Consumer demand drives so much of a book’s success. Want bookstores to carry your book? Customers should be walking in the store to ask for your book by name. Want libraries to carry your book? Library patrons should be requesting your book, too. And once your book is in the (physical or digital) store or (physical or digital) library, consumer demand is what will keep your book being purchased or loaned out—and on the gatekeeper radar—which will help your other books gain traction, too.
IBPA’s cooperative approach to book marketing—share the cost across a community of indie publishers to make it more affordable for all—has always focused on reaching the trade audience: booksellers, librarians, media, foreign rights agents—those middle people who curate and tell their audiences about great new books.
Now IBPA is launching two new consumer book marketing programs, the Booky Call Book “Dating” App and the Public Radio Author Interview. We chatted with IBPA’s Director of Education and Programming Lee Wind to find out more.
IBPA: Why are these programs happening now?
Lee Wind: Presenting IBPA members’ books directly to consumers has long been on our radar, but we wanted to find really special opportunities, not just duplicate some of the things that work in the trade space.
IBPA: Why not?
LW: The trade audience is pretty focused. Looking just at magazines, IBPA programs include cooperative ads in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Foreword Reviews, and those magazines reach a huge portion of the trade audience. But consumers are so widely spread out. Again, just with magazines, there are a gazillion niches, and the reality of having to aggregate similarly themed titles into cooperative ads across multiple magazines to promote the books of not just a few but many of our publisher members didn’t seem feasible. We wanted—and needed—a different approach.
So to start IBPA’s consumer marketing offerings, we settled on two different programs: one cutting edge, and the other tried-and-true.
IBPA: Tell us about the cutting edge!
LW: I’m so excited about the Booky Call Book “Dating” App—and the amazing deal we got IBPA members to have their books be part of it. Booky Call (it’s pronounced Boo-ky, like someone’s your “boo”) is a book discovery program that matches consumers with books—and it leverages the psychology and functionality of a dating app.
Here’s how it works: Booky Call’s creative team uses a digital copy of your book to craft a book review in the form of a dating profile to connect with potential readers emotionally.
Readers who like “the tease,” aka the book’s short introduction, can scroll up to read “the profile.” That’s where your book will have answers to questions like “What are my most attractive traits?” and “What will we eat/drink on our first date?” It’s a very clever book review! If there’s an audio version, readers can even listen to a sample. If they like what they read and hear, readers swipe right and are then direct messaged links to “the Date” where they can purchase the book.
The direct messaging for “the Date” captures the tone of the whole Booky Call user experience: “OMG! Thanks for letting me slide into your DM’s … What do you say we get out of here and meet up IRL …?” And then there are links, “Meet in Real Life – Print edition”; “Keep it Digital – eBook edition;” “Whisper in my Ear – Audiobook Edition.”
It’s fun, powerful, and works for both fiction and nonfiction.
IBPA: It does sound very cutting edge.
LW: It’s pretty new, and very buzzy. Booky Call launched September 30, 2021, and by January 2022 they’d already grown to over 200,000 users from more than 200 countries and territories. They were featured by The Washington Post, and they’re growing by 3,000-5,000 users a day.
IBPA: So there’s a special deal for IBPA members?
LW: Yes! We negotiated $50 off the regular $299 to have an IBPA member’s book included in the Booky Call library for a year. All IBPA member books will get a special tag that helps promote independent publishing as a whole universe of great reads. And for the extras—like being featured on Booky Call’s podcast, or having your book send out a Booky Call “You up?” push notification—IBPA members will get a 15% discount.
The coolest part is that a book in the Booky Call library will be continually matched for that entire year to all new Booky Call users based on their preferences. So, as Booky Call’s user base grows, so will the audience matched with your book.
IBPA: That is cool! What’s the “tried-and-true” consumer book marketing program you mentined?
LW: That’s the Public Radio Author Interview. This one is cool, too, but in a completely different way.
Getting your author interviewed on public radio is an opportunity to reach a coveted audience that is gender balanced, ethnically diverse, skews 35+, are leaders in their personal and professional networks, and have more spending power than general market radio listeners—and they spend money on books.
IBPA has teamed up with Entertainment Marketing Group (EMG) to offer a customized IBPA-branded version of their Insight Daily Radio program that spreads an author interview over five different two-minute segments. The segments are distributed to National Public Radio (NPR) and more than 115 local community radio stations across the US. Each segment airs once—Monday through Friday—and the program in total generates over 2.3 million listener impressions each week.
IBPA: Whoa, that’s a lot of listeners.
LW: We’re very excited about it. And we negotiated an amazing deal for IBPA members: The regular cost for a publisher to purchase a spot in Insight Daily Radio directly from EMG is $3,000, but IBPA members pay only $1,500.
IBPA: Is this everything IBPA will be offering in terms of consumer marketing?
LW: Launching a new program is a big endeavor, and two is double the challenge. Having said that, we’re always on the lookout for great new book marketing opportunities IBPA can offer our members. In fact, if any readers have a cutting edge—or tried-and-true—book marketing program to suggest, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can explore it for the future.
Learn more about IBPA’s new consumer marketing programs on the IBPA website, ibpa-online.org. Go to Store > For Publishers > Consumer Marketing.