Types of Clients I Serve
Questions and answers about self-publishing
If you are going to self-publish and succeed, you need to plan to devote an inordinate amount of time and resources into the project. The guy who self-published Celestine Prophesy sold 70,000 copies out of the back of his car (at New Age fairs and the like) over the course of years before a publisher picked him up and made him a best-seller. That's an excellent example of what can be done. But not all of us have that kind of moxie. So here are my Top Ten ideas for self-publishing success:
1. Find an acceptable sponsor. I had a client who'd written a book exposing the organized business effort to get street drugs legalized; she got the League of Women Voters to buy copies for each Congressman and Senator in the US Congress, plus Cabinet officers and the governors in each of the 50 states. Some state chapters of the League bought copies for distribution to their state legislature members. This cash infusion was enough to order 5,000 copies for sale to the public (and through various member organizations).
In the case of this book, I'd find groups that are politically active in pro-breast-feeding issues on the state and national level, and get them to buy (even at wholesale/cost - to get print runs up and costs/book down) to buy for mass-presentations to their elected constituents. You'd know those groups better than I would, but I imagine there are several strong advocacy groups to contact.
2. Find group purchasers. The above is a good example (although it wasn't done - but should have been). Sell to members of various organizations - THROUGH - the organizations (a revenue/promotion-sharing gig); for the book above, the League members were all reasonable targets; PTA members would be another reasonable target; anti-drug groups would be ground-zero.
For the breast-feeding book, consider both associations and hospital chains. For example, Columbia/HCA had (last time I checked) 458 hospitals, most of which had OB. Imagine if you could negotiate a co-marketing deal which would have a local la leche league (or other similar group) give the book, and some one-on-one instruction, to each new mother. The volume would be incredible (figure a nominal 50 births a month - probably way low - times 400 hospitals - that comes to about 20,000 books a year, right? So they get the books at a huge discount - they still get sold and out there.
Also hit member associations - parents groups - seniors groups (for their daughters-in-law and granddaughters-in-law) - and other "civilian" groups. All could make money selling through to their constituents.
3. "Create a publisher." What I mean here is create a publisher's imprint that will produce ten titles per year. Actually, this would be nothing more than a marketing co-op. Each book would be self-published, but they'd be marketed together, as if from a "real" publishing company, to libraries and bookstores. L&B generally do not want to deal with self-publishers; but they will deal with small presses.
4. Use #3 to arrange for Ingram Books to distribute your book. This is your direct link into Amazon.com, BN.com, to Borders, Barnes & Noble and other major outlets. Most will not buy direct (or would rather not); but if you're available from Ingram (even on special order), you can use that as a legitimizer for marketing to bookstore buyers.
5. Set up a direct-sale website; if you need to, farm out the fulfillment and order-taking. Include an 800 number for those who don't like to give out credit card numbers over the web. Best if one fulfillment house handles it all. Offer autographed copies at no extra cost (but allow more time for fulfillment)
6. Get on talk shows. Promote the website and the 800 number, but also mention Amazon.com and any chain bookstore that will carry the book. Use this as a marketing hook for getting the bookstores to carry the book. Also mention that you'll autograph any book ordered through your website, or will autograph it if they buy it elsewhere and mail it to you (with return postage)
7. Set up a follow-on network. Create an affinity-group website; a place where people who liked the book can gather to discuss it. Sell T-Shirts and other branded products with the book name and graphic image. You can get Cafe Press to do this for you, and you get a piece of everything they sell http://www.cafepress.com/cp/info/. I get all my Dilbert-branded items through Cafe Press, as well as my "Lowe Tech" t-shirts and baseball jerseys (from the great comic strip Get Fuzzy). Anybody can do this, and everybody should.
8. Create a newsletter for members of the affinity group network - it can be an e-zine - and use it to keep promoting the book through referrals, keep selling product, keep getting the word out. Announce author speaking engagements, etc.
9. Speaking engagements. Solicit the opportunity to speak at all kinds of conferences (not just breast-feeding conferences); do "spouse lunches" for instance. Bring copies to sell (visa/mc) and autograph, along with branded T-Shirts and stuff; arrange to sell them at the back of the room right after your talk. Every major city is a convention center; start local, then go national or North American. Each convention center has a website, listing pending conventions and providing contact information - go for it.
10. Get the book reviewed. Pitch it to papers. Also get "authorities" to review it - and send those reviews out with a copy of the book to the publications. Many editors are lazy; they'll take a Ph.D. or MD-written review without question.
Barnett - About
BMC - Rates
- PR War Stories Book
- Press Room -
Type Of Clients I Serve
Type Of Services I Offer - Talks & Presentations - Are You Ready to Work with BMC? - Top 10 - Contact