This interview is a discussion about the internet with online marketing coordinator Lindsey Reeder. You can read more from Lindsey on her blog, or follow her on Twitter: @reederreads.
Maria: I am so excited to ask you some internet-y questions! The last time I saw you in person (which was too long ago, by the way), we had a lovely coffee date where we talked about cheesy pop music from the 90’s and our love for YouTube celebrities. So I’m going to lead with the most obvious question: Who are some of your favourite YouTubers?
Lindsey: Recently, I heard a statistic that the age of avid YouTube watchers ranges from 18-29, which means I technically surpass the age of YouTube watching, but I can’t just can’t stop! YouTube is one of the reasons I’ve decided to cancel my cable, so now that you know how serious I am about this platform, here are some of my favourites (in no particular order):
Tyler Oakley — Obviously. He knows who he is, there’s no doubt that he works hard for “his people,” but he has a way of making it seem as if he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Miranda Sings — If you’re not watching her, what the even heck?
Ariel Bissett — Here’s a girl that really loves books and she has a way of getting me excited to read books I read years and years ago. Her enthusiasm is upbeat, charming and addicting.
Ron Lit — Another Canadian. Another lover of books. A new video about literature typically arrives every Thursday. When I say literature, I don’t just mean fiction, I mean classics, new, old, everything. I always learn about new books when I tune into this channel; there’s something for everyone.
There are so many more, but I feel it might be necessary to move on to the next question…
Tell me about your daily internet routine. Which websites do you always check? How much time do you spend on each one?
Well I spend my whole day on the internet. Literally all day! I blame Steve Jobs. Here’s a breakdown of my internet day… Typically, I wake up, grab my phone, check my email, Twitter, Facebook and check to see if any of my new podcasts have uploaded to listen to on the way to work.
When I get to work, I open up one browser that opens up a variety of tabs, which are (in this order): Hootsuite, Facebook PRH website, Twitter, Mashable and my Gmail account. Wow—sharing that information feels like I’m sharing my diary with you. I circulate between these six websites for the majority of my 9-5 day, spending most of my time on the social media channels and frequenting Mashable for about 10 minutes on an hourly basis.
When I get home, it’s fair game; frequently visited sites include your regular contenders (Twitter/Facebook), but some staples like Wordpress, Jezebel, Feedly, Globe and Mail, Pinterest, National Post and Gawker.
Then I sleep while Netflix plays until it automatically shuts off. My internet provider really loves me. This is sad. Please send help.
When I was ten years old, we had to sign up for an email address as part of a computer lab in school. My first hotmail account name had something to do with the Friends theme song. This quickly led to an obsession with MSN messenger… and I’ve been in love with the internet ever since. When did you first fall in love with the internet?
Oh the good ‘ol first hotmail account, people really should have warned us to choose our handles wisely and not choose complicated ones like, Lindz_83Ca! It was actually my Dad who introduced me to the internet. We were one of the first houses on our block to get dial up internet (I’m dating myself) and my Dad thought it was the coolest thing ever. He really thought it was cool that you could talk with people all over the world from the comfort of your own home, so he joined a chat room. Which might sound a bit weird, but he wanted to connect with people in other countries and at the time joining chat rooms didn’t have the negative connotations that they do today. SIDE NOTE: He no longer has any interest in chat rooms and isn’t the biggest fan of social media. While chatting, someone messaged him and she said hi, that her name was Karen and that she was 14 years old. As soon as she said she was 14, my Dad was having none of that, so he said, here’s a friend for you Lindsey and handed me her email. So I started a Hotmail account (when I was 14) and wrote this girl named Karen from Pennsylvania.
Although I’ve never met Karen from PA, I still talk to her and connect with her via social media. For sixteen years, I’ve stayed connected with the first person I ever spoke to on the internet. It’s weird, but we’ve supported one another on our careers, our families and any success either of us achieve. She’s been a constant staple in my life and building this first connection had an impact on me falling in love with the internet. So big thanks to my Dad… who now thinks I spend way too much time on the internet. This is all his fault.
You’re the Online Marketing Coordinator for Random House Canada. Can you explain what that means?
Mostly it means that it’s my job to go into work each day to talk about books on the internet. This takes a variety of forms; I manage our social media channels and ensure that we find new and creative ways to connect with the people that purchase our books. Sometimes that’s in the form of campaigns, working with bloggers, hosting online Twitter parties or hosting contests. Each day is really different and I’m so thankful that I get to work for a team that allows and values creativity.
Random House of Canada publishes so many great books each season, so another part of my responsibilities is getting assigned to specific titles to ensure that they get the required online representation that they all deserve in the online world. Essentially, if the book is being talked about on a social media channel, there’s a person behind that helping to spread the word. I’m one of those behind the scenes people. It’s not really work getting to tell people why they need to read Lena Dunham’s new book or why they should start reading all of Diana Gabaldon’s books after they’ve finished watching season 1 of Outlander. It’s an absolute joy getting to share my enthusiasm each day about specific books and this is one of my favourite parts about being an online marketing coordinator.
Can you name a few unusual digital marketing campaigns you’ve come across in recent years? Something outside of the usual book blog tour?
I’ve seen a couple that I think are really great; I’d say recently that in the book world it was hard not to notice Pop Sugar sharing their reading challenge in the last couple of weeks. Every time I opened any site about books, it kept popping up. These generic, fun topics tap into the real love of reading. A book written by someone under 30. A book of short stories. A banned book. These type of challenges allow for people to get out of their comfort zone and really become a challenge and who doesn’t love a good challenge.
I’m also a big fan of Chapters/Indigo’s #WorldBiggestBookclub Twitter chats with fellow book lovers and sometimes authors. I really like the fact that they approach the online chat by posing questions to the community, making people get involved and share their thoughts on the book. It’s a fantastic way to get to talk with new people about a book you loved (or in some cases, hated). It really does feel like a community when you get involved in these Twitter chats. Just ensure you have your favourite beverage and treats handy when you join these chats because the conversation flows really quickly and you’re going to want to watch along to see what others have to say about their reading experience.
You’d be surprised how much authors and publishers find new ways for readers and authors to connect. In the past, I’ve hosted 15 minute phone calls for an author by taking a selfie of you and the book and sharing it on Twitter using the hashtag. I’d encourage people to follow publishers on their social media channels (especially in the summer and fall) to see new and exciting ways they’re working on having you connect with authors. I always compare publishing social channels to the movie production companies online. Sure you can follow big accounts where everyone is, like Cineplex (and you should be following them, because they’re great), but you’d be surprised how much information you can obtain by following the people that put the movies in your nearest Cineplex; eOne Films, Warner Bros Picture, Fox Home Entertainment, for example. Each and every one of those production companies use their social media channels to really focus time and energy to discuss and share information about the movies they’ve made. Publishers do the same. We helped build it, we know the brand and we work directly with the author and creators of the book you’re interested in; so spend time getting to know your publishers, because they’ll be the first ones to let you in on the early book information, author tours and lots, lots more!
What can new or unpublished authors do to increase their online presence?
My best advice is to pick one, maybe two platforms where you feel most comfortable connecting with others and stay there! If you go out and try to be on every platform, I promise you that you will get overwhelmed. So pick a social media platform and dedicate 30 minutes of your day there. It will become less foreign, less forced and will start to become fun.
When you start to gain confidence in using said platform, connect with everyone! Easier said than done, I know, but I’d do the following to grow your online presence:
i. Use hashtags; #CanLit #BookLover #Fiction—to find readers interested in the topics you’ve written about.
ii. Follow/Like bookish accounts; Chapters Indigo, CBC Books, Book Riot, HuffPostBooks—the book community is there and you’ll find lots of new pals by frequenting these accounts.
iii. Be authentic; if you get on your account and just continue to send out tweets that say "I wrote a book,” "Buy my book,” I can promise you that you will not increase your online presence. You’ll push people away. Of course, you’re there to do this, it’s just part of it, but it can’t be all of it. You have to share your thoughts on other topics. Good topics include… What have you recently read? Can you believe what happened on Scandal? What’s your reaction to the Canada Reads shortlist? Things of this nature will make people come back for more, because they’ll be genuinely interested in what you have to say about everything and anything… and of course hearing about your book too!
What websites do you have saved in your bookmarks? Be honest!
Oh man, this is going to be embarrassing, but because I have nothing to hide… here are some of the websites saved in my bookmarks:
Giphy – because I love a good gif
LinkedIn – because it’s important to network people
Big Brother Canada – because I have an addiction
12 Signs Being Ladylike Isn’t Your Forte – because it’s the truth
Peanut Butter Balls Recipe – because they were a hit in the past
“It’s Good to See You Again” by Scott Alan – because I love it
And finally, since we’re all in the business of books here, what books are you currently loving?
So many things…. I’m currently rereading all of the Anne of Green Gables books and it’s making me so nostalgic and making me miss home. I cannot wait until everyone gets to read Toni Morrison’s new book, God Help the Child. Honestly, her best book in years. I cried a flood of tears. Oh and I can’t forget to mention how much I loved The Girl on the Train. It’s a book that’s everywhere right now, but with good reason. It’s probably the best thriller I’ve read since Gone Girl. Oh and last, but not least, a book coming out in August called A Robot in the Garden by Deborah Install. The title pretty much says it all. Charming, quirky and adorable - I think everyone is going to love this book!