Book Marketing Q&A: Wiley’s Jeanenne Ray on Building Reader Communities

In What's the Buzz by Hannah Johnson

Jeanenne Ray, Senior Marketing Manager, Wiley

Jeanenne Ray, Senior Marketing Manager, Wiley

Hear Jeanenne Ray speak at the Reaching Readers Book Marketing Conference on May 28 in NYC!, a consumer website from Wiley’s Jossey Bass imprint, is an example of how publishers can successfully build a reader community using meaningful content and genuine interaction. The site has provided Jossey Bass with direct access to its target audience and meaningful reader feedback.

Jeanenne Ray will take us through the strategy and components behind this successful venture at Publishing PerspectivesReaching Readers Book Marketing Conference on May 28 in NYC. Buy tickets here.

Below, we asked Jeanenne a few questions to preview her conference presentation on how publishers can build reader communities.

PP: Why is it increasingly important for publishers to have direct contact with their readers?

“As content providers we are constantly looking for new ways to deliver the information that our customers need in any format that want it.”

Jeanenne: Books, as we all are very aware, are not the go-to resource for those seeking information and content related to our professional lives. As content providers we are constantly looking for new ways to deliver the information that our customers need in any format that want it, wherever they may be in the world. By offering chucks of content to fill basic professional needs, as well as direct contact with the experts (our authors), we’re fostering a connection with our readers that we’d never have if we just depended on resellers to distribute our content and products. We can then go back to people and ask them what they need, what they want, and how we can improve our offerings.

It’s not easy to build this direct relationship. Do you have any advice for other publishers?

1) You won’t get it right the first time. And then just as you think you have it right, it’s time to rethink, refresh, and renew your plan.

2) You can’t measure the value of your relationships with your customers the same way you can measure sales of books through an account. Sales will come, but you have to be patient and allow more time than you thought you’d need in the beginning to see results.

Your site,, has been running for 2 years. What have you learned about your readers during this time?

I’ve learned a lot about the nonprofit world that I perhaps should have known, but didn’t. This audience is willing to help each other, share information, give advice, and give of themselves. This audience is why this site has been as successful as it has been. It’s not because of the brilliant marketing or the giveaways we do. It’s because the people who follow us and take away the info they need as also give back to their fellow nonprofit professionals. The Nonprofit Management list is a tiny blip on the Wiley radar but it’s a very rewarding list to work on.

About the Author

Hannah Johnson


Hannah Johnson is the publisher of international book industry magazine Publishing Perspectives, which provides daily information and news about book markets around the world. In addition to building partnerships with international cultural and trade organizations, she works with the Frankfurt Book Fair to organize and support a number of its overseas initiatives. Hannah has also worked as the managing editor for an online media company, The Hooch Life, focused on craft distillers and cocktail experts. Prior to that, she worked as a project manager for the Frankfurt Book Fair’s New York office, managing various business and marketing activities.