Sunday, July 18, 2010

RNA Conference 2010 - Industry Day Part One

Sales and Publicity: The Insiders' Guide
Charlotte, Rob & Katie
The opening session of RNA Conference 2010 Industry Day began with a welcome from our wonderful chairperson Katie Ffforde. She then introduced two people she knows well - Charlotte Bush, Publicity Director of Cornerstone Publishing - a division of Random House and  Rob Waddington, Director of Sales at Random House.

Rob began by saying his job was to get books into as many hands as possible and his customers were the retailers. 

He gave the example of the three Katies (Katie Fforde, Kate Flynn and Katie Price) who each -
-write books for their market
-target their market
-know who will read their books

Each of these writers delivers - readers know what they will receive.

He then stated that you need to tell a great story and that the book jacket is the greatest marketing tool. Readers need a signal that this book is for them.

Charlotte then spoke saying her job was to secure coverage and drive sales with as little budget as possible. The process begins 6 months ahead of publication. They need to know what is interesting about you – what’s personal to your story. They need stories to tell. For example:

- what you may have done for research (Katie Fforde being a porter in an auction house for the book Flora's Lot)
-What was the real story or inspiration behind the book?
-Good location connection

For commercial women's fiction the best location to place publicity is:
-women's magazines (5 to 6 months before publication)
-weekly magazines 
This is because women's fiction is about relationship and this appeals to the magazine readers.

Six weeks before publication copies go out to broadcast media.
Radio is a fantastic place for women’s fiction and regional radio is extremely effective – local connection.
Work with your local libraries and book stores.

In general they don't give parties any more because parties don't sell books. Tours are very expensive. Publicity has changed. Space has shrunk.
She recommended using the free media that is avaialable. It is an effective way of getting the news out there.
Internet – use blogger, tweeting, work with website and Facebook

In the questions section this information came out:
-harder and harder to sell to women in their 20s
-the biggest book buyers are between 40-49
-make sure the jacket hits the reader

A question was asked with regard to the level of language used in books - should it be lowered or raised?
-the answer was there was no demographic
-there are 18 Million customers a week in Asda and 25 million a week in Tesco

A question was asked about stickers on books - were they an affective sales tool?
-only if the reader trusted the recommendation - ie Richard & Judy
-there is huge power in recommendation from a trusted source

A question on the difficulty of selling a book from a new author. It is harder.
-retailers rely on reader loyalty
-the jacket is key
-the hook
-the concept
-something a little different

The reality today is that a book may get less than a minute to be sold to a retailer.

NOTE: The above is taken from my quickly scribbled notes and are no doubt very flawed. I apologize in advance for any mistakes...


Jan Jones said...

Your 'quickly scribbled notes' are other people's full report!

DJ Kirkby said...

Thanks for all this info Liz. I'm going to link back to this post from my lazy Sunday post today.

liz fenwick said...

Jan :-)

DJ - please do and thanks


Debs said...

Great post and very useful for those of us (me) who weren't able to be there.

Many thanks.

Alison Morton said...

Thank you for an excellent post, Liz, you've covered everything. Well beyond 'scribbled notes'!

May I link it from my blog?

Nell Dixon said...

Very interesting, thanks, Liz

liz fenwick said...

Debs and Nell - a pleasure

Alison - of course