Friday, June 23, 2006

Your Publisher's Book Promotion Funds

Your publisher may not have hundreds of thousands of dollars earmarked for your book promotion campaign. But your publisher likely some money set aside for it, modest though that budget may be.

Unless you speak up and ask your publisher some targeted questions, the publisher (specifically, the publisher's publicity department) is likely to go spend its entire budget without your ever knowing where the money went -- and without your ever seeing any results.

Assume that the publicity department will put together a press release for you, and always ask to see it before anyone sends it out. Your name is on it, so it makes sense for you to provide your input (or at least correct any typos on it!).

Ask what the publicity department is planning to do with the press release. Are they launching a mass mailing? If so, are they sending review copies of the book (or galleys) along with the release? Are there other components to the media kit? Who will receive a copy of the media kit and book?

The publicity department may be reluctant to part with its proprietary list of contacts, but at least they should tell you, in general terms, who will be receiving materials about your book. The national broadcast media? Daily newspapers around the country (if so, which editors -- book review or feature or another beat)? National magazines?

Will the publicity department be running any ads for your book? If so, where? How much will these ads cost?

If you'd prefer that the publicity department not run those ads in favor of approaching more members of the media about the book, say so. If you have a "wish list" of media outlets that should receive copies of the book and media kits, offer to pass that list along.

Find out what you can do to help the publicity department. If you offer to buy media lists that are appropriate for your book, will they stuff the envelopes and pay the postage for the mailing? Will they provide a report of when materials were sent to the media, who responded to the mailing, and what those responses were? Will they allow you to get that mailing list to pass along to an independent publicist whom you might hire to pick up the book promotion campaign where your publisher's publicity department leaves off? Or will they allow you to have that mailing list to work from if you want to continue following up once the publicity department has exhausted its resources for the book prmomotion campaign?

If you ask the right questions of your publisher, you might well be able to maximize the effectiveness of its book promotion spending for your book. Also, click here to read about how J. A. Konrath, a Hyperion author, decided to spend the money that his publisher had set aside for his book promotion campaign. It wasn't a king's ransom, but you can rest assured that he's making the most of every one of those "free" dollars. It might inspire you to begin a grassroots book promotion effort of your own -- on your publisher's dime!

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