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“Write about what you know.” So goes the saying, and for Paul Herd, that means classic cars as well as a mystery novel set in the Ozarks of Missouri.

The classic cars came first. Paul created his publishing company, PAH Publishing, based around his love of cars. For the last 31 years, he’s written, photographed and published over 30 automotive tech manuals that help collectors restore classic cars and trucks. Sales have continued to grow as new books and manuals are added to the publishing group.

Paul’s manuals are really tools that help collectors source replacement parts for their vehicles and understand the manufacturers’ complicated coding sheets.  His manuals cover some of America’s most beloved and iconic models including the Cadillac, Ford trucks, and Mustangs.IMG_0364

During breaks in his thriving publishing business, Paul, who also writes under the pen name of Thomas Mulveigh, wrote a novel called “Blood Necklace,” a murder mystery set in the Ozarks where he resides.  It’s his first fiction novel, and his second is in the works, due out early next year.

Reprint Center fills the Distribution Void

Using a combination of channels to market and promote his titles, Paul sells his books directly on his own website, http://www.goldenroadspublishing.com, and also takes advantage of PG’s Reprint Center for shortruns for shipping directly to bookstores and author events.

Paul was one of PG’s first customers to use PG’s new Reprint Center. He says, “You have made it so much easier to use, we just find our company in the list of all our titles so I don’t have to sort through endless list of titles hunting for the one I want.  I don’t need to use a different purchase order number for every title, I can have one per customer, which is much easier to reconcile in our files.”

Shipping has become easier too. Paul noted, “The biggest perk for us is we pay for shipping up front; no more guessing how much it is, so there are no surprises.”

Quality is still Paul’s main driver when it came to selecting a print vendor. “For the quality of the books we couldn’t ask for better, before that was one of the complaints we were getting from customers, now even our fiction book “Blood Necklace” sits on bookstore shelves in between those from big publishers and no one can tell it is a print on demand book.  If a bookstore wants you to do a book signing for them, the quality speaks for itself.”

PG’s new retail platform, PGDirect, is another sales channel that Paul utilizes. He benefits from a free retail listing, more exposure and visibility, and a POD model that prints and ships his books within 48 hours.

 

Have you written your book? Are you ready to start marketing?   Now comes the hard part:  building an author or book website to promote your book. Creating a website can be fun project, but it’s often easy to get caught up in the bells and whistles of web technology and forget the real purpose of a website.

In this post I’m interviewing Brandon McDonald, a graphic designer who has built a thriving business that helps small business, non-profits, and entrepreneurs. He’s designed many websites and has several suggestions that can help you tackle this time-consuming project and improve your web design experience.

It seem like websites have evolved from being art projects to becoming more of a marketing tool. What trends and changes have you noticed in website design?

Over the past 15 plus years, I have witnessed website design shifting from the hands of developers to designers and marketers. With this shift websites are generally more attractive and are often first approached from a marketing perspective. A great-looking website is often rendered useless when the needs of the target market aren’t considered from the very beginning of the plan. Great websites have carefully considered design, development, and marketing—all working in tandem.

What’s the most important thing that clients can do to work with website designers to make their websites more effective?  

Have a plan. Know what you want to accomplish. Who is your market? How are you different than your competitors? What makes you special? Effective designs come from effective plans. Many designers are great out-of-the-box thinkers. Including your designer early in the process can help shape a more effective end-result.

Is blogging worthwhile? Should a blog be part of a website?

Blogging can be very worthwhile. Adding valuable content on a regular basis will keep people engaged and give a reason to continually visit a site. More content also means more organic search results, which are very helpful with search engine optimization (SEO). Sharing expertise and knowledge is a good way to add value for readers and solidify a reputation as a leader in a particular field.

Blogging can also be a liability. When blogs aren’t updated regularly or contain little to no value it can make the company or person look lazy, disengaged, disingenuous, or otherwise bad.

Ultimately, it is up to the person or company to consider whether or not they can keep on top of the blog. If so, go for it! If not, maybe consider a different route, such as social media.

What else can authors/publishers do to make sure they’re on the right track?

Google Analytics and other site measurement tools are invaluable for data collection. With this data, you can see what is working and what isn’t. You can see where your site traffic is coming from: search keywords, links from other sites, etc. With this information you can better craft your next steps. The web is ever-changing, so adapt your strategies.

Don’t forget traditional media and promotion tools. Many businesses focus so heavily online that they neglect more traditional delivery methods, such as print. Print, coupled with web, can be more effective than either alone. Human beings enjoy the tactile. Targeted mailing to existing clients or serious prospects can be that extra thing that sets you apart from the competition and ultimately wins you a person’s business. A great designer will ensure that your online presence and printed materials match and create a cohesive brand.

Do you think social media can be used effectively to promote a book or author?

Social media is just another media to connect with an audience. It ideally is part of a larger promotional plan. It can be a highly effective sales tool for folks that can keep up with it. Check it often and always respond when a reasonable question is asked. It is a lot like customer service mixed with a fan club. Used in conjunction with a website containing a stellar blog, look out!

 

 

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.

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. “

The curtains closed on the 2014 London Book Fair just a few weeks ago. The LBF is a major global publishing event, second only to the Frankfurt Book Fair, and a small contingent from Publishers’ Graphics was fortunate enough to attend.

There were seminars and conferences, lots of exhibitors showcasing new technologies, and even a representative from the royal family strolled the aisles: the Duchess of Cornwall.  And of course, books! One glance at the exhibit floor and you’ll be assured that the publishing industry is very much alive and kicking.

Who attends the LBF? Publishers, agents, distributors, authors, and all those who supply the book trade—printers, tech companies and people who just love books. PG’s Vice President of Distribution and Sales, Anthony Ferrigno noted, “With the constant change within the publishing industry, attending an event such as the LBF offers the opportunity for publishers to see new technologies and trends.  In short, if someone is in this industry and is either in an executive or senior management role, they should attend.”

Speaking of trends, PG sales rep Susan Tonks observed quite a few: “It was quite interesting to see various special print techniques for book covers: lots of embossing, foil stamping, reverse lacquer, and folded covers.”  She continued: “Since this was my first international book fair experience, I was impressed by the number of vendors and the wide range of books they publish.”

PG has its eye on the Big Apple with its next stop the Book Expo America in New York City in late May.  If you’d like to meet with us at BEA, give us a shout!

London Book Fair, 2014

London Book Fair, 2014

 

Sights from the London Book Fair

Sights from the London Book Fair

 

Old meets New: Big Ben and the London Eye

Old meets New: Big Ben and the London Eye

 

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