In my capacity of book publisher at Red Hill Publishing I am often asked what we mean by ‘channels to market’. Here’s a brief explanation.

In the most basic sense a channel to market is the path goods take – such as your book – between manufacturing and the end user. Usually when the term is used people are referring to distribution and retailing. For example, Sally Collings (my Red Hill cohort) is published by HarperCollins. Sally’s channel to market is through HarperCollins, its distribution service to retail, and from the retailer to the reader.

This model has served the publishing industry well (although this is changing) and it serves Sally well. But there are problems, such as not knowing the size of the market, placing products into retail without knowing whether they will be sold, along with the range of distribution costs. In short, it’s costly and risky.

Red Hill looks for authors with their own non-retail channels to market, which is not to say we won’t work with authors who have a book with mass market appeal. But, at the same time, we don’t want our authors to be stuck with a pile of unsold books (as can be the case).

You’ll be pleased to know that we all have existing channels to market, but the issue is that for many of us the market is not particularly big; family, friends, work colleagues, et cetera. Red Hill looks for authors with direct access to large markets. Public speakers, professionals with well established client bases, entrepreneurs and others actively engaged with the public are all examples of potential Red Hill authors.

Usually the authors in the above example will have various channels to market: direct sales, newsletters, email lists, a regularly visited website, non-book retail outlets, media appearances where they can present their book and so forth.

So when we appraise your manuscript and consider the business case you now know what we mean by “channels to market”. If you don’t have them you need to start building them.

Wishing you well and if you think you’re a Red Hill author be sure to check out our website and give us a call.