Proposal to Publication – Part 5 of 5
Title, Cover, and Marketing Plans
While your book has been going through the editing and production phases, the art department, sales department, and marketing department have been busy creating the packaging of your book and planning how to market, promote and sell it.
The timing of each of these steps varies, but will be happening behind the scenes whether or not you’re aware of it. While it sometimes seems there are long stretches of time when you don’t hear from your publisher and you feel like your book has dropped into a black hole, be assured LOTS of people are thinking about your book and working hard on it.
Title & Book Cover
The marketing and editorial teams will meet to discuss the title of your book. They might decide to leave it as-is, or they might come up with suggestions for alternative titles. There may be some back and forth with you. If you’re not liking what they’re suggesting, this is the time to get your agent involved to negotiate a smooth decision-making process.
Then the art department comes up with concepts for your cover. Sample designs are sometimes sent to the author for your input, but right of cover approval isn’t normally granted to authors (check your contract). You’re more likely to be sent a PDF with an excited email from your editor: “Look at the awesome cover design we came up with!” They’ll solicit your feedback, but they’ll make the final decision. Again, this is when your agent can be invaluable in helping you to express your opinions to your publisher without getting too emotional and ruining the relationship. If you hate it, call your agent to vent, then work on expressing your opinions in a tactful and productive way.
The marketing team has read your proposal and sample chapters (and possibly the whole manuscript). They’ve put together an overall marketing plan, and created marketing copy (ad copy, back cover copy, catalog copy, etc.). As your pub date draws near, they begin executing various part of the marketing plan. They’ve added you to the publisher website, listed your book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, they may have done an endorser mailing, distributed Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) for review, placed a listing for your book in various industry catalogs, etc.
The sales team has also received your manuscript or at least proposal and sample chapters. Based on that, plus their knowledge of the market, a sales strategy is devised. This includes creating a Sales Sheet (or Tip Sheet) for your book that helps the sales person when they’re pitching your book to a buyer. Several months prior to publication of your book, the sales team begins selling it to the trade.
You may have been asked to compile a list of possible endorsers, complete with contact information. Somebody (either in editorial or marketing) composes an endorser letter, and sends manuscripts out with the letter to everyone on your list, requesting endorsements. As endorsements come in, each one is edited in-house. Your publisher decides how and where to use each endorsement (inside the book, on the front or back cover, or in catalog copy or print ads).
You may also be asked to compile a list of “influencers” with contact information. These are people who are likely to talk, write, and/or blog about your book once it’s released. Either you or your publisher will send copies of the published book to everyone on this list with a letter asking them to write about it.
This is the fun part. Everything is done and your book has been sent off to the printer. Then finally, your book is published. You receive the first copy and celebrate!
Now the marketing plan kicks in. Hopefully, you’re doing some interviews, author signings, updating your blog or website daily, sending out newsletters, garnering local press, and anything else possible to get people to buy your book.
(By now you should probably be finished writing your next book, too.)
Congratulations, you’re a published author!