AUTHOR GUIDE

The complete details of our publishing process can be found in this guide. The full text is available here. You can browse the chapters and sections using the menu on your right (or below, for mobile devices).

HOW THEY WORK

In this section:

Adding an activity

Kinds of activity

Level of detail

Updating and deleting activities

Results of entering activities

Seeing what’s happening

"Activites" are the heart of the Database. They are the actions taken by the publicity team and authors to promote a book. We enter all activites into the system so we know who has done what, what needs to be done next, what has been completed, and can see which have generated results, and which have not – it means we can all focus our efforts better

The numbers of activities quoted in the following sections of this Chapter are those we know about, that have been entered on the Database. There are probably as many again that have happened but not been entered. It's useful to have them entered, because we then feed activities through to our monthly newsletters, and our social-media networks, predominantly Facebook and Twitter. And it keeps a record of what has happened on the book to avoid overlap in months and years to come (marketing is ongoing) and is useful for other publicists/authors to find the productive contacts. It might look a bit cumbersome at first, but you’ll soon get the hang of it, seeing what has happened and adding your own.

You can see our current active reader networks in Chapter 15. We also have author closed groups, and will ask other authors within your genre to share news to their networks. If you haven't already, please join us there.

Basically, activities are split into different "types", different kinds of activity:

  • Advertising
  • Article/Extract
  • Award Submission
  • Email/Press Release
  • Event/Signing
  • Foreign Rights
  • Interview
  • Promotional Material
  • Reader Offer/Giveaway
  • Review Copy

 And they are then sorted into "Status": 

  • Offered: when we or the author offer a review copy or signing session or an article/whatever.
  • Requested: when the media/retail contacts responds asking for it, or if they ask out of the blue.
  • Arranged/sent: we have put the request in hand/sent the review copy (NB: it does not mean that the event has happened or that a review is guaranteed, and it can take a week or two to action, for instance asking the warehouse for a copy to be sent and for them to post it etc.).
  • Complete/printed; means that the interview has happened/article been published/review printed/award made. Or when it's guaranted to be happening, in which case it's helpful to have the information as early as possible.

You can filter the database for any of these columns against any "type" of activity. Whoever adds the activity is responsible for completing the activity. In most cases your publicist will be in direct contact with you, only if necessary, for articles or interviews.

In all these activities don’t expect your book to be a key that will magically open all doors. It can take years and a lot of hard work for instance to get onto the “circuits” – usually at least ten years. There are more aspiring workshop leaders than there are people to attend them. Many online communities are protective of their own turf and can react aggressively to outsiders who want to barge in and make a sale. With the disciplines of print and editorial removed, virtues like tolerance, respect and intelligence are no more widespread on the internet than they are in the world at large. You may find that one kind of activity suits you best. The first year is often spent figuring out what that is.

Adding an activity

Contact (organisation or individual) must exist in the system in order to attach an activity to it. So it is always advisable to search for your contact before entering the activity.

You can add an activity through the contact. Only if it already exists. If you do not find your contact you need to add it to the database. More information on this is in Chapter 10 Sharing Tools and Contacts – Trade and Media Contacts.

  
  • Click on Marketing History in the right-hand menu. This shows you the activities associated with this contact.
  • In the first section of Marketing History click the blue “+add activities.” 
  • Select an “Activity Type” from the drop-down selection – the dates work in the same way as they do through your book page and you must select a date.
  • Add any notes that are appropriate.
  • Type in the title of your book in the search option – click “Search” under the search criteria. Your title should appear below, tick the box next to the title, scroll to the bottom right and click “Save Activity.”
  • Your activity should now show in the list of activities.
  • Please Note: If your activity doesn't appear at the top of the activities list after you have clicked "save", don't panic and try adding it again. Scroll down the list and you'll probably find the activity further down.

You can also enter an activity via the Marketing page of your book.

  • Scroll down to Marketing Activities. Select “add an activity” over on the right-hand side to enter details.
  • Select the type of activity, add notes, and status of the activity.
  • Search for your contact/organization, tick the correct contact from the search result.
  • Save Activity.

Kinds of activity

The questions to ask yourself are: "Would I like the sales team to know that this is happening?" Or: "Is this contact likely to be of any interest to any other authors in the future?" If so, add it. It helps us estimate how many books to print and keep in stock, if we see your book is being actively promoted in your local bookshops, on internet radio and in magazines. 

  • Think about usefulness. We are not just trying to increase statistics.
  • Small, obscure corners of the market can be good, if they relate to our main publishing effort. But if your book happens to get a one sentence mention in the Des Moines Legal Associations newsletter because you live there and used to be a lawyer once, then do not put it up. Or the whole thing will get so diverse it is unmanageable. Unless there is a good reason for putting up all the Legal Associations worldwide because we were going into books on legal practice…
  • If you are appearing on a major TV or radio show but they are not mentioning the book, still add this to the website. It is lifting your profile.
  • Do not add statements like "I have asked Barack Obama for an endorsement.” If you get the endorsement, we will jump through hoops to let everyone know, but keep the contact private. Respect boundaries. On the other hand, do add activities when you initiate one (e.g. submitting an article) rather than wait to see if it bears fruit before you enter it. It enables us to build up a picture of each contact, visible to everyone, seeing which kinds of things work for that contact and which do not. Which are responsive and which are not.

Level of detail

Add as much as you can. The (completed) date on which the activity is occurring is crucial. If your activity is an interview, review or article and there is an online link to this, then you should include this in the “Notes” section of the Activity.

Updating and deleting activities

To update an activity, don’t add a new activity:

  • Go to the Marketing page. 
  • Scroll down to Marketing Activities use the filter in “Show all activity types.”
  • When you find the activity, click “Edit Activity” or “Delete Activity.”
  • “Save.”

Results of entering activities

  • On hard-copy "Review Copy" requests, whether it’s you creating the activity, or someone in the company doing it, others are then flagged to take action. The request will be sent to our automatic review system and the date it happens will be shown once the request is sent to the warehouse. It can take a little longer for the warehouse to post books out.
  • However for PDF reviews requests, then the person entering the request should send the file out. On the Marketing page go to "Publicity" and "PDF Review File"; this is the file to download to your system to use as the PDF review copy. Record as sent. If you need someone to do something, please put your request on the Help forum under "Marketing and Publicity."
  • "Requested" is only used for when the journalist or reviewer contacted has asked for something, not for us or you just sending emails, that would result in too many. First approaches to the contacts are just covered under "emails."
  • The other effect that activities have is on the marketing-activity report (only seen in the office). Anything that is “Confirmed,” “Arranged” or “Accepted” etc. appears on this report generated by the database. We then send this to sales people with the upcoming activities in their areas.

Seeing what’s happening

All publicity approaches are recorded on the Marketing page in Marketing Activities. 

  • You can filter this list by activity using the “Show all activity types” drop-down box. For instance, if you select “Review Copies” in the drop-down box and click “Filter activities list,” all contacts listed here will be contacts who have requested a review copy of your book, either as PDF (electronic version available on the Marketing page under “PDF Review File”) or HC (hardcopy) sent automatically once the stock is received into the warehouse. You will notice that the date is “Requested,” and changed later to “Arranged/sent” once they are sent out.
  • If you select “Article/Extract” you will see contacts that have requested these. Your publicist will supply extracts and enter them as “Arranged/sent” once fulfilled; the publicist will then enter a “Completed” date when they have seen the article published. If this happens online, the publicist will supply a link to the article in the “Notes” section of the activity. If an original article is required, your publicist will be in contact with you, and may ask you to enter the “Arranged/sent” date to complete the activity.
  • If you select “Interview” you will see contacts that have requested this. There should also be notes as to dates suggested and information that may be required. Your publicist will liaise with you to ensure that you get all the times and dates confirmed and all the necessary logistical information for each show.
  • The other selections in “Activities” work in the same way. If you have any queries regarding the activities please report them to the Author Forum: Marketing and Publicity. 
  • Email/Press Release, acts as a catch all; for example with a print or online magazine, we may offer them a review copy, an interview with the author and or an extract of the book. Sending this is a one-off activity, and so is entered as Arranged and needs no completion or further action. It may though result in a different activity being raised for the same contact.
  • If we receive a request from one of our contacts for an interview, article etc. for you to personally deal with, we will contact you by email.

©2016 John Hunt Publishing Ltd.