Archives for April 2012

Personalizing the eBook Experience

Kindlegraph | Aleweb Social Marketing

One of the greatest thrills of a reader’s experience is when they can have a favorite author autograph one of their books. As a collector of signed, first editions, that’s always been one of my biggest hesitations in adopting the eBook experience.

What if I fall in love with a book and have a chance to get an author’s autograph? If I read it in eBook form, I’d have to spend the money twice on it; once for the eBook, then to buy a hardcopy to have the author sign. Bummer!

And from the author’s standpoint, what does that do to good old-fashioned book signings. Half of your readership probably purchased your book on an eReader, so what’s the point of a book signing? Or how do you recapture the thrill of attending one?

Or perhaps for financial, distribution or speed-to-market reasons, you opted to for an eBook-only version of your latest book. So, you don’t even have a print copy to sign! Does that mean you have to miss out on the relationship-building experience of sharing your autograph with adoring fans?

Not anymore! Last summer, Kindlegraph appeared on the scene, and it could just be an answer to your prayers. Currently, there are over 3,500 authors currently registered with the site, and over 15,000 books listed. So, you’d be in good company.

But what exactly is a Kindlegraph? It’s a personalized, autographed page for your eBook, of course! The Kindlegraph service enables authors to sign eBooks for their readers for free, and not just for those with Kindles. Kindlegraphs are available as a PDF or an AZW version.

Start by signing in with Twitter and then entering your AISN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) at http://www.kindlegraph.com/books/new. (The AISN is right after the ‘dp’ in the URL of your book on Amazon.com. For example, in the URLhttp://www.amazon.com/dp/0061977969, the ASIN is0061977969.)

Next, provide the e-mail address where you want to be notified of pending autograph requests. It’s that simple! Within minutes, your book is added to the Kindlegraph library. (Note: Since books are added via an Amazon designator, your eBook needs to be available on Amazon.)

When a fan spots your book listed, they request a Kindlegraph from you. Once a day, you are sent an e-mail with the list of pending requests. You go into the system, type a personalized message, and then “sign” the eBook. This can be done by actually signing your name using a mousepad (or using your finger on a tablet), or you can use a stylized script instead.

Personally, until other signing options are available (like uploading your signature), I’d consider signing your John Hancock with an “X” or using the stylized script. Signing with the mousepad is like drawing something in MS Paint on the freehand setting; very unforgiving unless you’re highly skilled at it. Perhaps using your finger on a tablet is easier, but I didn’t get a chance to test that out.

When you’re done, your signature is added to the cover page of your eBook, and the Kindlegraph is then sent to the reader (to their Kindle, if they have an e-mail address on file for it, or e-mail address).

Once you’re done processing that request, move on to the next one in the list. You can write a different message with each request you receive (and practice signing your name again – perhaps you’ll master the technique with time!).

Another thing to note is that you should add your own books to the Kindlegraph library. Since you sign in with Twitter, when you add a book it’s automatically associated with your account. Your name is listed as the author, etc. So, when you add a book for someone else, the author name that’s displayed is yours, not theirs! Avoid the confusion, and add your own books! Don’t delegate this to anyone else unless they also have the authority to sign in using your Twitter profile.

With the first book you add to the site, an author’s page is made for you where fans can see all the eBooks you have available for autographing. There is also a customized widget that you can load onto your website that will take visitors directly to your Kindlegraph author page.

I love how innovative people, like Kindlegraph’s creator Evan Jacobs, find ways to retain what’s best about “the old days” and bring them into the 21st century. Don’t you?

 

Are you going to add your eBook to the Kindlegraph library? If you do, post a link to your Kindlegraph listing below!

Book Review: Uprising by Scott Goodson

Publicists will tell you that if you want to gain visibility for your brand, you should tie it into relevant current events. Make your message timely by clarifying its connection to news-worthy topics. It’s the only real way to get the media’s attention.

However, in Scott Goodson’s book Uprising: How to Build a Brand – and Change the World – by Sparking Cultural Movements, he shows you how to flip that paradigm around. Rather than tying your brand, book title or product to a naturally occurring news topic, create your own by starting a movement.

He emphasizes that he’s referring a “movement” with a little m, not a “Movement” with a big one. As he puts it:

These “movements with a small m” may involve, say, a group of passionate activists, creative types, or even rabid consumers of a particular product. When these people band together around a shared passion or idea and try to turn it into something bigger and more significant, they’re not necessarily trying to change history or to change the world as we know it. They’re just trying to change the world (or some small part of it) as they know it.

Following in the footsteps of Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment (Guy wrote an endorsement for Uprising), Scott shares the concept of creating a vision that builds into a story as your movement grows. It has to be something that captures the attention of an individual and draws them in, enchanting them because of a shared affinity for the subject.

For example, the vision may be to promote kindness. The only real prerequisite for participating in a movement is passion. To spark a movement, it has to be something that you, and others, can get behind. People have to feel strongly enough about it to want to collectively do something. It is passion that transforms an idea into a movement. As you spark that movement, you can tie your brand, book or other product into that story by being the narrator, sponsor or an active participant.

The author goes on to explain how marketing models are shifting. Technology has played a role in this, but so have shifts in our social conscience, interests, etc. Today’s marketers need to “ditch the pitch” and figure out what people care about and how they can be part of that conversation. This transition to movement marketing is not without its risks. But Uprising does a good job of clearly outlining the steps required to build and maintain a strong and effective movement with your brand securing trust and value to the consumer in the process.

Scott’s writing is clear, easy to follow, and filled with excellent examples of both large and small brands that have made the transition to movement marketing. It provides actionable advice that you can apply to building your own brand and sparking your own movement. If you’ve read Seth Godin’s Tribes and Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment, and are looking for further ways to be inspired, this book should be next up on your reading list.

 

Disclaimer: A free review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, McGraw Hill. No further compensation was made or promised.Additionally, no affiliate links were used in this post. Aleweb is based in a state where we can’t be Amazon affiliates. Darn!

Storifying Your Story

As many of my regular readers know, I am completely in favor of reusing good content in new and existing ways to increase the visibility of that content on the Web. If you’ve been reading me for some time now, you’ll also know that I believe in being a Go Giver. I don’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings, but when you’re in business or marketing a product, it’s not about you. The key to success is in the relationships you build, and the value you provide.

That can turn into a lot of work if you think you need to do something different for each person you connect with. But sometimes, if a gift is thoughtful, the same thing can be given to multiple people. Now I’m not talking about giving all of your friends and family the Leg Lamp from A Christmas Story. I’m talking about giving them something they can use at their convenience and to their benefit; something that when they’re done, they think of you with gratitude.

Many of my author clients find themselves in positions where they are interviewed on radio, they speak at a conference, or participate in TweetChats. For many people, once the material goes “out into the Ether,” that’s it. The moment has passed and it’s on to the next project.

Yet, these days, radio content and conference materials have their own designated Twitter hastag or are shared on Facebook and other platforms. (For more on how hashtags work, check out Hashtags Demystified.)Sometimes the conversations move so quickly, it can be hard to thread all the information together in a way that’s easy to understand, though.

Or if you’re at a conference, you may want to offer a conference momento with photos, tweets, and video content from the best speakers.

Generosity is rewarded time-and-time again. Taking the extra few minutes to show that you enjoyed the experience and were thankful to participate generates warm feelings directed toward you.

So, what to do, what to do?

There’s a tool that can help you repurpose that material, and shape it into a format that fellow participants will enjoy, and those who weren’t there can still feel like they were part of the experience!

The answer is Storify. This site allows you to pull in content from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Google, and to embed a URL. You can add the content to your story in any order you choose, including creating actual threads for the conversations that took place in all these sources. You can also add your own text to the story, and be as creative as you’d like with it! If there are off-topic conversations taking place, you can leave those out of the story to create a tight and useful resource for your readers.

When you’re done, publish the story and Storify will prompt you to notify any of the featured contributors to the story. You can also add anyone else you’d like to have notified as well, which makes it easier for the story to reach a broader audience.

I recently participated in a #BookPro TweetChat. We had some great lines of conversation going all at once. Storifying the content (like my new verb?) enabled me to reorder the conversations into easy-to-read snapshots.

Now, I could have stopped there, and just shared it with those whom I notified directly. But Storify lets me take it even further. I can then export my story to a number of different platforms, including WordPress (both free and self-hosted sites), Tumblr, Drupal, Posterous and MailChimp. Alternatively, I can use the embed code to add the story to my own site. This allows me to share the content with the rest of my network via my blog and mailing list.

So, the next time you’re creating content, whether it’s live or online, give some thought to how you can create a larger audience reusing that content. After all, we all know how time-intensive it can be to create something from scratch. So, why not leverage existing content to the fullest extent, and then continue to share new, great content from there!

In the meantime, enjoy my #BookPro story! And if you’re an author looking for more great ideas like this, you may want to purchase my eBook The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books.