Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pub Talk: List Launch

I've got to admit: some of my favorite posts to read are ones that talk about the publishing industry. I think it's good to hear things from a variety of people, since everyone's publishing experience is different. So I figured I'd do a series of Pub Talk blog posts.

And I'm starting with List Launch.

Why? Because it's the one thing (at least the only thing that came to mind) I've run into so far that I hadn't known a thing about before getting a book deal. I think the reason it isn't talked about much, is because there isn't much the author has to DO for it. Occasionally, an author launches without even realizing they've launched!

So what is list launch?

List Launch is kind of like this. Only not.

In a nutshell, it's when the editors (usually-- sometimes it's the publicist, or maybe even marketing) present the books they've been working on to the sales and marketing force.

It happens 2 or 3 times a year, depending on how many lists each publisher has. (Most have spring and fall; some also have winter or summer.) I don't know how far in advance of the book coming out list launch typically happens-- I just know that it happened at the beginning of this month for me, and my book doesn't come out until fall 2013. The editors are the ones who know the book best, so they are the ones who usually talk about the book. If the book has a cover, they show the cover, pitch the book, and talk about the book details and sometimes the marketing plan. Basically, they try to get sales excited about the book they're pitching.

Why?

Because sales are the people who go from bookstore to bookstore, and help them to decide what books to carry in their stores. There are TONS of books that come out each season-- there's no way any bookstore could buy all of them. The sales people help them choose. And the sales reps hear about a LOT of books, so it's really good if yours stands out. And do you know who really wants your book to stand out as much as you do? YOUR EDITOR. That's why they make such great presenters at list launch.

The other awesome thing about list launch is that the info-sharing goes both ways. The people who talk to bookstores about what to buy are experts at knowing why bookstores choose not to carry books. They know what types of covers they tend to like less. They know if a book's title is likely to get lost in the masses. So they tend to give really great feedback to your book's team. And that is a very awesome thing.

A few months ago, I read a post on Pub(lishing) Crawl where Vanessa Di Gregorio talked about list launch from the perspective of a Sales Rep, and it was fascinating! Definitely worth checking out.

So I'm curious. If you're pre-published, did you already know about list launch? And if you're published (or in the process), did you know about it before you got your book deal?

15 comments:

Lan said...

Gosh, I never knew how far ahead publishers were. The whole process is quite overwhelming isn't it? Amazing some of the things that go on behind the scenes. I guess books don't just appear in bookstores overnight!

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have heard about the list launch, but frankly speaking not very familiar with it. Thanks for this post.

Angela Cothran said...

This is pretty fascinating. I've heard of the list launch, but I didn't know what really happened. Keep the pub talk coming :)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Never heard of it. I published with E-Book (primarily) publisher, so book stores aren't in the mix.

S.P. Bowers said...

I've heard of it and knew the basic idea but didn't know a whole lot of the details. Thanks for all the info.

Jessie Humphries said...

Nope, not until you told me about it Pegs. I glean all my pub info from you!

Iain said...

I didn't have a clue!
(Ok, so I don't seem to have a clue about most things, but that's another issue. lol)
Now I have another thing to worry about. ;o)

Jenny S. Morris said...

I didn't know about this either. As always, Peggy, you're full of great info!

Happy late list launch. ;0)

Carrie Butler said...

I had no clue! Sounds cool, though. :) Thanks for sharing, Pegasus!

Susan Kane said...

What a huge responsibility! Shows the dedication and trust they have to have in one's book.

The Golden Eagle said...

I figured there had to be a way books actually got on the shelves, but I had no idea that it was through list launches. Interesting!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I never heard of that term so thanks for explaining it to us. It does seem really important that your book grab the sales people attention. We often forget how important they are.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I am published and STILL didn't know about it. I always thought the editors had to pass the sales and marketing team's muster just to purchase the book at all, I didn't realize there was a separate list launch. This was very interesting, Peggy, thanks for sharing!

kittyhietala said...

That is fascinating! I had never heard of list launch. Every day, it seems, I learn something new about the publishing world. Posts like this is why your blog is one of my favorites, Peggy! Thanks.

MTeacress said...

Pub Talk = good idea. :) I've always been grateful for the writerly things I've learned on other writer blogs.