Facebook Marketing Tool Odyl Boosts Authors

Never mind books about Facebook. What about marketing books on Facebook? Author J.T. Ellison turned to an author-focused marketing tool from Odyl, with great success thus far.

Odyl designed its product specifically for authors and publishers to use the social network for marketing purposes, and it offers them the following features:

  • A simple interface to create Facebook campaigns, with no coding required (as Odyl Chief Executive Officer Mike Taylor said, “Any eight-year-old needs to be able to sit down and design a marketing experience”);
  • The ability to provide exclusive content for Facebook users, including book excerpts, trailers, author interviews, music playlists, and games;
  • The option of offering giveaways;
  • Interactive elements such as polls, quizzes, photo and writing contests, and virtual gifts;
  • The ability to import reviews from Goodreads, authors’ blog posts, tour dates, Scribd documents, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, and other content; and
  • The ability to track audience metrics.

Odyl is aimed at serving the needs of both big-name and upstart authors, and Taylor went into more details on that subject in an interview:

Random House launches 6,000 books in a year. They can’t even begin to think about custom marketing. They can only think about rapid, easy-to-launch, scalable marketing.

Our team is pretty small, and we focus at the high part of the pyramid so that we get some name recognition, but we absolutely want this to be a solution for everyone. For small authors, rather than trying to go out and spend $2,000 to $3,000 on creating a website, it’s now better to do it on Facebook, instead.

Taylor said there are three levels of Facebook use by authors.

  • The first is to set up a free Facebook page, and rely on friends and contacts to promote it.
  • The second is to tweak that page with an application like Photoshop, which makes it more like brochureware, or a billboard, with no social experience.
  • The third level, the application tier, is where Odyl comes in.

Taylor, whose wife is an author who has used the tool, added:

There’s so much great content there and so much to talk about. When you can find ways of layering that content into applications — there are people around the world who would never, ever have had any kind of connection with my wife before Facebook. The biggest step forward is when you can start to operate on this application layer: This is now a social experience.

We asked Taylor for his take on the changes Facebook began implementing in recent weeks, and he said:

Facebook knows that they don’t want to look like Myspace. The Web is looking nicer, In more elegant ways, and I think that they’re responding to that. Strictly from a design standpoint, what they’re coming up with has the potential to look great. It’s great for us: It makes our job very easy.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said applications are a great way for companies to display the content that matters to them, and the things that are the most natural to share are movies, music, television, and books.

Facebook is huge. We need to speak to people. When a friend of mine reads a book that they love, they’re going to hound me and in every way follow me around until I read that book.

The Ticker: If I see that my friend is listening to music, I may want to listen to the same song right now. The same if you’re looking at a book excerpt — you may want to read the same passage right now. Adding verbs to the lexicon (reading, listening) is going to be super helpful. There are all sorts of possibilities that will make content richer and relationships identifiable. Reading is a great fit for the timeline.

As for Ellison, her use of Odyl and Facebook to promote her recently published seventh novel, Where All the Dead Lie, generated some rapid results, as the book was released Sept. 20, and the author’s Facebook fans rose 250 percent in just one week. The e-book version debuted October 1.

Ellison took advantage of some of the Odyl features listed above — excerpts, giveaways, polls, interviews, and trailers — to help boost her presence on Facebook.

Odyl also offers her fans and readers one-stop access to her blog, Twitter feed, videos, and news.

The author herself says:

Having a two-way conversation with my readers matters. Facebook is, after all, where our culture’s conversation is happening. Odyl is helping me find new ways to connect with and grow my readership. Via Facebook, readers and I can replicate the connection of meeting in-person. I can amplify this using Odyl to offer fans exclusive giveaways, like signed copies, free short stories, and insider secrets about the books.

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