At this time, even though it may not be relevant to Q&A, I want to let everyone know that all PBG staff and I love what we do. Our authors are awesome and talented individuals, and we enjoy working wtih them, getting to know them both professionally and oftentimes on more personal level. We love finding and nurturing new talent. We love building lasting relationships with our authors (look at how many of our authors have multiple titles with us). And, we love producing products that both entertain and uplift. That's a lot of love going around...There's truly nothing like it!
OK, down to business because I promised to be brief.
- Book videos: Do you create book videos for your books? Answer: Sometimes.We don't create videos for all books. But we try to create them for series books and books that we feel convert well--promo-wise--to a visual medium. It's my belief right now that book videos are a novelty. I'm not convinced they do anything to increase sales, but they are--or can be--very cool, so I look to them more as TOMA (top-of-mind-awareness) advertising that hopefully will cement the author's name in the viewer's mind.
- Reviews: Do you send books out for reviews? How many reviews do your books receive?
- Marketing: Do you give the same marketing budget to all books. Answer: Technically we don't have a "budget" -- as in, there is never an allotted dollar amount that is set aside for marketing any specific title. I can say that we treat all books equally, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the same amount of money is spent on all titles. As I stated earlier, not all titles get book trailers, so there's one example. What we try to do is discern what a title needs as far as promo. It goes without saying (even though I'm about to say it!) that we want every title in our catalogue to do well and sell like hotcakes, so we do what we can to make that happen. For one title, that may mean procuring a book video. For another title, it may mean doing a specialized promo in the author's local market. For another, that may mean web site banner ads, email blasts, or magazine/eZine ads, and so on. Just as no two books are alike, our marketing strategies (and therefore the "budget") vary per title.
- Blog Tours: Do you sponsor book/blog tours for your authors Answer: Sometimes. Sometimes an author sets up those things on his/her own--in which case we do help advertise the tour. Sometimes we set up tours for authors. We do think that tours are great advertising, and we do usually (regardless of whether the tour is set up by us or the author) provide some type of giveaway for the tour (usually the author's current or previous eBook; or a gift certificate to our store). I do think that blog tours are great advertising. They may not amass immediate sales results, but because blog posts are out there forever, blog tours do affect search result ranking, which can definitely help an author in the long run.
- Sales: Can you guarantee sales? What's the average number of books a title sells? Answer: No. Couldn't tell you. I wish we could guarantee sales. Truth is, we can't. We can take any two titles, treat them exactly the same (create a book video, advertise on web sites, in magazines, run free promo, procure reviews...), have both authors do exactly the same thing (promo, tweet, tour...) and one book will soar the other will crawl. In my previous post I mentioned what I observe to be the most successful authors/titles commercially and spiritually, and that was the truth, but still not a guarantee. The way I look at it, we all (author and publisher) must do everything we can to promote a book, make sure readers know about and have access to it, but beyond that, we have no control over whether the reader will actually purchase the book.
- As far as average numbers. I couldn't tell you because I don't figure averages. Averages are irrelevant. If a book is crawling, it doesn't matter that forty other books are soaring--not to the author of that crawling book, anyway, right? We've had some titles sell only a hundred copies in the life of the title (usually a short story by an author who has no other titles available). We've had some titles fly out at thousands of copies in a month, tens-of-thousand in a quarter.
- When it comes down to it, we have to leave it to God. I have faith that as long as we (author and publisher) are doing everything we know we should be doing, as long as we have our priorities straight, as long as we truly want to glorify God in our work, then He works it out. Here's a true story: we had an author who had a story with us. For a couple years (yes, I said years!) the story crawled. Then for some reason, one month, it just took off. To this day I have no idea why. Except, that it must have been a God-thing. I firmly believe that He makes sure the "right" people read our books at just the "perfect" time. We just have to remain steadfast in Him. If we don't, we could go crazy with the "why isn't this working" and "what am I doing wrong" and "why is so-and-so doing so much better." Perhaps its not an issue of something not working; perhaps it's an issue of it working sloowwwwly. Perhaps it's not an issue of doing something wrong; perhaps its an issue of needing to wait for God to reveal just how right it is. Perhaps it's not an issue of so-and-so doing better; perhaps it's an issue of so-and-so's time being "now"--or so-and-so having commercial success but lacking spiritual success (or vice-versa).
- I've said it before, but I believe wholeheartedly: we have to think about Christ's crucifixion. What looked like defeat was ultimate victory when coupled with the Resurrection. When it comes to publishing Christian fiction, if we're going to label it (and rightly) Christian, then we have to--absolutely have to--trust that He works all things for the good--no matter what it looks like in the here and now.
OK, I did it again...went on and on and on...So, I'll close now. (This was more brief than the last post, I do believe :)
One last Q&A: Do you like parenthetical statements. Answer: Evidently, I do!
Happy writing, everyone. God bless you!