The Digital Book World Conference + Expo is right around the corner, taking place March 7th-9th in New York. And to find out more about some of the programming that’s scheduled, as well as some insight into the state of the book publishing industry, we sat down with Mike Shatzkin, CEO of The Idea Logical Company and Conference Council Chair of DBW, to get his thoughts.
Shatzkin is a widely-acknowledged thought leader about digital change in the book publishing industry, having been actively involved in trade book publishing since his first job as a sales clerk in the brand new paperback department of Brentano’s Bookstore on Fifth Avenue in 1962. In his 50 years in the industry, Shatzkin has worked in all aspects of the book production process: writing, editing, agenting, packaging, selling, marketing and managing production.
This is part three in a three-part series.
How has DBW changed in the seven years since its inception?
The topics discussed at DBW change every year because the landscape shifts. What was an important insight from the beginning was this: we’re not “about technology.” We’re about how the trade book business is changed by technology! We never featured transformation or big companies outside our business in prior years. That’s a sign of the evolution of our industry.
The Masterclasses this year look fantastic. Can you give us a brief overview of what will be presented during them?
We have four Mostly Marketing Masterclass subjects. Peter McCarthy teaching about audience research; Annie Cushing of Annielytics on SEO, inbound and content marketing; Kelly Gallagher of Ingram on sales data and applying it; Tom Thompson of Verso Media on using paid media. I think the topics are pretty self-explanatory. What is important is that the teachers are all practitioners and the classes will be relentlessly practical. They will be all about effectiveness: tools, techniques and best practices.
One area that I’m really happy DBW is addressing is SEO, and you lined up Rand Fishkin, the founder and CEO of Moz, to talk about it. This is a really important issue in book publishing, but I feel like it’s not addressed as much as it should be. Why do you think that is?
I think it is neglected because it really isn’t understood. There’s an easy way to see this. Too much publishing conversation about SEO has to do with optimizing a website for ranking when searched for an author’s name or a book title. The art of SEO—and its more important application—is making a book or author pop in a search that didn’t include their names, but for which they are the right answer. Too many people in publishing don’t even grasp that simple concept yet. After they hear Rand, and definitely if they take Annie’s Masterclass, they certainly will.
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