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Archive for the ‘A Publisher’s Life’ Category

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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Borders is in the news almost every day now. The word “bankruptcy” is becoming more and more prevalent in these reports.

We want to keep you, our publishing partners, aware of what is going on, so here is a quick timeline and links to recent articles with more information.

December 31, 2010: Borders announced that it was delaying payments to some publishers (Publishers Weekly)

Early January: Borders approaches publishers for talks about extending bills for books already shipped to buy time to sort out their debt. Publishers didn’t take to the plan. (Wall Street Journal)

January 25: Borders confirms they are selling their Day by Day Calendar kiosk business to generate more cash. (Detroit News)

January 27: GE Capital makes a tentative commitment for a $550 million senior secured credit facility, but that is contingent on Borders obtaining $175 million from other lenders and another $125 million of junior debt financing from lenders and suppliers. This would include publishers who would accept promissory notes in lieu of payment. (Bloomberg)

January 30: Announcement that Borders is delaying payments to “certain parties–vendors, landlords and others.” (Shelf Awareness)

February 1: Borders may file for protection from creditors (i.e. bankruptcy) as soon as next week, according to three people familiar with the matter. (Bloomberg)

For how AtlasBooks is handling this issue, please check out our post What Is Going On With Borders and What Does It Mean for Me?


Borders in Black and White

Photo: doortoriver, Creative Commons

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The BookMasters Group, U.S. Printing and Content Company, expands its UK and European presence with the addition of Jonathan King, Director of Chieftain Book Services Ltd., as their International Publisher Services Consultant, based in Epsom, Surrey.

Jonathan King has nearly 30 years of publishing experience and has worked at some of the UK’s leading trade publishers including Cassell, Penguin Books, Transworld, and Orion. Most recently, King was Sales and Marketing Director of Ian Allan Publishing, and he joins The BookMasters Group to help the company’s global expansion of publishing service offerings.

“I am delighted to have been appointed as the UK agent for The BookMasters Group, one of the best book distribution and publishing services companies in the United States. I look forward to working closely with the team in Ashland, Ohio, to provide the best service for our existing and future UK and European client publishers,” said King.

David Wurster, The BookMasters Group CEO, states, “Jonathan’s vast experience and sincere passion for publishing makes him a wonderful addition to The BookMasters Group.  I look forward to further developing the UK and European markets with Jonathan at the lead.”

The BookMasters Group is the single source for publishers seeking services such as editorial and design, printing and binding, and domestic and international sales and fulfillment (both eBooks and hardcopy).  BookMasters Distribution Services and AtlasBooks divisions offer publishers an experienced sales and marketing team with relationships throughout the global book selling community.

Publishing services provider The BookMasters Group is based in Ashland, Ohio, with sales offices in New York City and London.

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Each week we highlight and expound on a question or section from our Publisher Resources page on our website. The more you know, the better you can publish, so we invite you to check out the information we offer.

This week we will continue to look at how bookstore buyers have to work within a monthly budget and how that effects buying decisions (see last week’s post about how buyers pick what to stock).

Buyers work from an open-to-buy schedule. Every buyer has a history of what his or her average sales are by category for each month. The buyer tends to look at their key accounts first. Then they will go down through their stack, from their most important accounts to their discretionary purchases, until they have used up that month’s budget. Once the budget is gone, they would have to go to their boss and make a case for why they would need to stock another title. This is especially true if they are done buying for that month.

Like most retail stores, bookstores keep track of how much sells each month and then base a monthly budget from those numbers. More people buy during the holidays, so the budget is higher and bookstores can bring in more volume. (Please note that the big publishers know this and bring out hit books during the fall, so though the budget is bigger, there is also more competition.)

What does this have to do with publication date?
Buyers have their budget for a particular month, and they generally spend it for books coming out that month. If they get books early or late, it throws off their budget and their planned shelf space. Check out #dearpublisher on Twitter and you will see booksellers pleading with publishers to stick to pub date for these very reasons.

Timing
Another important factor for pub date is to consider when the buyer is spending that budget. Usually they buy 4-6 months in advance. And as we say in the section above, once the budget is gone, the buyer would have to make a special effort to bring in a new book. And they rarely just push a book back and use the next month’s budget. By then, the book would be old and the buyer wants to spend that month’s budget on what is new.

So what is the lesson?
Plan ahead. Send title information in for your title months ahead of publication date. That way the title can be properly presented. This also leaves time for proper marketing and publicity campaigns to be set in place. If your title is a drop-in title (a title that does not have much pre-pub notice), you chance losing support of traditional bookstores, whether national chains or independents, and will need to focus on consumer sales instead of having both bookstore and consumer sales as possibilities.

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