Marketing Q&A With Publisher Bliss Group Books
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Has your company ever performed a marketing “faux pas”? How did you learn from your mistake?
We believe that awe and wonder is the foundation of belief, of humility, of curiosity. It is awe-inspiring how bad a job we did with marketing and publicity in our first year. We greatly underestimated the effort and focus required. But then we changed course. We realized that we needed help, and we got it. In today’s market, you need to put a large effort into promoting each title. Now our books and our brand are on the upswing. We will continue to do the work – and get the help we need – to keep moving forward.
As a publisher, do you use Goodreads? If so, how have you found your experience?
Goodreads is wonderful! What could be better for book lovers than a place that has successfully aggregated so many thoughtful and enthusiastic readers? While we can spend a lot of time writing press releases and content for our social media pages, nothing will be as real and engaging as the opinion of someone who has read one of our books and really loved it. Goodreads gives us a chance to get our content out there and hear direct feedback. It also allows us to discover great titles, too. We’ve been taking away some terrific recommendations – and garnishing some great reviews. And beyond that, the sense you get on the site — that there are thousands of people who love books as much as we do – is energizing.
In your opinion, what is the best way to communicate a negative review to an author?
As the publisher, we would not be publishing a book if we did not absolutely love it. We believe in directness. We pass the review along to the author and give an honest assessment of the damage and what we intend to do to minimize it. We also think it’s important to look at each negative review constructively. One of the many good things about being small is being nimble. For example, if the negative review is of a galley or ARC, we can try to use the reviewer’s comments to improve the book. And, of course, we want to remind our beloved author of all of the good reviews!
As a small publisher, what are the most difficult aspects to marketing your titles?
As a small children’s publisher, the hardest part of marketing our titles is connecting with our market and finding people willing to give our books a shot. It’s the same set of problems that any new business has: How do you get noticed? How do you build faith and trust and relationships if you can’t even get them started? However, by using great resources such as NetGalley and being more active on social media and our website, we are starting to connect with reviewers and our desired audience. And we’d add — because it’s important to us — we hope that mainstream reviewers will continue to give small presses more oxygen. We believe that a healthy publishing world will have more diversity — in personnel, in subject matter, in approach, in ethos, in protocols and processes — that small presses can provide. Small presses like Bliss Group Books supply that diversity by being incubators for new ideas and talent. Evolution depends on diversity.
How frequently do you post to Twitter? Do you have a method to increase engagement and interaction? Do you have favourite hashtags?
We only recently started our Twitter page (@BlissGroupBooks) so it’s still a work in progress. We’re working with our marketing team to better engage with our followers — and increase their number. We’re currently tweeting 2-3 times a week but that will increase. Most of our tweets consist of blog posts, promotional tweets, re-tweets, and thanking people for reading our books. Just taking the time to re-tweet someone or thank them for reading can make a world of difference. We’ve ramped up our activity on Twitter and Facebook, and with help from our friends at DigiWriting and Pagemaker, our website has seen a 1000% increase in traffic. We hope to continue that trend. Evolution is fun. Currently, our favorite hashtag is #MondayBlogs but we’ll be working on starting a couple of new ones – stay tuned.
About Bliss Group Books
Bliss Group Books was formed in 2013 by music producer and entrepreneur Laru Larrieux, singer/songwriter Amel Larrieux, and publishing professional Alan Bradshaw. BGB is dedicated to pursuing that blissful feeling that great books create — curling up in body, stretching out in mind, and going someplace new, exciting, magical, or humorous.
Do you have a favourite hashtag?