Selling 250,000 books? It's not just a pipe-dream
Roving Reporter: Sandy Fussell Speaker: Louise Park, publisher and best-selling author
Louise Park is a best-selling series author and has her own company, Paddle Pop Press which conceptualises, consults, packages and produces. http://www.paddlepoppress.com.au She also works with Susanna MacFarlane of Lemon Fizz media http://susannahmcfarlane.com/lemonfizz-media/ and together they form Pop and Fizz who published Boys vs Beast with Scholastic Australia.
Louise spoke about how important it is to her to have a large degree of control of the process.
She outlined a number of business models relating to series she has authored, pointing out that “every product has a different deal” and no negotiation is the same.
Louise authored the very successful School Zone Naplan Style Workbooks guides published by Hinkler. It was low royalty, low rrp but very high volume and distributed into stores such as Big W, Aldi, Coles, Officeworks. The titles were best sellers and School Zone Year 3 NAPLAN-style Numeracy made it onto the Sydney Morning Herald’s Top Ten Bestsellers list, the only book of its kind to ever do so. Other listees included Jamie Oliver and Jodi Picoult.
She spoke of the importance of developing partnerships with people with different skill sets. With Pop & Fizz, Louise is the author/illustrator and Susanna specialises in marketing and placement
Pop & Fizz published Boy vs Beast in conjunction with Scholastic. Responsibilities were divided for example Pop & Fizz assumed the marketing role to parents and schools and Scholastic managed point-of-sale.
Louise identified the following key drivers:
1 Identify opportunity
b. Boy vs Beast first to be gaming based
2 Content and Cover
b. Release Schedule
4 Sales and Marketing – “do not orphan your product”
Louise spoke about the necessity to make some painful decisions for long term gain – allocating time to marketing at no charge (free school visits for first 20 schools to purchase) and free Skype sessions.
Finally, Louise provided a summary of tips based on her experience
- Don’t orphan your product once it goes to the printer. Follow through
- Sell your body to seed your product – give time for free
- Pitch to publisher based on identified opportunity
- Be prepared to give some books away
- Discount to gain presence and critical mass
- Leverage what you have
- Love your publisher!