TECHNOLOGY FEEDS INNOVATION, BUT IT SHOULD NEVER BE AT THE COST OF GOOD STORYTELLING
When Trident Media Group’s company controllers were conferring about starting an e-book marketplace at the literary agency, one point quickly emerged as a guiding principle. The Digital Media & Publishing Department had to be constructed so that the authors’ interest, Trident Media Group’s interest, and the literary agents’ interest were all completely aligned. The new department, as is the case with all of Trident’s activities, would be there to serve the clients. So it was an easy decision for the clients to participate and benefit: Trident would only charge its customary commission based on revenues received by the authors, and Trident would not become an e-book publisher, profiting at the client’s expense, being a rights holder, and finding itself potentially in an adversarial position with authors.
From that decision, all else flowed. By utilizing Trident’s Digital Media & Publishing program, authors are empowered and able to make a greater profit than by using an outside service that costs, in many cases, more than double Trident’s commission. Trident’s Digital Media & Publishing Department adds significant value, allowing the author to devote more time to writing an e-book than the mechanics of e-book processes and taking advantage of the latest marketing techniques that may be suited to a particular book. As the e-book business evolves, the professional capabilities and knowledge of the Trident digital team will have a substantial and positive impact on its authors’ careers.
At its core, Trident’s Digital Media & Publishing department provides comprehensive services for authors who want to explore self-publishing opportunities. Whether it is a text-rich novel or a highly illustrated children’s book, the team works closely with the author to ensure that the transition from print to digital is both seamless and never at the expense of the story. The scope of services includes assistance with digital conversion, copyediting, cover design, copyright registration, distribution, metadata optimization and marketing.
“When the department started in 2011, there were far fewer players and the road to market was much more straightforward,” says Nicole Robson, director of the department. “Now there are thousands of e-books published every day and our job is to help authors tap into the right audience at the right time.”
“Testing is key. A curated assessment of each author’s current platform and their approach to digital marketing is critical to developing brand awareness and market value. In all of our marketing campaigns, we work closely with authors to ensure that goals are determined in an effort to pinpoint where the author’s core audience lies.” The focus is the author: whether it’s a hybrid author with multiple books published, a brand new author or one who wants to make their reverted backlist available in digital for the very first time. The Digital Media & Publishing team works closely with each author and their agent to determine individual goals and to build a customized campaign around achieving those milestones.
Design is also about storytelling. It starts with the brand and curating a message across multiple platforms that encourages engagement. In our campaigns, we work with the authors to provide creative that is consistent, aligns with the author’s message and compliments the brand. The department provides in-house assistance with several marketing initiatives, from blog outreach and advertisement placements to social media campaigns and mobile advertising.
We’ve found that authors enjoy having more creative control over the process. And we encourage collaboration during every step. The Digital Media & Publishing department also provides regular sales reporting and consistently mines its backlist for related milestone anniversaries and price promotion opportunities.
Chairman Robert Gottlieb emphasizes that Trident’s Digital Media & Publishing is for all of Trident’s authors. “If you are an author with contracts with a publisher, you can still write e-books that have different characters, story lines, and genres, and let us help you broaden your brand.”
By utilizing Trident’s Digital Media & Publishing program, authors are empowered to devote more time to writing, while also and taking advantage of the knowledge and expertise of the Digital Media team. Robert Gottlieb adds, “Then there is the re-engineering of authors to and from the e-book marketplace that can lead to significant deals in traditional publishing in North America.”
Trident as a whole is also excited by what we understand to be the multiplier effect. When an e-book put up on retail sites by Trident’s Digital Media & Publishing Department gets traction, the book then has the potential for Trident’s literary agents to sell the book in the international markets, as an audio book, and yes, as a print book, as well as into motion pictures, TV, and other entertainment media.
Possibilities in this new canon are endless, but at Trident we always put the story and the author at the forefront of every decision.