In our previous post, we mentioned an independent publisher who was having success marketing titles online using less conventional techniques.
Another publisher taking an innovative approach to marketing titles is Dave Trendler of VeloPress; a company in Boulder CO specializing in the cycling and fitness niche.
He recalls the days when it was a little easier to get some exposure for a title. For instance when Borders was still in business, Velopress would take advantage of prime placement in the store to sell copies of a book. Dave says, “we’d send a couple thousand copies and almost none would get returned.”
One of his new approaches is to develop a unique web presence for some of the titles they promote and generate buzz in advance of a release. He develops micro-sites using the popular content management system WordPress.
One such site is feedzonecookbook.com where prospects for the book could go and read test recipes and get valuable advice from the author in advance of release. Dave also encouraged readers in his target audience to get involved by sending them advance copies of the book.
They were asked to try out a recipe, do a short write up on it, and send in an image of the dish they had created along with their thoughts on the experience of making it. These snippets of user generated content were then shared on the blog and across multiple social media networks.
An additional example of Dave’s micro-site strategy was for the promotion of the title Slaying the Badger; a book about the heated rivalry that unfolded between American Greg LeMond and French Bernard Hinault during the 1986 Tour de France.
Dave created another micro-site but for this title, he took the unique approach of writing posts that detailed the 1986 event as if it were happening in the present day. He even included old photographs and video footage from the time period.
Dave’s strategy was to post to these blogs 2-3 times per week and also create unique social media profiles for some of them. He would then share the content across those networks, increasing the exposure for his posts.
He admits that he had to tone it down a bit because he ended up with more than a dozen such sites which, needless to say, were difficult to keep up with. He now uses the strategy for titles that lend themselves well to the model or that have a loftier goal for promotions in general.
Velopress has also explored the idea of having books reviewed by notable bloggers in the niche. One thing that was really cool was how Dave went about starting this process. For many publishers, it can be difficult to know where to start when using emerging forms of digital media to market their business.
You may hear about having a title reviewed by a blogger but how do you go about finding these people?
Using one of the most popular (and free) website tracking platforms, Dave was able to determine where VeloPress was already receiving traffic from bloggers on a regular basis. Google Analytics allows users to view basic and also more advanced information about their websites.
Using this tool, Dave was able to see which blogs were already sending traffic to the Velopress website.
In theory, if people are reading these other blogs and then visiting their site, not only are the readers interested in the content that Velopress is producing, the people writing about it are also immersed in that niche. Dave then reached out to these bloggers to ask if they would be interested in a collaboration effort.
Marketing content has taken on many of the characteristics of guerilla warfare. Publishers are up against market forces that are fundamentally changing how they do business.
They have to be smart and think outside the box by using unconventional tactics and tapping into the market’s lust for digital media.
We would like to extend a big thank you Dave Trendler and Velopress for taking the time to share their story. We also hope that others can make some use of their innovative ideas.
As a publisher, have you found success in marketing your book online? What innovative ways have you found to use digital media to your advantage?