Monday, June 28, 2010

MetaCafe- COS Social Media in Review

We joined MetaCafe in Feb. of 2006 when it was young. We have nearly 500 videos posted there with views ranging anywhere from 50 to 3000.

Those videos with interesting and catchy descriptions seem to get the most views.

We have subscribers to our MetaCafe channel which is important since those people will get a notification when we upload a video.

There seems to be a more mature audience for us here. We have several videos that have over 3000 with the majority of those being suspense/thriller genre.
This site isn’t as big as YouTube or MySpace, but it has proven to be reliable with a good number of viewers interested in book trailers.

They do play pre-roll commercials, which is fine, but a little annoying. You can’t blame them though, they do need to make money and the pre-rolls are brief. It hasn’t seemed to hamper our view numbers. MetaCafe has a panel that reviews the video and sometimes they will mark our video 13+ which is like PG13. That doesn’t seem to hurt the number either.

There are options for bookmarking but we seldom use them from that site. We upload via TubeMogul, but check the profile and video performance once a week from the Metacafe site.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Relationships at the Heart of Publishing Success: How to Forge Them and How to Benefit From Them

Marketing your book is a matter of first, making friends and second, proving your value. When you combine the two you have a powerful arsenal in which to promote yourself.

The relationships you forge can foster your writing career. From support through the writing process to the connections made within the publishing industry, it’s the daily interactions that make any venture a success.

It is easier than ever before to get in contact with other writers as well as industry insiders. You don’t have to move to New York, just log on to the internet or attend writers conferences. Even conferences close to home are ripe with possibilities to connect with people that share the same interests and goals as you. To connect online, try for instance Facebook and Twitter. These websites provide group chats that will put you in contact with others in your field. When attending writing events, the main thing is to be open and say hello to every person you meet. These types of environments have jump-started the careers of many writers. Every person you meet offers something different and valuable to the writing community as should you. To determine what you can best offer others you need to play on your strengths. Do you want to be the critique buddy or BETA reader? A guru of your craft who provides insight as well as information? Perhaps you are the maven of Google who loves to search the web for titillating articles on the craft and business of writing. If that is the case, then posting links to save others time can be your value. Ideally you should aspire to play the roles of all of the above suggestions, it shows you are well rounded. Your connections with others needn’t be pure business either. Feel free to be at ease and joke, encourage or chat about life, it will endear you to your future friends, only watch what you say, it will make or break your reputation. Be willing to share your own knowledge and help others and they will be more receptive to your requests.

How much time should be devoted to networking is really dependant on personal circumstance like hours worked at a day job, family matters and writing time. The time spent writing should always exceed the time you spend networking. The number of sites you sign up for should be limited to a maximum of two, trying to keep up with any more could become quite a hassle. Hosting a blog should be another of your priorities. The blog will be the paramount asset of your career. Here you will be able to keep everyone up to date on your writing as well as share your thoughts on the industry and whatever else catches your fancy that is relevant to the theme of your blog. Later you can share information on any public or online appearances you make as well as book releases.

You’ve made friends, proved you’re an asset to the writing community and now you have a book coming out. How do you utilize your connections to promote your book? Blog tours are increasingly more popular than book signings. There are a plethora of blogs so limit yourself to the ones which are most likely to connect you with potential readers and that correlate best with your book. Optimally the blogs you tour will be high traffic and the host will know how best to promote your appearance on her site. Ask that your hosts include a link to your website or blog, a picture of the book and a link to a store where they can purchase the book.

A giveaway is another good avenue to take in order to grow an audience. Consider giving away bookmarks or totes that include the title of your book, your name as well as your website. This is a fun marketing strategy that garners you cheap advertisement and is also something useful to the recipient. A signed copy of your book can be the grand prize. On twitter you can qualify anyone to win your goodies by retweeting (or reposting) the information on their own account so that their friends can see your contest and participate. You can do something similar to this on Facebook as well. On your blog you might stipulate that anyone who follows you and posts an article on their own site about your blog is qualified to win.

A book trailer is an entertaining peek into the world of your characters, designed to entice the reader to want to find out more, thus going out to purchase the book. Post a link to the video you create on your blog and networking sites and ask others if they would include the video on the sidebar of their blog or website as well.

The success of a book ultimately comes down to creating relationships, from those you work with professionally to the people who buy your books. Eighty percent of all books are sold via word-of-mouth, thus your platform goal should be to reach as many as you can and make it easy and entertaining for them to spread the word. A professional website or blog, running contests and making a book trailer are all ways to appeal to your audience and make it fun for them to share information about your book with their friends. Be present in the online community and maintain your friendships and industry connections by balancing both the give and the take aspect of your relationships. A structured online platform where you not only take, but give back should be the heart of any marketing strategy.

~Lindsey Edwards

Lindsey Edwards has written content for several web-based companies. She has published articles on the craft and business of writing through eHow, Writer’s Digest Guide to Literary Agents as well as her blog, The Write Words. She is currently working on a historical/fantasy romance series that she hopes to place with a publisher soon. She lives in Missouri with her husband and son.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

COS Blog- BEA in Review- CEOs Debate on E-books

Commentary by Sheila English

I didn’t get to make it to the CEO panel much to my regret, so like many others I waited for PW to send out their daily review of what was going on at BEA so I could find out what was said.

Of course e-books was a hot topic and the panel had a variety of opinions. The panel included ABA CEO Oren Teicher, Workman Group publisher Bob Miller, Authors Guild’s new president Scott Turow, ICM executive v-p Esther Newberg, Ingram CEO Skip Prichard, Penguin CEO David Shanks and FSG president Jonathan Galassi. That’s a lot of publishing leadership!

I found it interesting that some felt piracy was a big issue with ebooks, and I agree it is, but like someone on the panel pointed out, piracy happens when people scan in the printed pages too. If someone wants to pirate a book to sell it illegally they will. My own observation is that people can, if motivated, re-type an entire book. Yes, that would be time consuming, but let’s face it, if it is a top seller it is worth doing it, or so I would think a criminal would consider it worth it. And criminals are not worried about the quality of the final product. So piracy is going to live with or without ebooks.

Still, let’s not make it easy for the bad guys. I’m all of looking into the best way to make piracy difficult.

I love the quote in the PW magazine by Skip Prichard saying that ebooks “did not cause piracy” which is 100% correct!

Article resource: BEA Show Daily – Day 2 Publisher’s Weekly Wed. May 26, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

COS Social Media in Review – Blip

Blip is one of the single most important online video sites COS utilizes. It is a powerhouse for getting your video to a variety of audiences.

Blip is part of the TubeMogul family, in which COS is a premiere client. We use Blip in many ways. First of all it is a wonderful venue and we see a good deal of views come from the Blip site itself. In addition, the site offers additional distribution opportunities, all of which we have applied. The Blip RSS feed also feeds other sites for us such as Blinx, which COS Productions has a contract with and a personalized channel.

The Blip players can be personalized which is great. We have several booksellers and specialty sites that use these and we are able to feed in the videos they want. Some want them all, some want only certain genres.

Interestingly, the top sites to use our Blip player feeds are iTunes, Odeo, Borders True Romance and Bubba’s Book Swap.

Blip won’t allow profiles that are commercial in nature and at one point they removed our entire profile saying the videos are all commercial. Once I called them and pointed out that we also supply webisodic content (The Lonesome Losers and Zombie Today) they agreed to put it back up, which they did immediately. I now have a contact in the tech department at Blip who says I can call him if that ever happens again. Lucky for me…he’s an avid reader!

• This series of articles reviews a variety of social media venues that Circle of Seven Productions and/or Reader’s Entertainment employees across the online universe.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

7 Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From Nike

This is a guest post from Joanna Penn, from The Creative Penn: Writing, Publishing Options, Internet Sales and Marketing...For Your Book.

Whether you are trying to sell your first novel from your new website, or promote your latest product from an established speaking platform, there are lessons everyone can learn from mega marketers, Nike.

Create a brand that is memorable and easy to remember. Everyone knows the slogan “Just do it” and everyone knows the Nike swoosh. They are immediately recognisable. I even saw the swoosh painted on the paddle of a fishing outrigger canoe in the islands of Vanuatu a few years back. What is memorable about your brand, your books, your products or yourself? Can you create a brand or slogan that is easy to remember?

Focus on a niche. Nike are immediately recognisable as a sports-wear company. You don't go to Nike to buy designer evening wear or flat-pack furniture. It's very hard to dominate in multiple niches so the biggest companies don't even try. Who are your books and products for? If you think they are for everyone, you will find it hard to appeal to anyone. Decide on your target market, go where they are and market to them specifically.

Be everywhere. Nike are in physical stores around the world, but they also have internet sales. Plus they have free audio at iTunes, videos online, free blogs and podcasts and even software online for people to use. They provide ease of access to their products from anywhere in the world. How can you expand your platform to become an international, multi-media presence?

Create a community around your brand. Nike have a great community for runners where you can log your runs, learn more about training and even share music you run to. Seth Godin, marketing guru, talks about this in his book “Tribes”. People need leaders and groups to fit into. You can be one of them and create a loyal community around your brand or product.

Work with partners to create new opportunities. Joint ventures are a smart way to promote your product. You get an introduction to new people through someone they trust and access to a whole new market. You also get promotion to their list and new opportunities you would not have found on your own. But it is critical to only collaborate with a complimentary person/business. Nike and Apple iPod partnered to create running shoes integrated with the iPod so the music would match your running pace. This is an inspired joint venture where both parties benefitted. Who could you collaborate with to expand your marketing niche?

Have a product people want to buy that meets the expectations of your marketing. You can put a lot of effort into marketing and brand-building but there is little point unless you are going to make some money from it, or enhance your business somehow. Nike have lots of different products available that matches their marketing message. “Just do it” fits their active, sporty brand and they sell products to match. Do you have products that match your marketing? Does your marketing message attract your ideal customer?

Be in it for the long term and change with the times. Nike is a global company and a world leader in sports apparel. But did you know it was originally started in 1964 and began trading as Nike Inc in 1978? That business has been growing a long time and yet they have continually re-invented themselves for the new market. These days we all expect instant gratification, instant recognition, and instant sales but the best marketing builds on earlier efforts to create a brand over time. So think long term about your brand and your marketing and you will achieve more than you think.

Joanna Penn is an author, speaker and international consultant. Her blog provides articles, audio and video on Writing, Publishing, Internet Sales and Promotion...For Your Book. Visit the site for your free Author 2.0 Blueprint: Using Web 2.0 tools to write, publish, sell and promote your book. You can also find Joanna on Twitter @thecreativepenn

Monday, June 07, 2010

COS Social Media in Review – MySpace

We’re really thrilled to be an official MySpace video partner which happened in May of this year. Being an actual MySpace partner has some benefits. Now our videos accepted immediately without the filters most other video uploads have to go through. And if there are any problems with an upload or the content we have a direct line to MySpace for a quick resolution!

MySpace was once the main online social community for COS Productions and is still in the top 10. With over 9000 followers the site is a main staple for COS online social media. It’s a great way to deliver information and we utilize not only the video opportunities there, but blogging, bulletins and SEO.

The bulletins go out to all 9000+ followers, but because those announcements can sometimes get lost in the shuffle when someone has a lot of friends sending bulletins we send our bulletins out on different days and at different times to help ensure the most visibility of our messages.

The profile is easy to brand and you can see how we’ve created our own online presence to appear almost as its own website-

COS has made connections at MySpace with content managers in books, music, film and comics and have been able to have books or clients featured on MySpace books. For a while the MySpace books feature was left stagnating, but we have been invited to come to the MySpace corporate office to get a tour and a chat, which we will do this year.

• This series of articles reviews a variety of social media venues that Circle of Seven Productions and/or Reader’s Entertainment employees across the online universe.