14 episodes

Get smarter about your books! The BookSmarts podcast features discussions about publishing data and technologies and interviews with industry experts, deep thinkers, and doers, bringing you insights that will help you sell more books.

Joshua Tallent is an acclaimed teacher and guide on the role of data in publishing, and a vocal advocate for high quality book metadata. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing complex board games, playing Minecraft, and fiddling with his 3D printer.

The BookSmarts Podcast, with Joshua Tallent Joshua Tallent

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Get smarter about your books! The BookSmarts podcast features discussions about publishing data and technologies and interviews with industry experts, deep thinkers, and doers, bringing you insights that will help you sell more books.

Joshua Tallent is an acclaimed teacher and guide on the role of data in publishing, and a vocal advocate for high quality book metadata. In his spare time, Joshua enjoys playing complex board games, playing Minecraft, and fiddling with his 3D printer.

    Episode 13: Alessandra Torre on Indie Author Strategies that Publishers Can Use

    Episode 13: Alessandra Torre on Indie Author Strategies that Publishers Can Use

    Alessandra Torre, CEO of Authors A.I. and BingeBooks and a NY Times bestselling Psychological Thriller and Romance author, joins Joshua to talk about various strategies independent authors utilize when marketing and selling their books, and how publishers can take advantage of these strategies.

    Alessandra's suggestions cover a wide range of topics. Being flexible in pricing, testing new prices periodically, and setting affordable ebook prices can be a great way to see what price the market will bear for specific products. Cover reveals can be a great opportunity to get the word out about a new title, and sometimes the author can be a herald for that reveal event. Authors can also be helpful in getting upcoming books into the hands of blogger, influencers, and reviewers (for example, by using the widgets available in NetGalley). Also, an update to a backlist title's cover image has the potential to give older titles new life and keep them relevant to readers for many years to come.

    While some publishers have a dedicated team working on their backlist, no single publisher is able to completely manage every title.

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    Are you lacking access to the full picture when it comes to monitoring your titles? Are you feeling defeated, knowing that you are missing things, not catching the issues that impact your sales and can make or break your success?

    I understand how frustrating it can be to lack crucial information at the moment you need it the most. That’s why Firebrand, the most trusted name in publishing data, created Eloquence on Alert, the most powerful title performance monitoring tool available. Gain unique insights about your titles, take more control over what happens on retail sites with timely warnings and alerts about issues and opportunities you would otherwise miss, and the gain peace of mind that only comes from having a solid solution behind you.

    Schedule a demo today, or visit the Eloquence on Alert website to learn more.


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    • 22 min
    Episode 12: Michael Cader on Challenges and Opportunities in Publishing

    Episode 12: Michael Cader on Challenges and Opportunities in Publishing

    In this episode, Michael Cader, Founder of Publisher's Lunch and PublishersMarketplace.com, joins me to talk about some of the challenges and opportunities publishers are encountering. Publishers are doing great right now, with record sales and profit margins, and larger year-over-year growth than anyone could have expected. Meanwhile, the people who work in publishing, including booksellers, authors, and many others, are feeling stressed and are not necessarily seeing the personal benefits that come from this extraordinary growth.

    Michael talks about what he sees as a reset: a reassessment of what publishing does and how it does it, and an opportunity to address some longstanding limitations that the industry as a whole has been unable or unwilling to address, from diversity to the locations of publishing offices, to the types of content being published.

    I would love to learn more about this podcast's audience, and make sure that I'm creating content that you like and talking about topics that you want to hear. So, I've created a short, four-question survey that will help me learn more about you and get some ideas for what you want me to cover more in this podcast. You can access the survey by going to https://booksmartspodcast.com/survey, or just visiting the podcast website and clicking on the link in the navigation bar. Please take a few minutes and help me understand you better!


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    • 17 min
    Episode 11: Recent Kindle Changes: A+ Pages and the Death of the MOBI Format

    Episode 11: Recent Kindle Changes: A+ Pages and the Death of the MOBI Format

    Amazon has recently made two big changes to their publishing systems, and both of these changes will have an impact on publishers of all sizes.

    The first change is that Amazon now allows publishers using the Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP) platform to set up A+ Content for their book product pages. The A+ program has historically only been available to companies who are signed up for the Brand Registry, so this change opens the door for many more A+ pages to be made. Joshua discusses the impact this change will have on discoverability and sales, as well as some of the limitations and gotchas that publishers should watch out for.

    The second change is that Amazon no longer accepts ebooks in the Mobipocket format. The MOBI file type has been a fixture in Amazon's ebook program since the Kindle was released in 2007. It is a compiled file format that acted as a container for the HTML and other code behind the scenes. Amazon will no longer accept MOBI files from any publishers, either for new books or for books that are being re-uploaded, and they are recommending that publishers send EPUB, Word documents, or KPF (Kindle Create) files. Joshua discusses these changes, including offering some practical suggestions for publishers who are trying to figure out what to do next.

    I would love to learn more about this podcast's audience, and make sure that I'm creating content that you like and talking about topics that you want to hear. So, I've created a short, four-question survey that I hope will help me learn more about you and get some ideas for what you want me to cover more in this podcast. You can access the survey by going to https://booksmartspodcast.com/survey, or just visiting the podcast website and clicking on the link in the navigation bar. Please take a few minutes and help me understand you better!


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    • 25 min
    Episode 10: The Need for Standards

    Episode 10: The Need for Standards

    Standards are an important driving force in every civilization. Standards help us all agree on how we define things, and provide opportunities for us to more effectively engage with each other in trade and in other ways.

    There is an interesting article in Science Magazine about how traders in the ancient Near East and Europe, during the Bronze Age, developed standardized weights and measures over time that allowed them to more easily trade goods with people from other parts of the world. The process of creating these standardized weights took place over a long period of time, but the weights are surprisingly consistent despite the time and distance.

    Standardization is much more complex today, and we now have international standards for weights like the kilogram. The Kilogram standard was developed in 1799, and a single cylinder of platinum-iridium that resides in Paris, France, has been used since 1889 as the internationally-recognized standard for a kilogram of mass. That changed in 2019, when scientists and governments around the world defined the Kilogram instead based on a newly defined value of Planck's Constant, in a process that took many years and many scientific experiments to define. Veritasium has an interesting video about this process. 

    All of this really leads to the point of this episode: standards are important. There is a lot of work being done in the publishing industry to define and update standards for things like BISAC subject codes, EPUB, ISBN, and ISNI. There are committees and working groups (especially at BISG) that discuss these standards, discuss best practices, and help the publishing industry advance.

    I highly encourage you to get involved with these organizations and join the committees that are developing and discussing these standards. More voices are always welcomed, and your unique input is needed.


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    • 16 min
    Episode 9: Erik Nelson on Branding and Marketing

    Episode 9: Erik Nelson on Branding and Marketing

    In this episode, Joshua talks with Erik Nelson, a friend and marketing consultant, about how publishers can approach rethinking their own branding, and develop a more powerful approach to marketing based on their passion and mission.

    Publishers, like other businesses, will fit broadly into three categories: 1) Those who are starting from scratch, have no major direct-to-consumer approach or marketing to speak of; 2) those who have a customer-facing brand, but know some things are broken and they don't know where to start on the repairs; and 3) those who already have some momentum on branding and direct-to-consumer, but want to throw some rocket fuel on that area. This podcast will be helpful for publishers in all three of those situations.

    Before you jump headlong into marketing and advertising, though, you have to start with the "Why". Where does the passion behind your company infuse your work? What's the deeper, more aspirational thing that got you in this business? What gets you jazzed and excited? You want to bottle that up and show it to your customers.

    After you know the Why, think about how you want to express it. That is where branding comes into the picture. Branding is like a mental shortcut for consumers. You want them to think of your brand when they think about the topic of passion behind it. Branding comes out in two areas: in the aesthetics or design, and in the messaging.

    Only after you have defined the Why, and developed the branding around that Why, can you start approaching the question of how to implement the sales and marketing aspects of your direct-to-consumer strategy. And that strategy will need to take on different forms in the pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase stages.

    Joshua and Erik get into all of this, and more, with direct connections to the publishing business and suggestions for helping you get more out of your branding.

    Erik has agreed to offer a free 30-minute call with anyone who wants to talk to him more about these topics, and about ways that he might be able to help you. Please visit his website at https://nelsonconsulting.co/.


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    • 25 min
    Episode 8: Everything You Wanted to Know About Keywords

    Episode 8: Everything You Wanted to Know About Keywords

    Keywords are a popular topic among book metadata experts and book marketers, and publishers reach out to me all the time to ask for clarification and advice on how to effectively deal with them. So, in this episode of the podcast, we are going to break down the topic of keywords for you in depth.

    Why do keywords matter? What are the best sources of keywords? How does Amazon's search engine use them, and how does it use other metadata you provide? How many keywords should you send out and how many are you allowed to send? What are some sources for keyword creation?

    All of these questions, and more, will be answered for you in this episode.

    if you have any thoughts about this topic, feel free to connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn. There's always more to learn, and I love hearing from publishers who are working on these issues in the trenches.


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    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

ad_aegyptum ,

So useful!

Thought-provoking podcast about the many uses of data in book publishing. Really hope this helps ignite a revolution of sorts in an industry that can sometimes get ossified & opaque.

kok66 ,

Clear, concise, relevant

Great podcast that applies to business beyond publishing. Will be recommending to all my publishing friends and beyond.

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