Helping Publishers Do What They Do Best
When RM Marketing Services launched in 2014 it didn't take long to see what the publishing industry lacked - someone with decades of senior product, marketing and management experience who could be called upon to help get jobs and projects done quickly, efficiently and without supervision for publishers and distributors who needed support. As marketing departments were reduced and budgets slashed, publishers and distributors were quick to take advantage of our honed skills and extensive industry knowledge - special projects and consulting gigs happened in quick succession. Over time the business morphed into two streams - outsourcing solutions and consulting services. Outsourcing sales and marketing solutions covers sales, marketing, digital marketing, website and social media management as well as publicity, author care, special channel promotions, corporate communications and just about anything our clients required! If you are considering outsourcing, read more about the benefits of using RM Marketing Services below...
Outsourcing is simply contracting work out to an outside supplier. For RM Marketing Services outsourcing involves taking on a specific role or set of tasks for a defined number of hours a week. We've provided outsourcing for as little as 4 hours a week to a maximum of 21 hours. A company email address is established (as, unlike consulting requests, we represent the publisher or distributor), goals and tasks are discussed, and we work with a nominated representative or team to manage the workload being outsourced and the deadlines. We encourage regular catch-up meetings, phone calls, strategy or team meetings - we are part of the organisation but don't have the downtime that other employees have for internal facing activities, professional training or other distractions - i.e. we can actually focus on getting the work done! Depending on the work required, system access is granted and training takes place. The publisher or distributor often requests for documents to be signed - their own contractor agreement and/or a Non-Disclosure Agreement for a multinational however for smaller presses we work to an email summary and occasionally a phone call depending on the existing relationship between our two organisations. Payment is via direct deposit, 14 day payment terms. It's not complicated to set-up outsourcing and the quicker the above is organised, the quicker we can get to the work.
Benefits to outsourcing. Oncosts of each employee is estimated at being 25-30% - these oncosts include superannuation, insurance/workers compensation, leave (sick leave, annual leave, long service leave), payroll taxes and other add-ons that eat into your business and profits. Of course, these are irrelevant when you opt for an outsourced solution! Check with your accountant as well as what you can claim on your own tax returns when using a consultant, as there may be additional benefits. Many organisations are also able to bring in contractors when there are staff freezes or restrictions. Rather than restructuring teams around staff who are leaving, and bringing added stresses to already heavy workloads within your organisation, why not consider outsourcing a handful of tasks to someone you can trust and your staff will thank you for it! It could be for as little as 4 hours a week...
Benefits to outsourcing with RM Marketing Services. Director Rachael McDiarmid has 30 years sales, marketing, product, and management experience in the publishing industry with a broad skill set particularly in all aspects of marketing and promotion. She has been privileged to travel the world to meet with publishers, distributors and library vendors; heavily involved in ebooks and digital platforms; played a pivotal role in bibliographic data collection; and has decades experience with publishing, book distribution and supply chain management in Australia and New Zealand. This has all been on top of a wonderful career, mainly in academic and professional publishing. (You can view her profile on LinkedIn)
She also has an extensive network of experienced industry professionals to bring into the mix, particularly for consulting projects but often for administrative and research tasks as part of an outsourced arrangement. With the knowledge, experience and determination she brings to your organisation, you can be assured you are in safe hands. And for everyone that knows Rachael personally, you know she's professional, has a great industry reputation, and gets on with the task at hand with no fuss.
Let RM Marketing Services help you get through your to-do list and ask us about outsourcing services today.
The latest edition of How to Market Books, 6th edition has arrived. Written by Alison Baverstock and Susannah Bowen, and published by Routledge, the new book must indeed be THE bible for the publishing industry today.
It won't surprise you to know the first thing I did was go to the index to see if my name and business name were listed. Indeed they were! I wondered what quotes would be picked up so I looked at the relevant pages. The first one about customer service and making adjustments in line with how your buyer wants to receive book information was more of an off the cuff remark but the second one got to the heart of what makes me tick - database marketing and making sure your message goes to the right people. That goes way back to direct marketing in the early 90s and years of sending out promotional materials - flyers, catalogues, postcards - to a database of contacts and ensuring everyone was coded to their field of expertise to yield higher response rates. The principles still apply for digital marketing. But I digress.
The 6th edition has everything a book marketer needs. In fact if every publishing house doesn't have a copy of this book somewhere in their office, I'd be annoyed. It should be required reading. Particularly by people who come into book publishing thinking it's like other industries. It's not. It's unique. It has a language of its own. It has its quirks. And it has its issues. You need to understand the basics and then the industry as a whole. And at 480 pages, this book may just cover everything you need to know to be successful in publishing in an ever changing industry. Because the book publishing industry is changing. Always changing. And marketing has to adjust to these changes.
How to Market Books, 6th edition is very comprehensive. Part 1 covers general principles and understanding - marketing and marketing in publishing; what's for sale?; market research and other sources of marketing information; the role of marketing within the business of publishing. Part 2 covers putting principles into practice - reaching the market (how best to approach your customers); how to write a marketing plan; selling; direct marketing; digital marketing; publicity and PR; working with authors and other vital partnerships; organising events, presentations and other opportunities to share content; techniques to writing effective copy; the layout and design of marketing materials. And Part 3 is specific advice to particular markets.
Some of these chapters could be stand alone books. They would make excellent podcasts and even videos on training sites. They are essential reading.
I'm so overwhelmed by the content in this book that I can't simply put it on my shelf with the rest of my business and publishing industry books. Even though I've been in the industry nearly 30 years, this book is a living, breathing document and one I think I'd like to pick up more frequently so I'm putting it close to me while I'm working. For me, there's very little in here I don't know - but it's great to have the refresher from time to time.
But of course the biggest surprise of the book came in the foreword by David Shelley, CEO of Hachette UK. As I read through it a name jumped out at me. It was my own. Of all the people he could have quoted in this industry, he quoted me.
This is one hell of a book for one hell of an industry. Congratulations to the authors and everyone in the industry who contributed to the book. A five-star reference.
Get a copy now from your preferred bookshop or online bookseller.
For more information click here to go the publisher's website.
ANZ Book Distribution woes
For years I've been recommending distributors for overseas based publishers looking for representation in the ANZ marketplace. I've also managed a business unit responsible for book distribution to booksellers, specialist accounts and direct/academic sales. I've been a publisher, I've been a customer, I've been a supplier/distributor, I've been a competitor, I've worked for one of the largest wholesalers in the world. Many, MANY hats so I've seen the ANZ supply chain from a number of angles and to be honest, I don't like what I see anymore. The ANZ book supply chain is shot.
One of the problems we have in Australia is the lack of a physical wholesaler. The overseas wholesalers (Baker & Taylor, Ingram, Gardners, Bertrams) have a presence in Australia in one form or another (staff, agent etc) but they don't have a warehouse here filled with books. As most of us know, there are real benefits with the consolidation of orders to a wholesaler, not to mention metadata workflows, customer service, and operational efficiency. With their economies of scale and commercial pull, orders can be sent to Australia and New Zealand within a couple of days - something the local market cannot compete with no matter how hard they try. But that's wonderful for the major US and UK publications. What about locally published books?
United Book Distributors (owned by Pearson) is arguably the best DC in Australia but there are other good operations like ADS (Hachette), HEDS (Harper Collins), Random et al. But they are not interested in taking on the smaller guys. It is not financially viable. The options for distribution with the mid to smaller presses is shrinking. We have Footprint (academic and specialist publishers), NewSouth (UNSW + local and international trade, specialist publishers), Woodslane (predominantly trade), Capricorn Link (trade), Peribo (trade), Dennis Jones (trade/independents) and a handful of others. But getting one of these guys to take on your list isn't easy. Publishers complain about the amount of calls and the set-up process, and then when they have distribution, they complain about lack of attention, lack of sales, and other issues that come from too many presses being distributed within one organisation.
No one is really interested in one book distribution - there isn't any money in it! Even publishers who do a dozen titles a year, that might sell a few hundred - or a couple of thousand even - is not worth it, particularly if the book is cheap. Margins have eroded, the sales aren't there to support it, costs of distribution are high, and if you are also doing sales & marketing representation, you really need high priced books to justify all your costs.
Overseas publishers, particularly niche, scholarly presses and those that publish less than 25 books a year, are having a hard time finding someone to represent them. The majority of these presses don't provide enough wholesaler discount to entice a supplier, costs of freight (particularly from overseas) are high, and returns are a nightmare for everyone. So my question for overseas publishers in particular is DO YOU REALLY NEED AN AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR? You are already doing sales and marketing in your own territory, you should already be working with the major wholesalers, and you should be digital. Can you do it yourself? Do you need a sales & marketing agent or someone on the ground in Australia to oversee things? There are dozens of questions you need to answer. Let RM Marketing Services guide you in this process.
What are YOUR THOUGHTS on the Australian book supply chain? With changes over the years at Tower/Scribo, DA/Central Book Services, the MDS closure, and future changes (Inbooks, Wiley rumours?); changes to the print and digital landscape; changes to consumer/bookselling buying habits - what are your concerns and issues? Are you a publisher? Are you a distributor? Share your story with others....
Well it's about time....
Well, it's what many of you are thinking so I thought I would just say it. Why not start my new blog with the bleeding obvious!
After nearly 11 years working for a key account for local and international publishers, with responsibilities that covered everything from retail (wholesale) distribution to library supply (academic and public), print products to digital (online reference and ebooks), marketing communications that included website, social media, enewsletters, print promotions and more - I've got more than enough experience to help others with the Australasian marketplace.
During my time at James Bennett/Inbooks I was always asked - and respected - for my advice on the publishing industry. From international wholesalers to small publishers, my role as Publisher Relations and Marketing Communications Manager was utilised by many - for free! *
And let's not ignore my 13 years in publishing prior to that - product, sales, marketing, key account management, business development....my career has been extremely varied and wonderfully rewarding. It's covered trade, professional and vocational education publications and all facets of marketing. And it's seen an awful lot of change - remember ordering everything via ocean freight (and adding two months to publication dates) or faxing through price and availability enquiries to overseas suppliers (no internet or email)? Ah, the good old days...
At the end of the day, the publishing industry is in my blood. I can't help it. Warts and all, it's a fascinating - and changing - industry. And the one thing that I've noticed the most - particularly for the larger organisations - is that they are now run by accountants. The nature of publishing has changed. Everything is counted, every cost reviewed, every cost saving initiative is introduced. No one seems to have enough resources - or time - to do even the most basic of jobs. There isn't the same flexibility, there isn't the same money available, and sadly there is also not the same level of experience in the book trade that there used to be. Too many people come and go because they have "digital" skills but they don't GET the industry, they don't take the time to learn it, and many lack basic customer service skills.
Isn't it the first rule of business? No one exists without the customer. It's about giving them what they need in order to sell or consume your product. I fear publishers have lost sight of that and I'm here to help.
In starting this enterprise of mine it took me all of two seconds to come up with my mission: helping publishers do what they do best.** Contact me today for any marketing service you require help with.
* OK there was the odd bottle of wine presented as a thank you gift
** And if you don't know what that is, you will definitely need my help!
Rachael McDiarmid has been in the Australasian book trade since 1990. Working in trade, academic and professional publishing as well as library supply and book distribution, she's worked with thousands of publishers, distributors, library vendors, and authors around the globe. She loves a belly laugh, strong coffee, wine, and good food. Venice is her favourite place in the world to visit but Sydney will always be home. She loves her office assistant Dash (also known as Dashie, Dashie Dog and the Little Shit). If you haven't already worked it out, she is known for her no bullshit approach.