Next time you get ready to hold a new book launch (even if the
meeting is only with yourself), run through the following checklist
of topics regarding promotion. Make sure you have captured all the
relevant details that will help you prepare a new book flyer,
brochure, space ad, banner ad, direct mail package, or telemarketing
If you want to learn more about the nuances of book marketing and
promotion, there are a number of courses you can take at PMA
University. This educational event is coming up at the end of
May in Chicago, just prior to Book Expo America (BEA). Here are a
few of the courses that you’ll want to investigate:
- Big Ideas on a Small Budget: How to Do It without Getting
Squeezed between the Covers!
- Write a Marketing Platform for Your Book or Product
- Get Your Marketing and Promotion Ducks in a Row for
- Internet Law and Marketing for the Modern Publisher
- Secrets of Successful Direct Response Marketing: Is it
Right for You?
- Riding the Roller Coaster: Creating Spin-Offs and Product
- Web Marketing: What You Need to Know and Do after
You’ve Mastered the Basics.
Before you get started with writing and designing your new book
promotion, take time to review all these facts, ask questions, dig
for features and benefits, and let your curiosity roam. Eventually, the fires of creativity will ignite and you will
start to influence the minds of customers to examine and buy your
Book Promotion Checklist
- What are the features? Are they listed in order of
importance? Which ones are most important and deserve more
- Have you translated each feature into a benefit? What
problems does the book solve?
- What is the book’s competitive position in the
- What is the USP (Unique Selling Proposition)? How is
the new book better, bigger, cheaper, more popular, etc?
- What is the story behind the book or cause? How did it
come about? What motivated its development?
- Who is the competition? How is your book different? How
is it superior? Do you have a copy of each competing book?
- What can be said about the publishing company? What is
its mission, history, and story? How can this information be woven
into the promotion?
- Will you offer a free copy? To whom? Under what
- Who is the target audience/prospect? What are the
demographics? Psychographics? Needs? Beliefs? Titles and
- What are the common objections to purchasing a book
like this? From buyers? From purchasing agents? From consumers?
- What blurbs, quotes, testimonials are available? Who
are the most influential people to contact? What are their titles or
positions? What steps can you take now to obtain blurbs in time for
your brochure? Will they review manuscript copy and provide an
- What type of promotion is planned? Direct mail package,
print ad, radio spot, TV spot? Web site? Will the campaign have
- What is the objective of the promotion? Inquiries?
Orders? Review copies? Establish a control package (i.e., a
benchmark promotion by which you can compare future success)?
Improve response? More orders per thousand? Generate leads? Raise
profile? Compile a list?
- What is the offer? Free trial for how long?
Introductory special offer? Premium with order? Time limit? Provide
free information? Which offer is the strongest one you can make?
- What is the promise? Will the customer earn more money?
Will he/she gain better health? Will their problems be solved?
- What creative techniques have worked in the past?
- What is the budget for the project? (You’re
- What is the creative deadline? (You want it when?)
- What lists/media have been used before? What has worked
and what has failed in the past?
- Can you get samples of previous ads that have worked?
What response data is available? Can you get competitor’s
samples or ads?
- What type of ad will be tested? What is the offer? The
format? The copy? The positioning?
- Is any legalese required?
- How will payment be accepted? Credit card? Bill me?
- How will orders/responses be accepted? Mail? Phone?
Fax? E-mail? Collect calls? Toll-free number? Which is most
efficient and cost effective?
- How will products be delivered? UPS? FedEx? Priority
- What is the guarantee? How can it be made stronger?
- What background information is available? Articles?
Collateral? Creative briefs? Memos? Demographic studies? Focus group
- Who else has information? Product manager? Editor?
Customers? Sales reps? Fulfillment? Customer service?
It would be wise not to rush through this
information-gathering phase. I often spend up to half of my time
gathering information. And believe me, it’s time well spent.
As I collect and read the information, ideas start popping into my
head. Offers spring to life. Headlines write themselves. And what
needs to be done to maximize response suddenly becomes obvious and
Robin Bartlett is the Director of Marketing at the American
College of Physicians-American Society of Internal Medicine and a
member of the PMA Board of Directors with chair responsibility for