As promised I have been working on exposing our author’s books on this book discovery platform. By now I am sure you all know that the biggest task in book marketing these days is getting noticed among the tidal wave of books which readers can choose from.
I have created a theme in line with our long time motto of “Books that make a Difference to your Life”. It would be much appreciated if you could have a look here to see what it looks like now. More titles will be added every day.
Our international distributor Ingram, has announced a new service for book stores which they are calling i-page. All our international titles will be visible on one page and I must say that it seems to be an easy to use tool. Titles, authors and ISBNs are also searchable and once a book is selected it is a simpler matter to compile an order, no matter where you are in the world. I invite you to have a look here. We are not given to bragging, but I have to admit that our list is quite impressive!
We have known for some time that bookstores are struggling, but the latest two developments at Exclusive Books (South Africa’s biggest and most prestigious book chain) smack of a new level of either desperation or at least a change of tack from selling books. Let me explain.
Firstly, an edict has gone out from the owner that all book purchases (even of one book) now have to be approved by head office. It seems like they no longer trust the managers to buy even on sale or return. This is likely to work out in practice that an approved list will be developed which will include only books from the most popular authors and the two or three biggest publishing houses. This will exclude orders to all the smaller and independent publishers like ourselves.
This sounds like the death knell to smaller publishers, but in fact we have been working on what are known as special sales (non book store sales) for some time now and have become less dependent on book shops. Our main motivation was the wafer thin or non-existent profit margin in bookstore sales what with the high discounts (47.5% + 2.5% payment discount) demanded, the costs of courier delivery and the returns. It is sad to see them go, but in the end no loss to us.
Secondly, the owner of Exclusive Books has (or will shortly) establish a Tapas Bar as part of his flagship store (Hyde Park in Johannesburg). A Tapas Bar to add food to the mix . Personally I can’t see how this will bring in readers. Still it may be a profit center which will compensate for the losses in the bookstore. Good luck to him!
This weekend I went on a course with Les Squires on being social media savvy. I was always active but felt that I was not good enough at it; too much time spent with too little results. I am sure that you know the feeling.
Grateful thanks to my friend Dawn Pilatowicz for arranging this. It was a somewhat different experience, at least to start with because Dawn is a part time fund raiser for the Guide and Service dogs, so in addition to the participants we had five dogs attending. Time had to be taken to keep them from attacking each other, but in the end they settled down.
At any rate I learned things I didn’t know, neat tricks to make your social media life more effective which I am happy to pass on here. Les tells us that it is all about curating the content, in other words selecting elements and puttign them together to get a “WOW” result. It is also about organisation vs fragmentation.
- Google Alerts: Go to Alerts and submit some favorite topics. In our case this would be something like “Healing” or “Weight loss”. Google will alert you via your gmail account everytime someone searches for your Alert. The double inverted commas are important because otherwise you will get all the alerts for ‘weight’ and ‘loss’ separately and thus get flooded with inappropriate results. Chose your alerts with care. You can elect to get them as thye happen, once a day or once a week.
- Hashtags: are a device created by Twitterbut now also adopted by Facebook. They search all public groups for content appropriate to you hashtag such as #Weight Loss and report back to you. You can make it more specific by adding a + in front e.g. +#weight loss. It is also a good idea to make your hashtags unique to you. For example we recently published a book called Aistiq Meditation so we will hashtag it +#aistiqkima.
- Organizing your bookmarks: On the Firefox browser one can categorise bookmarks into folders, so it is a good idea to place all your social media pages in one folder (private Facebook, business Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google alerts etc.). You then have an option to ‘open all’ which makes it really easy when booting up in the morning. I believe the same can be done on Chrome.
- Google Drive: is a good place to develop collaborative projects or documents. Everyone who is a member of the group may contribute, add or make changes. It makes for a much quicker process than emails going back and forth. Google Drive is also an excellent place to develop a “resumé”, by making a table of all the sites where you are active or are a part of your working life.
I hope that I was able to pass on some of Les’s wisdom and that you cabn use it to advantage inn your business life.