33 Tips For Profitable Publishing
The most expensive part of publishing is a mistake. If you can avoid the most common traps into which unsuccessful publishers fall, you increase your chance of success significantly. You may be on the right path to publishing success… but heading in the wrong direction. Let these tips be your GPS to becoming more profitable.
- There is no “one way” to market a book. There is no formula for book-publishing success. Learn what works best for you and your circumstances, create your plan and then give it your best effort.
- Understand marketing. Marketing is a process that begins with recognizing the needs of your potential customers, and then moves to developing, pricing distributing and promoting products and services to build profits by creating and expanding demand.
- Know your target reader. No book is saleable to “everybody who likes [your topic].” Use a PAR (Problem-Action-Result) statement to define the typical reader as carefully as possible in terms of gender, income, age, education and shopping preferences. This will help you focus your marketing activities.
- Book marketing is as simple as PIE. PLAN before you IMPLEMENT and then EVALUATE your results to make corrections as necessary.
- Remember the Four Ps. Your plan should describe how you will produce a high-quality PRODUCT; PRICE it profitably; the PLACE in which you will sell it; and how you will PROMOTE it. The way in which you combine and execute these decisions will determine your success.
- Think of the word "plan" as a verb. The objective of panning is not a large document, but to come up with a course of action. Evaluate and update your plans regularly to make sure your actions are leading you toward your goals.
- Be aware of the life cycle. Just like humans, books move through stages of growth and require a separate strategy for each stage.
- Have realistic expectations. It is unlikely that you will sell large quantities of your first book without significant work. Allow your efforts to work over time.
- Write down your objectives. It will help you focus on what you have to do to reach them. Is your objective to maximize sales, revenue or profits? Each objective requires different strategies.
- Utilize your time instead of trying to manage it. Make every minute count toward the attainment of your goals. If in doubt about what to do next, ask yourself, “What is the best us of my time right now?"
- Action is not synonymous with accomplishment. Just because you are busy marketing does not mean you are getting closer to your goal.
- Plan what you will do each day. Divide a sheet of paper in two columns: one headed “Do” and one headed “Call.” Then list what you need to do and who to call each day. List three goals for each day.
- Strive to be professionally different. Have a unique point of difference. When all companies offer the same products and services to the same customers by performing the same kinds of activities at similar prices, no company will prosper.
- Seek profits, not just sales. Before you enter any publishing or marketing campaign, know your costs, your break-even point and the volume of books you must sell to reach it. What must you do to attain that level of sales?
- Seek multiple revenue streams. Do not count solely on book sales for your total revenue. Use your expertise to consult or hold seminars for additional income.
- Spend wisely. Not all promotion is equal. Consider the productivity of a promotional tool before investing in it.
- Find out why sales are down. Seasonal fluctuations may not be the problem. Should you improve your content? Cover design? Plan? Implementation of your plan? Discover the cause of poor sales and fix the problem.
- Use the Internet properly. It is a marketing tool, a conduit to reach niches and masses economically. It is a sales tool and a networking device.
- Negativity happens. Returns, rejection, complaints and miscellaneous problems conspire to erode your enthusiasm and make it more difficult to remain passionate about your book. Find the aspects you can control and work with them. Stay upbeat.
- Have a long-term perspective. Look to the future and continue investing time and other resources to achieve your ultimate goals.
- Work on as opposed to in your business. Do not get so involved in day-to-day activity that you lose the long-term perspective.
- Do not neglect your backlist. Instead of trying to publish more titles, sell more of what you have. In non-retail marketing all books are frontlist in the sense that buyers seek content the will help them reach their objectives.
- Hire to your weaknesses. Work your strengths, then use experts functionally and strategically to fill in where you are weak.
- Take the initiative. “I must do something” always beats “something must be done.”
- Act productively. Your customers expect more from you today than they did yesterday, and you must work diligently to meet their expectations.
- Act intelligently. Intelligent action is based on the understanding that knowledge is different from wisdom. Knowledge is information, but intelligence is the prudent application of knowledge earned through experience.
- Act creatively. Creativity helps you discover and implement imaginative ways of applying your wisdom.
- Act boldly. You may encounter opposition in your journey to special-sales success because some people are wary of untested concepts. New ideas are neither right nor wrong—they are simply different.
- Act passionately. Problems conspire to erode your enthusiasm and make it more difficult to remain passionate. Yet the axiom for success in any business is to do what you love and love what you do.
- Act persistently. Persistence is tenacity in the face of obstacles, determination to succeed, perseverance in conducting marketing activities in spite of resistance, rejection and returns.
- Act efficiently. To sell 10,000 books through retailers you must sell one book to each of 10,000 people. Or you could sell 10,000 books to one corporate buyer. Which do you think is more profitable?
- Act effectively. Do the right things. Make a list of what you like to do and want you do to run your business. The degree to which the two lists match determines your effectiveness.
- Act ethically. If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you do not have integrity, nothing else matters.
Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company, which sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission-only basis and conducts on-site training for publishers' sales forces.
Brian is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns)," a do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He has written many articles about book publishing and marketing, is the author of the eight e-booklets with "Proven Tips for Publishing Success," and creator of the series of "Book Marketing Wizards." He is also the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, "Book Marketing Matters."
Brian is the host of the television series "The Book Authority" and has aired over 650 shows. In addition, he is the author, narrator and producer of the media-training video program "You're On The Air."