The summer harvest season runs from the beginning of June through the end of August. It encompasses 90 days when farmers gather mature crops from their fields, cool, sort, clean and pack them, and then ship them off to the wholesale and consumer markets. The harvest period, no matter what time of year it occurs, is a make-or-break time for those who earn a living off the land. Itâ€™s the period when they find out what kind of return they have yielded on all the time, energy, and money they put into cultivating, planting, and growing their produce. Your authors have a harvest season, tooâ€”the first 90 days after you publish their book. This post-publication stage is critical for a number of reasons. First, it shows authors how effective their pre-publication marketing plan was. But it also gives them an opportunity to brand their books through continued PR efforts. And finally, it helps identify the options that are available to them immediately following their 90-day â€œharvest season.â€ Post-Publication: The First 90 Days All it takes is 90 days for a bookstore to find out just how serious authors are about selling their own book. If sales expectations are met (generally, 50% of the books in their initial order), orders for more of that title are refilled and placed on shelves. But if sales fall short of this mark, all remaining copies are yanked from the shelves and sent back to you, the publisher. To make matters worse, bookstores willâ€”from here on outâ€”be reluctant to work with your author on future books. And that means your authors must be prepared to focus all their time and efforts during this 90-day harvest season to driving readers to bookstores for the explicit purpose of buying their book. Pulling this off requires a relentless book-branding strategyâ€”wherein potential readers can run but not hide. In terms of an actual ratio, the average customer must hear about your authorâ€™s book three times for every five nights of sleep over the course of the entire 90 days following publication. Ideally, of course, this will simply be a continuation of the pre-publication promotion that was started several months earlier. This branding initiative should be comprised of several activities
- television and radio interviews,
- newspaper and magazine interviews,
and any other means your author can do to recycle his name, message, and book title for his target audience. Post-Post-Publication: 90 More Days to Build on Success If your authorâ€™s book meets sales expectations during its first 90 post-publication days on the shelves, talk to your author about extending his promotional efforts for an additional 90 days. Initial sales will encourage bookstores to continue stocking it, giving your author the opportunity to promote in markets that did not pick up the story the first time around. As an added promotional boost, your author can point to the bookâ€™s success in those first 90 days. Everybody loves a winner, and media outlets are no different when looking for an interesting story to run. If, on the other hand, your authorâ€™s book does NOT produce the number of sales the bookstores are looking for, post-post-publication promotion takes on a different meaning. At this point, your author should shift his focus to selling the book directly, either through a website or at seminars (if he is not doing that already). Try to be as encouraging as possible should your author find himself in this position. Do not let a bookstoreâ€™s interpretation of â€œsuccessâ€ get him down. Many-a bestselling author has come up short on the first pass and the second pass and the third pass at creating a bestseller. All your author can do is plan everything he can, well in advance; carefully target his promotional efforts; work hard; and build buffers for the unexpected. If these measures are taken, heâ€™s giving himself and his publisher the best chance at a plentiful harvest full of recurring book sales. And sooner or later, both of you will reap the benefitsâ€”sooner is better, but later is financially meaningful, too. Questions about post-publication book promotion may be directed to Michael R. Drew at the Austin, Texas, headquarters of Promote A Book : 512-858-0040. You can also contact Michael via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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