Since our launch in June 2018, we’ve leveraged NetGalley’s unique position in the industry to share lessons from successful marketing campaigns, tips for connecting with influencers across platforms, interviews with industry changemakers, data-centric strategies, and plenty more. We’re looking forward to year 2!
Firebrand Technologies’s newest service, Eloquence on Alert, gives publishers more access to data about their titles across retail sites than ever before. Through EoA, publishers can keep tabs on any changes to their title information, including changes to sale price, product pages, buy buttons, and third-party seller activity.
Catherine Toolan, Director of Eloquence Services at Firebrand, gave us an inside look at how Eloquence on Alert developed, and some of the surprising ways that publishers are already using it.
What were the origins of EoA?
Eloquence on Alert came out of a simple need for publishers to determine if and how their products were being displayed on retail and reviewer sites. Publishers send out metadata to trading partners and there is very little feedback from those trading partners once the metadata is received. This simple mission planted the seed and from there we have discovered that there is a lot more information we can provide to make it easier for publishers to help their products succeed.
A lot of the impetus for EoA came from Eloquence on Demand users. Many of our clients were sending out the very best metadata that they could on the industry recommended schedule but they were still having issues with the data or the timing of updates on some sites. They also encountered situations where their titles did not appear on some sites at all. As you can imagine, publishers with a large list cannot check retail sites daily for the presence or absence of their titles. Eloquence on Alert grew out of a need to help publishers tackle these and similar problems.
Eloquence on Alert was conceived in 2016, with the first data collection in July of that year. We released an “alpha” Title Management-dependent version of EoA in 2017 and quickly realized that we needed to pivot and build a SaaS model (software as a service) that would allow for independent product growth.
How does EoA interact with other Firebrand products like Title Management and Eloquence on Demand?
Eloquence on Alert is a standalone product and does not require the use of any other Firebrand products. We will be working to integrate EoA with Eloquence on Demand and NetGalley in the future.
How does EoA fit in with Firebrand’s overall vision around publishing and data?
Firebrand’s flagship products, Title Management and Eloquence on Demand encourage publishers to develop workflows and data management practices that help them to provide some of the best metadata in the industry. Eloquence on Alert takes this a step further and helps publishers fine-tune their practices by drawing attention to trading partner behavior in relation to their metadata content and delivery schedule. The best metadata in the world does not do much for you if your partners are not using it.
What need does EoA meet for publishers?
Eloquence on Alert monitors critical factors such as fluctuating list and sale prices, changes in sales rank, missing product pages, missing buy buttons, third-party seller activity, marketing assets, review count growth, and audience sentiment. EoA is committed to continued product development and enhancement to meet emerging industry needs.
We know that a select group of publishers have been using EoA in beta. How have you seen them use EoA?
Each of our beta customers is using EoA in a different way. This was somewhat of a surprise! Some are using it primarily to monitor third-party seller activity, some are using it to track missing product pages or price data fluctuation, and some are using the data in their own Business Intelligence systems to augment their internal data analysis.
Did any of them use it in ways that surprised you?
Yes, there are several uses that have surprised me. One that seems obvious to me now but did not initially is the use of EoA to track products that should not appear on certain sites. When certain products appear for sale on a specific site it is a violation and their product management team is alerted so that they can contact the site to have the product(s) removed.
How do you hope publishers will use EoA now that it’s more widely available?
I hope that EoA will become a “first thing in the morning” activity. The EoA results can be used to let you know if there will be any burning issues to deal with today, if any of your products are on the move, or if all is status quo for the day. A simple check-in with EoA can do a lot to inform your priorities.
Where can readers learn more about EoA or see if it’s a good fit for their goals?
The best way to learn more about Eloquence on Alert is to see it in action – words cannot really describe it! Readers can contact our Sales and Marketing department at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a demo.
How Harlequin used NetGalley tools to give targeted access to NetGalley members and customize followup for a nonfiction book that combines memoir and history
Harlequin’s publicity manager Laura Gianino knew that there would be plenty of interest for The Lady from the Black Lagoon, which tells the story of the woman who created Gil-Man, the monster from Creature from the Black Lagoon…and then never got the credit for it. This hybrid memoir/history has plenty of contemporary cultural relevance, released during a time when there is extra attention being paid to gender dynamics in Hollywood, in the workplace, and beyond. Gianino used NetGalley tools to give access to the most influential and active members, and to target her followup accordingly.
How does your strategy for launching new nonfiction titles differ from the trade fiction titles you work on?
With fiction, it helps to have as many people as possible read and share a story, especially for a debut title. With nonfiction, I found that I had to be a little bit more protective over the content, so that readers would feel like they were still learning something new when they did have a chance to read. Because The Lady from the Black Lagoon had some never-before-revealed information about Milicent Patrick and what the author learned about her, I was more guarded in approving requests.
What were your goals for Lady from the Black Lagoon on NetGalley?
With The Lady from the Black Lagoon, Mallory O’Meara was telling a compelling story about a woman no one had ever heard of before. Being able to launch the book on NetGalley before physical galleys were even printed allowed me to get the word out about Milicent Patrick—the subject of the book—early enough to help create some pre-publication buzz and raise awareness about this previously unknown figure.
It’s helpful when you’re building a campaign months out (sometimes almost a year out) to be able to see who is downloading or requesting a title, and to have that ability—through the NetGalley platform—to follow up and engage with them. My goal was to raise awareness for The Lady from the Black Lagoon, so that as we got closer to launch date, consumers and media alike would have already begun to hear about the book, even if it was just through whispers.
Which NetGalley members were most important to you? How did you go about reaching them?
I was most focused on bookstore owners, librarians, media professionals and seasoned bloggers who I knew would talk about their passion for the book without giving anything away.
I was able to filter the requests to only those who I wanted to approve, which was instrumental in allowing me to reach the appropriate contacts for the book.
I also tend to focus on the requestors who give the most feedback (you can sort requests to easily view members who give most feedback) and I’ve found that those contacts are truly the most likely to review a book once they’ve requested it, which saves me the hassle of chasing someone down for a review.
You had over 130 accepted widget invitations for Lady from the Black Lagoon. How did you use NetGalley proactively to reach important contacts or find new audiences?
I was able to use NetGalley widgets to offer The Lady from the Black Lagoon to interested media who reached out to me before we had physical galleys in house, or in cases where I was trying to preserve physical galleys. I was able to see Auto-Approved members who downloaded the widget through the History tab on NetGalley, including reviewers from some of the major media outlets who ended up covering the book. The data was one of the first indications about who was interested in the book, and allowed me to do really targeted follow up knowing who had already requested and potentially started reading, in a way that I’m typically unable to do.
40% of members with access noted that the description was the reason they were interested in the book. What was the strategy behind the Title Details copy?
Mallory O’Meara’s book is about a little-known, fascinating subject—the woman who designed Gil-Man, the monster from The Creature from the Black Lagoon, whose legacy was stolen by a jealous male co-worker at Universal. The movie is a horror classic, and Mallory O’Meara’s book offers the unknown story behind it about a trailblazing woman in a post #MeToo world. The book is full of fascinating details—with the copy, we were able to pull them out.
How did you engage with members who had access to Lady from the Black Lagoon? Did you follow up with them before pub date or after? Did you encourage them to share reviews?
I followed up with bookstore owners, librarians and media once I approved them for a copy. Seeing a name or an outlet indicated interest, which allowed me to follow up in a targeted way. I was able to coordinate events and press this way. Whenever I approve someone I always suggest they review, but I never had to chase anyone down for a review.
How does the success of Lady of the Black Lagoon fit in with other trends you’re seeing across nonfiction? What does its success say about what kinds of stories readers are looking for?
I think readers are looking for more stories about women. Especially women who didn’t receive the recognition they deserved, whose legacies have been or are being erased by men. This is happening across all industries, not just Hollywood. Mallory’s book is unique in that it’s a biography, but it’s also part memoir. She reaches across time and shows how Milicent’s story is her story too, and, in some ways, every woman’s story. The more stories we have and share like Milicent’s and Mallory’s, the closer we are to preventing this from happening to other women.
Laura Gianino is a publicity manager at Harlequin/HarperCollins.
Interview has been edited for clarity and length.
In the midst of a very busy week full of meetings, parties, and panels, we got a chance to see how publishers were engaging audiences at BookExpo and BookCon. In addition to the many totes, pins, bookmarks, and ARC drops, we saw some unique marketing strategies, including quizzes, photo opportunities, and even live animals! Here were some of our favorite creative ways that exhibitors got the attention of BookExpo and BookCon attendees.
Adorable, Adoptable Pets – National Geographic
To promote Dr. Gary Weitzman’s The National Geographic Complete Guide to Pet Health, National Geographic partnered with a local animal shelter to bring pets to the show floor. Attendees cuddled well-behaved kittens and puppies, who were handling the stresses of BookExpo better than many attendees! The dogs and cats were available for adoption, which only added to the warm and fuzzy feelings at the National Geographic booth.
Sharing Author Love – Penguin Teen
Penguin Teen tapped into the resonant emotional connections that readers build with authors to promote Looking For Alaska, the upcoming Hulu show based on John Green’s 2005 novel. Attendees filled up the “Share your love for John Green’s books” display with heartfelt and vulnerable notes about Green’s books and his advocacy around mental health, grateful for the chance to share their experiences with an author who had impacted their lives. The Penguin Teen wall was a great break from branded swag, and place for readers to remember how powerful it is to be seen by an author who helps you understand yourself, and be more understood in the wider world.
Live Illustration – Scholastic
To promote Elisha Cooper’s upcoming children’s book about a canoe trip, River, Scholastic sat Cooper down at their booth with pen and paper. He worked on an illustration of the New York skyline while attendees watched. They could even get a closer look at Cooper’s illustration process via a camera and a monitor that projected his detailed work. The Scholastic team told NetGalley Insights that they wanted to give attendees a more intimate glimpse into Cooper’s work process, rather than simply providing an opportunity to meet the author and illustrator. We certainly appreciated the inside look!
Testing Audiobook Knowledge – Penguin Random House Audio
PRH Audio engaged audiobook listeners with audio themed quizzes during BookCon. Attendees listened to audio clips and answered questions about Harry Potter, movie tie-ins, Stranger Things, and fierce female characters for their chance to win a free button. Many other booths didn’t make their visitors work as hard to get a button, but judging by the PRH line, attendees enjoyed this chance to test their expertise.
Totes on Demand – Riveted by Simon Teen
Tote bags are some of the most standard swag items at any book-related event. After all, everyone needs something to put their new books in! Riveted, Simon Teen’s online platform for YA fiction, partnered with local independent screen print shop Bushwick Print Lab to give attendees a unique, high-quality tote. After braving a very long line, the attendee could choose between several different design options for their free on-the-spot screen printed tote bag. The Jenny Han quote, “It’s the imperfections that make things beautiful” (pictured here) was a particularly popular option.
Recommendation Quizzes – Penguin Random House
In addition to their audio quizzes, Penguin Random House used a short quiz to help recommend their new books to BookCon attendees. Readers filled out a short quiz that resulted in a recommendation for an upcoming PRH book, which they then received as a free giveaway. Audiences loved the Buzzfeed-style quiz and, of course, getting to walk away with the recommended book!
Book Wings Photo Wall – Bookish
Bookish gave readers a chance to spread their literary wings with a photo opportunity. They created giant wings out of books both beloved and not yet published. While they waited in line, readers talked to each other about which books in the wings they had read, which were their favorites, and which were on their TBR list. Plus, authors and publicists stopped by to find themselves or their authors in the wings. Check out some of the tagged photos here!
We left BookExpo and BookCon exhausted but inspired by the new ways that publishers are engaging readers, and the enthusiasm of attendees who will break into a run for a new book and wait for hours to meet their favorite authors. Until next year!
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’ll be sharing the events we’re most excited for on a monthly basis.
Here’s what we’re looking forward to in June!
If you know of an upcoming event for July or after, email email@example.com so we can feature it.
Conference – Audience building
June 1-2, NYC
“BookCon is the event where storytelling and pop culture collide. Experience the origin of the story in all its forms by interacting with the authors, publishers, celebrities and creators of content that influence everything we read, hear and see. BookCon is an immersive experience that features interactive, forward thinking content including Q&As with the hottest talent, autographing sessions, storytelling podcasts, special screenings, literary quiz shows and so much more.”
Panel – Production
June 6, 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.”
Webinar – Marketing & Publicity
Getting your authors on the road is an important component to publicity. Learn the many pieces you need to consider for a successful book tour, from identifying the best venues—including virtual venues—to booking local media, route planning, using digital tools, and more. Discover the steps you need to take in planning, marketing, and executing rewarding book tours that promote your authors. After hearing from an expert in two guest speaker sessions, attendees will join the workshop to complete one project: developing a sample itinerary to get your book tour off the ground and on the road. The workshop facilitator will provide personalized, written feedback on your plan.. Outcome: A ready-to-execute author tour plan.
Webinar – Audience building
“Every consumer leaves behind little bits of data in the wake of their online journey—on your website, on social media platforms, and on other online communities. This webinar will show you a few of the ways you can identify the most useful data morsels and how you can use them to point customers towards the book products you have—that they want.”
Panel – Audience building
June 12, NYC
“Hear how The New York Times, Books are Magic, Bustle, Epic Reads, and Electric Literature are creating a whole new narrative surrounding book coverage and literary communities online. What is the role of book clubs (digital and IRL), virtual author tours, innovative online events, and newsletters in enriching the discussion about great reads? What’s the best way to harness the power of social media (especially Instagram) to connect with wider audiences and find new voices? How can a bookstore build engagement both off- and online?”
Party – Networking
June 12, NYC
“Join us for this classic industry celebration!”
Webinar – Data and Strategy
“NetGalley Advanced is our premier service to help publishers track and analyze NetGalley trends across divisions, and make strategic decisions earlier. NetGalley Advanced offers even more tools and insights at every level of your organization.
Learn more about company-level insights, Top Performers list, charts that correlate activity with promotions, custom reports, automated data delivery, campaign and availability scheduling, and more!”
Webinar – Data
“How do you quantify a successful marketing campaign? In this course, you’ll learn how to collect data from a campaign and interpret it to make your next smart decision. Discover how to track each component of your digital campaign, and dive into a deep analysis of the performance of your efforts. After hearing from an expert in two guest speaker sessions, attendees will join the workshop to complete one project: developing a marketing report with a detailed summary and analysis. The workshop facilitator will provide personalized, written feedback on your report. Outcome: A developed marketing report.”
Webinar – Data
“Eloquence on Alert monitors critical factors such as fluctuating sale prices, missing product pages, third party seller activity and other key indicators of your title’s health. EoA’s deep data gives you the power to confidently and proactively ensure your catalog’s ongoing success.
– Set an alert to warn you when a third party seller takes over the buy box.
– Watch for spikes in your sales rank so your marketing team can ride the wave.
– Respond quickly to products with low customer ratings.
– Determine if recent List Price changes have been posted on key sites
Eloquence on Alert puts all of this information, and more, at your fingertips, with daily data collections, robust monitoring, custom alerts, and detailed searching capabilities.”
Webinar – Standards
“The W3C will explain its most recent initiatives with EPUB development, improvement, and implementation to all those who attend, with an interactive Q&A session at the end.”
Conference – Networking
June 20-25, Washington D.C.
“What You Can Expect: 100s of top authors and unforgettable speakers 900+ expert exhibitors, new products, services, and titles Libraries Transform® and a focus on the future Learning that keeps on going. Fun stuff that sparks innovation. News You Can Use—updates, policy priorities, strategies for engaging decision-makers and influencers Quality and scope of programs, topics, and formats”
Conference – Networking
June 26-28, Pittsburgh
“Children’s booksellers, authors, illustrators, and publishers from across the country will gather for three days of children’s bookselling education and activities.”
Panel – Strategy
June 17, London
“Join us and a panel of experts as we explore how culture and storytelling are likely to change in the future. Before and after the talk they’ll be the opportunity to network with authors, agents, publishers and suppliers to the publishing industry.”
Conference – Marketing
June 27, London
“The theme for 2019 is ‘Changing Gears’ – whether that means gearing up a notch, to fight for a cause or champion a beloved title, or down a notch, to make space for creative thinking and keep ourselves sane.”
Title performance monitoring to ensure ongoing success in the marketplace
On May 15, Firebrand Technologies announced the launch of Eloquence on Alert. This new service helps publishers confidently and proactively ensure their catalog’s ongoing success through deep data about any changes to their title information across multiple retail sites.
NetGalley and Firebrand Technologies* are dedicated to helping publishers harness data that can be used to help shape decision-making, innovate proactively, and streamline workflows.
Using proprietary data gathering services, EoA helps publishers keep track of critical factors, such as fluctuating sale price, missing product pages, third-party seller activity, mysterious buy button takeovers, and more.
These data points are available to publishers in a dedicated interface, with customizable alerts, as well as search and classification tools to help publishers address problems and leverage opportunities earlier and more efficiently than ever before.
Eloquence on Alert beta testers Dan Fingerman and Anna Patota (Guilford Press) noted, “You work hard to get all the data right, then days, months, or even years later, there’s a wrench in the works. And it could be on a bestseller! Handling this work manually is impossible, but with the right alerts, EoA can point out problems so you can fix them, and quickly.”
With Eloquence on Alert, publishers can
- Set an alert to warn them when a third party seller takes over the buy box.
- Watch for spikes in their sales rank so their marketing team can ride the wave.
- Respond quickly to products with low customer ratings.
- Determine if recent List Price changes have been posted on key sites
“Eloquence on Alert helps publishers identify issues and trends that would be very difficult to discern otherwise, saving them time and money and allowing for the reallocation of resources to new or different projects,” said Catherine Toolan, Firebrand’s Director of Eloquence Services.
Melissa Wade, Digital Sales Manager of Our Daily Bread Ministries, has also been using Eloquence on Alert in beta. “With hundreds of products (both print and digital), it is impossible to keep track of every piece of metadata for each product. EOA allows me to set alerts to monitor when a piece of that metadata changes so I can know if I need to update that distributor’s metadata. It allows me to know if one of our titles is not included on a particular marketplace. I can learn when I lose the Buy Box on a marketplace. It is an invaluable resource for me to use when we have hundreds of product to oversee in the digital world.”
Eloquence on Alert and NetGalley Advanced are just two of the deliberate steps that Firebrand and NetGalley are taking toward our goal to help publishers harness their data for powerful and actionable insights.
*NetGalley is part of Firebrand Technologies (www.firebrandtech.com) which provides leading software and services to help publishers achieve success.
Tips and success stories from NetGalley’s marketing experts
Every day, NetGalley’s marketing team works with publishers and authors to help put their books directly in front of the NetGalley members who are most likely to read, review, and advocate for them. Through years of collaborating closely with clients of all types (from the “Big 5” houses to self-published authors, and publishers of all kinds of books–bestselling fiction to nonfiction and academic, religious, graphic novels, children’s and YA, cookbooks, and beyond) our marketing team has seen first-hand which strategies have worked to engage different kinds of readers.
Dedicated eBlasts are extraordinarily successful and NetGalley’s most popular marketing program. Clients see outstanding results with a custom, highly targeted email campaign to meet their goals. The success of any email can be measured by both the Open Rate and the Click Through Rate (CTR). The Open Rate is determined by how many people open the email, and the CTR is determined by how many people click on a link within the email–for example to Request, Read Now, or Wish.
Today’s Proven Strategies post will focus on the first step to a successful eBlast: A strategic subject line. Remember that the subject line is your chance at a strong first impression, and it will determine whether the recipient will either open the email to find out more, or ignore it (or worse, mark it as spam). Here are some crucial tips:
- Think about the recipient: Why are they receiving this email? Think about what your recipient is looking for, and use that to guide your messaging to ensure it resonates. Does it give them what they want?
- Be clear and concise: The subject line should be 10 words or 50 characters max. This helps ensure that the subject line won’t get accidentally cut off on specific browsers or mobile devices.
- Stand out: Inboxes are cluttered! Be sure your subject line catches a reader’s eye with an emoji or first name personalization.
- If you can’t decide, test: Torn between two subject lines and unsure which will perform better? Run an A/B Test on a small percentage of the overall recipient list to see which subject line yields a higher open rate, and then use that as your subject line for the rest of the recipients.
- Target strategically: Make sure the email is being sent to the right people. NetGalley can target specific member types, preferred categories and genres, comp titles and authors, and more. Our marketing team can help you determine which of our members will be the best fit for your book, your goal, and your budget.
Now, let’s see some of these tips in action with some recent successful subject lines. According to Mailchimp, a marketing email from a media or publishing company will have an average open rate of 21.92% (which is slightly higher than what Mailchimp sees as an overall average of 20.81%). Keep that baseline in mind as we look at these examples:
This custom eblast for Berkley’s Those People had an open rate of 51%! The knife emoji adds drama and flair to an inbox, and the question is engaging. This concise subject line also immediately gives the reader a clear idea of what kind of book this is. This eblast was targeted to a highly engaged, genre-specific recipient list who had already interacted with the author’s previous book.
This subject line for NetGalley’s Spring Young Adult Newsletter used a bit of reverse-psychology as a result of an A/B test. Our marketing team first tested this subject line against “YA books to add to your TBR right NOW” and found the “DO NOT OPEN” subject performed better in the test. It’s no surprise–it was attention-grabbing with that emoji, too! This newsletter ended up with a 46% open rate, and was sent to a highly engaged list of members who had previously interacted with similar emails.
This concise, compelling, and slightly mysterious subject line for I Am Yours from Amberjack resulted in a whopping 55% open rate! It responds to a recipient’s desire to connect in a meaningful way with a compelling new voice. The custom targeting for this eblast reached fans of comp titles, and readers who had interacted with promotions in the same genre.
Bonus Tip: Consider using a preheader, which is the preview text that follows the subject line in the inbox display. This can be just as important as the subject line! Make the preheader a call to action or use it as a short summary of the email content (we recommend a 35-50 character limit).
Have questions or need advice? Ask NetGalley’s marketing team – firstname.lastname@example.org! We’re here to help, and want to help your book succeed. And, stay tuned for more best practices and success stories in our next Proven Strategies post.
By: Kristina Radke, VP Business Growth & Engagement
“Innovation” was the theme during last month’s Book Industry Study Group (BISG) Annual Meeting, an inspiring day of conversation where panelists discussed everything from metadata to sales, to rights, and fostering innovation as a company culture. It was validating to hear about all the ways publishers, distributors, agents and suppliers approach technology and data—especially in simplifying workflows and driving decision-making.
At NetGalley, it has been our mission to be innovative in the way we help publishers collect early data about their titles. NetGalley Advanced is our latest step in that mission. I’m proud that this premier service is at the cutting edge of what publishers seek. Let me share a few examples:
“Transparency focuses attention”
During the “Innovations in Workflow” panel, moderator Carolyn Pittis (Managing Director at Welman Digital) remarked, “transparency focuses attention.” She was referring to how on-site dashboards keep actionable data top-of-mind by combining historical trends and real-time information. NetGalley Advanced offers publishers a new data-driven dashboard, including a number of charts designed to increase transparency so publicists and marketers can focus their attention on strategies that are successful.
Transparency of activity and use:
- Activity by Member Type chart – understand which members you engage with the most
- Top Performers list – see your top-performing titles based on various metrics and within specific categories
- Your Promotions – identify your NetGalley promotions and see resulting activity
- Title Activity chart – correlate engagement generated from promotions and understand trends in activity
- Custom Title Summary Report – gain knowledge from detailed information about a specific set of titles that you choose
- Types of Access charts (total and over time) – pinpoint successful strategies
- New Titles Added chart – discern seasonal fluctuations and recognize when new content should be added
- Company Admin Dashboard – assess NetGalley use across various imprints
NetGalley Advanced offers publishers even more data as early and efficiently as possible, to help you shape strategic decision-making.
Michelle Vu (Director of Business Operations at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) reminded the BISG audience that automation is designed to reduce painful manual efforts and create space for us to do more meaningful work. She is experimenting with ways to automate data collection to free up her colleagues for more strategic work, overcoming trepidation about automation.
With NetGalley Advanced, we’ve introduced automated delivery of title-activity data, in addition to new ways to cut down on the effort needed to execute strategies. Our goal is to help you use these tools and data to refine your strategies so they’re as effective as possible.
- Title Timeline – pre-schedule title availability, including multiple phases to encompass your title’s lifecycle on NetGalley
- Read Now limits – implement a cap on the number of downloads, or limit access by time
- Marketing promotions – added to your Timeline by NetGalley’s marketing team, with pre-scheduled relevant availability
- Automatic delivery of title reports – receive important reports to your inbox at the right time, to the right people
“Innovation means trend-setting between business and technology”
In the panel “The Innovative Workforce,” Maja Thomas (Chief Innovation Officer at Hachette Livre) said, “Innovation means trend-setting between business and technology.” Initiating a trend is no easy task; however, armed with data, and with a willingness to be experimental and agile with your strategies, you will discover that the technology and information that you use can drive your business. NetGalley Advanced helps marketers and publicists draw a line between the work that they do and the results they see.
How else we can facilitate innovation for YOU? Please let us know at email@example.com.
LEARN MORE! NetGalley Advanced is designed to help you innovate—to give you the tools to be data-driven and create effective strategies backed up by real results. Come learn more about this premier service, see these features in action, and let us know how you’d like NetGalley to continue evolving to meet your needs.
June 13, 11am ET – Join the webinar here.
How runaway NetGalley success shaped the launch strategy for this Alice in Wonderland retelling
H.J. Ramsay had modest expectations for her first novel, but with over 175 NetGalley reviews and a 4-star average rating, Ever Alice has been a huge success. The pre-publication attention Ever Alice has been getting on NetGalley gave Ramsay some insight into how her title might fare once it hits its on-sale date, and helped her reshape her whole launch plan.
How has your NetGalley listing shaped how you think about your strategy for launching Ever Alice?
NetGalley has given me the confidence to really go after Ever Alice and seek outside sources to help promote it. Publishing Ever Alice started out as almost a pet project just to see what kind of reception it would have and to experience what it was like to have a published book. Not only did NetGalley provide a testing ground, but it also gave me the opportunity to access reviewers in a way that I don’t think I would have had otherwise. It’s a great platform that all self-published authors should utilize.
What aspects of the NetGalley community came as a surprise to you?
I’ve been blown away at the response I’ve received from the NetGalley community. I’ve had people from all over the world ask to read the story. I mean, how awesome is that! Up until now, I’ve mostly just had my critique group and/or publishing professionals like agents and editors read my work so the fact that I’ve had one of my novels read as far as Argentina, England, and India is like a dream come true. I’ve appreciated all the feedback on Ever Alice, and I’ve really been paying attention to what everyone has had to say. I haven’t done any promotion for Ever Alice outside of listing it on NetGalley so I’ve been very lucky that the reviewers, librarians, booksellers, and media professionals have been able to find me and are interested in my book.
We noticed that you aren’t on social media. How do you connect with your readers both for this specific book campaign and as part of your overall strategy as an author?
Honestly, I had no idea that Ever Alice would have the kind of response it did. When I listed it on NetGalley, I told myself that I’d be elated to receive 100 requests in six months. That happened in 24 hours. Needless to say, it’s been a little overwhelming and I’ve been caught up in the excitement of it all, but I’ve been getting more serious about promotion, especially regarding social media. Readers who’d like to connect should be able to find me very soon.
My NetGalley success did encourage me to become more active with social media. Plus, I have friends who are published, and they’ve been urging me to get on there. My plan is to be more accessible to readers, such as through Twitter and Instagram. I love books and writing so that’ll probably be the running dialogue of both platforms. I’m not sure if I’ll purchase ads. Maybe I will when Ever Alice is published so that I can look at promoting its publication date and where readers can purchase a copy.
Once Ever Alice started gaining traction on NetGalley, how did you leverage the interest?
Before NetGalley, I had looked at PR companies as a possibility but wasn’t really serious about it. It’s expensive, at least the good ones with track records are, and I wasn’t sure if I’d need it. That changed after I saw the response Ever Alice was having. I felt like this was an opportunity and if I didn’t take advantage of it, then I’d forever regret it. At the end of the day, what I really want is to have a career as an author. I love writing and the writing community. I’ve been active in writing groups. I’ve gone to conferences and retreats. I’ve received an MFA in Creative Writing. I’m the Editor-in-Chief of a literary journal, Gold Man Review. All that’s missing is having my own published work out there. I’ve had small successes with journals and small publishers, but ultimately, I’d like to see my novels that I love so much out in the world and to have readers love them too.
Promotion and all its various avenues is still a very gray area for me, but I’m learning quickly. Since it isn’t my strong suit, I’m very excited to be teaming up with Smith Publicity and we’re creating a plan to really dive into promoting Ever Alice, which will include using the NetGalley listing.
Half of the members requesting access to Ever Alice say that they are drawn to the description of the book. Tell us about how you created such compelling copy, or what you think is resonating with the members requesting access.
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it’s a retelling… and particularly a retelling of a popular story: Alice in Wonderland. Retellings are amazing because they bring readers from different genres together. For instance, someone who primarily reads mystery, might be open to a retelling because they are already familiar with the story. They read the original when they were (most likely) a child. It’s familiar. It brings up memories for them so they’re drawn to it even when a similar story in that genre might not have had the same effect. I know my interest is always piqued when I find out that something is a retelling. For instance, I’ve been seeing the House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig up on NetGalley and it’s a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I loved that story as a kid when I read [the Brothers Grimm version} so I’m instantly drawn to that book.
Members also love the cover! This is one of the other popular reasons noted for why they’re requesting the book. What message did you want to send to potential readers when you were designing the cover?
My husband did the cover and, I agree, he did a fantastic job!
The style of the novel itself is very Wonderland-ish and I tried to stay as true as possible to Carroll’s original work. Because the setting and characters are so topsy turvy, I wanted to keep the cover simple, almost like a juxtaposition of what awaits the reader within. I was really inspired by the cover of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I just love its minimal use of color and illustration. There’s something about it that makes it even more mysterious and intriguing. It’s the understated that makes a statement, at least to me. After some trial and error, my husband came up with this cover of Ever Alice and I knew it was “the one” the moment I saw it.
What’s your top tip for other debut independent authors?
Be patient. I decided that if I was going to self-publish Ever Alice that I’d give it its best possible chance by modeling the practices that traditional publishers use. There are a lot of steps publishers take before a book is sent out in the world, which doesn’t only included editing, but also getting advanced reader reviews. All those steps take time, but they’re essential. With so many options available to self-publish its very easy to complete a story, upload it, and press click. Instead of rushing to do that, take the time to make sure your novel is as ready as you can possibly make it.
Bio: H.J. Ramsay has loved fantasy ever since she was a child. Growing up, she was influenced by movies such as the Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and Legend as well as books and short stories, such as The Collected Works of Brothers Grimm. As such, she is drawn to fantasy with a darker side to its glittery world and the idea that things are never what they seem. Ever Alice is her first published novel.
Interviews have been edited for clarity and length.
Read the rest of our case studies, featuring authors, trade publishers, and academic publishers here.
At NetGalley Insights, we have our eyes on internet platforms where we see community, enthusiasm, and fandom. In addition to coverage of YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, we’ve explored Wattpad and Reddit. Today, we’re looking at Twitch and its possible use for publishers.
Twitch is the premier platform for video gamers. Primarily, Twitch users stream live videos of themselves playing video games. Then, other Twitch users watch those streams and chat with each other in the sidebar.
While most of Twitch is devoted to gaming, there are categories on Twitch for non-gaming content. And its non-gaming community is growing. As of late 2018, Twitch created new content categories to better meet the needs of its non-gaming streamers. Twitch streamers can now upload videos or livestream in categories like Food & Drink, Sports & Fitness, and Talk Shows & Podcasts.
Like Reddit, Twitch skews both millennial and male. According to internal Twitch data, 81.5% of Twitch users are male, with 55% between the ages of 18-34.
Twitch is full of opportunities for publishers and authors to connect to a massive community of pop culture and nerd culture enthusiasts. If your author loves connecting directly with readers, Twitch is a great platform to speak to them.
Some Twitch streamers are already using their accounts to talk about books in their livestream. Often, these videos will end up categorized under Talk Shows & Podcasts, but can also be searched for using keywords in the search bar.
The format of a livestream makes it easier for streamers to connect to their audiences and to foster a real-time conversation. LegendofLorie, NetGalley member and Twitch streamer, told NetGalley Insights that she values “the fact that it is primarily a live platform, so you can quickly interact with your community instead of responding to comments after the fact. You can really incorporate your community into the discussion instead of focusing on one topic of a prerecorded video like YouTube.”
The most popular genres tend to be Science Fiction and Fantasy, which is unsurprising given the fantastical nature of many popular video games. But streamers are not exclusively interested in speculative or fantastical genres. For example, Twitch streamer ChrisChanTor hosts a book club on his channel that has included The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, and more.
Bexyish, a Twitch streamer and NetGalley member, mostly uses Twitch for gaming, but does also incorporate book reviews into her stream. She told NetGalley Insights that she tends to stream herself talking about recent reads over a morning coffee. And her followers are paying attention. After hearing her talk about The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James, one of her followers picked it up. He’s since gone on to read another Lauren James book, The Quiet at the End of the World. Her viewers have also told her that her endorsement of V. E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic encouraged them to start reading the trilogy.
Twitch streamers are also interested in growing book content on the site.
Vesper Dreams, another Twitch streamer, fantasy fan, and NetGalley member, already uses her Twitch channel to talk about books, but wants to do more.
“I’m hoping to find a way to bring bookworms into the Twitch community and open a way to be able to have live discussions, book clubs, and interviews with authors through social media marketing. I really think it’s time for readers to be able to find a place that they can go to and talk live with people who have the same interests in the same genre as them. I haven’t had a chance to interview any authors yet, but I’m really hoping to find a way to set that up especially live on Twitch instead of the usual text interviews or recorded interviews.”
In addition to providing publishers with an enthusiastic influencer community, Twitch also offers the chance for creative collaboration and building brand awareness. For instance, publishers could work with streamers to host author interviews, organize readathons, or preview unreleased new content from a hotly-awaited title. Or, if an author is a gamer, publishers could consider working with a streamer to have the author as a “guest star” on their stream, playing one of their favorite games while talking about their next book.
Gamers are happy to support sponsored content like this, or streamers partnering with companies. According to a 2017 Momentum WorldWide We Know Gamers study, the world of gaming and the world of Twitch is open to influencers partnering with companies. 82% of survey respondents said that sponsorships were good for the industry.
To find Twitch streamers who might be interested in reviewing your books or working with your authors, use keyword searches to see which Twitch streamers are already interested in or talking about relevant genres on their streams. Most streamers have contact info easily visible in their account, including links to social media, if you want to get in touch directly. And if you have a specific kind of game you’d like your author to play as a guest stream, browse the categories to find influential streamers who play that specific game. Books are a growing category on Twitch, and so finding the right partnerships will take some creativity in these early stages, but it’s clear that many streamers are looking to better integrate books into their channel.
Twitch isn’t a platform for every book or every genre. But for the books that intersect with gamer or geek culture, or will resonate with millennial male readers, it is rapidly becoming a powerful resource for finding devoted fans.