Two of the most exciting developments at the press in recent years were the addition of NetGalley for advanced reviews and Cision for media access. Here’s an update on both:
NetGalley is used to make our titles available for review in advance of release. Users on the NetGalley platform can access or request access to titles posted by publishers. NetGalley is marketed as a way to more easily access “professional reviewers.” Our experience has been a mixed bag. First of all, only about one in four reviews could be considered even close to “professional.” We are finding it has become a free book grab for the Goodreads crowd and other part-time bloggers. In fact, it appears less than half the downloaded copies result in a review. So, it can be a little frustrating. We’ve also seen a clear delineation between fiction and nonfiction results on this platform. Simply put, only fiction gets attention here. The response to nonfiction books is minimal at best, and hardly worth the investment. We will be redirecting our attention on NetGalley to use it only for fiction titles.
Cision is an online platform that grants access to the 1.6 million people in the USA who are involved in the media industry — television, radio, online, etc. We have enjoyed a solid response from this investment. A good number of our authors have been invited on radio or television programs and/or have been featured in articles or blogs. This is never easy, but it is much easier for us now. There are two caveats to this though. Overwhelmingly, this platform appears best for nonfiction authors. We have had numerous requests for review copies. But, fiction gets very little attention here. We are also not seeing much lift in book sales following interviews. We are a little puzzled by this, but will look for longer-term benefits as we use this platform more and more.
So, to recap, fiction authors will be directed towards the NetGalley platform while nonfiction will be primarily on Cision. Of course, there will be exceptions to this where it makes sense. For instance, a fiction author whose work is very timely regarding something contemporary or contains a nonfiction hook of interest are great candidates for Cision.
We hired a new employee, Nicole Amenheuser, to be our Digital Marketing Assistant. Nicole boldly took the reins and began executing a couple test campaigns on the Cision platform. We were both very optimistic.
Then came the email. “Lawrence, we’ve hit our capacity.”
“Capacity? What capacity,” I asked. “For the day? For the week? For the month?”
“For the year,” she replied.
“That can’t be!” I exclaimed. I was beside myself. Given the amount of money we had invested in Cision, I was sure this was a mistake. However, after a brief phone call, I quickly learned I had invested in a lower-cost version of the platform used by “smaller organizations.” Apparently our salesman did not explain that very well, or I had visions of sugar plums while he was thinking dollar signs.
Fortunately, the situation was quickly resolved. I decided to up the ante and invest in the unlimited level of service. This means as many campaigns and emails as we can do, we will do. Nicole and I are in the process of catching-up that will ultimately bring in every one of you. First up are the most recent releases and then we’ll work our way back. In the meantime, think about how we might hook the media on your books. We can tap up to 1.6 million people– everyone who is anyone in media in the United States is in this database. Preliminary results have garnered a radio or news interview for about every 1000 emails sent. We also received some review and promotional opportunities.
Another thing to think about is taking advantage of Amazon’s algorithm for “Also Bought” marketing. I have attached the article below. There are some interesting ideas here. Anyone interested in collaborating on this, please let me know.
Get ready folks! We are about to embark on an exciting ride! Sunbury Press has just signed a publicity agreement with Cision, the world’s largest media database. For years, we have used other press release services and our own targeted marketing emails from our own lists. To be frank, we were no longer getting incremental returns from our efforts.
So, we completely changed directions and jumped in the pool! We are now swimming with the big fish! Cision will give us access to over 1.6 million media contacts all over the world. We can now send targeted emails to up to 5000 media personalities at a time. This should be far more effective than just blasting a press release to no one in particular or hitting the same group of media personalities with every release. We will now be able to slice and dice this incredible list and find targeted audiences for each book.
We have deliberately held off on announcing any of our new releases this year until this service is in place, which should be early March. We’ll keep you posted on our progress. In the meantime, if you have an upcoming or recent release, let’s discuss the media we should best target.