BEA 2008 – Basic Web 2.0 Takeaways

May 30th, 2008 · 8 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

The BS team spent the first full day of 2008’s Book Expo America watching booksellers, publishers, agents, authors, and everyone else get religion. In 2006, Don Tapscott, author of Wikinomics, spoke to what should have been this crowd about the future and how the publishing business needed to move forward quickly…sadly, Tapscott spoke a large contingent of well-wired bloggers and a few other bodies.

That room should have been packed to the gills.

At this year’s Book Expo, held in unbelievably gorgeous Los Angeles — city of beautiful weather and clear skies (yes, the skies are clear) — the educational sessions on Thursday were non-stop Web 2.0, and, as attendees left their luggage and hit the Convention Center, increasingly packed with people eager to learn how they could use online activities to grow their business.

No, it’s not too late, but, man, it’s time for some serious education. Some of the panels were clearly too broad, filled with far more new concepts than the crowd could absorb (Twitter? I just got the Facebook, and what do I do with that?). Some of the panels were too short — a panel on publicity opportunities in the Web 2.0 world could have been an all-day seminar…and not comprehensive enough.

Since I’m technically supposed to be there right now (thank you Laurie Viera Rigler and husband for a great, late dinner!), I’ll leave you with a few key takeaways and a promise to revisit these ideas in other posts:

  • Experiment – The cost of entry into most of these ventures is low, so it’s worth your time and effort to test new ideas, to get a little wild. You never know what’s going to work.
  • Resources – Yeah, I just said the cost was low, but ain’t nothin’ free in this world. The future of marketing and reaching readers is all about building and sustaining community. You go to them and you listen to them and you give yourself to them. This takes time. Figure out how you’re going to work this interaction into your schedule. Doesn’t have to be a lot of time, but it does have to be some genuine time.
  • Play to your strengths – Huh? What strengths? Whether it’s a book, author, major corporate entity, or bookstore, what methods of communication do you do best? The experimenting you’re doing after reading takeaway one should be giving you idea about what you like and what you really loathe (and don’t confuse loathing with not being good at it!). It could be a mix of approaches — actually it will be a mix of approaches — but if something is clearly wrong for you or your work, then don’t do it.

    Your dislike for the process will shine like an ugly beacon and the audience you’re trying to woo will feel your inauthenticity and turn away.

Now the team if off for a day of fun and conversation.

[tags]book expo america, book expo america 2008, bea, bea 2008, web 2.0, marketing, publishing, books[/tags]

File Under: Marketing For Introverts · Perennials

8 responses so far ↓

  • Kelly // May 31, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    Ummm. The tech stuff is interesting (and informative, even if it adds about two weeks of work for me this summer…I’ve been meaning to get up to speed on Twitter…) and all that…but can’t you give us a taste of the fun stuff, too :-) Like this:

    Wish I was there!


  • Lorra // Jun 1, 2008 at 5:46 am

    Kassia –

    Reading this post, I felt my heart seize. There is so much I need to learn and learn quickly. I’ve been like so many other wooly-headed sheep, walking around in a daze, pretending this shift in publishing wasn’t gong to happen.

    Help! You have to keep posting on this, beat us little lambs into submission . . . oh wait, you have been posting on this. We just haven’t been listening.

    I’m listening now. Tell me what I need to know because I feel like an idiot.

  • deb smith // Jun 2, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Yes, share, share! For the life of me I can’t figure out how to use Twitter to build a reader community. I mean, I can see how readers might connect to each other via Twitter, but am not sure how a publisher connects to readers that way. But then, I’m so low-tech I still can’t figure out how to customize a MySpace page.

  • CircleReader // Jun 2, 2008 at 9:27 am

    Thanks for the reporting from BEA, Kassia!

    Perhaps your overworked, heart-seized readers might enjoy reading Clay Shirkey’s Here Comes Everybody, to get up to speed on this historic shift (after reading all your archives, of course).

    I’ll look forward to your follow-up posts on these takeaways. I especially appreciate the second–that even though the cost is, as the ad-men say, “LOW! LOW! LOW!” it does still take resources (time! attention! social capital!) to do something good.

  • Laural // Jun 2, 2008 at 11:11 am

    Hi everyone! I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who KNOWS I need to get more up to date…but it is a huge learning curve. My store has a myspace page…and a website…but neither is where it should be. Nice to know I’m not alone…

  • Deborah Clark Ebel // Jun 2, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Oh, how I wish I had 30 hour days and 8 day weeks to discover and really use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and all the other online communities. But then, when would I find time to write?

    Tell us what’s important and why, please.

  • Kassia Krozser // Jun 2, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    More stuff to follow from BEA: a list of myths demythified and some think pieces (because we all love to start the summer thinking). The social web topic is huge (as anyone who has tried it knows!), and we’re putting together a project that will help make sense of what’s out there, how it can help, and how you can manage the social without killing yourself or destroying your writing.

    Oh, that reads like marketing copy — sorry. Both Kirk and I have been having lots of conversations with people on this topic, and I’m still in explanation mode.

    However, I can give you one quick and dirty answer — do what works for you. Deb, while Twitter is great (and I avoided it forever because I knew I’d be too into it), it requires cultivation like any other social media. I find it’s a great way to toss out short thoughts, silly comments, and links to new posts (last week, I had one post hitting an email list within five minutes of posting the link on Twitter — either someone is really monitoring my RSS feed or, more likely, was on Twitter at that moment).

    As a writer, I tend toward social media that plays to my strengths. I can be dragged into a podcast (with promises of wine!), and if you ever see me in video, well, the promises of wine were made into reality and I’d indulged. Not photogenic in the least! I also acknowledge my limits — I only have so many hours in the day (they tell me it’s 24, but I think that’s wrong). This means the most effort goes into writing here (because it’s my primary place).

    So, rather than playing guru, I’d ask you to ask yourselves what are your strengths. By way of example, my dear friends Jill Monroe and Gena Showalter have revealed amazing skill in the video arena (and of course, both are talented authors) — and since they started Author Talk, they’ve found a huge new audience (and revealed their real selves in the process!).

    And experiment. A lot…now, to do the thing I say I do, and finish today’s post because it might offer a bit more information!

  • Kassia Krozser // Jun 2, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Kelly, sigh, first rule of the Internets: you don’t mess with the Goldberg beat (Tod or Lee). Thus I must cover boring tech stuff while Lee gets the glamour. I know my place!