A graduate of the master of publishing program at Pace University in Manhattan, Erin Galloway is the Manager of Marketing for Dorchester Publishing. She has the pleasure of working with many talented authors, ranging from debut authors to veteran New York Times best-sellers.
Tell us a little about you and your publishing house.
I am the Manager of Marketing for Dorchester Publishing. Essentially, I deal with all consumer related promotion, publicity and advertising for the company. Dorchester has published mass market books since 1971, making it the oldest independent mass market publisher in America. In addition to building the careers of New York Times bestselling romance authors like Christine Feehan, Nina Bangs, Marjorie M. Liu and Katie MacAlister, Dorchester also publishes world-class horror, thriller and western titles, as well as the award-winning Hard Case Crime line of pulp-style mysteries and the Cosmos line of science fiction and fantasy titles.
What sort of books do you work with?
I am fortunate to work with all of the different types of titles that we publish-romance, thriller, western, crime, horror and science fiction and fantasy. I am never bored working with such a varied list of novels!
At what stage in the process do you learn about the books you'll be working with?
We formally meet to discuss the books we will be publishing about nine months in advance of publication and it is around that time that we form our marketing plans for the various books and series we will be promoting.
What are some of the key decisions you make regarding how a book is marketed?
There is quite a bit that goes into marketing any given book and I work closely with my colleagues in our marketing and sales departments to give each book its best chance at reaching a wide audience. As I focus mostly on consumer marketing, I make decisions regarding advance reader copies (ARCs), buzz campaigns, advertising in trade and consumer magazines and online advertising. I also develop the press releases and pitches that are sent out to various media and I work to establish relationships with various genre publications and web sites in order to work with them on various campaigns and promotions. I also partner as much as possible with authors to keep them involved in the process and to supplement their creative ideas.
Authors are often upset to see covers that don't seem to reflect their work, even if they look enticing. What's your take on the role of the cover in marketing the book, first to stores, then readers?
Marketing the cover of any novel is always an interesting experience because there are a couple of distinct audiences. The buyer for a wholesaler, chain or distributor often has a very different reaction to a cover than a reader does, and it is often a challenge to keep each audience happy. While the old adage goes that one should never judge a book by its cover, everyone in this industry knows that books are often judged by their covers.
For us, it's always been very important to create covers that are eye catching but that still capture the mood or feeling of what an author is writing. For example, Angie Fox's The Accidental Demon Slayer (8/08) cover was a huge hit. Its cover conveyed that the book would be different, sexy and fun-the very essence of Angie's writing.
There are the beautiful C. L. Wilson book covers. These definitely indicate to the reader that each novel will be a great blend of fantasy and magic.
Another cover I love that we did recently is Bonnie Vanak's The Lady & The Libertine. Bonnie writes beautiful historical romance that moves easily from the hot sands of Egypt to the ballrooms of London. The cover gives the reader of a glimpse of both of those worlds with a formally dressed lady and an exotic backdrop.
Overall, I am very proud of our covers. We aren't perfect and every once in a while we may miss the mark, but I find that our authors are very pleased. We work with very talented cover artists and photographers and I am consistently impressed with what we are able to offer.
How has the internet changed what you do and how you do it?
The internet has become a great marketing tool. We're able to reach readers in many new ways. We can offer unique promotions through blog tours, exclusive excerpts of our books, and contests for loyal readers. It's an exciting world out there and with the great strides in digital content, I think we will see even more marketing opportunities in years to come.
In particular, there's been a lot of buzz about on-line trailers. Is this something you've worked with & do you see this approach as a new tool in the arsenal?
I think a book video or trailer can be a great marketing tool if used properly by someone who understands a video's strengths and its limitations. If well made, a video will stay in a reader's minds and when he or she sees further marketing and promotion for a given book, he or she may remember viewing the interesting video. A professional video also often comes with a set level of distribution, which is great for reach a wider audience and new readers.
A book video a reader views on an author's web site may not immediately encourage him or her to run right out and buy a book, but that video will likely give the viewer a reason to stay longer at an author's web site, poking around and seeing what else the author has to offer. When used in conjunction with other marketing, a book video can be useful, but as a professional book video is expensive to produce, I always advise authors to carefully consider their options before making any decisions.
We understand that Dorchester is excited about a new digital initiative. Care to tell us more?
2009 is poised to be another great year for Dorchester! This spring we will launch our digital initiative, making many of our 2008 and 2009 titles available as eBooks. While some of our titles are already available in Amazon Kindle and Sony eReader format, this new initiative will allow us to make more eBooks available and to make those eBooks available in more formats. We have partnered with the company LibreDigital to launch this initiative and working with them allows us to take advantage of new software, such as BookBrowse. BookBrowse is similar to the Amazon Search Inside software. It allows readers to preview books on the internet and allows us to offer readers special promotions with "sneak peeks" at various books. We will also offer widgets, which are free links that allow readers to instantly connect with Book Browse. The widgets will allow our authors as well as reviewers and bloggers to immediately connect readers with books they may be interested in.
Thank you very much to Novelists, Inc. for inviting me to share some of the exciting things Dorchester will be offering in 2009. Happy Reading to you all!
Thanks to Charlotte Hubbard for inviting Erin to blog with us and to Elaine Isaak for developing the questions for Erin.