Business, Marketing, and Science Writing

Marketing Plan for Book Proposal: 


Introduction: The American Master of Fine Arts, a trade book published by SelfPub Press, is an exhaustive collection of thought pieces, program info, insights and essays written by noteworthy alumni and professors at some of America’s most prestigious M.F.A. programs in creative writing, theatre, dance, visual arts, and film. The book is intended to include multiple editions, and be published yearly or every two years, accompanied by a strong digital and social media presence. It will, essentially, be a 300-hundred page textbook examining M.F.A. programs and the arts from both a theoretical and practical standpoint, intended for personal and academic use. The book is unique in that it will be useful to those currently enrolled in M.F.A. programs or considering enrollment, as well as alumni, professors, and artists with an interest in the impact of M.F.A. programs on American literature and the arts. A compilation of statistical facts and program info, anecdotes and personal essays, The American Master of Fine Arts will be a practical reference book, providing actionable information and insight into all things M.F.A.-related.

Channel/Pricing Strategy and Key Messaging to Consumers: SelfPub’s pricing strategy will be based on current trends in print and e-book marketing. The book will be available for purchase in print (paperback and hardcover) and in electronic format (Kindle, Nook, and other mobile devices.) Hardcover versions will be more expensive than paperback, and the e-book version will be less expensive than paperback. Prices will be as follows: Hardcover ($55.99), Paperback ($49.00) and e-book ($45.99). SelfPub’s primary marketing message to consumers will present The American Master of Fine Arts as the definitive text on all American M.F.A. programs, in addition to providing insights from critically-acclaimed artists and writers who graduated from such programs. SelfPub’s marketing strategies will utilize social media platforms and promotional events, while identifying, developing, and nurturing the digital communities that emerge from the publication.

Situational Analysis: The American Master of Fine Arts will be prominently placed in SelfPub’s portfolio. The book will be published in multiple editions and edited by noted authors and scholars from across the country. It will set the tone for other titles that SelfPub intends to publish, which includes publications centered on education, and career development strategies for Millennial populations. The American Master of Fine Arts will be marketed to consumers in academia and the arts, which represents a strong market, providing useful, yearly information about American M.F.A. programs (program ranking, admissions requirements, tuition costs, etc.) and serving as a reference guide for prospective students and educators. The rapid growth of M.F.A. programs throughout the country and the growing expectation that artists, especially creative writers, will have obtained one, creates an invaluable opportunity for reaching readers. For example, in 1994 there were only 64 M.F.A. programs nationwide, by 2014 that number had grown to 229 programs, with an added 52 M.A. programs in creative writing, according to the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. Additionally, there have been numerous articles and websites devoted to those aspiring to obtain the degree, are currently enrolled in a program, or have opinions about the wider implications of these programs on literature and the arts.

Marketing Outlook for Set the Stage Press

Set the Stage Press, a publishing company specializing in children’s books, intends to succeed in the highly-competitive market of children’s publishing by developing and distributing qualitative literary works that can be utilized by individuals, families, schools and educators, as well as organizations with a concern for the healthy cognitive and emotional development of young people. A thorough analysis of trends taking place in book publishing will enable our company to make informed decisions as we implement both short-term and long-term business and marketing strategies. Starting in 2009, large publishing companies began publishing literary works at lower prices; this is particularly true of eBooks. However, current market research demonstrates that the growth of eBooks has declined, indicating that consumers still favor hard copy over electronic formats but aren’t always willing to pay more for physical copies. Moreover, book publishing has become increasingly competitive, with thousands of literary works (in both hard copy and digital form) being published every year, as well as books written by high-profile/celebrity authors that regularly become best sellers.

According to Nielsen, from 2014 to 2015, children’s book sales increased by 12.6% in the U.S. and are showing growth in other countries as well, such as Brazil and China. According to IBIS World, Children’s Book Publishing in the U.S. Research Report, in the foreseeable future eBooks will grow in popularity, as it relates to children’s books that cater to young people in the K-12 range. The most recent statistics show revenue of $4 billion, market growth of 2.7%, and the addition of 398 businesses that publish or distribute children’s books. The primary industry products in this area are hardback, paperback, eBook, and board book. The key components of business activities within the realm of children’s book publishing includes the identification of content, authors and stories focused on children’s literature, the editing of books for children, the design and layout of children’s books, as well as the marketing of authors and the books themselves. Additionally, YA books make up a large portion of the children’s literature market and eBook readers in general. According to Reuters, Research and Markets: Children’s Publishing Market Forecast 2014, an estimated 42% of eBook readers purchased at least one YA book within the time period of one year, and within a two-year period the number of eBook consumers purchasing YA titles rose by 54.8%.

From the above information, it becomes clear that the children’s publishing industry is large and continuing to grow. Despite the popularity of eBooks over the past few years, there is still consumer interest in owning physical copies of books, and the number of publishing companies focused on the publishing and/or distribution of children’s literature is also on the rise, further emphasizing the need for unique books that are both culturally and socially relevant. Consumer interest in YA titles is significant, and if Set the Stage Press can tap into that market it could prove to be very lucrative. Additionally, consumers are increasingly concerned with the status, notoriety, and expertise of the authors of children’s books, and books in general, for that matter. Lastly, the rise in popularity of eBooks over the past few years have drastically altered what today’s consumer is willing to pay for quality, as it relates to literature—in both physical and electronic form. Publishers must be willing to adjust book prices in response to consumer demand.

Copyright Infringement in the Digital Arena: Napster and P2P File Sharing

The Internet has complicated both the execution of copyright laws and the identification of copyright infringement. In December of 1999, The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued Napster, the now defunct file-sharing service that enabled countless users to illegally download music, accounting for millions of dollars in lost revenue for recording artists. In February of 2002, lawsuits were filed by divisions of AOL Time Warner against file-sharing service Aimster, for allegations of piracy and copyright infringement; similar suits were filed against Grokster. Of all the infringement suits, however, Napster received, arguably, the most media attention, evoking concern about the impact the Internet might have on the music industry as whole.

The Internet continues to be an enormous disrupter in the entertainment space—television, film, music, and literature— and many companies have yet to learn how to fully monetize its capabilities. According to P2P File-Sharing and the Making Available War by Diana Sterk, the RIAA “has filed over 35,000 lawsuits against individual file sharers since 2003.” Moreover, copyright laws, as they relate to file-sharing, are often vague, making it difficult for individuals and companies to fully understand the circumstances in which illegal sharing might occur. Additionally, determining the identity of those who engage in illegal file sharing, or the extent to which they have enabled it, is difficult when the Internet is involved, as there is a certain level anonymity in these instances.

In the case of Napster v. RIAA, a San Francisco federal judge in appeals court concluded that Napster was liable for its contribution to the violation of copyright laws, by providing a platform in which millions of users could download music illegally. The decision made in this case was, arguably, reasonable. Even though Napster itself wasn’t illegally downloading music, it facilitated the file sharing. Furthermore, its actions exerted a negative impact on the bottom line of individual artists, record companies, and the industry as a whole. The court’s interpretation of Section 106 exclusive rights were fairly broad, and rightfully so, as each instance of infringement, especially as it relates to file sharing, is unique. Therefore, the application of a narrow system of thinking, as it relates to determining infringement in particular instances, wouldn’t be appropriate. There is a certain ambiguity to copyright laws, which may be necessary.

In P2P file sharing there are certainly opportunities for rightsholders to be exploited but, in today’s world, attempting to prevent all instances of piracy is futile— piracy and illegal downloading may never be completely eradicated.

The New Digital Landscape and Marketing in the Publishing Industry

In the past, marketing managers had the sole responsibility of defining a brand’s core message, and communication between brand and consumer was, essentially, one-way. The promotional mix, comprised of advertising, public relations and sales promotion, among other elements, has been dramatically altered by social media and technology, resulting in the disruption of traditional media outlets and industries, including film, television, music, and print journalism. The most significant change in the past twenty years or so, arguably, has been in the advertising and public relations arena. Before the Internet, a brand’s relationship with its consumer base was both controlled and formal— promotional messaging via commercials, advertising on traditional platforms, or via public statements and press releases. Additionally, the personal lives of top officials in a company or organization was seldom viewed as reflective of its brand.

However, in today’s digital, social media-centric world, the exchange between brand and consumer is consumer-driven. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other social platforms, enable consumers to praise or criticize businesses, brands, and individuals. The social presence of a high-profile decision maker at a major company, often, has as much impact as the products or services sold by that company. Moreover, a racially or culturally insensitive tweet or Facebook post by an employee can cost an organization millions of dollars— sometimes it can mean the end of a business.

With the above being said, for marketers in the publishing world, having a strong digital and social media presence, used strategically, is still necessary; publishing companies can no longer expect traditional media outlets to be effective at meeting all promotional and marketing objectives. Having an innovative social media strategy enables publishers to communicate directly with consumers, obtain positive and negative feedback, and to utilize this information as a means of improving relationships with customers. Moreover, publishers would also benefit from thinking of themselves as content managers and exploring other services they might provide in the digital space, thus expanding their digital and print efforts. The terms “publishing house” and “publisher” have, in many ways, become archaic. Publishing firms could be the content management companies of tomorrow—tech startup-like businesses publishing printed works and e-books, developing apps, and delivering new services and products to authors, consumers, and businesses.


In Impact of Trauma Work on Social Work Clinicians: Empirical Findings, author M. Cunningham asserts that there is growing scholarly interest in the impact of working environment on social work practice. In her article, Cunningham describes vicarious traumatization as a means of expressing the impact of constant exposure to trauma and trauma narratives [451]. She presents a study centered on social work practitioners working with “two types of trauma: (1) the human induced trauma, sexual abuse, and (2) the naturally caused trauma, cancer” [451]. The findings of the study suggest that clinicians dealing with “human induced trauma” [451] are, perhaps, more likely to experience “disruptions in cognitive schemas” [451] than those working with “naturally caused trauma” [451]. Traditionally, “countertransference and burnout” [451] have been used as a means of accounting for the above challenge. Countertransference is, generally, concerned with the “individual characteristics of the clinician, often assuming that unresolved personal conflicts account for the clinicians reaction” [451]. A variety of factors are involved in the above phenomenon, such as “the isolation of the work, the difficult or demanding client, workload, the need to constantly be empathetic, and bureaucratic, and administrative factors” [451].

However, Cunningham argues against the notion that countertransference and burnout are solely responsible for the influence of trauma narratives and the “traumatized client” [451] on the clinician. Moreover, she asserts that vicarious traumatization can be effectively explored through examination of the “disruption in an individual’s cognitive schemas or worldview” [452]. She defines “cognitive schemas” [452] as an embodiment of the “cognitive structures” [452] utilized by a person to categorize his or her experiences or knowledge in order to function in a nuanced, challenging, and unstable environment. Cunningham describes “a person’s worldview” [452] as the array of expectations or belief systems an individual has in relation to his or herself, people in the environment, and the world as a whole. Disruption of the above may account for vicarious traumatization or secondary trauma. Information gleaned from The Traumatic Stress Institute Belief Scale, which “was used to measure the clinician’s worldview and disruption in cognitive schemas,” [453] suggest that vicarious traumatization is valuable for gaining insight into how the clinician “working with clients of human-induced trauma such as sexual abuse” [457] are affected. It demonstrates that these clinicians are more likely to experience vicarious traumatization. (Cunningham, M. (2003). Impact of trauma work on social work clinicians: Empirical findings. Social Work, 48, (4), 451-459).

In Secondary Trauma: A Team Approach, the authors further assert that when social workers witness the traumatic narratives of their clients and other populations, this experience exerts a tremendous impact on them and can, thus, give way to an array of psychological responses known as secondary trauma. The nuanced challenges of social work require practitioners to understand the nature of this trauma. The authors refer to the terror attacks of September 11th, 2001 as a means of demonstrating the presence of secondary trauma and its impact on social workers. The “team model for structured case discussion” [145] that the authors present, may be used as a means of aiding practitioners with the identification and management of their own emotional responses to trauma narratives and traumatized populations. The authors identify themselves as “clinicians who provide supervision and consultation on trauma cases” [417]. They emphasize that both clients and practitioners, influenced by secondary trauma, can benefit from expressing their experiences verbally in an environment that is emotionally safe and validates their emotional responses. (Geller, J., Madsen, L.H., Ohrenstein, L. (2004). Secondary trauma: A team approach. Clinical Social Work Journal, 32(4).]

Lastly, in Prevalence of Secondary Stress Among Social Workers author Brian E. Bride focuses on the prevalence of Secondary traumatic stress (STS) as experienced by social workers and other clinicians with consistent exposure to trauma victims and trauma narratives. He asserts that (STS) is, increasingly, being considered an “occupational hazard of providing direct services to traumatized populations” [63]. The results of a study concerned with examining the prevalence of the above in a group of social workers who regularly engaged with traumatized populations, suggests that these workers are most likely to suffer from (STS) or experience its symptoms. (Brian E. McBride, Prevalence of Secondary Stress Among Social Workers).


In The Role of Therapist Self-Disclosure in Psychotherapy: A Qualitative Review the authors state that “over 90% of all therapists self-disclose” [62] yet the impact of this on the client, the practitioner, and the therapeutic process is in need of further examination, as studies that attempt to clarify the influence of self-disclosure provide no definitive information. The primary objective of authors is to review literature related to therapist self-disclosure, whilst aiding readers in understanding its influence on the clinician’s work. They incorporate Freud’s stance on the relationship between therapist and client, which does not espouse the principles that underlay therapist self-disclosure. Of such, Freud asserts that “the [therapist] should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him” [63]. Arguments espousing disclosure emerged in the 1950s, with the Rogerians as the first to implement such practices. Generally, therapist self-disclosure, as conveyed by the authors, is presented as a misstep. However, they emphasize that successful disclosure “requires interpersonal skills such as tact, timing, patience, humility, perseverance, and sensitivity” [70]. Ultimately, they conclude that, despite the extensive literature on the subject, therapist self-disclosure cannot be fully deemed negative or positive in relation to the therapeutic process. (Henretty, J. R. & Levitt, H. M. (2010). The role of therapist self-disclosure in psychotherapy: A qualitative review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30 (1), pp. 63-77).

In Therapist Self-disclosure: Research-based Suggestions for Practitioners, the authors are primarily concerned with examining the means by which therapist self-disclosure is defined, and explores the theories associated with it. The authors present further strategies for its effective use based on information gleaned from literature on the subject [530]. The authors also demonstrate distinctions between the types of therapist self-disclosures— disclosure of facts, feeling, insight, strategy, reassurance and support, challenge and immediacy [530]— and provide examples of each. Many of the therapists who argue against disclosure admit that total anonymity in the therapeutic process isn’t possible [531], and much of the literature on the topic suggests it may beneficial to the client. In doing so, the “client’s perception of therapists as more real and human” [532] may help “clients feel normal and reassured” [532].

However, the extent to which therapists self-disclose must be managed appropriately. The authors state that the “therapist who never disclose[s] may be experienced by patients as distant, aloof and impenetrable, and, as a result, the therapy relationship may be compromised” [533]. When a therapist discloses too often the focus becomes the therapist and not the patient. The positive influence of self-disclosure on the relationship between therapist and patient is, largely, dependent on the extent and manner in which it is used. (Knox, S & Hill, C.E. (2003). Therapist self-disclosure: Research-based suggestions for practitioners Journal of Clinical Psychology, 59(5), 529–539).


In Countertransference, Supervision and the Reflection Process the author emphasizes the significance of countertransference in the therapeutic relationship and the function of supervision as a means of aiding clinicians and other professionals in understanding and utilizing the emotional responses evoked by client work. He demonstrates the dangers of engaging with the client in a manner that does not foster the clinician’s or the client’s psychological well-being, and provides case material to convey “(a) the impact of the clients projections on the worker, and (b) the way in which supervision may itself become the arena for a reflection or re-enactment of an object-relationship from the client’s internal world” [126]. Understanding the influence that constant exposure to mentally ill or emotionally disturbed individuals may have on social workers and other clinicians, who provide services to such populations, enables these workers to become more effective. At the heart of the article is examination of the principles of transference, as well as the mechanisms involved in its presence. The author states that the phenomenon emerges from “the client’s transference to the worker, which sums up as an unconscious need to make the present relationship fit into the psycho-dynamic structure of the previous one. It is the worker’s reaction to this which constitutes the countertransference” [126].   It, then, becomes necessary for the worker to identify the presence of such and respond accordingly. (Agass, D. (2002). Countertransference, supervision, and the reflection process. Journal of Social Work Practice, 16(2), 125-133).


In Cultural Influences on the Process of Conducting Psychotherapy: Personal Reflections of an Ethnic minority, psychologist and author, A. Nezu, explores the influence of race and cultural identity, particularly concerning the author—who identifies as Japanese American— on clinical practice. Defined are various aspects of what the author describes as his “diversity status” [169], insight into how this categorization impacts his clients, and his experience as a therapist [169]. He proposes a set of guidelines for therapists who may or may not share his “diversity status” [169] that may be beneficial to their practice. (Nezu, A. (2010). Cultural influences on the process of conducting psychotherapy: Personal reflections of an ethnic minority psychologist. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training)

In When They Don’t Come Back: A Clinical Perspective on the No-Show Client, the author emphasizes the absence of literature focused on the failure of the therapeutic process, as clinicians are more interested in publishing success stories rather than providing accounts of instances in which treatment was ineffective, a patient did not show up for an appointment, or stopped coming to sessions. The main focus of the article is examination of how clinician behaviors may influence this phenomenon. In referenced to the no-show client, Meyer, informed by research, asserts that economic status plays a major role. Individuals with “lower income, lower socioeconomic status, lower age, vagueness of complaint, substance abuse [issues], and other factors [326] are more likely to exhibit no-show behaviors. Moreover, clinicians are often “encouraged to focus on speedy outcomes and the creation of so-called solutions” [327] which, in turn, exert a negative impact on the therapeutic relationship. The article, ultimately, emphasizes the importance of self-reflection for the clinician when considering the above aspects. (Meyer, W. S. (2001). When they don’t come back: A clinical perspective on the no-show client. Clinical Social Work Journal, 29(4): 325-339.)