Launchpad: Tips for a Successful Book Launch
The Internet has changed the way that publishing companies market books, providing a myriad of new opportunities. But marketers shouldn’t forget lower-tech methods of getting the word out. Here, some experts explain how they promote their books using both the latest and the more traditional methods.
TIPS FROM …
Ruth Chamblee, vice president, retail marketing, National Geographic Books
1. Use author questionnaires.
We have an extensive author questionnaire that asks about the authors’ media contacts and experience; for ideas of courses and awards the book might be appropriate for; and people they think might offer a quote for the book. We also ask about their previous marketing experiences. We utilize our authors to the fullest extent.
2. Rethink book tours.
I think the traditional author tour with visits to around 20 cities is waning, and there are other ways to get media in those markets. Book tours are exhausting for authors, and I’d rather take their time and do a satellite radio or TV tour. You can very efficiently reach more consumers.
3. Arrange author talks.
In big cities like [Washington] D.C., Seattle and Chicago, we offer lectures in up to 2,000-seat auditoriums. These major events stand a better chance of attracting media and good crowds than smaller events. That sells books.
4. Consider cross-promotion.
We work with other renowned institutions like the Smithsonian, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on cross-promotion. For example, National Geographic is publishing a new atlas of the ocean, and this fall the Smithsonian opened its new ocean hall. So, it’s a good opportunity for cross-promotion.
5. Get online.
We greatly expanded our use of online advertising/promotion and have been using some fun new tools in addition to traditional methods. For example, we’ve used our vast archive of footage and still photography to create two types of video book trailers. For Web sites like YouTube, we go for viral activity with a softer sell that people might pass along. Online retailers get a more direct sell with information about the book.