Now that the third month of the world being upside down is almost behind us, it’s time to focus on recalibration of our “future normal” and embrace the fact that things may never be quite the same again.
The devil on one of my shoulders argues for hesitancy, taking a wait and see approach, and short term adjustments. But the other shoulder supports the entrepreneurial spirit whispering loudly in my ear, reminding me that publishers have products that people need. Books are still selling, but continuing “business as usual” will not suffice. As small business owners, we have huge advantages, and can survive better than most.
I participated in a powerful online presentation yesterday put on by the Independent Book Publishers Association. It’s part of their weekly service to author and publisher members on how to survive the pandemic. This particular session was about marketing, and it featured a basic step-by-step guide to generate cash flow with your existing inventory. The simple formula: figure out your gross margins, then determine an ACOS (average cost of sales), decide what you feel comfortable with (20–30 percent they recommended) and spend it on advertising.
By advertising, publishers can maintain and even enhance relationships with readers. Presses that advertise through a downturn receive exponential results as business picks up. And now more than ever, it is easier to get readers’ attention because there is less industry messaging.
The devil on your shoulder is no doubt shouting for you to sit tight and do nothing, and definitely not to spend. But I hope you listen to the whispers of your entrepreneurial spirit, who understands even the most basic marketing principle: that you must spend in order to generate revenue. Focus on clearing your current inventory levels now for immediate cash flow, better enabling you to keep new titles in the pipeline and your staff paid. Not just in trade magazines, but with consumer vehicles who reach readers and are hungry for what is sitting in your distributor’s warehouse.
Foreword deadlines worth noting:
May 31st, (this Sunday), is the last day to take advantage of our discounted price of $349 for Clarion reviews. If you have a title that did not get the attention it deserves, Clarion provides a comprehensive critique that is posted on our busy website and also licensed to wholesaler databases where the trade shops for books. Register here and enter the code may150 when you check out. Librarians require a trusted trade review to purchase your book!
June 5th is our space reservation deadline for advertising in the July/August issue of our print edition. I’ll hold back on why you should do this after my message above, but of particular interest may be the features on Memoirs, Religion, Political Science, Children’s books, and YA. These are HOT categories selling right now. Let Stacy or me know if you have titles that need exposure and we’ll work with you on best rates and placement. Foreword is now available digitally, so your message gets maximum reach. Your support helps us continue our work.
June 17th at noon, we will announce the INDIES winners in 52 categories. Finalists will automatically receive an email and we will simultaneously release the news in all of our online channels. Good luck!
June 30th is the last day for 2020 INDIES registration featuring our early bird discount of $79 for the first category, $59 for any additional. Even if your project doesn’t come out until the end of the year, you can still enter now. If you are not ready to register your title just yet, we understand. Entries into the INDIES will be accepted through January 2021.
July 15th is the deadline for the November/December print issue editorial submissions. Managing Editor Michelle is currently accepting electronic pdf or hard copies mailed to our offices for your new titles planned for November publication forward. That edition will feature Nature, Self-help, Literary Fiction, and expanded Children’s coverage.