Just doing the accounts... • 31 July 2008 • The SnowBlog

Just doing the accounts...

...and one invoice stands out. It's for 587.50 - not a small sum, indeed greater than my monthly salary - and it's for promotional support for a work of fiction published this summer. Promotional support, to the uninitiated, is the amount of money a publisher pays to a retailer to cover the costs of promoting a title. You and I both know that whilst it does cover some of the costs, it's a rather blunt instrument (it's a flat rate, so it's not like retailers calculate the actual costs each time). This particular invoice covers one week's front of store promotion in a chain retailer. Having worked in retail for most of my adult life, I know that it's impossible to get all stores to do what you want them to do, at the right time. And for a promotion that lasts only a week, a retailer would have to be pretty world class to get all the stock in the right place, displayed correctly, stickered correctly and on sale. I bet that only half the stores were running the promotion on Day 1. I bet that 30% of stores never had the stock out at all. What am I saying? I don't really know. I'm not ever going to stop supporting retailers - they make our business viable - they are our cherished customers. And having worked in most retail functions, including stores, I have every sympathy with the challenges they face. I guess all I'm saying is that 587.50 is a lot of money, but I don't think we'll necessarily have got what we paid for. Remember my story about Xmas 2006, where we experienced 19% promotional compliance? (i.e. stock was only visible in 19% of the places it should have been.) Our business can flourish on the trading terms we have down on paper. It's just real life that gets in the way sometimes.


The SnowBlog is one of the oldest publishing blogs, started in 2003, and it's been through various content management systems over the years. A 2005 techno-blunder meant we lost the early years, but the archives you're reading now go all the way back to 2005.

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