Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Please allow me to take off my objective journalist hat for a second to tell you that if you are in book marketing, if you are interested in the future of discoverability, if you want to sell more books next year, you should absolutely attend our upcoming Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing conference in New York in a few weeks.
I spend most of my days asking questions, interviewing sources and doing my best to objectively present just the facts with as little embellishment as possible. I’m going to deviate from that right now to tell you why I think you should attend our conference. If you make it to the end of this post, I promise I will reward you with a raft of facts – a fact-raft! – to satisfy any thirst for objectivity this post might not quench.
That said, these things I do believe:
1. Sales and marketing is where publishers have the most opportunity to add value to the publishing process – and the area where they need the most help.
What do publishing companies do in a world where anyone can publish a book? It’s a question I’ve heard asked dozens of times and in dozens of ways since I started covering the world of e-books almost a year ago.
One of the main answers is sales and marketing. If you are an author and you are with a publisher and that publisher does nothing to help publicize your book and increase its sales, then you should ask yourself why you are with that publisher. (Of course, publishers do other things, but if a publisher can’t help you distribute, sell and market your book more widely than you could yourself, then that is a serious problem.)
That said, many publishers aren’t as good at digital marketing as they could be. Part of the reason is because publishers have existed for a long time in a world in which digital marketing didn’t exist or wasn’t as relevant as the ability to get a book into Barnes & Noble. Part of the reason is that the best practices in digital marketing are constantly being invented and re-invented.
At DBW Discoverability and Marketing, leading experts in SEO, email marketing, landing pages, link marketing, marketing analytics, social media marketing and more will share the best practices in their fields. So, if you are involved in marketing at a publishing company and you want to help your company excel in one of its most important functions, you must attend this conference.
2. Understanding how the Amazon and Barnes & Noble e-bookstores work is crucial to selling lots and lots of e-books.
If you’re trying to sell a lot of e-books and you’re not selling any on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, you’re not selling very many at all. Those two leading e-booksellers are thought to account for about 90% of the e-book market in the U.S. If you want to get your books out into the world and get them into the hands of readers, you must be on these platforms.
That’s pretty obvious stuff, certainly to regular readers of Digital Book World.
The fact is, though, that the Kindle and Nook platforms aren’t completely transparent and easy to use with 100% effectiveness. There are some publishers that do it better than others – some that understand how to use metadata and salesmanship to get the most out of the platforms. Not understanding the ins and outs of Kindle and Nook backwards and forwards is as irresponsible for a digital marketer as not knowing how a Barnes & Noble store is laid out for a physical book marketer.
At DBW Discoverability and Marketing, Amazon director of author and publisher relationships Jon Fine, and Sasha Norkin, vice president of digital marketing at Barnes & Noble, will each be delivering exclusive speeches about how to sell and market better on their respective platforms.
If you think that understanding better how to sell and market on Kindle and Nook is important for selling and marketing e-books, then you must attend this conference.
3. Social media marketing can be your greatest ally or your worst enemy.
Many book publishing companies have shifted marketing resources toward social media efforts. There are people at publishers who Tweet, Pin and post in service of marketing and selling books all day long.
So, how many books were sold through Twitter last year? Technically, zero. If we’re being honest here, we can probably say that some number of books were discovered via Twitter, which led directly to a sale somewhere else.
Still, there’s a good chance that any given minute spent on online social media is not leading to increased book sales. So, why do publishers spend any time on it at all? The fact is, social media marketing is an extremely cost-effective way to spread a message, build awareness, drive consumers down a sales funnel, build an audience and do many other things that are core marketing activities.
My point here, though, is that if not done correctly, if not done with expertise, every minute spent on social media marketing is money wasted and opportunity lost.
At DBW Discoverability and Marketing, we’ve built almost a half day of social media marketing sessions designed to teach how to build community effectively, how to get readers to actually click on your links and about the future of social reading.
If you use social media to help market books or you want to, then you must attend this conference.
4. Search is still really important and the way that many readers discover and buy books.
On the internet, if you’re book doesn’t show up in search results, all your discoverability and marketing efforts are wasted.
Let’s say that I hear about a new book from a trusted friend on Twitter, who heard about it on Facebook from another friend, who saw a viral video distributed by the publisher. Good – the system is working.
I plug the title into Google. Perhaps it’s something generic sounding like, The Calm Before the Storm*. If a page where I can buy the book doesn’t come up within the first few results, I’m definitely less likely to buy that title.
Search is still the lifeblood of commerce on the Web. People might hear about things from social media, but they find and buy them using search.
At DBW Discoverability and Marketing, we have almost a half day on the latest SEO techniques, metadata, link marketing and creating landing pages that will entice readers to actually buy once they’ve clicked through.
If you believe as I do that your marketing efforts could fall apart without a good search profile for your books, then you must attend this conference.
*I just made this title up and was not intended to indicate any book, past, present or future. Any resemblance or exact matches are unintentional – and hilarious. I didn’t even Google it. But you’re welcome to do so.
5. Google tells us how people find new content and Charles Duhigg.
There are two sessions – one on each day of our conference – that, when combined, have the potential to create a very powerful brew.
On the first day, we’ll hear Google deliver a case study from original research that details the search patterns of readers throughout the book purchasing process. Google will answer the question for us: How do people discover content online and what do they end up buying?
On the second day, we’ll hear from Charles Duhigg.
Duhigg is a New York Times reporter and author of the best-selling book The Power of Habit (Random House). He’s speaking in the afternoon of our second day in the second last session. Duhigg has written an entire book about how habits form the basis of much of our behavior and – and here’s where it gets really interesting – how big companies use the power of habits to sell us stuff. In his session, share insights in how people form habits around content and how you can manipulate those habits to get them coming back for more.
If you understand how readers are moving through the online ecosystem as it relates to book buying and you understand how habits form and how to take advantage of them, you can create marketing that will have people coming back to your authors and your books again and again and you can insert it into the exact right places of the content discovery and purchase cycles.
If you want to create addictive marketing and put have it hit readers at the right place and the right time to drive engagement and purchases of books, then you must attend this conference.
And now, the objective reporting I promised you all:
The Digital Book World Discoverability and Marketing conference will be held in the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City on Sept. 24 and 25. For more information, visit marketing.digitalbookworld.com.
Hope to see you all at the show!