In an earlier post (Blog to Book Networks), we explored morphing blog networks into book publishing houses. This would work especially well for the specialty book publisher for several reasons:
- Writers within a network, blogging about sub topics within the same general topic area, can reinforce each other with links and help each other build readership.
- The network can use blog analytics to detect hot content areas and, once there is sufficient content, quickly create collaborative titles that can draw their readership from that of the individual blogs contributing the content. These analytics are like deep ocean tsunami sensors. They detect movement and strength well before the big wave becomes visible. Examples of analytics that might come into play here could include: number and quality of comments to posts in a category; total number of trackbacks to posts in a category; categories with posts that are frequently bookmarked; total number of downloads of certain kinds of content and so on. Networks could even detect whether there is systematic movement of particular visitors between related blogs.
- Content for a prospective book can be tested in the network and adjusted to the audience response. Keyword research can be used to identify and extend the audience for promising topic areas.
- The network becomes an early book promotion and marketing machine – e.g. the place where virtual blog tours begin.
Think of a literal net. The general topic area represents the size of the net. The number and relationship of sub topic blogs is the mesh. The closeness of the sub topic areas is the fineness of the mesh. A finer mesh will more quickly sense and respond to a developing trend. But too fine a mesh could result in subject overlap and duplication.
A network that has a coherent topic space, an extent sufficient to capture a reasonably sized audience, and enough fineness to sense trends quickly, has the capability to ‘surround” and quickly mine profits from a subject area. Compare this with the lengthy developments cycles of traditional publishing: waiting for a publishable manuscript from a lone author and guided by gut instincts or past sales data that may no longer be relevant.