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Favorite BookstoreThis week I got a message from one of our fans on Facebook asking how to get her booked stocked by her local Barnes & Noble in the local history section. Her book is quite regional and would be a good fit.

I figure there might be a lot of you who wonder the same thing. Maybe you book wouldn’t fit into local history, but you wonder how to get a local store to carry your book and maybe even put it in a local section.

First it is important to note that national chains operate differently than small regional chains or independent stores. I’ll address how the chains operate first.

Once a book is in the chain’s system (the primary goal of distribution), it can be ordered into any store. But for most stores to actually stock the book on their shelves, a head buyer at their national headquarters has to make that decision. Buyers generally buy according to topic, but they also have regional buyers for local interest books.

National buyers typically make this decision pre-publication. For them to act on something once a book is past its publication date, they will want to see some pretty convincing sales data or a pretty major current event hook (could be something on the book’s subject or something major going on with the author).

You can also try to arrange a book signing with the store’s event manager. The store will then bring in stock for the signing, and if the book sells well, they may keep it on their shelves.

Independent stores have a little more leeway in terms of what they stock and when they decide to carry it, but they are still very cautious about their retail space. You may want to try to approach the store’s manager directly about carrying your book.

You should do this respectfully and come prepared to explain why the book would be a good sell for their store. “It’s a great book!” is not a good enough reason. Again, you could mention something going on relevant to the book’s topic, or tell them about an event you are doing to promote the book and that you will be referring people to their store to purchase copies.

Also, you should try to make it a habit to start shopping at the store. I’ve heard different independent store owners lament that authors will come to their store trying to push their books into the stores, and somehow slip in that they do most of their book buying online. This doesn’t give the store much incentive to support you.

The best way to get your book on any shelf is to create the demand to get it there. If a store notices that lots of people are coming in looking for the book, they will carry it. Sales talk.

Photo: Juhansonin, Creative Commons

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Advice to a Young ArtistWe have just a few days left of our March cover contest, in which we invite our fans to vote on their favorite book cover (that has been submitted by other fans in hopes of winning a free NetGalley promotion). If you haven’t already, check out our Contests tab and vote, or go to our Facebook page and vote there.

Running the contest brings up a good question. What are the elements that make a cover a good cover? I know that for the contest, a lot of votes probably come from friends of the contestants (and that’s not a bad thing, see the post Using Our Contest to Your Advantage). But of course, that’s not the only thing.

Here are a few quick things that distinguish a good cover:

Eye-catching art
Readable text
Good color combinations
Good title
Fits certain expectations within its genre
But doesn’t look exactly like everything else…it stands out

There are also elements that make a book stand out as having a terrible cover (check out this post covering that topic: Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover?

Though some of these covers are good for a laugh, they point out the importance of taking the time, and yes, spending the money, to have a great cover. You don’t want to lose sales all because you lost the customer when they saw your cover.

What do you think makes a cover a good cover?

Photo: Cliff1066, Creative Commons

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I love Pintrest. I have to admit that I was quite addicted the first couple weeks of signing up for a personal account. I’ve since tamed my “repining” urge and I try to only pin things I think I might actually do. I’ve also created a board called “I did it” so I can track my progress. I’m the kind of person that puts things on a checklist just so I can enjoy checking them off, so I guess that makes sense.

For months I’ve come across articles about how to use Pintrest as a brand. I wasn’t sure yet how to make it work for Bookmasters, but, with our social media team, I believe we’ve come up with an boards that will be both entertaining and useful for all you great folks that follow our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and so on.

Check us out and comment about what you think of our boards or what else you would like to see!

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Amazon’s December 10, 2011 price check app promotion caused quite a stir in the book industry. Though books were not actually included in the price check, which gave consumers up to $15 in discounts to those who scanned prices of products at bricks and mortar stores, the book industry took offense. Indie bookstores were outraged, claiming that the retail giant had gone too far. (For more information, check out the PW article here.)

As part of the indie bookstore backlash, some stores urged consumers to use Amazon’s Look Inside feature to browse the book and then buy the book in the store. It came down to a match between “look here, buy here” versus “look in stores, buy online” versus “look online, buy in stores.”

Who can win in such a match? The publisher, that’s who. Did you notice the key word in each of these situations? It is “buy,” and it is all about getting your product in front of your consumers in as many ways possible so that when they are ready to pull the trigger and whip out the wallet (physical or virtual), they have all the information they want or need to make your book their book of choice.

To stay on top of the game and continue to offer innovate book promotion solutions, Bookmasters has collaborated with Book2Look to give our publishing partners a viral marketing tool to take print and eBook promotion to the next level with the Book2Look Social Media Widget. Click here to see the widget at work.

The widget is designed to promote your book/s on websites, blogs, social media sites, and within eAdvertising. With the widget, consumers can look here, buy here (through the AtlasBooks.com store), or from within the widget, they can look here and buy at any number of online retailers that you choose to display. And while we’re at it, for print books, consumers can look here, buy here or get hooked on the book, and buy in their favorite store, wherever that may be.

The widget takes look here, buy…wherever, to another extreme by expanding what it means to “look here.” You can embed the widget on your website, blog, social media, and ads, or the widget can go viral, and then you have other people doing your promotion for you through their websites, blogs, etc. Your discoverability has just grown exponentially.

Here are some of the option features you can build into your widget:

Portable description with an excerpt chapter
Video trailer and a photo gallery
Zoom and social bookmarking options
Recommend and share features
Review, rate, and comment capabilities
Shopping cart to multiple eRetail sites
Option to embed into other sites
Detailed analytics
And more!

For more information about how you can use the widget to sell more books, contact your account executive or call 1.800.537.6727.

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You almost miss itIt’s undeniable that the web offers an infinite cache of content ripe for a person’s perusal; mindlessly entertaining Tumblrs, Flickr accounts with engrossing images of foreign landscapes, and the notorious cat videos on Youtube seem specifically engineered to distract people from the tasks at hand. Writers are no less immune to these web based honey traps than anyone else. But for writers, the web can work as a hazard or a boon; the difference lies in their ability to harness the web’s potential for research and rich writing material.

Sure, you can bypass web-based distractions altogether by manually disconnecting the internet from your computer or by resorting to handwritten content. You might even experience a significant uptick in your productivity if you eliminate your internet usage all together. But if you turn your back on the web, you’ll be missing out on one of the richest resources available for any writer, be they a novelist, copywriter, or a freelancer. Taking advantage of the web’s potential is just a matter of redirecting the energy behind impulsive web surfing. To utilize the web successfully as a writer, you must turn your restlessness on the web to inspirational online content and resources built to unite and support writers as they practice their art. Consider these propositions to turn a web-addicted writer’s short attention span to constructive web surfing.

Blog your ideas

Blogging is both the easiest and the most rewarding hobby you can undertake if you spend most of your time online. Regardless of your writing background, blogging can help you to see the web’s potential as a writing tool. Think of your blog as a digital notebook with limitless opportunity for customization. On one hand, you could choose to use your blog the same way you would a journal, jotting down ideas as they come to you throughout your web surfing. But you can also use the blog as a storage facility for inspiring web content, whether they’re arresting images or news articles that relate to your writings’ subject matter. You can store a virtually unlimited cache of content on your blog that might help shape your writing, or at the very least bring some organization to fierce and time consuming surfing.  And your blog doesn’t necessarily have to dominate your time while you’re on the web; you can keep it open in a tab so you can easily refer to it when you’re struck with a thought worth fleshing out later.

A well-maintained personal blog is the ideal answer to writer’s block. If you continue to log your blog with notes accompanied with online inspirational pieces, you’ll have a treasure of material to draw from in the future to incorporate into your writing. With so many ideas and leads stored in one place, you’ll have no shortage of inspiration or writing prompts.

Search out other writers

If you’re not too keen on blogging, you should at least peruse social networks for potential writing contacts and confidants. The web is inundated with online communities made up of professional and aspiring writers of all stripes looking to help out their peers. If you’re looking for advice on how to execute a writing style or how best to develop a character, invest your time in one of the many online forums available—there are literally thousands of experienced writers waiting to lend their expertise. The focus of these online communities can run the gamut of the writing industry. Sites like inkpop and writer’s café house huge communities of solely fiction writers, while others like Scribd focus on the publishing side of writing. You could also “like” the Bookmasters fan page on Facebook to access a community of authors/publishers.

You should also investigate social media services like Twitter to find fellow writers. Using Twitter, you can quickly locate and then follow writers of any field by using the service’s comprehensive search engine. What’s more, you can quickly separate the Twitter accounts of more popular writers from those who have fewer followers. Popular writers typically utilize Twitter as a means of promoting their own work, but some of them offer free advice and invaluable tips of the trade as a way to entice more followers. Lesser known or struggling authors may be worth following as well, but for an entirely different reason. If they’re not solely interested in selling their works, these writers may be more likely to answer your direct messages and help out a fellow writer. There’s ways some choice information to glean from writers on social media services, you just have to be willing to engage with your peers online.

Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com. 

Photo: Travis Isaacs, Creative Commons

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Discount
if purchased before January 31st, 2012

Please contact your Account Executive
at 1.800.537.6727 to learn more

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Promotional Price 

$850*

Valid 12/05/11 – 12/28/11
For more information regarding this comprehensive strategy
please contact your Account Executive at 1.800.537.6727
*Note: Pricing includes 4% cash discount. Discount not available for other forms of payment.

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