Lauren Pizza is an author whose memoir Meant to Be, was recently picked up by a publishing house.  When I met her last year at the Frankfurt Book Fair, she was there checking out the publishing industry.  Lauren’s story illustrates how important it is to stay the course and use every contact and promotional tool at your disposal.  Here is her inspirational story:

I never dreamed that I would walk into a bookstore and see a book that I wrote on the shelves. Not only was it available in the “New Releases” section, but my book was surrounded by other fabulous memoirs like Lea Michele’s Brunette Ambition and Robin Roberts’ inspiring Everybody’s Got Something.

Little did I know the amount of work that needed to transpire beforehand. So after my experience, I’ve come up with a few tips to help writers just starting out.

  1. Enjoy the process of writing (while you can): I fell in love with the creative process. It was truly a therapeutic experience, and I reveled in the idea that my work would reach others. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write a memoir, let alone that people would actually buy it.
  2. It truly is all about who you know (and trial and error): Like any other 21st century human, I Googled how to get my book published. I came back with Nicholas Sparks’ agent among others. I figured going straight to the top would work out fabulously. The name of Sparks’ agent would have been great if I actually knew someone who could introduce us. Upon this realization— as well as no responses from
    Lauren Pizza, Meant to Be

    Jersey Girl, Lauren Pizza

    those top literary agents— I then began asking everyone who might know someone in the publishing world. I was even brave enough to email the entire manuscript to James Patterson (well, I emailed his wife, and I am still waiting for that reply).

  3. Be prepared for change: Not only did the title of my book change throughout the process, but so did the focus of my book. I finally found a successful person in the publishing world when I asked my husband’s lawyer if he knew anyone. The lawyer knew someone who had written two books, yay!   But, the process certainly didn’t stop there.  
  4. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to take others’ advice (especially regarding something you don’t know anything about):  I sent my manuscript to the publishing lawyer and heard nothing for five weeks. By that time, I was planning on self-publishing or just shelving the manuscript and calling it a day.  Then, I received the email that changed everything.  Meeting this man was like magically finding a goldmine. He told me that I write better than Norah Ephron and that I reminded him of Erma Bombeck. He also said I had the complete wrong list of literary agents and handed me a new list, told me who to call, and what to say.  He also encouraged me to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry, and I would give the same advice to any aspiring writer looking to get published.
  5. Marketing is everything (and never-ending): When Skyhorse Publishing agreed to meet with me, I was thrilled! After 45 minutes of an amazing performance on my part, the owner of the Publishing Company said: “Yes, I will publish your book!”   From that point on, marketing took over. You can write the greatest book ever, but if it doesn’t reach anyone, then what is the point? I began by hiring a publicist and working with a PR firm. We called radio stations, recorded a song as the soundtrack for my book, and even created and distributed 30 second commercials to various networks that played during prime time viewing. All that work was maybe even harder than writing the book!
  6. Establish a “brand” along with your bookI did that with my last name. Some people might try to hide a last name like “Pizza, but since I’m from New Jersey and we take pizza very seriously, why not sell that? I sent my book and promotional materials out in a pizza box. The magazines and media companies on the receiving end loved it. After all, wouldn’t you remember a book sent to you in a pizza box? Getting noticed is about selling what is unique about you as a writer. And by getting that noticed, you get remembered. I also went all out on Social Media reach with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, U –Tube, Linkedln , etc.

What is my best marketing tip?   Marketing will always be one of the most essential parts of your writing career.   So pretend you are running for office and sell your book that way, (maybe without kissing babies and all that).

 

 

Ikea has been in the media a lot lately for its catalogs. They print over 200 million copies annually in 27 languages for 38 countries.

And those catalogs aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon for a simple reason: they work incredibly well. Catalogs mailed to consumers are 30 times more effective in making a sale than those sent via electronic mail (DMA Response Rate Report 2012).

Ikea just released this brilliant parody ad that celebrates their printed catalog and “bookbook” technology  (proving, too, that a company can market with a sense of humor.)

Remember, PG can now help you with your direct mail requirements.  Give us a shout to learn more.

 

As a publisher, you’re often asked to promote books, authors, and events like book signings. That means you might require additional print services like postcards, catalogs, lists, and direct mail.

Now you can look to PG for everything you need all under one roof. With our acquisition of Commercial Letter, we’re excited to offer direct mail products and services. Here’s a partial listing of what we can do:

Are you announcing a new book or book event? There’s a postcard for that! Common sizes are 4 x 6, 6×9, and 6x 11, and we can even print a jumbo size of 9 x 12.

We now offer printing and mailing of postcards, catalogs, direct mail pieces.

We now offer printing and mailing of postcards, catalogs, direct mail pieces.

You asked for them:  Publisher catalogs are now a reality!  List and promote your titles (and your back-list) with our saddle-stitched 4-12 page catalogs and booklets.  Popular sizes are 8.5×11 and 8.5×5.5.

Is your direct mail project more complex? We offer a variety of formats for self-mailers, folder packages, custom handwork or the works—from simple letter-sized packages to multi-piece 9 x 12 packages.

Are you trying to reach a select audience? From consumer and business lists to specialty lists, our list services team can help you obtain the addresses you need in the areas you want to target.

What if you could print a personalized map with directions to a book signing event?  With Variable Printing you can! We can integrate your data into a truly personalized direct mail piece that sets you apart from the competition.

Data management is Square One. If your mailing list is a mess, you won’t reach those targets you want to market to.  Before you spend money, let us analyze and  clean your list with tools like postal formatting, NCOA processing, and merge/purge services.

Are you printing and distributing journals? Do you have a warehousing plan in place? As you wade through complex postal regulations—both domestic and international—you may need some guidance!  Our team can analyze your current program to find those areas that need some tweaking.

Challenge us! We pride ourselves on finding ways to help you with even the most complex packages, including printing ideas, suggestions for the best formats, and data/list advice.

Visit the Commercial Letter website to find more information about our new direct mail products and solutions.

[July 8, 2014, Carol Stream, IL]  Publishers’ Graphics, a leading Chicago-based POD print provider, announced today that it has acquired Commercial Letter, a direct marketing printing company located in St. Louis, Missouri. The acquisition fortifies PG’s distribution, mailing, and fulfillment solutions and strengthens its ability to service the publishing industry with direct mail programs.

“Commercial Letter brings a new dimension to our business, allowing us to offer not only a direct mail solution to our publishers, but also advanced supply chain programs. Integrating Commercial Letter’s fulfillment and mailing services into our technology platform will enable our customers to benefit from a highly customized distribution program, all of which aligns very well with our future strategic plans,” said Nick Lewis, President of Publishers’ Graphics.

President of Commercial Letter, Brad Chrysler, agreed: “We are excited to be joining Publishers’ Graphics. Combining their cutting edge technology platforms with our distribution model will be a game changer for our industry. Our customers will benefit from the additional services, a streamlined workflow, and the additional print capacity.”

The Commercial Letter operation will eventually be folded into the PG facility in Earth City and managed by Brad Chrysler, quote 11who will stay on as Vice President of Operations at the facility.  Publishers’ Graphics’ corporate headquarters will remain in Carol Stream, Illinois, approximately 35 miles west of Chicago.

With a legacy spanning over a hundred years, Commercial Letter has been a pioneer in the direct mail industry, printing and sending annually over 60 million pieces of mail for clients in the healthcare, retail, academic and automotive industries. Other services include a marketing automation platform which allows users to integrate their media campaigns through mobile, email, direct mail and web channels.

As a leader in POD and short-run printing for publishers, Publishers’ Graphics brings innovative procedures and workflows to book creation. Providing customized solutions to its customers has made PG a go-to resource for publishers around the world.  Headquartered in Carol Stream, IL, PG has an in-plant satellite operation in Florence, Kentucky, as well as the recently acquired web offset/digital print facility in St. Louis, Missouri, formerly Corley Printing. Publishers’ Graphics distributes globally by printing its products locally on three continents through strategic partnerships.

With a diverse range of publishing customers, Publishers’ Graphics offers POD, short run, and offset solutions to small, medium and large publishers alike. Through the custom development of MIS and workflows, Publishers’ Graphics will customize processes for its customers to minimize costs, and create an ease of doing business.

For more information, please visit www.pubgraphics.com or www.commercial-letter.com.

 

By Katie Owens, PG customer service

A lot of authors create their content in Word documents.  There’s nothing wrong with that, but like most digital printers, PG works in a PDF workflow, so final files must be submitted in that format.

So how do you convert your Word documents to PDF’s?  It’s easy!  Just follow our step-by-step guide:

Step 1:  On the top bar of your work document, you will see multiple tab options. Click on PAGE LAYOUT.

On the top bar of your work document, you will see multiple tab options.  Click on PAGE LAYOUT.

Step 2: Once you are on the PAGE LAYOUT tab, click on the drop down option for SIZE. Next select MORE PAPER SIZES. 

Once you are on the PAGE LAYOUT tab, click on the drop down option for SIZE.  Next select MORE PAPER SIZES …

Step 3:  Go to the PAGE tab and you will enter in the WIDTH and HEIGHT of the book you want.

Step 3

Step 4:   The final step is saving your Word document as a PDF – see below for more detailed instructions.

Step 5

TIP:  Before proceeding, save a copy of your files, just in case something goes awry!

Go to “File”

  • Save As
  • Save As Adobe PDF
  • You will see a pop up notification from Acrobat PDF Maker: “Do you want PDFMaker to save the file and continue?” Click YES
  • Next you will see a new pop-up menu to save you file in a specific location and to name your file.

Make sure under the FILE NAME, you enter in the SAVE FILE TYPE AS and select PDF

  • Select OK and your Word file will be converted to a PDF.

That’s it!  Now you can rest easy knowing your files are set up in the proper format for digital production.

As always, you can give us a call or  visit pubgraphics.com.

 

Two PG employees at the St. Louis facility, Tania Gonzalez and Ian Peacock, recently completed Xerox’s iGen4 Operator Training. The pair joins the ranks of only 2000 operators worldwide who have become certified by Xerox in this training.

The Xerox course packs an intensive two weeks of on-site training in press set-up and specifications, equipment maintenance and color management.  Particular attention is focused on press maintenance with the goal of maintaining a 90% productivity level. Reaching this critical benchmark means the equipment is performing at optimum levels, with little or no downtime.

Xerox trainer Bob Sampson stated:  “We teach the operators the extensive diagnostic skills that they need which enable the press to function at peak performance levels. That ultimately adds a lot value when a press goes down and the operator can troubleshoot and get it up and running, in short order.”

Optimizing image quality is another important goal of the course.  The training provides the framework for understanding and managing color, and the rest  comes with time and experience.

Both Tania and Ian had previous experience with other presses in the St. Louis plant, but the Xerox technology was new for them. Ian said: “The training has been valuable in helping me run the equipment more efficiently, and it has definitely broadened my abilities in the work environment. “

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