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22 Things to Do for Small Press Month

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by Jan Nathan, Executive Director, Publishers Marketing Association (PMA) —

  1. Contact your local bookstore or library and suggest they put together a special display for Small Press Month. You can obtain posters and bookmarks from PMA. Order from lisapma@aol.com.
  2. Suggest that your local bookstore offer a discount on small press titles this month. Offer a special 20% discount on all your titles.
  3. Hold a seminar on “How to Get Published” or on a subject related to your books. You might wish to cooperate with other small presses in your area to get this event off to a roaring start. You might wish to charge a nominal fee for the seminar.
  4. Contact the book review editor at your daily newspaper about any events that you plan, and the calendar editor, if your paper has one. Also speak to the features editor. The business editor is always interested in a successful publishing story.
  5. Send PMA a list of participating bookstores and libraries. We can send them display materials.
  6. Be sure to inform PMA directly about any activities you have planned for Small Press Month. So that we can include your plans in our national database and mention them when talking to the media.
  7. Get in touch with any weekly papers in your area about events listings.
  8. Approach an interviewer at a local radio station about airing a segment regarding the problems and rewards of running a small press, or set one up for an author.
  9. Make arrangements for special displays with local nonbookstore outlets that are appropriate for any of your books. For example, if you publish cookbooks, a grocery store might stack your books up near the door for a month, particularly if you provide a special discount as an incentive.
  10. Try for an interview at your local daily or weekly paper. Remember that the media is always pleased to find that there are successful publishers and writers in the neighborhood. So pitch not only yourself, but your colleagues.
  11. Try setting up interviews with other local media if you have a personable, articulate author who is available to speak.
  12. Offer your library a ready-made exhibit of locally published books. Band together with other independent presses and prepare a combined exhibition of titles in particular subject areas.
  13. Schedule an interview for yourself at the TV station. Be sure to offer visuals if available. Footage of an author doing exciting research-a sports book author on the ski slopes, for instance-would be helpful in getting TV time. Focus on the unique angles of your books and authors.
  14. Find a college or university that would be receptive to a roundtable discussion on a topic like “What is a Free Press?” or “The First Amendment and the Mass Media.”
  15. Consider presenting a goodwill talk to high school students about how to become an author. It could be a highlight of the school programs during the month.
  16. Use excerpts from a current or upcoming book on your Website. Remember that an entire excerpt, a whole recipe, for example, is more productive than a tantalizing tidbit.
  17. Arrange readings and signings from your list to be held during Small Press Month at your local bookstores and libraries.
  18. Take Small Press Month posters and bookmarks to your local bookstores and libraries and be sure that they are displayed and distributed.
  19. Join with other independent presses and take out a co-op ad in your local newspaper.
  20. Be sure that every club or local organization to which you belong displays a poster about Small Press Month and has your catalogue available as a handout for the month.
  21. Keep your alumni magazine up-to-date about you and your press.
  22. Host a wine and cheese party in your office for the press, booksellers, and other friends of your publishing house.

Celebrate Small Press Month!

Gather together all your press clippings and document the success of Small Press Month. Please send copies to Lisa at the PMA office (627 Aviation Way, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266) for use next year.

Together we can help each other to achieve and succeed!

This article is from the PMA Newsletter for March, 2000, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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