- Dann & Dann (2011), E-marketing Theory and Application, Palgrave [Publisher | Amazon]
- The last foray into publisher based book production.
- Hyperlinked Kindle chapters
- Designated and written for UK audiences, released in Australia.
This book was an interesting challenge. We had the opportunity to work with UK Publisher Palgrave, they of the supermerger set. In the course of the conversation from initial pitch to published outcome, we went from MacMillan, to Palgrave MacMillian, to Palgrave, to Springer, and Nature and who knows who else in the interim. So that was a challenge in and of itself – we were never sure if the next merger would wipe our contract because that was with the defunct firm (it’s happened before in academic publishing). Our email contacts at the company constant changed and bounced because mergers cut staff, changed IT provisions and generally saw people who we’d worked with for a few months suddenly get redeployed and we’d have to start over with the explanations.
Plus, we wrote a book for the UK market, and they sold it into Australia because we’re Australian authors, and our examples were british case studies, dot co dot uk websites. There are no Tesco’s in Australia, so that made our case study about their online ordering system in one of the Tube stations a bit useless. Which, also, was a major problem with the parochial nature of academic publishing – the UK reps wouldn’t carry out UK book by a UK Publisher because we were Australians (even appealing to Susan’s birthplace of Eastbourne failed to fire). So it was uniquely weird to have someone propose an Australian adaptation of the text, with an Australian coauthor, whilst we were struggling for traction in the UK market because we weren’t based at the Mornington Crescent College of Business and Light Rail.
This book was also very heavily experimental with our bid to turn our existing internal chapter cross referencing into hyperlinks. Having come through hypercard, and hand coding our own websites, we could see a value in being able to drop anchor tags in a textbook, and cross-reference key ideas so that if you were reading about the marketing mix, and we mentioned the value of Twitter as a sale promotion tool, we could hyperlink to the section on Twitter for promotion, and later, in the section on Twitter for promotion, link back to the sales promotion information. Multiple cross references were already a feature of our writing, where we’d flag concepts as either upcoming (Chapter 4) or having been introduced previously (Chapter 1).
The other novel feature of the eMarketing text was the support and supplement materials for the textbook’s end users – the academics. We were big fans of plain PPT, and got into a significant discussion with the textbook makers who were big fans of heavily branded supplemental materials. As we pointed out, the students did not get a say in which text they had to buy, so there was no point advertising to them – but the lecturers were the decision makers, so all the internal supplements such as the teaching guides should be branded and made to look sharp and fancy. We had mixed success on that front, with it coming largely down to me saying to the publisher “Give me the style guide and get out the way”, and the publisher being very put out that an author could do layout and graphics design. Later we’ll find out that we were responsible for textbook authors being expected to produce camera ready copy.
For the text, we also were unsuccessful in trying to introduce a delayed roll out strategy – we were very aware of content leaking, and that once an answer key existed to a quiz, you had to assume that key had been leaked to the internet. As classroom teachers, sometimes it’s easier for us to google the answer key for a quiz than it is to get it from a publisher. So we had a partial workaround to extend the longevity of our content by creating seasons/season passes. The plan was, we’d write 15 End of Chapter questions, and release them in blocks of 5 questions, once per year. The publisher pointed to the contract where we promised 15 questions, so we delivered our three blocks of five, with the release instructions, and they promptly released the lot in one go, because that’s what had always been done. Now, with video games have seasons, season passes and DLC, we’d have a much easier time of it. But in 2010s, the idea of a stagger release for longevity was not in the task list of a fire and forget publishing house.
We also introduced a novel approach of distributing content – using shared Dropbox folders. Again, an approach met with suspicion from our target adopters who were used to downloading zip files from the publisher, and not having contact with the author of the text directly (and also, the publishers and sales reps were not sure about this whole idea of an author speaking directly to a textbook adopter). Persist, we did, and we created these shared folders, and learned just how our emarketing colleagues faired with unfamiliar technology. Still, it was fun to experiment with a live studio audience.
When we wrote the book, we also were tasked with developing the support materials. So I took a constructive alignment approach, leaned into my training in my Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, and went for it with instruction manual, end of chapter question sets, and other supporting materials. We released our instructional materials in word documents, which was radical at the time, since the industry standard was PDF, and preference was given to assuming the instructor would print everything rather than read it onscreen.
Sample Chapter 01
For each chapter we build a set of exercises