Help Desk: Marketing Your Books to the Academic Community

Heard of American Philosophical Association?  American Library Association?  How about the Association of Study of Higher Education? 

Did you know these associations and others host about 352,300 conferences and meetings a year? All attended by professionals who can make purchasing decisions, such as making a wholesale purchase of your book? 

Conference Exhibiting is another way to knock on a backdoor market to reach your readers. But, unfortunately, if you’re only exhibiting your books at book conventions, you’re missing out on quite a few opportunities. 

For example, from June 22-27, the American Library Association will have its annual conference in Chicago at McCormick Place. 

ALA Officials boast as one of the top trade shows where “More than 8 out of 10 librarians that see your exhibit have the power to put your products and services into their libraries.” 

Are you a primary researcher on a single subject book? Then, team up with a few other scholars and exhibit your monograph for course adoption at a relevant academic conference, convention, or seminar. 

If one professor adopts your book title for her course, that’s guaranteed sales of a minimum of 20 books per class. On the other hand, sales could be well over 100+ units sold if it’s a popular class.   

 Fiction titles can win a sales contract too.  Small publishers such as David R. Godine list more than a dozen novels that professors have considered for course adoption.    

Major brand trade book publishers such as Penguin Group (USA) have an entire department for academic services.    When I started my career in publishing, I put together cost-effective exhibits for Penguin’s Academic Marketing and Sales department. And I also served as an exhibitor at many conferences.  

A few tricks of the trade to exhibiting books at academic conferences include:


1. Attendance| Determine who will be in attendance? Remember you are looking for a back door to your readers. Will decision makers, wholesale book buyers be in attendance? What is the overall expected attendance?

2.    Exhibit Space | Size of booth or exhibit space. Is it high traffic area or out-of-the-way? Electrical outlets ideal for a charging station to gain a captive audience and for social network live feeds. Who are the other exhibitors near your space? Are they competitors or possible partners?  Note: Conference exhibits are also great venues for IRL networking.

3.    Shipping | Intrastate or Interstate costs?  Air travel & local transportation cost – If you prepare well in advance of the conference, ground shipping is the best option,

4.    Event Marketing Collateral:   Display equipment, signage and storage; premium incentives; flyer/catalog production/ advertising in conference guide, books for giveaway and sales; postcards, business cards, etc..

5.    Accommodations/Entertainment| Hotel, dining, local transportation; admission to popular event for more networking opportunities.

Also, keep in mind, major brand trade publishers such as Penguin have storage space for large exhibit displays.  Renting a display and signage may be a more expensive option initially, but over time, you’ll save on storage rental.  Also, small, self and independent publishers should look to the vertical market or other small publishers for partnerships to share the costs.  

For more on upcoming conferences, check out allconferences dot com.


Help Desk: Getting Your Book Reviewed / Securing Manuscript Beta Readers

When my daughters were toddlers, my mother would remind me

“No one thinks a precocious baby is cute except her parents.”

Nothing could be further away from the truth because my baby girls were adorable!

Ok, her point was others wouldn’t be as fascinated with my children as I am…and she was correct.

The same can be said for authors and their books and manuscripts.

There are very few people outside of a circle of loved ones (and when it comes to manuscripts maybe not even them) who want to read and review an unsolicited manuscript.

In fact, in an unscientific poll, undergoing a root canal would rank higher but you can turn the odds in your favor. Continue reading “Help Desk: Getting Your Book Reviewed / Securing Manuscript Beta Readers”

Help Desk | Turn Your Opinion into a Feature Article

421px-Fist4Opinions are like a heart; everybody has one.

If you think about it, you probably have an opinion on everything. This is a good thing if you’re responsible for producing content. It means you’ll never run out of ideas. So let’s get to the heart of the matter and turn those opinions into features.

Step 1: Know the difference between a subject and a topic.

Subject: branch of knowledge; discipline or field

Topic: specific aspect of the subject

Step 2: Pick a subject (provocative is better). We’ll use Climate Change.

Step 3: Think about topics that fall under the category “climate change.” Choose one.

I was thinking about the sea level this morning during my workout. Let’s use “rising sea level” as an angle for our article.

Step 4. Write a Headline:

More than 20 American cities will be under water by the turn of the century.

Step 5: You or your designee report on this story; therefore, you must remain unbiased. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re brain dead. It just means you need to examine and present at least two sides (pro/con) of the topic.

Bonus: If there is someone, product, or company you’d like to feature in your article, here’s the chance to let them/it shine.

Who: is at risk?

What: is at stake?

Where: will be the hardest hit?

When: will we see evidence?

How: will it happen?

Once you’ve answered the questions above via your “newsmakers,”

Final step: Edit your article to 750 words. Most people read on mobile devices. Make brevity your friend. Wrap up the piece with an unbiased course of action related to the headline. A sentence or two such as:

“Sea-level may not rise more than a few inches in our lifetime but the threat of flooding is a real risk for anyone living near water. Here’s how to prepare…

Voila! You now have editorial content, also known as a feature article.

You’ve also won some extra points for featuring two of your favorite clients who both have written books “Climate Change: What a Bunch of Malarkey” and “Climate Change: How to Build an Ark.”

copyright 2016 MH