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Publisher Strikes a Chord With Holiday Book Marketing Efforts

Baker & Taylor sees social media success with 'The Guitar & Amp Sourcebook'

January 9, 2013 By James Sturdivant
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Leading up to the holiday season, Baker & Taylor imprint Thunder Bay Press figured they had a hit in "The Guitar & Amp Sourcebook," a pictorial guide to the tools of the axe-man's trade over a century of rock, folk, jazz, blues and country music. A book this cool was worth spotlighting on social sharing site Goodreads, the publisher decided, so they ran a giveaway contest generating a high volume of feedback (one might even say it went to 11). This and other promotional efforts allow us to riff on Thunder Bay's success at cranking up excitement among an enthusiast audience. (Okay, I'm done punning.)

Earlier this week we caught up with Ginger Winters, Baker & Taylor Publishing Group's senior marketing manager, for some insight into how the company went about promoting "The Guitar & Amp Sourcebook."

Publishing Business Today: Tell me about the contest you ran with Goodreads.

Ginger Winters: We ran a basic book giveaway on Goodreads offering one free book to a reader, which ran for a little over two weeks.

PBT: Is this the first promotion of this type you've done?

GW: We've been experimenting with promotions on Goodreads for a few months now, with a variety of different books. We've found that the Goodreads community can really help to build both pre-publication and post-publication interest in a book, so we are trying to reach out to that community more and more.

The giveaways are very simple for the reader to enter—they just have to provide their mailing address—but when they are finished with their entry, they are encouraged (but not required) to put the book on their "to-read" list. It's this element that we have found to be the biggest impact from contests like these, because not only does it stay on that reader's profile, but that person's friends can all see that they've added this book to their list. And that can snowball to more people seeing the book, which is ultimately what we want.

PBT: How did it go? What was the response?

GW: The response was fantastic! We were a little unsure of how such a niche non-fiction reference book would do on Goodreads—the site is much more well known for the strongholds of fiction and popular non-fiction, so it was a little bit of an experiment. But we're thrilled with the response: we had several hundred people enter the contest, and more importantly, we had about 100 people add it to their "to-read" list. For such a specific, reference type book, we're extremely pleased with that outcome.

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