Remember when every author had to have a Web site? If online social marketing platform Odyl (www.odyl.net) gets its way, authors and publishers will migrate to Facebook and use its SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform to offer content, trace metrics, handle giveaways, and import blog posts and tour dates along with Twitter and other feeds. “When we first started with HotJobs,” says Odyl cofounder and CEO Mike Taylor, who worked with several other other members of the seven-person company’s team a decade ago at HotJobs, “it wasn’t clear if the Internet was a great place for companies to be. The same thing with Facebook. Now the question is no longer should I do something on Facebook, but how do I do something there?”
“We use Facebook as a center point,” adds Taylor, “because there are so many people there. It used to be that you’d create a Web site. People will still have Web sites. But at the same time for people who aren’t Tom Clancy or Janet Evanovich, then the problem is how do you get people to go there. What Facebook has really changed is that you can put yourself at the crossroads and get all your friends to share the information with their friends. Without a proper social media push, authors may just as well be passing out copies of a book from their front steps on a rainy day.”
Odyl has been testing and refining its platform for the past year with books and series from the Big Six publishers, along with Perseus, Rodale, and Workman prior to today’s official launch. It has also worked with 50 individual authors, including Taylor’s wife, Tara Stiles. Taylor credits Odyl’s social media network, which enables authors and publishers to turn their Facebook site into an online brochure and communicate through it, with helping Stiles to get a better advance for her second book after Slim Calm Sexy Yoga (Rodale). Not only did Random House look at the sales for her previous book but at the social media connections she made through her Facebook site before signing Yoga Cures (Three Rivers Press, Apr. ’12).
As for the name, “odyl,” says Taylor, it was coined by German scientist Baron Karl von Reichenbach (1788-1869). He studied the odic force, which he thought was responsible for connecting every living thing. Isn’t that what the Internet is meant to do?