18. Promotion & sales
SummaryIn many countries, signing books are sold by the production companies themselves. However, little or no attention (or money) are usually available at the end of the production line for promotion and sales.
Many companies don't have a catalogue, and sell their productions only to members of their organisation or to members of the Deaf community. As a consequence, public libraries and the general public are rarely aware of the existence of signing books in their country, and/or the publication of new titles.
In many countries, the marketing of signing books receives little or no attention and is a very low-budget (or no budget!) affair. Productions are often marketed only locally and/or to members of a Deaf or parents' organisation, sometimes nationally within the Deaf community. Productions are rarely offered to mainstream bookstores or to public libraries.
It is important, however, to include marketing of your videos in your activities. Deaf and hearing people should know what is available and where. The mainstream community should become as familiar with 'signing books for the Deaf', as they are with 'talking books for the blind'. Public libraries are usually interested in sign language materials - and in some countries (e.g. GB) public libraries are even required by law to include sign language productions in their collection.
The internet can be used to advertise your productions nationally and internationally. A national database with information on all signing books available in your country will help intermediate and end-users find your productions. An international catalogue with information on all signing books available in Europe or world-wide will stimulate international co-operation and co-productions.
People who pick up your production in a library or a bookstore, are hardly ever able to watch the video before they buy or lend it. The cover of the video-box or CD-ROM should therefore be attractive as well as informative.
For bookstores and libraries to include your productions in their catalogues correctly, they must be able to find certain information on the outside or inside cover of the video-box or CD-ROM:
Promote your production(s) through flyers, catalogues, a web-site. Try to include the mainstream community in your promotional activities: public libraries, mainstream organisations, etc..
Include pictures and screen-prints in your catalogues. Show videoclips of your productions on your website.
Make a video-catalogue on videotape or CD-ROM, with short clips to illustrate your productions.
If there is a national database for sign language material: submit your information to this database so people will be able to find you and your productions.
The price range for signing books varies from free distribution to over 100 Euros per production. Many sign language productions on the market today are cheaper than comparable mainstream productions. Viewers in your country may not be used to paying high prices (or even paying at all) for information in sign language.
For most productions, outside funding is therefore indispensable. When you apply for funding, include funds for marketing, promotion, and after-sales services in your budget.
You may also have to include 'protection' in your marketing plans. Protection against illegal copying andunauthorised use may range from a copyright statement in the trailer of your production, to making it technically impossible to make unauthorised copies.