US Publishers Finally Engage In Black Friday Sales, Finally.

In case you missed out, good deals can still be found on

In case you missed out, good deals can still be found on

In case you missed this news  . . . you can read the Nov 23rd article by Lisa Campbell from The Bookseller (a UK magazine for the publishing industry) below. What’s so shocking is that it’s taken this long for publishers to stake a claim on what has always been a merchandizing high holiday!

Publishers have joined retailers for the first time in offering customers up to 50% off books as part of Black Friday promotions today (23rd November).

“Black Friday” is a US promotional tradition, with retailers offering discounts on the day after Thanksgiving, marking the beginning of Christmas shopping.

Penguin is offering customers 50% off books through its website for one day, as a way of highlighting the company’s Christmas titles and to reward fans for engaging with its social media. The promotion has been running for three weeks, beginning with 40% off, then moving to 45% off last week, culminating in today¹s offer of 50% off. A spokesperson said the promotion was “proving quite successful so far”. The publisher’s website has experienced some slowness due to the increased level of traffic.

Osprey is advertising a “25% off everything” offer on its website to mark Black Friday and Bloomsbury is offering customers 25% off titles from its website until 3rd January. On its Twitter feed, Bloomsbury said: “*Christmas Shopping Klaxon* 25% off across Bloomsbury website til 3rd January. Go forth & spread the Christmassy joy.”

Amazon has the promotion displayed prominently on its homepage, leading with a £30 price cut on its Kindle Fire tablet, now offering the device for just £99. The move coincides with rival company Barnes & Noble releasing its Nook tablets in the UK yesterday (22nd November) at various retailers including Foyles and Blackwell’s, priced £129 for the 7-inch model and £229 for the 9-inch model with no adverts.

Amazon’s Black Friday book promotions include “lightning deals”, whereby offers exist on book for a certain amount of time which counts down. Customers are shown a preview of what book is going to be on offer and a time the offer will begin. At 1.15pm, Amazon will be discounting Jamie Oliver’s 15-Minute Meals (Michael Joseph), for example, but will only tell customers by how much when the deal begins.

The Book People is not running a promotion under the theme “Black Friday” but it is offering a “Weekend of Wonder” with “4 Great Deals” from 22nd-26th November. Thursday and Friday it is giving 10% off all orders; Saturday, “Reely Good Multibuys”; Sunday Polar Postage; and Monday Mammoth Sale. To encourage customers to its website, the company says: “Check back every day to see the offers revealed!” is running a Deal of the Week offer, but as part of a more general Christmas promotion on a wide range of products, this week offering Danny Baker’s autobiography for £11.99 with free delivery instead of £18.99.

Waterstones hasn¹t been running Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotions, instead choosing to run a “longer lived and rotating promotion” by promoting four books and an item of related product each week in the run-up to Christmas. It is also offering the Kindle Fire at a discount price of £20 off, for £109.

W H Smith is also not running a specifically themed Black Friday promotion but is running a Deal of the Week and featuring the Kobo Mini e-reader heavily on its website, which it is selling for £10 off.

(article copyright 2012, The Bookseller)

If you don’t have or even want a website, don’t worry, create a BIG web presence for yourself instead!


The Book Publicity Blog is a pretty great place to hang out. We would suggest that you subscribe to the site, it will keep you up to date on . . . practically everything publishing publicity related, and allow you to help your (prospective, future) publisher, help yourself.  Most recently Yen’s put up a great post on DIY book promotion and publicity, with an awesome mention on what in-house publicity teams do for large houses.

However we are directing you to a post on  what to include on author websites, which though probably slightly dated at this point, is still excellent. And for a look at a very well known author’s website that hits all the key points, see Barbara Kingsolver’s site . In essence, a good website will

  • Increase book sales
  • Build and maintain a loyal fanbase
  • Attract agents and publishers
  • Interact with readers
  • Spread the word about book signings and speaking engagements
  • Sell your book online
  • Promote yourself and any services you offer
  • Highlight future books before they’re released
  • Get the word out about your book and your website

If you still can’t bring yourself to have a website, consider having a web presence without website. For more on how to that, check out the Wall Street Journal’s article on same.  But the short version is setting up static and active feeds that basically replace a website / blog.

For instance, if you are LinkedIN as an author, have  a Twitter account, that updates your Facebook account, that’s pretty much alive on the web.  Other options: write up a wikipedia entry  on yourself, start a tumblelog on Tumblr to which you can post just about anything, and give yourself an, page that’s the equivalent of a business card / promo.

If you really don’t want to do the whole blog thing, it’s ok.  But free blogs (traditional: WordPress or nontraditional: Tumbelog) can serve as websites with benefits, hooking up your facebook, twitter, and other things. This makes posting across the spectrum a one and done deal.

Get your book published, or better yet, get it stolen and then get it published

Ok, as you all know we at FAB don’t go in for certain genres (ie, obscene language as humor), but we know you all have hear of the book we’re going to talk about: the adult “children’s” book Go the …. to Sleep.

What you may not know, and might be encouraged to learn, is that this book was made into a bestseller only because so many people stole it. That’s right, people . . . people who love people . . . were emailing a PDF version of the book around (breaking the copyright) before the book was even released. Google the book and you’ll see the first thing that comes up is a pirate version PDF, not an Amazon link. And the second thing is the Samuel L. Jackson audio reading of the book (also free).

Without copyright infringement, it’s doubtful this book ever would have found major success, and Adam Mansbach admits that in a recent (06/16/11) CNET article by  Rafe Needleman. Every author should read Adam’s comments on piracy  (ditto anyone interested copyright law or publishing).

Adam actually raises a whole host of good points every author should think about.  Such as the benefits of see it free first (in other words, just how you’d see the whole thing if there were still bookstores around), and how larger publishing houses are often the least up on social media, or trends, or even how to use new media effectively. One publisher told Mansbach he need to write a blog “three times a week,” to support his work.

Something that really struck us about the article was Adam’s comment that he wanted to be an author, not an industry.  Most major publishing houses want to turn an author into an industry. Most authors just want to write. If you’re a writer, you should stop and think about this because how you feel about what you do, will probably have a big impact on whether you want to publish with big house or a small press (which will also impact your profits).

As for publishers, or would be publishers, there’s good nuggets in the CNET article for you as well, but we’re reposting this CNN article in addition because we want you to note in the following story of how difficult it sometimes is for a small publisher to manage a huge success (something big houses do well — which is why once JK Rowling’s book caught on, her small publisher took the substantial buy-out by a larger publisher, and let JK and the big pubs take care of business in global fashion).

Go The F@K To Sleep Publisher Gets Big Boost
Book Set For Wide Release

By Dina Santorelli, contributing writer

Posted: 10:08 am CDT June 8, 2011Updated: 10:20 am CDT June 8, 2011

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Johnny Temple, publisher and founder of Brooklyn-based Akashic Books, likes to say this about independent book publishing:  ”Just keep your doors open for business, and then one day lightning will strike.”

Cue lightning.

Next week, Akashic plans to publish the most irreverent ”children’s” book in recent memory.

Written in the style of a children’s book, ”Go the F to Sleep” unabashingly drops the F-bomb in the text.

The book, written by Adam Mansbach and illustrated by Ricardo Cortés, originally was slated for a fall release. Then the PDF version of the book hit the Internet and went viral. As a result, Akashic is moving up its release date, for both the print book and ebook, to June 14. The film rights already have been sold to Fox 2000.

The popularity of the book has raised the profile of Akashic and is likely to raise its profits.

”Go the F to Sleep” is actually a book for adults that deals with the age-old problem of trying to get children to go to sleep.

”It was very evident to me that the book was addressing with humor what is perhaps the core psychological hurdle of parenthood in the early years,” said Temple, whose own children are ages 3 and 5. ”Lack of sleep breaks up marriages.”

Temple previously worked with Mansbach on an anthology. The author had written other books, which included bestseller ”Angry Black White Boy,” published by Three Rivers Press in 2005.

Mansbach brought the idea to Temple, believing he would be willing to take on the project, despite its controversial title.

”I’ve published some very edgy novels with some big publishers, but I think that’s the exception,” said Mansbach. “Small presses are more willing to take some risks.”

Temple indeed agreed to publish it. Akashic, which publishes 25 to 30 titles per year, was the first — and only — publisher who got a glimpse of the ”Go the F to Sleep” manuscript.

Temple did no promotion for it other than to book sellers and other retail avenues. Not long after, a version of the book appeared on the Internet after an author reading in Philadelphia in late April.

”It was probably accidentally leaked by a bookseller who we had sent a PDF to,” said Temple.

Preorders for the book on Amazon sent it flying up its bestseller’s list. Akashic is one of only a few independent publishers to get a book to hit No. 1 on the e-commerce site.

It would seem that the book going viral would be a detriment to book sales. But the extraordinary success of ”Go the F to Sleep” — whose print edition, at press time, was in its 44th day in Amazon’s Top 100 — perhaps proves that there are plenty of people out there who are willing to pay for the cow even though they could have gotten the milk for free.

Temple takes a rather ambivalent stance on the leak. ”Obviously, if I’m running a business, I want to stay in business,” he said, ”but I believe very strongly in an expansive public domain. We want to allow parents to continue enjoying the book the way they’ve been enjoying it and not really tamper with that too much.”

Originally a rock musician by trade, Temple founded Akashic in 1997 as a ”hobby” with two musician friends (who left the company early on) and an initial investment of $70,000. Since 2002, when Akashic became Temple’s main pursuit, the company has found a well-defined, and well-respected, niche as a place for urban literary fiction. Financially, though, the company has only managed to break even, with annual revenues ranging between $750,000 and $1 million.

Until now.

At press time, the first printing of ”Go the F to Sleep” had been upped to 275,000 copies — by far, Akashic’s biggest to date. The company’s average first print run is between 4,000 and 6,000 copies.

”We could easily be printing up 350,000, but I just want to manage this very carefully,” said Temple, sounding a bit like a guy who has just won the lottery, but is reluctant to quit his day job. ”Once you expand, it’s very hard to contract.”

Temple credits Akashic’s longevity to ”consistently good books, creative low-budget marketing, and careful financial management.”

That being said, he is not about to let a runaway hit derail a management style that has kept his small press’ doors open for the past 14 years.

Independent publishers can actually be hurt by such successes, because they do not have the infrastructure to support the demand, he said.

”We have a sensation and a phenomenon on our hands, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” he added. ”I’m being very cautious about what we do with our success and how we manage it.”

Just in case lightning strikes again.

Copyright CNN 2011

I really, really want an agent but my book isn’t finished yet . . . what should I do?

Before we go any further, let’s clear the air, a good agent is really worth their wait in gold, as is a good copy editor, or a good proofreader, or a good cover artist, or a good marketing person. So if you’re setting your sights on an agent, and why not, here are some tips.

If you’re 6 to 12 months out from finishing your opus, don’t stress about an agent now.  You’re working at your book steadily while having a life — a life is really important for an author. However, now would be the ideal time to take a couple ambling steps towards finding your dream agent.

Think about compiling a list of agents representing successful authors that you feel write in your same genre. Do this because your agent query letters are heading to this target group first. Don’t flip out over making your list, developing it should be a casual thing, because you’re really job is finishing your book. But keep your eyes peeled.

Finding out who represents an author is usually fairly easy. Agents tend to brag about who their clients are on their websites, and authors tend to post this information on their websites in case someone wants to talk to them about a book/movie/etc deal. Do you research though, find out which agents/agencies are established, which are up an comers, which are . . . not for you.

Ok, one more publishing without an agent story . . .  The author’s little known, self-published, book is found on a park bench by a guy who happens to be publisher, he reads a bit of it and walks away, leaving the book for its owner.  Later that week, the he runs into a close friend of the author, who happens to tell him about the book. Finally, that weekend, on his birthday, a family member gives the publisher a copy of the book and says she thinks he might like it.  The publisher decides this must be destiny, and the author’s book is picked up and goes on to become a major best-seller.

Really. Publishing is that weird.

Publishing is a weird, weird business. Don’t assume it’s like IBM. Leave some room in your mind for the thought that luck, pluck, and talent do more than occasionally come through.

Published in: on August 4, 2011 at 8:08 AM  Comments (1)  
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