I spend quite a bit of time thinking about the future of marketing books. The possibilities of what we can or might do fascinate me because that’s where the fun in marketing books really lies.
Which brings me to seasonal catalogs: the traditional linchpin of book marketing. Confining our book releases to two artificial seasons (for some reason we couldn’t even keep in line with nature and do four) seems archaic to many people. The artifice of the seasons and their accompanying catalogs have long been derided as old-fashioned and unnecessary in the modern Edelweiss, endless media, perpetual publishing and buying model. Even though almost all university presses continue with the seasonal model, some have done away with the printed version of the seasonal catalog entirely.
What if we’re missing the real revolution of Print on Demand?
Think about it. With POD we could:
Make almost real-time edits and updates to a book
Feed content from a blog or website straight into a book
Create a system for marginalia printed in a book
Change content based on critique
Change a cover to suit audience taste more easily
Personalize every copy of a book
Why would we want to use print books in this way? Isn’t it better to simply allow digital platforms to handle this kind of change? On some level, absolutely. Print books can’t do what digital ones do; they can’t be changed or edited in real time. But what if we tried to mimic the digital experience as closely as we can in print books? How would that affect how we perceive the printed book? In other words, it’s time to flip the print-to-digital paradigm on its head and see if we can apply some digital-like assets to a printed product. Continue reading “DOC MARTYN’S SAGE MARKETING: Shifting the POD Paradigm”→
Reading is power, because knowledge gives us the tools to think more widely about the things that confront us on a daily basis. In the aftermath of the presidential election many thousands of think pieces, blogs, articles, and much more have been written to rejoice, despair, cajole, criticize, and much else. Many of us read those pieces with minds perhaps already formed, or perhaps not completely open to new ideas. Such an approach is understandable; we seek out information that fits how we view the world or how we wish to view it. We don’t always seek out knowledge that pushes the boundaries of what we already perceive.
One of my jobs as marketing director is to introduce people to new information. Essentially, every time my team and I start marketing a new book we must seek a way to get someone to engage with content that they might not know about, be immediately interested in, or consider within the scope of their desire to know. Every book has a core audience, of course. Each author has written his or her book with that audience in mind. But there are often also audiences that do not immediately seem applicable. It is our job as marketers to find those people so that we can introduce them to the content and, we hope, expand their view of the world. Continue reading “Doc Martyn’s Sage Marketing: Reading is Power”→
First impressions certainly do count for a lot, but they are just first impressions. I’ve found myself thinking about this during my first week at Cornell UP.
You cannot help but have a positive first impression when you arrive at Sage House, home of the Press and namesake of this blog. The old house is beautiful; I’d be surprised if there are too many other university presses with prettier digs. The house is populated with a fun, lively, creative, and intelligent team. I’ve been impressed with everyone’s excitement about the task of creating books. There is genuine pride in what we do here and that has been apparent to me from the first moment.
You cannot help but have a positive first impression when you arrive at Sage House, home of the Press and namesake of this blog.
I’ve enjoyed meeting my fellow marketers, all of whom bring a wealth of experience to the role they play. As the newbie, it’s fun to be taxed and challenged by what they know and how they work. I think we have the foundation for some really inspired and (I hope) inspiring marketing to come in the next few months and years.
But first impressions are simply that. In one week I cannot begin to fathom the inner workings, details, and processes of the oldest university press in the country. That realization is not negative. What it means is that there is so much more to come, so much more to flesh out upon the raw bones of the information I’ve received in my first week. I tweeted this week about trying to learn everything as quickly as possible. But that was on Twitter where I can be a little cheeky. There’s no way I can learn everything in a week, nor would I want to. But what I have found from these first impressions is the sense that my role here as marketing director is going to be fascinating.
Marketing is an ever-changing field, so it naturally requires one to continually grow lest we become stale and old-fashioned. As I discern more about what happens here, what works well, and so on, I’m also conscious that we have to keep evolving and keep trying new things and keep pushing ourselves to find the best way to tell our story to as many people as possible.
At first glance, Cornell UP is going to be a fun place to work—perhaps the most important thing to me in a job—because the people here are primed and ready to take the Press to new heights. So if you catch me standing on the third-floor balcony from time to time, gazing out over the beautiful view of Ithaca below me, it’s simply because I’ve already been lifted up this high and now I’m straining to see what’s next.
Martyn Beeny is the Marketing Director at Cornell University Press. No one told him the streets in Ithaca were so steep! Follow him on Twitter @MartynBeeny