Digital Publishing Strategy Stages for Illustrated Non Fiction Titles

These stages can be run in parallel and obviously the priority/cost of conversion between front and back list and individual titles should be considered.

Basic conversion of existing titles to digital

  • Ensuring you have digital rights for all of the text, photos, illustrations, maps etc.
  • Conversion of your PDF/InDesign/Quark print files to ePub,.mobi etc.
  • Uploading and distribution of digital titles to the numerous online eCommerce websites.
  • Marketing the digital versions of the book.

Content digitisation and workflows

  • Conversion of your content to a simpler way of storing and accessing it such as an XML database.
  • Changing your workflows so the content databases can be edited and products created directly from them.

Maximising the value of your content i.e. getting your content out to more people and in more formats.

  • Re-packaging your content involving re-designing products to suite digital devices.
  • Licensing and providing access to your content for other uses.
  • Using your content in marketing to help create and keep communities interested in your products.
  • Build or create links into online communities where your content can be marketed. As you gain access to online communities interested in particular subject areas this can then help influence your publishing program.

The Implementation of your Digital Product Strategy

There are various different stages that you should assess when looking at your digital strategy.

Research the general market and your market

The first thing you need to do is look at the following:

  • Market – what’s out there already, how is it being sold, what price point, numbers etc etc
  • Innovative ideas – these are often in different products, but look at what’s moving forward in your subject areas.
  • Your market – assess what your target market is, how they buy/download, what technology they use etc.
  • This will give a great overview of what areas to assess within the strategy development.

Mature your ideas

Firstly look at the ideas you have already for your titles. You, as the publishers of the books know the titles the best and often have a great grasp for what their readers will enjoy, and thus buy. Often it’s a lack of confidence to go forward with these ideas or not knowing how to complete the ideas is where the sticking point is. However if you’re creating your digital strategy in-house, actually getting something written down can really help you move forward and stop just talking about it.

What are your long term and short term aims?

You need to have a clear understanding of what you’d like to do, where you’d like to start and generally the speed / direction of where you’d like to go with digital products. Then you can start working out what they’re going to be and when you need to develop them.

Define a product strategy / Action Plan

Once key decisions have been made about the best way forward for your digital products, you should develop a strategy, this could include:

  • A written document detailing a product strategy that you can move forward with within your timeframe / budget. This will overview the type of products (technologies – i.e. Kindle, ePub, apps etc), the content of potential products and distribution lines etc. This could be created in something as simple as excel for each of the titles and the product types you intend to create.
  • A digital product schedule to help you understand the long term and short term priorities.
  • Detailed product walkthroughs, technical documentation etc to enable you to send to our external development company for the different types of digital products you have decided to create.

Linking in with website / marketing

Once you have your digital product strategy in place don’t just leave it there, careful consideration needs to be made for distribution and marketing. Look at how to use your website and marketing activities to best promote your digital products.

We are entirely focused on delivering a range of digital services to publishing companies and authors. We’re great at creating effective social media campaigns, but we also like to think we’re pretty good at digital product development, web design and other online marketing activities too.

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Author: Stuart Surman
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