Use YouTube videos to promote your textbook

Textbook videosLydia Cline, a drafting professor at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and the author of five text and trade books, said she has found that posting short videos on her books’ topics to YouTube can be an effective way to promote them.

She originally created her channel, ProfDrafting, to post classroom topics for her students. “They enjoy the videos as a supplement to their text,” said Cline. On the advice of her TAB/McGraw-Hll editor, she added book content videos. In less than a year she collected 137 subscribers and over 31,000 views, even though she does no promotion beyond telling her students about it. “The channel has returned benefits in ways I didn’t anticipate. With YouTube’s amazing analytics, I can see how long viewers watch the videos, which videos are popular, and which are ignored. My observation is that once a channel starts attracting views–mine were initially from my students–YouTube starts promoting it via the Suggested Videos sidebar and the videos also appear in a Google search. I can see who the subscribers are, and most are NOT my students. They’re from all over the world. I knew YouTube had a global audience, but wow, my subscriber list really hammers that home to me.” [Read more…]

Textbook promotion strategies: Participate in national sales meetings

The success of any textbook often originates at the national sales meetings held by textbook publishers and larger academic presses each year. But what, exactly, is a national sales meeting (NSM)?

“They’re huge events,” said Reid Hester, a 15-year veteran in textbook sales and marketing. Each January and August, the publisher’s marketing teams, editors, and sales reps gather to review the season’s textbooks—and to establish what’s a priority for the reps to sell.

In large companies, there are often three separate teams of sales reps: “soft side,” “hard side,” and “generalists.” Each team handles a wide array of disciplines. For example, Pearson Education’s soft sales force represents anthropology, art, communications, English, history, music, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, social work, sociology and world languages.

“You’re competing internally with other disciplines and other titles within your discipline,” said Hester. “Part of what you’re doing [at the NSM] is getting the reps excited to sell your discipline and your book.”

With the increasing role of technology, tech-talk “takes up a fair amount of oxygen at sales meetings these days,” said Hester. Even so, “big first edition launches are very important, which translates into more time to delve into the features of the book itself, not just the larger package.”

Authors may get to speak briefly about their books at such launches. Who is invited depends on having the right book—and the right author: he said: “Publishers try to be discrete about bringing in authors who present well. Some authors are better about being on-message than others, and you don’t ever want the reps to leave with a bad impression.”

Robert Christopherson, a best-selling geography author who has presented at several NSMs, advises you to be fully prepared should the invitation be extended: “Make your 25 minutes stand out. If you come across as passionate, they’ll remember.”

Being invested in your book matters more as your text goes into subsequent editions. “It’s a real challenge to be heard at the NSM after the first edition,” said Hester. “An author with a successful book at a big company needs to be an advocate to keep the company’s focus on the book year after year.”

Christopherson agrees: “Always be the aggressor, make sure they know you’re there” because doing so encourages your publisher to keep thinking about your book. But, he cautions, “make sure there’s relevance and potency to your phone call; it’s a fine line from valued author to irritant.”