Random House’s separate publishing divisions are working together to promote author brands and genres, the FutureBook conference heard today (21st November).
Ruth Spencer, senior digital marketing manager at Random House, told delegates the publisher had created the websites Dead Good and The Happy Foodie as projects which would involve content and staff from across the separate divisions.
Spencer said: “There are five publishing divisions at Random House, and aside from children’s, all publish crime in one form or another. These compete for acquisitions, for marketing spend, and ultimately for sales. With Dead Good, all the different teams are represented with editorial and publicity staff. We also have representatives from Penguin. We have built a team that breaks down those silos, and works collectively, formulating strategy . . . It creates one crime brand for all of Random House, leveraging the scale of our business.”
Spencer said the drive behind the new platforms was to connect with readers on a human level. She said: “We need to start thinking about people rather than readers. By putting people first, we will create the best channels for authors to sell their books.”
Describing how the Dead Good website covers film and TV as well as books, Spencer said: “We always need more touch-points to connect with people. People searching for information on a crime drama brought people to our site. People then clicked through to our author’s blog on their favourite crime drama.”
She added that they saw spikes of interaction around live events, and also targeted their own marketing around television, staging a live online chat with writer Arne Dahl after the last episode of the TV series ended. Spencer said: “We will continue to invest in this area.”
The speech came during a session at the FutureBook conference on reaching new audiences and creating fans.
Susan Jurevics, c.e.o. of Pottermore, described how the site built its community. She said: “To harness community, we have to ask ourselves what is our brand, what is it that we offer, what is our universal truth?” She urged other businesses to do ask themselves to define their own universal truth.
Simon Scott, the founder of Push Entertainment Ltd, also spoke about building a community and connecting with an audience, and said: “The sad truth is that the majority of people don’t care. If you have a million Facebook likes, that probably only equates to about 10,000 people who care. You have to engage that small percentage.”
Self-published author Joanna Penn also described how she connected with her own audience, using tactics such as keywords on Amazon and pricing to aid her books' discoverability. She said: “One thing you have to do it give a call to action. When the reader gets to the end of the book, tell them to review it or join a mailing list. If you don’t, the chances are they won’t do it themselves.”
Follow FutureBook 2013 on Twitter via hashtag #fbook2013.