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.
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. She is known for her no bullshit approach. This is her blog.