- Article: “A Book Publicity Campaign is Only as Good as the Author’s Responsiveness” by Sandy Diaz
- Tips for Authors: “6 Questions to Consider When Selecting a Book Manufacturer” by George Kittredge
Book Expo America is around the corner! Smith Publicity will be exhibiting at the DIY Conference on Monday, May 23 and then at the Expo May 24—26, booth #3161. Please let us know if you’d like to arrange a meeting with one of our representatives to discuss your project and goals for a publicity campaign. Otherwise, please feel free to stop by our booth to introduce yourself. We hope to see you there!
Thank you to all of you who met with us at the London Book Fair and, most recently, the LA Times Festival of Books. We appreciate your interest and are here to answer any questions you might have.
Also, thank you to Karen Miller at Open Door Publications for organizing the How to Write, Publish, & Market Your Book April seminar. It was wonderful meeting all of you who attended!
Promoting your book in the summer? Last year, we distributed a summer newsletter that touched upon the various reasons of why starting a publicity campaign in the summer is a great idea! If you’re interested in learning more about why summertime can be a good time to start your publicity efforts, please visit http://www.smithpublicity.com/2010/06/newsletter-june-2010/.
Questions? Contact a representative of the Smith Publicity sales team:
Sandy Diaz, email@example.com, 856.489.8654 x301
Dan Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org, 856.489.8654 x101
Marissa Eigenbrood, email@example.com, 856.489.8654 x314
Dina Barsky, firstname.lastname@example.org, 856.489.8654 x319
A Book Publicity Campaign is Only as Good as the Author’s Responsiveness
by Sandy Diaz, President, Smith Publicity
The inspiration for this article came from one of our current authors, Susan. She is a highly credentialed, successful businesswomen. In a conversation last week about plans for the next stage of her campaign, I thanked her for all her hard work. Her quick answers to her publicist’s questions, willingness to do all media interviews and bylined articles offered to her, and her proactive input about news stories related to her expertise has made her campaign extremely successful.
As publicists, our job is to entice the media to cover authors and their books in some way… feature stories, print or broadcast interviews, bylined articles, etc. With more than 800 books published each day in the United States alone, there is fierce completion for media attention. In order for an author to help us maximize their exposure, we recommend they take the same approach as Susan.
We make the initial connection with the media, but more often than not, it is up to the author to make the final and most important impression with the producer, host, editor, blogger or reporter. It is this interaction that turns a one line quote into a full feature story, one blog post into a regular blogging contract with a household name outlet, and one radio interview into multiple return invitations.
Here are six tips for authors to help maximize their publicity campaign:
1. Answer your publicist’s questions ASAP. When we need an author to answer a question related to a media inquiry, interview opportunity, expert commentary, etc. we need it ASAP. Reporters, bloggers, editors and producers are often working under tremendous pressure and deadlines. If a day (or even hours) goes by, the media will often reach out to the next person on the list and the author misses the chance for their placement.
2. Say yes to everything. When a publicist recommends a media opportunity to an author, if at all possible, the author should do it. One of past authors, an expert at negotiating with the IRS to determine payments/reduced fees, did a late night radio interview on a small station in the middle of North Dakota. One listener heard the interview, called the author and it turned into a $100,000 client.
3. Write the article, on time. If asked to write a bylined article (an article written by the author based on a topic related to his or her book), the author should again say yes when possible, research the target audience, follow the guidelines for length and style, and meet the deadline set by the editor.
4. Know your audience. Publicists will provide authors information about each interview. Before authors talk to a host, reporter, or editor, we recommend they research the outlet and person to further understand the listeners or readers, past work by the media professional, and the format of the print, broadcast or online outlet. The more authors know about their audience, the better focused the interaction will be.
5. Give your publicist feedback. Authors are the experts on their own topic. While publicists research and follow news trends that tie into an author’s work, the authors who excel are the ones who give their publicist ideas on angles and news stories that excite them and relate to their book or background. In Susan’s case, she has an unique opinion and point of view on a national breaking news story, which she shared with her publicist. Her publicist is in the process of setting up a national television segment about this hot topic.
6. Say thank you. As publicists, we always thank the media after they have featured one of our authors. Authors who stand out are the ones who send their own thank you email or handwritten note to those who have interviewed them. Everyone likes to be appreciated. This small gesture builds good will—and return invitations.
When authors are proactive, responsive, and prepared, it can turn a mediocre publicity campaign into a spectacular experience, with valuable exposure for the author that will last long after a campaign has ended.
6 Questions to Consider When Selecting a Book Manufacturer
by George Kittredge, Book1One
If you are planning to self-publish a book you have written, one of the important decisions you will need to make is, “What book manufacturing company will you select to produce your book?”
Book manufacturers and book publishers are often thought of as being the same, but there are significant differences between the two. In the simplest terms, book manufacturers are strictly book printers and binders – a resource used by those who want to self-publish. Typically, they receive digital book files created by authors and produce finished books based on page size, type of paper, binding style and other book options their authors may want. Unlike book publishers, book manufacturers do not offer editorial, proofreading, design, layout, marketing and promotion, or other support services commonly offered by book publishers. As a self-publishing author, you should consider a book manufacturer as an outsourced service, in much the same manner you would a graphic designer or an editor you might hire.
To help you in your search, here are six questions to consider when evaluating a company to print and bind your book.
1. Does the company offer accessible, hands-on service if and when you may need it? If you have a problem, such as while uploading a file or understanding a set of instructions, will you be able to obtain assistance in a timely manner? One of the most frustrating things for anyone who is trying to self-publish, is to encounter a problem and not be able to talk to a real person. Technology is great when it works. But when it doesn’t, it’s important to have someone you can contact to help you fix the problem or answer your questions. Look for a company that has reliable “hands-on” service. Ask them what the procedure is to get assistance if and when you may need it.
2. Is the book production process easy to understand and easy to work with? Ask the book manufacturer you are considering how their process works. Look to see if there are any testimonials on their website regarding how easy their processes are.
Find out how long it will take to produce your books once they have received your digital files. If you are producing your books in a soft cover, coil bound or saddle stitch binding, they should be ready within a business week or sooner. Hard cover books may take slightly longer. If you anticipate having a tight deadline to meet, ask if you can place a rush on your project. You may have to pay an extra charge, but in certain situations, a company that offers a rush option could be a plus.
3. What is the quality of their work? Every company will say they are high quality, but some are higher than others. And some may be better at producing the kind of book you want than others – particularly if you are interested in hard cover books that require special equipment, materials and expertise (i.e. faux leather covers, foil stamping, or sewn binding).
Some of the quality indicators to look for are how long the company has been in business (although don’t always equate greater length of service with higher quality), how many authors they have worked with over the past year, the type of printing equipment they use (is it the latest technology?), and the materials and expertise that go into their binding operations. If necessary, ask for a sample of a book they have recently produced that is similar to the one you want to produce. Look for customer testimonials regarding the quality of their work, and find out what kind of guarantees they offer regarding their workmanship.
One of the advantages of working with a short-run book manufacturer is that you can produce small quantities and, if you wish to, make changes to your book files before the next production run. A second advantage is that you can “personalize” your books to accommodate a special customer or for use at a special event.
4. How much will it cost to produce your book? Ask if there are any set up fees or additional charges anywhere in the process. There shouldn’t be, unless you are making a special request of some kind. Look to companies where your only expense is the cost to print, bind and ship your books – and then find out exactly what this expense will be. You should also be able to determine your cost before you submit any book files or place an order. Find out how easy it is to get a price quote.
5. What is the minimum quantity requirement? We’ve all heard the horror story about the author that produced 3000 copies of his new book, only to have them wind up in his garage? With today’s digital technology and short run capabilities, there is no reason to produce more copies than you need – and to produce them at a reasonable cost. Some book manufacturers have no minimum quantity requirements – even for hard cover books. But some do, so be sure to ask.
If you are creating your book for a small targeted audience or if you are not sure how many books you will initially sell, a short-run book manufacturer could be your best choice. You can always increase the number of copies in future production runs as the demand for your book increases – and eliminate the fear of filling up your garage.
6. Can they offer you choices? Most book manufacturers should be able to affordably produce your book in a number of sizes (height and width of pages), so you shouldn’t have to produce an 8 ½ by 11 or 6 by 9 inch book if you don’t want to. Keep in mind, however, that part of your production costs is based on how many pages can be printed from a sheet of paper. Ask if there are “optimum” page sizes you should consider that could reduce your cost.
Another choice involves the binding of your book. Highly skilled book manufacturers can give you a variety of choices. Typical choices should include a soft cover option (called perfect binding or paperback), hard cover (with either a printed cover wrap or dust jacket), plastic coil binding (ideal for technical books, cookbooks or other books that would benefit from lying flat for note taking) and saddle stitch binding.
One of the benefits of working with a company that offers a variety of binding choices is that it gives you the opportunity, if you wish, to produce your book in more than one binding style. For example, you may want to print most of your copies with a soft cover, but also produce a small quantity in a hard cover binding to send to book reviewers and special recipients, or to sell through a specialty, non-traditional book outlet.
Today, an increasing number of authors are choosing to self-publish and using book manufacturers to produce their books. If you are one of them, asking the right questions will enable you to find the book manufacturer that best fits your needs.
George Kittredge is a member of the management team at Book1One, authored and published his own book in 2005, and has worked with self-publishing authors since 1997. He can be contacted by email at georgek@Book1One.com.
About Smith Publicity Beginning in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run from a bedroom office to one of the leading promotional firms in the industry. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 1,000 individuals and companies—from authors and entrepreneurs to publicly-held companies and business— representing a wide range of industries.
The Smith Publicity reach is international; we’ve effectively worked with clients throughout the United States, Canada, the U.K., and from Australia to Israel and Malta. We have offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles and London.
While our expansion from boutique publicity agency to a multi-faceted public relations firm has greatly expanded the breadth of our services, the fundamental driving force behind everything we do is superior presentation, promotion, and positioning of our clients. Our refrain, “make good things happen for clients,” has propelled Smith Publicity from just another agency to a premier promotional firm offering outstanding, cost-effective service with unparalleled customer attention.