June 11, 2014 Last Updated 2:15 pm

Wednesday column: Data-driven decision making fundamentally transforming digital publishing

Each Wednesday, TNM invites digital publishing leaders to discuss industry topics, or explain and demonstrate the latest solutions involving digital media. This week’s columnist is from Heather Wied, Marketing Director at the digital publishing engine Pubsoft.

There’s a lot of talk in business circles about the transformative power of Big Data and how new analytics capabilities are changing the way companies do business on virtually every level. In this case, the talk isn’t just hype: Data-driven decision making is fundamentally transforming the way businesses market and sell their products and services, and that’s true in the publishing world too.

The analytics yielded by ebook platforms are changing the industry, including the relationships between authors and publishers and the way writers interact with readers. Thanks to data generated by digital publishing platforms, today’s publishers can make data-driven decisions that help them channel their investments more effectively and accurately manage talent, design and marketing.

screen-author-royaltiesToday’s digital publishing platforms allow publishers to more effectively market books and sell directly to readers online. This capability allows publishers to rebuild relationships that were disrupted by big box ebook sellers like Amazon. With the data publishers capture and analyze via digital platforms, they can collaborate with authors to generate reader interest, using social sharing solutions to build communities – and collect even more reader data.

Digital publishers can collaborate with authors to create branded websites, facilitating direct sales and encouraging interaction between writers and readers. Reader communities are becoming an important part of publishing in the 21st century, with readers forming discussion groups and friendships online. Reader communities can be an important resource for writers as well.

With an advanced digital publishing solution, publishers can effectively manage author relationships, provide transparent royalty sharing information and deliver payments. Publishers can analyze author metrics individually, by genre and across the publishing house, gaining valuable insight on performance so they can make data-driven business decisions.

Reader analytics are also crucial to publisher business development efforts, allowing publishers to identify trends, find up-and-coming authors and optimize content. Much as ecommerce sites use digital analytics to pinpoint areas of interest to shoppers and make relevant offers, digital publishers can analyze reader data to find out what content readers find most compelling and help readers discover new authors.

Publishers can also use digital platforms to test book designs and marketing strategies, rolling out various looks and campaigns and monitoring responses to determine the right approach. With these capabilities, publishers are able to more effectively target readers and drive sales.

As modern publishing’s digital success stories demonstrate, data and analytics have a profound impact on the industry, restoring relationships between authors and publishers, fostering closer connections between writers and readers and leveraging social media to drive sales and facilitate content discovery. Data-driven decision-making is helping the next generation of publishers thrive and grow in digital era.

Heather Wied leads the marketing and sales efforts for Pubsoft. Prior to her career in publishing, Heather held marketing and sales positions for entrepreneurial ventures across different industries allowing her to accumulate experience in building a brand from the ground up. She holds an M.S. Marketing degree from Texas A&M University.

  • Laurence O'Bryan 4 years ago

    Great post, Heather. Data, especially about who your readers are, will become the bedrock indication of readership for authors in the future. Putting this data in the hands of authors is the key task for all of us in this industry.