My Wish List for Marketing Departments in 2014

Josie Leavitt -- January 16th, 2014

In the spirit of the New Year, I am hoping to share my wish list on how publishers’ marketing departments can help out independent bookstores more in 2014.

- Please do not send a box of 10 mini-book teaser chapters from a new book that has $2.80 of rightpostage due. I got this package on Monday. I did not ask for this mailing. Some of you are probably saying, “Then why did you open it?” Honestly, when I shook the box it felt like there might be candy in it. Sadly there was no candy, just a small display.

- This brings up something that has always bothered me. Why can’t I sign up for the promo items I want? There are certain things I know I can never use. Yes, it is fun to have things to give away, but with very tight storage space, I reach a point of thinking: enough. Let me see what you have for the season and let me get the things I’m really excited about and can use.

- In-store displays that are too wide. Yes, I love Captain Underpants as much as every eight-year-old boy in the country, but a display that’s three to four feet wide is bordering on too big to fit. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this display, but it was hard to navigate around.

- This genius idea is from Elizabeth: create a digital poster template for promoting author events at the stores. This would be massively helpful for all stores on that author’s tour. Often, we (and by we I mean Elizabeth) create our own flyers and postcards, but boy, it would be great to have one that looks great and takes five minutes. Also, by making it digital, I can email it to libraries, schools and senior centers for them to print out and hang in their places. This would be a win-win for all of us.

raffia- Raffia. There, I’ve said it. Please no more.

- Keep sending us so many amazingly talented authors and illustrators. Visits from these people enrich our town, enliven our schools and create wonder in children and adults alike.

- Send more event kits. They are great. Kids love the activity sheets and color pages, and I’m happy to make copies to save the expense. The beauty of this, then, is I can print out as many copies as I need. And they are great for kids to play with at the event when they’re waiting for a book to get signed.

- More posters and bookmarks for adult books, please. One of the hazards of being well-known for our children’s section is that folks forget we sell a ton of books for adults as well.

- Remember that there lots of truly amazing independent bookstores north of Boston.

- Send us a calendar, digital, printed or on-line, with upcoming release dates, so we can be better prepared to more knowledgeably sell your books. This was the very first thing Elizabeth suggested when I asked her about this. So simple and so easy, and unbelievably helpful.

- Keep sending those yummy galleys. Our galley bookcase is almost full to bursting and that’s how we like it.

- Another winning idea from Elizabeth. This seems fitting coming from her, since I don’t know what a widget is. Create and send us widget codes for your book trailers so we can use them on our website and Facebook. We all love interesting content for our websites, but not every store has a dedicated social media person. So, I’ll happily take as much help as I can get, because if it’s simple, chances are I’ll do it.

- Every once in a while send us some candy.

5 thoughts on “My Wish List for Marketing Departments in 2014

  1. Carol B. Chittenden

    Fancy packaging of promotional materials always reminds me how much is being spent on something that’s totally useless to me. When the sender then claims better discounts or coop are outside their budget, or their rep is stretched too thin to visit in person at least once a year, they have no credibility. When they have no credibility in marketing, it has a way of bleeding over into lost credibility in catalog copy, jacket blurbs, etc. Plain brown wrappers, straight talk, and good terms are the best marketing of all.

    But any publisher that wants us to order direct needs to offer 5-day delivery on a decent minimum order. Otherwise our choice is to use the wholesalers, or else be out of stock a quarter to a third of the time. The whole operation — sales, marketing, ppb, fulfillment, accounts, editorial — have to work pretty well together. Seems kind of basic, doesn’t it?

  2. Leslie

    Well, rafia is better than a box full of confetti…

    A million times “YES!” especially on the ideas of poster templates, being able to choose which promo items we can use (wouldn’t that also save pubs money?), and the easier use of book trailers.

    One of the majors just sent out a wonderful survey asking for suggestions like this. One of my humble suggestions, as a store owner in a non-major city, is that it would be fabulous to create a way (seasonal email from publicity dept?) to let authors/illustrators know which accounts are dying to host them should they travel that way off tour. Most of the “name” authors we’ve hosted here have been the result of considerate authors or illustrators who were traveling this way for a wedding, vacation, etc. and looked up local indies they might pop in on. Let’s facilitate that kind of communication… and again, the pubs save money if an author makes a stop on his or her own dime to promote the book.

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