Under the Radar-Digital Book World’s Marketing and Discoverability Day one Recap

Bob is posting his recap over at the Digital Book World blog. While we both came to the similar conclusions, our point of view and approach to the conference came from two very different backgrounds. During the first couple of presenters, Bob constantly leaned over and asked, “We’re doing that, right?”. My answer was always, “Yes, but no.”

This is because the entire model of marketing and discoverability when it comes to publishing, books and authors is in a constant state of change. SEO and metadata (two words tossed around a lot) are constantly being tweaked and updated. In Bob’s post, he gives us his insights into the first couple of speakers. On the way out of the conference, Bob asked me what my take on the conference was and I proceeded to give him a whopping headache.

When Rick Joyce, the Chief Marketing of Perseus Book group gave his presentation the biggest thing that I walked away with is that discoverability is not a technical challenge, but a skill and that discoverability is risky business. There is no road map. As soon as we master one new tool, another new shinny tool is given to us. Another point he made is: failure is the rule. Bob and I have tried many things in the last 3 years, many of them have failed. But have they really? No. Because we evaluated and reloaded and tried it differently.

Next up was Kelly Gallagher, the VP of Publishing Services, R.R. Bowker. The key things I got from this was: — know what to say and where to say it. –understand who is driving marketing and discoverability. I loved his four layers of consumer insight:

  1. Purchase Metrics
  2. Book Details
  3. Demographics
  4. Psychometrics

It really is the Wild West right now. What was true 3 years ago when Bob and I started Cool Gus Publishing doesn’t hold true today. What is true today won’t hold true six months form now. Search engines are being retooled. Consumers are changing their patterns. We have to adjust to these changes so our audience can find us.

The next speaker was Marshall Simmonds from Define Media Group. He talked a lot about Google searches, page ranks and how they relate to the author. Key thing here was as authors we need to focus on what we do control and use the tools to help generate discoverability in searches. Being number 1 on the page rank in Google isn’t necessarily the goal.

Have you noticed some changes in your searches? Images? I’ve always said as a designer of book covers its important to know where the eye naturally falls. On a Google page, it might not be the top spot, but that first image you see. These are things, once you understand the tools (and develop the skills) you can control to a certain extent.

Debra Mastaler, President of Alliance-Link was up next. My take from her wasn’t so much her presentation, but the conversation I had with her after the talk. One thing Bob and I have instituted in our business plan is to always be prepared ahead of times for conferences so I emailed her last week and set up a meeting. The key takeaway from this conversation is the research that goes into understanding your top key words and how to make meaningful connections to readers! Oh yeah, that got my attention. One thing she said to me was that in finding your readership, your book demographic, your fans, its more about understanding their community, not yours. She’s really big on Pinterest, not so much as a place to push information (though you should) but a place to see what your target market group is talking about. She talked a lot about back-linking. Which means to take the links others are talking about, and back step to where it came from…seeing how it got from one user to the other.

I missed Clinton Kableer’s talk, but Bob has a really good recap here (because I made him take notes for me). All of this comes down to learning a new skill and understanding how SEO really works. AND making sure, you stay on top of the changes. There are so many tools that we can use to compile data, it’s mind-blowing and overwhelming. It goes back to can anyone really self-publish? This all happened before lunch.

Elle Lothorien, the author of The Frog Prince then gave her perspective of Reviews. Again, Bob did an excellent recap. I also suggest finding her posts on Digital Book World blog. She makes some very interesting points, especially in this changing environment.

From there, I have to say the conference took a slight detour and began focusing the old ways of doing things. Erika Napoletano, Head Redhead/Nerd gave a talk that was geared more toward the unpublished author, or newly traditionally published author. She made some valid points, like have a website, an on-line presence. However, the title was Creating an Evil Empire to Market and Sell titles. Frankly, it was a boilerplate of what to do if you are traditionally published.

Corey Hartford, SEO Manage of F+W brought us back on track to what most of us came here for and discussed tools we can use to help increase our discoverability. Things like how important Titles of posts are and how they relate to your keywords. How long they should be. How you should title images properly and use captions. Comparing keywords side by side in Google looking for search changes and trends.

This brings us to Metadata and Len Viohos, executive director of Book Industry Study. We all know how important metadata and categories are for our books. However, he focused on the way NY Publishing does using something called Onix. This is the way metadata is pushed from publisher to store and publishers aren’t necessarily doing it right. Why? Because metadata has to be constantly changed and updated, and this system of pushing data doesn’t work as quickly as it should. There is also this problem of old metadata being repushed to bookstores. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to contact Kobo to let them know that they have books listened from Random House that one, they don’t have the rights to and two, aren’t even available! To me this goes back to discoverability being a skill set. Its not so much about building a community, but using under the radar tools that increase your chances of your book being seen by your potential readers.

Looking forward to tomorrow.

About Jen Talty

Publishing Consultant, Author of Romantic Suspense and Co-Creator of Cool Gus Publishing with NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer.

Posted on September 24, 2012, in Write It forward and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Thanks, Jenn, and Bob, for passing on the info. So much to learn and keep on top of. Thank you for helping us do just that.

  2. whyidontgetgirls

    Thanks so much Jen and Bob for enlightening those of us who can’t be atthe conference – like us writers from Down Under! Hugely appreciated and am sharing with other Aussie authors!

  3. Thanks for the recap Jen. We took away most of the same from the presentations. A lot of it did seem geared toward the big publishers, but still very well worth the trip.

  4. This is so interesting. Wish I could have been there! I find it interesting that Agents are picking up on this stuff and re-tooling themselves to help Authors with discoverability. Or if not Agents then someone! There are tons of us that could use help with this traditionally published, self published and hybrids like me!

  5. A lot to digest. About metadata – what do you think about filling out all the info about your books in Shelfari? Do you think that might help when it comes to discoverability?

  6. Looking forward to tomorrow, are these new ‘sacred words’ for Cool Gus Publishing? I was wondering, are you planning on doing any more articles on Primal Branding? I only ever saw three that specifically addressed different aspects of this, and I have held out hope for more…

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