Writing and Promoting
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Writing and Promoting
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Writing and Promoting
Betsie's Literary Page Newsletter
  A Writer's World August 27, 2003  

in this issue

Specialty Distributors

Foundation and Drive

Setting a Time Line

Developing your Marketing Plan

Author Spotlight


Specialty Distributors
If your book is targeted toward a specific market niche or subject (health, christian, ethnic, food, etc.) specialty distributors can help you reach those readers.

Their discount is between 55 -65%, yes I know this is higher than National Book Wholesalers (Baker & taylor, Ingrams).

Most welcome submissions of quality books. See the Literary Market Place or the American Book Trade Directory for listing's.

National Library Distributors:

There are more than 100,000 libraries in the United States ranging from academic to public, and they purchase about 14% of all the books published.

Most purchase through wholesalers or library distributors. Both work on a consignment requiring a 55% discount and pay 90 days later.

Quality Books 1003 W. Pines Rd. Oregon, Il. 61061 (815) 732-4450

Unique Books 5010 Kemper Axe. St. Louis, Mo. 63139 (314) 776-6695

Send media kit & copy of book you want to include in their distribution. Include letter detailing why there is value in your book. In other words "what makes you so special, that they should include you in their distribution?"

Specialty Retail Outlets:

Not everyone buys books in bookstores. There are tens of thousands of alternative outlets for books in the U.S.

Including: home improvement centers, drugstores, auto supply dealers, gourmet shops, health food stores, museums and health clubs, to list a few.

Approach & show them your book can be an added profit, especially if they are unaccustomed to carrying books.

Think of it this way, your book will not have to compete with the many titles as in a bookstore!

Ask local owners how they learn about & choose to carry products, or perhaps they could recommend a distributor or sales organization for you to contact.

Most direct sales are made on a nonreturnable basis at a 40 - 50% discount.

Ok we could go on and on with this subject so I'll leave some for later... remember if there is anything of interest feel free to let us know and we'll be sure to include this as one of the topics.

Getting A Hand In The Comic Book Business Author: John Scott Lewinski

The independent film scene is a well-established part of Hollywood's daily business. Now, that kind of freethinking and open-mindedness is becoming part of the comic book business.

In March, Marvel Comics opened its doors to aspiring artists and writers with its new EPIC line. For the first time, the publisher hands over control of a comic book every month to fans allowing anyone with the necessary passion and discipline to create stories that can give a fresh perspective to any Marvel character. All of the publisher's super heroes are fair game, including Spider-Man, X-Men, The Hulk and The Fantastic Four.

Creators are to pencil, color and letter their own works, giving them true creative control.

"We know that there are great ideas out there and fantastic stories to be told," Bill Jemas, Marvel CEO and President of Publishing, said. "We say 'bring it on.' We can test the waters with any number of new characters and see what catches on. In addition, it offers a great chance for outside talent to create and be supported by our staff of professionals. And, quite simply, it will challenge all those 'Monday Morning Quarterbacks' who have been questioning our storylines for years to pick up a pen and shut us up."

The imprint will be open to all levels of material, from general to mature, and will be rated as such under the publisher's current rating guidelines. It will contain material that is much more experimental than Marvel's traditional line.

The cover prices for EPIC titles will typically be $2.50, though the publisher would price some titles at $2.25 if possible. If an EPIC book is successful, it has the potential to continue and equal a regular Marvel title in terms of financial compensation. A bonus structure is built into the program that offers financial incentives for higher sales, as well as a royalty plan for trade paperback collections. Marvel and the creator will share ownership on creator-owned projects. And, creative teams will be responsible for their own timeliness- expected to take care of their own scheduling.

The EPIC line was to launch in June, but it faced delays. On August 5, EPIC editor Stephanie Moore reported that the publisher had provisionally approved two new open-submission scripts. Marvel authorities have yet to announce specifics, waiting until they know how and when each script would be published. As of early August, Marvel reportedly rejected about 100 scripts-working their way through the ever-growing reading pile slowly. The publisher said it received between 600 and 1,000 submissions by August 1.

For future submissions, artists and writers are asked to follow basic advice:

Start the story at the beginning. Do not jump into the middle of an existing plotline or introduce the reader to your story in mid-swing. Make your work clear. Do not get caught up in old Marvel storylines. Character introductions are the foundation of a good story.

Details on how aspiring comic creators can present their work for EPIC are available at http://www.marvel.com along with release forms, legal explanations, etc. However, the rules for entry are simple. Writers and artists are asked to submit samples of their work-anything from stories on existing characters or completely original works. If the work is accepted, the creator will receive $500 in the mail and encouraged to finish the process. If all goes well, the opportunity is there for a new creator to make $32,000 on his/her first book.

Happy writing!


Good Morning! Betsie's Newsletter has a new look, which we hope you like!

If you are no longer interested in recieving these tips please scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the unsubcribe button.

We hope you will find answers to many questions that you may have about today's publishing industry within this newletter and those to follow.

The book publishing industry has provided a difficult road for authors to travel.

With a low rate of publishing success, and the overwhelming difficulty in getting published, many authors have sunk into frustrating stagnation.

It is our hope here at Betsie's Literary Page to help you over those bumps. To bring old ideas to light and new ideas to the surface!

As authors we believe in ourselves. Otherwise, we would have never taken on the tremendous endeavor of writing a book. For most, it is a lifelong love of the written word, combined with the burnig desire to explore those creative parts of the soul that cry for expression.

Book marketing is no different.

The same passion that you have for writing needs to be applied in creating publicity for you and your work. All it takes is a little know-how, a lot of effort, and the desire to be popular.

Leave the worrying to the heavens, faith is a powerful tool.

  • Foundation and Drive
  •   Knowing who your target audience is. Who are your most important customers, clients or prospects, and why? Know what is important to them and address their needs.

    You're a writer. A writer writes. That doesn't mean you don't struggle, procrastinate, feel insecure, wonder what to do next, feel confused and uncertain, and ask yourself if what you've written is worth anything.

    Been there, done that! As a matter of fact I have a shelf full of how-to books that didn't answer the hundreds of thousands of questions I had in regards to the publishing biz.

    Still day after day, you sit and write. But if your passion is great enough, no one can keep you from your work... its the ideas aching to surface that call to us, characters demanding to be let loose that push us, its the emptiness of a a page, which begs to be filled that lures us, its the burning desire to tell a story that drives us!

    Great books and other writings don't happen by luck. They result from a writer's knowledge of craft, unique point of view, and the willingness to dig deep into the substance of his or her own life.

    But in the competitive world of today, being good at what you do is no longer enough. One must must strive, and desire to be great!

    Each time self-doubt rears its ugly head, renew your commitment. It was good enough to sell the publsher!

    Once you've planned your strategies focus on the here and now instead of overwhelming yourself.

  • Setting a Time Line
  •   Marketing a book is a creative task filled with decisions about distribution, publicity and promotion. We hope the following will be useful in this area.

    The best time to start your marketing program is well before your book is printed.

    Share your manuscript with peers and members of your target audience, ask for honest assessment and listen carefully to their reactions.

    Here's a little something I did: Interview other authors and publishers on what it takes to be successful. Suggestions from this may inspire ideas for your own book.

    Consider writing an article about your books message and submit it to magazines for publication.

    Pre-sell and begin testing the demand 2-9 months before publication date. This is what got my new book on a roll. I found out that B&N has 70 books on hand for my signing event instead of the 58 I assumed. But this also includes 14, which are of my 2 previously published works. So not only did I get my in the door with one book, but three!

    A marketing plan outlines suitable ways to reach readers in the most efficient and economic manner.

    The objective of your marketing effort must be clear and focused, yet flexible enough to accomodate new opportunities.


    A general guideline for marketing budget is: $0.50 -1.00 per book.

    10 -15% of net sales for ongoing promotion. Most marketing expenses will go to postage & supplies, review copies, printed promotional material, advertising, travel/touring, phone calls, and basic sustanance.

    Your Book:

    Instead of thinking you are selling a book, look at it as selling a message. If people like your message, they will buy your book!

    Compile a list of key selling points to use in promotional materials. Look for that unique twist or angle, especially if there are other books written on the same subject.

    Differentiate! It will help to attract attention when presenting to reviewers, media, audience, and the various distribution channels.

    Here's an exercise to help:

    - What is the main message or theme running through your book? - Why is the message or theme important? - In one paragraph describe what your book is about. - How is it unique from the other books of the same or similar subject? - What are the realistic strengths and weaknesses of your book? - By reading your book, what benefit will the reader: ... Gain?, save?, Do?, Become? - Write an auhor's biography (in third person) : an author can be just as marketable as the book, sometimes even more so!

    - Why the book was written - Biggest lesson learned relating to this book's subject. - Education & professional training - Prizes, honors, & awards earned - Membership in professional associations, clubs & organizations - Specific qualifications for writing this book - Circumstances connected with the book that might have news value.

    The broader and more general the subject -the more it will cost to market and promote.

    We'll talk more on this subject at a later time.

  • Developing your Marketing Plan
  •   Who would help a drowning author?

    A publicist: professional in business of generating publicity for a company or individual.

    When using a publicist you are buying contacts, inside information, industry advice for preparing & coaching you for the media, based upon your book's strengths. Fees can range from $500 to more than $5000 a month!

    When hiring: check references, and one that specializes in books.


    Trade associations represent author/publishers, providing numerous membership & cooperative promotional programs.

    - National Assoc. of Independent Publishers (NAIP) - Publishers Marketing Associations (PMA) - Small Publishers Assoc. of North America (SPAN)

  • Author Spotlight
  •   For those of you who enjoy great books. We thought we'd add a section to each newsletter announcing upcoming author's and their works. Anything newsworthy is gladly accepted, and will be added to our newsletter at the end of each month.

    We thank you for reading.

    Suggestions for our newsletter are always welcome!

  • Advertisement
  •   The purpose of advertisement is not to be seen, heard or read, but to move products - that is to say, affect the relationship between the product and the consumer.

    Is the advertiser getting his money's worth?

    Both yes and no. Yes, because the advertiser gets reports for ad recall, and no, because they haven't received any explanation of the figures.

    So why do some ads score higher than others? Is it due to the creative design, the interesting product, or the good placing in the magazine/newspaper?

    Previous articles in Dansk Presse have aimed to end the cock and bull story about the importance of placing. Attention has been drawn to the fact that the importance of placing, whether on the right-hand side, the left-hand side, in front or in back of the newspaper, is almost non-existing compared to the importance of the ad's content. But what part of the ad's content is creating the attention? Is it the creative design, the advance interest in the product, or something else?

    The result is striking. Ad recall and recognition are totally dependent on the degree of awareness of the advertised product. If one is very familiar with the product, ad recall is 2-300% higher than if you do not know the product at all, and recognition is more then 50% higher. Similar results are shown when comparing ad efficiency and use or purchase of the product.

    This is where the advertising offer comes in:

    The owners of "Precision" run a cleaning company and their business is booming. We met at a local pub through another friend. His dad is like the vice-pres for swbell in this region. After a few drinks we began talking about our jobs... my friend chimed in with "she's a writer by nature." He asked me how was my promotion campaign going, and I told him pretty good so far, but am in a rush for the upcoming signing. That's when he offered a solution.

    They have distributors who basically hand deliver their announcements to existing customers and go door to door for the rest. He quoted me $70 to 2000 customers. They have their material professionally printed up, so of costs are higher.

    I had spoken with several companies in regards to this, including promotional services and almost all said they would distribute 1000 announcements (flyers) for $60 but YOU provide the announcements. Think of the cost.

    I found Precision's offer to be much more economical all the way around.

    1: I don't have to print a thing, just what I want to appear in the announcent.

    2. They do all the distribution to "established" customers, most in well-to-do neighborhoods.

    3. They will even include you in on the door to door distribution, which means I don't have to lose an ounce off my big butt ^_^

    4. All-in-all 4000 potential customers will read my announcement and hopefully take interest to buy my book!

    So if there are enough people interested then I will ask him how he wants to work it out.

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