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Author Marketing Guide

How does the University of South Carolina Press market and publicize your book and how can you help? We’ve provided some information below to help you get started in this essential partnership between author and publisher. 

If you have any questions or would like to make any marketing/publicity requests, please contact Cathy Esposito, marketing and sales director, at ce26@mailbox.sc.edu.

Mitchell_Shields_LitchfieldBooks_dec2021.jpg

Photo: Kevin Mitchell and David Shields, co-authors of Taste the State, participate in an author event hosted by Litchfield Books in Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

Six-to-nine months before your book’s publication date, you will be asked to complete a marketing questionnaire. In it we ask you to provide us with very important information that will help us market, publicize, and sell your book. Your suggestions for contacts who might provide endorsements (blurbers), reviewers, advertising outlets, and academic conferences, as well as recommendations of colleagues, friends, and professional contacts who might be helpful in the promotion of your book are essential to our planning.

You are the expert on your book and how it fits into your field, and we rely on the information you provide in the marketing questionnaire to guide our efforts!

We publish two seasonal catalogs: Spring & Summer, which is available in January, and Fall & Winter, which is available in June. Our seasonal catalogs are distributed to our national and international sales representatives, bookstores, wholesalers, libraries, and media contacts around the world, both digitally and in print. You will receive a printed copy of the catalog and will be able to view the catalog on our website. We also produce subject catalogs for special events and academic conferences. 

We will advertise your book in relevant print and digital publications, on social media, and/or in conference programs. 

We often receive requests for review copies from media outlets but we also meet with key contacts to recommend specific books for review. For select general interest books we distribute e-galleys and/or printed galleys with the goal of securing pre-publication reviews in magazines and industry journals such as Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Upon publication of each book we send a press release or pitch letter to a curated list of reviewers that may include magazines, journals, journalists, influencers, academics, and mainstream media. We will reference your marketing questionnaire before creating your list, so please be sure you have noted any personal connections with the media. If you would like to reach out to your own contacts about your book, we encourage your efforts but ask that you discuss it with the UofSC Press marketing department in advance to eliminate any duplication of efforts and to discuss messaging. If you receive review requests, please send to us so we can respond promptly. 

Review coverage is difficult to predict and it does not always happen quickly. Book reviews in newspapers and magazines often take weeks to appear and reviews in scholarly journals take at least six months to appear, and frequently longer—sometimes years. Getting your book reviewed is a priority for us, but we cannot guarantee when or if it will happen. 

When we receive reviews, we post positive excerpts on your book’s page on uscpress.com. We will also add them to the data we send to sales outlets including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you receive or find a review of your book please share it with us!

We often reference two dates: release date and publication date. Your book leaves our distributor’s warehouse in Pennsylvania on the release date, but it will not be available to consumers until the publication date. The publication date is set three (3) weeks after the release date to allow for shipping to wholesale distributors and bookstores. 

Please do not schedule any events where you wish to sell books prior to your book’s publication date. We cannot guarantee that books will be available prior to the publication date.

Your book will be featured in various new book email announcements to bookstores, scholars, instructors, and/or general readers. These announcements include the book’s cover image, short descriptive copy and/or blurbs, and a link to our website to order the book and/or request an exam copy. 

We can also provide you with a designed email announcing your book that you can send to your own contacts. Please contact us to request a designed email announcement.

Social media is a free and effective way to market and sell your book. It is great for tapping into niche audiences, cultivating communities that attract readers, and for announcing new work. For more information, you can download our social media guide.

UofSC Press is active on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. If you are on any of these platforms, please “like” and/or “follow” our pages so you can engage with us. 

Op-eds are an excellent vehicle for promotion, provided your argument is strong and is relevant to current events and your book! Writing an op-ed tied to your book is an excellent exercise that can help you start to frame how your book should be described and presented to the world. Op-eds are generally short (under 750 words) and should include the name of your book followed by “published by the University of South Carolina Press.” If you are interested in writing an op-ed, your university communications department will likely be helpful in both crafting the piece and sending it to the appropriate people. We are happy to help, but these op-eds must be submitted by you personally. 

Guest blogging or being interviewed by a blogger is another great way to publicize your book. Always be sure to include the name of your book followed by “published by the University of South Carolina Press.” 

If you enjoy reading and writing, you might consider becoming a book reviewer. You can reach out to traditional outlets, like your local or regional newspaper, or you can contact scholarly journals in your field to offer your expertise as a reviewer. It is best to start this process prior to the publication of your book. Being a trusted book reviewer increases the odds that your book will be welcomed by publications, readers, and people in your field. In your byline, make sure you include the name of your book followed by “published by The University of South Carolina Press.”  

We assist with planning and executing author events in South Carolina and can provide guidance with events outside South Carolina. 

Do you have a local bookstore where you’d like to have a reading and signing? Do you know the owner and the staff? Great! Relationships like these make planning bookstore events much easier. Booksellers operate on tight margins, and they want to book authors who can bring in friends, family, and colleagues. Do you have at least twenty people who will attend your event? If so, you’re a good candidate for a bookstore event. 

If you’re in South Carolina, please discuss your ideas for events with us. If you’re outside South Carolina, please alert us to any planned events so we can help facilitate book orders. 

Are you a member of a professional or social group that would be interested in your book? These groups are often interested in book talks—and book sales too! There may be groups at your own university, another university, a local civic organization, a social group, an alumni or university club, or a service group. 

Your own connections are often the key to booking events. In many cases initial inquires will need to come from you. We are happy to guide your event planning and promotions and help arrange book sales. If you have planned an event where you want books for sale, please contact us at least four weeks prior to the event.

Representatives from UofSC Press attend conferences in the United States and abroad, and we will take your book to relevant events. Please visit our Conferences page to see the list of conferences we plan on attending.

If you plan to attend a conference that is not on our list, we may be able to provide you with a promotional flyer that you can distribute. To learn more about this option please contact us at least four (4) weeks prior to the conference.

The UofSC Press will nominate your book for up to four (4) awards listed on your marketing questionnaire at our discretion. If you would like to nominate your book for an award and need a print or digital copy for submission, please contact us for assistance.

Your university can be a powerful promotional partner. Ask your university’s public relations and communications office or your department chair if they maintain lists of faculty experts for media inquiries. Ask to be added to this list and update your contact list with these names—and consider sending them a note about your new book. 

Discuss available resources with your communications office, which may be willing to post on social media, issue press releases, promote your book in internal communications, and/or bring it to the attention of local media. 

Consider giving lectures about your book at your university. Most campus bookstores will provide book sales for faculty events and will often continue to stock your book in your campus store! 

Please contact us for more information on maximizing your efforts.

  • Consider including a link to your book in your email signature. 
  • Update your bio on your university’s webpage, LinkedIn profile, and other relevant pages to include a link to your book — with a jacket image, when possible. 
  • Discuss your book with professors in your field and ask if they are interested in adopting your title for their course. Find out if they know a colleague who might be interested in adopting it or in having you give a book talk at their institution? 
  • While your involvement in promoting your book is essential and always appreciated, please refrain from sharing large portions of your manuscript and/or photos from your manuscript with anyone without discussing it with the UofSC Press marketing department first. 
  • If you would like special promotional materials, such as flyers, postcards, banners, or bookmarks we may be able to help! Please email us with your request at least four (4) weeks before you want the materials. In most cases, we will provide a PDF that you can have printed, so please plan accordingly. If you wish to create these materials yourself, please email the UofSC Press marketing department for approval before printing. We can provide high-resolution book covers and UofSC Press logos. 
  • Has someone you know read your booked and liked it? Encourage them to leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and Barnes & Noble websites. 
  • Share information about your book within your community on scholarly listservs.
  • Remember: you are the #1 advocate for your book. 

UofSC Press authors can order copies of any book published by the UofSC Press at a discount. You will find your author discount in your contract. 

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