Friday, October 17, 2008
Budgeting your Books
by Danielle Jackson
On Tuesday, The New York Observer posted this article about the current economic struggles and publishing—what does this mean for romance publishing in particular? It’s something I’ve been thinking about and that Sourcebooks has been thinking about, as we head into the winter months and begin pushing for holiday sales.
While “budget” has become a buzz word in almost every workplace, and even in the home, Romance Fiction continues to be a booming industry. People are searching for an escape from these hard time and many turn to romance fiction—in particular mass market romance fiction—to lift their spirits. RWA reports that Romance fiction generated $1.375 billion in sales in 2007, so people are out there, eagerly reading!
I know you are all committed to doing whatever it takes to make your books be as successful as they possibly can. We’re a great team, with an awesome and dynamic new romance line bringing fresh voices, new ideas and interesting books that don’t follow the rules to an audience searching for something truly entertaining.
As many of you know, I’ve been guest blogging up a storm at a few places, and answering as many questions as I can along with them (the lovely Romance Bandits asked so many! And they were such good questions, too!)—but one question that came up quite a bit was what should author money be spent on. I would love to be able to say that Sourcebooks can pay for EVERYTHING—but, alas! I cannot. Here’s a short list of things to consider:
1) WEBSITE: Other than your books, I think this is the next thing that readers associate with you and your work. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have your site professionally done (unless you have a family member who does this professionally and will do it for free) and pay them. I’m not totally current on the prices for such things, but I do think by doing some research on other author sites and seeing who they used and making numerous inquiries, you’ll be able to find a great person to put together an lovely site for you!
2) PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS: This is something that Sourcebooks will pay for, but within reason. I think postcards are a great tool, whether you mail them or you hand them out or you stick them on grocery store bulletin boards, etc.—they have more room for information, praise, etc. However, some people like bookmarks, some people like business cards, some people like fliers… To each her own! I know many of you have business cards already, and the beauty of this is that there are sometimes programs on computers that can help you do this—you just need the right kind of card stock and a printer! However, there are businesses that print these materials, and if you buy in bulk, they are quite economical.
3) TRAVEL: Now, I know you all are waiting for me to call you up and say “We’re sending you on a 10 city book tour!” but that might not happen just yet. I do encourage reaching out to your local bookstores, specifically independent bookstores, to do events (but Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. are also great!). Store managers are the nicest people, and if you simply walk in and say, I’m a local author and I’m interested in setting up a signing, the managers will generally know the right way to go about doing things. The worst thing they can do is say no, and then you just move on to the next store! Another idea that I know some of the Casa ladies are discussing is having group signings—whether it’s with fellow Casablanca authors or authors in your same genre or authors in your RWA Chapter, many stores are impressed to see a group of 3 or 4 authors come together to promote their books at the same time. If a store needs to contact someone at your publisher, you can give them my email and office phone number!
Any other questions that you have when it comes to budget? I might not be a money managing expert (I have bought far too many new pairs of shoes in the last month), but I do know a great team of publicists that will help in any way!
Better yet—what are some interesting ideas you’ve had while promoting that really worked (or didn’t) to reach a broader audience?