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Apps Are Happening

Find out how an iPad application of your book can be a powerful marketing tool, and other tips on how you can apply the latest marketing trends to your title

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AuthorHouse Senior Marketing Consultant Dan Heise talks about trends, tactics and technology in this Q&A about the latest developments in book marketing. 

Q: Can an iPad app or other digital format be used as a marketing tool for an author?

Heise: Absolutely. There is a wide-open market for iPad apps, with millions of iPads sold and very few books that can be read on this format. This presents an opportunity for authors to fill this vacuum and gain readers.

The media is also interested in covering new technology trends, so the fact that an author’s book is available as an iPad app provides opportunities for media interest. The apps are low-cost, so it allows readers to discover new books economically.

Q: Does having a digital version of a book hurt the sales of the print copy of the book?

Heise: It actually does not. Rather, it provides opportunities for word of mouth. Early adopters (the first people to have iPads) love to show others their new "toys"—it’s part of the reason they buy new technology.

Most authors want readers as much as they want sales. One leads to the other through word of mouth.

Q: In the marketing world, people talk about "building a brand." What does this mean for an author?

Heise: Building a brand means creating an identity for your product, your message or for the author as an entity (the expert on teaching children manners, for example) that can be easily understood and appeals to a specific need, interest or genre.

We normally think of brands in terms of what comes immediately to mind when we think of a well-know product. Coca-Cola is the "Real Thing." At Burger King, you can "Have it Your Way." Google is where we go to find any information we’re looking for on the Internet. There are other soft drinks, restaurants and search engines, but we’re more likely to frequent those that have a specific, identifiable character and that we associate with a specific ‘brand promise.’

Q: What value does an iPad or other digital format add to an author’s brand?

Heise: Anything authors can do to define their identity in the marketplace adds to their brand identity and brand strength.

An iPad application can be critical in this goal. A book for young readers that helps them build reading skills will be much more effective if the book can "read itself" to the child. Children learn to read first by memorizing the words on a page, then by identifying them, and then by learning to build and identify words letter by letter.

If your book is the one that helps them make that critical first step, it will become a lasting part of their lives and memories. So an author has an opportunity to make their book "The book that reads itself to your child."

Q: Since AuthorHouse iPad apps are currently only available for children’s books, are there other cutting-edge marketing tactics that a nonfiction or novel writer can use?

Heise: Video trailers are a great way to use new technology to reach readers in the electronic age. YouTube is one of the most-visited websites today, and video has proven to be a powerful way to connect with audiences. Videos are easily and readily shared, and can be used in creative and entertaining ways.

Podcasts are digital recordings that can be posted to websites or sent via e-mail so people can listen to them whenever they want, through their computers, cell phones and personal digital devices.

Finally, social networking is clearly the future of interpersonal communication, and society as a whole is adapting to Facebook, chat rooms, blogs and message boards as the easiest way to find people with similar interests and engage them.