DOLLARS & SENSE
Sales Help You’ve done the difficult, lonely work of writing a book, now you have to sell it.
BY CUYLER GIBBONS lmost no business or industry was immune to the disruptive effects of the Internet. But when words left the physical realm to become electricity, the businesses that made the actual books that once carried those words were in particular trouble. Book publishers took it in the spine. At the same time that it was smashing the big publishing houses, the Internet was democratizing the means of publication. Digital books, and the advent of self-publishing platforms suddenly made it possible for seemingly anyone to become a published author. And all at once, seemingly everyone was. Or at least some one million new people were…every year. That’s A LOT of competitive noise
to try and stand out in. of the most grossly inefficient markets Back when having your book picked out there has to be the book publishing up by a major house meant the imprint market.” Hajj’s academic curiosity would get behind your work had already given him some and promote its existence to insight into this world when the world, marketing was the a good friend finally sold a least of your worries. Your manuscript, after a year of chief worry came from effort. Hajj had read and the fact that the chance of respected the work which, actually getting picked up despite being published by at all was soul-crushingly a reputable university press, small. Now, when everyone sold only 200 copies. His RAMZI HAJJ can “get published”, the trick friend was devastated, but is making noise. The bottom line Hajj could see it had nothing to do is, if you are writing books today, unless with how the book was received…because everybody already knows your name, it hadn’t been read. Almost nobody you need some marketing help knew it existed. and your likely not getting it. The book’s entire Fortunately, Pasadena marketing budget was locals Ramzi Hajj and perhaps $500, “essentially Nathan Tyler have a nothing,” says Hajj. solution. Hajj, a business And, with no plan consultant with a of his own, and no background in economics professional direction from NATHAN TYLER “always loved thinking the publishing house, his about markets and market friend’s book languished. Not inefficiencies.” And, he says, “One because it wasn’t (continued page 52)
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good, but because it was completely invisible. Hajj saw an opportunity and did a deep dive, and began consulting with authors, helping them navigate the complicated and still evolving digital book marketplace. Hajj, who came to Pasadena in 2004, found the partner he needed in San Marino High School graduate Nathan Tyler. Tyler, an expert software developer, has been coding since 3rd grade, but to better realize the application of his software in a business environment, like Hajj, pursued a degree in economics. Together the pair have developed STORIAD, an online platform for authors to create, deploy and direct a well-tested promotion program intended to get the word out to the right people at each stage of the publishing and marketing cycle. The digital book world can be a complicated eco-system and “creatives” like authors, often need a simple modular approach to the more prosaic business requirements of actually selling a book. Storiad is intended to be that system. Writing is easy it’s been said, “You simply stare at a blank page until drops of blood appear on your forehead.” Today, marketing a book might be harder. Hajj and Tyler have deconstructed the process down to 10 actions and identified the individual services and platforms required to achieve each. To anyone trying to navigate the book marketing ecosystem this alone would be immensely helpful, but Hajj and Tyler went further and developed a single platform that integrates all the functionality required to produce these 10 essential actions. It’s a one stop marketing shop, made intuitive and easy to deploy through repeated testing and experience working with individual authors struggling to sell their work. If you’ve done the “easy” work and written the next great American novel, and now you’re ready to set your shoulder to the wheel of commerce and sell what it is you’ve produced, check out Storiad. com and get some help with the heavy lifting. § For more on Storiad or to give the platform a test drive visit www.storiad.com.
Storiad was featured in the May/June print edition of Pasadena Magazine