Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How To Get Money Out Of A Publisher

STATUS: It’s been a really frustrating week. It’s already after 5 and stuff that has to be done, I’m only starting on.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? OLD APARTMENT by Barenaked Ladies

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get money from Publishers for promotion—even if you aren’t the lead title or the next big blockbuster book for them.

It’s all in the way that you do it and your expectation. It’s not going to be thousands and thousands of dollars but it may still make a difference for your launch. So how do you go about getting it?

1. Have a clear marketing and promotion plan for the launch for your book. And I’m talking a real plan, not pie in the sky stuff. Things you can actually do, blog tours you already have lined up, speaking events that you will be at. If you haven’t got that in place, you’re not getting any money. When you have that in place, you need to share it with your in-house contact or you’re not going to be able to get money.

2. Choose a promotional element that has the most likelihood of getting funded because you can aptly demonstrate how the publisher will get bang for their buck. In other words, you have clearly outlined goals for the event, how you can make a difference reaching booksellers, or have a workshop or speaking event already lined up if the publisher can just get you there.

3. Have clear expectation of what they a publisher will and will not pay for. For example, let’s say you have some cool media and speaking events already lined up at ALA (American Library Association) as you planned to be there anyway. Then go to your editor and say, hey, look what I’ve got going here. Would the Publisher be willing to pay my way for airfare and hotel? If you can show a reasonable benefit, I find that editors have been pretty open finding some money for you. (Let's say you are doing events close to home, you do the driving and that cost and see if they'll pay for hotel. Make it a partnerhsip.)

4. Here’s another good example. I have one author who does a lot of speaking at various events and sites. These speaking engagements are being paid for by the people hosting the event (publishers love that!). Great. But what about some promo materials to be at those events? We’ve gotten publishers to pay for excerpt booklets, bookmarks, special give-aways, promo posters to have there, etc.

5. Here’s another great way to get money out of the publisher. Show them exactly what you have budgeted from your own money for promotion. Publishers are more likely to give money to authors who are clearly working it from their end. Even if they don’t pony up ths time around, they might be willing to partner on promo expense for the next book. They might even pick up the tab for a book trailer.

6. Show that you are media savvy and can handle whatever is thrown at you. Collect interviews and share them with your editor and in-house contact person. Publishers are more willing to put together a publisher-paid tour for you or maybe even a call-in radio tour (which doesn’t cost them money but does take a lot of time for a publicist to set up), if they know you'll make the most out of those opportunities.

These are just a few things. Tons more out there if you're creative, savvy. Find out what works and what doesn’t.

And don’t assume that these kinds of things are just for the biggest sellers. I’ve gotten many different kinds paid promotion stuff for solidly mid-list authors or even debuts that weren’t lead titles etc.

The last thing you need to remember is this: You can’t get what you don’t ask for.”

What’s the worst they can say? No. You can probably live with that.