Author & Publisher Strategies

Reviews are still king

As long as you don’t handle negative reviews the way Alice Hoffman did, they remain the most effective way to reach and engage potential buyers, eclipsing Twitter and Facebook, according to Ad Age‘s Abbey Klaasen. Reviews offer fully explained reactions to products purchased by real customers in contast to the fragmentary telegraphic conclusions posted to Twitter and other social messaging sites.

The challenge for companies is finding a way to listen effectively to buyers when they write reviews on blogs and at commerce sites. Here are the four “right ways to user reviews,” from the article:

  • Embrace the feedback — find a way to actually listen and digest the customer’s ideas inside your company.
  • Tout your customers’ favorites — they can tell other customers better than you can.
  • Incorporate customer service (yes, use reviews to identify problems and solve them for customers).
  • Don’t stop there — let reviews grow into communities.

All of these ideas are critical to publishing success, as well.

Author & Publisher Strategies

Talenthouse: Collaboration and exhibition venue

TalenthouseA new creative community,, launched this morning with video and images from hundreds of recognizable artists, says it will “eliminate the age-old artistic struggle for recognition and instead focus on creative excellence,” according to founder and CEO Roman Scharf, who also founded JAJAH, a voice over IP developer.

The Mountain View, Calif.-company offers an elegant alternative to MySpace and suggests it will help artists collaborate. Artists can join and propose collaborations through the site. The main functionality, however, is the ability to upload and display works. It is primarily a platform for being seen and finding fans.

Talenthouse pledges to foster “seasoned and up-and-coming talent and proactively facilitating interaction between them and established icons and industry players.” The language takes art and places it squarely in the marketing speak of corporate development. I am not sure this is the correct way to put it in order to win artists to the site. Yet, sites of this kind are going to be notable hubs of activity in the careers of working artists and performers.

Supporters of artists are encouraged to share their fandom with automated tools for posting to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other social networks. It looks like a viable marketing platform, but I find its statement that it is the “only purpose-built online platform for all artists and creatives” over-reaching, as there are many such services vying to support and, in return, gain the support of artists. The site has 25,000 members after its alpha testing phase and aims for a million within a year.

Talenthouse is currently aimed at visual and performing artists as well as fashion entrepreneurs.

The Reading World

Where games are going, books will follow

Follow the gamers, they know. Electronic Arts COO John Pleasants told VentureBeat: “If you believe all games will eventually be services — as I do — then the idea of game teams that make a game, ship it, and then do something else goes away. They will now ship and day one begins when the customer gives feedback to the live service. The way you distribute will be different. The way you charge will be different. There will be more permutations in pricing. Merchandising will be much more important. Co-marketing will be much more important. You have to have persistent identification and entitlements for a user, no matter where they are or in what game they’re playing.”

This is the prescription for book publishing. Not all books will be online services, but all books can tap Web services to connect readers to more than just the text. Think Books-as-a-Service (heck, let’s call it “BaaS” and go fishing).

Authors can accomplish much of this on the Web