Succeeding at Academic DIY has a lot to do with knowing your windows of opportunity. When are professors and librarians more likely to read your email and make a purchase? When is your email more likely to languish in an inbox, unread, until it is entirely forgotten?
The first question is whether you are sending to a librarian or professor. The summer-, though not too early (wait until after June) is an excellent time to email university librarians. They have a fresh budget to spend and the quiet to focus on the materials they want to buy, at least until school starts gearing up at the end of August. Conversely, most professors are usually gone in the summer and as school begins, are even less easy to interest in some unsolicited email about a $200-300 DVD that happens to arrive in their inbox. Catch them toward the end of September or beginning of October, though, and they just may click on that unsolicited email, if the subject header catches their attention and seems to pertain to their subject. (Never use simple titles in subject headers–they won’t have a clue what you’re talking about!). Similarly, 3-4 weeks after the start of spring semester will also yield good results.
Considering that if you contact these folks more than 2-3 times a year, they will definitely put you on their pest list, you need to plan the dates of your campaigns carefully.
Why I am telling you all this today, August 5, 2011? Because September/October is just around the corner and it’s time to get your campaign ready, if you haven’t already.
Here’s another window of opportunity: every field of study will hold an important conference at least once a year, and some more often. Isolate your most important primary and secondary markets (see “It’s On the Syllabus“), then google to find the major upcoming conferences in these fields. If the conference is far enough out, you may be able to arrange a presentation of your film, and even if you can’t, selling your film at the conference could be a good plan if you can get a table for the right price or split one with other filmmakers.
Let me know of other Windows of Opportunity you know of. The more we share our information, the better!