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Building Your Publishing Community

As you publish your first book, or are the author of a published book, you discover how much more there is to successful publishing than getting the book out the door.

Here is a list of the members of the publishing community who can become your publishing success partners. Each offers unique information, contacts, and services that will help build not only your book into success, but your business into a successful, thriving member of the publishing community.

Distributors. Visit each distributor at book shows such as the BEA. Identify contacts at those book distributors who represent books like yours. Get their catalogs and study their specialties, and what makes them unique, as well as popular with their customers.

Wholesalers. Ingram and Baker & Taylor are vital links in the publishing chain and they need your books, and your information. Visit their booths at BEA and inquire how you can work better with them.

Printers. Select your printer carefully for a long term relationship and call him/her your printer. Then touch base frequently. Printers see the breadth of the publishing world and can be valuable allies in planning your book, hooking you up with additional contacts, and show you the trends in your book niche. But choosing your printer carefully to match your needs is the important first step.

International publishing community. We don’t live in Kansas any more! Publishing is a global industry and by offering foreign rights, you can easily tap into this international market. Visit the foreign publishers' association booths at shows such as the BEA and ask for publisher contact info of publishers that publish books like yours. Contact those publishers re foreign rights. Look for a category match.

Press. Drop off your promo material for display at the press room at any book fair or book show you attend or exhibit in. Book reviewers and news writers are always looking for hot stories.

PMA. Publishers Marketing Association is the largest independent publishers trade association. This organization has local affiliate groups who can help educate you, connect you with potential collaborators, bring vendors to your attention, and offer ways to show your book and get it into new market niches.

Other publishers of your category of book. It is important to build alliances with other authors and publishers in your field. Share and ask what is working. Books are very focused and each interest area has many opportunities that any one publisher can’t cover – leaving room for wonderful collaborations.

Retailers Anyone who sells books is an important member of your team. Whether a brick and mortar store, an Internet retailer, librarians, a program coordinator with back of the room sales opportunities, or street books is all about the interface with the customer.

Publicists and Marketers Promotion and marketing are complex, and your hours are limited, so it is important to identify marketing vendors who can help you with specialized markets, handle big opportunities, and tap their network on your behalf.

Readers And don't forget your fans! It is important to have happy readers of your work -- both professionals who can give a testamonial, and enthusiastic fans in a community who will recommend your book after they have discovered the jewel!

And as you make these important connections, be sure to add them to your contact database and keep them updated with your progress, your successes and your needs. Together, you are stronger as you share your oveall mission of informing, enlightening and entertaining the members of your niche market.

SureToMeet: One technique that can help you update your community is to hold or participate in events, local, regional and/or national. Even international. A handy -- and free -- tool that helps tell your commuhnity and the public about your upcoming events is SureToMeet, an online calendar and email service for companies, individuals and groups with big missions! It offers Google-friendly links to your event listings, public calendars, private calendars as well as email list management and distribution. And it is all free.