Looking at OptiQly: Mastering Online Marketing for Book Publishers

September 11th, 2017

Designed to help publishers market their books online, OptiQly is a brand new software-as-a-service (SAAS) platform for book publishers. Initially just for Amazon*, OptiQly (pronounced optically) assesses a book’s “Brand Authority” and “Product Authority” to derive a “OQ Score” comparing that against a pre-determined optimal measure. To reach a top OQ score it recommends a series of steps to improve “Authority”. (For more precise product detail, see Cliff Guren’s review, referenced below).

The pricing for the product reveals that it’s for publishers not for authors: The service starts at $149/month for 50 titles.

I know of no other automated service that tackles this challenge, and so, while evaluating its effectiveness, remember that this is a standalone. The alternative is manual processes.

The team behind OptiQly are some of the smartest people in U.S. book publishing marketing. Most noteworthy (though not to diminish the rest of the team) are Pete McCarthy and Jon Fine (Fine has since moved on to Deputy General Counsel, Media – American Media), Pete, because he understands the online marketing of books like no other, and Fine, because he was a key executive at Amazon as it built its bookselling juggernaut, and so knows the Amazonian beast as well as any in book publishing.

Staring at myself in the OptiQly mirror

Please pause here and head over to Cliff Guren’s blog where he provides an in-depth review of OptiQly. Cliff describes it as “a big step forward” in the marketing of books. You’ll see why.

My hesitation about OptiQly is two-fold. First, the forward steps that OptiQly recommends are mostly well-known: stuff like improving the metadata on Amazon or enhancing the book’s presence on Facebook and Goodreads.

Indeed Pete McCarthy has already shared two of his remarkably insightful presentations that form the basis of some of the thinking behind OptiQly. First is the July, 2014 Big Ideas from Big (or Small) Data (SlideShare download here) and then the March, 2016 Audience Research: Tools, Tactics, and Techniques (download here).

Cliff Guren notes that the “raw information that OptiQly is tracking is [already] available to publishers in discrete bits and chunks”. Indeed it is. But, as he points out, “the way OptiQly has aggregated and analyzed the information is impressive.”

That’s my second note. I think of OptiQly the way I think of self-help books for business strivers and for weight loss hopefuls. Sure, we might already know what we’re supposed to do. But we need constant reminders and encouragement, presented clearly and in actionable ways. That’s OptiQly: the self-help system for book marketing. Some pros may not want to pay big bucks to remind them to do what they’re supposed to be doing already. But for the rest of us mortals, OptiQly could be just the prod we need.

Note *:  The product description states “such as Amazon” – presumably they’ll later attack other marketplaces and other products. Further, the advice proffered by OptiQly will almost certainly boost sales in multiple channels.

November 16, 2017: “OptiQly’s Assets Have Been Acquired By Ingram.” Both Pete McCarthy and Jess Johns now work for Ingram on the continuation of this project.

March 11, 2019: The revamped service at Ingram is being offered as “Marketing Insights.