It's been just a little over two weeks since Writer's Digest was re-organized within F+W Media as a community-category (rather than as separate media/business units). Hands down, it's the most exciting time I've ever experienced at WD (and not because of the frenetic energy and craziness of Q4 environment in a poor economy).
Here are the major projects I've been working on these first 2 weeks:
- Releasing our books with new-media tools, delivering the same information or concept across all Writer's Digest-related properties in a way that makes sense for each one
(see Donald Maass example below).
- Launching new educational sessions (live webinars) through WritersDigest.com by end of year.
- Planning an all-new writers conference in Fall 2009 that focuses on the business of being a successful author in a time of great change.
- Developing a business plan for digitizing all of our backlist books so that writers can choose, chapter by chapter, what content they want and personalize it for their needs.
- Creating a unified brand identity that helps everyone immediately recognize any kind of Writer's Digest experience.
- Designating an Online Brand Editor who oversees and creates a strategy for our online content, no matter what its source (magazine, book, event, community/forum), and makes sure it all works in concert with each other. (And also evaluates what YOU visit and enjoy!)
- Evaluating WD magazine's editorial plans for 2009: what should our feature packages be and how should the columns/depts change?
- Launching of a new community site at community.writersmarket.com (kind of like Facebook for writers), for subscribers of WritersMarket.com
The immediate benefits I've noticed:
- We're starting to use our content in smarter ways and distributing it in different ways
- We're making better use of our internal talent (editors), who can contribute and be involved across all writing-related properties, not just their formally designated piece of the pie
- We're beginning to develop a more integrated and valuable online strategy that better serves writers
I think one of the best examples of our brave new world is how we plan to launch Donald Maass's new fiction-writing book next spring, Fire in Fiction. If this book had released a year ago, we would've run a couple ads, maybe scored an excerpt in the magazine, and that would be it.
Today, with WD run as a community-category, here's what's slated:
Original article on fiction writing from Don to run in spring/summer 2009
Original online courses (regular courses plus brief webinars) built around the book, offered in the months prior to and following the book's release
Simultaneous Kindle and other e-book editions
Online at WD.com
Sneak preview chapter posted before publication
E-launch party on WD.com blogs/forums, featuring exclusive live chat with Don
Free chapter download and advance purchase incentive (buy book early, get access to exclusive online chat)
Feature Don as a speaker for at least one event in 2009
Of course, all this change doesn't come without its challenges, and you'll no doubt get to experience a little of that rough road with us, as we figure everything out. As we boldly move forward, I hope you will come to our aid with ideas and suggestions (and perhaps a sprinkling of patience).