Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, November 29, 2021

Earlier this month, I was all giddy about receiving a couple of review-purpose books from Time Warner Book Group. I’ve since posted my review of the primary book, “OPUS: 25 Years of His Sunday Best”; my review of the other book, “The Crisis”, will be forthcoming.

When I got this opportunity, I had assumed that I wasn’t the only blogger getting review copies laid on him, but I couldn’t point to any specific examples. Since then, I’ve learned of others: Off Wing Opinion (who even got to interview Brandi Chastain, in her role as author!), Zero Boss, and Collected Miscellany. I’m sure there are loads more who get tapped for book reviews, either solicited or unsolicited.

Naturally, I was curious about Time Warner Book Group’s strategy. Book reviews traditionally have been the province of print media. Are blogs seen as an alternative channel for promoting books?

I asked Kelly Leonard, Executive Director of Online Marketing at TWBG about this. Below is the result of our email interview:


CT: How do you see blogs fitting into TWBG’s overall online marketing strategy?

KL: Today, a positive review or mention posted by a trusted, reputable blogger can be just as valuable in creating word-of-mouth for a book as traditional media. Since book publishers have much smaller marketing budgets than the music and motion picture industry, we have to be especially creative in finding ways to communicate news of a new book or author that cuts through the noise of competing for consumers’ attention. Establishing relationships with bloggers who are mavens, who reach yet more mavens online, can be an especially fruitful endeavor. It’s a great way for publishers, authors, and editors to keep abreast of what the thinkers and doers in the blogging communities are talking about.

CT: What criteria do you use for identifying blogs/bloggers for potential book reviews, aside from some obvious linkages (e.g., political books match with political bloggers)?

KL: Quality and quantity — the quality of the writing on the blog and the quantity of links into the blog. Quality comes first, though.

CT: Reader reviews are already prevalent on the Web, notably in the form of Amazon’s much-accessed customer reviews. Why break new ground for book reviews with blogs?

KL: Blogs, along with those who write them as well as those who read them, represent an opportunity for publishers and authors to speak directly with potential new audiences. Those new audiences are especially likely to be predisposed to being interested in the book if it is a nonfiction title and the book is properly pitched.

CT: Newspapers and magazines are long-established media for book reviews. What do you see in blogs as book review outlets that are superior (and inferior) to the traditional media?

KL: Since bloggers are writing for themselves and their readers, they have the freedom to say exactly what they think and believe, and are not subsequently line-edited from above. This potentially creates a very pure and powerful venue of influence that can help books that may not be featured or advertised in traditional print media.

CT: How do you locate the blogs and other websites for your target marketing (i.e., what online search tools, referrals, etc.)?

KL: Online search tools are very important, but they’re just the start. Once blogs have been located that appear to be potentially captive audiences for a book’s subject matter or story, we determine who is linking to the blog, how well it’s written, and what other types of books this blogger is reading and/or recommending.


I’ll let the interview speak for itself. But a few things stand out: Blogs as grassroots and cost-effective outlets for book exposure; the importance of presentation and dedication of the blogger; affinity relationships between a blog and its likely audience, and why that makes it fertile ground for promoting a book.

These concepts can, of course, be extended to other products, and I’d guess the same criteria would apply. Bottom line: A blog that’s regularly updated, well-maintained and has cultivated an audience can get on marketing radars. In this sense, they become media properties with some reach, and that appeals to people and organizations that want to get their message out.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/29/2004 02:53:50 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin', Publishing
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15 Feedbacks
  1. Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity.
    Christopher Morley, American Novelist, Journalist, Poet (1890-1957)

    Comment by Jozef Imrich — 11/30/2004 @ 07:16:52 AM

  2. Costa, Great interview with Kelly Leonard. I haven’t worked with her, but her colleagues at Time Warner have sent Collected Miscellany several titles for review including books from Little Brown.
    David

    Comment by David Thayer — 11/30/2004 @ 11:24:36 AM

  3. Why Bloggers Get Free Books
    As I’ve noted before, some bloggers are now getting free review books from publishers. It’s no longer just the privilege of book reviewers for mainstream media outlets, and it’s an indication of bloggers’ growing importance. Costa Tsiokos, recipien…

    Trackback by E-Media Tidbits — 11/30/2004 @ 06:34:27 PM

  4. Mad Max, R.I.P.? Hail to M.J. Rose…
    Then, after Max contacted scores of people around town over the last few days w/ a questionaire about opportunities-real and potential-in the realm of online marketing; and had begun preparing something similar for book-bloggers, inquiring about th…

    Trackback by BookAngst 101 — 11/30/2004 @ 06:36:48 PM

  5. Bloggers as Reviewers
    With 12,000 novels published a year and over 100,000 non fiction books published, it’s no surprise that 98% of what’s published doesn’t get reviewed. The space has shrunk in magazines & newspapers - or been cut altogether - and when books are review…

    Trackback by Buzz, Balls & Hype — 11/30/2004 @ 06:43:56 PM

  6. I’m a senior editor at Wiley. I’ve been working with blogs to promote some of my sports books, THE 100-YARD WAR by Greg Emmanuel and the forthcoming ACES by Mychael Urban, to great effect. The bloggers have let me reach out directly to the books’ respective target audiences, and by providing covers and some material early I’ve been able to bring the readers inside the tent early. It’s a strategy I’m now opening up to all my books, especially science.

    I also put out a call for an author for a book I’d like to commission on marching bands on Maud Newton’s blog, and I received a great response.

    Comment by Stephen S. Power — 12/01/2021 @ 09:56:09 AM

  7. Les livres, les blogs et le marketing viral
    Comme nous le rappelait Cyril Fivet dans BlogStory, des diteurs amricains envoient des services de presse des blogeurs pour qu’ils parlent de leurs bouquins. Costa Tsiokos, qui a reu un de ces livres a demand l’diteur qui les lui avait envo…

    Trackback by lafeuille — 12/01/2021 @ 11:28:41 AM

  8. Costa, you’ve got a great thread going here. BTW, THE 100-YARD WAR was reviewed at Collected Miscellany by Kevin Holtsberry. I wanted to add to my earlier post about review copies from publishers.
    Harper-Collins has been very active with us at CM in addition to TWBG. SMP, S&S, and Putnam have submitted titles as well.

    David

    Comment by David Thayer — 12/01/2021 @ 12:24:26 PM

  9. Be a blogger; review a book
    The Time Warner Book Group (and perhaps others???) has started to send books to bloggers to review.

    Trackback by Where's Travis McGee? — 12/01/2021 @ 01:05:05 PM

  10. Blogs Mean Business
    Costa Tsiokos, proprieter of Population Statistic, talks to Kelly Leonard, Time Warner Book Group’s Executive Director of Online Marketing, about the place of blogs in TWBG’s overall marketing strategy:

    CT: Newspapers and magazines are long-estab…

    Trackback by GalleyCat — 12/01/2021 @ 02:22:37 PM

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  12. […] You never know what catches the bloggers’ imaginations. Emerging Writers Network Time Warner Book Group’s Blog Approach […]

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  13. Surfing
    Alla divisione libri della Warner considerano i blog molto importanti per le loro strategie di marketing online: “Since bloggers are writing for themselves and their readers, they have the freedom to say exactly what they think and believe, and are n…

    Trackback by Marsilio Black: The Black Blog — 12/04/2021 @ 07:54:09 AM

  14. TIME WARNER BOOK GROUP SOLD

    As part of a slimming-down effort, Time Warner is selling its Time Warner Book Group division to French media company Lagardere (owner of Hachette Filiipacchi) for $537 million.
    I wonder if this will affect TWBG’s blog-marketing approach for bo…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 02/06/2021 @ 03:18:07 PM

  15. BOOK GLUT CHANNELS TOWARD BLOGS

    Book publishing faces an embarrassment of riches this fall, when new volumes from Stephen King, Michael Crichton, and Robert Ludlum and other blockbuster authors will drop nearly simultaneously. With so much firepower unleashed on the New Releases she…

    Trackback by Population Statistic — 10/01/2021 @ 02:00:46 PM

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