by Kathleen Kaska
I’m still reaping benefits from attending the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) trade show in Portland this past October. As marketing director for Cave Art Press, it’s my job to promote our titles and this includes mingling with others in the publishing business. During the two-day event I made an effort to meet as many authors, booksellers, and publishers as I could. My colleague, Lisa Wright, and I also had the opportunity to attend a couple of workshops. One was hosted by Cynthia Franks, president of Cypress House, a publishing company that also offers full-service book production and promotional services. I was impressed by Cynthia’s knowledge and expertise. I called her when I returned from the trade show, and she kindly offered some marketing suggestions for our growing publishing company and shared some promotional tips.
One tip already is showing some promise: “piggybacking”, or co-promotion. In Cave Art’s case, it involves working with other small presses to promote one another’s businesses. It might seem odd that two competing publishing companies would work together, but mutual advertising of books on similar topics boost sales overall for those topics. If someone is interested in sailing travel-adventures, chances are they will purchase several books on the topic no matter the publisher.
The key is finding another publisher that fits. After a day of studying the list of publishers who attended the trade show, and looking for small independents similar to Cave Art Press, I narrowed the list to ten and contacted each one about of co-promoting. Two of them responded immediately: Forest Avenue Press in Portland and Microcosm in Seattle. We began by “liking and “following” each other on Facebook and Twitter, and sharing promotional ideas. We then began sharing blog posts and have since agreed to reciprocally send everyone’s catalogs and promotional materials.
All this reminded me that years ago when I began teaching, I had very little support, but once our school developed team-teaching and I started working closely with other teachers, everyone’s teaching skills improved. I became a better teacher.
Whether it’s teaching, writing, or marketing, working with others in your field not only yields benefits, it keeps you abreast of changing trends and techniques, especially in the ever-changing world of publishing.