Many independent publishers think of the word plan as a document beginning with your mission statement followed by an analysis of your business and a description of your markets, competition, strategies and tactics. Strictly speaking, that is correct. However, there is another approach to planning if your goal is to create a functional device to help you succeed.
Instead of creating a sequential plan as advocated in traditional marketing practice, simply create a set of rules under which you will operate. This approach does not consider the word plan as a noun -- a ponderous text usually valued in terms of its weight -- but as a verb, a process. The result is a description of how to proceed under various conditions, a set of policies that establish the parameters within which you will operate your business.
Did you ever think about taking a long trip? If so, you probably thought about how you would get to your destination, perhaps traveling by car, plane, train or bus. Then you planned where to stay each night, what to pack and how much it would all cost. Finally, you made a checklist so you didn’t forget to do anything and spend your money wisely.
That is the same process you can use to plan your book-marketing activities. First you think about what you are going to do, analyzing alternatives. You choose those that will maximize results, write a plan as a reminder to perform each action in the proper sequence, at the right time and within your budget.
This is the fourth article in a series.
This continues my series of blog postings about the top negotiating traps in which you could unknowingly find yourself when dealing with a corporate buyer. Here is the fourth trap to avoid.
Negotiating Trap #4: Sticking to a formula.
Every negotiation for a large-quantity book sale is different. Each has different objectives, people and budgets, so there is no one path on which you travel toward a successful deal. There is no “one-way” to negotiate a large sale of your books, but there are things that you should and should not do. Knowing when to do which is the key.
This is the third article in a series.
This continues my series of blog postings about the top negotiating traps in which you could unknowingly find yourself when dealing with a corporate buyer. Here is the third trap to avoid.
Negotiating Trap #3: Not seeking common ground.
You will run across varied personalities on your path to negotiating large-quantity sales of your books to corporate buyers. Some of these people will have a hidden agenda when dealing openly in front of their colleagues, and they may assume a more confrontational behavior. This may result from a desire to perpetuate – or establish – a reputation as “playing hardball,” and not compromising easily.
This is the first article in a series.
Corporate executives can purchase your books in large, non-returnable quantities. However, the process to convince them to buy is not short, nor is it easy. These people are spending their company’s money, so they must justify their decisions to those higher up the organizational ladder. The decision makers negotiate with you to get the best deal and to confirm they know the answers to the right questions. Much of your sales success will be the result of making the buyers feel they are making the best decision.
Problems are the bane of all businesses, and solving them is a constant battle as publishers fight to succeed. Spurred by a penchant for action, they quickly switch into solution mode and in many cases address the wrong issues. The secret to winning the struggle is not simply solving problems, but first knowing what the real problem is.
For example, a publisher may begin brainstorming with employees by saying, “We have a problem with poor sales. What can we do about it?” A staff wanting to appear enthusiastic and helpful responds with recommendations for solutions. These might include publishing more books, increasing publicity, changing distributors or selling through more bookstores. Unfortunately, low sales are just a symptom of the real problem, and the solutions offered are analogous to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.