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Tips to Start 1998!

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Readers of this column will find many references to our chat group at PMA-L. There are over 1,000 people in publishing actively discussing publishing problems (and finding solutions) on a daily basis. Whether you like to chat (or you like to listen), there is no doubt that you will learn by signing on. Just a word of caution. When subscribing to this list, I would suggest you go immediately to the Digest form of this chat group, since your mailbox will be inundated with more than 100 messages daily (and that’s on a slow day!). To find out how to sign on to this group, click here.

In December, I queried if the members would share one marketing tip they learned or practiced over the year. Throughout this year, I shall be sharing these “tips” with you. Hopefully you’ll find some you can use in your day-to-day business. And if you have any you’d like to share, just send them to me and I’ll sprinkle them into the newsletter throughout 1998!
Here are some of those I’ve received so far:

  • When arranging book signings, ask the store for a list of media contacts, and when talking to the media, ask for names of their favorite bookstores! – Kathy Guttman
  • Include a separate “review form” with every book you ship. This way your customers are encouraged to send in reviews, which are GREAT for your ad copy. – Scott Bilker, Press One Publishing
  • When you have a radio or TV gig organized, call the bookstores in that area and tell them when they order 20 copies, you will plug them on the air. – Alvin G. Donovan
  • Don’t be afraid to contact radio stations that have already interviewed you to see if they’d be interested in doing another interview. I have been coming up with interview ideas that go along with the season. For example, I have my “Top 10 Funny Kid Christmas Stories.” I have contacted stations that had me on last spring and summer, and most have wanted me to be on again. The interviews are short, only 5-10 minutes. In February, I will call back with my “Top 10 List of Funny Kid Stories Involving Love.” Then it will be Easter stories, Mother’s Day stories, etc. Many self-publishers can invent some kind of seasonal twist for their books. – Grace Housholder
  • I tried offering a free tipsheet to a TV-show home audience in hopes that requests would turn into book sales. (The subject was romance.) I got 125 requests and spent $60 just in postage ($.48 Cdn.) after spending four straight hours answering and returning phone calls, and writing down addresses. Only two people bought books ($40 total); the rest were just after a freebie. A second mailing brought zero orders.
    Now I SELL tipsheets (I have 20+) at $2 each which also covers postage. My most successful is my “Writer’s Fortune Cookie Predictions”: 42 separately folded messages from a bossy oracle to overcome writer’s block. My brochure and order information ride for free. Most requests are multiple orders which often result in follow-up orders for published articles ($4-6), special reports ($6-8), and manuals ($8-$20).

    I’ve learned that unless I attach a dollar value to my creativity/knowledge it doesn’t seem to be appreciated. It might be better to offer a free tipsheet as a prize only to those who call in with a question or story and talk to you on air. The rest of the listeners can order theirs by mailing you $2. If they’re really keen on the topic, they’ll send $2.
    – Andrea Reynolds

  • Re: Book Signing in Grocery Stores . . . Consider setting up a book signing in a local grocery store! To be sure, grocery stores get more foot traffic than bookstores. (This may work best for regional or local books. It can depend on the book and the market.) I once signed 300 copies of a book in four hours in a small-town local grocery. Not all chain grocery stores will let you do this . . . . It depends on the town, store, etc, but I’ve seen it work well! – Rod Colvin, Addicus Books

This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor January, 1998, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.



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