Saturday, July 12, 2008

Turning Conventional Book Marketing On Its Head

At Cumberland House, we are intentionally turning conventional book marketing on its head. Nielsen's BookScan gives us great insight into how many copies of any given book actually sell at the cash register. We have empirical evidence on previous marketing efforts and what did and did not work, and it is very challenging to conventional thinking.

Last month we ran an ad for a book in the Radio-TV Interview Report and lined up 35 radio interviews for the author. We had a good number of books placed in the market. All the interviews happened in the same week. When we tracked actual sales, we sold 7 (just seven!) more copies than the week prior. When we added up the cost of the ad, the cost of books, and postage, we spent something like $243 per book to sell an additional seven copies. This exercise caused us to look back at what we considered significant media hits over the last year, comparing sales from the previous week, week of, and following week, and the findings were similar.

Do we give up on publicity? Absolutely not. But we need to be smart about it. Just sending out a review copy, pitch letter, and press release to a mailing list of media contacts is not going to get the job done.

One specific thing we've done is add two people on the sales and marketing team dedicated to special market sales. We'd rather have somebody on the phone pitching a gift shop in Branson that might buy a dozen copies of a book than pitching a radio station or newspaper in Branson that may or may not (probably not) give us an interview or a review that may or may not (probably not) influence someone to buy the book.


Anonymous said...

You write this as if it is a new revelation. It's old news, and check the used book Amazon list after an ad or interview. That's where your money is going.

Chris Bauerle said...

Anonymous - since you are obviously further down the road than Cumberland House, where is your money going?