Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Chatroom

“Thank you for calling (insert company name here). Please listen to the following options carefully, as our menu has recently changed. (Do they really change that often?!) If you know the extension of the person you are trying to reach, please dial it now. (Usually I don’t.) To dial by name, please press 1. (I can’t get the darn system to correctly register the first three letters of the name I punched in 50% of the time.) If you are calling to . . . (And, if you are lucky, you can reach a real, live person by pressing 0.)”

Sound familiar? One of the things we try to do is be as readily available as we can to customers, media, and others by phone and email. We also implemented the Savas Beatie Chatroom when we redesigned our website earlier this year to give people another way to contact us. You can enter the Chatroom and ask a question about one of our books, an upcoming release date, placing an order, etc. and we are there to answer your question immediately, much like an instant message conversation. You don’t need to set up an account username or password or give us your email address to get in. Just put in whatever screen name you like and enter. We try to have someone available during business hours for immediate help, but if no one responds, we can email you a response given your contact info.

And we promise not to change our phone menu options too frequently.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My Thoughts on Press Release Timing

This week your thoughts might be on defrosting the turkey in time for Thursday and planning all the side dishes to be ready at the same time. This week I was also thinking about the best time to send out a press release. How does a national holiday such as Thanksgiving affect when you should send out a press release?

We asked ourselves that question this week regarding the release of our book Building the Green Machine: Don Warren and Sixty Years with the World Champion Cavaliers Drum & Bugle Corps. Lucky for us, author Colt Foutz lives near the Cavaliers based in the Chicago area and he is contacting local media and spreading the word about the book’s release, which happens to be next week. His question to us was, “Is it best to send a press release out this week, a short work week, or next week when people are back in the work routine?” We opted for Tuesday of next week so it doesn’t get overlooked as someone is flying out the door to hit the road today, or get buried under a pile of emails and faxes they will face come Monday morning. Always think about the timing of weekends, holidays, and other events that may affect whether your press release is given a second glance or lost in the confusion . . . and good luck timing that turkey dinner.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

My Author Tips for Selling to Gift Shops

Last week I received an email from Linda Carlson, who wanted some thoughts from PMA members to help her write an upcoming PMA Independent article. She is compiling information from publishers about distributing books to gift stores and other non-book retailers and wanted some real-life examples from publishing companies that work with these types of outlets.

It got me thinking about our history titles that are in museum gift shops throughout the country and how our authors help us get their titles into these outlets. Given that many of our titles are general and military history books, they fit well in national and state parks and museum gift shops. Here are some great ways authors can get their books into these outlets.

1. Check out gift shop book selections.

When visiting specialty bookstores and museum gift shops in your area and while traveling, comb through the store’s book selection. Do they have a particular focus in the type of book they carry? Do they just carry local interest titles? Will they be featuring an upcoming exhibit that ties in with your book? Will they carry books by local authors regardless of the subject matter? Find out.

2. Be available for speaking engagements.

Throughout the year, many parks and museums put on special weekend events and anniversary celebrations and hold conferences the public can attend. Many times authors speaking at these events can tack on a book signing. Our author Jerome Greene has a number of Western history books and is a frequent speaker at parks and museums throughout the West. This weekend he is speaking at a Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum and will bring in copies of our book Indian War Veterans as well as some of his other titles for the museum to sell. Make yourself available for events, set up a book signing while you are there, and be sure to leave extra copies of your book autographed when you go so the store will continue to carry (and sell!) your book.

3. Think broader.

Last weekend, our author Gary Moore was a panelist at the National WWII Museum’s conference on baseball and WWII. While signing copies of his book Playing with the Enemy in the gift shop, he noticed that the museum had a wonderful, broad selection of WWII titles. Gary, being familiar with our books on the German WWII submarine U-505 (here and here), shot us a quick email and let us know they would also be a perfect fit for what the gift shop carried. Because his book ties in well with our U-505 titles, it’s a win-win-win for the author, publisher, and the buyer to have all three of these titles available at the same place. What titles would your book sell well with? Find out where these books are selling and get your book there too.

Be on the look out for ways to tap into the lucrative gift shop outlet. Museum and park visitors are always anxious to pick up a book about a place they just visited or learn more about a local interest topic.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

My First Post

Hello, and welcome to my new blog On Marketing (Working with Authors)!

We are jumping into the blogosphere here at Savas Beatie. Better late than never, right? Working as marketing director for a small, independent publishing company you learn a lot about every aspect of the publishing industry, from editing and coordinating bulk sales to working with authors and planning book tours, and everything in between. It is my goal to use this blog as a place to share with you tips and insight I have gathered from working with authors and promoting our titles. I will also use this place as a sounding board for ideas, both new ones we have and those you may have as well.

I’m really looking forward to spending some time here every week. Your comments, questions, and ideas are always welcome.

~ Sarah