Odyl Launches Facebook Platform for Authors and Publishers

9/13/11Follow @arleneweintraub

Just one month after New York-based Buddy Media raised a remarkable $54 million to support its Facebook-management platform for consumer brands, another Big Apple company has started up with a Facebook marketing solution—this one for the book industry. Odyl, founded by veterans of HotJobs, rolled out a software platform today that’s designed to help publishers and authors connect with readers.

I was particularly interested to sit down with Odyl’s co-founder and CEO, Michael Taylor (pictured above), a few days before the official launch. That’s because I’m an author, and suffice it to say, I failed miserably to find an audience on Facebook for my book about the anti-aging industry, Selling the Fountain of Youth (Basic Books 2010). When I met with the Buddy Media folks in August, I learned that more than 200 brands were using the company’s software to put up impressively flashy Facebook pages—and attract thousands of consumers to them—in a relatively low-stress way. I kept thinking, “Someone should offer a product like this for book publishers.”

And now someone has done just that. Odyl, founded in late 2010, is marketing a software package that’s designed to make it easy for publishers and/or individual authors to put excerpts and reviews of their books on Facebook, along with special features, such as giveaways, reader quizzes, and rewards for fans. Major publishers such as HarperCollins, Penguin Group, and Random House have already tried the product. The parent company of my publisher, Perseus, is an early customer, as are authors Katie Couric, Suze Orman, and Janet Evanovich.

Taylor declined to reveal how much the company has raised in seed funding, except to say that angel financing was provided by John Corcoran, founder and CEO of Trinity Partners, a Waltham, MA-based life sciences consulting company. Odyl is taking in revenues from licensing fees, which range from $250 a month to $1,000 depending on the customer, Taylor says.

Taylor gave me a demo at Odyl’s platform at the company’s small offices in Soho. He pulled up the Facebook page for Harper Teen’s paranormal series Pitch Dark. The page includes … Next Page »

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