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July 10, 2012

Comments

Sara Crowe

Make better use of the Web. I don't mean social networking type stuff but rather building a hub for much more substantial stuff from their authors - interviews, articles, reviews, podcasts, that sort of thing. Regularly update it, send out newsletters, build a regular readership (rather like a magazine, but not in magazine format). Sections for different genres, and mix it up with other stuff that readers of those genres might be interested in (eg festivals and other events).

Sara Crowe

(they should also avoid using the word 'stuff' quite as frequently as me but, hey, I haven't had my second mug of coffee yet!)

Nick Campbell

Publishers feel to me a bit outdated in their business practice, so many of my suggestions might be really difficult to muster.

*Solicit attention from the right people*
The bookseller model of advertising is dying. There are a few that make more sense like going to Sci-Fi bookstores or things like that. These buyers tend to know their customers better and can provide better insight into what customers want. It requires more work, but worth it I think. I'd argue the same for online communities of book readers. Seth Godin argues in one of his pieces on the industry that publishers should be the cultivator of these communities. I think this is a good idea. Build it up around a set of similar authors you represent and allow them to feed & grow each other's fanbase. It worked for us at MacAdam/Cage when the fans helped us build the Velvet around Will Christopher Baer, Craig Clevenger, and Stephen Graham Jones. (Note: I no longer have connections with it.)

*Understand the connection your readers want to have with your author & cultivate that.*
Not everyone wants to keep up with James Patterson's everyday affairs, but Elmore Leonard? Perhaps so. I think many publishers apply the same gloss on top of approach to each author and neglect to realize they have different support. The 2 authors above. I really only care to meet the latter. Janet Evanovich customers probably all have something in common as well that could be played on more.

I guess what I'm saying is change the advertising set up. I think the fact that Ridan Books exists and makes money for themselves and their authors is a good example of how it could be changed.

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