Now that you’ve published your open textbook, it’s time to let your audience know.
If you don’t have any experience with marketing or promotion, consulting with the marketing department at your university can help you get started. They can work with you to develop a general marketing plan for open textbooks and assist with promoting specific releases through official university communication channels.
Remember that every open textbook project is different, so you’ll need to keep adjusting your marketing approach.
The University of Illinois’s OER Promotions Guide contains some useful resources for marketing open textbooks.
While anyone on your publishing team can market your textbook, it’s a good idea to provide a clear promotional plan, along with resources to help them communicate with a consistent message. Some of the roles involved in marketing an open textbook are:
The story of your textbook starts before it’s even written, with the reasons for creating it, the content it covers, your intended audience and your authoring and publishing teams.
Knowing as many details as possible about the author will help you understand the target audience. For example:
Some publishers develop a marketing questionnaire to send to authors at the beginning of the project, although some other tools you can use to help you determine the audience include:
The key to branding is understanding the unique value your product or service offers.
Many universities have in-house branding guidelines that provide guidance on messaging and visual identity, including use of:
The title and cover of your open textbook are critical components of branding, along with design elements such as:
Your textbook’s title and cover should connect with your intended audience. The title should also include words your audience are likely to use as search terms (see the section on metadata below).
In addition to branding books or books series, you may also want to develop a brand identity for your publishing service, separate from your university’s or library’s brand. This brand will evolve with your mission and goals, informing your promotional strategies and activities. For example, if your mission is to ‘provide support and resources to the University community for creating, curating and disseminating open educational works’, this is what you want people to think of when they think of your brand.
Once you’ve settled on a brand, you can focus on promoting your textbook. This means crafting a pitch that highlights what’s special about the book (aside from its open licence). For example:
Below is a list of ways you can promote your open textbook:
Some tips for promoting open textbooks:
Below are some places you can distribute an open textbook:
Many open textbook collections allow authors to submit requests for their book to be included. Some repositories require that a new textbook meet certain criteria, such as an evaluation by a subject matter expert. Below are some examples of where you can apply:
Wherever possible, it’s best to link back to the webbook in Pressbooks (or wherever you’re hosting your textbook) to avoid having to update files and information in multiple locations.
Metadata are data about data. Metadata acts as keywords, making your open textbook discoverable during a search. Common metadata for open textbooks includes:
Sharing metadata during the publishing process makes your textbook easier for others to find. You can create and save metadata for your textbook in the Book Info page fields in Pressbooks.
Several metadata-related topics are covered in more detail in other resources in this stage of the workflow, including:
For more detailed discussion of OER metadata practices, see the following resources:
'Marking and Communications Summary’ and ‘Marketing and Communications Overview’ in The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
'Marketing an Open Textbook’ in Open Textbook Publishing Orientation (PUB 101) by Open Education Network, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence, based on ‘Unit 6 Assessing Impact: Purposeful Marketing, Promotion, Publicity – Narrative’ in Library Publishing Curriculum, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence and ‘Where to Share’ in Authoring Open Textbooks by Melissa Falldin and Karen Lauritsen, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.
'Communications’ in Self-Publishing Guide by Lauri M. Aesoph, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.