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Working with your publisher

Good communication between author and publishing house is the best way of producing effective marketing for the forthcoming book. So, whether your path to the publishing house has been relatively straightforward, has been punctured by specific and cruel instances of maltreatment by the house you are now required to work with, or you have been turned down by hundreds of publishing houses and are absurdly grateful to now be offered a contract by this one, put the past behind you. The best results will be achieved by working methodically with this publisher, not re-fighting old battles.

Given that:

  • No other industry produces as many new products a year, or offers its employees so little time (or money) with which to market them, and
  • All books receive basic attention (catalogue entry and advance notice, information on the database),

Your aim is to ensure that you get the maximum possible in-house attention and consequently the best possible resulting sales.

Why do you want to be published?

Spend a few minutes thinking about this rather obvious question. It will help you establish priorities. For example, do you want this book to be published:

  • Because you have a burning desire to write, and your career as a writer depends on being published?
  • To support other activities such as lecturing or training or your general professional development; a book gives credibility to your wider profile?

According to the rationale provided above, you may be looking for a variety of different kinds of support from your publisher. For example, as a new fiction author you might want the publishers to help with:

  • Listing in their promotional materials and linking you with appropriate other (and better known) authors, for example ‘the new Joanna Trollope’
  • Finding a suitable endorsement for your title from someone well-known, which will encourage the possibly interested to pick up your book
  • Leaflets to hand out if you undertake speaking engagements
  • A cover blurb and cover that really appeal to the market
  • Inclusion in relevant trade promotions, for example Christmas catalogues
  • Enthusiastic presentation to the reps with anecdotes, to ensure that they remember your title and pass on the right information to get it stocked in shops.

If your book supports a training course, you might want the publishers to help with:

  • Flyers to hand out when training
  • An attractive bulk purchase deal to allow you to sell your title as part of training packages
  • Very efficient delivery of the same so you can rely on them to get the books where and when they are needed
  • Relevant advertising in professional magazines
  • Inclusion in direct marketing promotions aimed at the right market
  • Liaison with book retailers active in this market
  • A cover and blurb that reinforce the image you are trying to create, and appeal to the market.

If you found this article useful, you might want to take a look at:

The Publishing Process

Author Etiquette

Authors v Publishers