They’re a rather largish paintball product distribution and manufacturing company (one of the largest in fact).
Liaison and I agreed to give them a bit of a grace period to market the book to specialty paintball retailers and held the book back from listing with Ingram for about two months; this kept the book off of online book retailer sites (and Liaison’s site as well, lol).
Kee purchased a very decent order of books and have been pouring a fair amount of effort into promotion – including building me a website for the book.
The decision to hold it back was something of a mutually agreed upon experiment: (Kee knows a bit about marketing, seeing as how they distribute hundreds of millions of dollars of product a year.) We’d all heard both the arguments for and against the effects of listing on Amazon. Personal experience in the field of paintball and books on my part (I both wrote good portions of and then specialty distributed a previous paintball book) told me that sometimes retailers get miffed when they see the book they’re trying to sell discounted on Amazon.
So we compromised on the listing delay: everyone agrees that Amazon, B&N, etc., can provide good product recognition and display, traffic, etc, and we all also agreed that most folks in the target market would prefer to purchase the book from the local ‘experts’ in the game – even if they knew it might be available on Amazon.
Now, the book has been listed with Ingram, is up on Amazon: an Amazon Vine reviewer who’d obtained a review copy has already given it a four star review.
The distribution of other review copies is also beginning to bear fruit. I got a glowing endorsement from the curator of the World Paintball Library (an old time ‘baller like me).
This has been and continues to be an interesting and creative project for me: it’s been a ‘hybrid’ of sorts between traditional publishing and self-publishing, an example of customized book marketing and I think everyone involved is learning quite a bit.
Here’s just a little description of what I mean:
Liaison is a non-fiction imprint of Creative Guy Publishing, a small (horror-oriented) small press. One of Liaison’s biggest hits is Installing Linux on s Dead Badger and I hooked up with it’s owner – Pete Allen – by way of reviewing Gary Wolf’s Space Vulture (review).
I mentioned that I had a completed book and was looking for a publisher. Pete expressed interest and we talked it around – but paintball wasn’t really in his bailiwick and I really couldn’t afford to pay for printing up a decent number of copies: I also didn’t want to do it as a POD self-pub.
Then, by virtue of discussing the state of publishing these days, we hit on the idea of selling advertising inside the pages of the book to at least partially defray printing costs.
In soliciting advertisements, I ended up talking to the CEO of KEE, sent him a manuscript and Kee decided they wanted to back it.
So essentially I ended up putting together a publicity/marketing company that also acted like a book distributor and purchased a huge number of books in advance, a small press publisher who threw in the layout/book design work (and incidentals like ISBN, liaison with the printer) and there’s the book.
I guess you could say that I got my advance directly from the distributor – rather than the publisher.
This experience plays in to publishing in general as I think there are some good lessons learned (especially for small presses and writers thinking about self-publishing).
And I’m happy because I got the book to market and, if the early ‘returns’ are any indication, it is being well-received.
If you’re interested in following along, visit the book’s website HERE