Wednesday, October 16, 2013

There's A Peck Here, and He's Got Marketing Experience Pointed Right At Me!

Thinking about ebook marketing, because I hope to have an ebook to publish within the next six months. And I’m listening to Clay Shirky speak at a LinkedIn symposium in which he’s talking about how social media is bringing an end to the traditional business thoughts of what constitutes “the audience.”

Learning some fascinating stuff.
Here’s the germ of his talk: Businesses need to figure out how to make their audience more than just potential transactions.
Here’s further eludication:
Amazon says if we give them a place to tell one another how much they love this book, it won’t be good for business in any kind of direct transactional sense this person has already bought the book and no one is going to buy the book based on the 6,021st recommendation. What is happening here is that there’s a platform for human engagement which allows Amazon to have an audience that’s just more than an aggregate of potential transactions.
Robert Newton Peck hits upon this idea in his book on writing, “Secrets of Successful Fiction.”
He did it all physically, speaking wherever anyone invited him, taking whatever compensation was offered. He knew he wasn’t going to make a lot of money on these trips. But he knew that trip by trip he’d be able to sell books. Here’s what he said back in 1980, well before the opularity of the Internet, and long before social networking made this kind of thing a bit simpler to accomplish:
Knowing that I am far from ever being the most gifted novelist at Doubleday, Knopf, and Little, Brown, I decided to be their best salesman.
All over the country trots Peck, speaking at schools, libraries, colleges, and in many a damp church basement. I keynote almost every month at state conferences of librarians, teachers, and reading specialists.
I talk to groups of men, women, and children.
Do you know when the best time is to sell a book? I do. It’s right after you speak.
So wherever you go, take tons of books with you. I have twenty-five books out and they are all in print? Why? Because I huckster them with shameless abandon.
There you stand, in front of a hundred eager listeners, who want not just one of your books, but one of your autographed books. Sign a lot of books and you’ll sign a lot of checks. Writing is not an art: It’s a business. It’s what you do for a living.
Soooo, what are hucksters of ebooks to do?
Might be as simple as bringing a laptop, ensuring your location has a wi-fi connection, and directing folks to or your own book selling site. Or engaging in some kind of nifty ebook signing technomancy, like this.
Here’s how an Autography eBook “signing” will work: a reader poses with the author for a photograph, which can be taken with an iPad camera or an external camera. The image immediately appears on the author’s iPad (if it’s shot with an external camera, it’s sent to the iPad via Bluetooth). Then the author uses a stylus to scrawl a digital message below the photo. When finished, the author taps a button on the iPad that sends the fan an e-mail with a link to the image, which can then be downloaded into the eBook.
Now that is nifty.
Conversely, authors can be active on the social web. That’s certainly my intention. If I’m ever popular enough to attract even a small audience. Small or not, I’ll be there chatting with them, because who knows – that might sell a few more books.
Is that contrary to what Shirky says? Possibly. But if readers see value in the social web interactions and some of them see that as the end, not the means, then I’m fine with that. Others may notice their activity and come aboard, buy a book or two, and enjoy the conviviality as well.

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