Don’t Let This Happen to You!

A member publisher of Christian Small Publishers Association released a children’s book last month to coincide with the International Christian Retail Show (ICRS). This publisher arranged for the author to do an author appearance with a book signing at the show to promote this new release.

The weekend before the show, the book’s author, Kim Simac, had the chance opportunity to meet Glenn Beck, a conservative talk show host. Glen was so impressed with the author and her book that he decided to feature the book on his show during the week of ICRS. That same week, the Supreme Court handed down the landmark decision in a 5-4 ruling that overturned Chicago’s ban on private citizens keeping handguns in their homes. This decision placed the media’s attention on the Second Amendment, a complete publicity coup for this publisher.

The day after the ruling from the Supreme Court, Glenn Beck did feature “With a Rifle By My Side,” the second amendment children’s book by Kim Simac, on his show.

This is the type of media attention every publisher craves. National publicly generates book sales, often lots of book sales.

In this case, there was a problem. Being a new release and not anticipating such immediate media attention, the publisher was behind in getting the book into distribution. As a result, consumers who heard about the book on Glen Beck’s show could not purchase the book from the major online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders, nor could they walk into their local secular bookstore and order the book. The result—lost sales; many lost sales.

Every publisher can take a lesson from this story. You never know when your big media break will happen. Some happen by chance, some by careful planning. Either way, the moral of this story is be prepared!

Distribution for a new book should be established a minimum of two months prior to the release of a new book; with the optimum time frame being six to eight months prior to the release of a new book, especially if you are seeking bookstore sales. The goal is to have your book available through as many channels as possible. The more places consumers can purchase your books, the more books you will sell when your big publicity opportunity breaks.

Take a lesson from this story. Be prepared. Get your distribution in place before you release your next book.