A New Way (and Affordable) Way to Experience Europe
"The type of camping Carol suggests is not limited just to the young. Carol says she meets travelers of all ages, from teens to seniors, from singles and couples to large families. Carol has found that everyone agrees that this type of travel allows you not only optimum flexibility but also a chance to get acquainted with the local people and culture." - From the KSB Promotions cover letter for CAMPING EUROPE
KSB Brings Extra Visibility to Independent Publishers
Kate and Doug Bandos and their KSB Promotions - "The Visibility Specialists" -are experienced travelers in the world of book promotion.From a hilltop in Ada, Michigan (near Grand Rapids), as the birds come and go at the birdfeeders, and deer can be seen in the morning calmly grazing in the woods just beyond the lawn, the pace inside is often much less tranquil.
Kate Bandos, founder and core of KSB Promotions, is busy talking to potential new clients, updating current clients on the status of work being done on their behalf, or communicating via phone or email with editors at national magazines and newspapers throughout the country. When she is not on the phone--which is seldom during the weekday 9-5 hours, she may be selecting media from her extensive database built over 30 years of doing book PR. Press release writing is usually relegated to weekends and quiet evening hours.
Meanwhile, Doug Bandos, Kate's husband and partner in KSB Promotions, is usually busy answering the phones, setting up radio and TV interviews for their clients with stations around the country, Doug also handles all of the company's bookkeeping, and makes sure that the office has supplies. Meanwhile, Cinnamon, their 120-pound mixed breed dog, is laying calmly by the door, ready to greet any FedEx or UPS or other delivery people who may have a treat for him.
Although the staff of KSB Promotions sometimes includes a college intern and a part-time employee, the bulk of the work is handled directly by Kate and Doug. As they comment, "When you hire us, you get us!"
KSB Promotions specializes in general non-fiction books, particularly cookbooks, travel guides, parenting, gardening, consumer health, select children's books, and books aimed at the growing baby boomer market (of which they are representatives). Their business is a perfect example of working independently. Perhaps that is why the majority of their clients are Independent Publishers-from the one book, self-published authors to the small companies publishing a two to ten books each year.
A few of their clients are:
* PassPorter Travel Guides, publisher of PassPorter(r) Walt Disney World(r) which received the 2000 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best First Book
* Child Management Inc. whose dozen titles include 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 which has sold more than 500,000 copies in the past 4 years and sells more each year than the previous years
* Calendar Systems, U.S.A., whose Family Organizer has been written about in more than 200 publications.
* They currently also have a few larger clients, including Meredith Books(r) for whom they are handling all the PR work for The Home Depot's 1-2-3 series which includes Decorating 1-2-3(tm), Landscaping 1-2-3(tm), and Decks 1-2-3(tm), and AAA International, for whom they are handling PR for their AAA TourGuides(tm) to U.S. cities and their AAA TravelBook series to European destinations.
KSB Promotions was formed in 1988 by Kate Siegel Bandos. A veteran of 30 years in book promotion, she was promotions director for Globe Pequot Press and publicity director for Pelican Publishing Company, Acropolis Books, and M. Evans & Company. She has been a featured speaker and panelist at numerous regional and national conferences. She has spoken about book promotion and the importance of publicity at the PMA/BEA Publishing University, the International Small Press Publishing Institute, and the Mid-America Book Publishers Conference.
In 1991 Doug Bandos joined KSB Promotions, adding to the firm his more than 20 years of experience in public affairs and advertising. His design and computer skills, along with his finesse on the telephone make him an integral part of the company.
"If there is one frustration working with independent publishers," reveals Kate, "it is their lack of advance planning. National magazine editors want to know about new books four to eight months in advance. It is hard for us to break in for our clients if we don't start working with them until a month or two prior to publication-and sometimes months after publication."
"However, what some of the independent publishers lack in planning, they more than make up for it with enthusiasm. It is a joy to see an author truly excited about a ten-minute interview on a small radio station in Iowa, or really thrilled with a picture of the book and brief caption in a mid-sized newspaper in Florida. Sure, they would like to be booked on The Today Show or Oprah, or get a review in The New York Times, but they are mostly realistic about their initial goals and work with us doggedly to get word-of-mouth started wherever possible."
Some of the elements KSB Promotions puts to work for their clients:
• personal contacts built over the years
• a solid, up-to-date media list
• one-on-one personal service
• genuine interest in the books & authors they take on
• meticulous attention to details
• time to focus on the particular needs of a important book, author, or series
• sensitivity to a publisher's / author's needs to maximize efforts within time and budget constraints
• experience in handling all areas of book and author promotion and publicity on both a national and regional level
• a thorough understanding of what makes busy editors, book reviewers, and radio and television producers put a book and author at the top of their list "The above sample page from our newsletter KSB LINKS (released three times a year) shows several of the travel books we represent. We find that these books get the most coverage from general interest magazine as well as some exposure in newspaper travel sections. Almost no one 'reviews' travel books, so the key is either getting listed or mentioned in a sidebar of a story about a particular destination, or creating a fun story based on the book. THE MILEPOST (Morris Communications) got the greatest coverage a few years ago when it was the 50th annual edition, but it continues to get mentioned in many stories about travel to Alaska. AAA's Tour Guides (AAA Publishing) got mentioned in a syndicated business travel column and then various guides have gotten sidebar mentions in stories about those cities."
"To get new attention for the 9th annual edition of ALONG INTERSTATE-75 (Mile Oak Publishing, Inc.), we decided to capitalize on the authorąs great radio interview skills. When we knew the dates he would be traveling the route gathering updates for the next edition, we contacted key radio stations and offered them 'on-the-road' spots. Dave ended up doing 20 interviews in a 10-day period, with one station even doing a weekly spot four weeks in a row! He did some shows live, some were taped as he swam with dolphins, one as a passenger in a NASCAR stock car at 145 mph, and another at a haunted house. The hosts and producers are already lined up to do something again with Dave next year."
So many authors and publishers are so focused on their book that they fail to come up with original angles which can make a huge difference. After the first round of coverage for Jeff Alt's A WALK FOR SUNSHINE: A 2,160-mile expedition for charity on the Appalachian Trail (Dreams Shared Publications), we discussed what to do next. This was just as the first TV survivor show was "hot," so we decided to ride on those coat tails and offer interviews with a true survivor! This resulted in several articles and interviews, including a primetime TV show in the Tampa area, as well as a major Tampa newspaper story tied in with the final episode of the first TV survivor series. Then early this year, with the new survivor TV show getting coverage, we decided to try it again. When Radio-TV Interview Report chose it to be on the cover of one of their February issues, the phone started ringing. Jeff ended up doing more than two-dozen interviews, many in major markets. He happily is in a second printing of the book and sales continue to be strong.
Another example is the launch of A College Studentąs Guide to EATING WELL ON CAMPUS(Tulip Hill Press) by Ann Litt. Since the initial release was going out in August, just as classes were beginning, we decided to highlight the dreaded "Freshman 15," the 15 pounds that so many freshman gain due to bad eating habits at college. Major stories appeared in USA Today, The Washington Post, the St. Louis Times-Dispatch, and dozens of other papers. The USA Today article in turn lead to an interview on MSNBC's "HomePage" which was then airing also on NBC following "The Today Show."
Travel books can get coverage with releases that feature good travel advice; parenting books we have found lend themselves to specially written articles offered free to regional parenting magazines, cookbooks publishers can always offer seasonal recipes. The key is to not think that publication of a new book is news. Publishers and authors must find the interesting information tidbits to offer, knowing the book as a whole will then get mentioned.
Other publicity snares:
o Publishers who have not allocated sufficient funding for a solid publicity campaign. No one will know the book exists if you donąt get help from the media in spreading the word.
o Publishers who expect that reviews, articles, and interviews will happen immediately. It can take weeks or months for coverage to start and may happen over many months.
o Publishers who donąt realize that the easy part is now complete (writing and printing the book) and the hard part -- promotion and sales -- is just beginning. And with any luck, the promotion and sales should continue for years to come. Thomas W. Phelan's book, 1-2-3 MAGIC: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 was originally released in 1995 (Child Management, Inc.). To date sales top 500,000 copies, with an additional 100,000 copies of the video having been sold. With active publicity and marketing work ongoing, sending out at least four new releases each year, continual offers of free topical articles, mailing of the company's catalog to key buyers, an active speaking schedule, and aggressive work to get radio and TV interviews, the book and video are selling more each subsequent year. And this is only one of Dr. Phelan's successful books, videos, and audiobooks. All About Attention Deficit Disorder and Surviving Your Adolescents have each sold more than 80,000 copies.