Power Book Publicity Tips for August 2013

  • How Metadata Helps Your Book Marketing Campaign, by Laura Dawson, Bowker
  • ‘Tis the season…for holiday gift guides, by Melissa Sileo, Senior Book Publicist, Smith Publicity
  • Using Your Book to Build Your Brand and Income? Consider Attending the 2013 Greenleaf Author Summit™ (discount code GBGSmith)

How Metadata Helps Your Book Marketing Campaign
by Laura Dawson, Bowker

It’s a volatile time in the book market. Borders is no more. Barnes & Noble is closing 20 stores a year. Ebooks are still a new paradigm. There aren’t many clear-cut standards for distributing digital products – every ebook vendor has different criteria. Independent/self-publishing adds to the confusion – there are more and more indie enterprises every single year.

Brick-and-mortar bookstores are being supplanted by Amazon; library reference desks are being supplanted by Google; and two hardware companies (Sony and Apple) are now selling ebooks. These disruptors don’t play by the old rules of the book supply chain.

But we can’t ignore them. Whether you’re selling ebooks or print books or both, the fact is that the brick-and-mortar stores are shrinking. Even within the remaining stores (and in libraries), fewer shelves are devoted to books.

Increasingly, when people shop for books, they go online. And the only way to get found online is via your book listing.

So what’s metadata all about? Metadata is simply the information you use to describe your book. It’s what online shoppers see when they check Amazon, Goodreads, Google.

The five basic pieces of metadata that every vendor requires are:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Price
  • Format

These bits of information alert a vendor that a product exists and is (or will be) for sale.

However, they don’t tell anyone much about the book itself. You’ll also want to supply:

  • The name of the publisher
  • The date of publication of the book
  • When it will be available for sale
  • The page count or size of the book
  • The language of the book
  • The dimensions of the book (if it’s a physical product, this is important for warehouse staff to allocate the appropriate physical shelf space)

Also important for vendors to understand is:

  • Where the book can be sold (territorial rights)
  • The age range of the audience
  • Whether the book is part of a series (and if so, which one)
  • If it is a new edition of an older work
  • How many books fill the carton you’re sending them in
  • Whether or not it replaces another book that’s already out in the supply chain

Finally, there is the “fun” metadata – which vendors will use to merchandise your book on the web:

  • A description of what the book is about
  • A cover image of the book
  • BISAC categories that vendors can map to their own proprietary subject codes
  • Keywords
  • Reviews
  • Other formats the book is available in

Without these data points, your book might as well be invisible. The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) has a list of metadata elements that are considered “best practice” to supply to vendors.

The ISBN Agency in the UK, Nielsen, recently did a study that illuminated the effect of good metadata on book sales. Among their findings:

  • Titles that meet the BIC Basic standard (equivalent to the BISG best practices) see average sales 98% higher than those that don’t meet the standard.
  • The addition of an image has a strong impact on average sales, of 268% in comparison to titles without an image.
  • Split into offline and online sales, offline sales see an increase of 35% for titles which have all enhanced metadata elements present, whereas online sales see a massive 178% increase.

As we noted earlier, offline sales outlets are shrinking. So the return on investment for providing best practice metadata is enormous for online markets, and growing. It’s worthwhile to spend time filling out the forms at your vendors’ websites with as much information as you possibly can – more than anything else, metadata makes your book findable in an extremely competitive, volatile environment.

Bowker is the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information and management solutions designed to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers. Creators of products and services that make books easier for people to discover, evaluate, order, and experience, the company also generates research and resources for publishers, helping them understand and meet the interests of readers worldwide. Bowker, an affiliated business of ProQuest and the official ISBN Agency for the United States and its territories, is headquartered in New Providence, New Jersey with additional operations in England and Australia.
‘Tis The Season…for Holiday Gift Guides
by Melissa Sileo, Senior Book Publicist, Smith Publicity

You may not be thinking about holiday shopping quite yet, but did you know that magazine, newspaper and online editors are already making their list, and checking it twice? August is crunch time for print publications in particular to make their gift guide selections, a place where they feature suggested presents for their readers to purchase, from toys to tech gadgets to books.

So as an author, what can you do to up your chances of being featured in a coveted gift guide?

It is all about timing. Magazine editors typically plan their editorial priorities four months out. When school is winding down, parenting publications are already preparing their back-to-school issues. While the New Year is barely underway, editors are planning for their Spring and Summer fitness guides. Thus, with August upon us and the end of the summer looming, magazines are thinking beyond Halloween to the holiday season, sifting through their product samples and review copies.

And it’s not just magazines working to compile their gift guides: newspapers and online publications are beginning to plan their holiday issues and editions as well. They are not what we consider “long lead” media, meaning they do not have to plan several months ahead of time what they will feature. However, they are still in the beginning stages of planning their gift guides. Most publication’s websites will include a media kit that can be downloaded, which will often have deadlines for when they need gift guide submissions by, so you can plan accordingly.

When seeking out media attention for your book, it is important to “showcase” it year-round, but standing out amongst the titles being sent for possible inclusion in these gift guides takes a special touch. Once you have your timing down and your target media list, put yourself in the editor’s seat.

  • Who will best identify with the concept and themes laid out in your book?
  • Is your book perfect for dad?
  • Is it perfect for the new college graduate building job networking skills?
  • Is it a fit for the hard to buy for history lover?
  • Is is appealing to a movie buff?

As publicists, our job is to make the editor’s job easy: we package the book tailored to the interest of each specific outlet and contact from which we seek coverage. We do this so that they easily see why the book is a good fit for their audience. The more precise you are when it comes to identifying who your book would be perfect for, the better your odds are to be picked for the gift guide.

Finally, it’s always good to think ahead – further ahead than we already are, that is. Even if your book does not make the cut for gift guides, there is still a chance that the editor will likely hold onto your book for potential coverage down the road. If your book as potential tie-ins to New Years’ resolutions, spring cleaning, summer vacation planning, and so forth, take the time to follow up with the media contact you’ve been corresponding with to let them know that. Always be aware of the real-life tie-ins and themes for which your book is applicable so that you can give the media any and all options for coverage.

Season’s greetings, our faithful readers….and if you think that is too early to say, you have not been reading closely enough!
Contact Smith Publicity info@SmithPublicity.com or 856-489-8654 x306 to inquire about our NEW Holiday Gift Guide Book Promotion Service
Using Your Book to Build Your Brand and Income?
Consider Attending the 2013 Greenleaf Author Summit™

Join us at the 2013 Greenleaf Author Summit™—in Austin, TX September 25th to 27th—to take your business to the next level. Greenleaf Book Group is a seven-time Inc. 500/5000 company with dozens of books on the New York Times Bestseller List. In an unstable publishing climate, Greenleaf and its authors have continued to thrive. Now Greenleaf is opening its doors to business leaders, speakers, and writers  to present a three-day event centered around three core themes: Ideas, Influence, and Income™.

World-class guest speakers (including Smith Publicity!) and Greenleaf’s expert staff will present a program designed to teach authors and experts how to. . .

  • create differentiated content that builds their platforms as thought leaders
  • spread their ideas and expertise, and
  • monetize those ideas and products.

Your ticket provides full access to expert advice and insider knowledge, with no up sell or obligation. The Greenleaf Author Summit™ will provide interactive learning sessions and networking opportunities via three days of actionable content designed to help experts define their market and product positioning and drive their expertise and ideas. These insights and connections will make a significant difference in your business within twelve months.

We here at Smith Publicity have had the honor and privilege of promoting dozens and dozens of Greenleaf authors for many years. We cannot speak highly enough about the service, quality and support they provide their authors to help them reach their individual goals.

If you are interested in attending the summit, Smith Publicity is offering a discount:

Smith Publicity’s discount code is: GBGSmith