Anatomy of a Tip Sheet

February 2011
by Davida G. Breier

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Competing for shelf space for your new book is akin to seeking employment in the current economic climate. You wouldn’t think of applying for a job without a resume, and a tip sheet is essentially a book’s resume. Usually, you don’t get an in-person interview; and either the tip sheet does all the talking, or a sales rep does, working on your behalf, utilizing your tip sheet.

A tip sheet lets buyers—from corporate chain offices to local independents—quickly get a handle on the book’s subject matter, marketing plans for it, early reviews and endorsements of it, and ways to position it to consumers.

The example I am focusing on here is a tip sheet I helped draft for No Voice Unheard, a nonprofit publisher. Thanks to my prior experience as a sales rep, calling on Ingram, Baker and Taylor, and American Wholesale Book Company, I knew what buyers and sales reps wanted to see (and what would earn an eye-roll).

If you work with a distributor, you will generally need to provide a tip sheet at least three to eight months before a book’s pub date, when you submit copy about it and art from it for inclusion in the distributor’s catalog. The sales reps have to work with long lead times. For example, chain buyers often…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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