Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Electronic Publishing, Organic Brand Growth and the Go-Green Initiative

Award-winning author of The Wright Scoop, consultant, lecturer, wordsmith and Public Relations Chair for the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW), Sylvia Hoehns Wright recently launched her latest book, Market Share, make it work for you! based on nation-wide market experience gathered through one-on-one interviews, distribution of a survey, workshop participation  and column commentary.  Sharing her scoop – who, what, when, where, why, how and benefits of  acquiring  market share, Wright – as well as other industry professionals in various fields provide insight as well as practical guidelines, tips and strategies for implementing communication formats proven to ‘grow green’ market share or establish a form of marketing based on 'green' methodologies. Defined in simple terms – ‘green’ is a frugal use of limited resources which results in decreased product/service expenses, increased profit and earth-friendly activities that provide for present-day lifestyles without sacrificing the eco future or others.  A part of the book's focus is to help businesses and individuals enable a form of communications that establishes a brand of product; that product being you.  We've touched upon the concept here in our blog of "Be the Brand"- how it is necessary as writers to not only market our work but also ourselves in every facet of our professional interaction with the public domain.  Aware present-day globalized markets require that you don’t simply sell your work but yourself, through soliciting assignments, networking, and gaining credentials through education and experience, Wright became a recognized brand, ‘eco’ Industry advocate who specializes in business, communications and green-scaping concepts and who has also broadened the scope of her communications research to include arts/literary sectors.  As such, I was asked to contribute to this book a piece on organic marketing growth and brand development as it applies to electronic publishing and the writing industry.  What follows is an excerpt entitled, "Necessary Growth and Evolution".  A bio of Wright appears below along with further information on the book, Market Share, make it work for you!


Necessary Growth and Evolution

By Nicole M. Bouchard, Editor-in-Chief of The Write Place At the Write Time,

Two contributing factors have played a role in the go-green initiative that has taken hold of the publishing world.  Not only a result of increased environmental awareness, economic downturn has spurned a spike in electronic publishing to minimize costs.  Snail-mail queries and submission packages have been replaced by e-mail and digital upload forms while writers and publishers alike are turning to the electronic book form for the final product of the finished manuscript. In the industry, I've seen substantial change over the years with the most drastic occurring between spring of 2010 and spring of this year with the e-book evolution.  In less than two years, fiction sales as e-books have gone up nearly ten percent.  In the third quarter of 2010, wholesale e-book sales had reached just shy of $120 million.  These market shifts trickle down the branches to affect not only the way publishers do business, but also how editors, agents and writers do theirs.  With the entry of conglomerates buying up some of the most prominent book publishing houses as only a small percentage of their bottom line, editors felt the compression with a need to make more commercially viable decisions, narrowing the flow of approved publishing endeavors.  Agents started to be turned to in order to fill in the figurative spaces and pre-screen author projects to an extent that they hadn't approached before, meeting editors' new standards and acting as figurative gatekeepers to traditional publishing.  The writers, in response, had new roles to fulfill; suddenly they had to become well-versed in marketing, become their own publicist and learn how to sell themselves and their work from the query letter all the way down the finish line to post-publication.  Post-publication marketing had been a large factor originally associated with self-publishing yet it has taken on substantial significance in traditional publishing as well.  Electronic publishing has opened doors to accommodate these shifts.  Best-selling e-book author H.P. Mallory who has bridged the gap between self and traditional publishing by signing a contract with Random House, said of the current industry climate in a recent interview with The Write Place At the Write Time, “Now is the most exciting time for writers- the markets, the readers, as opposed to only the editors and publishers, get to decide what is a success.”

Our online literary publication was founded three years ago with the mission of creating a community-like atmosphere fostering growth and inspiration in the areas of literature, art and culture.  To be widely accessed and turned to as a resource, we have appreciated the online form that allows us to be cost-effective and keep the publication free to the public.  In terms of brand, we set high standards from the beginning that developed into our USP (unique selling proposition); what we're "selling" or rather "promoting" is a unique online environment in the form of a literary journal that addresses the needs and wants of the modern writer/reader.  As writers, we are ever mindful and in touch with the author experience (submitting work, having work accepted/rejected/published, etc...) and as a result of this knew what kind of publication we ourselves would want to deal with; one that maintained a personal touch in their correspondence/feedback and worked closely, personably with the writer to deliver the final product (this key component is knowing your market).  Add to the mix writers' hunger for knowledge and the near countless resources (some good, some not), you want a publication that guides you gently in the right direction with helpful tools, suggestions, interviews with best-selling authors, articles, interaction...  It’s often a guiding whisper of wisdom to say, ‘I’ve been there. Here’s a lantern and let’s walk the rest of the way together.’  Our vision was to create a safe haven of encouragement and warmth for creative expression. Our vision has evolved as we have; now we maintain those founding principles as well as add to them through the inspiring experiences we have with our writers and artists. We keep a personal touch to all aspects of the publication- everything from design to forming lasting friendships with contributors. We aim to inspire, educate and entertain on a profound level. Yet the aim goes far beyond that in our goal of carving out a very human visage (face) on the publishing industry.

We've recently started a separate blog to discuss the business aspects of the writing field and one of the recent posts is titled, "Be the Brand; Brand Management for Writers."  An excerpt from the post sums up the philosophy of what we feel and have observed a brand really is and the areas it touches upon:  "In each aspect of yourself that you present, in how you conduct yourself, the ideas/causes you champion or oppose, all of it makes up who you are as a writer.  The important factor is to, above all, be yourself and let the distinguishing traits show through.  Too many contemporary writers feel the need to self-camouflage and risk being lumped together by genre instead of distinguished by traits as individuals.  For your site, your book covers, your correspondence, your public appearances, pull together a comfortable theme that fits you and will have you standing out in the minds of readers, reviewers, editors and publishers."  A brand should be a natural, organic evolution of who you are or who your company is; communicating that brand extends to each outward facing component that you have of your business (and your affiliates) in the public sphere.  Publicity, promotions should all tie in with your theme- what makes you unique, your abiding philosophy and mission.  From our Twitter account, Facebook page to interviews done of us, there is always a clearly discernable voice and thread that lets the reader identify who we are, what we represent and how we work.  Carrying over those same standards to all our endeavors has helped in establishing our brand and meeting the expectations we set forth.  Reflecting on our three years of a publication and how we first began, it was always our philosophy first, then the action in adherence to that philosophy and then the effects which were the making of the brand.  Like the story of the king who sent two farmers out to grow a bountiful harvest, one hastened to throw down as many seeds as possible, over-watered them and tugged on the roots each night to make them grow; the other took a handful of seeds and patiently cared for them, nurtured them with love and trust, knowing that he was doing what he could for them, knowing it would take time for them to blossom.  It was the second farmer whose crop was abundant when the harvest arrived and the moment came to set out their bounty before the king.  It takes the same patience, nurturing and skill when it comes to growing and maintaining a brand. 

Market Share, make it work for you! author bio for Sylvia Hoens Wright- A former career strategies columnist for the Greater Richmond Partnership’s Work magazine (WM), Wright and the Green Industry. As a communications personality, she appeared on WTVR Channel 6 TV, FM 97.3 Inspiration Corner, WCVE PBS Richmond Channel 23 TV and Channel 35 TV Author’s Review. She is published by The Office, Data Management, Your Computer Career, Green Profit and Today’s Garden Center magazines, Richmond Times Dispatch, Mid-Atlantic Grower newspapers, and VA BBB & Information Executive newsletters; and blogs for Build Green TV and VA’s Plant More Plants program.
Wright provides speeches and workshops for national and international conferences such as the All Cities Congressional City Conference held in DC, corporate department and business association meetings, has taught communications for the Virginia Community College system, and is scheduled to provide a workshop for PLANET’s Green Industry Conference held at Louisville, Kentucky, Kentucky Expo Center, .
A graduate in BS Management of Communication Systems at VA Commonwealth University (VCU) and participate in MS Special Studies at VCU, Wright is a graduate of the VA Natural Resource Leadership Institute program sponsored by UVA and VA Tech and was the recipient of the Turning America from Eco-weak to Eco-chic AwardMarket Share, make it work for you! is available through Wright’s LuLu Store option, or any retail book distributor.

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