News for Authors

Our Continued Commitment to Print

by Annette Danek-Akey|May, 2017

It’s been well documented, after years of debate and concern, that print books are here to stay and can easily coexist with digital books. We have many successful digital imprints across Penguin Random House, but we also have a continued commitment to print. Read on to learn more about how our fulfillment teams support our print books and authors.

Across two facilities—in Westminster, Maryland, and Crawfordsville, Indiana—our fulfillment team is known as the best in the industry: meeting on-sale dates, shipping reorders ASAP, processing returns quickly, answering customer questions within twenty-four hours, and tracking all author-appearance orders. As we look to the future, we have been making enhancements and creating new initiatives to keep Penguin Random House at the forefront of print book fulfillment.

 

Fulfillment by the Numbers

 

Key Author Initiatives

We are always looking for ways to keep our existing processes as efficient and smooth as possible, but we also make the effort to support authors with new initiatives.

 

Shipping to Author Appearances

As you may already know, our authors can get a discount on all Penguin Random House books ordered via the Author Portal. But you might not know how we work with various bookstores on shipping orders for your author appearances.

For every author appearance or event, each order is tracked to its destination and a customer service representative will follow up with the bookstore individually to confirm the shipment has arrived in good condition, to make sure your appearance goes as smoothly as possible. Any author who has a tour can reach out to our customer service team, who will facilitate the bookstore orders.

 

Bringing Authors in to Sign at Our Facility

For titles with larger print runs, we have the ability to bring authors in, on the recommendation of their marketing team, to sign massive amounts of stock. This is a great benefit for authors who don’t mind spending a day signing hundreds, possibly thousands of books for distribution to bookstores across the country.

Our customer service representatives help make the process as smooth as possible, stacking and prepping books and providing music of the author’s choice. If you’re interested in signing at our facility for an upcoming book, reach out to your publicist.

 

Two-Day Shipping Over the Holiday Season

To stay competitive with other publishers, and to make sure our authors’ books are always in stock over the busy holiday season, we offer two-day shipping to indie bookstores across the country. We’re able to do this by relying on our strong distribution networks and our two major facilities in Westminster and Crawfordsville.

 

Expansion Project

Last year, our Westminster Distribution Center celebrated its fiftieth anniversary.  This month, ground will be broken on a 190,000-square-foot expansion (the equivalent of more than three football fields) of the center.

When it opens in January 2018, the new space will house approximately 32,500 full pallets—a 30 percent increase in capacity. The 8,000 pallets currently in outside storage will then return to the facility, and all product will once again be stored in the same location.

 

Annette Danek-Akey is Senior Vice President, Fulfillment for Penguin Random House.

 

Cracking the Asian Markets: Sales and Promotional Opportunities for Children’s Books

by Christine Swedowsky|May, 2017

The market for English-language children’s books in Asia is large and growing, with China, the Philippines, and South Korea at the front of the pack. In 2016, these three countries collectively accounted for well above half of all revenue in our Asian markets. In China alone, children’s book sales have increased by 100 percent yearly from 2014 to 2016.

 

How do we connect with audiences abroad?

In a recent Author News article, we covered some of the many ways we connect with audiences abroad. Tours are a key component of international outreach, whether they are blog tours or global author tours. But what works best for most regions is tailoring our products to fit the regional market, and creating area-specific marketing and publicity campaigns around selected titles.

Read on to learn how we tailor campaigns and products in each of our top three Asian markets.

 

South Korea: digital learning supplements and audio packages

For many decades, speaking English in Korea has been considered a critical skill. English is a required subject for Korean students through most of their education, from elementary school through university. Though grammar studies are important, Korea has recently begun to emphasize verbal and conversational skills. This presents a particular challenge for Korean parents without a strong grasp of English.

One product that helps manage this challenge is SayPen, a popular new audio reading device developed in South Korea, similar to American brands such as LeapReader or AnyBook. When reading, the child scans the text of a specially made book with the pen to activate a recording of the text within the pen, which “reads” the text aloud to the child.

At Penguin Random House, we facilitated the creation of proprietary SayPen editions of Eric Carle’s Today Is Monday, The Very Busy Spider, and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. With partnerships like this, we are able to extend the reach of our books in challenging markets while fitting those markets’ needs.

Another popular tool for children of non-English-speaking parents is audiobooks packaged alongside physical books. Our Korean Nate the Great box sets include twenty-eight books and an accompanying CD set. And our education-oriented Step Into Reading website features more than three hundred titles available to Korean audiences, many of which include workbooks and CD sets.

 

China: targeted social media 

One of the best examples of tailoring outreach to regional markets can be found in China. While most of the West relies on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and a few others to help promote their titles and build buzz around books, China’s social media landscape is vastly different.

In China, the social platforms WeChat and Weibo offer opportunities for both promotion and sales of children’s books. As of August 2016, there were more than 700 million WeChat users, and around a third of these users routinely make purchases through the app. Unlike many Western social media platforms, Weibo also allows its 340 million monthly users—of whom 90 percent are below the age of thirty-three—to make direct e-commerce purchases, which gives us the opportunity to promote and sell titles on the same platform.

We work directly with reps in China to promote children’s titles and popular box sets, which helps us reach new buyers in the largest Asian market.

 

Philippines: connecting with an active blogging community

The Filipino market is an exciting one for our young adult groups: it’s an export market with a 100-percent English-speaking population and an enormous enthusiasm for YA titles. The Filipino blogger community is vast, vocal, and influential—and they love our books!

This enthusiasm goes beyond blogs and into bookstores as well. In the Philippines, the National Book Store Facebook account has more than 1 million subscribers and broad global engagement. This page connects YA readers with authors and publishers through contests, cover reveals, and book previews.

We also communicate with the Filipino YA community through physical author tours, and in some cases, we develop special YA export or customized editions of English-language titles.

 

Working with such diverse markets offers us spectacular opportunities to fit each market’s needs while expanding our reach. From picture books to YA, as Asian markets grow and technologies advance, we will continue to adapt and pursue our goal of getting our books into the hands of young international readers.

 

Christine Swedowsky is International Marketing Director for Penguin Random House.

How to Use Visuals to Strengthen Your Social Media Posts

by Jennifer Clare|May, 2017

Visual media has become a must on social media. Studies show that social media users across all platforms respond better to and interact more with pictures and images compared to plain text. Tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets than tweets without images. Facebook posts with images see twice as much engagement as those without. And Instagram, a platform specifically designed for image-sharing, recorded more than 500 million users in June 2016.

In an information-saturated social media landscape, images help content stand out, enabling us to quickly scan and filter through the noise. While authors may feel more comfortable painting pictures with words than creating pictures in Photoshop, creating visuals doesn’t have to be hard work.

Take a moment to think about your audience, the message you wish to convey, and what kind of visual can help enhance that message. Below, you’ll find some useful tips to help you strengthen your visuals on social media.



 Facebook Cover Photo Example

 

Tools and Resources

You don’t need an expensive software program like Photoshop to edit your photos. Here are some suggestions for tools that help you create eye-catching, compelling images.

Check out PicMonkey, a cost-effective image editing tool that doubles as an image creation tool. With an intuitive design and plenty of templates to choose from, PicMonkey is great for beginners.

Pixlr is another online photo editor, which consists of two separate tools: Pixlr Editor and Pixlr Express. For those with some design know-how Pixlr Editor is a robust tool that allows users to work in layers, transform objects, replace color, and more. Pixlr Express is a good option for beginners, functioning more like Instagram, with options to add filters, overlays, text, and borders.

For those always on the go, Snapseed for the iPhone and iPad is invaluable. The app offers numerous filters and tools for basic editing, like tuning color and cropping, and more advanced options such as Healing, which removes an uninvited neighbor from a group picture, and Double Exposure, which allows you to blend two images together. Their Insights tool also offers tips and tricks for general photography and for using the app.


Quote Cards Example

Creating Graphics

If you want to keep your designs simple and are just looking to illustrate a quote with a nice stock image, check out Quozio. Their bookmarklet lets you instantly create an image out of any text you highlight on a web page. Simply scroll through the styles to find one that best matches and share it with your audience.

Canva is an amazingly simple tool for graphic design. This drag-and-drop design service comes with an extensive collection of free and paid (only $1) templates, stock photos, graphic elements, and fonts. Canva is a great choice for those who are totally new to graphics, but it isn’t just for amateurs—its sophisticated design functions can come in handy for professionals too.

 

Designing Infographics

Venngage has both free and paid accounts that make it incredibly easy to create and share infographics. Choose one of more than 100 infographic templates, add your data, insert some graphics, and share!

Infogr.am is another great tool for illustrating big data and creating infographics ready for sharing.  Create interactive pie charts or design more complex visuals like word clouds. With more than twenty ready-made design themes and more than 1 million images and icons available, you can easily create and customize compelling data visuals.

 

 

All in One

For those interested in diving deeper into design and photography, Gimp is a wonderful alternative to Photoshop. This free software combines a paint and drawing tool, a photo retoucher, and a batch processing and conversion tool—plus, it has basic Photoshop features like layers, filters, and effects. Beginners may need some time to learn the interface, with its many different features to navigate, but luckily the Help menu is very user-friendly.

As you explore new ways to incorporate visuals into your social media strategy, don’t forget the importance of great profile images. Visit News for Authors for a refresher on this topic.

 

Jennifer Clare is an Associate Manager of Web Content and Social Media for Penguin Random House.