Thursday, February 16, 2006

The "Webbers" and the "Webless"

I had a lengthy conversation today with the extraordinarily accomplished author of a book that I've been asked to help promote.

This person is literally a world famous expert in her field. She has 20 years of practical experience. She was on the board of the principal governing body within her area of expertise. Her career has enabled her to travel the world representing her country. She has built a respectable clientele. She has authored several other books, including what is widely regarded as the definitive volume within a niche area. She is a contributing editor to several reputable periodicals. She is also an accomplished speaker and lecturer, presenting classes and conducting symposiums throughout the world.

She's brilliant, engaging, articulate, and knowledgeable. Her newest book really is a Must Have. I hope to come up with ways to bring it to the attention of everyone who is interested in its subject matter.

But before we can plan a marketing strategy, or devise a cohesive campaign, we have to address one key issue:

She does not have a website. Her business does not have a website. And she's not really interested in investing her time towards creating one. She would much rather do what she does best -- and who can blame her?

This is not the first author I've worked with who doesn't have an online presence. Geoff doesn't have a site. Nor does Dr. Warson . But since I'm co-authoring projects with them (and since I believe that websites are important way to connect with today's readers), they both have de facto web pages through my site.

I'm a "Webber." I spend several hours a day online, doing research, fact-checking, and gathering information. I rarely use the yellow pages anymore -- I prefer to look things up online. I can find archived articles, access previous references in the news media, listen to radio interviews, watch film clips, and look up related information quickly and easily. I am of the opinion that everyone with a business, a project, or a product should have a website... in order to reach someone like me.

Many others, however, are "Webless." They have thriving practices, businesses, and careers without having any sort of online presence. Some of these people don't even have e-mail! More often than not, they do -- but they don't have a website.

The key issue that must be addressed before marketing ths book (and, consequently, this author), then, is this:

* Do I focus on encouraging the author to become a "Webber," to create a website and establish herself online? Many of my marketing strategies are laughably simple, provided there is a central website to disseminate information, and to direct interested potential clients to.

* Or do I focus on devising a marketing campaign that is not web-reliant? It could be an interesting exercise in testing off-line strategies -- not only for this client, but also for future Webless Ones.

I was initially leaning toward Option A -- Convert Her to Webberdom. But after some reflection, perhaps Option B would be better. If she's Webless and likes it, who am I to tell her how to run her business? Perhaps working off-line will force me to find more creative ways to get the word out about her book.

Ultimately, of course, the choice is up to her. Should be an interesting campaign.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

Beware the Ides of February

Quick updates of other news:

Yesterday, we had what became an aborted meeting with our longsuffering Tax Lady. We were supposed to do our taxes. Turns out that the spectre of 2005 reared its ugly head in a big way, so we came home to regroup and amass more information before we venture out and try again.

On Valentine's Day, one of my very good friends had surgery for breast cancer. Both breasts and some lymph nodes were compromised. She is in her mid-30's, beautiful, wonderful, warm, and funny. I've heard that she came through the surgery well and is doing fine. She's got agressive rounds of chemo and radiation ahead of her. Compared to cancer surgery, I have nothing to complain about. If you'd say a little prayer for Kim, I sure would appreciate it.

The printer's proofs of Geoff's book are in at Trafalgar Square. Rebecca (one of our editors) had a little question about the USEF rule regarding the mandatory wearing of ASTM approved headgear for all jumping competitors. Don't you just LOVE when a sweeping new regulation goes into effect as your book is being printed? It's unclear whether or not a change to the manuscript is warranted. That's up to Geoff.

No news from He Who Will Not Call. The very real possibility looms of having the publisher cut our losses and scrap the entire book project. Mixed emotions ensue. On the one hand, I've done an enormous amount of editing work on the existing project. It's wanting only two chapters, and it would be ready to go. On the other hand, HWWNC's name would go on the cover, and he would get sole writing credit. (!!) I really feel that it is a deeply flawed project. I'll be happy to finish it, if that's the decision. But I'd be just as happy to let this one go.