Off on a Comet! Marketing Plan

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“A rollicking space adventure from the father of science fiction”

Audience

Science fiction fans are a broad and diverse group, but a passionate one. Fortunately, they are  also incredibly active and social. Our marketing efforts will focus on those who like historical science fiction and classics. Our readers are predominantly male, single between 20-40 years old.

Design

First Frontier is proud to be revitalizing the texts of yesterday into the forms of today. Our inhouse design style is representative of our audience’s desires to explore the past and look cool while doing it. We use a lot of clean and minimal symbols, icons, and vector-based graphics, such as silhouettes to suggest themes, character identity, narrative elements and author style. We usually only use one or two colours per design piece, we rely on contrast and size to establish hierarchy of elements, we often mix serif and sans serif fonts for headers and sub-headers, and we even incorporate texture where possible in print. One could say our design style is a hat-tip to Penguin Classics (example1, example2). First Frontier Press designs with both print and digital in mind. Within the whimsical environment of sci-fi there is much opportunity for play and experimentation!

Marketing & Discoverability

Goal: drive traffic to our LeanPub page and convert to sales

Tactics:

1. PR/Media: Press release with angle of giving new life to lost treasures of science fiction. Focus on this mandate of FFP and what’s fun, quirky and controversial about our first title.

 2. Bloggers: Target key science fiction blog:

  • SFFWorld.com
  • spacebattles.com
  • SyFy.com
  • SFsignal.com
  • io9.com
  • SFScope.com

3. First Frontier Press Website: The primary marketing hub is the First Frontier website which currently features Off on a Comet. The site is a great central repository for book information and media that are excluded by LeanPub’s book page template. But ultimately this page will clearly direct buyers back to Leanpub.

4. Social Media

YouTube: Campaign video will live on the FFP website. Glory shots of vintage space travel will serve as a backdrop to inspirational text about the return of one of science fiction’s original works by the genius who brought us the genre.

Twitter: In the months leading up to release, FFP will engage with the science fiction community on Twitter, finding individuals and groups to engage with through hashtags (like #julesverne #spacetravel and the incredibly active hashtag #sciencefiction), other sci-fi publisher and author twitter accounts, and interest groups.  We’ll focus on two-way communication with followers about favourite old sci-fi and regularly directing followers to the FFP website to watch the YouTube promo, and to Facebook to “like” our page for forthcoming information about the book. We will also run a parallel twitter account at @JulesGabrielVerne—we’ll release <140 character excerpts from the book, quotes and Verne facts… possibly in his own voice 🙂

Facebook: Our Facebook page will be structured as a resource of fun, interesting, historical sci-fi facts. We’ll develop content that focuses on the history of the genre and carve out a niche that’s very specific to our type of book and readers of historical sci-fi. This will be a place where we encourage discussion around lost sci-fi and generate ideas from our readers re: future authors and titles to publish. This will also be a secondary place to house our Instagram videos. Everything we publish to Facebook will link back to Leanpub for purchasing.

Instagram: In the spirit of Jules’ Burts “Penguin book a day” instagram, we’ll post 15 second clips of favourite old sci-fi films and news footage of historic space launches and expeditions, accompanied by soundbites from the book.

Pinterest: We intend to do a small limited edition print run of clothbound books which will make up our Collectors Imprint of First Frontier. Because the appeal of these books, like Penguin’s bound classics, is the design, the reach will extend beyond just sci-fi lovers, to bibliophiles and classics collectors who may not otherwise think to seek a science fiction work. We’ll pin images of the cover from our own website, and reach out to prominent “book” pinners to feature the photos on their literature or sci-fi related pinboards.

5. Advertising: Our initial budget doesn’t include scope for print or display ads, but as we assess sales after launch, we would explore Google Ad Network ads on relevant sites.

Distribution Plan

Print

  • Undoubtedly, we’ve positioned our hardcover, cloth-bound, print edition of Off on a Comet! as a collectible item. While Penguin Classic’s price their hardcover (“special edition”) texts around $22, our shorter runs and limited resources push us to $25 retail price.

  • Off on a Comet! is almost entirely out-of-print across bookstores. It is yet to be determined whether mainstream booksellers will agree that we are filling a niche need or not. As a result, we intend to target independent booksellers who can choose whether to market the book as “sci-fi read,” “notable literature” or somewhere in between, dependent on their specific customer base.

  • In order to capture our repeat sci-fi buyers, we want to “fish where the fish are” (is it April yet, Monique?) and pitch our edition of Off on a Comet! to comic book stores across North America (Canada).

  • Our total expected print run is 300 print editions. Depending if we find momentum in large events or sponsorship, we would do a second print run to capitalize on this.

  • Our website also serves as a direct e-retail outlet for both our hardcover and ebook edition. There is a good chance we’ll bundle print + ebook for a subsidized price 🙂

Web

  • Because it’s public domain, there are countless free versions of Off on a Comet! online (f.e. through Apple’s iTunes, classicly, idoc, goodreads, the University of Adelaide). Our selling proposition here is the advantage of getting the PDF, MOBI, and EPUB version in one package. That’s something none of the above sources offer.

  • With Leanpub’s flat fee of $0.50 per book, pricing below that is not really an option even though we have the option to offer the book for $0.

  • We are going to price digital versions based on the cheapest e-book competitor offering the e-book for about $2 and effectively compete with them by pricing it at a minimum $1.50. This way we are able to compete with publishers on Sony Connect and other big e-book platforms. Our suggested price, however, is $5.

  • We cannot avoid publishing on the landing page Leanpub sets up for us (and hence avoid the $0.50 flat fee), but we are free to use other digital distribution channels through which we can sell, Leanpub’s terms say we have granted them a non-exclusive license.
    Our plan:

    • primary: selling through Leanpub landing page because of bigger margin, the landing page can be shortened by using bit.ly and then be advertised easily

    • secondary: offer a more beautifully designed e-book version on our website, priced at about $9

    • tertiary: approach e-book platforms like Amazon, numilog, mobipocket, ebooks.com, and wowio

  • Even though Leanpub offers bundling books with other authors, there are little to no options for us to partner with someone in sci fi.

Other special promotions

  • Through social media and other means of online communication, we are going to rach out to huge sci-fi fan bases such as the Science Fiction Book Club, SFFWorld.com, SpaceBattles.com, and SyFy.com

  • Once connected, we will partner with science fiction fan artists to boost sales, launching a cover contest for our next projects, offering a dedication in our upcoming title as the main prize.

  • Important sci-fi events to attend/advertise at:

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