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Specific Services for Publishers

Every IPG publisher has direct access when needed to the person or persons at the company best qualified to provide information or consultation on any particular issue. A listing on the publisher section of the IPG website keeps an up-to-date list of these contacts.

The IPG staffers have monitored the success of a great many titles in many markets. Over the years they have developed clear ideas about what works and what does not. They have access to IPG's own sales data, and also to sales data from all of the major accounts in the book market. Calls from publishers are taken immediately if possible, or are quickly returned by the IPG staff. The answers they provide are well grounded in experience and research.

Moreover, the IPG marketing department provides, as a matter of course, sophisticated feedback on new titles in process—-or even contemplated—-by its distributed publishers. For instance, almost all of IPG's client publishers send, electronically, proposed cover images, titles, and price points for each season's list well before the books have gone to press.

Many publishers come to the IPG office once or twice a year to review their upcoming titles and ways to support their backlist with the full IPG marketing staff. These discussions range from very general ideas about trends in the book business to solutions to particular problems of marketing and design.

Senior members of the marketing staff carefully examine and discuss each publisher's images, titles, and prices, and the results of this process are communicated clearly to each publisher.

IPG of course does not insist that its advice be taken, but its client publishers (including those who have published many titles over many years) are unanimous in their view that this feedback from the IPG marketers allows them to refine the presentation of their titles and to sharpen the focus of their publishing programs overall.

Here is an IPG’s client publisher’s account of a typical marketing meeting with the IPG staff in Chicago:

"ECW Press goes to Chicago twice a year, prior to the spring and fall catalog submission dates. The meeting includes a general discussion of the industry, analysis of how ECW is doing and how IPG is doing, and how well we are working together. Then we get into a discussion of the upcoming list (remember that our January visit is for fall titles, and our August visit is for spring titles) so we're working about 8-10 months in advance of the pub date. Mark Suchomel gathers a group of sales and marketing people, and then the fun begins.

We hand Mark our covers, and he holds them up one at a time for comments (except not from ECW). What's this book about? Paper or cloth? Price? Size? Run? Who's the audience? Where would it go in a bookstore? Are there special sales opportunities? And so on. Finally, after the discussion peters out, we are allowed to confirm or deny, and all the while we are taking lots of notes.

In our case, the meeting takes about 3 hours, and then we fly back to Toronto. We hand our notes around to the editors and designers in order to improve our catalogue submission. What do we do with the comments? In some cases, we kill the book, or delay it for a season. In others, we change the title or subtitle or cover image or format or price.

In virtually all cases, we make some modifications to our plans for the titles. In addition to our bi-yearly meetings, we regularly try out ideas with IPG staffers. Sometimes it's just a wild scheme, sometimes it's more fully formed. From there, it gets tossed around within IPG, and often gets tried out on booksellers to gauge their initial reaction. Lots of potential book ideas have died at this stage. We don't view IPG as a third-party sales and distribution company; we see them as a direct extension of our publishing operation."

 —Jack David, ECW Press Toronto, Ontario

Prepublication Consultation
<h1>Specific Services for Publishers:<br /> Prepublication Consultation</h1> <p>IPG has a full-time title development manager whose sole job is to consult with publishers well before a title goes to press&mdash;often even before an agreement is signed with an author&mdash;as to the likely strength of any title and how it can best be positioned for maximum sales. She does research on the comparative strength of the market niches into which any particular title might fit, analyzes the success of the various approaches to cover design and title that have been tried, and helps publishers build sales "hooks" into their titles from the very start of the title development process.</p> <p>As part of the book production process she reviews the cover, book design, and layout from a sales perspective; reviews jacket and flap copy for appropriate and effective content; discusses publication date, timing, and pricing issues; discusses format issues&mdash;paper, cloth, or other; reviews marketing, author tours and appearances, and publicity plans; suggests or reviews advertising plans and opportunities; explains how to collect and interpret comparable title information; and discusses initial print runs and sales projections with the publisher.</p> <p>The collaboration and resources at IPG are especially important for small publishers who are new to the general trade world. It is a major piece of the title development manager&rsquo;s responsibilities to act as a consultant to IPG&rsquo;s clients. IPG will not only do a lot for the publisher, but also teach the publisher a lot about the business, and treat the publisher&rsquo;s bottom line as if it were our own&mdash;constantly suggesting efficiencies and passing along discounts or important no charge &ldquo;extras&rdquo; such as a Nielsen BookScan account, Lexile leveling discounts, inclusion at no charge in gift and education catalogs, custom catalogs (region specific for example), and representation at dozens of trade shows for the book, gift, library and education markets.</p> <p>Publishers have access to everyone at IPG who works on their titles, be it the operations department or publicity, or sales. IPG does not believe in gatekeepers or account managers. Publishers work more closely with some staffers, but the entire IPG staff is available directly without an intermediary.</p> <h4>Richard T. Williams</h4> <h5>Director, Publisher Development</h5> <p>Richard is IPG&rsquo;s in-house consultant who works with client publishers to better position their titles in the market to maximize sales and profitability. He also directs the Small Press United program.&nbsp;</p>
Sales Meetings
<h1>Sales Meetings</h1> <p style="text-align: justify;">For most of its distribution programs, IPG holds twice yearly sales meetings at which its client publishers can, if they choose to, present their new titles for the coming season to the IPG sales force. They completely fill two days, usually a Saturday and a Sunday. Participating publishers need attend only the part of the meeting that deals with their own titles.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The meeting is structured like this: both in-house salespeople and the IPG commissioned reps, about 30 people in all, sit in a circle with the publisher, and each new title is the subject of an often very lively conversation, the point of which is to find sales hooks and to anticipate possible marketing problems. These salespeople are seasoned professionals and their remarks are insightful.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The major IPG catalogs are ready for these meetings, and they are supplemented by sales kits for each new title that contain tip sheets, blads, sample interiors, tables of content, information on competing titles, publicity plans, and author information. Lunches and a cocktail party hosted by IPG give publishers an opportunity to interact directly with members of the sales force.</p>
Building Product Lists
<h1>Building Product Lists</h1> <p>New title information is submitted by publishers to IPG through an automated online form located in the <a href="online-resources-pages-192.php">Publisher Resources section of the IPG website</a>. This information&mdash;-title, author and author bio, book specifications, price, etc.&mdash;-is vetted by the IPG marketing staff, in cooperation with the publishers, to produce a clearly focused image of each title to support the salespeople in their presentations to the booksellers and their other customers.</p> <p>This title data is used to generate traditional print catalogs that are all four-color throughout, very carefully designed, with contemporary covers that have been praised by the buyers to whom they are presented. Publishers pay a prorated share of the cost of the production of the catalogs in which their titles appear, but this is a very low charge for a frontlist title. Some book retailers, and many libraries, still want to buy out of a print catalog which can be marked up and passed around to various subject specialists.</p> <p>But crucially, this title data also becomes part of <a href="browse-all-titles-pages-30.php">IPG&rsquo;s massive electronic catalog</a>, which is sent once a week, as an ONIX feed, to 120 major customers. The ability to provide full and accurate electronic title information allows IPG to fully participate in the modern supply chain management techniques employed by chain stores, national wholesalers, and big-box retailers. For more on this subject, see <a href="data-management-pages-158.php">Data Management.</a></p> <br />
Advertising and Promotion
<h1>Advertising and Promotion</h1> <p style="text-align: justify;">IPG passes on the benefit of its higher frequency advertising rates in well-known trade publications&mdash;<em>Publishers Weekly, Library Journal</em>, <em>School Library Journal</em>&mdash;to client publishers, enabling them to place advertisements at greatly reduced rates, and also assists client publishers in identifying appropriate advertising vehicles that are tailored to their titles and budgets.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">IPG provides client publishers access to marketing programs focusing on the nation's independent booksellers at deeply discounted rates.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <h4>Lauren Klouda</h4> <h5>Director, Marketing</h5> <p style="text-align: justify;">Lauren has been a part of independent publishing at IPG (Independent Publishers Group) since 2010. Her background in social media and online marketing services has led to the development of IPG's robust marketing and advertising programs and significant increases in web traffic and online sales. Initially focused primarily on developing strategies and tools to market ebooks and digital content, Lauren now works with IPG client publishers, authors, partners, booksellers, and libraries across the book industry to create engaging online content and marketing materials designed to help readers discover books, whether in digital or print, at their local bookstore or library or online. She manages the Marketing team at Independent Publishers Group (IPG).</p> <p>Visit the <a href="" target="_blank">IPG Blog</a> for an interview with Lauren Klouda.&nbsp;</p>
Publicity and PR
<h1>Publicity and PR</h1> <p style="text-align: justify;">IPG has an in-house publicity and PR department that offers consultation to all IPG-distributed publishers in regard to press releases, media lists, publicity-campaign strategies for particular titles, media-submission guidelines and deadlines, author tours, and much more.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The IPG publicity staff can also provide, for a very reasonable fee, full media campaigns including print, online, radio, and TV publicity. Many IPG client publishers use IPG&rsquo;s publicity services on a cafeteria basis, requesting, for instance, only media lists or press releases. Services of any kind are offered only when the staff is confident that the results will justify the cost.</p> <p>Consultation and support offered by the Publicity Department at no charge to publishers include:</p> <ul> <li>A seasonal catalog mailing to the media, including cover letter and review copy request form</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Recommending freelance publicists and reviewing their proposed contracts for cost-effectiveness, legitimacy, and feasibility.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Updating the in-depth "Publicity 101" series on IPG Publisher Resources, which provides a complete publicity campaign template for IPG client publishers.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Fielding media phone calls and directing them to publishers as needed.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Updating via the newsletter key publicity opportunities and deadlines for industry publications.</li> </ul> <!-- <h4>&nbsp;Caitlin Eck</h4> <h5>Director, Publicity</h5> <p>Caitlin joined the IPG publicity department in November 2011 after three&nbsp;years of&nbsp;working&nbsp;in publicity&nbsp;at Penguin Group USA&nbsp;and&nbsp;a year as the&nbsp;events&nbsp;and marketing manager&nbsp;at an independent bookstore.&nbsp;For IPG she has garnered publicity hits in major media outlets including the <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank"><em>New York Times Sunday Book Review</em></a>, <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank">NPR's "Tell Me More,"</a> <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank"><em>Redbook</em></a>, <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank"><em>Essence</em></a>, <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank"><em>Discover</em></a>, <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank">"The Jeff Probst Show,"</a> <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank"><em>Chicago Tribune</em></a>, <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank"><em>Parenting</em></a>, and Gawker Media's <a href="" _mce_href="" target="_blank">io9</a>.&nbsp; She handles publicity for non-fiction,&nbsp;arts &amp; entertainment, African American interest, women&rsquo;s interest, men&rsquo;s interest, children&rsquo;s activity&nbsp;and picture books and specialty titles for IPG publishers.</p> -->
Reprinting Research and Shipping Logistics
<h1>Reprinting Research and Shipping Logistics</h1> <p style="text-align: justify;">Publishers frequently call IPG for help with reprint decisions&mdash;timing and quantity. This advice is not based on current sales volume alone; stock levels and demand at the wholesalers, sell-through and on-hand quantities at the retail stores, industry trends, and the time of year are also considered.</p> <img class="image" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../filebin/images/dc/DSC_4902.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="233" /><br /> <p style="text-align: justify;">The quality of IPG&rsquo;s advice on reprinting is closely related to the fact that everyone involved has had experience setting reprints for Chicago Review Press, IPG&rsquo;s very successful in-house publishing program. No one has to be told that a reprint that arrives just as a wave of returns washes into the warehouse can turn a successful title into a dud. When it is a question of a reprint, IPG&rsquo;s experts think like a publisher.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">IPG also operates a very aggressive freight logistics program. Client publishers can usually save 65 percent or more on published freight rates, both for copies shipped from the publisher&rsquo;s printer and for copies sent in bulk from IPG&rsquo;s distribution center. Our freight logistics specialist will make all the necessary arrangements and will see to it that the shipping cartons are up to standard and are properly marked.</p>
Meetings and Shows
<h1 style="text-align: justify;">Meetings and Shows</h1> <p style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;The major shows attended by IPG are:<img class="image_right" src="../filebin/images/office/814_doorway.jpg" alt="" width="200" height="267" /></p> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li>&nbsp;BookExpo America (BEA)</li> </ul> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li>Frankfurt Book Fair</li> </ul> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li>Guadalajara Book Fair (FIL)</li> </ul> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li>London Book Fair (LBF)</li> </ul> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li>American Library Association Conference and Exhibit (ALA)</li> </ul> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li>American Association of School Librarians Conference and Exhibit (AASL)</li> </ul> <ul style="text-align: justify;"> <li>Public Librarian Association Conference and Exhibit (PLA)</li> </ul> <p style="text-align: justify;">IPG also attends a growing list of specialized meetings such as those organized by the Museum Store Association (MSA), the Association of Partners for Public Lands, and the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA).</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In addition, IPG attends various trade shows each year, many of which are associated with scholarly groups, such as the Modern Language Association, the Association of Asian Studies, and the American Sociological Association. Many of these specialized meetings and shows offer an opportunity to sell books, and all of them generate sales leads.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">IPG takes 2,400 square feet of booth space at the yearly BEA exposition. The IPG display includes 10 x 10-foot booths, many fixtures on which cover posters can be mounted, and a large area for tables and chairs used by publishers for business meetings with customers and contacts during the show. Publishers can choose their level of participation and expense.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Except for the BEA national convention, there is never any charge to IPG client publishers when their titles are displayed at these meeting and shows.</p> <!-- <p style="text-align: justify;" _mce_style="text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p> <h4>Cynthia Murphy</h4> <h5>Library &amp; Education Sales Manager</h5> <p>Cynthia has been in publishing for more than 25 years. She spent the lion's share of her publishing career with Rand McNally &amp; Company, where she progressed from management positions in advertising and sales promotion, event planning, and sales support to sales, where she ultimately had responsibility for that company's domestic commission book rep groups and its network of international sales distributors and agents.</p> -->
Specific Services for Publishers