Over the Radar: Digital Book World Marketing and Discoverability Final Recap
I saw a tweet this morning from someone who basically said: Discoverability…How long has Bob Mayer been talking about that? And now there are many conferences about it? I got a good chuckle out of that one because it’s a topic that Bob and I have been discussing for oh, say, over 4 years now.
Day one was more of what I call Under the Radar. That is to say, the things we can do to create discoverability without saying, buy my book, buy my book, buy my book… things like SEO, Metadata, Tagging, etc. Day two got into some things that we could call “Over the Rader.” By this I simply mean another layer.
My favorite speaker of day two was Jon Fine from Amazon. He talked a lot about what authors can do (regardless of path of publication) at Amazon. Things like taking advantage of Author Central and making your Author page look lovely. Here is Bob’s Author Page. I’ve talked to Amazon about some of the issues with backlist books and authors bringing out new titles and how it shows up on an Author Page. They are very aware this is an area they can and will work on. But if you want discoverability on Amazon, get your author page looking spiffy. FYI, they are adding a Facebook stream along with the Twitter stream. Amazon is constantly working on ways to make sure the reader can find whatever they want in any format they want it in. I enjoyed his candid lecture.
My other favorite from the day was Rob Egar from WildFire. I liked him so much I went and stood in one of those lines to hand him my business card and get a free copy of his book, Sell Your Book like WildFire. He had also spoken the day before, and I liked what he had to say about how readers need to know “what’s in it for me” before they will buy the book. Two things he said that I know are true. First, employ the resources you have and the biggest resource is your book. He said make a mental path for the reader so they can see exactly what is in it for them. One of the things Bob and I are doing with his latest release, Nightstalkers, is we’re putting together some excerpts and tid-bits and creating that mental path for the reader. The second thing he said is to turn your readers into personal sales force. Now you can’t just turn them into that, but the idea is to get them talking.
This leads me to Dennis Yu from Blizmetrics. One of the things he said was how important reader engagement is, but not so much between author and reader, but between reader and reader. Patrick Brown of Goodreads said something very similar. Dennis also talked a lot about some of the software, apps and technology that is available to collect data to find who is talking about who, what and where on Facebook. When he showed his MySQL (sounds kinky, eh?) I light up like a Christmas tree. Bob leaned over and said, “what is he talking about?” I preceded to explain and then, well, whooping headache for poor Bob, but Kudos to Bob for listening to me go on and on and really trying to understand it all and perhaps pretending he was as excited about it as I was.
Sasha Norkin from Barnes and Noble also gave a very informative session on what they are doing.
There were other sessions on social media, email marketing and other such topics. While I found them informative, I also found them slightly dated. We are in a huge state of flux in publishing and in the process of marketing and discoverability. What we know today will change in 6 months. This really has less to do with the technology and more to do with our skill sets in the publishing environment and how readers engage with each other.
My two biggest takeaways from the conference were:
- I was pretty damn smart for teaming up with Bob Mayer and creating Cool Gus. He’s one of the smartest people I know in publishing (even if he doesn’t get HTML5 or ePub3), but he has an uncanny ability to look a few years ahead. What we are doing is the face of what publishing will look like in 5 years.
- As all of publishing shifts from the static to the organic there is one universal truth: reader engagement (word of mouth) is what sells books. All this other stuff simply supports the main objective: finding readers.
Posted on September 27, 2012, in Cool Gus Publishing, Write It forward and tagged Bob Mayer, Dennis Yu, Digital Book World, Discoverability, Facebook, Goodreads, MySQL, Nightstalkers. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.