Mission point press

a publishing & marketing guide

Thank you for doing business with Mission Point Press. As writers ourselves, we know about the momentousness of a finished manuscript, and we’ll do our utmost to make it the best book it can be. And to that end, we want you to be aware of all the facts about self-publishing.

The good news is that Mission Point Press is a hybrid publisher. That means that while we contract writers and pay for our own books, we also employ the same standards — often the same people — to self-publish Mission Point Press authors. Additionally, every book we shepherd through the publishing process receives the Mission Point Press brand. An MPP book signifies industry quality.

  • MPP authors regularly receive dozens, even hundreds of 5-star reviews at Amazon

  • MPP authors are represented in more than 40 bookstores across the state of Michigan

  • Every single year, MPP authors are nominated for the Michigan Notable Book Award

But — here it comes — we can’t do everything. (We have it first-hand that no publisher, no matter how large, can — or will — do everything.) Yes, you’ve sat in a room alone for hours, you’ve gone through the editing ordeal… We’re sorry to inform you that if you want to recover your costs, not to mention make money from the sales of your book, your job isn’t over. It’s only beginning. Nearly a million books are published every year in the U.S. alone, and unless readers get some face-time with your book (ads, events, media), it might as well be a needle in a haystack.

What follows below is the most up-to-date marketing advice we are aware of. We’re storing this document on the web in order to keep it current. Check in every once in a while. And please, let us know if we’re missing something.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

First of all, let’s talk about the publishing schedule and marketing. To create a successful marketing campaign, you have to think ahead. For example, your book will need endorsements (blurbs). When do you ask people for these? If you want to submit your book for a Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly or Foreword review and these organizations require 3 to 4 months in advance of publication.

Let’s look at a typical holiday publication timeline:

  • You have chosen a line edit and been assigned an editor (July)

  • You have worked with your editor, made changes — now the book goes to the copy editor or proofer (August)

  • Editing and proofing complete, the book goes to design ( September)

  • Book loads to printer (September) The cover is complete for advance social media promotions, and galleys (printed proofs) can now be sent to review organizations (with December publication date) or for endorsements. Start booking events.

  • At the same time, you do a final proof of the galley. If you need a website, now’s the time to get started. (September)

  • Reload to printer with corrections and front/back matter plus endorsements (October)

  • Available for bookstore orders (November)

  • Holiday publication (December)

Notice that this is at least a 5-month process, and that’s if everything goes smoothly (not too many changes and no rewrites). While many authors will publish within this 5-month schedule, most will require an extra month or two.

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HARD WORK

Many MISSION POINT PRESS authors have found resounding success in selling their books. Several MPP books have appeared on local and statewide lists of notable books and have sold thousands of copies. Authors have undertaken statewide and regional book tours, hosted packed book signings and talks and were featured in numerous newspaper, TV and radio stories. Last summer, a MISSION POINT PRESS author had 16 engagements in three months!

A lot of that has to do with the quality of an author’s book – both in terms of words and design. But a lot is also due to the authors and their hard work at marketing their books. 

It is hard work. It means identifying your target market, making phone calls, writing letters and emails, securing speaking engagements, lugging cartons of books hither and yon and answering the same questions over and over without making it seem that way. But it’s worth it to meet readers … and to sell books. That’s why you write; that’s why MPP publishes. 

There are multiple options for marketing your book, kind of an a la carte menu. You can decide how big or small you want to go, how much you want to spend, and how much time you want to put into it. We are here to help you in whatever you decide. What we do know is this: like anything else in life, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it!

Our marketing liaison is Jodee Taylor, who has years of experience as a journalist, writer, editor and a marketer. She currently works as a social media manager and in digital marketing (newsletters, websites, blogs) for authors, in publishing and for nonprofits. You can email her at jodeet@gmail.comor call (231) 570-0504. A description of many of our services is available at www.MissionPointPress.com and also as the last page of this guide. 

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WHERE TO START?

Here are a few ideas to get you started and to help you figure out how deep you want to dive into marketing your book.

  • Think about your audience. Is your book going to be popular with history lovers? Romantics? Scientists? Adventurers? It’s sometimes painful to drill down to specifics, but it is also extremely helpful. Then think about where those people gather — online and in real life. Are there organizations that meet regularly? Are there forums and Facebook groups? Get familiar with them and join them. Find writers groups in your area and join them; they are excellent sources for both writing tips and marketing ideas. 

  • Keep in touch. Make lists of all the groups and include contact information. Continue to gather contacts throughout your publishing career by taking an email signup sheet to appearances and collecting business cards wherever you go. Keep your email database current, then send regular emails packed with useful information. Continually ask readers to review your book on Amazon. 

  • Use your sell sheet. MISSION POINT PRESS creates stunning sell sheets with book-ordering information, images, a synopsis and, ideally, a few endorsements. This is what bookstores and libraries use to know the merits of a book and as a reference for ordering and setting up signings. These can be tucked inside your review copies and in your finished book as you take it around to stores. They can also be used for print marketing or emailed.  

  • Create a press release. The press release will help you crystallize the essence of your book and also give information about you and your expertise on the book’s subject. Remember to include your name, your contact information, the title of the book, the genre and include a few quotes from yourself. Send the press release in the body of an email (and as an attachment). Also attach images, such as the cover of your book and a headshot of yourself. 

  • Use social media. Create a Facebook page for you as an author or for your book. Use striking cover images. Follow relevant people. Like relevant posts. Post any appearances you’ve scheduled. Consider Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. All offer “boosts”for ads. We suggest trying out an ad—if it immediately gets lots of “likes” and “shares,” great! If not, cut your losses. Delete it and try something else.   

  • Create a website. A basic website is a good idea and a nice way to include a “for more information” line in your press release, business cards, social media, etc. Make a list of what you want on your site — do you want to sell books off your site? Do you want to offer a few chapters? What images should be on there? What text? Include your bio and any testimonials you have. Websites aren’t nearly as complicated or costly to create as they were just a few years ago. Also, don’t forget to create a profile at Amazon’s Author Central.

  • Prepare a presentation. Try to talk to groups you found in your audience research and sell books after your discussion. Prepare a presentation (using Keynote or PowerPoint). Include information about your book, of course, but also about you, your writing process, where your research took you and other points of interest. Consider booking appearances that aren’t specifically directed at selling your book, i.e., a photography exhibit or how-to class. Your presentation should be used as a template and should be customized to each group you speak to. Take books to every appearance and stay to sign and sell them. If your speech is a moving one, they’ll want to buy a book to take home to remember the experience. 

  • Host a book launch party. Ask your local bookshop to host a book launch party and signing for you. But remember, the bookstore pays only about 50 to 60 percent of the retail price. If you host it at home, a church,a restaurant or bar, you can sell the books at a much greater profit and usually, there’s no charge at these venues. Many authors launch at a free venue and follow up with a bookstore signing.Wednesday and Thursday evenings are good times, or Saturday afternoons. Order a box or more of books (two weeks ahead of time) and print and mail postcards to family, friends, the mediaand your target groups. Print posters. Publicize the event in local calendars and send press releases about it to local media. 

  • Book other appearances beyond the launch. Look at that audience list from earlier and think about where those people gather. At churches/synagogues/mosques? At schools or book clubs? At professional gatherings? Find the event planner or leader for each group and approach them (email is fine for the initial contact, but a follow-up phone call is often necessary). Tailor your pitch to each group, i.e., tell the History Book Club contact that your book takes place on a ship in the 1800s and you immersed yourself so deeply in research of that era that you took a liking to hard tack. (Personal details like that are gold!) Ask if you can bring a box of books to sign and sell after that presentation. Think about other outlets as well, such as art shows, trade shows, craft fairs — whatever’s suitable to your book. 

  • Contact the media. Arrange interviews with reporters, radio talk shows, bloggers, and TV hosts. Send your press release and ask them to follow up with an interview by including tantalizing bits that are relevant to THEIR audience. You want to seek out a wide range of media to reach a wide range of readers. Start locally and work your way out. When you book a speaking engagement, alert the media in that area (send your press release) and add the information to relevant community calendars. The organizations you found in your audience research can include your book information or appearance schedule in their member newsletters, too.  

  • Buy an ad. Buy an ad in your local media, through Amazon or BookBub. Be particularly on the lookout for writers series and book fairs that create programs. The ads may be less expensive, run for a longer period of time, and they contain the perfect audience: book lovers! Here’s a link to how to market your book at KDP.

  • Enter a contest. There are many, many contests out there for completed, self-published books. Sometimes — as with the Booklife Prize — the entry fee includes an evaluation and a blurb.

  • If your book has national appeal, you should still do all of the above, plus:

·     Submit two galleys to Publishers Weekly at least 3-4 months prior to publication

·     Submit a galley to Foreword Reviews at least 3-4 months prior to publication

·     Send media review copies during the proofing stage

·     Buy (try for) a BookBub New Release (if you’ve written a fiction book)

·     Buy ads in national media

  • If you have a series, keep an eye on your KDP Select promotional options. KDP book give-aways, price reductions and ads can drive readers to the authors of exciting series. Read about the options here.

  • There are also numerous online services to help you market your book, some free and some not. There’s a good list of resources here (www.thewriterlife.com), including writers groups, writing tips and marketing sites.

MISSION POINT PRESS can help with any and all of the above steps escriptions of our services can be found on the next page. But don’t underestimate what you can do for yourself to save money. 

Finally, we at MISSION POINT PRESS are always available to you to answer questions and offer suggestions once your book is published. Don’t hesitate to contact us.

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SUMMARY OF MARKETING SERVICES OFFERED BY MISSION POINT PRESS

 BASIC SELL SHEET

Our basic Sell Sheet service is $100; the Sell Sheet Plus service, which includes a sell sheet plus cover letter, links to the sales page, distribution to a customized email list and follow-up, is $500.

 SOCIAL MEDIA PACKAGE

MISSION POINT PRESS can help you find the most relevant ways to use social media. Our social media packages start at $150.

 WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT

MISSION POINT PRESS can also create a website for you, including hosting. Prices vary.

Because every promotion campaign is different in terms of scope, the following services are priced at a rate of $50/hour; if required, there may be additional costs because of the purchase or creation of custom lists.

PUBLICITY AND PROMOTION PACKAGE

We can help find your audience, including research and development of new custom or special-interest groups. 

PRESS RELEASE CREATION AND DISTRIBUTION

We can help with press-release writing and distribution, including sending an email pitch (cover letter), to existing media lists. 

MEDIA RELATIONS SERVICE

We can help with booking appearances and other press-release follow-up and interview coordination. 

BOOK TOUR ORGANIZATION

We can help organize a book tour, which includes contacting bookstores and libraries and booking appearances.