Marketing

What happens to my book once I submit my final manuscript to the press?
Marketing efforts begin even as your book is transmitted for copyediting and production. By this point you will have been asked to complete an Author Information Form (AIF). (Ensure you complete the correct version—either scholarly or trade.) The information you provide on the form is vital, as it is the primary resource for the marketing and publicity materials we develop for the book. Please take the time necessary to fill out the form and return it to us promptly. This will be time well spent.

How do publishers obtain quotes about the book?
Most books benefit from an endorsement from a recognized person, with two or three blurbs usually being sufficient. Depending upon if your book is trade or scholarly, we have two different approaches: If your book is scholarly, we will take care of getting the quotes. In the case of trade titles, it is often most effective for you to approach the person yourself. Note that this should be done as early as possible. If you need assistance, please contact Laurie Avery (laurie@osupress.org).

What about an author photo?
Not every book needs an author photo. In the case of scholarly books, we will only use a photo on books with a single author (this is due to space constraints on the back cover).  While we are more likely to use an author photo on trade titles, we do so at our discretion. Note that digital files are preferred and must be at least 300 dpi at 3x3 inches. Please provide a photographer credit line.

How much involvement can I have with the design of my cover?
The interior of your book is your opportunity to communicate with your reader, and the exterior is our opportunity to sell to the buyer. However, your input is essential to helping us effectively market to your audience. Be sure to thoughtfully complete our Author Design Form (ADF), and include in that space any other ideas you have that you think will help us connect with buyers.

You will have the opportunity to review the initial composition of the front cover and then, at a later point, the full cover (with the copy and quotes in place on the back of the book).

What happens on the day my book is released?
Your brand new book is added to our warehouse inventory in Chicago, and you’ll receive your complimentary copies. Then we begin shipping the books to retailers, wholesalers, libraries, and individuals who ordered the book prior to publication and begin processing new and future orders. At this point, we’ll also send out review copies—again, using your AIF for suggestions on where to direct these copies.

When can I expect to see reviews of my book?
For scholarly books, we send copies of your book immediately after publication to a list of reviewers, based on our experience and your input. Reviews of scholarly works can sometimes take a while to appear, usually coming out 12 to 24 months after publication. For books with a trade audience, review venues are sometimes sent an advance copy of the book, so reviews can appear any time before the book comes out to as much as two years after publication.

Reviews will be posted to your Author Portal, so check there regularly to see what reviews have become available. If you discover reviews of your book, feel free to send them on to us to use for promotional purposes.

Will you nominate my book for awards?
We are happy to submit your book for appropriate prizes and awards and welcome your suggestions on your AIF, which we will carefully review. We typically submit to a number of competitions we have regularly sent to in the past. In the case of national awards such as the Pulitzer or National Book Award, which require substantial fees and multiple copies, we need to be extremely selective and may ask the author to help subsidize the expense.

I have accumulated a mailing list of 150 colleagues, friends, and family. Can the press use this list?
Absolutely—and you’ll see a place for this on your AIF. Depending upon the makeup of your list, we can use it as a promotional tool and let people know how to get copies of your book. Please provide your list as a Word document via email. We prefer email addresses to postal addresses.

Will the press sell my book on the Internet?
Yes. Print books are available through all the major online retailers, and most books are available as e-books through Amazon and other online retailers. We recommend that authors consider setting up an author page on Amazon (visit authorcentral.amazon.com to learn more). In addition, each book has its own book page on our website where the book can also be purchased.

What about ads?
We generally focus on ads for very targeted publications and especially for books oriented toward a trade audience. Please indicate in your AIF any possible advertising opportunities you would like us to consider. But again, we are very judicious with ads.

How do I obtain copies of my book?
Your contract states the number of complimentary copies you will receive immediately after the book arrives at the warehouse. If at any time you wish to purchase more copies at your author-discounted price, you may do so by calling the distribution center at 1-800-621-2736.

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 sales. The best way for you to help is to cooperate with us.

  • Complete your AIF and provide as much information as you can.
  • Be realistic about the audience for your book. While your work may be the premiere research in your given field, the general reading public may not be interested.
  • Consider where to send review copies carefully. Remember, one free copy is one less sale.
  • Be on the alert for selling opportunities. Call or e-mail us with detailed information we can use.
  • If you book has a trade audience, consider setting up a book signing, which can be a terrific way for you to meet your public. We are happy to assist you in helping to get books to the site or with publicity.
  • Be proud of your accomplishment. You are the best promoter of your work. Talk up your book to your friends, family, and colleagues.
  • Distribute any marketing materials we provide.
  • Be patient.

What about social media and online marketing?
The press also maintains a Facebook and Twitter account that we’ll use to promote the book, and we recommend that authors follow us and share our posts and tweets pertaining to their book.

Author participation in a book's marketing campaign has always been essential to its success. Publishers have traditionally relied on authors to promote their books through public appearances and media interviews. With the Internet, publishers have come to depend on authors to be online marketing engines for their books. Online marketing is now the single most effective way of getting the word out about a published work. Below is some general information about getting started with online marketing.

Facebook: It’s typically useful to separate your personal postings from those promoting your book. While many family members are likely to be interested in the promotion and response to your book, your readers may not be all that interested in your personal life or political opinions. Managing the separation between the two can be handled by using groups within Facebook or by maintaining separate accounts for personal posts and professional posts.

Twitter: Twitter is a mini-blogging site 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. Keep in mind that twitter has a 140 character limit for each post, and that links and attached images will take up some of those characters. Twitter tends to be read by users as a live stream, so successful Twitter usage requires frequent postings.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn is a professional networking site used more often by business people than academics, but profiles there are often ranked highly by search engines.

Academia.edu: Academia.edu is a for-profit scholarly community that many academics in the humanities use to share their work and ideas with their colleagues. Please keep in mind that posting copyright protected material there, while often done, is only legal when done with the permission of the publisher. If you wish to post material from the copyedited version of your book, please check with us first.

Blogging: If you'd like to have an ongoing casual conversation with your readers, then a blog is the way to go. While we encourage you to maintain a blog or website of your own and we will provide a link to it from your book’s page on ohiostatepress.org, we are unable to build or host it ourselves. This is primarily for legal reasons, but we also do not have the resources to create, maintain, or host blogs for authors. It is better to have no blog or website at all than to have an out-of-date or poorly maintained site.

In addition to posting information about your book, your site 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 email or mailing list, including a sign-up for it is a great idea.

There are other platforms not covered here like Snapchat, Instagram, and Tumblr, and if you already are a member of a community on one of those platforms, we encourage you to consider using it for the promotion of your book. In deciding on where your time might best be spent, consider platforms where your audience and peers congregate. If you are already part of an online community, that’s probably a good place to talk about your work.

Did we miss a question?
This document is an attempt to answer questions you may have about the marketing 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. If you have any further questions, please email the marketing director, Laurie Avery, at laurie.avery@osupress.org.