Monday, July 16, 2007

The long-tailed book tour

Some of us at Obie Joe Media got our starts as magazine writers. Every month we wade through dozens of magazines, and often the torrent of words washes over us without much impact. Sad to say.

One article was the exception. Written in early 2005 by one of our favorite editors -- Chris Anderson of Wired -- the article really stopped us cold. We even went to the trouble to cut-and-paste it, on the computer, and thumbtacked it to the bulletin board.

For booksellers, "The Long-Tail Theory" gave new insight into the way readers find new titles. The way we saw it at Obie Joe Media, it meant the playing field was equalized for every book. It used to be one thing to build audiences, mostly through hype and paid advertising. Today, you promote a book via the participation, and building, of a community around the book. A friend’s (actual or virtual) recommendation means more than any other ad or hype you saw elsewhere. Find the niche of your book, connect to a community who adores that niche, snuggle in, and your book just found an audience.

“This is the difference between push and pull, between broadcast and personalized taste. Long Tail business can treat consumers as individuals, offering mass customization as an alternative to mass-market fare,” writes Anderson.

Which is our roundabout way to say we are all very thrilled to pass along our recommendation for Not only is Anderson involved, but a fellow Baltimore hometown guy who is generous with his time and creativity -- Kevin Smokler is also on board. Some of the principal concepts of the Long-Tail Theory are there:
Help Me Find It
Make Everything Available
Particularly for our authors new to this game, is going to be the chocolate on the pillow while on that long journey to find and engage audiences. For readers, too.

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