January-the month to make resolutions that somehow never seem to make it to December. Many of mine never seem to make it to the end of January!
Here’s a list of resolutions I heard while talking to our publisher members this past year:
Resolution #1: To have a title on The New York Times Bestseller List for a year.
Resolution #2: To get a review in The New York Times.
Resolution #3: To get a review in Publishers Weekly.
Resolution #4: To get a review anywhere.
Resolution #5: To get Barnes & Noble or Borders to stock more than three copies of my title.
Resolution #6: To get some independents to stock my title.
Resolution #7: To get any retail outlet to stock my title.
Resolution #8: To order realistic numbers when going to print (i.e., not order 5,000 copies of a book that will only sell 150).
Resolution #9: To develop a business plan.
Resolution #10: To develop a business plan that has money left over for marketing.
Resolution #11: To publish only bestsellers.
Resolution #12: To publish only bestsellers, and perhaps a few titles written by relatives, but they have to be good.
Resolution #13: To publish Uncle Harry’s book unedited!
Resolution #14: To publish Uncle Harry’s book under a new imprint.Resolution #15: To make enough money this year to pay myself a salary!
January is actually a good month to take stock. Look over what your titles have done in 1998. I know of some members who have done just this in previous years and found that the area in which they had garnered the most sales for their titles was an area they really hadn’t considered as being a prime target for their book. A review of the effort you’ve spent marketing in specific areas balanced by the results can help you see what efforts you need to increase or if you need to look elsewhere.
It’s also a good month to reflect on new ideas for your publishing genre. Niche publishers (of which PMA seems to have many) sometimes get immersed in doing the day-by-day business and don’t pay attention to changes in their specialty. Attend conferences (if there are any) in your niche and go with the express purpose of listening for changes in your area as opposed to selling your product. As my wise old grandma used to say, “Remember, you have two ears and one mouth. There must be a reason!”
This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor January, 1999, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.