BookCamp Toronto 2009

BookCamp Toronto 2009 was well attended despite the fact that it was a Saturday and beautiful outside. Interesting conversations about books with smart people is good but so is sitting on a patio sipping your perfect summer drink. Kudos to the organizers (Hugh McGuire and team) at pulling in a crowd and having a day filled with interesting topics and again I’m always impressed at how passionate book people are!

The big questions reflected changes in publishing because of technology, specifically self publishing and digital marketing/social media. What will be the role of the publisher in the future? Should social media be the author’s purview? How do librarians build online communities? 

I like to twist the question around and ask what the reader wants or how we (author/publisher/bookseller/librarian) can help the reader find books she wants to read. 

Obviously at Harlequin we have a brand that readers look for — we are a destination publisher. Of course, we publish at lot more than romance (MIRA, LUNA, WorldWide Library) and too often the reader has no idea she can find more than romance.

How do we match the right book with the right reader? Moreover, readers have a variety of tastes and moods. Our official Harlequin stat is that for every Harlequin book a consumer purchases, she also purchases another book. It can be a competitive romance title but it is just as likely to be a mystery, women’s fiction novel, bestseller or from any of the many genres. Digital marketing does make hand-to-hand selling possible.  It is the ultimate in peer to peer recommendations. But who is supposed to spend time and resources on it? The publisher? The author? The bookseller? The librarian?

Yes , yes, yes and yes.

Some thoughts on how to do it well.

  • be authentic. It’s the first rule in social media and worth repeating
  • it’s good to spend time in the space before you engage
  • make connections
  • be generous
  • commit time
  • learn

I’ll go into more specifics into upcoming posts about how to use social media!

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1 Comment

  1. You might enjoy this book on social media: http://tinyurl.com/nfa585 . It’s got some very good information, a lot of it that you already mentioned. Mainly that you can’t go into online communities with the goal of pushing a product–just go, be yourself, and make friends. If the interest is there, they’ll buy the product. Nothing is more annoying than getting constant announcements about this book or that book being released. I like the quieter marketing strategies, personally. Just someone who stops by and says a nice word, keeping their presence known.

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