Judging by last week’s Book Marketing: Post Print Era Pt.1, I would say there could still be a glimmer of hope. Then again have you ever wondered why some books flop while others find success? Critics claim the difference lies in the quality of the writing. But, I think it goes beyond that—hello, remember Fifty Shades of Grey? I think we can all agree that the social marketing plan was the driving force behind its success.
Former Marketing Director Jeanne Crotty joins us again this time to provide insight about effectively marketing books with new and older technologies.
LG: What are your personal favorite marketing tools?
JC: I think emails are one of the most effective book marketing tools. When done well, they can move a huge number of books. By well, I mean they have an engaging subject line, are timed correctly, are going to the right audience, and that the format fits your audience. Remember that the most important component of a marketing email: is an engaging subject line. Other things to think of when creating an email: does your audience respond to direct marketing? If so then you should drive them directly to a store or online book seller. Does your audience respond to more indirect marketing? Then you should offer them free content or drive them to a social media account.
LG: HarperCollins hybrid model Authonomy gives fans the choice of which books get published. Do you think this is the future for publishers? Should social media control which books get published?
JC: I think Authonomy is a great tool for both publishers and aspiring authors; I hope it’s the future for publishers. In my mind, HarperCollins has embraced social media and the power of self-publishing through Authonomy, and I think that’s the best way to survive as a publisher. I don’t think social media should control which books get published, but I do think it should influence what books get published. After all, as a publisher, you want to give your audience what they want and what they will buy.
LG:Jeanne thanks again for agreeing to be interviewed. Are there any parting words you would give new publishers? Any advice for self-publishers?
JC:For new publishers and self publishers, I would say find out where your audience and readers are, go there, and give them what they want through the channels they use. There is no longer one way to publish books or to become published. Embrace the new technology, marketing channels, book formats, and exploit them.
LG:I lied, there is one more question I have. Is there a difference between a marketing director and a sales director? Do the roles overlap?
JC:Yes, but they definitely overlap. Every publishing house is different though, so the division of responsibilities don’t always necessarily fall down along the lines I’m about to describe.
A sales director is in charge of making sure the sales force takes as many books as possible to ensure the book is in as many places—and on as many sites—as possible. Typical duties include selling-in books to accounts, working with a distributor and sales representatives, pitching books to buyers, helping set budgets, and bringing in custom projects. It is typically a bit more data driven than a marketing director’s job. The sales director also tends to deal with the trade more than with consumers.
In contrast, the director of marketing deals more with consumers rather than the trade. The director of marketing is in charge of figuring out the audiences for the book, the positioning and messaging of the book, and deciding which channels best convey that messaging. At some houses, such as mine, the director of marketing might also be in charge of marketing the books to the trade as well. Which involves writing and delivering sell sheets to the trade, working with publicity on picking out excerpts to send, collaborating with design on blads, and getting galleys made.
LG:When you explain in detail, the differences in the positions seem clear. Still they do seem to overlap a lot why is that?
JC:Both positions depend upon each other. The sales director often asks the marketing director for sales materials, such as sell sheets or sample content, in order to get accounts to order the book. The marketing director often asks the sales director for sales goals and expectations, so they can cater the sell sheet and marketing plan accordingly. Both deal with numbers, but the marketing director looks at more immediate numbers—how many books did x marketing campaign sell vs. y marketing campaign—and the sales director looks at overall profit and loss sheets as well as sales trends to determine how many books the trade should order and reorder.
LG: Thank you for clearing up that confusion and for taking time out of your busy schedule. I’ve truly appreciated this learning experience.
Join us on September 5 for an in-depth interview with The Atlantic Media Company’s Sr. Vice President of Finance & Digital Operations M. Scott Havens. He will explain why search engine optimization may be a thing of the past for book and magazine publishers.