Top author questions & answers about publishing with OSV

cropped-headerimage1.jpegMany authors’ most commonly asked questions are answered here!

We’re constantly updating with new information, so this is a great place to start when you have a question about the what, when, where, how, and why of OSV marketing and editorial.

What is an author platform?

Simply put, it’s your ability as an author to sell books through your own web site, blog, social media and print channels. The mix that you use will depend on you. We have lots more about author platform here.

What will the OSV marketing team do?

We love working with out authors, from Mary Beth, our acquisition editor; to Polly, Jill and the marketing team; to Cathy, who manages our Author Tooklit resources and more. Read an overview of our efforts below.

When does work begin on my book?

Our Sunday Visitor has two general release seasons — spring and fall. Work begins approximately nine months prior to your book’s release. The work flow process is driven by face-to-face sales meetings with Ingram Book Distributors and Barnes & Noble, in which the new book lines are presented. These meetings are held in March (for the fall line) and October (for next year’s spring line). Prior to these meetings, book specifications are entered into their databases. Amazon no longer hosts one-on-one meetings with publishers to discuss upcoming releases. However, your book information is posted in their database at the same time as the others. We also maintain an OSV online bookstore for direct consumer sales at OSVCatholicBookstore.com.

Will I have input on the title of my book?

It is important that we work together to ensure the success of your book — so of course Our Sunday Visitor considers all your suggestions! Once all the options are reviewed by the publishing committee, you’ll hear from your Acquisitions Editor.

Who determines the dimensions of my book?

Your acquisitions editor determines the size of your book.

Will I have input on the cover?

We will carefully consider any recommendations you make. Our designers are professionally trained, and our experience in the marketplace has given us a strong understanding of what is most likely to appeal to retailers and buyers, while reflecting the book’s content and intended audience.

Will I have the chance to preview my cover design before my book goes to press?

Yes, you will see a pdf of the cover for your input and approval.

Will I have a chance to see the back cover copy before it goes to press?

Yes, you will receive a draft of your back cover copy from your Acquisitions Editor. It is important that you review it carefully to make sure there are no factual mistakes, because this becomes the working document for all subsequent marketing copy. When schedules are tight it’s also key to review and respond quickly with your suggestions and approval.

What initial print run can I expect to be set?

Generally, the minimum print run is 3,000 copies. However, right before your book goes on press, the backorder quantity is reviewed and a higher quantity may be ordered depending on demand. The goal is to get as many preorders as possible for your book.

Will Our Sunday Visitor reprint my book when it runs low?

Each day a report is generated that looks at current demand and predicts 30-60-90 days out. This report alerts our production team to order inventory when stock is depleting. Not all demand is predictable so market trends and world events are monitored as well.
If there is an unanticipated demand for your book, Our Sunday Visitor has a printing press on site to ensure there is inventory to fulfill orders.

Who buys Our Sunday Visitor’s books in the United States?

Our Sunday Visitor sells to over twenty different types of customers. The top three customer types are:

  • #1 — retail trade; this includes small “mom and pop” retail stores, Amazon.com, large chain stores such as Barnes and Noble, and distributors like Ingram.
  • #2 — Catholic churches and schools.
  • #3 — the laity — Catholics worldwide!

Will my book be sold abroad?

Yes, your book will be sold overseas. As a matter of fact, Our Sunday Visitor has distributors in Canada, Ireland, England, and Australia. We also have a distributor that covers the rest of the world.

How are foreign rights managed?

Our Sunday Visitor utilizes the services of an outside firm to manage our foreign rights. Riggins International is the only organization that focuses on Christian publishing rights which are sensitive to ministry situations. They know the economic and Christian publishing scene in each country and what are standard terms.

What marketing tools are used to promote my book?

Our Sunday Visitor has a wide variety of promotion vehicles to promote products.

  • Catalogs — one full line catalog and two mini-catalogs per year sent to retail customers and used at trade shows
  • New release direct mail pieces to retailers
  • Email blasts to retailers
  • Media alerts and press releases — over 500 secular and Catholic media including editors, bloggers, journals, and broadcast media
  • Consumer marketing tactics include print advertising, online advertising, email marketing, and social media

Will my book be exhibited at any conventions?

Yes. Our Sunday Visitor attends the Catholic Marketing Network trade (bookstore) show and various other Catholic church/school conferences.

As an author, how much can I be involved in marketing my book?

It is absolutely critical that you be involved in the marketing and promotion of your book — that’s what your author platform is all about! There are many channels through which you can promote your work, and this web site, our Twitter feed and our Facebook page are here to help. Here’s a list of a few of the ways you can build your author platform:

  • Amazon author page
  • Radio, television, and podcast interviews
  • Newspaper and magazine interviews
  • Written op-eds, articles, and blog posts on current events or trends relevant to your book’s theme
  • Convention workshops
  • Book signings, particularly at those stores located in your immediate area
  • Speaking events and webcasts
  • Networking with colleagues
  • Social media
  • Amazon book reviews (you can ask your network of readers to write reviews and submit them to Amazon. The more positive reviews your book has on Amazon, the better it will do!) You’ll find many articles in this toolkit site that can help with specifics of these tactics. And you can always contact us to talk about specific ideas you have!

Who do I call to order copies of my book?

Natalie Fisher is your sales representative. She can be reached at 1-800-348-2440 (ext. 3018) or via email Natalie Fisher.

Do I receive a discount when I order copies of my book?

Yes, authors receive a discount when they purchase copies of their book. Your contract stipulates the discount amount. Shipping charges, which are the responsibility of the author, are calculated according to the weight of the shipment and what zone the box(es) are being sent to. Our Sunday Visitor uses Federal Express. Because the author discount is higher than the royalties one receives, authors earn substantially more per copy on books they sell themselves. It is relatively simple to sell books at live events and online.
Who is responsible for sending me my free author copies stipulated in the contract?
Carrie Hammond, editorial assistant, is responsible for sending you the free copies designated in your contract.

Who handles review copies of my book?

Soon after your book arrives in the warehouse, review copies are sent to a list of select editors, bloggers, and broadcast journalists — both Catholic and secular such as Publisher’s Weekly. They are carefully chosen specifically for your title and sent to those outlets that will have the most impact in the market, gain the most exposure, and elicit additional PR opportunities. You can add to this list with up to 15 of your own contacts, too! Just email Jill Adamson, Senior Trade Marketing Leader, or call 800-348-2440 Ext. 2547.

Who do I contact with questions concerning my royalties?

Royalty questions should be directed to Denise Klinker. She can be also reached at 1-800-348-2440 (extension 3023).

Will my book be listed on major websites?

Our Sunday Visitor supplies data for your book to both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
As part of Our Sunday Visitor’s overall selling strategy, it is helpful if you link your website to three key sites to boost sales.

  1. Our Sunday Visitor’s website, osv.com, is the quickest way for a buyer to get your book. With the purchase of our new press, we print your book in-house so we have stock. But the best part for you as the author, your royalty per copy is larger when no distributor is involved in the sale.
  2. We know that linking your website to Amazon to self-promote your book is a great way to boost sales. You may not be aware that if you participate in Amazon’s affiliate program, a portion of the sale goes back to you. Follow this link to learn more.
  3. We also recommend linking your site to Barnes & Noble by clicking here. Adding this link can help drive more in-store placement of your book. In addition, Barnes & Noble has their own affiliate program. For more information on their program, email BNAffiliate@bn.com.

What is the easiest way for family or friends to order my book?

It’s easy to order your book!

  • Call 1-800-348-2440 from 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST
  •  Order online at OSVCatholicBookstore.com
  •  Mail-in orders: Our Sunday Visitor / ATTN: Book Department / 200 Noll Plaza / Huntington, IN 46750.
  • Or, order through Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, or request it at your local Catholic or Christian bookstore.
  • Contact your parish and ask them to host an “Authors Among Us” event at your parish. You can sell your book to fellow-parishioners at release.

Share and share alike.

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Share and share alike.

Here’s a link to a great infographic to help you determine the best sizes for graphics to create shareable posts on social media. Compelling photos, videos, stories, or links can spread across social media rapidly, increasing your exposure. One idea is to take quotes from your book and create graphic images to post. There are several sites online that offer a free way to combine cool images with your own quotes, but you can also use any photo editing application you have on your computer or tablet. Have you tried this? Let us know how it worked, and any tips you have you can share!

Taking stock of inventory management

One of the questions that comes up from both first-time authors and seasoned veterans is: How does OSV manage inventory? The answer is: Very carefully!

Jill AdamsonJill Adamson, Marketing Director, Books, has 25 years of experience managing the entire inventory of Our Sunday Visitor — which at the moment amounts to about 1,800 products. She shared with me some of the key things authors need to know about the inventory of their book.

PK: How do you decide how many books to order?

Jill: It’s an interesting challenge. We look at each book individually, and based on experience with similar titles we make a very educated decision. The trick is not to over- or under-order.

PK: Why is that?

Jill: Because of our lean business model I am tasked with turning my stock every 12-18 months.

PK: How do you keep track of inventory status?

Jill: I generate a report every week that shows me what inventory will run out in 6 months based on current sales. If a book is a hot seller, I may monitor it daily or several times a week. If it is in jeopardy of going out of stock I reorder.

How long does it take to get books in once they’re reordered?

Jill: On average, it takes 4-6 weeks to receive inventory once a reorder has been placed. But, it’s also important to remember that the time of year a reprint comes up can affect that delivery time. During key publishing seasons, getting press time can be more challenging.

PK: What else influences your reprint decisions?

Jill: As part of my job I stay in tune with market trends, what issues are hot in the news, what author is speaking and where, how OSV is marketing a product, how an author is promoting their product. For instance, if an author has a big speaking engagement coming up, and they are going to sell X amount of their books, that order will affect our warehouse inventory. The earlier we know about these the better!

If you have more questions about inventory management, leave us a comment and we’ll get you answers!

A social experiment – social media tips from authors

From TheWriteLife.com, here’s a nice article that includes author’s tips on using social media to sell more books. Here were some of my takeaways:

  • Do the stuff you like, don’t do the rest. If you hate LinkedIn but love Twitter, do that. If you can’t stand Facebook but love to blog, do that. If you love it you’ll keep it up and build your platform from there.
  • You don’t have to do them all. If you jump into 20 forms of social media, you run the risk of burning out and giving up.
  • Be yourself. ‘Nuf said.

Check out the advice from these authors and post your own tips and tricks in the comments!

St. Isidore, pray for us!

What exactly is your platform?

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May I have your attention?

It’s a question often raised in book publishing — how do I get my book noticed when it’s in a sea of other books competing for readers’ attention? To make it even more of a puzzle, how do you get your CATHOLIC book noticed when it’s in a GALAXY of other books competing for their attention? Sounds impossible, but it’s not, with a little advice from Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt. If you don’t own this book already, click the cover image and buy it today. This boils down hundreds of books, articles, blog posts, and water-cooler conversations into a simple, easy-to-execute method of building a platform and growing it.

But what’s a platform, anyway?

“Today’s platform is built of people. Contacts. Connections. Followers,” states Hyatt, who literally built his platform from a grand total of ZERO followers to one of the largest in the world. How did he do it? His book provides short chapters that capture the step-by-step method that worked for him — including:

  • Start with WOW — differentiating your product
  • Prepare to Launch — the elevator speech, endorsements, PR and more
  • Build Your Home Base — hot tips for building your online platform
  • Expand Your Reach — getting more traffic, followers, and fans, and losing less
  • Engage Your Tribe — the right ways to engage in the conversation

You, up on the stage.

In our experience it is the combination of Our Sunday Visitor marketing efforts — including traditional and non-traditional media, trade, consumer, and parish sales efforts, and public relations — with the efforts of the author in the context of their own platform, that achieves the most success (read: more sales).

Are you working on your platform? What tricks and tips can you share?

Anatomy of an Amazon book page.

amazon.com

amazon.com (Photo credit: soumit)

You made it to Amazon.com!

When your book is up on Amazon, it’s a wonderful thing! You feel like you’ve made the “big time” — and you have! It’s the biggest marketplace ever, and it’s tons of fun to think that someone could go online to buy a television, a pair of shoes, AND a great Catholic book, all in one sitting!

There’s lots to know about what goes into your Amazon product overview page, so let us pick it apart for you so you know what we do, what Amazon does, and what you can do to help sell more books!

  • We’ve got you “covered” — your book’s cover is submitted to Amazon by OSV prior to publication. At the same time, Continue reading

So, you’re doing a book signing.

481300_352251878180669_58947230_nBook signings are a fantastic way to get the word out about your book, and generate sales. It’s not difficult to set up, but it does take some planning. So here are some easy steps to make the most of your next signing!

What’s in store.

Bookstores love author signings! Plus, they’re great for you because the store does a lot of the work. Contact Catholic or Christian bookstores in your area that are carrying the book, and offer to do a book signing at their store. You could sweeten the deal for the store by offering to do a short talk or read excerpts from your book. Continue reading