Maximize Your Book’s Potential by Asking–and Answering–the Right Questions

November 2002
by Bobbye Middendorf

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Books are not cans of soup or rolls of toilet paper. Each book “product” tells a unique story. Over 135,000 books were published in the U.S. in calendar year 2001 (according to Bowker’s Books In Print database), so all those other unique stories and products are out there. To compete, your book requires a thought-out promotion and publicity plan tailored to it and its market.

Here are the questions to ask at each stage in the publishing process to get your book’s story heard.


The Research Stage

Before and during the book development process, find out:

WHO is the potential reader for this book? (Then find out everything you can about them!)HOW do they access the kind of information that’s going into this book?WHERE do they shop?WHAT else are they interested in?WHY will this book be of interest to them?WHEN is the best time to reach them?


Define the different “publics” or “audiences” for the book and make sure that appropriate materials go to the right people at the right time in the right format.

WHAT market segments are appropriate for your title?

Wholesalers? Book retailers? Nonbook retailers? Online retailers? Readers and book buyers directly? Libraries? Publishing and library trade/review journals? Professional industry associations? Book clubs? Foreign rights buyers? Consumer media? Opinion-leaders in this topic area? Professors/academics/schools…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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