Why Bad Things Happen to Good Titles: A 27-point pre-launch checklist
In some ways, books are like humans. They enter the world as babies, full of potential and opportunity, with proud parents boasting great visions for their future success. But as they grow, something happens and very few become the success their parents hoped they would be.
When the same thing occurs to books, their authors usually never fully understand what went wrong. But you can improve the chances of your offspring's success by using a checklist to predict if a particular book has a chance of becoming successful.
Below are some general characteristics of a potentially winning title. How does your title match up?
- The industry is in a growth stage with demand, sales and profits all increasing.
- The content has diverse market attraction (mass market appeal; wide acceptability).
- Broad availability (readily distributable to markets via present or existing channels).
- Little reliance on ups and downs of economy (or able to be repositioned).
- Little or no seasonal variations.
- Customers congregated in easy-to-reach geographical concentrations.
- A unique point of difference (fills a market need; not a "me too" title).
- Priced competitively and easy to produce at a marketable cost (not a lot of die-cutting, shrink-wrapping of components, etc).
- Lends itself to existing promotion and advertising techniques.
- Saleable to present customers (you already know who and where they are).
- Has a low break-even point.
- Suitable for rights sales (foreign, serial, movie).
- The author has a recognized reputation in the target niche.
- The publishing process is not hurried to meet artificial deadlines or an imposed number of titles to publish annually.
- Published with adequate marketing support planned throughout its life cycle.
- Adequate planning.
- Proper implementation of the plan
- Good production quality.
- Introduced into the right market.
- It has a good title.
- Properly priced.
- Proper forecasting.
- Proper financing. Don’t spend so much on production that there is little left for promotion.
- The author has a long-term perspective.
- Don’t relying on distribution channel for selling activities.
- Applicable to sell through bookstores and in special-sales markets.
- It is marketed with perpetual promotion.
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."