Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Book Promotion Costs Increase

If you use the US Postal Service's flat-rate Priority offering to mail books and media kits, then the price of your book promotion campaign is about to increase. As of Monday, the rates will change. That's the good news.

Well, okay, it's not good news, but it's the best news that I have for you.

As I mailed out a handful of books and media kits today via the flat-rate Priority service, I asked the Post Office Guy at my local branch what the new rates would be. The Post Office Guy shrugged sheepishly and showed me his voluminous update postage rate information package that covered every possible postage rate increase-related topic under the sun -- but didn't contain even a hint about upcoming Priority rate changes.

The Post Office Guy, who has spent much of the past 15 years or so helping hapless customers like me keep up with the ever-evolving rules, quirks, and pricing structures of the US Postal Service, promised to put a note into my post office box with the information I requested as soon as it becomes available. "Or you can just come in here with some unstamped flat-rate Priority packages on Monday and be surprised," offered the Post Office Guy as an alternative.

Thanks, Post Office Guy. And thank you, too, Pundits in Charge of the US Postal Services Communication Flow. Thanks to all of you, I now know exactly how much my book promotion campaign costs are going to increase as of next week, and I can clearly inform my cilents and other concerned citizens who are in the midst of book promotion campaigns about what the specific changes will be.

Any time after the new rates take effect, that is.

Oh, yeah. And one more thing. The Post Office Guy told me that the flat-rate Express service the Postal Service once offered is no longer exactly a flat-rate service. The rate will depend, in part, on the destination zone. He fears the same will be true of the new flat-rate Priority rates, but he can't say for sure. Stay tuned...or check with your local post office on Monday.

Perfect Book Promotion Pitches

If you send out a lot of book promotion pitches, the way that I do, then you write for a tough audience: the media. In fact, if the editors and writers of top magazines and newspapers are on your media contact list, then you are writing for the toughest -- and, potentially, the most critical -- audience imaginable. A press kit (and that term now includes traditional press kits as well as online, digital press kits) is not the place to demonstrate your confusion about grammar, spelling, or word usage. Even casual emails to the media -- surprise! -- have to be cogent, correct, cohesive, and clear.

It's easy to write perfectly, all the time, if you're a well-programmed software program -- but I've never met an author, publisher, or book publicist who falls into that category. Alas. The second-best way to create book promotion pitches that enhance your credibility, rather than encourage recipients to roll their eyes and shake their heads, is to look up anything of which you're unsure.

I've just found a great online resource, and I want to share it with everyone who's in the midst of a book promotion campaign. In fact, I want to share it with everyone on the planet! Note: The site doesn't charge users, and even if it ever starts to charge users, the owners aren't paying me a referral fee. My enthusiasm comes not from the potential to profit from this referral but, rather, from my deep and abiding love of the English language. Check out this link:

Why? I'm glad you asked. On Bartleby's Web site, you'll find searchable copies of Fowler's The King's English (yes, it's British, but still); The Elements of Style; the American Heritage® Book of English Usage, Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, and more.

Finding this site has made my day. It's also eliminated my last excuse for getting anything wrong, ever, in any of my outbound book promotion pitches.

It's also, potentially, addictive. Note to clients: Don't worry, I'm bookmarking the site now and won't click it on again until after hours. I can do it! I can do it!