5 Questions for Maria Cardona, host of BookMachine Barcelona [INTERVIEW]
Maria Cardona runs her own digital consultancy for publishers and will be hosting our first Spanish BookMachine event. Prior to setting up Mmcardona, she worked in both trade and educational publishing, and was also part of the core London Bookfair team. Here, Maria shares some of her thoughts and tells us why you should come along to BookMachine Barcelona.
A couple of months ago I started up my own company, a consultancy focused on digital strategies and online marketing for publishers, literary agencies and authors. I run the company myself, but with a great network of specialist freelancers, which help me to provide the best service for every client.
My aim is to help publishers, agents and authors with their digital strategy and to develop new ideas to both promote authors and titles, as well as finding new business models and reaching more readers.
2. How has online marketing changed in the past 5 years?
Thanks to technology and new tools like social media, we are able to reach readers easier than ever before; to start conversations with them, and most importantly observe them and collect data. This gives us -publishers, agents and authors- great information and insight into what readers like, want, need, etc., and so we need to start focusing on new marketing strategies, mostly online and audience-driven. It is a new concept for marketing and promoting books. You also need to take into account that the life of an ebook is longer than the life of a paperbook on a bookshelf.
3. What would you suggest for publishers who are keen to improve their SEO, but wary of Google algorithm changes?
SEO is very important to position titles and authors online. Books now can have longer lives thanks to ecommerce, ebook and POD. Discoverability is a problem (for publishers, not readers), so we need to make titles and authors more discoverable than ever and SEO can be key to doing this.
We need to take extra steps like adding an author on Wikipedia, starting blogs and other organic ways to work on the SEO of a title or an author. Google will move in which ever direction it likes, and we can’t do much about that, so my advice is to always think about SEO as a part of your online marketing strategy when promoting a title or an author, without being too obsessive about it.
4. Why do you think Barcelona is a great place host the first Spanish BookMachine event?
Well, it’s quite obvious, isn’t it? Barcelona is a great city! Seriously, Spanish publishing industry is mostly based in Barcelona or Madrid, and two of the big-three, Random House and Planeta, have their headquarters here. Also, Barcelona has always been the centre of the publishing industry for the Spanish language as a whole, so it is a city where many publishing professionals, and also many writers, live.
5. The talk is focussed on start-ups; why do you think publishers should be collaborating more?
Javier Celaya is the best person to talk about that, and I think he will deliver a great talk about this topic. Publishers need to seek new business models and new ways to reach readers, so start-ups can give fresh ideas and great solutions to technological issues that can be too difficult for publishers to face on their own. There are some great Spanish start-ups, such as 24symbols.com, Bookmovies.tv, Byeink.com, Globalbook, and many more.
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