Women In Publishing – Meeting on Marketing

What a week of Marketing?! On Monday we had Byte the Book #bytethebook and Wednesday we had Women In Publishing where the fantastic Sophia Blackwell and Vicky Hartley shared with us their approach to marketing, their reflections on its evolution and their predictions on its future. The power of marketing has truly taken the publishing industry by a storm but what is it about marketing that makes it so fascinating to us?

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From hearing the speakers’ stories, their successes and lessons over a career of campaigns, it initially seems that the same model or marketing strategy cannot be replicated, we can’t rely on it time and time again and sometimes we just don’t know why a campaign works so well. Which can be frustrating but also fascinating – it’s an enigma! Sometimes a campaign just clicks with the public and it gives us such a sense of brilliance that we want to try again and again to make that happen and slowly but surely we are totally consumed by author tours and direct campaigns.

Well that’s one view. It’s a valid view too but perhaps a, how do I say…. traditional view? As publishers we love books and stories so much that we want to believe that the magic of the tale captures the heart of the public so very much that it’s like a spell has been cast over us and we realise that we were all born with one true aim – to read Gone Girl.

Vicky Hartley certainly believes in story telling but her stories are marketing narratives. Does she need to even read the book she’s marketing? Not necessarily, she is gripped by her own plot. The content, not the book, drives the campaign and is the main character. Other characters could include social media, other products, re-purposed versions of the content, emails, above the line advertising…. They are all functioning for the purpose of the main character’s development and success, to get the content to its denouement as a top seller.

Sophia Blackwell positively “facepalms” at her former self, a budding marketer ready to tackle the publishing industry one campaign at a time, innocently oblivious to the importance of data. This was right at the beginning of her career of course and now we have before us a marketing data evangelist. With data you can know why campaigns work and why they don’t and you can make them work better. With data you can link sales figures with customer behaviour, surely the very essence of marketing. Information is power and marketing intelligence is the faculty of our industry.

Whether you are creating your own story through marketing or interrogating data, it seems that marketing isn’t such an enigma. It actually is a tool of control for us which used by the right hands can construct an efficient and strong bridge between book and reader.

 

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.

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Byte the Book ‘The Most Effective Methods to Market Your Book’

On Monday evening we attended Byte the Book where the topic of the night was ‘The most effective methods to market your book’. On the panel this month was Mark Edwards, a self-published author who has reached the top spot on Kindle charts multiple times; Mark Rusher, Marketing Director at Orion; and Chris McVeigh, Publishing Consultant. This event was particularly lively with the discussion quickly becoming a debate between the panelists, exciting as everyone was so keen to share their top ideas and most important marketing tips – a sure sign the publishing industry is responding to the modern need to engage with its customers and be adaptable.

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Everything kicked off with Mark Edwards explaining his marketing approach having experienced both sides of the author/publisher fence. For Mark, it’s important to locate an audience of people by looking for similar titles and reaching out to its readership – we can learn from the ‘you might also like’ trick that the ecommerce world has mastered so well. Perhaps his best tip that can be utilised whether you’re an author, publisher or marketer, was to not be afraid to experiment and to do this often, but if it doesn’t work – move on! Don’t waste time trying to tweak something if it’s not working.

Mark Rusher then discussed marketing strategies by speaking giving examples from Orion’s most recent success ‘Gone Girl’, which won Best Marketing Campaign at the 2014 Bookseller Industry Awards. Mark said that one of the most important things about ‘Gone Girl’ and was apparent from the first was that from the very first receipt of the manuscript, everyone in the office who read it just wanted to speak about it – a buzz that the marketing team knew immediately they had to harness and make the driving force of the campaign. They sent it out to as many people as possible, including book clubs and all different types of promotions so they could get people talking about the book in anticipation of the paperback. Word of mouth is one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book, but still one of the most effective. ‘Digital’ isn’t in competition with this seemingly historic method, but actually relies on it as the humble hashtag allows more and bigger conversations.

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Chris McVeigh was then asked the question – What do people do wrong? This was perhaps the turning point in the evening when opinions and ideas really started to flow. Chris believes that we need to go back to publishing less, but really focus on getting the ‘bits’ right – by this, meaning all the marketing data, SEO, metadata, and contact audience information. Indeed, Mark Edwards can be seen as proof that going in with a strong strategy and taking the time to dedicate to this can really make your book a success – it’s not just about waiting for that title to have that certain je ne sais quoi which makes it an automatic bestseller. Mark R. was quick to challenge Chris on the point that publishers are not paying enough attention to data and the other traditional marketing processed – explaining how this has really changed and they are absolutely taking it seriously – to say otherwise would just not be true. In summary, this evening was a real eye opener to the potential that can be realised through a strategic marketing plan and commitment, but to be careful as it can be so easy to fall into a rut and begin just going through the motions and when this happens, you will lose out on potential opportunities for success and more sales. And after all, publishing is a business!

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.

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Bookmachine Blook Launch in Partnership with Kingston University

Two weeks ago we made our way to the Adams Street Private Members Club to attend the latest Bookmachine event: the greatly anticipated launch of the first ever Blook in partnership with Kingston University. For those already baffled, this is not a spelling error, it does read ‘Blook’ which is a book made up of blogs. The blogs have been taken from the Bookmachine archive, and discuss digital innovations and discoverability in the publishing industry. The Blook was produced by the students of Kingston University’s Publishing MA as part of their production module. A worthy venture for all involved, as the students were able to gain valuable production experience preparing them for entry into the industry and Bookmachine were provided with a beautiful new publication.This event resonated with us, and so even after two busy weeks here at Inspired, the launch of the first Blook is very much in our thoughts.

Entitled Snapshots, the Blook’s theme well and truly encompassed the evening with photographs being taken from all angles and polaroid’s instantly capturing all the action. The scene was set for an interesting discussion from the panel of Blook contributors Charles Catton (Publishing Manager – Amber Books), Erik Huang (Digital Publisher – MadeinMe), Felice Howden (Little, Brown Book Group) and Sheila Bounford (Strategy and Business Consultant) in which they were asked to provide one image or snapshot they believed represented the publishing industry.

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Charles kicked of the discussion with an image of space and a pre-prepared speech he professed to be riddled with an infinity of metaphors. Despite the puns, the image represented digital publishing in which vast new things were being born, rapidly gaining mass and substance yet still remaining undefined and unclassifiable. Erik Huang’s image of old book spines was to represent everything new is actually old. He stated publishers believe thinking digital is a new way of thinking, however in order to innovate we must look to the past and observe how they redefined publishing to create new content.

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Felice Howden produced an image of a Meme stating “It’s a trap!” on top of a cross-eyed alien. This was not a negative dig at the publishing industry, but rather a response to her task of the evening in which it was a trap to try and define the publishing industry in one image due to its constant changing state. She also highlighted everyone’s experience of publishing is very different and therefore to find one snapshot of publishing would not be representative of the whole. Sheila Bounford on the other hand took to the task wholeheartedly, after an apprehensive start and some crowd sourcing on Twitter she produced an image she had taken herself the previous evening in Tyneside. She alluded to the analogy of the phoenix, that like Tyneside, the publishing industry needs to rise from the ashes of a past dominated by original legacies and re-erect itself in the wider commercial cultures of today’s modern society. It was such an interesting discussion, we couldn’t help but take a pad full of notes!

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The publishing industry is facing new challenges and can be hard to define, but one thing is certain, and that is we all love working in the industry. Events such as BookMachine prove that publishing is still a developing industry, with experienced publishing professionals and up and coming publishing graduates working together to create something new and fresh can only be a positive for the future of publishing.

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter