newspapers and magazines to blogs and online publications, as well as specific organisations with mailing lists who may be able to share publication news with their members. Meanwhile Laura takes care of areas such as conferences, book prizes and production of marketing materials like flyers.
Shortly before publication, we meet to discuss our progress. This interim meeting is more of a check-up meeting than an action one as we make sure that we have everything prepared ready to launch on publication. The timing of marketing can be key so it is important that we are all set in time for the book’s release. We might do things such as make sure that we have asked the author to write a piece for our blog, written a press release ready to send out on publication or made a list of suitable journals to offer the book to for review.
Finally, once a book is published we meet to discuss what we have done, what was successful and what was less so. We record all our efforts and eventually present an individual marketing report for each book to the rest of the team. This is done six months after publication when we also look at the early sales of the title. We are always interested to see if there is any correlation between ours and the author’s marketing efforts and the early reception a book gets.
If you have any ideas for marketing your book that aren’t here, make sure you get in touch as we’ll always do our best to make them happen!