Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

The Optimist:

Digital Book World’s 7×20×21 at the Bowery Poetry Club last Wednesday gave seven industry professionals 21 seconds to show 20 slides. The evening was all about optimism: audience members were rewarded with free books if they shared a reason why their publishing glass was half full. In an industry increasingly overshadowed by doubt, the refreshing presentations featured humor, free drinks, and the occasional basketball metaphor. The festivities, hosted by Ami Greko and the charismatic Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, all boiled down to the following message: make publishing fun again, and we might just be able to save it.

“Making Publishing Fun Again” —

The Unicorn:

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, the audience development director at F+W Media and one of the coordinators of the upcoming conference, Digital Book World.

He talked about the upcoming conference, eBooks, eReaders, and the fabled Apple Tablet that many believe will be announced next week.

Gonzalez had a healthy dose of Tablet skepticism. Here’s an excerpt: “The image [Apple] used on the press invitation, it’s kind of a colorful Rorschach blot.

“The Apple Tablet Is One Big Rorschach Inkblot for Publishing — GalleyCat

The Audience:

Next week, the two-day Digital Book World conference gets underway in New York City at a moment when – for better or for worse – the digital tide may become a tsunami for the book publishing world. Ahead of the first-time conference, Chris Kenneally spoke with Conference Chair and industry pundit Mike Shatzkin of the Idea Logical Company and his DBW colleague Guy LeCharles Gonzalez for a special preview.

At Digital Book World, A is for ‘Audience’ — Beyond the Book

Are you ready for Digital Book World?

Register now for Digital Book World

by Susan Ruszala, Director of Marketing, NetGalley

Since NetGalley’s introduction nearly four years ago, there has been a distinct shift in the tenor and orientation of dialogues about digital galleys—not if, but when; not why, but how.

That’s good news.

Despite this shift, though, one of the major hurdles still ahead is the acceptance of digital galleys by professional readers and publishers.

Note: “Professional reader” signifies anyone who influences purchases by reading and recommending upcoming titles. This certainly includes traditional book reviewers, but also book and enthusiast bloggers, off-the-book page media (print, TV and radio), booksellers, librarians, and professors who request desk copies.

On the face of it, supporting both a print and digital galley process seems redundant. In our conversations with publishers, however, we often hear that print galley quantities are determined more by budget than by need; entire segments, such as the library or bookselling community — both avid recommenders within their own geographic area as well as more broadly online — cannot be served by the number of print galleys available to shrinking budgets. For illustrated titles, the need is even more acute as costs are higher.

Without question, print galleys will rightfully live on, but the digital galley can go further, faster, at less cost, and bulging with supporting materials that would be cost-prohibitive in print. Adopting digital galleys isn’t a one-for-one swap, then; it requires a shift in strategy and tactics. Print budgets will not be eliminated but they will change; and the use of the galley within the publishing house will have to change, too.

One way that change will manifest itself is by stretching the use of the galley across the company. Publishers will succeed when any activity that can result in a galley request—from librarians to trade advertising to traditional reviewers to electronic catalogs to international rights—can be fulfilled with a digital galley. If multiple groups in an organization can use the digital galley, costs are spread across the organization, too.

Digital galleys are not intended as a replacement for the print galley; in many cases digital will supplement and promote print. (Michael Cairns of Personanondata recently blogged about a JISC study which supports this claim.)

Think back to when company websites first became standard practice.

Before there was the corporate website, there was the corporate brochure. Carefully crafted, reflective of its values, glossy, and artistic — and also extraordinarily constrained, expensive to produce, and quickly outdated. Today my safe guess is that there are very few corporate brochures produced solely to deliver information about a company. They are marketing pieces designed to impress; more experiential than informational.

A website, on the other hand, delivers both a visual impression and deep information about a company; it is only limited by how easy it is for visitors to navigate the site.

This is exactly where we are with digital galleys.

The digital galley ostensibly delivers the “same” content to your contacts, but just as visitors to your website navigate your pages according to their specific needs, professional readers will do the same with your digital galleys. The digital galley isn’t limited to what you can afford to print, or are inclined to stuff in your jiffy bag. Off-the-book page media covering the subject of your book can browse and search; broadcast media can access previous author interviews; bookstores can view the author tour schedule; professors can preview a companion teacher’s guide.

Other areas of the publisher’s front office are already making the shift to digital in earnest. Many publishers have introduced digital catalogs to replace the printed tome that once hailed a new season, using solutions like Edelweiss, or by building their own digital catalogs.

Why not include the capability to browse the full-text galley from within that catalog? This is exactly what NetGalley will soon be doing with Edelweiss, as announced a few weeks ago.

The digital galley has a variety of tricks up its sleeve, for sure; but are the readers ready? Some publishers have said to us, “I’ve asked my contacts if they would prefer digital galleys, and they say no.”

So your contacts prefer print galleys. Of course they do! As a publicist charged with pitching a particular book for a particular season, I’d ferociously resist any tactic that might jeopardize an opportunity for coverage. Like the corporate brochure, the print galley represents the traditional and comfortable way to introduce your contacts to new content.

This is why limited experiments for a few titles have limited success. Besides fostering confusion (why can I get this title but not this one?), too small of an experiment won’t support the effort required to convert your contacts to a new concept. The use of digital galleys must be accompanied by internal evangelization and external communication, a responsibility that we at NetGalley share with the publishing community.

User confusion is also cited in the JISC study, and informally on blogs and social networks which note that navigation, user experience, digital rights management and reading devices can all be barriers to adopting digital galleys. Offering your contacts a consistent and user-oriented experience where they can get many titles the same way will only help speed adoption rates. This is true internally, too; the goal is for staff not to focus on the tricky terrain of security and multiple formats, but instead on offering the digital galley as easily as possible.

Savvy publishers are already using digital galleys creatively in their marketing, publicity and sales efforts, a groundswell that is really just beginning. We’re looking forward to sharing ideas with you on this topic at Digital Book World during the session, Digital Tools: How the Sales and Marketing Process is Changing.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Register now for Digital Book World

Question: Is Twitter a great tool to engage directly with readers, or is it just an echo chamber?

It’s a trick question, of course, but if response to Electric Literature’s experiment with Rick Moody is an indicator, the answer might not be one social marketing evangelists want to hear.

The Wall Street Journal‘s Speakeasy blog picked up on the negative reactions to the initiative yesterday, noting “Rick Moody’s Twitter Short Story Draws Long List of Complaints“:

Titled “Some Contemporary Characters,” the story revolves around a man and a woman who meet through an on-line dating site. The criticisms of the piece are less with content than distribution. In addition to Electric Literature’s Twitter feed, several partners agreed to co-publish the story, like Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena. As the L.A. Times’ Jacket Copy blog points out, these feeds tend to share followers, so some Twitter users have been inundated with repeat tweets of Moody’s story. One bookseller wrote “Please, please stop the madness.”

The decision of some co-publishers to publish Moody’s story while continuing their normal tweet flow also means the narrative is continually being disrupted by unrelated tweets – the Web equivalent of an audience  standing up during a speech and carrying on cross-conversations while the speaker continues to talk. Michael Cader wrote a piece for Publishers Marketplace outlining these issues with the subtitle “Moody’s Twitter Story Backfires.” He said the criticism “underscores how extremely sensitive audiences are — especially on social networking sites, where communication feels very personal and is always immediate.”

One of the story’s co-publishers was the California independent bookseller, Vroman’s, who abruptly ended the tweets mid-story, shortly after the Speakeasy post. Today, Vroman’s webmaster Patrick Brown had an insightful post asking, “The Rick Moody Twitter Saga: What Are We All Doing Here?

The Moody Twitter experiment (and Moody wasn’t to blame for its failure, though I’m sure the first couple comments will be “ZOMG!1! Rick Moody is teh suck!1!!1″) depressed me for a number of reasons.  First, it made me wonder what we’re all doing on Twitter.  If so many of my followers are book industry people, am I wasting my time with it?  All this time, I’d hoped I was reaching customers.  To be sure, Twitter is useful for talking to colleagues in the book industry, and I’ll continue to use it for that purpose, but if it doesn’t have a reach beyond that, I’m not sure what the point is.  So much of the dialog that happens on Twitter and on the literary blogs feels masturbatory to me.  It’s the same couple hundred people talking about the same issues to the same audience.  Is that what I’ve been doing these past few years?  Is that what the book business is at this point?  If it is, then to quote the modern day philosopher Bunk Moreland “We ain’t about much.”

The book business is in major decline, and while we can all howl about the reasons why, the main one, it seems to me, is that not enough people read (and those who do, read less than they used to).  There are more ways than ever to get your entertainment and information, and books are having a lot of trouble keeping up.  Those of us who rely on selling books for a living need to devote a lot of time to finding people who are not readers.  We have to grow our market, or we are in for a very dark future indeed.   The reaction to this Twitter experiment seems to indicate to me that we’re not all that interested in doing it.  Or maybe we are, as long as it doesn’t interrupt our conversations about ebook formatting and the National Book Awards.

The comments to the post (as of 5:30pm EST) make for interesting reading and together raise a number of interesting questions for publishers and booksellers alike:

  1. Is Twitter a great tool to engage directly with readers, or is it just an echo chamber?
  2. Was Electric Literature’s experiment an epic failure; an innovative idea lacking on execution; or  a successful publicity stunt?
  3. How can publishers and booksellers engage casual and non-readers effectively in an age where response comes in real-time and criticism flows more freely than praise?

That last question is one we’ll address next week in Indie Booksellers and the Digital Transition: Opportunity Knocks?, a FREE webinar that will discuss the challenges and opportunities ahead for independent booksellers, and what a digital future means for them.

Debbie Stier, SVP/Associate Publisher for HarperStudio and Director of Digital Marketing for HarperCollins will moderate a lively conversation with our panel of veteran independent booksellers: Stephanie Anderson, WORD (Brooklyn), Patrick Brown, Vromans (Pasadena, CA), and Bridget Warren, Vertigo Books (College Park, MD).

Feel free to leave questions here that you’d like the panel to consider and we’ll make sure they see them.

Register Today!

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Rick Moody’s Twitter Short Story Draws Long List of Complaints

By Patrick Boegel, Director of Media Integration, Media Logic

I “Googled” the word ‘hype’ and all I got was this idea for a blog post.  Someone can go ahead and print that on a t-shirt and sell it on Café Press.

But seriously, if you type ‘hype’ into the world leader of lazy serendipity you might be surprised what the search engine determines are the most relevant results.  To a certain extent you might hope to find a coherent set of definitions and examples as to what makes ‘hype’, but instead you get a lot of brands that are self-labeled “hype”, and a lot of digital retailers’ selling ‘hype’ via Google’s Adwords program.

Ironic? Maybe; in an Alanis Morrisette kind of way.

You will also see, at least until the next algorithm rolls out, tucked neatly at the bottom are “searches related to: hype”.  Any guess at the two answers at the time of my writing this blog post?

If you guessed Twitter and Facebook, you win!

For better or worse these two social networking platforms are synonymous with the freight train that is social media.  Whether you are pro-social networking or anti-social networking, there is no denying we are in the midst of hype regarding its impact and about the individual platforms and services that are part of the space. Getting past the hype to practical implementation is proving to be a daunting task for those who struggle to see the point.

In my work with Media Logic, the number one topic clients ask about social media is related to ROI – return on investment.

Where is the ROI?  What is the ROI?  Is ROI possible?

I hear the ROI in social is tremendous; can you confirm?

The answer is that ROI is absolutely possible and it certainly can be tremendous; but don’t expect to buy a software platform that implements a fool-proof solution.

The “where” and “what” almost always come from defensive posturing by an entrenched old guard media that is struggling to rationalize why its brand is relevant in a social media-driven world. Wrestling with the hype and a desire to have a prefabricated outcome are the biggest obstacles we face in practical implementation of social media as part of an audience development/outreach strategy.

If we are to get past the hype, we are going to need to agree on two key principles.

First, there is not going to be an off the assembly line solution for the challenge social media presents for your business. No matter how many copies of Crush It Gary Vaynerchuk sells, we need to face some facts: passion and effort will only take our ideas so far, and most of us are probably not selling wine.

We are going to need to think really hard about what excites our customers, what used to excite our customers and what might excite them in the near future.

I’d caution not to look too far forward, either; the evolution of the media landscape demands that you live in the moment and not be permanently anchored anywhere.

This brings us to the second key principle. Reaching people – and I mean really reaching them, not yelling at them with rampant inefficiency – always has taken work; hard work that doesn’t end.  The very technologies we deploy are going to make the task of gaining share of mind and generating quality engagement increasingly more difficult.

As challenged as traditional media is at the moment, while the whole world may seemingly be abuzz about Twitter and Facebook, the whole world is not active on either platform. The same way you can’t reach everyone you need to speak to with one print ad or one radio spot; you can’t touch all your potential audience via social networking alone.

This is not some cheap scare tactic to get everyone to stop dreaming up social networking solutions for their respective businesses, but a caution to be keenly aware that, as a standalone option, it is limited.

I am big on the term integration because it espouses the fundamental notion that things can successfully coexist, versus battling for dominance.  I believe right now, far too many individuals and institutions, out of some combination of fear and passion, are making uninformed decisions that will have long-lasting, negative repercussions.

Your current approach likely does not need to be utterly abandoned and reborn, but could surely use some refreshing and enhancements to course-correct rationally. Social media integration strategies can do both of those things quite effectively.

If, however, you must go all in on the “hype”, may you end up like the endless rabble who have been “coached” by charlatans to tweet quotes of famous dead folks as if that was profound, inspiring or vaguely unique.

Out of curiosity, I also “Googled” the word ‘rational’, and the results were more, well, rational.  Nothing ironic about them, and perhaps sadly no one seems to think that keyword is worth buying to garner leads.

At some point it would be nice, or at very least helpful, to see in related searches: ‘rational implementation of social media’.  In the meantime, we could hype the idea as being the next phase of social media evolution.

I am kidding, a little.

Patrick Boegel is the Director of Media Integration for Media Logic in Albany New York. He is responsible for the development of strategic media solutions for clients in the fields of Higher Education, Healthcare, Financial Services and a wide array of Business to Business industries.

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A free webinar, presented by Digital Book World.

“In the social realm, there’s nothing better than true engagement between customers and brands (through the employees that represent them).”

Shiv Singh, VP and Global Social Media Lead for Razorfish

No conversation about publishing’s future and the importance of engaging readers directly is complete if it doesn’t include the perspective of the independent bookseller — our partners, curators and, most importantly, community organizers.

Indie Booksellers and the Digital Transition: Opportunity Knocks?“, a free webinar from Digital Book World, will address the challenges and opportunities ahead for independent booksellers, and what a digital future means for them.

  • Is it possible to compete with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Wal-Mart?
  • What effect will publishers selling direct to consumers have?
  • Where do POD and ebooks fit in the picture?
  • How can social media be used to build a community, online and in-store?

Debbie Stier, SVP/Assoc. Publisher for HarperStudio and Dir. of Digital Marketing for HarperCollins will moderate a lively conversation with out panel of independent booksellers: Stephanie Anderson, WORD (Brooklyn), Patrick Brown, Vromans (Pasadena, CA), and Bridget Warren, Vertigo Books (College Park, MD)

Indie Booksellers and the Digital Transition: Opportunity Knocks?” will be held on Wednesday, December 9th @ 1 pm EST // 10am PST.


Register Today!

Register Today, Save $300: DBWwebinar

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