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Resources - Write/Edit for Hentzenwerke

Wanna write or edit a book? Here's all you need to know about how the publishing process works here.


Write/Edit for Hentzenwerke
Marketing

As I mentioned in "Proposing a Book", one of the purposes of the proposal is to gather information about the book in terms of marketing it to buyers. This information includes descriptions, a tentative table of contents, some brief competitive analysis, and so on.

Catalogs and Associated Information

This information is really important, because it goes in the catalog for the upcoming season. Our distributor produces two major catalogs a year, one for the spring sales conference in May and the other for the winter sales conference in December. Buyers all over North America convene to learn about new books at both of these conferences. These catalogs are also used throughout the year during sales calls and other presentations as well.

But those catalogs are just the start.

Near the end of the book writing process, I'll bug you to do more work for your book - just about the time you don't ever want to see the damn manuscript again in your life. I'll need you to update your proposal with specific information about your book. This information is needed for a variety of places - the back cover of the book, our website, blurbs on the various online sites, and for flyers and updated online catalogs for our resellers and distributors.

As an author, I've always found this type of material to be difficult to write, but it's possibly the most important part of the book. Put yourself in the frame of mind of a reader - what would you, as a reader, want to know about this book in order to make a decision about buying it. And then, as the author, imagine talking to a potential customer face to face - what would you want to tell them about your book? (Other than if they don't buy it, you won't be able to afford that operation for your sainted mother...) 

Website and Email

You'll notice that our website has a LOT of information about each book - an abstract for the entire book, a detailed table of contents, an abstract for each chapter, and sample chapters. Because our books are sold 'sight unseen' in many cases, we need to provide as much information as possible about the book so the reader can make a wise and informed decision.

When someone comes to download files for their book, we require them to register with an accurate email address, and then email them the links for their files. During registration, they have a three choices with respect to how often they'll hear from us:

- Preferred Customer: we'll email them anywhere from one to four times a month about a variety of 'happenings' - and in return, they get a 5% discount off of all purchases from our website as well as special offers once in a while.

- Regular Customer: we'll email them maybe ten to twelve times a year, primarily when we release a new book.

- Never: we'll never email them for any reason whatsoever. Period.

And we never give out our email addresses to anyone else. Ever.

Other Marketing Activities

But that's not all. What else do we do to market? In my many years of building custom software, a truism about marketing custom software developmen services has proven itself over and over: Marketing - nothing works. What this means is that there isn't a single tried and true method for selling books. If there was, everyone would be using it and the entire North American continent would be 20 feet below sea level because of the stacks and stacks of books populating the domiciles of every living resident.

A lot of publishing houses might do an initial blast of marketing and then forget about the book, wanting to concentrate on the next season's upcoming list. (Or, as many authors will bemoan, they might not even do that much.)

Since we started working with IPG, we've gotten increasingly aggressive with promotions for our books.

Examples of promotions that we've been involved in over the past year include:

  • Booth at BEA (Book Expo America) - the largest trade show in North America
  • Full page ads in Publisher's Weekly
  • Regular ads for titles in a variety of retailer and wholesaler publications (Borders, Barnes and Noble, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, MicroCenter, Indigo (used to be Chapters), etc.)
  • Tabletop and endcap displays at retailers
  • Email and online placement promotions with online retailers
  • Online banner ads and search engine tie-ins
  • User group promotions and tours

Note that we don't do everything for every book. Why not? Not every promotion is available, for one. We have limited resources, for another. None of these promotions are free, and some require significant investments in time and other resources (putting together artwork, for example, or doing research.) Some promotions simply aren't appropriate for some titles. Some are experiments - we try something to see how it works. Finally, the author also needs to do their part - contributing to online forums, writing articles that keep the book visible, speaking at user groups and conferences, and so on.

But we keep trying.

And there are more things on our 'to do' list as well - getting into new markets, developing more presence in existing markets (such as book reviews), and continuing to become more involved in the appropriate communities.

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