Marketing at Collective Ink

How the Collective Ink marketing process works and what you need to do.

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In this section:

    How We Will Market Your Book

    When we publish your book, you will receive the following:

    1. a publicist assigned to your book. The publicists we work with most regularly are Gavin Davies, Trevor Greenfield, Ben Blundell, and Phoebe Matthews;
    2. our Standard Publicity Campaign (6 hours);
    3. the option of EXTRA PR packages for authors who would like more time and a more involved relationship with their publicist; order on the Extra PR forum;
    4. 1,000 copies in your first year: if your book sells 1,000 copies (across all formats and territories) within the first twelve months of publication, we'll launch a special campaign tailored to your work. This kind of extra promotion will be at the imprint manager and campaigns team’s discretion. Our campaigns team will update your book's marketing activities and promotional plans section once they have completed this promotion. Additional campaigns will kick in at 5,000 lifetime sales and every 5,000 copies thereafter;
    5. Seasonal promotions: regardless of sales activity, we will always promote any book from the list for seasonal promotions appropriate to its content. We call this reactive promotional support, and it will continue to be something the team looks after for the life of our publishing relationship;
    6. the following definitive guide, The Ultimate Author Guide to Marketing Your Book!, a must-read for all authors;
    7. all publicity approaches recorded on your Marketing page in Marketing Activities; this initial push is recorded as Email/Press Release Arranged; you should record what you do in Marketing Activities, too; and
    8. The 3 Month Review: your Publisher and Publicist will leave a note in your Promotional Plans box three months after your book is published, evaluating what worked and what didn’t and refining our approach.

    Standard PR

    Our Standard publicity campaign (six hours) is delivered by your publicist.

    • For Standard PR, you won’t have email contact with your publicist, but they will add their plan to your Promotional Plans box 1–2 months before your book comes out.
    • Your publicist will: approach contacts for reviews and interviews (print, online, radio, podcasts, etc.); pitch articles and mention you and your book on relevant CI social media; create memes where appropriate — all while using and updating our Contacts Database as they go along.
    • At CI, we keep various mailings lists, whom we contact with new title information, bestsellers, and notable backlist, one of which comprises consumer fans, whom we email 1–2 times a month.
    • We also email once a month to the trade, and Moon Books has their own separate list. If we mention your book in any of these newsletters, you will see it recorded on your Marketing Page in the Email History section. Click on the blue link to see the contents of the newsletter.
    Your publicist will aim high when they pitch you and your book for interviews and articles. Please be aware that they only have a limited time to work, and unless you already have a profile, it will be unlikely that you will be featured on BBC News or Oprah. Further, they cannot do their job fully unless you have supported them with interview talking points and a clear promotional plan. Overall, the initial campaign is not, in itself, likely to generate substantial sales. A proper campaign takes months. The purpose is to get an indication of travel, of directions to follow.

    When to Begin Your Marketing

    Start planning it when you receive the Starting to Market (Key Points) notification (once your final-copyedited manuscript has been approved by you and uploaded back to us), in preparation for beginning your work 6 months before publication.

    The first thing you should do when you receive the Starting to Market (Key Points) notification is write the latest, final version of your Marketing Plan (the one you submitted when you filled out your proposal) in the Promotional Plans box on your Marketing page. The Promotional Plans box is a vital space to communicate with your publicist and the rest of the team. When you are done, write your initials and the date you added the plan, and your publicist will do the same. This is so that you can keep track of your communication.

    Outline in bullets what you will do to promote your book. Sales reps, especially in the US, want to see your social media numbers. Knowing these numbers gives them a rough conversion rate on sales to expect. Though not an exact science, the rule of thumb is 10% of the following will see the post, and from that number, approximately 10% is likely to buy or read. For example: 1000 followers — 100 see the post — 10 sales minimum. If your numbers are positive, it encourages the sales teams to pitch larger sales of your book. Add your name, book, publication date, and list your networks as follows:

    Under a separate title, add Priorities for in-house PR. Detail the most important activities that you sense your in-house publicist should do to promote your book.

    Write down 8–10 interview talking points for your publicist to use in the promotion of your book. Interview talking points focus on the most interesting content in your book that you can share in an interview. Each point should be only a few sentences. This list is used to “hook” the interviewer into having you as a guest.

    Don't talk about:

    • your writing process, or
    • anything dull.

    Do talk about:

    • what’s interesting about you;
    • what motivated you to write the book;
    • what the story behind your book is;
    • what your challenges writing the book were; and
    • human interest and layered talking points.

    Upload your interview talking points as a Microsoft Word doc to the Articles section of the Publicity box on your Marketing page.

    Ensure that your Keywords are the best they can be. The right words and phrases in your title, subtitle, blurb, and Keyword box (on your Marketing page) greatly increase your visibility on search engines such as Google, Amazon, Apple, and LibraryThing. As most people shop for books online, this is crucial to your book’s success. If you’ve written a book that teaches reiki and someone searches for “book on how to do reiki” and your book does not show up on the first 1–3 pages of results, then potential readers are not going to find it.

    Write 10-20 keywords/phrases that describe the content and theme of your book. Choose keywords that describe your book accurately. Don’t just choose singular words – use “strings” as well, small groupings or phrases. If possible, make sure your most important keywords are in your title, subtitle, and blurb as well.


    The four cornerstones of your sales pitch are the cover, the price, the reviews, and the blurb. The month after your book's publication date gets set, we create an AI/Tipsheet based on information that you have given us by uploading it to your Marketing page, and we will distill and synthesize these cornerstones to create your Advance Information (AI) sheet. The AI Sheet is a promotional tool that publishers use to present their books to the book trade.

    The information we use to create your AI sheet includes your Back Cover Copy, your Author Bio and Endorsements, your Promotional Plan, your USP, the Categories you select for your book, the Competing Books you added, and your Previous Titles (if you have them).

    Your AI will be circulated to our sales reps, and they will use the information on it as the basis of their pitch. Book buyers look at your AI sheet and make a decision about how prominent to make your book on their database, whether to take print copies into stock, and if so, how many and where — so it's your chance to get their attention, and the information must be accurate, punchy, and concise.

    Once the AI is up, feel free to download and use it. Some ideas:

    You can base your own promotional emails and approaches off of it.

    You can use it to create any promotional material you want, with your cover.

    You can take it to local stores that might host a signing session.

    If you believe that any information on your Tipsheet is incorrect or out of date, please leave a note on the Sales and Distribution forum.

    Sample AI for Afterlife of King James IV, Chronos Books

    Record Your Marketing as Marketing Activities

    Marketing Activities is how we record your marketing. Both you and your publicist are expected to use them to record the work you do. Accurate, up-to-date Marketing Activities help make your book a success:
    • Sales Reps look at them before they pitch your book.
    • They are a vital channel of communication between you and your publicist.
    • Our Print Manager uses them to estimate how many books to print.
    • They provide the data to improve our systems for the future.

    The 10 Marketing Activity types

    1. Advertising
    2. Article/Extract
    3. Award Submission
    4. Email/Press Release
    5. Event/Signing
    6. Foreign Rights
    7. Interview
    8. Promotional Material
    9. Reader Offer/Giveaway
    10. Review Copy

    The 4 statuses

    1. Offered: the initial approach
    2. Requested: the contact responds positively
    3. Arranged/sent: the event is arranged/the materials are sent
    4. Completed/printed: the event has taken place/article has been published/award has been given, etc.

    Keep it simple — adding activities can take a lot of time. We recommend, as a general rule, recording a Marketing Activity only after it has been completed.

    How to add a Marketing Activity

    Before you add a Marketing Activity, STOP! Check the Contacts Database for the correct contact. If the contact isn’t there, add it manually and THEN add the Marketing Activity. Instructions for how to add a contact are here.

    There are two ways to add a Marketing Activity:

    - the Marketing page of your book; or
    - the Contacts database.

    How to upload an article

    Upload your articles to the Publicity section of your Marketing page, under Articles.

    File formats we want:

    • ✅ Microsoft Word .doc(x)

    Formats we don't want:

    • ❌ PDF
    • ❌ Image file

    How to upload:

    • Visit your Marketing page;
    • scroll down to Publicity;
    • under Articles or Press Release, click +upload an article; then
    • fill in a description of what you are uploading, select the article on your hard drive, and upload.
    Record your marketing in your Marketing Page as Marketing Activities. We have a guide on how to do that below.

    Write Your Own Press Release

    We strongly encourage you to write your own press release as part of your own marketing work. Some media contacts like to hear from us, and some from the author only. A personalized approach can go far. You can also send it out to your own mailing list. Please upload your press release to the Press Release section of the Publicity box on your Marketing page and record any press releases you send out as an Email/Press Release Marketing Activity.

    How to add a press release to your Marketing page

    File formats we want:

    • ✅ Microsoft Word .doc(x)

    Formats we don't want:

    • ❌ PDF
    • ❌ Image file

    How to upload:

    • Visit your Marketing page;
    • scroll down to Publicity;
    • under Articles or Press Release, click +upload an article or +upload a press release; then
    • fill in a description of what you are uploading, select the article on your hard drive, and upload.

    Organising Events with Us

    We don't organise events. If we are contacted by an event organizer, we will pass the organizer's email address to you. We need to make sure that there are enough books printed and in stock for your event. If you don't tell us in time, you may not be able to order enough.

    1. Tell us on the Sales to the trade forum so that we can notify our sales reps.
    2. The event host/organiser should buy books from the relevant wholesaler or distributor.
    3. If you want to buy books to sell at the event (and take advantage of your author discount), you can also order via the relevent wholesaler or distributer.
    4. Once you've told us on the forum, add the event as a Marketing Activity so that your publicist knows about it.
    5. For full info read in FAQs
    Printed books reach the warehouses by the first day of the month of publication. Please be aware that if you request advance copies before this in the US (for events or reviews), we will delay stocking our warehouse at NBN because copies might arrive more than two months before the planned publication date. This is because NBN will advance publication date and distribute it to all databases, including Amazon, which causes confusion.

    How to Add Your Event to Your Marketing Page

    Scroll down to Marketing Activities.
    • Click + add an activity.
    • In Activity Type, select Event/Signing.
    • If you have set up an event that will take place in the future, select the date as Arranged. If the event has already happened, set the date as Completed. In both instances, your publicist will be notified. If, however, you set the date as Offered or Requested, your publicist won't be notified.
    • Link to the relevant Contact. If you can’t find the contact you need, you will have to add them to the database manually and then re-add the Marketing Activity .
    • Save.

    How to Request a Hard Review Copy to Be Sent Out

    Drop us a line on the Review Copies Author Forum.

    We don’t send out review copies willy nilly, on spec. Only ask if there is a serious request for a copy from an important contact. The review copy can take a few weeks to arrive, depending on how many copies are in stock.

    Please be aware that if you request advance copies in the US, we will delay stocking our warehouse at NBN because copies might arrive more than two months before the planned publication date. This is because NBN will advance publication date and distribute it to all databases, including Amazon, which causes confusion.

    You won't be able to send out hard review copies until a few weeks before publication at your first printing. You have the option of sending digital review copies (PDF and EPUB) before then.

    We impose no limit on sending out digital review copies (PDF and EPUB). PDFs can go out after the finished files and the PDF Review File are ready and your title has a publication date. The ebook is uploaded a couple of months before publication.

    • Download your PDF Review Copy by clicking on No trims on your Marketing page.
    • Download your EPUB review copy from the e-book Workflow section.

    If you send out a review copy, log it on your Marketing page:

    • Click +add an activity;
    • click select activity type and choose Review Copy;
    • if you are sending out the copy, add the date in Offered or Requested; when you receive the final review, you can update the date in Completed;
    • add the relevant Contact;
    • add any relevant info to Notes & Comments; then
    • click Save.

    Add Your Best Reviews to Your Book Details Page

    If you get a good review:

    • add it to your Book Details page under Reviews.
    • Every review added here feeds directly to your book’s page on the website.
    • The reviews on your book’s page do not have paragraph breaks — so edit your review down to its best bits to avoid one long unreadable paragraph. You can also link to the full review if that is possible.
    As publisher, we cannot add reviews to online sites such as Amazon, The Book Depository, Goodreads, and others. You can do this through your own Author Central account.

    Bad reviews: Inevitably, it happens ... It's one person's opinion and, perhaps, not a well-formed one. You cannot get them removed unless they are libelous.

    Organising a Giveaway

    You can use your review copies for giveaways. If you want to arrange a copy as a prize, drop us a line on the Review Copies Author Forum.

    Organising a Discount

    Our US and UK distributors can offer your attendees your book(s) at a discount (20% is normal) to readers. This is known as a “discount code”. It can last for a specified amount of time, particularly if you are doing several talks, events, or conferences. Typically, we have organized codes to run for six months. Promotions must be set up by CI. If you would like to run a promotion, please post your request in the the Help forum under Sales & Distribution/Other queries. And please make sure to add this promotion to your Marketing Activities and to share with CI on the FB closed author group. Read Chapter 16: Ordering for more info.

    Organising a Promotion

    We don't encourage these. We believe that it's much better to sell at RRP and that a price promotion is not a sales panacea. Authors who drop the price of their book, without putting effort into a dedicated marketing plan, tend to receive a few dozen sales (if that). We only even consider such promotions after 1000 sales and 50+ Amazon reviews, and the minimum sales target should be hundreds of books. And even if your book has achieved the above, the promotion is still at the Publisher's discretion.

    Occasionally, we offer books at discount to readers or booksellers, or invite authors to offer this to their networks. These offers to authors are only effective for books by several authors with wide-ranging, deep networks of potential buyers. Promotions run at our discretion.

    We set up a promotion code, an offer discount, and special ordering details with each relevant regional distributor.

    To run this promotion, authors and CI could:

    • share with their networks by email or on social media;
    • add it to the end of an article or a blog post;
    • list it on a retail order form distributed at conferences, shows, and meetings;
    • include it in a newsletter to readers.

    To claim the discount, readers would need to:

    • order within the time limit of the promotion, e.g. before 1/1/2017;
    • contact the distributor by phone, e.g. Wiley + 44 (0)1243 843291 NBN +1 800 462 6420 ext 3022;
    • pay by credit card and be prepared to supply name, address, telephone number, credit card type and number, expiry date, and 3-digit security code only (no other details would be taken);
    • quote promotion code, e.g. 17CIAG or PAGAN101;
    • give title & ISBN, e.g. Paganism 101 ISBN 9781782791706;
    • be ordering for the first or subsequent time within the terms of the promotion;
    • expect shipping charges to be added, e.g. to mainland UK addresses; and
    • expect any local taxes to be added, e.g. US state taxes.

    Promotions must be set up by CI.

    If you would like to run a promotion, please post your request in the the Help forum under Sales & Distribution/Other queries. Make sure to add this promotion to you Marketing Activities and to share with CI on the FB closed author group.


    There are two main ways we advertise:

    • a quarter, half, or full-page ad in a print or online publication; and
    • targeted micro-ads on Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and NetGalley.

    If we pay for advertising, we will record it in Marketing Activities.

    As a company, we advertise minimally and evaluate opportunities on a case-by-case basis.

    We run adverts for qualifying books in trade catalogues. We also submit books to reviewers in the trade press, such as Publishers Weekly and The Bookseller. These catalogues and journals are in both print and digital and offer booksellers details of new books several months in advance of publication. Reviews and adverts are recorded on your Marketing Page as Marketing Activities.

    On the basis of previous results, we decided to stop promoting any paid-for services through Amazon (June 2021). We also do not currently advertise on NetGalley.

    We submit all our new titles for notice in the trade journal The Bookseller. Though not strictly advertising, we also record it as Advertising as this feels like the closest fit.

    I want to place some adverts. What should I do?

    Sign up for an Extra Publicity Campaign, and you will receive:

    • An ad budget. We can help you decide how to use it and negotiate deals. We’ve worked with Watkins, Kirkus, Kindred Spirit, BBC History Magazine, Scream Mag, SCI-FI mag, and more…
    • A slot to promote your book on NetGalley.

    If you plan on advertising yourself, tell us on the Forum, and we'll see what we can do to help. If you go ahead and secure it, make sure that you record it as a Marketing Activity.


    Submitting to Awards

    We aim to win awards at CI, and we have a dedicated Awards Co-ordinator who routinely enters CI books for awards. She uses her discretion in this area based on reader reports and recommendations from Publicists, Publishers, and the Marketing Manager. If your book is entered for an award, you will receive the Title submitted for an award notification.

    We can enter our books only in a limited number of awards each year. So while we understand that most authors desire to enter their books into as many awards as possible, we have to be selective.

    If you believe that your book should be entered for a specific award, make sure that you read its guidelines thoroughly. If you are sure that your book is eligible, then let us know on the Awards Forum. Please be mindful that in many cases this may not be possible. However, we encourage you to enter your book into awards if we don't — if the award allows it, of course.

    We pay for the awards we choose to enter; you, the author, pay for the awards you choose to enter, including related costs, entry fees, and copies to be sent, etc. If you enter an award, update the system!

    If you submit your book to an award, enter it as a Marketing Activity and add the award to the Contacts Database. If you win or are a runner-up, mark it as completed, and a notification will be sent to the relevant book team members to let them know what has happened. The Publishing Manager and Publicist can then use this information to promote the activity by using social media. If you have a good or bad experience, let us know on the Awards Forum — you will give a gift for authors in the future!

    Not all awards are equal ... So use your discretion.

    Some awards, such as those created by JPX media, can be seen as vanity awards and are mainly promoted to self-publishing authors.

    These are characterized by:

    • dozens or hundreds of categories to ensure that all applicants have a shot at being a winner or finalist, and they are easy to enter and easy to win;
    • an entry fee with additional fees for each specific category or other premium service such as trophies, stickers, or prominent display on the award website;
    • promises of marketing, often using social media.

    These awards have little standing in the book trade and, in our experience, have no relevant effect on the sales of a book. We are usually unable to update your book cover and back cover copy with the award logo due to the costs involved — unless you have exceeded sales of 1000 copies. Discretion must be applied to the types of awards we will include here, and the final decision is ours.

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