Publisher Strikes a Chord With Holiday Book Marketing Efforts
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.
PBT: What other promotions are you doing around the book?
GW: With such a niche book, we really try to "go to where the fans are," so to speak. We've done targeted online advertising and blogger outreach on music blogs, done a Facebook giveaway along with some targeted Facebook advertising, and of course all of the publicity outreach to music publications.
We're also trying to coordinate some local events for the author as a way to help drive awareness. We consider a book like this to be an evergreen title, so we will also continue our promotions throughout the year as opportunities arise.
PBT: How does targeting an enthusiast market influence the type of book marketing you do?
GW: Well, as I said before, we really have to try and find the enthusiasts. It requires detective work because often these markets aren't going to just browse through their local bookstore for a book like this without knowing about it, so we have to really try and find ways to get the word out in those communities.
We rely on the author a lot—as the expert, the author will be able to give us a really good starting point for where to go to find the readers. From there, it's just a matter of figuring out how to raise awareness of the book in those markets: Is this a community that is online? Do they respond better to direct mail? Are there conventions they attend? Etc.
I love doing marketing like this, because it's never the same from one book to another. But it does make it challenging at the same time, because you can't just duplicate what you did for another book. You really have to look at each one as its own unique universe.
PBT: And most importantly, do you have a favorite guitar?
GW: I am most assuredly NOT an expert, but I have always had a soft spot for B.B. King's Lucille—though admittedly, the type of guitar that Lucille has been has changed over the years!