The following post has been contributed by Caitlin Smith . . .
The internet has become a valuable marketplace for booksellers, a great community resource for readers, and an essential marketing tool for publishers. Successful ventures of all kinds have exploded on the web in recent years, from blogs to new formats for buying and selling media. Why not tap into some of these ideas for your own work? Here are some lessons that publishers can take from the success of the web and apply to their own practices.
Make reading a social experience. The internet creates the perfect environment to make reading more social. Online communities are great places to bring readers together and get them talking. One way to take advantage of this is to set up online book clubs and forums, letting these customers come together and enjoy reading as a group rather than just as individuals and letting them say what they loved about a particular book, basically selling it for you.
Use social networking for marketing plans. Want to know where the fans and potential audience for your author’s works are? Social media can help you create targeted marketing plans and organize book tours where turnouts will be significant. Whether you employ a social networking page or just track subscribers to an author’s blog, these tools can help you get a much better handle on where and how to market.
Find untapped talent. The Internet has turned out many celebrities in recent years that became successes from relative anonymity. Finding new talent for your publishing company may be a little easier if you monitor places like blogs, where humor, good writing and other important skills can come to light. Better yet, you can subscribe to blogs and follow your potential finds to see how they evolve.
Use electronic formats. These days keeping manuscripts in paper only format just doesn’t make sense. Using both print and electronic means to get your book out there can be smart and will allow you more flexibility in how you promote the material. Releasing small sections of the book to fan blogs and on your own site can be an excellent way to build up anticipation about an impending publication.
Make it to buy online. It’s estimated the Amazon’s Kindle format will sell millions of digital publications this year. As electronic books grow in popularity both in text and audio format it’s essential that you keep up and make your books easy to acquire through online means. Paper copies should be easy to buy from your site as well, increasing easy availability to whatever format your customers like best.