Tag Archives: Bookselling

Creating Authentic Book Marketing

Posted by February 27th, 2013

When it comes to promoting your book, invest your resources in what brings you joy.

Book_Country_Book_Marketing_Success

During Author (R)evolution Day at this year’s Tools of Change for Publishing conference, journalist Porter Anderson interviewed Grub Street founder Eve Bridburg on finding “The Author Blueprint for Success.”

She explained that, upon publication, the typical author strategy has been: build community through a platform and use social media to support your sales. But, with so many different options, which ones should you choose?

Grub Street studied this and came up with a three-part logic model of success. (It sounds more intimidating than it is.)

First: Determine your mission and intent. Like a company that uses a mission statement to guide it, create a statement that focuses on what you want to accomplish, why you’re producing books, and to whom and what you want to offer.

Then: Define success. This is easier said than done. Eve qualifies that success is bigger than sales. Ask yourself: What are your goals for the book? What brings you energy and joy? How do you want to spend your time? How will you know you’re successful?

The final part: Create an authentic campaign. Examine your strengths and weaknesses. What do you like doing? What feels good to you? Identify the activities that line up with your mission and definition of success.

This becomes your map. You can commit to investing your time and money because you know what path you’re headed down. It feels less scattered because you’re not trying to conquer everything without a plan. You’ve found the things you’re good at, the things that are unique to your voice, and the things you enjoy doing. That’s how you create an authentic marketing and promotion campaign. Go and do them. Then, measure to see how your tactics are lining up with your definition of success.

If you’re in Boston, you should check out Grub Street, or follow them from afar on Twitter. Follow Porter Anderson for publishing industry updates. Full slides of the talk can be found here.

Share Button

Content is Still King

Posted by August 31st, 2011

The future of print and eBook publishing following Borders’ demise

“Publishing houses are not in the printed book business. Nor are they in the eBooks business. They’re in the content business.”

Borders Closing - AP image_small

As a newbie to publishing, I find it to be a very exciting time to be in the industry. Working in Penguin’s Business Development Department, I am lucky enough to be on a team that is forging ahead into the new era of digital publishing. This “revolution,” as some have called it, has also brought naysayers who say (and who seemingly have always said) that publishing will not survive.

In 2011 many have pointed to the demise of Borders and the possible sale of Barnes & Noble as a harbinger for publishing houses. Many feel that eBooks have the potential to destroy the very industry they rely on to be sold. A heartfelt op-ed appeared in the Chicago Tribune by a Powell’s book store employee saying that if the publishing industry did not fight back against eBooks and eReaders by launching an ad campaign similar to the way Amazon did for Kindle, it, too, would go the way of Borders.

But the author of that piece, and anyone else who believes that the decline of the print book will mark the end of the publishing business, is missing the point. While Borders’s liquidation will reduce shelf space and will continue to hurt physical book sales, new sales from eBooks will most likely even the keel in a few years. Publishing houses are not in the printed book business. Nor are they in the eBooks business. They’re in the content business.

When you buy a book, the primary driver behind your purchase is not what kind of paper it is printed on or the extension of the file name. You buy a book for the story. Whether you read a physical book that you bought from a bookstore or an electronic file delivered wirelessly to your ereader, the end result is the same: you are reading a book. Most likely, that book was written by an author who got picked up by an agent who shopped the book around to publishers, one of whom bought it, edited it, marketed it, produced it and sold it to a variety of book retailers.

Whether you purchased the book at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore the publisher received money from your purchase. Despite publishing’s constant death knell, the reality of the situation is quite the opposite. In 2010, book publishing revenue rose 3.1% buoyed “almost entirely” by digital products. As eBook prices continue to stabilize, publishers should be able to leverage the rise of eBooks and digital products in their favor.

This is not to say that eBooks will take over print books forever and leave brick and mortar stores obsolete. As much as the eBook “revolution” hurt Borders, the bookseller was also a corporation rife with mismanagementthat expanded much too quickly while embracing eBooks much too late. Borders is not emblematic of the publishing industry. In fact, Oren Teicher, the CEO of the American Booksellers Association said, “It is, in part, an unfortunate right-sizing of bookstore landscape that has suffered from expansion in certain markets.”

It is commonly said that content is king, and when it comes to publishing this could not be more true. As technology advances and new ways to consume books emerge, publishing houses will still be there if they continue to help authors create great books. So as market turmoil puts book retailers in jeopardy, publishers do not need to launch ad campaigns to try to push one consumer medium over another. Especially in the wake of the proliferation of content on the internet, publishing houses need to continue to practice what got them to where they are today: identifying talent, allowing authors to produce great content, and connecting writers to readers.

Featured photo courtesy of the Associated Press.
Author photo courtesy of Matt Kane.

 

Share Button