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How to advocate for your textbook before, during, and after a national sales meeting

Reid Hester, a 15-year veteran in textbook sales and marketing, and Robert Christopherson, a best-selling geography textbook author, share their advice for making the most of your participation in national sales meetings:

Provide specific, actionable information. “If it can be used to sell your book, it’s worth its weight in gold,” said Hester. For example, build sales-ready bullet points about your book’s features. Or track the updates and changes you make to a new edition as you make them. “Your editor and the sales reps will want to know,” said Christopherson.

Review the competition. “When a competing book comes out, I send a full review to show the talking points of my book versus their book,” said Christopherson. “I provide a bolded summary of the point for each section so the editor can send those lines to the sales reps.” Spreadsheets are another good way to highlight at a glance what differentiates your book from the competition.

Be aware of how your book relates to current events and share that information—judiciously—with your publisher. “I’ll email the editor and marketing manager saying ‘these pages cover this type of event’ and ask them to forward it to the sales reps,” said Christopherson.

Consider establishing a book-related blog. According to Hester, “marketing managers can’t be emailing reps constantly or they’ll stop listening,” so post about current events vis-à-vis your book on your blog (and let the press know it’s there.) Added bonus: your blog is accessible to adopters, too.

Be available. Make time if your publisher wants you to wine and dine with you or wants you to make a presentation for big potential adopters, said Hester. Christopherson recommends establishing a dedicated email address and phone number for your book, and sharing them widely. “I include my email address in every book,” he said, noting that having access to the author helps people feel connected to and invested in the book. Just be sure to respond promptly when people reach out. (Using Google Voice is one way to establish a dedicated phone number without giving out your personal number—or adding more phones to your account.)