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Friday, September 25, 2009

The New World of Book Publicists

Book publicists are having to change their MO (modus operandi) in todays publishing atmosphere. They've always had to establish trust with clients but today the methods have changed. The following post from Yen Cheong spotlights publicists and how they have to establish trust using todays tools:

How book publicists can be Trust Agents
Posted: 23 Sep 2009 08:00 PM PDT

Back when I started The Book Publicity Blog about a year and a half ago, I looked around to find interesting and informative marketing / PR / social networking blogs from which I could draw information that would be of use to book publicists. Every so often, I’d link to Chris Brogan’s blog, which provided a trove of handy information.

Imagine my surprise and delight when Brogan’s publicist, @cincindypat, asked if I’d be open to a guest post from him. (Brogan is now also the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling co-author of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust.) Who better to talk about how to successfully publicize a book? Voila.

As you struggle to survive the attention wars, finding ways to connect your authors to valuable audiences has changed. This isn’t easy. Working with bloggers isn’t the same as traditional journalists, but connecting with journalists isn’t all it used to be, either. Getting mainstream coverage is more and more difficult. Budgets are tight. What’s a book publicist to do?

I’m writing this from a strange perspective. My book, Trust Agents reached the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal lists within two days of release. We speak about trust and how to use online tools to build relationships using new tools and new channels, and in the process, we had two publicists helping us as well. So, I have two sides of the coin in mind when I write this, or maybe three. I write it as an author, as a professional blogger, and as someone thinking on how the publicist might develop their efforts. Here’s what I have for you.

Find The Audience You Need – The easiest way to start on this is to grow bigger ears. Use tools like Alltop.com and Technorati.com to find who’s writing in the space your author is trying to reach. Don’t be swayed by big numbers, but instead, pay attention to the people who might connect with the work, and get to know them. Don’t reach out yet. We have more to do.

Do Your Homework – Use sites like Compete.com to find out if the bloggers you’ve picked have a decent audience. Check their blogs for numbers of comments and level of engagement overall. Determine whether the blogger has done book reviews in the past (though don’t let this sway you).

Comments Come First – Leave comments about other posts over a week or so. Make them relevant, and never pitch your author at these points. Just connect on posts that make sense. Don’t ever hide that you’re a professional publicist. This is the art of building relationships before you need anything. It sounds like work. It is work. And yet, the yield is much better.

Break the Big Lie – Want to earn my respect forever? Acknowledge that there are other books from other publishers that are well done and/or that complement your author’s work. Stun people with your grasp of the real world. I say this with a bit of sarcasm, but realize that media makers like bloggers and podcasters know that there are other books out there, and we’ve maybe even read them before.

Build Non-Book Relationships With People – By getting to know people on Facebook, on LinkedIn, on Twitter, on blogs, you’ve got to talk about non-book things from time to time. This is part of the whole relationship-building experience we’ve written about in Trust Agents. People don’t want to hang out with promoters. They want to spend time on online social networks with friends who interact with them, ask them questions, and talk about things beyond their business interests. It’s not wrong to talk about your author or authors. It’s wrong to make that the primary thrust of what you talk about.
This all adds up. Over time, it’s connecting in these human-shaped ways that will make all the difference in the world. People connect with those they know and who make them feel comfortable. Earning trust before you need something for business is a fast track to getting the kinds of coverage your authors deserve. This is how we’re seeing it done. There’s more to it than just showing up and typing, but these are some of the ways I feel you’ll be able to do business in the new social space. I hope they work for you.

Chris Brogan is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling co-author of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust. He writes about social media and how human business works at chrisbrogan.com.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Return On Investment (ROI) One Reason for Digital Over Print

"FOLIO:" is the magazine for magazine management. A crisp, succinct professional magazine. It runs numerous surveys and articles that touch on the publishing industry as a whole but with emphasis on magazines. I have extracted the following piece from the September 2009 edition, the "E-Media Reality Check" section. This article deals with some of the economic advantages emerging from the digital field:

'According to a FOLIO: survey, 75 percent of e-media advertisers are existing accounts, while 25 percent are new business. Many have worried that online pricing started so low that publishers would have a hard time raising rates. However, 59 percent of respondents say that they have been able to raise the rates on e-media products.
When it comes to why they’re buying online media, the majority—52 percent—of publishers say their clients cite ROI/measurability and deeper business intelligence as the top reasons. Twenty-five percent of publishers say their clients are turning to e-media for lead generation, while 23 percent say it’s because of an accessible price point. Interestingly, just 5 percent of respondents say their advertisers cite the ability to interact with their audience via digital media.'

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Ebook and POD (publish on demand) Publishing Strategy

The new and much more economical publishing model being anticipated and envisioned is to publish the manuscript as an eBook first and publish individual downloadable eBooks when a sale is made. The publisher can also produce a limited press run of hard copies if it is anticipated that a certain number might sell out. Sustainable pricing in the eBook field would be key here to make this model come to full fruition.

The following post from the Shatzkin Files addresses this exact point head-on and I have included here for your further consideration:

'Is the eBook and POD combo a viable publishing strategy yet?'

Posted by Mike Shatzkin on September 12, 2009 at 6:57 am

'There’s a new publishing model afoot, which is to lead with the ebook and just print what you need. That might be POD, and it might be press runs, if you can sell out whole press runs. If the ebook becomes a substantial chunk of sales and if ebooks maintain their prices, this looks like it could be a new way to do much lower-risk publishing.

Some very smart publishing people are moving in this direction. It had been the plan of the meteoric Quartet, which has already flamed out. It is part of the plan of Richard Nash, an experienced publisher (Four Walls Eight Windows) and a budding entrepeneur. It is the model for a young and aspiring Irish publisher named Eion Purcell. And last week, tor.com announced that it would be publishing books (this is distinct from its “parent”, St. Martin’s sci-fi imprint Tor) with an ebook first and POD methodology.

Can no pressrun publishing work? That’s a subject for discussion at Digital Book World in January, but, based on an interesting post by Kassia Kroszer, one of the four principals in Quartet, I have real doubts.

Kassia’s post makes it clear that direct sales at “full margin” (meaning no cut to anybody else in the supply chain) were an important part of Quartet’s budget and plan. They figured that by sticking to niches, and the first one was going to be romance, they’d be able to build up a direct audience and avoid sharing revenues with retailers and wholesalers. Kassia points out that savvy ebook readers (who hate DRM, high prices, lack of interoperability, etc.) are willing to support their “local” publisher, knowing that more money gets to the author that way...' Read more at http://www.idealog.com/blog/

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Marketing Your Books On Virtual Reader Communities

Virtual reader sites, or communities, are actually social media sites for readers and writers to come together. Readers can read books and recommend them to others and writers can market their books on their own profile pages offered by these sites.

The Book Marketing Maven at http://alturl.com/5icf offers the following comprehensive list of virtual reading communities:

Goodreads claims to be the world's largest social network for readers, with 1.8 million users. Authors can promote their book in a variety of ways. LibraryThing has 600,000 members. Registered LibraryThing authors can promote events, participate in Author Chat, and add information to their author page.
Authors can build profile pages on AuthorsDen and interact with readers.
Red Room is another popular site for authors.
Nothing Binding is geared toward independent publishers.
Shelfari is owned by Amazon and it's popular with Facebook users.
FiledBy is a new site that offers authors a free page that they can enhance with a photo, bio, and links. Each author page also includes links to purchase books on major online bookstores.
JacketFlap focuses on children's and young adult books.
Big Universe is devoted to children's picture books.
Amazon.com offers groups (called communities) and forums (called customer discussions). Customer discussions appear on book detail pages, just below the customer review section.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"Rumors of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated!"...The Written Word

I have been discussing in numerous previous posts the new technologies causing the current upheaval in the publishing industry and it's old business model. Along with this comes the natural question of the fate of the written word on good old paper.

Here is an insightful article by Kelly Piercy on the wondrous written word:

"I am blind. I manage. I have a plethora of technologies to assist me in my daily interaction with the world. My computer recognizes text and reads to me. I get books on tape free from the Library of Congress through my local library. I can download books from the net. I can have others read to me at stores and restaurants. I have portable digital readers that read me human recorded books and books read by a rather flat mechanical voice. I have a portable bar code reader that scans labels and tells me what the item is. New technologies are developing that will allow me to use a cell phone to take a picture of a sign or menu, etc. and tell me what it says.

What has the greatest cost of losing my sight been? The simple act of sitting down with a book and losing myself in it."...Read more at http://alturl.com/tncy