Hello fellow porcs, I hope you’re doing well! Snow finally made an appearance in Avignon today so we’re all pretty chipper (although it’s still an awfully measly snowfall compared to what I’m used to in dear old Canada). This will be my last post before the holidays; I’m taking a two-week hiatus from the blog but I’ll be back and full of good cheer in January 2011.
One exciting development at the Quill – actually this is slightly dated news, but I haven’t had the chance to blog about it yet – is our very own Twitter account. You can find us now at www.twitter.com/porcupinesquill. I think Twitter is a great way to spread information and I also think that Twitter, and other services like it, will become more and more popular alongside technology like smartphones and iPads.
However, there are definitely some issues with the way we’re using our Twitter account right now. I think these issues will be resolved when new interns – based in Canada – come on board, but the time difference and complicated job situation I have over here makes updating Twitter at regular and timely intervals tough. I find myself on Twitter early in the morning, when everyone in Canada is asleep, or late at night when I’m half asleep! For Twitter to be a really useful medium, it needs to be updated 2-4 times a day with fun and useful content – something that I’m struggling with a lot since I don’t have very much time to cruise the Internet looking for fun things to post.
I think another promising initiative might be to have Twitter- and Facebook-specific sales and contests. For example, I could ask our Twitter followers to use the #BoNY hashtag (Beasts of New York by Jon Evans) to be entered in a draw for a free copy of the book – maybe even one that could be sent a week or two before it’s available in bookstores (advanced copies are a little tricky at the Quill, though, because of our tight production schedule). Or I could advertise a Facebook-specific sale on our fan page and tell our fans that if they order through Abebooks and include the phrase ‘Porcupettes Rock!’ in a message to us, they’ll get a 15% discount.
Those kinds of initiatives would offer fun and real value to our customers, and may encourage repeat visits to our various social media so that customers will be more likely to catch up on PQ news and events. Of course, these things are also hard to coordinate from France, or even from Canada when there are only 2-3 people working full-time in the shop. But they still might be interesting projects for a future intern to discuss with Tim and see if it’s feasible. One counter-argument to these ideas might be that we currently don’t have a huge fan base, so the sales generated by these projects might not be worth the effort – but I’d argue that a great way to build a significant fan base is by offering fun deals like this. It’s an idea, anyway.
Other cheerful news – also dated – is that Tim and I finally managed to rehaul the porcupinesquill.ca home page. (Check it out here!) Originally our home page featured a long and dense block of text about the history of the press and our many accomplishments – which was all well and good, but for a repeat visitor, wasn’t very useful. All of our upcoming and new book titles were buried at the bottom of the page and a visitor would have to press the scroll button for a good 5-8 seconds before hitting the goods (as I like to think of our books).
To me, this presented a problem. Our most valuable and interesting content – our books – were being pushed to the very bottom of the first page anyone ever sees when they come to our site. I proposed replacing the long text with a short paragraph about who the Quill is right now (instead of its entire history), and then moving the long text to a new page called ‘About Us’. I also wanted to collapse the Acknowledgements section into this About Us page so that we could save space in the navigation menu. This way, our new books and series are immediately visible when someone visits the home page – which is probably exactly what the visitor wants to see!
Tim also had the great idea to include our new logo on the home page, as well. You have to scroll down to see the new logo but I think that’s for the best, since the rebranding is rolling out slowly over the next few months – I don’t think we’re ready to entirely jump into this new identity yet on the home page, particularly when the rest of the site’s ‘look’ is so firmly entrenched in the old PQ identity.
Anyway, that’s all the news I have for now. I hope you’re staying warm and drinking lots of hot chocolate and eggnog. (Did you know that nobody drinks eggnog in Europe? Crazy, right?)
Happy holidays and enjoy the new year!