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The Power of PMA Co-Op Mailing Programs

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As entrepreneurial publishers, we continually look for innovative and cost-effective ways to promote our books and increase our profits. With PMA co-op mailing programs, the risk is low and the likelihood of success is high. So enter your titles in PMA’s co-op marketing programs, increase your publicity through book reviews, and boost your sales.

Since I began self-publishing in 1991, I have participated in my PMA co-op mailing programs continually–with excellent results. For example, I entered my book, Checkbook Management, in the “Business/Career” Target Marketing Mailing. I chose business because that genre was closest to my topic, which is personal finance (now PMA has a personal finance program). I received 22 requests for review copies, and many of the reviewers wrote wonderful reviews about my book. In fact, many of the reviews contain language taken directly from my press release and other press kit materials. I sold hundreds of books.

What’s more, many of these writers are affiliated with local newspapers where the writers tend to have a loyal following. The readers respect the publication’s editors, so the likelihood of selling books is relatively high. A number of these journalists may not be on the big publishers’ review copy lists, so they welcome new and high-quality books. This means excellent coverage and higher profits for you.

Here’s how you can profit from PMA co-op mailing programs.

• First of all, participate.

PMA co-op mailings are sort of like the lottery–”you’ve got to be in it to win it.” With PMA, the odds are much more favorable than the lottery. Interested journalists request review copies of your book, you control the content of your press kit, and there’s a relatively high likelihood the writers will review your book. Win-win-win.

• Write creative ad copy.

For each mailing program, PMA prints a catalog. Your entry includes a picture of the book’s cover and a 100-word description of your title. Based on your cover and ad copy, reviewers will decide whether to request a copy of the book.

• Respond ASAP.

When journalists request a review copy of your book, they may have a particular column in mind and be on deadline. So get your book into the reviewer’s hands while it is still fresh in his or her mind.

• Experiment with different PMA co-op programs.

Based on my initial successes, I decided to try other PMA co-op programs. After all, where can a publisher reach 4,000 to 11,000 journalists for approximately $250?

With my book, the Personal Budget Planner, I participated in three PMA co-op programs: two Target Marketing Mailings–”Business/Career” and “Self-Improvement”; and “Books for Review.” Each program pulled approximately 30 requests for review copies.

• Carefully design your press kit and promotion package.

Depending on the genre of the program you select, you may want to slant each press release to attract the genre-specific reviewers. For the “Books for Review” program, you might use your standard press kit. For others, tailor the material to appeal to your audience.

• Include a photo of the book’s cover in your promotion package.

Some publications print book covers along with the review. When a publication features your book’s cover, this is more valuable than when it features the author’s photo.

• Print your ordering information in the inside cover of your book.

Sometimes your press kit materials may get separated from your book or discarded, especially when reviewers are busy and receive lots of mail.

• Consider utilizing the Q&A format.

In some cases, I include a Question & Answer package. My Q&A contains a discussion about the book–10 or 20 points about the book and my topic. Some day a journalist may face a deadline and scramble for a story; your Q&A may just hit the press.

• Enclose a SASE.

In your letter, ask the journalist to send a tear sheet of any review. Clippings help you build your press kit. The SASE (self-addressed stamped envelop) makes it easier for the writer to send you a tear sheet. BREs (business reply envelops) can be even more effective.

• Contact reviewers for feedback and to establish a dialogue.

When I ran Checkbook Management, I attempted to contact all 30 reviewers who requested my book. With subsequent co-op programs, I contacted three types of reviewers: publications in my target markets, publications in major cities, and publications with significant circulation (approximately 25,000 and up). When PMA sends you the list of reviewers who requested your book, they include each publication’s circulation. This helps you decide which reviewers to contact and how much time to spend on each reviewer.

• Cultivate your mailing list.

These reviewers are particularly valuable since they have shown interest in your book. Add their names to your database, and be sure to send them information on future titles as well as about your backlist. Also, swap your lists with other PMA co-op program marketers’ lists.

• Finally, continually promote your titles.

PMA co-op marketing programs provide one-stop shopping, effective screening, and access to thousands of reviewers across the US.

Eric Gelb, C.P.A. & M.B.A., is a Vice President in a major New York investment bank. Gelb recently self-published “Book Promotion Made Easy–Event Planning, Presentation Skills and Product Marketing” (Career Advancement Center 1-800-295-1325. Web site:

http://www.smallbusinessadvice.com).

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