Introducing Audio Excerpts on NetGalley!

“Promoting all book formats is good for all books”

The audio boom is finally coming to NetGalley! 

We are thrilled to announce that NetGalley is now supporting Audio Excerpts. 

Right now, publishers can add Audio Excerpts for any books listed on the site, regardless of publication date. 

“This is just the first step in our audio strategy,” says Kristina Radke, VP Business Growth and Engagement. “By summer 2020 NetGalley will also support full audiobook files so publishers can share their audiobooks with important publicity contacts, reach new, influential audiences who provide feedback and reviews, as well as track and report on access granted, feedback received, and trends in activity. Promoting all book formats is good for all books, and now audio publishers will have the same powerful tools that their print and digital counterparts have had for years.”

NetGalley members can browse for Audio Excerpts in the catalog and listen to them through an on-site, streaming player. As they listen to the Excerpt, they are then prompted to submit early feedback by responding to questions about their experiences. Publishers receive these aggregated responses, plus number of listens and average listening time, as part of the reports that already exist in their account. 

Members are just as excited as we are; they’ve been anxiously awaiting audio on NetGalley as much as publishers! Before launching Audio Excerpts, we asked our members via social media about their audio listening habits. Some of them hoped and guessed that we were going to be supporting audio soon. And once we announced the launch of Audio Excerpts on NetGalley, they weren’t shy when sharing their excitement

NetGalley clients can add their Audio Excerpts during this free trial period (until May 15, 2020). Just click “Upload/Preview Files” on any Title Details page. 

According to the Audio Publishers Association’s 2018 annual survey, audio is continuing to grow. And we’re happy to support that growth on NetGalley.

Image: Audio Publishers Association 2018 annual survey, illustration by Findaway

To see the new marketing programs designed to highlight audio on NetGalley, check out the 2020 Media Kit.

We look forward to promoting even more books, in every format!

Divider

Trends at Livre Paris: The power of self-publishing, the global audio market, and keeping young readers’ attention

With conference season in full force around the world, NetGalley France’s Astrid Pourbaix attended Livre Paris, or Paris Book Fair. In its 39th year, Livre Paris gives visitors a grasp on global book trends. 1,200 exhibitors from 45 countries displayed their services, products, and titles. The 160,000 attendees could sit in on one of 800 conference sessions or wait in line for an author signing from one of the 3,000 authors in attendance.

Whereas London Book Fair focused on the Indonesian book market, Livre Paris honored several different global regions. Primarily, the festival focused on Europe as a whole. Speakers including Livre Paris director Sébastien Fresneau discussed Europe’s rich and diverse cultural history as well as issues that affect the whole continent’s book market, such as the EU copyright directive legislation. Additionally, both Bratislava – the capital of Slovakia – and Oman were invited as special honorees.

A major takeaway from Livre Paris, like London Book Fair, was the growing children’s market. School visits to the fair have increased, and Livre Paris has responded by providing more programming designed for younger readers. Students, young influencers, and authors of children’s and YA books appeared on panels and in programs.

One challenge noted during the fair is that young readers’ attention is volatile. Publishing needs to do more to enliven young reading communities and keep them engaged.

Audio was in the air. 2 out of every 10 French people listened to an audiobook in 2018, doubled from 2017. For the first time, there was a prize awarded for audiobooks. Plus, writers and comedians were invited to record audio at the fair.

Like the US market, we are seeing the power of self-publishing in France. Both Amazon Direct Publishing and Books on Demand presented at the fair, indicating that self-publishing is an established part of the French book industry. Attendees also saw the Gutenberg One robot, a print-on-demand solution that can print books in less than 5 minutes. A recent survey saw that 80% of French people enjoy writing and 53% already wrote or would like to write a book one day, indicating that self-publishing is likely to keep growing in the French market. Check out our coverage of London Book Fair, as well as recent events from BIGNY and the Future of Media. And, keep up with NetGalley Insights conference coverage by signing up for our weekly newsletter!

Divider

Companion Audio Strategy for The Unwinding of the Miracle (Penguin Random House)

Julie Yip Williams, author of The Unwinding of the Miracle, knew she would never see whether readers liked her book. The Unwinding of the Miracle shares Yip Williams’s experiences and thoughts as she approached her death from colon cancer. Through the book she wonders about what the lives of her husband and daughters will look like, and finds the miraculous in the most universal human experience — death. Published posthumously on Feb. 5 by Random House, The Unwinding of the Miracle is a New York Times bestseller.

The team at Random House helped raise the memoir’s profile through a unique audio strategy. Beyond typical plans to advertise on podcasts, they decided to take it a step further for the release of The Unwinding of the Miracle. In collaboration with Pineapple Street Media, Random House created a 4-episode companion podcast, Julie: The Unwinding of the Miracle.

The podcast featured audio interviews with Yip Williams as well as audio from some of the last visits her family had with her before her death. Listeners could hear Yip Williams talking about how she decorated her bedroom so that she’d have somewhere beautiful to die and making plans to haunt her family members. In the final episode, the surviving family members and friends talk about the ways that they feel Yip Williams’s presence after her death.

As of February 27, 2 weeks after the final episode was released, the podcast ranks number 51 for all Health podcasts on iTunes, with over 600 reviews and an average of 4.5 stars. The podcast was featured on Call Yr Girlfriend through a sponsorship from Pineapple Street Media and on All Things Considered.

Investing in a collaboration with expert podcasters resulted in a well-paced and compelling narrative with high production values. Pineapple Street Media is a well-established podcasting company. They produce, among other shows, Still Processing from the New York Times and were behind the chart-topping Missing Richard Simmons. Julie: The Unwinding of the Miracle’s producer Eleanor Kagan comes from a well-established audio background, having worked previously for both NPR and Buzzfeed.

We chatted with Leigh Marchant, Director of Marketing & Business Development at Random House about Julie: The Unwinding of the Miracle and their companion audio strategy.

How did you decide to create a podcast for The Unwinding of the Miracle?

Our Random House Editor-in-Chief, Andy Ward, and I had been talking about doing a podcast with our mutual contact, Max Linsky, from Pineapple Street Media. As all great projects start, we pitched him a few ideas over lunch and decided that Julie’s story would make for an incredibly compelling podcast. We thought having Julie’s story told in both book form and via podcast would be a really interesting project—that instead of being restricted by only telling this story in one format, we could have them complement and inform each other.

What kinds of audiences were you hoping to access with the podcast?

We think that podcast listeners are readers, and readers are podcast listeners. We have seen some consumer insights reports that show media affinities for some of our authors and titles, and podcasts are definitely included in there. Of course, certain podcasts appear more frequently in our data than others but we do think there is listener/reader overlap.

So we were hoping to draw attention to the book through the podcast audience – and vice versa. The two projects – the podcast and the book – are meant to be complementary. In other words, if you read the book, you will want to hear more from Julie and her family and friends through the podcast. And if you listen to the podcast, you’ll want more in the book. Both the podcast and the reading experience deliver in such a strong way. The content of the two projects is actually different but together provides an incredible understanding of what Julie and those who are terminally ill are grappling with.

Both the podcast and the reading experience deliver in such a strong way. The content of the two projects is actually different but together provides an incredible understanding of what Julie and those who are terminally ill are grappling with.

How is that audience different from — or the same as — the audience you were connecting with through other parts of the campaign?

We are always looking to reach readers through our campaigns and one of the ways we do that is actually via podcast advertising! So creating the podcast was a great way to reach some of our target audience. We were hoping to reach readers of books like When Breath Becomes Air, The Middle Place and The Bright Hour. Also we targeted readers of medical memoirs, followers of Julie’s blog, as well as parents.

But of course the goal for any book is to reach the right readers and we knew that if we could capture an expanded audience via the podcast, they would likely be interested in the book as well.

How did you balance creating a rich and emotionally resonant podcast with leaving enough unanswered for the listener so that they would want to read the memoir?

That was a main concern at the start of the project. We didn’t want to cannibalize either project so we were careful to keep the content different enough, yet complementary. In the podcast, you hear from Julie’s family and friends. The book is just Julie’s words and thoughts. The two forms work so well together though. Each project is so powerful, so moving, so compelling. But together they offer such a complete portrait of Julie’s incredible life and, later, her battle with cancer.

How does companion audio fit into your strategies for other titles?

We are always looking for new ways to reach readers – on whatever platform they are consuming content. Podcasts are a great way to do that and we will continue to explore opportunities in that space – when it makes sense. We have a number of other podcasts through our corporate group coming. But we’re also exploring other multi-media platforms, as well. We also just launched an Alexa Skill called Good Vibes. Our goal is to connect readers (and listeners) to great books via the platforms where they are already consuming content.


Be sure to subscribe to NetGalley Insights for more strategies from successful marketing campaigns, audio coverage, and more!

Divider

8 Tools for a Remote Team

How the NetGalley team gets it done

At NetGalley, we think a lot about how to work more efficiently — how we can help publicity, marketing, and production teams minimize manual effort and maximize output, and how we can do the same for ourselves. Like our publishing partners, we are working on multiple projects, involving different teams coordinating with one another. We just launched We Are Bookish, are building backend support for full audiobooks, and working on some big changes to making accessing books on NetGalley even easier.

As a fully remote team, we can’t just peek our heads into someone’s office to ask a quick question. Instead, we rely heavily on cloud-based shared tools to help us stay on the same page, on track with our roadmap, and in line with what our publishers need. 

Here are some of the tools and programs that let us stay connected and on track with our goals. We hope that by sharing these tools, you might see something that can help you and your team work together even more efficiently in the new year. 

Smartsheet

The NetGalley team uses Smartsheet’s customizable spreadsheets and forms in a number of different ways. We use its spreadsheets to create our editorial, communications, and promotional calendars, to keep track of our own internal metrics, and to plan for conferences and events. We  generate forms through Smartsheet to let publishers schedule marketing opportunities, as well as to log our own hours and expenses, and submit new ideas for feature developments. Because it is cloud-based, we never have to worry that we didn’t get emailed the most recent copy of a spreadsheet. We always know that we’re all using the most up-to-date information.

Zoom 

As a remote team, scheduled weekly and monthly calls help us stay connected to one another. We use Zoom meetings for our weekly all-team conversations, our communications and sales calls, our data calls, development calls, one-on-one meetings, and more. We also use Zoom to hold training and strategy calls with publishers and conduct webinars. Zoom lets you record any call or webinar, so we can save development and planning calls for posterity or in case anyone is out of office so that we can share webinars for anyone who wants a recording. One interesting fact about how NetGalley uses Zoom, though, is that we never use the video functionality! Plenty of teams, especially remote teams, rely on video conferencing to see each other’s faces, but we find that we’re able to get that same collegial energy with audio alone. 

Jira and Confluence

Like 150k other companies in over 190 countries, NetGalley uses tools from software developers, Atlassian. We use Jira and Confluence for project management and for sharing internal documentation, respectively. Amanda Delatorre, QA Manager, works with the development team as well as the member- and publisher-facing teams to prioritize our development schedule, test new features, and document any issues along the way. Jira and Confluence are crucial to her work. “We use Jira to keep track of technical requirements, to schedule and assign the work to developers, and to show what phase the feature is in (up next, in development, ready for testing, completed). The scheduling is useful for keeping new feature development on track, but it is also an excellent way to keep the entire development process transparent for everyone else at the company who may find technical requirements intimidating. We use Confluence in conjunction with Jira in many ways, but, for me, it is most useful as a documentation repository. When a new feature is being developed and tested, we keep detailed notes around the rules and suggestions on how to use the feature, which we publish to Confluence for the rest of the team so there is never any question about how something is intended to work or what the rules are around the feature, and there is always a place to refer back to.” 

Passpack

Because we share access to websites, platforms, and tools across teams, we need to have a secure place to store shared passwords. Passpack allows us to share passwords with each other securely, and to generate new strong passwords whenever we make new accounts or profiles. Plus, having a shared password manager lets us cut down on emails or Slacks asking one another for login information. If you don’t already use a password manager for your professional or personal life, this article from Wirecutter might change your mind. 

Slack

We are big fans of this instant messaging service. Having an instantaneous way to chat with one another cuts down on our inbox clutter and speeds up communication. With Slack, we can direct-message one another, create topic channels with multiple team members, and group chat to brainstorm with one another. Also, as a remote team we do sometimes miss the water cooler conversations that happen in physical offices. That’s why we have channels dedicated to non-work talk within Slack!

SugarCRM

SugarCRM is how we keep track of our relationships with current and prospective clients. We can see which of our contacts work for which publisher, what their roles are, who our point people are, and what our communication histories are with them. We can archive email conversations to SugarCRM, which lets the team understand any relevant historical background to our relationships with publishers. For Katie Versluis, Sales Associate, SugarCRM is essential. “It is an absolute lifeline for me, as someone whose job is focused primarily on customer management. I look at it as a relationship building tool, since it allows us to easily and effectively stay in touch with our clients in meaningful ways. The email archiving system and the ability to collect notes about each account is crucial for us a team– we can sort through years of history with a client at the click of a button, which helps us do our jobs much more effectively. It also allows us to set reminders for ourselves to check in with a publisher we haven’t heard from in a while, or to send a friendly email to a prospective client who expressed interest in our service. It’s important to us to deliver a high level of customer service, and SugarCRM helps us do that.”

Online To-Do lists

The NetGalley team loves a list. And while a few of our team members use physical calendars and paper to-do lists, most of us are deeply devoted to one online to-do list or another. Several of us are fans of TeuxDeux, which lets you set recurring tasks and create ongoing project lists in addition to daily task lists. Others swear by Todoist. Dana Cuadrado, Social Media & Administrative Assistant, is a Todoist devotee. “The productivity nerd in me loves Todolist for all of the options it gives users. I can nest different items on my list, especially helpful when I have a specific idea for upcoming social content. I love that it tracks how many items you check off via specific date so you can see what days you’re most busy on. There are even more options that I don’t specifically use like setting high priority items or sending to-do agenda items to other team members.” 

Zendesk

We use Zendesk to communicate with our communities. On Zendesk, we host Knowledge Bases for both our members and our publishers. These Knowledge Bases have our FAQs about everything from which devices members can use to read books from their NetGalley accounts to how publishers can get the most out of the reports available to them. We also use Zendesk to conduct member support. One major benefit for publishers and authors listing their books on NetGalley is that we handle all troubleshooting and support inquiries from members accessing their books. 

Alicia Schaefer, Customer Service and Community Assistant, uses Zendesk to conduct that support. ”Our goal is to make sure any question or concern is solved in a manner that is quick and efficient but is also satisfactory for the person writing in and for the support member. Zendesk helps us accomplish these goals by providing a versatile platform that allows customizable, time-saving automation options as well as advanced reporting features and member and publisher-facing knowledge bases. My favorite feature is the ability to create ‘Problems’ and ‘Incidents’ where all tickets relating to one type of issue can be grouped together easily. This can be a huge time-saver when it comes to locating and following-up with members in a timely manner!” 

Honorable mentions

Camtasia: Create instructional and strategy-based videos

Canva: Generate images and infographics for social media, email, blog posts

Dropbox: Share documents internally

Google Suite: Email, calendars, collaborative document editing


Let us know what tools you use in the comments or by emailing us at insights@netgalley.com. We’re always looking for new ideas!

Divider

Macmillan’s Podcast Strategy

VP of Podcasting at Macmillan Kathy Doyle shares an inside look

2019 marked a watershed moment for spoken-word audio. For the first time ever, more than 50% of the U.S. population reported listening to podcasts and 50% reported listening to audiobooks*. Macmillan has spent years developing a robust podcast network to build and then capture that interest in audio content. On their podcast network Macmillan Podcasts they feature podcasts hosted by their authors like Astro Poets, companion podcasts to books like The Girls: Find Sadie, or as completely unique content like Steal the Stars.  

That’s why we asked Kathy Doyle, VP of Podcasting at Macmillan, to share her perspective on audio in publishing. She describes Macmillan’s podcasting content strategy – how they design podcasts to best support their authors as well as the collaborative process that brings those podcasts to life. She pulls back the curtain on how Macmillan works with distribution platforms, as well as how she and her team think about creating mutually beneficial advertising relationships. 

Plus, whether indie publishers or self-published authors should get in the podcasting game, and what big changes in the industry she’s excited to see in 2020. 

What is your history with audio and podcasting? 

I joined Macmillan at the end of 2011. I was hired as the director of what was already a podcasting network at that time – called Quick and Dirty Tips. QDT had already been around for 3 or 4 years by the time I joined, but it was a dual platform. It had this major website, which it still has today, and it had a podcasting arm. I was hired to run the collective – the entire network. I have run websites almost my entire career. I started in digital at the Wall Street Journal back when the internet was emerging as a format and already had some familiarity with podcasting in 2011, so I was hired by Mary Beth Roche to take on the entire business unit as its director.

Tell about your role in developing audio strategy at Macmillan

I’m primarily responsible for the podcast networks. We now have two networks, [one of which is] QDT. From QDT we learned a lot about format and what we were finding was that we were trying to put authors of all types into that “quick and dirty” format of providing actionable, interesting information in 8 mins or less. We were finding that we had an opportunity because podcasting was starting to emerge as a bigger, bolder format for media consumption. We had the opportunity to start a second network, which we called Macmillan Podcasts. That really enabled us to strategically use authors of all types from some of the best imprints in the world – Henry Holt, St. Martin’s Press, Flatiron Books – and allow those authors to come onto the platform. We worked with them to develop various types of programming, which was not as contained as the QDT model. We’ve been able to do some fiction, some audio drama, we’ve done a lot of interview format. We’ve really expanded our capabilities from a strategic standpoint on the podcasting side.

What do you think about the relationship between podcasts and audiobooks? Are you both competing for the same ear time? 

There’s definitely some crossover. APA came out with a study earlier this year that said 55% of people who had listened to an audiobook have also listened to podcasts. We’ve just seen an absolute explosion in audio as a form of consumption for media. It’s shifting paradigms. It’s really powerful. We don’t feel as though it’s competitive in nature at all. It’s strategic for us. We used to say that podcasts were audiobooks-lite — they were for someone who wanted to dabble in the format or hadn’t listened to spoken word audio before and this gave them a free and somewhat frictionless way to dabble in that media. But I think what we’re seeing is that people who want information via audio want all kinds of information via audio whether it’s short format or long format, book or podcast. Whether it’s because they’re driving or they’re exercising or making dinner, whatever it is, they can do other things while they’re consuming spoken word audio. 

People who want information via audio want all kinds of information via audio whether it’s short format or long format, book or podcast

So you’re seeing this audio boom as a result of multi-tasking from the listener standpoint?

It can be. It’s not always. I mean, some people are very content to just listen and absorb the content the way they would if they were nose-deep in a book. I can just speak to the fact that we see a lot of research and hear from our listeners very specifically about how they listen to podcasts and audiobooks — what they’re doing at the time of consumption. I had an Uber driver in L.A. say something to me that I hear all the time, “I listen to podcasts to learn. I don’t always listen to podcasts when I’m in the gym. I want music to give me motivation, but when I’m doing housework or when I’m driving my Uber and I don’t have a patron in the car, I want to learn. And that’s when I turn to podcasting.” I hear that all the time.

Let’s turn to Macmillan podcasting specifically. Macmillan Podcasts are divided into two groups – Bold Voices and Addictive Stories. Tell me more about how you developed those two areas of focus. 

It definitely happened organically. What happened was we found that we were being approached by editors, we were identifying talent on our own, and it just felt like the right way to start the process early on of developing a catalog — a podcast catalog — in ways that we could define categories.

The Bold Voices really are author-hosted shows where there’s someone with authority — who has something to say — typically nonfiction. All the QDT shows fall into that format to some extent. We have shows like I Love You, But I Hate Your Politics which is [hosted by] Jeanne Safer who wrote a book about how to navigate politically troubled times when you have a partner, a colleague, a family member who you don’t see eye to eye with.

The Addictive Stories, that’s the very elusive driveway moment we’re all looking for. [A driveway moment describes audio that keeps you in your car to listen, even after you’ve arrived at your destination.]

Those are stories that capture you emotionally and you don’t want to let go. So that’s Steal the Stars, our audio drama which we described as Arrival meets Ocean’s Eleven. It had everything – it had heist, it had romance, it had crime, it had all kinds of elements that comprised a very engaging, richly entertaining story that you wanted to binge. But That’s Another Story is our narrative book podcast hosted by Will Schwalbe who is an executive here and also a bestselling author. He talks to people in a very powerful way about a book that changed their life. He’s spoken to everyone from Jodi Foster to Min Jin Lee. he just had the hilarious macmillan author Gary Janetti.

How do you learn about your audience?

There’s a variety of things that we can do. Podcasting is a deeply engaged medium, so we get a lot of listener feedback. We have voice mailboxes set up for every show where people can call in and leave feedback or, in the case of some of the Bold Voices shows or QDT shows, leave a comment or question. We very carefully monitor ratings and reviews, we can learn a lot there. We’ve done some work with little focus groups where we bring people together and do listening parties to see what kind of reaction we get. We’ll get some from our ad broker; that helps give us demographic and other details about the listeners. The other thing we can do is on the backend of some of the distributor platforms, we can actually see things like what we call retention. If you have a 40 minute episode and you see that 60% or higher are dropping off after 20 minutes, [you can learn] about what listeners are staying tuned for, what adjustments we might need to make to the format or the approach to better serve the listening community. The platforms do not have the same consistent information from platform to platform but we sort of know what elements we want to look for.

If you have a 40 minute episode and you see that 60% or higher are dropping off after 20 minutes, [you can learn] about what listeners are staying tuned for

What factors are you keeping in mind when developing a new podcast?

There’s still this perception that I think is shifting as competition increases and the industry learns more about podcasting, but there’s definitely this perception that it’s really easy to pull off a podcast. And it is incredibly difficult and challenging work. It takes a lot of different people in the mix. We look at talent holistically. We want to make sure that we’re making choices that serve our publishers, that serve our talent, that serve the listening community for our podcasts. It’s all of those things. We get together with potential talent, we talk about an arc or a creative approach to the show. Then, we’ll do a creative brief where we talk about who the audience is just like a book – what are the comps that are out there that we can use as comparisons for how the show might do or the kind of approach we might take? We talk about the creative process, we talk about the workflow and make sure everybody’s on the same page. We talk about the schedule, which is really important. We talk about the business arrangement, which is also really important. We sort of work all that through and then we might do a pilot or a trailer or talk to our distributors about relationships for the show. It’s a really elongated process. It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s very collaborative.

Who makes up the team that brings a podcast together?

One of the best things about working at Macmillan is how incredibly collaborative we are. Everyone from the marketers to the publicists to the editors, we’re all involved in the decision-making process. This is an organization that cares deeply about its authors and takes very good care of their authors. so we want to make sure that we’re making the best possible decisions both for our organization and for the talent.

We will work with the editor to develop the relationship with the author or the host. When we get ready to launch the podcast, we’ll work with the marketer and the publicist from the imprint to make sure we’re all in sync in terms of who we’re pitching to, what kind of work we’re going to do on the marketing side. And then we just make sure that the editors get to listen to stuff before it goes out. We stay in very close touch throughout the entire process. Most communication happens up front but it is a true collaborative effort from start to finish. 

Are you proactively approaching talent?

It’s all over the place. We do spend some time identifying talent. We [also] work within our imprints to try and find talent who would make good podcast hosts or guests. On the QDT side we will often bring up an emerging talent who is starting to grow a platform. We will work with them to grow their podcast and then work to help them secure a book.

What makes for a good podcast host?

I think it has to be someone who listens to podcasts — someone who embraces and understands the medium and what the pros and cons of the medium are. I think it’s someone who has to be willing to work and not just sit in a studio and read a script that they just wrote. For us, it’s about the collaborative nature of podcasting, and making sure that everyone is in tune and in sync with the goals and the objectives that we work toward in terms of developing and launching a podcast.

[For new hosts] we will do some training. We had a conversation this morning about one of the QDT hosts who was interrupting a guest with “uh huh” and making auditory affirmations as you would in a normal conversation. In podcasting we tell our hosts, “Tell your guest up front that you won’t be acknowledging them because you might not be in the same room.” If it’s a Skype  interview or done via the studio, they can’t always see the person they’re communicating with. So it feels very natural to want to say “uh huh” or “yes, I agree” but you’re interrupting the flow of your guest’s statement in a way that’s going to make it difficult for the producer to put it out there as great-quality content. 

That’s just one kind of small example but I think people who aren’t used to working in an audio format definitely need to be trained and educated on what suits the format best in terms of developing and creating and releasing the best possible experience for the listener — the highest quality for the listener. 

We have such incredible guests — a lot of them are authors also, sometimes they’re outside experts. [Hosts] get involved in these really deep, interesting, engaging conversations and they’re so excited about the content they’re getting they forget that they have to be mindful of the format and the experience.

What about distribution? Which platforms do you use, and what benefits do you see from distributing your podcasts on multiple platforms?

I would say one of the advantages we bring to the table is our longevity because we’ve been podcasting for over a decade, we have great relationships with the long-standing distributors like Stitchers, Apple Podcasts and the new players that have come into the space. We’ve worked hard to develop those relationships over time — Spotify, Pandora, iHeart. We have great relationships with all of those teams. We’re not one-off shows just looking to boost our downloads. We are looking to build sustainable, long-term relationships with these partners. 

It’s a two way street. Every conversation we have with our partners… we will not get off that call or leave that meeting without saying “How can we better serve you as well?” 

One of the distributors came in recently with some back-end features and functionality that they wanted to test. They wanted to get our opinion; how would we use this data and how would we use these features. So our team got together in a conference room and we went through it with them step by step and we provided them with feedback about how we would use those features. It’s a two way street. Every conversation we have with our partners, we always make an ask — we might be asking for something whether it’s a promotion or for them to entertain a pitch, but we will not get off that call or leave that meeting without saying “How can we better serve you as well?” 

What about podcast advertising? How is advertising on the medium changing?

There are two different camps on the ad side. There are branded campaigns which are general awareness and brand lift, so there’s nothing specific the listener has to do except retain that information the next time they’re in the drug store and need to buy moisturizer. There’s also what we call direct response which is really what grew the industry. The Squarespaces and the Mailchimps — they built this space for many podcasters

Direct response is really labor intensive on our end because we have to make sure the talking points are correct, we have to make sure the promo code works, we have to make sure the URL works. A lot of the times [a promo code will be] mailchimp.com/grammar. Well we have to make sure that page exists before we have our host record that ad and put it out in the feed because we’re protecting our listeners. We want to make sure the ads are as accurate and as compelling and as engaging as the rest of the content. It’s hard work to deliver an ad well and sound genuine. 

We want to make sure the ads are as accurate and as compelling and as engaging as the rest of the content. It’s hard work to deliver an ad well and sound genuine. 

We also have requirements. A lot of times we turn away from advertisers if our host can’t support their product in a way that is genuine and viable and will make for a good ad read. I hear a lot of hosts on other shows — you can tell they just have the ad points in front of them and they’re literally just reading them with no emphasis with no personal experience with no integrity. We strive to make sure that doesn’t happen. As a result we leave some money on the table. If you’re a big listener, you know. 

Not everyone obviously has the capacity of Macmillan or a big publisher to develop such a robust audio strategy. Do you recommend that indie presses or indie authors get in the game of podcasting or audio content?

There’s a lot of debate in the industry right now. I was just on a panel at Digital Hollywood and this was one of the premises of the panel – Do you need a network? Networks bring a lot of great support. They bring resources, they bring manpower, they bring history and experience. All of that said, it’s very competitive. 

But if you are someone who has a story to tell, who has an experience to share, who has an expertise that will benefit, I’m all for developing an independent podcast. There are incredible resources out there to teach you how to do just that and the cost point — there’s very little barrier to entry. You need to buy a microphone; you need to buy some software. People can do it independently and some of the best and longest-running podcasts out there started out this way. It’s not as easy as it used to be to make that success happen. But, it’s also a great way to train and to test yourself on the medium before you have a big team behind you. You can try things out on your own that you wouldn’t be able to do if you were a part of a distribution platform or a big network. And I’m really impressed with some of the companies and people in the industry who have come forward to develop incredible training resources for anyone who independently wants to start a podcast. It is doable.

So it sounds like what you’re saying with the indies is that not everyone needs a podcast, but if you feel strongly that you have a unique perspective that fits in audio, and you have the bandwidth, you should learn how to do this and do it right.

Write it down, develop a plan — a full-blown plan that includes what you’d cover in the first 5-6 episodes. A plan that covers the format of the episode, how long you want them to be, how many voices will there be? Will it be just you behind a microphone or will you be having guests? you really need to think through strategically. Treat each episode as if it’s a separate project. Intertwined, but a separate project. And figure out how you want to approach those episodes so that you’re developing a curated collection of your best work. 

Tip for indie authors and publishers: Treat each episode as if it’s a separate project. Intertwined, but a separate project. And figure out how you want to approach those episodes so that you’re developing a curated collection of your best work

What new developments are you excited for in audio?

Some of the platforms are developing really interesting social sharing and other kinds of features. Spotify, for example, has developed customized playlists which can be done in a variety of different ways. You can actually integrate a playlist that has music and podcast episodes and then you can share it to your audience. That’s really powerful. We’ve been having a lot of fun with that. QDT has so much great New Year, New You content, so we’ll be developing a variety of playlists that will tackle that topic in ways that nobody else can.

The other thing that I’m watching closely is data attribution. You often hear podcasting referred to as the wild west, which it’s not anymore.That may have been true five years ago but now I think it’s really grown up a lot. Ensuring that we are all reporting our listens accurately is critically important because we all want to monetize with advertisers and they need to be able to trust the data they are getting from us. The Interactive Advisory Bureau has gotten involved. They have developed standards and compliance [for podcasting]. We are compliant on the platforms that we’re on, but not all podcasters and not all platforms are yet compliant with these standards. [We want to be sure] that 500k downloads on this platform is the same as 500k downloads on that platform. There were a lot of discrepancies in the data. So that’s all being resolved and I think 2020 will be a big year in terms of seeing that into fruition.

Ensuring that we are all reporting our listens accurately is critically important because we all want to monetize with advertisers and they need to be able to trust the data they are getting from us

As people have shifted to the compliant standards, and as the hosting platforms that these podcasts reside on have made changes on their backend to bring those systems up to full compliance, people have seen shifts in their download numbers. Sometimes quite dramatic! Consistency across the board is key and I think we’ll see that by the end of 2020.

One of the challenges on the content side is that of the top 200 podcasts on the Apple platform, 32% are now hosted by major celebrities or influencers. That’s huge. And it makes it really hard for the rest of us. That trend will continue – big name celebrities getting into the space. I think we’re going to see continued consolidation of some of the content providers as it makes sense for businesses to evolve and join forces together. We just saw Wondery and NBC strike a joint partnership. A year or two years ago, [a big trend] was VC money entering the space. That’s what everyone was following really closely. Now I think that’s shifting a little bit towards other kinds of partnerships. 

In terms of genres, there’s opportunity and room for YA content. That’s changing a little bit, but there’s still opportunity there. And travel.

What podcasts are you listening to?

I love Dolly Parton’s America. It’s a brilliant new podcast that’s been getting a lot of buzz. I’ve also been listening to a show called The City which is from Wondery. This season focuses on the city of Reno and some aging strip clubs that are causing some issues with the city. I’ve only listened to one episode but it’s really interesting and I will definitely be continuing. There’s another season of the Jet Propulsion Lab’s podcast. My son is in aerospace so I follow that closely. And I’ve just become addicted to the daily news shows. I listen to Up First from NPR and I listen to The Daily religiously. I find that especially because I have a long commute those are great ways to stay informed. 

At least two distribution platforms now have daily drive playlists that they are curating for listeners based on their listening habits. A lot of our shows are falling into those categories as well. The recognition that podcasting can be used as a means of entertainment and information for your full commute end to end is really becoming reality.


Kathy Doyle is the Vice President of Podcasts for Macmillan Publishers. She runs the Macmillan Podcast Network, which produces popular podcasts with the organization’s bestselling authors and book imprints. Current podcasts range from sci-fi and true crime to literature and self-help. She also oversees one of Macmillan’s largest digital networks, Quick and Dirty Tips. QDT produces a dozen weekly award-winning audio podcasts hosted by subject matter experts on a wide range of topics. Podcasts include the long-running Grammar Girl and Savvy Psychologist. The network has a large web presence, too, which features content from the podcast hosts and a large variety of Macmillan authors.

*2019 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital

*Interviews have been edited for clarity and length.

Divider

Mark your Calendars: February 2020

Upcoming conferences, panels, webinars, and networking opportunities 

In February, the publishing industry really gets into the swing of the new year. We’ve caught up on our inboxes, recovered from our holiday breaks, and have hit the ground running! At NetGalley Insights, we’re looking forward to learning more about production and accessibility (including audio production!), marketing, and overall industry innovation. 

If you are hosting or attending an event in March or after, email insights@netgalley.com so we can feature it.

US


Book Manufacturing Institute: Book Manufacturing Mastered

Conference – Manufacturing

Feb. 10-12, NYC

“The conference, hosted by the Book Manufacturing Institute, will bring together publishers, manufacturers, printers, binders and other pieces of the value chain to help educate those involved in making the printed book. This conference is for anyone involved in the creation of the printed book. Publishers, manufacturers, binders, distributors and others will learn the foundations as well as current trends in book manufacturing. Session Topics will cover the following areas: Pre-press and workflow, paper and other materials, print processes (Offset, Toner, Inkjet), finishing and binding, distribution and logistics, as well as other trends and issues facing the book industry today.“

BISG: Innovations in On-Demand Book Publishing

Panel Program – Technology

Feb. 10, NYC

“The marketplace for short-run and on-demand printing solutions has expanded significantly in the past several years. This program will address where the industry is, how it may evolve, and what you can do now to take advantage of this important manufacturing option. This event is co-located with the Book Manufacturers’ Institute’s “Book Manufacturing Mastered” event, for which a separate registration is available.”

NYUSPS Media Talk: Passionate Readers, Powerful Publishing: Reaching Niche Audiences in New Ways

Panel Program – Authors & Audiences

Feb. 12, NYC 

“Please join us to hear four bestselling authors talk about the importance of genre fiction and connecting with readers through unique vantage points. Whether you love reading mysteries, romance, dystopian fiction, or sci-fi, or simply enjoy exploring literary styles and categories, this will be a night to remember. Learn how Sarah MacLean, described as the “queen of historical romance,” links gender and cultural studies in works translated into more than 20 languages. Find out how current events inspire Tochi Onyebuchi (War Girls, Beasts Made of Night) to write science fiction and fantasy for teens and adults. Get the inside story on how Veronica Roth, author of the Divergent series and Carve the Mark duology, weaves her cautionary tales. Hear internationally acclaimed mystery writer Karin Slaughter discuss her latest bestseller, The Last Widow. Moderator Pamela Paul, editor of the New York Times Book Review and all book coverage at the paper, will guide the conversation into exciting new directions.”

Kids Comics Meetup NYC: How to Start a Kids Graphic Novel Publishing Company

Panel Presentation – Children’s 

Feb. 12, NYC

“Join professionals in kids comics for this presentation and informal networking event. We will start by chatting with entrepreneur Manuel Godoy about how he started publishing company Black Sands Entertainment from scratch, and has grown it to more than 25,000 books sold, 10,0000 customers, and $500K in gross revenue in less than three years. Then we’ll hang out and talk comics together while enjoying Resobox’s tea and Japanese snacks.Anyone who works in children’s graphic novel publishing or promotion is invited to attend, including artists, writers, editors, librarians, agents, book designers, booksellers, reviewers, etc.”

BIGNY: Publishing Romance 

Panel Presentation – Editorial

Feb. 18, NYC

“Redefining what love looks like. A panel discussion featuring Adriana Herrera, Author and President of NYC chapter of Romance Writers of America, Cindy Hwang, VP and Editorial Director of Berkley Publishing Group, Kim Lionetti, Senior Literary Agent at BookEnds Literary Agency, Kristine Swartz, Senior Editor at Berkley Publishing Group.”

Pub West

Conference – Independent Publishers

Feb. 20-22, Portland, OR

“The theme for this year’s conference is “Publishing in the Clouds: Practical Solutions for Big Ideas” PubWest 2020 will feature keynotes by Charlotte Abbott, founder and director of FutureProof Content Strategy; Laura Brief, CEO of 826 National; Guy LeCharles Gonzalez, project lead, Panorama Project; and Andrew Proctor, executive director, Literary. Pre-conference intensive sessions include (now included free for PubWest members with conference registration): “From Start-Up to a Sustainable Business” and “The Art of Literary Publishing.” The PubWest 2020 Conference will include: Intensive sessions with leading industry experts, lively panel discussions that present new perspectives, informative peer-to-peer seminars, inspiring keynote speakers, fun and valuable social and networking opportunities.” 

BISG: ONIX Training 2020

Workshop – Metadata

Feb. 21-26, NYC

“ONIX Pricing Workshop, ONIX Essentials Training, Using ONIX to Better Market Books, Thema Workshop, and Advanced ONIX training”

UK


BookMachine: BookMachine Unplugged – Talking Production: The New Tools for Modern Book Production

Panel Program – Production

Feb. 12, London

“Most book publishers are still producing books in the same way they did five or even ten years ago. Anyone starting a new publishing company in 2020 could do well to challenge how things are done by not simply accepting ‘this is the way we’ve always done it.’ But what can established publishers learn from this fresh approach? Ken Jones invites us to rethink how we work by looking at some of the new and emerging tools and services that can help book publishers today. From cloud storage and better communication to ideas and new methods for document creation; from page layout to image manipulation and illustration though to proofing and commenting. Even sharing of advance copies, exporting and publishing can be refreshed.”

BookMachine: Understanding Accessibility in EPUB

Workshop – Production & Accessibility

Feb. 25, London

Currently less than 8% of the world’s books ever make it into accessible formats. Making our books, ebooks and other content accessible is crucial, both from an ethical standpoint and as a legal requirement. This presentation is aimed at digital publishing professionals wanting to improve their publishing practices using EPUB in 2020. The training plan: Adding accessibility within InDesign, extra Recommend tools (Sigil, Brackets, GreenLight), EPUB types, ARIA Roles & semantics, image descriptions and alt text -Structure, TOCs, Page Lists, Landmarks and supplemental lists, language declarations and shifts, adding Schema.org Metadata, checking accessibility with ACE, modern ebook reading software for accessible EPUB content, Stop Press! Also to include a look at the brand new format recommended by W3C for Audiobooks. 

Divider

NetGalley Marketing is Holistic

NetGalley’s new promotions support publishers’ goals throughout a book’s lifecycle, including backlist and audio 

At NetGalley we always strive to meet publishers where they need us. We love listening to our customers and learning from their ever-evolving needs–from secure digital galley files, to marketing promotions that reach targeted audiences, to a desire for more data and reporting, and even into new formats like audiobooks.

Publishers often adapt NetGalley’s tools for their unique goals and, based on trends we see across all of our clients, we work to expand the breadth of the NetGalley service. In 2020 you’ll notice greater emphasis on a holistic approach to promoting books, across formats and beyond the pub date. As we continue to expand our offerings, we’re emphasizing a more comprehensive approach to book promotions across format and lifecycle.

NetGalley was originally designed to predominantly support books in the pre-publication stage, but our tools and promotions are flexible enough to help publishers and authors achieve a variety of goals throughout a book’s lifecycle. Publishers are increasingly taking advantage of that flexibility! While 44% of titles on NetGalley in 2019 were archived within 1 week of their pub date, 29% were available on NetGalley for at least 2 months after pub. 

Lately, our marketing team has received more questions and interest from publishers about promoting their books to members in new ways–and during new times: close to on-sale to drive pre-orders specifically, or post-pub to reignite activity for backlist titles.

We’re supporting this pivot by launching brand-new marketing promotions in our 2020 Media Kit, flexible enough to encompass a variety of goals, timelines, and formats.

Book Club Kits

Book clubs are a crucial audience for publishers, as they are often interested in backlist titles (especially when available in paperback, or have a movie tie-in). We’ve heard from many clients that they wish to interact more directly with book clubs, but don’t always have the bandwidth to create marketing assets in-house.  That’s why we’re introducing custom Book Club Kits: created especially for your book and promoted directly to book club members in the NetGalley community.

Each bespoke kit is crafted by our editorial team to be unique and fitting for the particular book. Book Club Kits contain, at a minimum, an Author Interview, Discussion Guide, Readalikes, Printables (such as bookmarks, decorations, etc.). Possible additions include quizzes, food and drink recipes, playlists, and more. See page 17 in our Media Kit for more info.

Dashboard Spotlight

The NetGalley member Dashboard receives an average of over 36,000 unique impressions each week, offering huge exposure for your book! Publishers can now showcase their books on all member Dashboards with the new Dashboard Spotlight promotion. The CTA is up to you, so consider using this placement to drive pre-orders, promote retail offers, or to boost a backlist title. See page 5 in our Media Kit for more info.

Sponsored Social

Our community engagement team has built a loyal and engaged following of book advocates across social media platforms: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. We are now offering publishers the opportunity take advantage of NetGalley’s influence to promote your book in a relevant, valuable way to our social audience. 

Audio Excerpts

With the introduction of Audio Excerpts on NetGalley, there are many opportunities to showcase these clips to our community across the site. Members will see a new, additional Featured carousel on the main Find Titles landing page which will highlight books with Audio Excerpts–free for publishers! Our marketing team can also include the audio icon in NetGalley Newsletters and Category Spotlights for books with Audio Excerpts.

And this is just the beginning: by BookExpo 2020, we will support full audiobooks in addition to Audio Excerpts! We’re thrilled to help audio publishers benefit from early feedback from the NetGalley community, and we aren’t the only ones… NetGalley members are already excited! We asked, they answered: check out hundreds of comments on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram posts. 

As publishers start experimenting with these new promotions, we’ll be sharing their successes here on NetGalley Insights. Stay tuned!

If you’re looking for more detail about post-pub strategies, check out our Case Studies on NetGalley Insights. Jayne Allen shared how listing Black Girls Must Die Exhausted on NetGalley after its pub date actually improved its sales numbers. She said, “Allowing the book to be offered for sale during the NetGalley window worked best for me because it allowed NetGalley reviewers to post directly on the Amazon sales page as a consumer review…At first, I was concerned that being on NetGalley might somehow erode sales, but the simultaneous window actually served to increase sales and start Black Girls moving up the charts much more quickly.”

If you want to discuss your own campaigns, please email marketing@netgalley.com. Our dedicated marketing team would be happy to help you strategize and find the right plan for your timing, budget, and goals. 

Divider

Mark your calendars: November 2019

Upcoming conferences, panels, webinars, and networking opportunities 

There is always a wide variety of programming available to help publishing professionals connect with one another, grow their skill-sets, and stay abreast of changing trends and emerging strategies. On NetGalley Insights, we share the events we’re most excited for on a monthly basis. 

This November, there are quite a few conferences, mostly focused on specific regions or niche areas of interest. Plus, NetGalley Insights Associate Editor Nina Berman will be making her way to speak at the IPNE Annual Conference. If you’ll be attending, be sure to say hello! And in the UK, Futurebook and Day of Code will have audiences thinking about 2020 and beyond. 

If you know of an upcoming event for December or after, email insights@netgalley.com so we can feature it.

US


IPNE 8th Annual IPNE Independent Publishers and Authors Conference

Conference – Strategy

Nov. 1 – 3, Marlboro, MA

“Our program includes experts and leaders from across the industry, sure to educate and inspire. This year’s program will focus on industry direction and trends, sales and marketing, and organic growth.”

ECPA: PubU

Conference – Strategy

Nov. 5 – 6, Nashville

“Training, Connecting, and Inspiring the Christian Publishing Professional”

The Charleston Library Conference

Conference – Library Acquisitions

Nov. 5 – 8, Charleston

“The Charleston Conference is an informal annual gathering of librarians, publishers, electronic resource managers, consultants, and vendors of library materials in Charleston, SC, in November, to discuss issues of importance to them all. It is designed to be a collegial gathering of individuals from different areas who discuss the same issues in a non-threatening, friendly, and highly informal environment. Presidents of companies discuss and debate with library directors, acquisitions librarians, reference librarians, serials librarians, collection development librarians, and many, many others. Begun in 1980, the Charleston Conference has grown from 20 participants in 1980 to thousands in 2018.”

Women’s Media Group: How to Sell Your Product, Your Brand, or Yourself on LinkedIn

Workshop – Social Media

Nov. 12, NYC

“WMG is pleased to have Afiya Addison the Education Lead, The B2B Institute @ LinkedIn, present all you ever wanted to know about LinkedIn, arguably the most import platform for your professional life. You’ll learn: How to optimize your personal profile, Best practices for brand pages, The art of engaging content, Effective advertising solutions, What LinkedIn analytics can teach you about your campaign.”

BIGNY: Program Night: Designers’ Roundtable

Panel Program – Design

Nov. 19, NYC

Moderated by Anne Twomey of Celadon Books and She Designs Books, a panel of New York Book Show award–winning designers will discuss what goes into a book’s design. Presenters include adam b. bohannon, NYU Press and adam b. bohannon design; Nicole Caputo, Catapult and Counterpoint Press and She Designs Books; Richard Ljoenes, Richard Ljoenes Design; Jen Wang, Clarkson Potter. The event will be held at Penguin Random House, located at 1745 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. Program begins at 6:30 P.M.; a professional networking event will precede at 5:15 P.M.

Penguin Random House: Book Fair For Adults

Book Fair

Nov. 23, NYC

“Back in the days of recess, snap bracelets, and Dunkaroos, life was simpler, wasn’t it? When your biggest fear was getting detention, and your best days were when you had the luxury to spend an hour picking out which book(s) to read next? We miss that, too—so we decided to bring it back for an afternoon.

Join us on Saturday, November 23rd for Penguin Random House’s first-ever Book Fair. All afternoon, we’ll have 60-minute sessions where you can browse the latest and greatest books and merchandise, participate in throwback activities, and get schooled by our beloved authors.”

UK


BookMachine: Can Design Thinking Transform Your Publishing Strategy 

Panel Program – Strategy

Nov. 13, London 

“Designers as creative thinkers are powerful problem solvers. But traditionally, colleagues in finance, editorial, sales or marketing are promoted to the top publishing jobs. What is lost without the transformative effect design thinking can add to strategy and leadership? How can design thinking enhance management decisions? What can publishing learn from our own and other sectors’ creative leaders?

Join our panel for an intriguing discussion on how design thinking can transform a business. Hear from an organisational behaviour expert on the theory, as well as a Creative-turned-board-member on the practice. And get inspired by the insights from a Creative Director who will show how design thinking really does make a huge difference.”

Futurebook: Day of Code, 2019

Workshop – Technology

Nov. 22, London

“As one of 40 bookselling and publishing delegates from across the book trade, supported by ~15 coaches, you will build a real website on your laptop using free technology showcasing your own selection of book data provided by Nielsen. You will publish your website to the web and can continue to develop it after the workshop. The results will be showcased the following Monday at FutureBook 19, to inspire and motivate your peers. This exclusive course, created especially for FutureBook 19 by publishers who code, is included in the price of your FutureBook 2019 ticket. But you must apply separately after buying your FutureBook ticket: space is strictly limited to 40 delegates. “

The Bookseller: Futurebook

Conference – Technology

Nov. 25, London

“For 10 years FutureBook, The Bookseller’s annual publishing conference, has tracked, interrogated, and challenged the way the international book business has embraced (and rebuffed) the digital content revolution. Today the event remains the stand-out gathering for smart thinkers, creatives and innovators across books, with FutureBook Live 2019 offering the most ambitious and far-reaching programme so far, with executives from Pearson, Hachette, Waterstones, Bonnier, Springer Nature, Faber, Booker, the BBC, Penguin Random House, Blackwell, and Lonely Planet, confirmed as speakers.

The conference will once again examine the burgeoning audiobook and podcast markets, the academic and educational sectors, and will also tackle the big themes dominating the book business right now, including the globalisation of platforms and audience, the threats to freedom to publish, the cultural importance of books and renewal of physical bookselling, the rise and fall (and rise) of female leaders, and the challenges (or opportunities) posed to reading by other entertainment sectors.

The prestigious FutureBook Awards will return, including BookTech Company of the Year, Podcast of the Year, and the FutureBook Person of the Year, who will once again deliver the closing keynote.”

BookMachine: Facebook Ads Training for Publishers

Workshop – Marketing

Nov. 26, London

“BookMachine Works is running a training session for publishing professionals who need a deeper Understanding of Facebook Ads, either for managing a team/agency; or for setting up your own campaigns. Understanding Facebook Ad Options, Building Facebook Advertising Content, Measuring your Facebook Ads Success.”

Global


6th Annual Sharjah International Book Fair

Book Fair

Oct. 30 – Nov. 9, Sharjah, UAE

“Featuring more than 400 literary events and a stellar line-up of authors, this annual book fair is one of the world’s largest. Returning for the 37th year, the Sharjah International Book Fair features 11 days of writing workshops, poetry readings, book signings, cookery demonstrations and children’s activities. The prestigious fair attracts more than two million book lovers and 1,420 publishing houses to the Expo Centre, with great discounts on books available in 210 languages. Entry is free and the fair is open daily from 10am-10pm (from 4pm on Fridays).” -via Visit Sharjah

6th Sharjah International Library Conference

Conference – Librarians

Nov. 5 -7, Sharjah, UAE

“The American Library Association (ALA) provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. The Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) is one of the largest book fairs in the world, the most prestigious in the Arab world and home to the most exciting literary event in the region. ‘For the love of the written word’ is its inspiration, passion and reason for being.”

Divider

Dispatch from Digital Book World

“You don’t have to do anything the way you’ve been doing it”

Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation opened Digital Book World with a keynote about innovation and experimentation, backed by practical takeaways for attendees. She told the audience, “You don’t have to do anything the way you’ve been doing it.” 

Lisa Lucas’s keynote was emblematic of most of the conversations at Digital Book World. Panelists and presenters explained their projects, companies, and initiatives while also sharing the practical tools and processes that they used to accomplish their goals. 

Tools 

Margot Atwell, winner of the DBW’s Outstanding Achievement Award and Head of Publishing at Kickstarter,sang the praises of Airtable to NetGalley Insights during a coffee break. She told us that the combination spreadsheet and database was indispensable for her when putting together the inaugural The Next Page: Creating the Future of Publishing, a full day of conversations shared digitally and available for free to foster a more inclusive, fair, and vibrant publishing landscape.

Margot Atwell presenting at Digital Book World

Amy Metsch and Dan Zitt of Penguin Random House Audio are expanding PRH’s audio offerings by going after new genres. They are transforming theater productions like Angels in America, graphic novels like Roller Girl, and Spanish language books like La primera regla del punk into audiobooks. Like any team going through a growth period, the PRH Audio team needed to develop a more streamlined and centralized ways of casting these audiobooks, many of which feature a full cast. To support their audio expansion, PRH developed an audio talent database called Ahab, which now has the profiles of 3,000 actors all over the world. They’ve used Ahab to match narrators and voice actors to their increasing roster of projects, plus expand their pool of talent beyond the actors that they already know. And soon other publishers will be able to use Ahab to find the right audio talent for their projects. 

Eleanor Long and Trevor Young, co-founders of indie animation studio Tapocketa, showcased their interactive children’s book Galdo’s Gift (which won multiple awards at DWB 2018, including Best Overall Book) and gave a sneak preview of their new interactive storytelling project, The Locksmith. They also shared the tools that they use to get this work done – from communication and productivity tools like Slack and Teux Deux (both of which are beloved by the NetGalley team) to animation software like Affinity and Hype.

Process 

Bluefire founder and CEO Micah Bowers shared the winding journey of the Bluefire Reader. We were surprised to learn that one of the earliest prototypes was an EPUB 2 compliant e-reader for a Sony Playstation device. The audience also learned that Bluefire was originally intended to contain both an e-reader and a virtual bookstore, plus the original conception of Adobe Digital Editions was an in-browser reader rather than a desktop app.
Bowers shared the roadblocks, surprises, and coincidences in Bluefire’s history, including the recent removal of Bluefire from the Android store (although it is still in the iOS store, and anyone who already has it on their device can still use it). In addition to providing the audience with a unique vantage point to think about the history of e-reading, Bowers’s talk was a lesson in how companies can respond to the unexpected with agility and creativity. Bluefire’s journey was full of iterations, failures, and pivots, all of which are crucial for anyone looking to be at the edge of technological innovation. 

Charlotte Abbott, founder of FutureProof Content Strategy, gave the audience a framework for thinking about creating brand stories that drive results. For Abbott, these stories “spark direct, ongoing connections with your customers, build community with customers and stakeholders, and drive revenue on a platform you own.” She used Berrett-Koehler’s 2017 online Servant Leadership Summit as a case study to demonstrate a simple framework for building those stories. Clear articulation of mission, goal, and story are the key to creating compelling narratives that bring in audiences and keep them engaged with your work. Seeing some raised eyebrows, she made it plain that even for for-profit companies, everyone has an overarching mission, even if it’s as simple as “produce world-class books and make a profit.” Abbott reminded the audience that publishers are “storytelling natives,” and advised us not to forget our storytelling skills when we are building our own brands. 

Charlotte Abbott presenting at Digital Book World

Audible’s Strategic Content Partnerships Manager Shira Schindel also gave a step-by-step structure, but for partnerships between companies and organizations. She instructed the audience to think of partnerships like stories; complete with plot, characters, goals, and challenges. Plot encompasses your company’s history and the history of a potential partner, plus the new directions for both of those companies. Character helps you figure out if you are connecting with the right person at another company. The goal crystallizes your objectives and your counterpart’s mandate from their company. And then the challenge helps you address potential limitations. She gave examples of recent Audible partnerships with Minetta Lane Theater and Alaska Airlines to show how this story-centric partnership structure lets both parties find meaningful and effective collaborations.

Joshua Tallent, Firebrand’s Director of Sales and Education, as he is wont to do, was sharing metadata best practices. And in addition to reminding publishers how crucial it is to fill in even the most basic metadata fields, he made some practical suggestions for how teams can best ensure that their metadata is being refreshed regularly and successfully sent to the appropriate retail partners. He advised publishers to have a dedicated position on staff for metadata. While editorial, marketing, legal, and other departments have a vested interest in metadata changes, he encouraged publishers to designate a point person. Then, he suggested scheduling regular metadata updates, monthly if possible. That way, publishers can have a built-in structure to check that their data is current, and can quickly see if anything has gone amiss. Plus, he also noted that Eloquence on Alert is a powerful tool to monitor any changes to books’ metadata across retail providers.


We’re leaving Digital Book World 2019 with our heads buzzing with new ideas and with some concrete strategies to implement more experimentation, more collaboration, and more innovation. 

Divider

Mark your calendars: September 2019

Upcoming conferences, panels, webinars, and networking opportunities 

There is always a wide variety of programming available to help publishing professionals connect with one another, grow their skill-sets, and stay abreast of changing trends and emerging strategies. On NetGalley Insights, we share the events we’re most excited for on a monthly basis. 

As soon as fall starts, publishing kicks into high gear again. That means a month full of events about the big picture – digital and technological innovation, broad overviews of a book’s lifecycle, inside looks at publishing houses, and events that bring together readers, authors, and industry professionals. 

If you know of an upcoming event for October or after, email insights@netgalley.com so we can feature it.

US


Digital Book World

Conference – Strategy

Sept. 10-12, Nashville

“Thought leadership, best practices, and the gathering of community across the wide world of publishing.”

IBPA: “Ask an IBPA Board Member” Webinar Series: Robin Cutler, Ingram Spark

Webinar – Professional Development

Sept. 10

“During IBPA’s monthly “Ask an IBPA Board Member” speaker series, IBPA members meet and discuss book industry trends with a member of IBPA’s Board of Directors. The series features a different IBPA Board member each month, ensuring that IBPA members receive a unique point of view each time they join. Robin Cutler is committed to helping independent publishers easily get their content into the hands of readers around the globe. To help make this happen, Robin Cutler leads the development of IngramSpark and continues to support and refine the platform to better serve independent publishers around the world. Robin has broad knowledge of indie, academic and trade publishing and is an expert in content creation and distribution, on-demand models, marketing and author strategies. Robin is a leader in the independent publishing space, and when not developing new programs and services for IngramSpark, she can often be found sharing her expertise at industry events around the world.”

BISG: Book Publishing from Concept to Consumer

Conference – Professional Development

Sept. 16, Chicago

“Book Publishing: From Concept to Consumer” serves entry-level and mid-level professionals working across the book publishing supply chain. This career-development opportunity provides anyone interested in book publishing with a broader look at the life cycle of a book, from conception, development, and manufacturing to retailing and libraries. With detailed sessions on acquisition, editorial, production and design, distribution, returns, retailing, and libraries, this full-day event will build your understanding of book publishing as a whole. Topics covered will be more ‘how-to’ than ‘what-if,’ with practical advice and instruction provided by industry veterans.” [Check out our recap of last year’s Book Publishing from Concept to Customer].

Brooklyn Book Festival

Book Fair – Literary Event 

Sept. 16-23, NYC

Open to all, “the Brooklyn Book Festival is one of America’s premier book festivals and the largest free literary event in New York City. Presenting an array of national and international literary stars and emerging authors, the Festival includes a week of Bookend Events throughout New York City, a lively Children’s Day and a celebratory Festival Day with more than 300 authors plus 250 booksellers.”

Audio Publishers Association: Fall 2019 Social

Networking – Audio

Sept. 17, NYC

“Join us for ​2 hours of networking and fun with fellow APA members.”

BISG: Market Opportunities: Rights & Technology

Panel Program – Rights

Sept. 26, NYC

“This BISG series aims to demonstrate areas of potential growth, as well as cutting edge trends that could signify where the industry is heading.” This month the focus is on rights and technology.

Society for Scholarly Publishing: Early Career Edition: Falling into a Scholarly Publishing Career

Webinar – Academic Publishing

Sept. 26

“Are you just dipping your toes in the publishing world, or are you here for the long haul? What does a career in publishing mean in 2019, now that the digital transformation has finally taken hold? Wondering how to find the best fit for your background and skill-set? Join us to hear from an exciting slate of publishing professionals about the highlights, challenges, and responsibilities of their own roles, as well as the routes they took to get there – in just a few minutes each. A Q&A segment will follow the lightning presentations.”

BIGNY: Basically Books: Fall 2019

Workshop – Professional Development

Sept. 27, NYC

“We will cover: 

  • Manuscripts, Editing and Design: the first steps in “making a book”
  • Prepress: what you need to do to get ready for press, including a look at color, color management and proofing
  • Paper: all you need to know about paper
  • P&Ls: an overview
  • Printing and Binding
  • Digital Printing: a primer on the process                                          

There will be guest speakers for each step in the process. This program is absolutely free and is sponsored by the Book Industry Guild of New York. For more information or to sign up, please contact: Steve Bedney / 516-650-5251 / sbedney@gmail.com

UK


Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers: ALPSP Annual Conference & Awards 2019

Conference – Academic Publishing

Sept. 11-13, Old Windsor

“Our conference is a key date in the scholarly publishing calendar and attracts an audience of over 300 people from all sectors and levels of the scholarly communications industry. Spread over three days, the event provides a relaxed and friendly environment in which to share information and knowledge, learn about new initiatives, as well as engage in open discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing publishing today. Our expert speakers and the wide ranging programme ensure that our annual conference remains a must attend event for everyone involved in the scholarly publishing community. We also provide ample opportunity for networking with fellow delegates during coffee breaks, lunch and in the evening at our two social events (Welcome Reception and Awards Dinner).”

BookMachine: BookMachine Meets Bloomsbury

Panel Program – Strategy

Sept. 19, London

“Step inside Bloomsbury Publishing as we go into their London headquarters for a closer look at how they stay creative and strive to push the boundaries of publishing. For one night only, we’ll bring together four of Bloomsbury’s most energetic staff members to talk about how they stay creative in their roles in Editorial, Marketing and Sales and engage with colleagues, retailers and book lovers around the world. This unique event at the Bloomsbury Institute – Bloomsbury’s public events series – will feature exclusive stories and experiences from the team. Join them for a lively discussion on everything you need to know about publishing right now.”

BookMachine: Audio Across Publishing: How to Deliver More Bang for Your (Audio) Buck

Panel Program – Audio

Sept. 25, London

“Audio isn’t just about one format of a publishing programme. It has the potential to enhance your list as well as the publishing industry as a whole. It’s not just about a product revenue stream. Audio can boost marketing and publicity, enhance an author’s relationship with their readers, and encourage more people to listen then read. Join our panel of passionate audio publishers for an insightful look at how far audio publishing can take your business in 2019.”

Divider