What happens when a client’s publisher doesn’t uphold their end of the bargain?
Sarah [not her real name] came to me for coaching to develop her consulting business, speaking career, and strategically use her new book to launch into both containers. Throughout our coaching period together, there was one problem after another with her publisher, and we were constantly working to pivot around the mistakes or misleading information that the publisher had provided.
The Moment of Panic
This came to a head as launch day neared. The agreed upon plan was to print advanced reader copies on the 1st of December in order to give the sales team time to market the book to stores to receive orders before the holidays. It would also give Sarah time to send advanced reader copies to reviewers and press. We would then hit the ground running in early January with a book launch date in early February.
The print date came and went. The distributor had not bought into that plan. We’re not sure if the publisher did not communicate well with the distributor, or if the distributor was a bad choice and went rogue. However, there were no books to begin the sales process at this critical juncture.
When my client contacted the distributor, they simply stated they had chosen to wait to print the advanced copies in mid January — only weeks before launch and not enough time for stores to make their orders.
This left a massive gap in the marketing plan for the book, especially due to the looming holiday season. The book would launch to crickets if we didn’t do something fast.
Time to get Disruptive
We had to make a plan that would fill the marketing gap but not create excessive cost outside the original budget. It also had to be something we could launch fast because we were a week into December and already behind.
What I created for this client was a postcard campaign. The postcards would contain the book cover, a synopsis, and the contact info for the sales team. This gave the sales team a physical showcase item to replace the physical books.
However, that created another problem. If the postcards were used in different regions, that meant different a sales person’s information needed to be provided for each region. We didn’t have time or the budget to develop small runs of postcards with unique contact information.
The solution was to create a universal postcard that forwarded interested parties to a sales team page on the book’s website.
Finally, my client was concerned the sales team either would not know about the book in time, or wouldn’t care about the postcard solution to make up for the lost time. Each salesperson has several books that they are promoting at one time. We needed the sales team on our side and we needed them to be ready to help us when the advanced reader copies came out.
We decided to send them all holiday presents of bourbon-filled chocolate. Not only was the team happy to receive a gift, it also made my client memorable, so when they finally had the book in hand in January, they were invested in its success.
So what happened?
Not only did the postcard idea help bridge the gap in the marketing plan, it created an entirely new marketing plan. The distributor, the sales team, the publicist, and even the publisher were so enthused about the postcard idea that they all requested a batch of their own. We bought a larger run of postcards, saving some money on the individual cost, and garnering the book greater attention than originally planned.
This client is both an author and consultant. We were building a marketing plan for both, and so the success of this book was critical. Knowing that I helped her to pivot as fast as possible and bring the book to success is exactly the work that I love to do.
If you have a book in the works and you’re not sure how to fit it into your business plan, or you need support to pivot a marketing plan fast, I’d be happy to talk to you. Let’s schedule an intro call.