Power Book Publicity Tips for September 2010

Highlights include:

  • “Choosing a Self-Publishing Company” by Ray Robinson
  • Tips for Authors: Websites We Love! by Corinne Liccketto

With the summer coming to an official close this weekend, it’s time to gear up for the fall – which is a great time to begin book promotion! Media contacts across the board will be settling back into their office after summer vacations. National television shows will be back from summer-taping hiatus and producers will be accepting new segment ideas and guests. And, perhaps, the best reason of all, authors have the chance to promote their book before the winter holiday buzz is in full effect.

If you are interested in learning more about our book publicity services, please contact us with information about you and your book! We look forward to hearing from you.



–The Independent Book Festival, scheduled for September 23-25 in Studio City, CA, has been cancelled. If you were planning on attending and stopping by our booth, please let us know. We’d still love to ‘meet’ you and answer any questions you have about book publicity.

Upcoming Events:


–Smith Publicity is exhibiting at the Baltimore Book Festival September 24-26 at the Mount Vernon Place in Baltimore, MD. If you’re attending and would like to schedule a meeting, please contact us! For more information about the event, please visit: http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com/.

–Smith Publicity is exhibiting at the Self-Publishing Book Expo October 2 in New York City. Corinne Liccketto will be speaking on a panel alongside industry peers. Please let us know if you’ll be attending and would like to meet! For more information or to register for the event, please visit: http://www.selfpubbookexpo.com/.

–Smith Publicity’s Dan Smith, Sandy Diaz and Ben Cameron are exhibiting at the Frankfurt Book Fair October 6-10, booth #N906. Please let us know if you’d like to schedule a meeting. Or feel free to stop by our booth. For more information about the Frankfurt Book Fair, please visit: http://www.frankfurtbookfair.com/en/fbf/.

Is there a topic you’re waiting to see us write about in our newsletter? Please share with us your ideas!

In the meantime, happy reading!


Corinne Liccketto
o: 856.489.8654 ext 309
f: 856.504.0136
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Choosing a Self-Publishing Company

by Ray Robinson, President & CEO of Dog Ear Publishing


I liken the creation of a book to the building of a house (except it takes less time to build a house.) You start with a dream–an idea percolating in the back of your mind. Then you plan, sketching rough ideas on paper. Next comes setting the details down–adding substance and depth to the dream. Finally, the day arrives that you hire the builder to come in and make your dreams, ideas, and hard work a tangible reality.

That’s where self-publishing companies come in–bringing life to your dreams, creating substance from your ideas, creativity, and hard won words.

Lots of terms for “hiring a company to produce your book” float around the publishing world and the most common often have negative connotations: vanity press, subsidy press, and self-publishing company. There are lots of others who do the same thing, but in ‘bits-and-pieces’–copyeditor, book designer, cover designer or artist, printer, distributor, marketing consultant.

Is there a difference in what any of these companies do for authors? Not really, but the words “vanity press” really insults what authors are trying to do when they choose to self-publish their books. Obviously, I believe strongly in the value that self-publishing companies bring to authors, and I also understand that many authors often choose to take another route and go into business for themselves. For the typical self-published author, however, a significant amount of frustration, time, and money can be saved by using self-publishing companies.

Also known as “author services companies,” self-publishing companies help those authors who prefer to hire publishing professionals to perform the “book building” and fulfillment tasks for their books.

Most every author dreams of seeing their book stacked high and deep in the big bookstores, with a shiny logo from one of the world’s largest publishers–and we encourage every author with this dream to try the traditional route. You can’t leave your dreams behind without giving them a fair shot. However, think of this–when was the last time you saw a publisher’s name on a bestseller list? Do you buy books by publisher, saying to yourself, “I can’t wait until Penguin / Harper / Simon & Schuster releases his or her next book?” I don’t think so. So, we stand ready to help you bring your manuscript to life.

Almost every self-publishing company uses the exact same technologies to produce and print books. Each company has a unique approach to the market, and a very distinct personality. They each have distinct benefits–and in some cases drawbacks.

Here is what I believe is most important in choosing a company to self-publish your book.

1) My first is contract — do you keep all your rights and can you terminate your agreement at any time without penalty? The author contract should be short and easy to understand. It should never have a “duration” that locks you into keeping your book with the publishing house. You should be able to leave without penalty at any time. Beware of the publisher that pays you a single dollar to have the rights to your book for years. You should own every single piece of the process, from copyedited manuscript to the files used to print your book–and you should be able to get them at any time, not just after canceling your contract.

2) The second item–retail price. Can you set your own retail? Does the publisher force you into ridiculously high retail prices? Remember, to sell in retail outlets you need to set your book’s retail price at about 2.5 X your cost… chains, big retail outlets, and wholesalers want at least a 50% discount, and many times you pay freight. So–if your book costs $4 to print, you need to be able to sell it at $9.95 to pretty much break even…which brings us to…

3) The third item–your book printing costs. Your Retail is almost always a function of your cost to print the book. If your book costs more to print, you need to push your retail price higher just to break even. Tied directly into this — can this publisher offer offset printing (also called “traditional printing”) services? Going to a “traditional press” is the only way to actually get a great price on a large volume of books. Not many of the big self-publishers offer this advantage.

4) The fourth item–your author profit. Royalty, Net Sales, Profit… whatever it’s called–it’s the amount you receive from each book sale. Be careful of any company that gives a huge royalty but forces unreasonable retail prices on your book. It makes no sense to get a “50%” royalty on a book that will never sell. Also watch for royalties that are increased by reducing your wholesale discount–again, if no store will buy it, what’s the point of a royalty? Final note–on what is the royalty paid? Most often it’s paid on the net sale, not the Retail Price. This also begs the question–why shouldn’t you get all the profit from a sale? Why should a publishing services company get more profit when you sell your book for a higher price? Their costs are fixed–it’s the same to them to print and distribute a 100 page book that retails for $10 as a 100 page book that retails for $50! Look for a publishing company that pays you based upon a ‘fixed cost’ basis and who forwards all the remaining profit to you.

5) Fifth–can you actually speak with someone who actually knows something about the book industry? Do you have access to “decision makers” that can make things happen for your book? How long has the person you are speaking to worked at the company (let alone how long they’ve been in the publishing industry).

6) Sixth–what is their business model? Everyone is in business to make money — and that’s an honorable thing… but watch where they make their money–look for hidden charges, or charges that show up to actually create an effective and salable book for you.

7) Last, but not least–creative control–can you set your design? Can you pick your own retail price? Can you set your own profit margin? Do you control the discount offered to retailers and wholesale accounts?
There are plenty of resources on the internet for helping decide who you should use to publish your book — make sure you do your homework!

Ray Robinson is one of the founders of Dog Ear Publishing. Dog Ear Publishing is a full service publishing company offering editorial, custom book design, printing, distribution, order fulfillment, and marketing services. For more information about Dog Ear Publishing, please visit: www.dogearpublishing.net.


Tips for Authors: Websites We Love!
by Corinne Liccketto


If we haven’t stressed it enough by now, the internet is the modern author’s best friend! From online book reviews to social networking opportunities, the World Wide Web is a tool that every author – regardless of genre – should use to their advantage.

There are some great online resources that, as publicists, we visit often to stay up-to-date on the latest industry trends. Today, we’re sharing our inside secrets with you!

1. SellingBooks.com: A website full of information on how to write, publish, and market your book and/or e-book, SellingBooks.com offers fresh ideas through the regular articles that they post from professionals of all corners of the book industry and beyond. The site also posts author interviews so you can read about what your writing peers are up to and exchange tips and tricks!


2. BookConnector.com: A FREE site that connects writers, authors, publishers, and publicists directly to book reviewers who are interested in their genre and book format. Once you sign up for the free Basic Review Sites membership, you simply plug in the parameters of your book (i.e. Advanced Review Copy, Published hard copy or E-Book? Genre? Fiction or Nonfiction?) and submit your query. BookConnector.com then generates a list of book review outlets fit for you and your book. As always, make sure that you take your time to review each book review site so that you’re pitching to the right contact and following the proper submission guidelines.


3. The Book Publicity Blog (www.yodiwan.wordpress.com/): Learn how to think like your publicist as you follow this informative blog and learn about what it takes to market and promote your book with ease. The founder categorizes lists of other blogs to connect to – from book blogs to literary agent blogs to publishing blogs, and more! Remember, the more you understand about the book industry, the more knowledge you’ll have when preparing to promote your own book.


4. ReadersCircle.org: This is a non-profit site dedicated to helping the reading community locate and join, and even start, a local book club. People attend book club meetings with whatever they’re reading and, from there, conversations ensue. Try locating some of your local book clubs and enter your own book into the mix. Exciting commentary about your own title will help spark other readers’ curiosity in you and your book. For starters, visit the site and ‘Search’ for book clubs in your local area. I found 23 in mine. How many did you find in yours?


5. ePromos.com: We’ve stressed before how important it is to tie your book/expertise into relevant holidays and remembrance and awareness days. ePromos.com is a website with a promotional calendar that lists everything from World Alzheimer’s Day (September 21) to Positive Attitude Month (October). Like we always say, do your research! Knowing when your book is ‘timely’ is half the battle in choosing when to begin book promotion. Simply visit ePromos.com, select ‘Calendars & Planners’ on the left search bar, and, once the page loads, click on ‘Promotional calendars’ in the top box.


6. www.bookmarketingworks.com: Book Marketing Works, LLC (BMW) helps authors sell more books in non-bookstore markets. BMW is the only company in the publishing industry that can provide authors and publishers with the leads, instructions and continuing assistance they need to increase their revenue and profits in special markets.


7. www.literarymarketplace.com Looking for a literary agent or publisher information? The Literary Market Place (LMP) is the directory of America and Canadian book publishing. For more than 50 years, LMP has been the resource consulted by practically everyone looking for industry data–whether they are publishing professional, authors, industry watchers, or those seeking to gain entry into the world of publishing.


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. Fueled by a passion for making good things happen for clients, we’ve worked with over 900 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, 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.

If you’re interested in discussing your project, please contact Corinne Liccketto, corinne@smithpublicity.com, www.smithpublicity.com or 856-489-8654 x309.

Contact information:
Smith Publicity, Inc.
856.489.8654 ext 309
Mailing Address: 1930 E. Marlton Pike, Suite I-46, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003