Office Hour with Doug Lessing & Susan Ruszala

Doug Lessing (Firebrand Technologies), Susan Ruszala (NetGalley)
Location: Table 3 Level:

This is a follow up conversation for the session entitled:
The Direct To Consumer Cycle – from Publisher to Reader….and back!

Attendees will have the opportunity to ask detailed questions and explore the topics covered in this in depth session.

1. High quality metadata to enable segmentation of titles so as to target individual communities

2. High quality Ebook content and supporting assets

3. Desktop and Mobile friendly Ecommerce websites with a minimum of clicks to order, tailored for each platform. These platforms must use the conventions of each device and follow the concepts of Luke Wroblewski’s Mobile First strategy.

4. Digital Library for purchased titles.

5. Mobile Reader, connected to the reader’s digital library, for instant access and an easy reading experience

6. The Feedback Loop: metrics and analytics. What time of day to people read? Which books do people finish, which do they abandon part way through. Which books do people read multiple times. What do they search for? What do they bookmark.

We would also explore considerations that a publisher must take into account including:
• How quickly can you get the product to market? Windows close quickly now, and publishers must have speed and direction to move on opportunities immediately.

• What brands will support community-building over the long term? Will you have other products, content, etc to introduce to the community you are building?

• Is the community aspect authentic, or is it a thinly-veiled store?

• How will readers contribute their ideas? How will you tell them their ideas are being incorporated into content? What will keep readers coming back?

• What is the investment on the publisher’s side, and what is the potential return?

• Will you support current and emerging reading devices and platforms?

• How will you use data to drive direction?

• How will you market and build the community?

Photo of Doug Lessing

Doug Lessing

Firebrand Technologies

Doug Lessing is President of Firebrand Technologies, a software and services company founded in 1987 dedicated to providing solutions for book publishers. Joining Firebrand in 1990, Doug has worked through the thorniest of publisher issues, often going well beyond technology to solve them. As President, Doug’s mission is to ensure that the Firebrand Community is being well served by providing leadership and solutions to enable the continued success of publishing. In this role, he is given the opportunity to preach often about Title Management, Digital Publishing and the Firebrand philosophy.

Photo of Susan Ruszala

Susan Ruszala


Susan Ruszala is the President of NetGalley, which provides secure digital galleys to a growing community of professional readers in North America, the UK and Australia. Over 200 publishers and nearly 75,000 reviewers, media, booksellers, librarians and bloggers are using the service to discover and review upcoming books. Susan has been launching, pitching and polishing publishing technology ventures for over 15 years, the last five years as part of the NetGalley team. Susan is a frequent speaker at industry events, including recently at Digital Book World, FutureBook (London), and Booknet Canada’s Technology Forum.

Prior to joining NetGalley, Susan consulted with various publishing technology companies on business strategy, marketing plans and business development ventures, and was the International Marketing Director for a global publishing technology supplier. Susan got her start in publishing at a small independent press in NYC, where she learned the ropes of publishing from the very bottom.


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