A Sales Team reason for rejection

Imagine that you and I spend an entire day at the beach. Good times, huh? 

Now imagine that while you are out surfing it up and having a blast, I get sunburned and stung by a jellyfish and a bully kicks sand in my face.

Tomorrow, when you pop over and invite me to join you for a trip the beach again, I will probably squint miserably into the sunshine peering through your smile and say, “No thanks!” There’s no way I want to risk getting burned again.

Sometimes that’s what it’s like with my sales team, especially if we’re facing a time of economic downturn, or corporate layoffs, or just bad annual reviews from our collective bosses. Remember, emotional discouragement affects intellectual outlook. If my Sales VP is discouraged by the performance of the books her team is currently struggling with, she’s going to be hesitant to expose her team to further failure with anything that’s not a slam-dunk, absolute-guaranteed hit. 

Now, if you’ve done your homework (and I really hope you have!), then you’re sending me a book that targets the same audience as previous and/or current books we’re publishing. That’s a correct strategy almost all of the time…but I’m going to be honest and tell you that if the bottom has unexpectedly fallen out of our core market, your new book could fall out with it. 

How are you to know that my Sales VP has become disillusioned with the types of books we’ve been publishing because our typical reader hasn’t been buying those books lately? Well, you can’t know that. But it still may earn you a rejection anyway. 

Sorry about that.

What You Can Do About It

1. Deliver a plan for beating a bad publishing economy. 

At this point, you should know why people buy books (see Reason #65). You know specific sales channels where you book has good potential (see Reason #67). You’ve worked on building your platform (see Reason #54) and identified any “brandwagon” opportunities that’ll help sell your book (Reason #55). You’ve trimmed the costs of producing your book (Reason #68) and even delivered clear, obvious appeal to women with your book (see Reason #59). Add to that all the marketing and editorial expertise you’ve gained, and you should be able to present a proposal that beats any bad economy, right?

So be sure to use that knowledge to tell my sales team exactly why they’ll be successful when selling your book—even though some other loser’s book on a similar topic hasn’t been good enough. Do that, and you can make my Sales VP forget the past and look forward to a bright, shiny future with you in it.

2. Stay away from hard luck cases. 

Sorry to say it, but sometimes it’s best not to send a book to a publisher—especially if you keep reading about corporate restructures, “rightsizing,” quarterly losses in operating income, or even looming bankruptcy possibilities. Your book won’t save that kind of company—and they probably won’t appreciate your offer to publish anyway. 

So don’t try to force your book into a hard luck company. Give it a year or so to see if they’re able to rebound first. Then when all their cost-cutting measures of the previous year start to pay off, they’ll be more receptive to the new opportunity that your book provides.

3. Subscribe to Publisher’s Lunch.

If you’re not already on their list, go to PublishersMarketplace.com and sign up for the free, daily e-newsletter, Publisher’s Lunch. (Heck, if you can afford about $20 a month, go ahead and register on their site for the Lunch Deluxe newsletter.) 

Publisher’s Lunch is one of the most reliable, and timely, sources for business information about everybody active in the publishing industry. If a publisher is struggling, you’ll find out about it here. If a publisher is expanding, you’ll find that here too—along with specific editor names and projects currently in production. 

The information you gain from regularly reading Publisher’s Lunch will be invaluable as you try to navigate unpredictable economic times to find the sales team most likely to be excited about your book.

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