Adding a Facebook Like Box to Your Website

November 29th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

It’s so easy to add the Facebook Like Box to your website.

(The caveat being that you can access your code on your website and you have the space for it…….)

1. Get over to the Facebook Developer page

2. Enter the URL from your desired Facebook page (no permission needed)

3. Supply the width

4. Just get the code …..’Get Code

5. Grab it and drop it into your site

For EverPub users you can use your Facebook Publisher page or the individual Facebook book page and drop the code into the Facebook field on the book page.

Off page SEO – You CAN make a difference

November 10th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

One of the questions that comes up often is “what can I do on my own that can actually improve my search engine ranking”?

SEO can be confusing but there are a number of great resources that can help.  One of my favorites is SEOmoz.com.   They are considered the best of the many websites on SEO on the web.

I’ve mentioned this particular article before but it’s time to bring it back again.

21 Off-Page SEO Strategies to Build Your Online Reputation

September 16th, 2008 – Originally Posted by Vaidhyanathan to Online Marketing

http://www.seomoz.org/ugc/21offpage-seo-strategies-to-build-your-online-reputation

If offers an outstanding checklist of activities that anyone can do to make a difference.

Why Should We Build Your Next Website?

November 4th, 2010 by Neil No comments »
  1. We build websites for Publishers. Only Publishers.  Not shoe stores.  Not Plumbing wholesalers.  Not Lobbyists.  Just Publishers.
  2. We understand marketing and selling books.  We have decades of experience in publishing sales, marketing, publishing, and operations. We know how much the business has changed and have a very good sense about the future.  Or, at least enough sense to know that we can build websites that can accommodate the future.
  3. Your social media activities appear on each EverPub book page and your posts can appear throughout the website
  4. Our goal is to build websites that let the publishers add or change books and add or change content on the website on their own.  No need to call unless you miss us.
  5. EverPub websites are scalable.  As your business grows you can add an unlimited number of books at no additional cost.
  6. Search Engine Optimization is built into our websites and our book pages.  Each EverPub book page permits the publisher to highlight the keywords in your copy for the book.   Those keywords then become part of the structure of that webpage.
  7. We believe that a strong Direct Marketing effort will be an important skill set for publishers in the future.  We have signups on the home page and every book page in the EverPub websites.   Names entered on the individual pages have the book tagged to them for targeting your direct marketing.  Our websites have a built-in interface back to Mail Chimp to manage your campaigns.  Mail Chimp is free for the first 500 names you add.
  8. Free is a significant motivator in book purchases.  It’s easy to add files for download with each book on the website.
  9. We have invested in the development of the EverPub book page which is at the core of every EverPub designed site.  These templates have already been tested, debugged, enhanced, and are in use in the real world.  As changes are made in social media techniques and marketing tools they can be added into the EverPub book templates for all users.
  10. Our websites are built using open source content management software.  A platform that is used around the world and will be supported for a long time.   It also permits your data to reside separate from your code.

Send me an email neil@EverPub.com.  We’ll talk.

Thanks Danforth for the great endorsement!

November 4th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

“EverPub, as supervised by book sales guru Neil Levin, has re-invented the art of website design for the publishing industry. Our E.P.-designed site now bristles with electronic flourishes that impress the most jaded media pros, always within a solidly grounded, seamlessly whirring platform that showcases our company’s intellectual content to its best advantage. It’s both effective and fun, like a seductively spinning slot machine generating sales revenue within earshot of a hot lounge act in Vegas. Our Facebook , Twitter, and Blog announcements run up and down the margins of our newly jazzed website, percolating simultaneously with “drop into” slots that frame our videotaped book trailers in ways Busby Berkeley might have choreographed.
At EverPub, electronic razzmatazz steps out and uptown with the grey-flannel world of traditional book marketing, and in the aftermath, EVERYBODY is happy.”

Danforth Prince, President, www.BloodMoonProductions.com

Guest Post: Being Active and Social to support your books

October 28th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

Babette Ross, Social Media consultant, has been kind enough to guest post this week.

The ramp up to the holiday shopping season has begun. Among the many new shiny toys we are beginning to hear about are updates to eReaders and one feature I consistently notice being touted is social integration.

Mashable reported Nielsen’s finding that Social Networking dominates the time spent on line. Are readers going to find you or your book in the places where they are spending the most amount of time? Social Media is becoming embedded into the everyday life of your readers. And readers are connecting in more ways than ever before to share their thoughts and get recommendations for the next book they will read.

The importance of having an active presence in Social Media can not be overstated. The two key words in the previous sentence are “active” and “social.” Of course, your ultimate goal is to sell more of your books and while Social Media is not a magic bullet it can raise awareness.

In order to promote either yourself or your book within Social Media you will need to be both an active participant and social. Active could be defined as frequently contributing to discussions or creating new conversations. And social could be defined as interacting with the people whom take an interest in what you say. If someone is commenting, treat it as you would in a face to face social interaction, a simple thank you can go along way to fostering relationships. The platform you use should be the right platform for both you and your book.

That platform could be Facebook or Twitter but if you’ve written something about a niche topic the most active community on that topic may not be either one. There may be a book bloggers within your genre who share your tastes and have cultivated a community where you would be welcome.

In order to use Social Media effectively you need to understand it so the first thing you should do is “listen” to what others are saying. If you’re going to invest your time, you must find a community where you are comfortable.

my blog is http://www.babettephoto.com/in-this-space/

my linked in is http://www.linkedin.com/in/babetteross

8 Rules for Building a Publishing Website Site for Today and the Future

October 25th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

It’s very easy to judge how publishing website design has evolved over the last 10 years.  Easy because a large percentage of the sites are fixed and static like the day they were launched.  Their structure and design reflect the features available at launch time and rather than incorporate the changing marketing techniques and technology shifts they remain as they were launched or have additions tacked on like shoddy home construction that doesn’t meet code.

Since we can’t precisely predict the future, how do we suggest a publisher design and build today with the future in mind?

1. The most important step (as I said in my previous post) is to gain a handle on your business and have as clear of an understanding of where you are going as possible.  Taking into consideration future title and imprint growth prior to the coding of your site can be instrumental in saving time and money down the road.

2. The next point is to construct your website using a Web Content Management System.  A CMS will permit you the flexibility to make additions or edits at your convenience, not the convenience of your web developer.  There will, and should, be limitations to what you can edit – you should not be changing important website settings – but we feel strongly that the more content you have under your control, the better.

That said, another advantage of CMS is that is separates your content from the technology.  What that means is the framework of your site can evolve over time without affecting your data.

3. Another important technology consideration is that you use a widely adopted, open source, or industry standard platform.  Building on a highly specialized or dying platform, or one only known by your developer can only mean challenges in the future.

4. Returning to the earlier point about title and imprint growth – adding titles and editing titles should be completely an in-house process.  There should not be any reason to need to bring your developer in to add a new book.  Same thing for changes.  Title metadata constantly changes and you need to make those changes on the fly.

5. Having your website optimized so that appears as high as possible on the search engine results is crucial.  Understanding the basic components of SEO and Keywords is important prior to your site being designed and developed will pay huge dividends as this construction proceeds and as the site evolves.

6. Have a plan for converting your visitors into names.  A signup form should be prominent on each page of your website.  Your direct marketing campaigns can evolve over time – but the real asset is having those names.

7. Create your website and your book page templates so that features can be easily added in the future.  A book template is a web page which is populated with your book’s metadata.  The other option besides using a template would be fixed or static pages that require individual coding changes to be made when the information needs to be edited.  While your developer will still need to be called to make changes in the design or features of your book page template, the changes made in the book page template will be available to every book you have.

We have a unique approach to the book page template at EverPubEverPub websites use the standardized EverPub book page template.  While each publisher has their own unique design, or skin, for their website, we maintain the EverPub book page template.  Enhancements to the master template will be available for all users of the template.

8. Have a backup plan for your website and your data and always adhere to it.

The consistent theme throughout these points is the involvement of the publisher.  You should have control over your data and its online representation.  If you build your website smart in the beginning it will be affordable, efficient, flexible, and powerful as your publishing program grows.

B to What?

October 7th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

Have you been doing an honest assessment of both your publishing program and your publishing business on a regular basis?  We could spend a fair amount of time looking at the detail of your business P&L, Balance Sheet, and publishing schedule, but for now, let’s focus on how you are selling books today – and how will you will sell them in the future.

Selling books today

Not to delve too far into my history but having sold books for over 25 years I think I have a good sense of the trends.  I watched the superstores breed and the indies die.  Lately, I’ve been on the front side of the brick & mortar contraction and the industry transition to online sales and Amazon.

If we look at today’s sales pie chart it may have 30-40% going to online sellers and the balance to the usual brick & mortar or wholesale suspects.  The ‘traditional’ outlets for the sale of p-books (traditional paper books) still exist but they are more and more cautious about their purchases with a growing list of associated demands for each one.

The e-market, for all of its headlines, is still in its infancy with very few solid strategies.

Selling books in the future

But with this rapid transition to e-books what will the future bring?  First off, we‘ll still have p-books for some time.  Maybe fewer and fewer of the 1-color titles in the near future, but illustrated books will still be here.  The chains will continue to contract but they will survive (at least B&N).  And, these retailer contractions will lead to a slight resurgence in small Indy stores (much more economical and efficient) as they pop up in areas vacated by the chains.  I also see that non-book specialty retailers will become more active in carrying books that support their unique categories.

Amazon will continue to control the online marketplace for illustrated titles and will maintain their share of the non-illustrated p-book business.  As POD costs continue to fall Amazon will move more and more to a virtual content business with fewer book warehouses.  Consumers will have their desired spec book manufactured when ordered.

Similar to the growth of the brick & mortar specialty niche stores – single subject, or ‘vertical’ within that subject, we will see the growth of vertical or community based online websites.  Websites built around a single subject, quilting, antiques & collectibles, gardening, health, etc, will flourish.   They exist now but the vast majority are thin when it comes to today’s internet strategies which are based on communities, forums, social media, video, and direct marketing.  Who knows who will start these new robust website communities – a publisher, or a retailer, or an entrepreneur?

And what about your future role selling books?  Are you that type of publisher who owns some ‘space’ in a category?  Or are you a general interest press?  You certainly have a better shot of success by owning some ‘real estate’ in a category.  Either way, your major decision about your future website will be; will I sell direct to businesses (B2B), or sell direct to consumers (B2C)?  Will you merely provide information for other retailers and wholesalers about your books, or will you build a website and business around selling direct to consumers.

It is a huge step, but once a publisher decides to sell directly to consumers they need to start thinking like a retailer.  For many publishers this is a considerable task.  In the past, publishers have had one, two, three, or more, degrees of separation between them and their customers.  Publishers who decide to adopt the B2C strategy need to educate themselves in how to communicate, market, and sell.  The publisher’s website is the ideal platform for a B2C storefront.

What kind of store will you create?  Think about your favorite stores and you will begin to think clearly about your website.  A great bookstore is comfortable, attractive, exciting, stimulating place.  Can you create the next Politics & Prose or Tattered Cover online?

Some interesting websites to check out……

Larkcrafts

HayHouse

eharlequin

Next: More on the B2B

What is the Future of Publisher Websites?

October 4th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

In the last post I talked about the importance of the publisher’s website and its historical context. Now I will begin looking at the future of publishing,  online marketing, and book sales to help create strategies for website development. We need to know what our goal is before we start all of this work.

In later posts I will touch on approaches to building a flexible website. Your website will grow with your business and must be easily adapted in structure and approach to keep expenses down as tools and techniques evolve.

Here’s what my crystal ball says (a few of them are no-brainers):

  • Fiction will become overwhelmingly be sold as e-books.
  • Illustrated hardcover non-fiction, e.g., cookbooks, art, photography, etc., will still be sold in some brick & mortar locations.
  • Non-book specialty stores will sell more books than they do now, not a large cross section of titles, but books that fit their niche profile.
  • Brick & mortar bookstores will become smaller locations or include many more non-book items.
  • Social media, most importantly video, will be used extensively to market books.
  • Non-fiction titles will be sold within their online subject communities.
  • Consolidation and closures will continue to run rampant through all levels of publishing.
  • But the number of titles published will continue to stay high, if not grow more, than what we see today as a result of the low cost of entry. Note that the higher cost of wide distribution will still exist.
  • More apps will be developed that are focused on supporting niche online communities around a narrow category or subject. Apps that offer book sales a short click away.
  • Books that remain open to additions, revisions, and community commentary will become more common as crowd sourcing becomes commonplace.

More books? Less brick & mortar stores? But more, many more, locations and websites selling print and e-books online. With all of that said what role will the publisher’s website play?

  • Sticky factors – In the early day of websites ’stickiness’ was a common term.  It’s back but with more emphasis on entertainment, social consciousness, interactivity, and communication.
  • Marketing- Announce new titles, events, activities, reviews, social media comments, PR, press, previews, premiums, freemiums, downloadable samples
  • Direct marketing – name acquisition, based on the list of names acquired on the website and elsewhere, direct marketing headquarters to that segmented list
  • Information distribution – interested parties, consumer or business, can acquire data about a book or books for their own use, ONIX feeds
  • Sales – direct purchase of p-books, indirect purchase of p-books, direct and indirect purchase of e-books

We’re already seeing top publishers add some of this functionality to their website. But they are also the companies that have significant budgets to build their sites in-house. Smaller publishers need to build their websites slower, over time, with smaller investments.

Next Post – Assessing where you are today to build the website that can work tomorrow

Is Your Website Working as Hard as You Are?

October 1st, 2010 by Neil No comments »

Beginning today I will be starting a series of posts on a range of publishing topics which include website strategy, marketing, and sales. I’m running the posts in conjunction with the start of a more aggressive advertising push through the IBPA. If you don’t know them the IBPA is a wonderful organization that goes out of its way in a number of directions to support publishers. They have a prodigious number of educational programs for every level of publisher.

While the core of these posts will be focused on website strategy and development – after all I am here promoting my own company, EverPub – you will find a number of the posts that veer off that track. I’ve spent 25+ years in this industry in a number of different roles for a wide range of publishers. I hope that I can help you sell more books and become a better publisher as this program continues.

Our industry has changed so dramatically in the last few years that we are constantly reeling from our collective motion sickness. Changes far too numerous to detail now have left us searching for new paths to success. And unfortunately, that’s what I fear we will continue to do. While there are many, many approaches that are generating successes, there are also no hard and fast rules. It’s a time for all of us to be pioneers with our businesses. Experimentation, testing, leaps of faith, education, observation, chances, and communication are our new buzzwords. Most people aren’t comfortable with being early adopters but since it’s all new – we’re all early adopters now.

But for now, let’s start talking about websites.

Of all of the marketing and sales tools in a publisher’s arsenal, their website is the most important. Key. Tops. Number One. Your site is your storefront, billboard, catalog, direct marketing base, and broadcast megaphone all at the same time. With the right kind of research, strategy and design your site can go a long way to solving your sales and marketing goals in an effective and cost efficient manner.

When publishers first began to incorporate websites into their marketing program the sites were merely online representations of their seasonal catalogs. In most cases, they literally just placed a pdf of their catalog on their site. So, so passive. Much of that was due to the limited connection speeds and data pipes available. Today, if we sample the universe of publisher sites we’ll still find a large number of publishers who have those same pdf downloads. For the rest of the non-luddites, we can take advantage of our ubiquitous broadband, social media, YouTube, direct marketing, and online communities. Let’s use these powerful tools and technologies to transform the publisher website into a dynamic active and proactive marketing weapon.

Next Post:  My turn to put forth yet another set of publishing predictions.

The Future of the Book

September 30th, 2010 by Neil No comments »

Once we get past which future widget we will use to read this could be the possible intersection of social media, technology, and reading?    This thought provoking video from IDEO was featured in a post today from Joel Friedlander at TheBookDesigner.

The Future of the Book. from IDEO on Vimeo.