PATRICK STEPHENSON

Earthbound concerns of an ascendant adult

Graywolf Press Pitch

NOTE: I wrote this proposal to Graywolf Press (www.graywolfpress.org) requesting they consider hiring me as Online Coordinator. [September 2007]

Mr. [Redacted]:

During the last week of my internship at Graywolf Press, Director and Publisher Fiona McRae expressed interest in retaining me at the company in some capacity. She was, she said, disappointed about losing access to my skills, and she encouraged me to keep in touch. Because I loved interning at Graywolf and believe I made valuable contributions, I saw Ms. McRae’s words as galvanizing. Therefore, I’m writing to propose I continue at Graywolf Press as Online Coordinator.

Among my contributions while interning were the ‘Graywolf Press’ Facebook profile and the ‘Graywolf Press’ Twitter.

The former I see as a hub for fans (both current and potential) of the Press. Through Facebook, we’ve befriended such luminaries as author Rick Moody, blogger Edward Champion and TIME Magazine writer Lev Grossman. On our profile we’ve received comments like these: “I just finished reading OUT STEALING HORSES by Per Petterson. It’s brilliant. A delicious read. I’m so happy to find Graywolf Press here,” and “Thank you. Indeed honoured and happy to be a friend of Greywolf [sic] Press.”

Notable profile features include the “Book of the Week,” the “Poem of the Week,” a graphical display of recent releases’ cover art, a list of upcoming events, and a regular question fans can answer (e.g. ‘Where do you buy your books?’). These features encourage return visits and interaction with the company. Because of the Agape Cause application, our Friends can donate money to Graywolf from within Facebook.

The latter (Twitter) is a micro-blogging service designed for delivering miniature news updates. While interning, I used the ‘Graywolf Press’ Twitter to link to book reviews, as well as blog entries about Graywolf’s books and reports on Graywolf events. Followers receive our 140 character updates by e-mail and by text message on their cell phones. As well, I integrated this Twitter into our Facebook profile, as a result of which our Friends receive Graywolf Tweets in their Facebook News Feed.

In his “Digital Community Builder” application to Berrett-Koehler, reporter Steve Rhodes wrote, “It is important to reach out to blogs, through online communities and social networks, to encourage reader generated content and tagging, and to experiment, like Graywolf Press is doing on Twitter.” Net 2.0 applications like Twitter and Facebook are technologies perfectly suited to community building, and building a community of Graywolf Press fans and supporters is my goal. I would create, maintain and improve these online presences (MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever else emerges).

As Online Coordinator, I would also develop marketing campaigns for Graywolf releases that employ every outlet the web offers. For an example of this, see my marketing proposal for Percival Everett’s The Water Cure, for which I designed a blog, a Brainiads advertisement, and a Facebook event. This proposal was the subject of a recent Publisher’s Weekly article, and its framework could be laid over every new book Graywolf releases. That is, every prominent book could have a Facebook event, a Brainiad, and a character-centered blog, as well as its own MySpace profile. As Online Coordinator, I would design every aspect of these campaigns.

In addition, I have a multitude of other ideas on developing Graywolf’s online stature. A recent AP article, “Newspapers Are Going Widget Happy” describes a new web technology called “widgets,” or “pull out web modules… one of the fastest growing trends on the Internet.” Resources like the New York Times and Time are using widgets to increase brand exposure. With widgets, a blogger can offer a Time IQ test or the New York Times crossword puzzle on her page. This could be extended to Graywolf Press, with trivia games, with quotes of the day, with books and poems of the week—visible everywhere, on anyone’s page, all from Graywolf Press.

I want there to be a Graywolf Press podcast, too.

An average intern might have the ability to update, for example, our Facebook profile, but only I have the passion and the knowledge necessary to continually improve it. Ideas like these occur organically to me. That is why I am proposing I join Graywolf Press as Online Coordinator. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Patrick Stephenson

Written by patiomensch

September 26, 2007 at 5:31 pm

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