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Sales & Marketing

Sales, marketing and distribution – the key to getting readers

It’ll probably come as no surprise to you that selling in the book trade is intensely competitive. The sheer volume of new books being published every year means that you have little hope of getting your book taken up by the trade UNLESS it is professionally promoted. Having an ISBN number and online listing does mean that, in theory, anyone who wants to order it can do so, but it does not ensure that bookshops will stock it. In reality, the book trade usually only buy in commercially promising books that are “sold-in” (by a professional book sales representative).

We list your book to the trade

We give all our published books an ISBN and barcode which ensures that they can be identified and ordered anywhere around the globe. We also add a page about your book to our website, and we ensure that it is listed on the foremost bookselling websites including Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith and, in the USA, Barnes & Noble. To achieve this, we supply full bibliographic data management for your book. We use the Onix, the industry standard data system, to supply your book’s meta-data to Nielson, Gardners, Bertrams and Amazon.

We can sell-in your book using our own dedicated sales team.

Unlike most self-publishing companies, we are able to offer our authors a comprehensive retail trade distribution and sales representation service, provided the book has commercial potential. Using our team of dedicated, professional and well recognised sales reps, we can promote your book to the head office buyers of the high-street bookshop chains, making it much more likely that they will order copies to stock in their shops.

For books which are likely to sell commercially, we will suggest an appropriate sales and marketing package to help. NB: Some of these may be incur extra charges (e.g. PR/publicity services).

  • As part of the package, we prepare and print a single-sheet Advanced Information flyer (or AI sheet as it is known in the trade), about each of our marketed books. This is the accepted way to introduce the books to the trade.
  • Our professional sales team will present your AI sheet to wholesalers, library suppliers, chain-store book buyers and specialist outlets, as well as local and online bookshops. We’re also happy to send you copies for your own use upon request.

PR and media campaigns

If we feel your book could generate national media interest that would significantly boost sales we may suggest that the publication date is delayed for a short while in order to make the post of its publicity potential. This will allow us to promote your book to influential media such as trade publications and monthly magazines who require long lead times (typically 4–6 months). This does not mean you will have to wait longer for your personal printed copies.

A delay in publication date will also probably be necessary if we decide to promote your book using our sales representation team. The book trade plans several months ahead, and it may take 6-9 months for our sales team’s efforts to translate into advance orders.

Need a book publicist to help make the most of your launch?

If your book needs a media campaign to make the most of its sales potential we can arrange that too. We are delighted to be able to offer the services of our experienced book PR specialist, Elly Donovan PR. Elly has worked successfully with a number of our fiction and non-fiction authors, handling short and long-lead campaigns, to ensure the best possible coverage across print, broadcast and web media. This needs to be arranged well before we publish your book.

What’s typically involved?

  • Preparing press material to generate interest from the media.
  • Distributing press packs to key media contacts.
  • Offering a copy for review, with interviews and extracts to key media contacts.
  • Communication with influential journalists to arrange interviews.
  • Compiling long and short-lead mailing review lists and submitting books as appropriate.
  • Managing links with a range of media contacts to follow up and capitalise on all leads.
  • Sending you, the author, regular updates as well as copies of all coverage.
  • Arranging for placement of features, written by the author, to promote a book.
  • Arranging author events, including book signings and lectures where appropriate

How much will a PR campaign cost?

PR campaign budgets start at approximately £350 and increase to £2000, depending on your goals and on the predicted potential for media interest. It is, of course, impossible to guarantee the amount of coverage that your campaign will generate. However, Elly is extremely experienced and successful. She has a fabulous network of contacts including many of the most influential journalists, broadcasters and producers. As a result, her track record of delivering national and niche coverage is impressive. Elly is happy to discuss your project and advise on the most suitable options and their costs. Just ask us for her contact details if you’d like to talk to her.

Will my book make me money?

The bad news is that books which sell hundreds or thousands of copies are the exception rather than the rule. Success on this scale is limited to books that have strong commercial appeal and which are supported by additional investment in marketing. Accordingly we do not encourage our authors to invest in publishing their book mainly on the assumption that it will generate substantial sales. The good news is that royalty rates for self-published books are substantially higher than with most traditional trade publishing deals. Self-published books make a worthwhile profit on each copy sold.

Efficient book distribution

We support the books we market by making appropriate distribution arrangements that ensure their availability. Book retailers who take one of our titles for stock are likely to need an immediate and ongoing supply of books (usually several hundred). For these situations, we bring in a professional, trade distribution company. We use Orca Book Services for this purpose (see below). They work closely with our sales team to ensure the wholesale and distribution process is handled as efficiently as possible.