Marketing FAQ

All marketing and sales of Eisenbrauns publications are handled by Penn State University Press. Our marketing department is staffed by a team of professionals. We publicize and promote books; reach out to review and other media outlets; write catalog, jacket, and other promotional copy; plan, design, and place advertisements; exhibit publications at academic and professional conferences; and sell books to individuals, bookstores, and wholesale and distribution companies. In short, we do everything associated with marketing and distributing your book.

We are delighted to add you to our outstanding roster of authors. We realize you may have questions about what we will do to tell the world about your book. On this page, we address some frequently asked marketing questions. If this FAQ doesn’t address your particular question, please see the staff listing to find a specific member of our team).

We understand your concern about parting with your manuscript after you've worked so hard writing it. We also appreciate your concerns about getting your book into the hands of the reading public. Rest assured, we are going to take care of you and your book. So let's start with the basics.

What happens to my book once I submit my final manuscript to the Press?
What happens on the day my book is published?
What can I do to help promote, publicize, and sell my book?
What are some online marketing tools I can utilize?
How do publishers obtain quotes from celebrities and experts?
When can I expect to see reviews of my book?
I have a connection with our local National Public Radio station. Can you set up an interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air fame?
I have accumulated a mailing list of 150 colleagues, friends, and family. Can the Press use this list?
Will there be a publication reception for my book?
Now that my book is available, will the Press arrange an author tour?
Will the Press schedule book signings?
What can I do when a bookstore doesn't have a copy of my book?
Will the Press sell my book online?
Will my book be advertised in The New York Times?
I live in Minneapolis, but I grew up in Salt Lake City. Will my family and friends be able to find my book in their bookstore? In stores in other countries?
I've been invited to a workshop. The organizers want me to sell my book there. Can I take a small inventory of my book with me to sell?
There will be a book exhibit at a conference I am attending in Bookville, USA. Will the Press take a booth?
How do I obtain copies of my book?
Did we miss a question of yours?

What happens to my book once I submit my final manuscript to the Press?
Your manuscript (MS) goes immediately to editorial and thereafter, to production. But wait! Marketing efforts begin very early in a book's life. Your formal acceptance letter will include a link to the Author Information Form (AIF). The information you provide on the AIF is vital to the successful promotion of your book!

The AIF is your opportunity to tell us what you think we should do to promote, publicize, and sell your book. The AIF is our best resource for information we may wish to include on jackets, as well as in brochures, catalogs, flyers, and ads. Please take the time necessary to fill out the AIF and return it no later than the date on which you submit your final manuscript.

As soon as we receive your completed AIF, we enter the planning and copywriting phase of our marketing operation, which includes drafting catalog, jacket, and other marketing copy, compiling preliminary lists of potential review and advertising outlets, setting an exhibit schedule, assessing publicity and promotional opportunities, and collecting and categorizing your book’s metadata.

What happens on the day my book is published?
Your brand new book is added to our warehouse inventory (which is in University Park, Pennsylvania) and placed on our display shelves in the Press offices. Now comes the fun part.

We ship the books to retailers, wholesalers, libraries, schools, and individuals who placed orders prior to publication. These back orders are generated by a combination of metadata, the seasonal catalog in which your book is featured, advance publicity, the work of sales staff and commissioned sales representatives, and other early promotion efforts.

Orders placed after publication are shipped as soon as they are processed by our warehouse. Keep reading for more information on sales and distribution.

What can I do to help promote, publicize, and sell my book?
Our goal is to spread the word about the content and availability of your book to as broad an audience as possible, with the intent of generating interest, attention, and sales. The best way for you to help is to communicate with us early and often.
– Complete your AIF and provide as much information as you can.
– Be realistic about the audience for your book. Keep in mind, the nonacademic public is rarely the primary audience for a scholarly book.
– Be on the alert for selling opportunities and alert us as soon as you learn of them.
– Be proud of your accomplishment. You are the best promoter of your work. Talk up your book to your friends, family, and colleagues.

Promotion tip: Some authors have enlisted the aid of friends and family to assist in promotion their book(s). We applaud this action. If your book isn't available in a bookstore, ask a friend to place an order for it at that locale. Special orders can lead a bookseller to carry a book.

What are some online marketing tools I can utilize?
Author participation in a book's marketing campaign is essential to its success. Publishers have traditionally relied on authors to promote their books through public appearances and media interviews. Today, online marketing is the single most effective way (short of getting on Bill Gates’s Best Books List) of getting the word out about a published work. Below is some general information about getting started with online marketing.

Author websites can be an effective way to increase awareness of your work, but they take a lot of time and expertise to do correctly. We strongly encourage you to secure the services of a professional web designer and webmaster if you are going to create and author website.

A blog is a website that contains short (ideally 100 - 500 words ), frequent posts of text, images, video, and even audio. It can be as designed or as simple as you wish. One of the earlier forms of social media, blogging creates a community with readers, who are often encouraged to comment on your posts, with the expectation that you will respond to their comments.

If you'd like to have an ongoing casual conversation with your readers, then a blog is the way to go. If you'd like to have a formal and designed site with structured information and longer articles, then a website is the way to go. If both of these are appealing, then creating a website with a blog as part of the website is the best option. WordPress and Blogger are two free, easy-to-learn platforms for beginners.

While we encourage you to maintain a blog or website of your own and will provide a link to it from your book's page on our website, we are unable to build or host it ourselves. It is better to have no blog or website at all than to have an out-of-date or poorly maintained site. Your decision should be based on your budget, time, and goals.

In addition to posting information about your book, your blog or website should include autobiographical information, blurbs and endorsements for your book, links to reviews in the media, related websites, and contact information so that readers can reach you. If you have an e-mail or mailing list, including a signup for it is a good idea.

If you don't have the time or resources to create a website or blog, consider the following social media outlets:

Wikipedia is a nonprofit online encyclopedia project. Entries can be created and edited by anyone. You can post information about your research and your book, your author bio, and link through to your book page on the PSU Press site.

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site. Currently, the fastest growing group of Facebook users are people in the 35-57 age demographic. You'll be surprised how many people find you when you open an account.

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that takes only minutes to set up. It takes some time to build a community on Twitter, but it is a way to reach out to a large number of people very quickly.

LinkedIn is a professional networking site.

How do publishers obtain quotes from celebrities and experts?
This is part of advance marketing efforts. Not every book requires endorsements to be successful. However, sales of fiction and popular nonfiction are enhanced by selectively using advance praise.

On the AIF we ask you to provide names of people who might comment on your MS. When you jot down that information, THINK BIG. Are you acquainted with last year's National Book Award winner? Will an endorsement from the president of your university help us sell your book? Please provide their names and mailing addresses as well as e-mail addresses if you have them.

When can I expect to see reviews of my book?
If a nationally recognized publication runs a review, you will be sure to hear from us as soon as we learn of the review, and quite possibly we’ll let you know in advance. The major newspapers generally run a review the same month a book is published, but sometimes they surprise us with a review as much as a year later. Monthly and quarterly magazines and academic journals usually operate on a slower timetable.

We send copies of your book to a list of reviewers on publication. We create the review list based on our understanding of appropriate and effective outlets and the suggestions you provide in your AIF.

About the state of book reviewing: The advent of the Internet has created a bevy of opportunities and a few challenges for literary critics, book reviewers, and publicists. Reviewers, whether for online magazines or for traditional daily newspapers, are seeing reductions in the space formerly devoted to lengthy and numerous reviews. Many newspapers have reduced or even dropped their book review sections. The New York Times Book Review's deputy editor reports that approximately 7000 books arrive on their doorstep weekly but due to space constraints only 5% of their features and reviews cover these new books. Online-only publications aren't concerned with too little space, but are instead restrained by their budget for freelance reviews.

I have a connection with our local National Public Radio station. Can you set up an interview with Terry Gross of Fresh Air fame?
Local radio shows and NPR affiliates are excellent publicity sources. Please provide the name of the host or producer and the address of the station(s). Competition for author interviews on shows such as NPR's Fresh Air, All Things Considered, and Morning Edition is very stiff, and these nationally broadcast shows may not always be appropriate for your book. However, local NPR affiliates have been very receptive to our authors.

Promotion tip: Talk radio is a good substitute for author tours.

I have accumulated a mailing list of 150 colleagues friends, and family. Can the Press use this list?
You bet we can! Depending upon the makeup of your list, we can use it to announce your book and let people know how to purchase copies. Please discuss this with us in advance and plan to provide your list as a Word document or spreadsheet.

Will there be a publication reception for my book?
No one loves a good party more than our staff, but we feel that publication parties aren't the best use of our limited resources. There are exceptions, of course, and we occasionally co-host receptions with arts councils, museums, and other organizations that express an interest in hosting book-related affairs. Please let us know if you, your family, friends, or colleagues plan on hosting such an event. We may be able to supply some marketing materials, such as a poster, flyers, or order forms.

Now that my book is available, will the Press arrange an author tour?
Our marketing budget cannot support national or even statewide author tours. In addition, we have other, more economical ways of reaching out to potential readers and book buyers. See the promotion tip regarding radio interviews. We will, of course, help you organize events at bookstores and other venues.

Will the Press schedule book signings?
Although we will actively support, promote, and help you coordinate any book signings you arrange, publisher-sponsored signings are, sadly, a thing of the past.

Make sure to let us know if you schedule an event. We can supply you with materials to send to the venue, and we usually are able to work with the bookstore or other host to ensure books are available for sale. We generally do not cover travel expenses associated with signings.

Before you even set foot in the store, here are a few things to consider for the event:
– Choose a bookstore where you live, where you are known, and to which you can travel to affordably.
– Choose a bookstore that is appropriate for the subject matter or region discussed in your book.
– Talk up the event to friends, colleagues, family, and on social media and other online platforms.
– Give out flyers. Post information to social media. Get the word out.

So, you're still up to the challenge? Here are some more tips for the big day:
– Arrive a few minutes early and introduce yourself to the bookstore staff.
– Sell yourself! Talk to people. Be outgoing, even if it hurts. Think outside the box. You never know where small talk may lead.
– Be friendly and courteous to potential customers (and especially to store staff who have given you the opportunity to sell your books in their store).
– Remember you are a guest. Do not disrupt normal store business.
– Unless otherwise instructed, DO NOT bring books. The bookstore will have ordered books prior to the event.

Make sure to keep us informed about all book signings, readings, talks, and conferences you have scheduled.

Promotion tip: Hearing an author read from his or her work and discuss it is much more interesting to the public than a simple signing. Maybe you would prefer to talk about the subject of your book rather than read from it. Invite your audience to enjoy the experience of a live reading and discussion.

What can I do when a bookstore doesn't have a copy of my book?
If you are comfortable addressing the situation head on, then approach a clerk and introduce yourself as the author of Title of Your Book. Sometimes supply doesn't keep up with demand and the store may be out of stock. Your inquiry might encourage them to order it again. Also, keep in mind the previous promotion tip. If your friends and family are wondering where to buy your book, send them to their local bookstore. If your book isn't on the shelf, ask them to place an order for it. This creates demand and may lead to the bookseller stocking more copies of your book.

All of our books are available to retailers either directly from the Press or through any of the major wholesalers, including Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and YBP.

Will the Press sell my book online?
Yes. We sell books directly from our website, where we include information about all of our in-print titles, author events, and awards. Please feel free to link to our site and let us know if you want us to link from your book’s page to your own website.

We provide online booksellers such as with complete bibliographic and descriptive copy for active and forthcoming titles. We also provide images of book covers. We keep tabs on how and what is presented so we can catch errors and add notable reviews. Please let us know if you spot an error so we can get it corrected.

Promotion tip: Be sure to provide us with a list of websites pertinent to the subject of your book. We can ask if they will link to the PSU Press website and lead folks directly to the page featuring your book.

Will my book be advertised in The New York Times?
Generally, we do not advertise in the more cost prohibitive journals, newspapers, or magazines. We can reach your audience more economically and efficiently by using the following promotion vehicles:
– Seasonal Catalogs. This catalog announces our forthcoming books to the trade, highlights our recently published books and bestsellers, and is a vital marketing and sales tool. We mail the catalogs to bookstores, wholesalers, and libraries every six months. Sales reps hand deliver catalogs to their accounts and refer to them during their sales calls. We distribute catalogs at the exhibits we attend and mail them to review media.
– Direct Mail. When we have determined that direct mail is the best marketing vehicle for a book or group of new titles, we will rent lists of associations and/or university faculty.
– Postcards and Flyers. These are multipurpose promotion pieces. We distribute them at exhibits and at other appropriate events, and provide authors with them in printed and electronic form.
– Space Advertisements. Our ad budget is small and used primarily to promote author appearances or readings. We also use space ads in conference programs to bring attention to our displays.
– Online Advertising. We regularly advertise using Google's AdWords program. To that end we are very interested in learning what keywords apply to your book. Try to think in terms of "statistically improbable phrases” or put yourself in the shoes of the nineteen-year-old student for whom plagiarizing your work would surely guarantee an “A.” We are also interested in learning what blogs or forums you and your colleagues frequent (especially those that feature advertising).
– Exhibits. To some people there is nothing like picking up a book and flipping through it to see if it's right for them. Keep reading to find out more about our exhibit strategy.

I live in Minneapolis, but I grew up in Salt Lake City. Will my family and friends be able to find my book in their bookstore? In stores in other countries?
Absolutely! We have a worldwide network of sales representatives and book distributors who call on independent booksellers, chain stores, major wholesale accounts, and miscellaneous outlets.

We distribute book metadata weekly and meet with our sales reps and distribution partners each season to brief them on the forthcoming books, point out compatible backlist titles, tout bestsellers, and motivate them to sell our newest publications and remind accounts of our backlist.

I've been invited to a workshop. The organizers want me to sell my book there. Can I take a small inventory of my book with me to sell?
We appreciate your entrepreneurial spirit, but selling books can be complicated. Please contact us about the event as far ahead as possible so we can work with you and/or your host(s) to find the best solution. This may be the perfect situation for you to hand out flyers in large numbers, catalogs, and other promotional materials. Or perhaps the organizers would be interested in buying books to sell or give away.

Promotion tip: Always carry a copy (or two) of your book with you to workshops, conferences, and meetings. And don't forget your flyers!

If the event takes place on a college campus, or if you have several speaking engagements lined up in one city, we can invite the campus bookstore or the local bookstore to carry your book.

There will be a book exhibit at a conference I am attending in Bookville, USA. Will the Press take a booth?
We regularly staff exhibits at a variety of academic and professional conferences and meetings, including those of the College Art Association, Modern Language Association, American Academy of Religion, Congress on Medieval Studies, and the Pennsylvania Historical Association. We also send new books to exhibits staffed by third-party exhibitors, such as Scholar's Choice. For other meetings that you may be attending, we will be happy to provide a book for display and flyers. Let us know your plans and we will work with you to find the best method to promote your book in conjunction with the conference you are attending.

How do I obtain copies of my book?
Your contract states the number of complimentary copies you will receive. We send these contractual copies after the book is published.

If at any time you wish to purchase more copies, just call our distribution center toll free: (800) 326-9180. Your contract indicates the discount we extend to authors purchasing their own books, as well as a discount for purchases on books we publish by other authors.

Did we miss a question of yours?
Then please contact our associate marketing director, . This FAQ is an attempt to answer questions you may have about the marketing, promotion, and distribution of your book; however, please keep in mind that each book is unique, and therefore, we may make exceptions to some of the policies we've outlined here.

We are aware that there is always room for improvement, and we welcome your suggestions, comments, and queries. Book promotion is a team effort, and we need your help. We plan to work together for a long time, so please give us feedback if there is something we do that you particularly like (or dislike).

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