The Book Marketing Network

For book/ebook authors, publishers, & self-publishers

What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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Book Masters has distribution sources and sales people..Didn't they tell you about all of their services.??? You can get distribution yourself...Talk with them again.
Jerry—
BookMasters has Atlas Books to distribute books. Atlas is a traditional book distributor. As such, they have three distinct functions: 1) selling your books to major vendors (such as Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Borders and the discount stores such as Target, WalMart, Sam's Club). 2) distributing books (warehousing, picking, packing and shipping) and, increasingly, 3) marketing (promoting, publicity, etc.).

Atlas Books, like any distributor, will want to examine your books for their suitability to their customers, the aforementioned major vendors. Part of what the major vendors want from a distributor is the appraisal that the books they sell to them are professionally written, edited, designed (including a cover that competes with similar books in your genre) and that the books are available in sufficient quantities if they become popular.

Getting into bookstores through a distributor also requires lead time. Most vendors require a four to six month lead time between knowing about a book and the publication date. Purchasing decisions made by vendors are budgeted that far in advance. Anything less than this amount of lead time only hurts your chances that your book will be bought.

Another option for you may be to sell your books through Amazon. You can join Amazon's Advantage program for a nominal, annual fee. Amazon Advantage will buy your book for 55% off the retail priice and make it available on their website. If your book retails for $20, for example, Amazon will buy it for $9.

Some people bristle at the 55% discount, but this is less than the 70% discount the distributors demand.

This begs the question of how much each book cost you to produce. Your books have to have been printed for less than $9 (in our earlier example) for you to have some additional money for marketing and profit.
My challenges are time and marketing. I work bell to bell, raise two sons, coach three sports and am an avid exercise nut. Squeezing time to write, read or market my book is tough. When I'm marketing my book I run into a lot of dead ends. It's a full time job and I watch others who are very good at marketing and wonder, am I not motivated enough?
It is a full time job...and requires some sacrifice...or hand the job over to another..I know that is expensive..But perhaps a consult with someone,,,and you can prioritize what is most important to do...Because frankly only a small percentage of stuff really works...and it is the sum total of all you do...Carol
OK, so to be known and to be distributed are two challenges. But what's the key for success? It does not look it is just a matter of being a good writer and writing a good novel. There are good writers and good novels which had no success, and average writers who become popular. For example, Dave Brown is not exactly an outstanding writer, but he sold millions copies. And he used an already published story... Why?
Good marketing and hype...And the word gets out it is a good book even if it is not..
They're called best-selling books for a reason. They're not called best-written books.

The clearest example of this is shown in 2004 data (the last year for which I have data). In that year, ten books sold over 1,000,000 copies. 1187 books sold over 5,000 copies. In that same year, the biggest selling book among the National Book Award Winners for fiction sold 2,500 copies.

The key differences between the award winners and the best-sellers are sales & distribution and marketing. The best-sellers are available in more distribution points than non-best-sellers. The distributor helps the publisher "vet" the book for book buyers at the chain bookstores, discount stores and independent bookstores. If a book is accepted by a distributor, the book buyer has a higher degree of confidence the book is good because it has passed the acceptance criteria of the distributor. The distributor already has relationships with wholesalers and bookstore buyers so the books can enter the supply chain faster and reach a wider audience.

Marketing, which is often synonymous with public relations and getting on radio and TV, is one area where small publishers can compete with the larger publishers. A good "hook" for a book can pique the interest of editors and producers which leads to appearances. Keep in mind when pitching editors and producers that you have to succinctly describe the "hook," the "cook," and the "book."
What do you know about marketing to large corps to use your book as a premium gift. For example a company looking for new members...or to sell a product. There is someone who made a fortune doingthis...All the book hypers make everything look so easy...However it is a game of trial and error I am sure..and sometimes you get lucky...Any help you give us is really great and much appreciated...
Selling books as premiums is one way to sell large quantities of books quickly. Selling books as premiums works best for non-fiction books, generally. The key is to match the content of your book with the right company or organization.

I have a colleague, for example, who wrote a book on older cats—how they age and die. His non-fiction book was a potential premium for cat food companies (Iams, Purina, etc), cat toy companies (Hartz), pet stores or veterinary clinics.

It is common to sell hundreds, if not thousands, of books as a premium. A typical order may be 500-2,000 books to test the premium.

This sounds great until you realize the discount required to sell the books—60%-90%, depending on the quantity purchased. If your book retails for $20, for example, you must be able to sell it as a premium for between $2-$8 per book. This means keeping your printing costs down to a bare minimum.

Furthermore, many premium book sales require customizing the book's cover to include the name of the company or organization using the book as a premium. This requires a separate print run just for the premium books.

One of the best books on this subject is Brian Jud's BEYOND THE BOOKSTORE. The book covers many types of non-bookstore sales, including premium books.

There are several companies that work with independent publishers to sell books as premiums. One that I've used is Premium Book Company, LLC (www.premiumbookcompany.com). Premium Book Company accepts your book and includes it in their semi-annual catalog that goes to over 3,000 experienced sales people who sell books as premiums to companies and at trade shows. Check out their web site to see if their program works for you.
This is so helpful...I noticed a book on this subject..Maybe I will try doing it alone..However Ido think this is a great program and have heard of it before. SInce my book will be released in a few weeks...I am going to see how it does. I have been internet marketing, sending out some postcards, tryiing to get speaking gigs and also going to buy a radio list from Joe Sabah...It is very reasonable ..for anyone else interested in pursuing the radio talk show circuit for interviews... THanks for all your help here...It is really appreciated by all...carol
I too found this site helpful, though I'm a bit concerned about the company using the standard squeeze-page web site template. I associate that template with hype.

I also couldn't find more detailed information about page length, titles that interest them, success stories, etc. Am I missing something?
I contacted premiumbook..Do you know anyone who has used the service? What is their success rate? Thanks for your help...carol

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