Good morning Publishing!
The Javits Center is a full tilt wreck this year. Honest to god I hope the Reed Exhibitions got a discount for this. The extension of the 7 train line has torn up the street in front of the place, and the refurbishing going on inside means a hard hat wouldn't be out of place.
Dear old Javits. I remember the year they couldn’t get the air conditioning on, and the year they couldn't get it off. Now this. There's only one consistent problem: the line at Starbucks is so long you could conduct a three round auction in the time it takes to get a latte.
The actual registration process is so smooth however you wish Reed ran every hotel in the country. I think it took 45 seconds to get my two badges. And that's cause I dropped one. I waited in line for abut three minutes. Of course, the trick is to come early.
The first panel was about GoodReads. I don't know much about GoodReads so I figured I'd stop in and learn a few things.
The presenter was Patrick Brown, Community Manager and Author Program Manager. Here are some of the things he told us:
GoodReads has 9 million users; it's the world's largest site for book reviews and recommendations. (when asked in the Q&A who he saw as GR's competition: Facebook and Amazon)
GoodReads' mission is discovery: help people find books they love. That's a mission I can certainly get behind.
Best way to build presence on GoodReads is early in the life of the book. This gets the book into the algorithm GoodReads uses to put books front and center. Need HUNDREDS of review to make it to this algorithm.
Half of active GoodReads users cross post to FaceBook
GoodReads reviews are syndicated to Google, Powells, USA Today, and places like the LA Public Library
Erica Barmash, publicist at Harper, talked about her experience using a wide swath of advertising and networking sites for promoting the paperback edition of BEFORE I GO TO SLEEP:
GoodReads had a higher percentage of clickthroughs per impression. Some sites had more impressions, some had more clicks, but click/impression ratio was highest on GoodReads Other sites: FB, EW, People.
GoodReads can also tell you what the clickers do next: add the book/reviewed the book/rated the book, which other sites can not.
Thus GoodReads can measure (somewhat at least) the efficiency of the ad.
Erica was convinced GoodReads gave her the best value for her investment dollar.
AUTHOR PROGRAM on GoodReads
Average giveaway gets 850 entries. A lot of people who enter giveaways list the book as To Be Read.
Giveaways (in Q&A revealed that only physical books are eligible now, GoodReads not set up for ebook giveaways) are good for building number of reviews (see above for purpose/advantage of reviews.)
BookClubs on GoodReads
There are 20,000 book clubs on GR.
Unlike general GoodReads, bookclubs are moderated.
Authors can join groups as readers, lay the groundwork for their own book being discussed.
I left feeling like I'd learned a lot. Some of my clients have had brutal experiences over at GoodReads, so I'm interested in figuring out how to have that NOT happen, and also how to reach a nice chunk of those nine million people!
The next panel I attended was TWEET THIS NOT THAT
I'm not going to complain that the presenter didn't have the correct adapter for her laptop cause really, that could happen to anyone.
I am going to complain that it was clear no one had given a single thought to how slides work in a large room. This is NOT rocket science. This is Presentations 101.
Slides should be visible and readable to the folks in the back of the room. Not only were they not, I couldn't see them, and I was about half way to the front. And just to make sure it wasn't me, I asked the woman next to me if she could see them, and no, she couldn't.
And the presenter, when tasked with the fact her slides could not be read did NOT do the one thing that was easiest: read them aloud. No, she said she'd post them on her slide show account later. Well, fuck that. Later I'll be someplace else and later I've forgotten where she posted it and later to all this anyway.
And then, she reviews the basics of twitter. I'm about ready to blow my stack at the BEA education panel organizers. Could someone over there please get it through their thick heads that we know what Twitter is! We know what hashtags are! What we want is to hear about the stuff we don't know about--what works, what's effective, and most important what ISN'T.
So after three "case studies" that weren't--they were basically screenshots of twitter accounts, and some facts about Twitter advertising (the least affordable thing on Twitter and the least likely things authors are going to use) she STOPPED. And asked for Questions!
The audience was as perplexed as I was. Questions about what? There wasn't anything of substance here. We couldn't see the slides, she'd given us no insights or strategy.
I can't remember at what point the presenter referred to GoodReads as a small social networking site about books, but that was what did me in. GoodReads isn't a lot of things, but one thing it IS is big. Unless you think nine million people is small, in which case I remind you that's the number of people who live in NYC.
The twitter panel last year at BEA was a disaster. I couldn't believe it could get worse. This was worse. And it didn't have to be. I'm not sure if the presenter isn't used to giving talks like this, or if she hadn't practiced, or hadn't done any research on what people want to know, but it was a #panelFail on all three accounts.
It was really disappointing cause I'm always on the hunt for companies that know how to do this stuff, and can help authors. This company probably can do that; what they can't do is teach it.
I collected my minion and headed for the bar.
I've got about an hour before I need to go stake out seats for the Buzz panel at 4pm. That panel fills up FAST and I've learned the hard way to get there early and defend my seat with hostile vibrations.
(more on the buzz panel, which was wonderful, later)
This is a typical BEA education day: a good panel, and a panel that could have been good. Unfortunately the organizers have no way to know if a presenter is good or prepared. All they see are the topic titles. If there's a way to fix this, I sure hope they figure it out. I'm really tired of learning stuff the hard way. I'd really like to benefit from what some other people have learned about social media.