Monday, October 27, 2014

Authors: Here’s How To Make A Deal!

When I first started marketing the PR services of the firm that I work for, Media Connect (called PTA back then), one of my first clients helped me land another client through triangular trade.  It’s something I highly recommend for authors.

So here’s what I did: I was looking to work with Entrepreneur Press, which at the time published Entrepreneur magazine and had a book line as well.  The publisher proposed hiring us to do some work that we’d normally charge $15,000 to $20,000 for, promoting several books on big radio tours.  However, rather than pay us cash, they offered to provide us with several full and half-pages of ads in their magazine that normally would sell for double our fee.  I had never done anything like this before.  What will I do with these ads?

Before I declined, I queried some of my business author clients and it turned out one of them wanted to market his book, about living The American Dream, to entrepreneurs – the very targeted readership of this magazine.  He ended up paying us more than what Entrepreneur Press would have given us, but less than what their magazine would have charged him.  Everyone won.  That three-way deal is known as a triangular trade.

Getting a third party to help you close a deal can be quite helpful – and fun.  Bartering often gets you more value than using cash.  Why?  Because people value things differently but when people hear a dollar amount, they all want to get a discount or feel the number’s too high.  But if I say to my neighbor I’ll trade you my three-year-old lawnmower for your five-year-old snow blower it sounds like a fair trade. Who knows what each of us actually paid for those items?  The price back then is different than today’s and who knows if there was a special sale going on.

So how would this work in your world?

First, think about what you want or need.  Have an idea on what it costs.  Second, think about what you can trade – a service, your time, a thing, a favor – and grasp what it could be worth to others.  Third, find people to trade with.  If you can’t find a good trading partner, invite a third party in.  If you can give person A something to trade, he can give you something that you now can trade with person B.  And what you get from person A can now be enjoyed by yourself.

Authors typically want or need the following:
·         A way to sell books
·         Testimonials
·         Positive Reviews
·         Media Coverage
·         Advertising
·         Speaking Engagements

So how can you trade for these things?

Let’s talk about advertising.  Let’s say you want to advertise on a particular site and it costs $350.  Rather than pay it upfront and risk losing money if few or no sales come in, you suggest a partnership, where the site gets a % of all sales that come in.  Potentially, the site can earn more than $350 – or it can earn little to nothing.  It’s all about trading profits and risk.

Now, let’s say that offer is declined.  Your follow-up proposal could be to split the cost.  Pay $175 up front and for sales earned beyond that cost to you, profits are split based on agreed percentages.

Ok, let’s say they don’t agree to that either.  Here’s another option – pay them in books.  Your book, with the cover price of say $14.95, costs you $3 to produce. So you net $12 per book.  To get to $350, you’d need to sell about 30 copies – and earn a $10 profit – although due to shipping costs, you may have to sell more like 45 copies to break even.  So you tell the website you’ll give them 25 free copies (costs you $75 +shipping) and tell them they can resell them and keep the profits.  They let you advertise at no additional cost.  What do they do with the books?  They may have a way of selling them to people they know and are connected with.  They may trade them with someone else for something they value.  Or they could give them as a premium to people who sign on to their subscription site or who sign up for other products or services sold.

So you see,: there are ways to cut costs or reduce risks or combine offers.

In fact, in the scenario above, you could have traded your books with those of another author, if you feel you had a place to unload them on – or a means to sell them.

Another example of a triangle trade is to work with people who have sister companies or a network of connections.  The more people they know, the more likely you can find a deal in a three-way trade.

Now that the wheels are spinning in your brain, go out there and make a deal!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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