What is a digital asset and why do authors need them? A digital asset is any form of content and/or media that has been formatted for digital consumption and is accompanied by the rights to use it. For authors, digital books are their primary digital assets. An author’s photos, videos and blog posts are also digital assets.
Today’s 24/7 social mobile world has created a huge demand for digital assets, especially the highly visual sort like photos and videos. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and other social networks were built because people love sharing their digital assets with each other.
With the growing demand for social content, authors need to start creating more digital assets and organizing them so potential readers can explore them and fans can share them. Let’s look at some ways to generate and organize digital assets for maximum exposure.
Create a specific page on your website where reviewers, fans, journalists and others can access the digital assets you’d like them to share. Think of this page as your personal digital assets gallery. This web page will make it easy for people to enrich their posts and comments about you by including multimedia elements. For example, if a fan wants to post about your latest book on their Facebook page, they could go to your gallery, download your photo and attach it to their post. Bestselling author Paulo Coelho has created a dedicated website page, an extensive photo gallery, for readers and the press. Coelho also has his own YouTube channel. It’s a missed opportunity that he hasn’t posted a selection of his videos in his photo (multimedia?) gallery as well.
Produce new digital assets frequently as you go about your day. Smartphones have made this really easy. Digital assets don’t have to be professionally produced to be effective. In fact, sometimes the little imperfections of a home-shot photo or video make them more powerful. Here’s a short list of ideas for creating digital assets.
- Photos – Ask a friend or family member to take a couple of shots of you in your writing zone. Capture photos at every book signing, book festival and writing conference you attend. You’re also a human being who has interests other than writing. Don’t be afraid to share a few photos of the real you. Of course, your book covers and any art from your books are also important digital assets.
- Videos – Hit a wall in writing that scene or shaping an important character? Take a break and make a one-minute smartphone video about the experience. Or, if a fan asks you an interesting question at a signing, ask him or her if they’d mind asking it again on camera. Use your smartphone to capture the exchange. Don’t forget that your book trailers and taped interviews are also digital assets. Links to these should be shared and available on your website.
- Art – Take a few short lines from your book and turn it into a piece of art. Paulo Coelho makes eCards for his fans. Yours don’t have to make yours as fancy as his, but think visually when creating them. You can also make book marks for your fans to download. Microsoft Word has a nice template for this.
- Audio – If you like reading passages from your book, it’s increasingly easy to make an audio recording from your smartphone or computer. Keep the sound clip to about a minute or two. You can even create customized ringtones that your fans can download to their phones! If you write to music, you can share your playlists.
Organize your digital assets so that you can access them quickly. Many of your digital assets will be “evergreen,” meaning they remain fresh for a long time and can be shared more than once. Make it easy to find each item in your collection of digital assets. Label and date each asset. Categorize them by subject and media type. Create folders on your computer for photos, videos, art and audio clips. Regularly update your multimedia gallery with new digital assets.
With a growing assortment of digital assets that you’ve organized and made easy to access, you’re ready to share with the world. Once you’ve gotten the hang of creating, organizing and sharing these multimedia snippets of your life on a regular basis, you’ll begin to see increased attention and engagement from readers and reviewers. In the end, that’s what digital assets are all about!
Kathy Meis (@katmeis) is founder of the award-winning social book discovery and commerce platform, Bublish (@BublishMe). She is also a professional writer, editor and editorial manager with more than twenty years of experience in the media and publishing industries and has worked for such prestigious editorial brands as CBS and Forbes. Kathy is a frequent blogger on the subject of book promotion, author branding and discoverability.