Typically, how large are the books you publish and what does it cost to publish them? Also, how do you typically determine a marketing budget?

Most of the books that I and others across the country have published fall somewhere in the 30- to 60 page range. They are softbound books. Many of my members are using a publisher in Pennsylvania (Word Association Publishing) and typically you can make an initial order for a quantity of as few as 250. The first order, which includes formatting the book and designing a cover, costs somewhere around $1,000, plus approximately $2.50 per book. While pricing for additional orders varies by quantity, I am typically spending about $2.50 per book. The book can be written in a weekend, but most of my members take about 6 - 8 weeks to go from concept to finished products, based on my models.

Determining a marketing budget is probably the wrong question to ask. What you will typically hear is that you should spend between 7 and 10 percent of gross revenues (or is it profits? I forget) on marketing. I think this is totally wrong. If for every dollar you spent you knew you would get back $1.50, how much money would you spend? The answer is you would spend all of the money you had and then you would borrow more. The teaching point is that it is the message which is important. Once you have engineered a good message and a system that will help you stand out in the crowd, then prove to people that you are the wise man or woman at the top of the mountain and then put every single contact into a database that is marketed to over and over, then you make more money and spend even more money on marketing.

The ultimate object is to be able to outspend your competition, frankly. What the marketing vultures (i.e., the folks selling you the marketing) want you to do is to spend indiscriminately up to the "magic threshold" of 7 to 10 percent, or whatever it is. Once you have a system and you are tracking results, then you put more money into your winners and you drop your losers. One of the other lies of the marketing vultures is that you need to run an ad six, or ten, or thirty times in order to form an "impression" and to get people to remember you. Our rule is that if an ad doesn't work the first time, running it 30 times isn't going to make the ad any better. Since we are doing "direct response marketing," it is pretty easy to quickly tell whether you have found the right message to provoke the response.

The other part about that question is what elements would you consider a part of a "marketing budget?" I spend $15,000 to $20,000 a year on my own education about marketing, primarily by being a part of several mastermind groups and attending high-level marketing and Internet seminars. So this is not money that is dollar-for-dollar going to buy marketing media, but it is money that typically returns to me at least five- or six fold every year. It is part of my marketing budget.

Ben Glass
Ben is a nationally recognized expert in attorney marketing and the owner of Great Legal Marketing.