Connecting Authors and Audience Using Google+: Pierce Press

Connecting Authors and Audience using Google+: Pierce Press

Connecting Authors and Audience using Google+: Pierce Press

Today’s featured guest is Charlotte Pierce of Pierce Press, a publishing company outside Boston, MA. Charlotte has been using Google+ for a number of projects aimed at helping authors reach a broader audience.

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Google+ Business Spotlight Recap


Tell me about your business

I’ve been an indie publisher and freelance production editor since 1989. Another mom and I collected our family activities lists and published The “Compleat” Day Tripper for greater Boston in 2005. It’s now DayTripper Books, an imprint of my umbrella company Pierce Press. The first DayTripper was initially a fundraiser, raising $1,200 for the Arlington, MA public schools during a scary economic time. I converted it to a for-profit publishing imprint with the second edition. We’ve printed and sold about 5,000 books, and are currently preparing a new edition.

DayTripper Books publishes a series of popular family activity guides and blogs for greater Boston and Cape Cod. We’re moving into other regions and porting the series into cross-platform formats (blogs, pbooks, ebooks, video). An edition for iPad is currently in the works with Media Entities of Bedford, MA. I’m investigating open-source/open access platforms as well.

In collaboration with Independent Publishers of New England (IPNE), where I am a board member and regional branch coordinator, I produce the Face The Book TV show about independent publishing in conjunction with Independent Publishers of New England. I learned video production at Arlington Community Media (public access TV) starting from 2004. The first 6 episodes of FTB were produced and broadcast at ACMI.tv and bicycled to other community media stations around New England.

For the past year, I’ve been an editor on the Peeragogy Handbook project, and have been moving toward open-source, collaboratiive models in many of my professional and pro-bono activities. The old modes of doing business can be difficult to break, but there is something exciting, promising, and scary about that – just the thing for me!

I’m also involved in local and regional political campaigns, sustainable movements, world language education, and sustainable projects in Tanzania through the Rafiki Development Foundation and Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots international youth organization. I produce St. John’s Coffeehouse Concerts as a fundraiser for my church, and that’s another possible business area, producing live video Hangouts for musicians. I started a SJC business page and community to inform that activity.

Why are you using Google+?

Google Plus is becoming a virtual office and connected working environment for me. I like Google+’s integrated platform for sharing, collaborating, curating, gaining business insight, finding resources and quick answers, building relationships; even tying in those new geographically diverse relationships with existing local ones.

I love making the bits-and-atoms connection with this platform. I love finding real people who would be best friends and supportive colleagues if I’d met them at school or work, but they’re out there on Google+, shining like jewels and drawing me in. Google+ makes it easy for me to be myself online; to find like minds and avoid the dreck. Even people on G+ with positions not aligned with mine, tend to be honest, articulate, and worth knowing – at least that’s how I have my stream filtered.

I feel like Google+ was made for my brain and way of operating. I trust it.

Walk me through your Google+ routine

  1. Wake up, start hearing the notification “pings” on my phone from communities and circles I’ve chosen to be notified about (I turned on email notification only for my business pages & communities).
  2. Open G+, check the stream on my personal profile for interesting content, share good ones to public or business pages; mute dreck as necessary.
  3. Check the “jingle bell” on my phone or Chrome browser toolbar for the number of notifications.
  4. Read +1s, comments on my posts, and private messages.
  5. Make the rounds of my profile page and business pages to monitor shares, review content balance.
  6. Go back to home stream and curate for content I want to retain and read later (Google Keep on phone & tablet and Diigo on computer).
  7. Check Events for upcoming events shows I don’t want to miss – or Hangouts that I have scheduled and need to prepare for.
  8. Usually attend one or two HOAs on Hangouts, G+ best practices, etc. and review articles and blog posts on the same.
  9. Work on moving YouTube videos under personal channel to the correct G+ linked profile, including Coffeehouse Concerts, IPNE, Peeragogy, DayTripper Books, FaceTheBook TV; then promoting those on G+ and other social media as appropriate.
  10. During the day I’ll check the Jingle Bell and try to focus on engagement postings then, and keep an eye on useful developments, comment on postings, curate new arrivals, write public posts and share.
  11. Take some G+ posts and share them attractively on Facebook to encourage more of my atomic friends to try G+ – and just to broaden the reach of good content.
  12. Reach out by email, phone, and other means to colleagues and friends and subtly integrate something I’ve learned on G+ into the discussion.
  13. While I’m doing Pierce Press business, I’ll often dip over to G+ for resources and answers to questions.
  14. Post, lather, rinse, repeat.

Are you using any specific Google+ features?

We are currently moving Face The Book onto the Google+ Hangouts on Air platform for ease of production, sharing, and distribution, and looking for ways to incorporate more professional-looking elements and move beyond the “talking heads” – screen sharing, mixing different camera angles, and covering events on location, like bookstores. We used to have access to these in the ACMi.tv studio, but at great cost of time, effort, and expertise, which led to crew burnout. Hangouts are MUCH easier, but so far, are limited in production values you’re able to incorporate easily.

I was able to broadcast and record a Coffeehouse Concerts concert as a Hangout On Air (but again, the production values like audio and lighting are not the best. I’m thinking that reaching out to local businesses to offer Hangouts with good production values and an interesting might be a way to monetize my knowledge and experience with Hangouts. I’m working on reaching out to a few local businesses to conduct pilot Hangouts.

Please share a Google+ tip or two with our audience

Many of my hangout guests for Face The Book TV and Indie Office Hours are new to Hangouts. We want them to have a good experience and come across well, so when scheduling a Hangout On Air, I include in the description some tips on “Preparing to be a Hangout Guest” and a link like Ronnie Bincer’s. I have seen this bear results with guests actually showing up with lower thirds in place!

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