Are You Paying Attention?

The average person’s attention span is 8 seconds while a goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds. goldfish Yep, you read that right. Goldfish, while carrying a much smaller brain, have longer attention spans than people.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, consumer attention spans have decreased significantly over the past decade. In 2000, the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. In 2013, it was measured at 8 seconds.

This is important information to know if you promote books on the Internet. If you want to capture people’s attention, you must give them information in bite-size pieces that they can easily digest in a few seconds. This is why visual content (pictures, videos, infographics, factoids) have become so popular. Visuals can be easily consumed and shared.

If you are not yet mixing in lots of visual content in your online marketing efforts, check out these six reasons you should start using more visuals. Visual Content

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Social Media Tips for Authors

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, a publisher of books for children, recently launched a how-to video series on using social media for their authors. These fun, short videos give some nice tips for using social media.

Authors have mixed feelings about social media. Some think it is a waste of time, while others think that it helps connect them with readers and spread the word about their books. One nice thing in Eerdman’s videos is that they make it clear that social media itself does not sell books. Other marketing is still required. Rather, social media is a tool that can augment your other marketing strategies.

Watch this how-to video on Twitter by Eerdman.

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Collecting Reading Data

Data provides information that can be analyzed to help businesses improve. Hence, many businesses seek various types of data to use in evaluation purposes.


Authors and publishers like data also. One piece of data that was difficult to secure in the days of print-only was information on how people read books. With book publishing, information often only flows one-way—from content creators to consumers.

Digital books may be changing this information flow. With the advent of digital books, data on how people read books can be collected. Reading apps and e-reading device software can record virtually every user interaction with a book from when a book is opened, to when a page is turned, to what time of day the book is read, to when the book is abandoned, and more.

Currently, the biggest seller of ebooks, Amazon, does not share any of this data with authors or publishers. Others, like Kobo, have begun to make some of the data available—for a fee. To protect consumer privacy, user data is aggregated and anonymized. An author or publisher cannot see what any particular individual did. So, correlations cannot be made on things such as writing a review on Goodreads and tweeting about the book. Hence, a lot of valuable marketing information remains hidden.

Is it possible for an author or publisher to put a piece of software inside an ebook so they could see how customers are actually reading the book? Is there a way authors and publishers could have direct, unfettered data from their ebooks?

Interestingly, there appears to be a way to do this. One company, Jellybooks, has developed a working prototype of such an application. Jellybooks has found a way to combine HTML5, CSS3, and JS to create an application that can be attached to an EPUB file. This application records how the book is read.

Due to concerns about privacy, Jellybooks is currently only using the software with some free ebooks that are part of a focus group. The reader gets a free ebook, and in return, the publisher gets data that shows them how each individual reader is interacting with the ebook. In essence, this software is being used in advanced-reader copies that are issued not to collect reviews, but user data.

Jellybooks believes that the kind of reading data that their new software is tracking is really most valuable before a book is published. Knowing how individual users are interacting with a book can better position the publisher to make changes in the final copy to better engage readers, as well as better position the publisher for marketing and promoting the book.

What do you think of this idea?

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Use This Medium to Promote Your Books

Online video viewing continues to grow. Tapping this medium to promote your books can be smart marketing.

According to the research by Pew as outlined in the YouTube video below, comedy, educational, and how-to videos top the list of what people are viewing. Watch this video, and then think about how you tap into this trend and create an educational, how-to, or humorous video to promote your book.

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