Pick a Title, Any Title
Rather than creating a direct incentive program for long-term selling, says Stocke, whose company also publishes the highly successful “Fiske Guide to Colleges,” you have to establish it as a part of your company’s sales culture from the get-go. “We always tell our salespeople that they need to keep a close watch on sell-through for six months to a year after publishing the book. That’s at a minimum.”
Don’t be too independent
Armato says that while some niche books can still be publicized well by independent bookstores, he feels you can’t rely on the mom-and-pop shops to sustain enough drive these days for new titles and need to consider this in your sales options when selecting new titles. “Indie stores used to launch and talk about the books that were harder to sell,” he says, “but it’s just not that way anymore. It’s a great loss to the culture, but you have to move on. I’m in Minneapolis, and the Ruminator independent bookstore was a huge part of book sales and that’s gone by the wayside. I find myself traveling to New York and San Francisco because they have the inventory.”
Baldwin agrees that independents will be a smaller part of a new title’s campaign, however, if you choose the right books and the right stores, they can still be major allies. “Find the stores that have unique events and a mission, not just selling and that’s it,” she says. “They need other ways to bring people in to make up for their higher prices, but when they succeed, the customers are very loyal. You don’t have to give up on them for the initial push and spreading word-of-mouth.”
Eric Butterman is presently writing the book “Turning the Corner,” with NFL football player Ike Taylor. You can reach him at email@example.com.