Monday, January 22, 2007

To Market, Pt. 4

Question: If publisher grants a budget to market a book (the author came up with the original marketing plan), can the marketing methods be predetermined and negotiated in the publishing agreement? For example: If it a regional book, can the author hire a local P.R. firm to implement said marketing plan, thereby eliminating publisher's in-house beaurocracy? Or will the author be sent straight to hell?

What part of it's their money are you having a hard time with? They set the budget and they spend it. You have suggestions that cost money, then you spend your money, unless you are a three time NY-Times best-selling author (positions 1-15) and the p.r. agency you want to use already has a track record with them. You can go through the motions of making suggestions, but they are never taken.

I suppose this is where a lot of author frustration comes in, but once you give in to your higher power (their money), you'll feel a lot better about things.

Bottom line here is that p.r. can be very expensive, and unless you really can show that you have done this before with books, publishers aren't going to give you thousands of dollars to prove yourself.

They might be talked into paying for postcards, or bookmarks, or postage for a mailing, but, in general, you are on your own for any creative marketing you might come up with.

But, as I've said too many times before, if it's such a good idea, and you really believe in your book, why don't you invest in yourself? Make up your own postcards, send out your books, give out your own bookmarks at that genre convention.

Most successful guerilla marketers have made the break-out through inexpensive innovative concepts. That's really what it takes.

I just came from a productive and innovative publishing party this evening for a book that my author had waited most of her professional life to see come to print.(visit HIT HIM WHERE IT HURTS on or The only p.r. the publisher provided was copies of the book sent to reviewers.

But the author wanted a publishing party to celebrate this life event, and to make a professional announcement. So through her own connections, she found a new New York restaurant that was anxious to announce it was open for business and found a time when they were less than busy (early Monday night). She negotiated appetizers for her attendees, and had a cash bar. She paid for postcards to be printed up and emailed an invite to over 1000 media, legal and publishing professionals (personal as well). The party was a resounding sucesss with at least 100 people attending and she was happy to have a crowd of friends, colleagues and media present to mark this important occassion.

Even though only a tenth of the people attended, more than half will remember the book, and many of the publishing professionals will remember her book when I send out the proposal for the next one.

Note: The publisher paid nothing for this party, even though her editor attended and spoke.


Harry Connolly said...

Talking about new, cheap ideas: Just last week a first-time horror novelist was giving away three of his own teeth to people who read and reviewed the book online.

Which is pretty gross, but maybe it works for his genre.

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