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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Promote Your Book Like Ebola

Instead of living in fear of a pandemic, learn from the Ebola scare and realize the obvious marketing lesson here: Things can spread virally – quickly and easily.

Ebola was flown into the US and suddenly two more got infected (the nurses treating the patient).  They easily could have infected hundreds or thousands of people.  One nurse flew on a place with 150 people, unprotected.  Someone else who treated the Ebola victim went on a cruise with 1400 passengers.  Do the math.  Just a few can spread it to many more and then any of those can each spread it to more, and so on and so on and so on.

What scares us about Ebola should be embraced as book marketers and promoters.

Do the math.  If you have 1000 followers via all social media platforms and you give them something so moving and amazing- or you incentivize them so highly – and they each share something from or about you with their followers (and if each had 1,000 followers), you’d reach one million people.

Yes, think about that.  If you email something to 1,000 people – or tweet to them, call them, visit them, mail something, or use FB or some other platform – and they love what you sent AND feel compensated and incentivized to send to their lists, you will quickly reach one million people.

But we know it doesn’t work that way.  Why?

1.      We fail to reach all of our connections.  An email to them may only be read by 50% or fewer.

2.      Of those reached they weren’t moved or motivated to go out of their way to directly reach out to their followers.

3.      There wasn’t a strong action step being asked of people, such as visit a site, buy a book, or connect to you.

But if you could take a moment and think about doing something that would truly rally those in your social media circle, you could spread your message faster than Ebola infects people.

Just as Ebola is reportedly spread by direct contact, such as blood or bodily fluids, it takes a certain level of contact to infect others with your message.  You simply cannot tell people to do something.  You must touch them deeply and tap into their emotions, desires, fears, wants, needs, and dreams.  What can you give, say, or do that will mean something to another but not bankrupt your available resources!

Always look to elevate your game.  Why shake hands when you can hug?  Why hug when you can kiss?  Your marketing is the same way.  You are seeking love out there, not a casual high-five.

When you get dressed, different accessories or quality of clothing will influence the level of attention that you get.  Clean clothes make a better impression than dirty ones.  Matching is better than not.  Certain colors, fabrics and styles are more attractive than others.  Brand labels and shiny extras add up.  Throw in a manicure, pedicure, a nice hairstyle, and some perfume or cologne and you have someone you could be drawn to.  Dress up your marketing the same way.

Think of doing something and then look to one-up it.  Plan on offering a discount?  Make it worth their while.  Ten or 20% off means nothing.  Looking to send out an email?  Use color, visuals, appealing typeface and bold headlines to truly look inviting.  Whatever you have to say, say it with impact and style.  Determine if you are going for humor, sincerity, or some other message and then pour it on in that direction.  If you’re gonna get wet, take a shower.  Don’t do something halfway or half-assed.  Be what you want to be and take ownership of it.

Your message has to be constructed with the idea that the recipient needs to care.  Just because you wrote a book, no one gives a shit.  But if you explain your book solves a problem, entertains, enlightens, or helps them, they may listen.  Further, if you put in a time-sensitive action step, they may do something now.  Additionally, if you not only promise there’s a valuable pay-off in getting your book – at a discount – but you give them a reward or prize, you may just win them over.

The reason fears of a pandemic soar when there is a small outbreak of things like Mad Cow Disease, West Nile Virus, Bird Flu and Ebola is because diseases know that things can spread, very easily, very quickly.  As a book promoter, you need to embrace the same techniques, and instead of killing off the masses, spread the word to millions about your book.  You can’t infect everyone, but rather, those you reach out to need to do their part to touch others.


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

What One Can Do To Market A Book

What would you do to promote your book if you had lots of resources, namely time and money, to give it its optimal chance of success?

First, you exploit loopholes in how best-sellers are calculated and you strategically unleash a campaign to process pre-orders of your book to people you know – friends, relatives, employers (if you own a business) and social media connections.  You can buy them for other people but use their credit cards and then reimburse them.  Sales will count towards the best-seller list and you’ll now be called a best-selling author.

Second, you would hire a public relations team to generate media coverage for your book.

Third, you would engage a social media specialist who’d use SEO tricks, Google and FB ads, and create and circulate content across numerous social media platforms – Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  All things would direct people to your website and to order the book.

Fourth, you’d go on a speaking circuit of bookstores, libraries and organizations (businesses, non-profits, schools, churches, and gov’t agencies).

Fifth, you’d pay for ads in The New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, select websites like Huffington Post Books, and targeted publications such as Bloomberg BusinessWeek for a finance book or People for an entertainment book or Cosmopolitan for a book on relationships.

Now, keep in mind, one can easily spend $400,000 to execute a campaign like this – and may not come close to making this investment back in book sales.  However, by becoming a bestselling author with a big social media following and a sparkling traditional media resume, you can position yourself for other types of success, such as:

·         Getting a book deal from a big publisher
·         Selling other products or services
·         Being hired as a consultant/expert
·         Getting noticed by a speaker’s bureau (they will get you paid gigs)
·         Having a platform to speak out on a topic
·         Being in a position to share a truly valuable message that helps people

Book marketing and promotional campaigns can really put an author on the map.  Once your brand is established, you can build on it and leverage your new found fame.

Authors have to determine what their goals are and how much time and money they are willing to invest.  There are times when it makes sense to spend $25,000-$35,000 to push a book.  There are a handful of times when one should or could spend $75,000-$100,000 and it’s very rare any person or company spends $200,000 or more.  Sometimes spending $10-$15,000 wisely can have a pay-off.  It depends on a number of factors.

First, prioritize what you plan to invest money into.  Same with your time.  Create a metric by which to judge your success.  As you monitor progress and see there’s a short and/or long-term payoff to your investment, consider expanding and putting more into it.  But if you find you aren’t getting traction, throw in the towel and try again another day, with another book, with a different game plan.

I wonder sometimes what can be done if someone has time to dedicate to their book promotions and marketing, when that person will spend 24-7 on it.  Most people work or write or have a life while trying to promote a book.  But what if you took a sabbatical from it all and just went all-out on your book publicity.

Imagine if you had a whole week to just email people, make calls, mail books, visit stores or groups, and connect via social media.  Or two weeks?  Or four?

If PR, marketing, and sales are a numbers game and you make enough calls and send enough emails, shouldn’t you see the needle move?  The extent of your success begins with quality outreach, not quantity.  Calling the right places and saying the right things is much better than blasting out a weak message to a zillion people.  However, if you do your research or get advice on who to approach and have accurate contact information and make a compelling case for a truly good book by a credentialed author in a timely but assertive manner, the only thing limiting your success is the quantity of people contacted.

I tweet 24 times a day, thanks to TweetDeck.  That’s once an hour.  What if I increased that to twice an hour, or 48 times a day?  Or how about 10 times an hour – one every six minutes?  Will I turn my followers off more than I gain people to click on tweeted links?

Instead of over-tweeting, should I expand to another social media platform, such as Google+ or Instagram?  I already do LinkedIn and Facebook, although I could spend more time engaging people there as well.

Maybe instead of tweeting more I research more people to connect to and send more direct tweets to strengthen existing contacts.

Perhaps I should expand to audio with podcasts or video on YouTube.  One can spend all day and night on any and all of these platforms.  I wonder what kind of payoff people have if they literally spend 10-12 hours a day on social media for 10-20 days in a row, compared to one or two hours a day, if that, during workdays?

Try it and let me know.  Success is based on ideas, connections, luck, quality products, and effort.  Perhaps if one makes a concerted, focused effort to drive their social media activity crazy, he or she can break through the clutter.

Social media is the one thing that has no limits, and few gatekeepers.  You can create your own media and blast it out there.  But there are constraints, namely time, one’s knowledge, one’s creativity, one’s strategy, and one’s ability to say what people want to hear in a way they’ll buy.

Good luck in whatever you do.  Just do something – and a lot of it!


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bookstore Closings Bankrupt America's Soul

The book apocalypse is coming soon, and for some it is already here.

According to the New York Daily News, the Bronx, an area with 1.4 million residents, will soon be without a single bookstore in its borders. Yes, you read that correctly.

Is it racism? Is t fear of the book industry’s changing landscape?  Is it a sign of the economy?

Certainly the book industry is changing. The marketplace is accelerating its move to online. Amazon alone is reportedly responsible for over 40 percent of all book sales and at least 60% of all ebook sales.  But when bookstores close, bookstore sales suffer. Here’s why:

Without a bookstore, people will devalue the book experience. Normally they can browse in a store, hang out, buy a cup of coffee, pick up a gift, etc. None of that will exist in the Bronx. People will only buy books they need or know they want, but what of the impulse buy? What of people discovering books simply because they are wandering through the store?

As stores disappear, the physical book is not seen as important as it used to be and people further go into digital books which further leads to price erosion and more store closings.  Bookstores not only serve the community’s purchasing needs, but hey create a sense of community for the literate public.

Barnes & Noble is the last store standing in the famed borough, in Co-Op City, but due to a lease dispute, the store is closing down.  It’s like seeing a church or a hospital close. The math never seems to add up.

In the case of the Bronx specifically, you have to wonder if racism plays a role in it being bookless. Sure the borough has a lot of poor blacks and Hispanics that speak English as a second or third language, but how are they supposed to elevate themselves without books? And for all the lower class people there, there are also middle class and even affluent people. They read, don’t they?

I live in nearby Westchester and though my neighborhood is blessed with two independent bookstores, a chain store is nowhere near me. In fact, when Borders collapsed three years ago nothing has filled the huge space it left in a Scarsdale strip mall. Maybe BN can relocate there?

But to see bookstores shudder at this pace is alarming. I think something like one half or one third of all NYC bookstores have closed since 200 or in the past decade. That’s screwed up. New York is the book publishing capital and the nation’s largest and most cultural city. It has 8.4 million residents and 50 million annual visitors and other outside commuters. We need more bookstores!

What is the solution? Communities need to support their remaining bookstores more than ever. But perhaps it is time that publishers start buying stores or for the government to give tax breaks for bookstores. We need smart businesspeople to be involved in the running sand marketing of bookstores. We need a movement to position bookstores as the sanctuary of the mind, the place where everyone can come to feel welcome and learn new things, discover amazing stuff, and be exposed to new ideas.

While store closings come upon us, Amazon continues to grow. It just signed a new deal with Simon & Schuster. No one knows how it is different from previous deals or how it compares to what was offered to Hachette Books, but we know this: Amazon touted in a statement that the agreement “specifically creates financial incentives for Simon & Schuster to deliver lower prices for readers.” 

Wow. Read that as less money for authors and publishers. Amazon will continue to underprice stores out of existence and to further make publishers beholden to them.

Amazon may have its role in servicing the marketplace, but if the whole industry goes online, we will all be diminished as a result.


Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Are You An Author Advocating For Something?

You may have written a book on a topic and advocate for a certain position.  Perhaps you want people to stand up for or against something or someone.  Maybe you want to lobby for governmental change.  Or you demand changes be made regarding certain business practices, social behaviors, or religious rituals.  In short, you are calling for reform – if not a revolution – or the creation of something new and unique.  How will you go about it, as an author, to be seen as a voice people should listen to?

Certainly it would help you greatly if you are seen as an expert in the area you seek change in.  For instance, if you want to reform an industry, are you part of it?  Do you have the educational background or professional experience that is relevant?  Did you have an experience – even personal – that connects you in an obvious and legitimate way to your subject matter?

Next, what competing experts and/or authors are out there discussing this topic?  What do you say that’s new or more interesting than them?  How would you distinguish yourself from who they are and what they are about?

Is there an upcoming event, anniversary, holiday or honorary day that you can tie your message to that will enable you to generate substantial media coverage?

Should you partner with other advocates and form a coalition?  There is strength in numbers to get attention for your cause – but your role will dwindle by comparison.

How controversial is your position?  What will it take for people to listen – even if they disagree?

Do you spend more time talking about a problem and you elaborate on a reasonable solution?  People want answers and hope, not negativity.

Are you backed by an organization, celebrity, politician, wealthy person, or an established community leader?  That person or group can greatly help – or hurt – your ability to be accepted by others.

What statistics and facts do you have at hand to substantiate your claims or accusations?  Don’t lose out because there’s a gaping hole in your story.

Do you have a strong visual to demonstrate your cause?

Lastly, are you rallying people through social media to show traditional media that people care and are coming together in support of your vision and mission?

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

57 Twitter & Social Media Tools For Authors

Facebook.  LinkedIn.  Google+.  Pinterest.  Twitter.  Instagram.  YouTube.  There are many, many social media platforms out there.  Which ones are right for you and your needs?  Check out and see many others that could be helpful to you.

There are plenty of tools to help you manage your social media as well.  Check out TweetDeck, HootSuite, CoTweet and Seesmic. 

If you want to monitor what’s said about you online, look at Attenti, Buzzlogic, Disque, and IntenseDebate.  You can also use Google Alert, Media Funnel, Sendible, Nutshell Mail, and Actionly.  Rapportive can identify the social media sites that people visit, based on their email address.

Which blogging platform should you use?  WordPress, Tumblr, Bloggr, TypePad, Movable Type, and Soomla can fit the bill.

Twitter has many analytic tools, including: Twitalyzer, mBLAST, Klout, and PeopleBrowser.

In fact, there are so many useful tools to help you maximize your use of Twitter that it was a struggle to narrow it down to the following:

Twitonomy – Helps you to organize the tweets of specific followers or particular words.

Tweriod – Breaks down your followers based on their engagement and movement, including times of day they show up online.

Twtrland – Organizes social profiles into 60,000 categories and allows you to filter searches of people and topics.

Cybranding – A great hashtags analytical tool showing you influencers on specific hashtags. – Helps to categorize people based on influence, people who share your content, and how engaged certain members are. – Helps you monitor keywords and how others use them in their posts and shows when others share your blog posts.

Needtagger – Helps you find relevant conversations that you want to engage in.

Socialbro – Tells you when people who follow you on Twitter are online.

Topsy – Search back to 2006 to research what’s been posted on Twitter.

NewsMix – Discover terrific topics and story ideas based on anything top influencers tweet about.

SumAll – Reports with Twitter stats are emailed to you.

Riffle – Helps give you data on any specific Twitter user – popular hashtags, most shared links, profiles of connections, etc.

Trends24 – Gives details on trending terms.

Trendsmap – a map you can zoom in on to see popular terms and hash tags and where they are used worldwide.

TweetChat – Follow specific hashtags and see who tweeted them.

TwChat – Twitter chats in real time.

Nurph – Planning and organizing a Twitter chat.

ChatSalad – Twitter chats calendar.

Swayy – Learn what your Twitter followers are interested in.

DoesFollow – Learn who follows whom. – Hash tag analytics in-depth.

RiteTag – Recommends best hash tags to use.

Seen – Collects media associated with a hash tag.

KeyHole – Twitter’s version of Google Alerts.

Twilert – Get real time keyword email alerts.

The One Million Tweetmap –  Real-time tweet monitoring based on location.

Twipho – Search for photos via Twitter.

Twazzup – More real-time keyword monitoring.

FollowerWonk – Search twitter bios and get analytics about your followers.

Ifttt – Connect any two social media sites such as Instagram and Twitter.

Of course all of these tools have a novelty aspect to them, but they also can be applied in a strategic way.  You can greatly expand your influence, number of followers, and ability to connect with those you want to partner with.

Lastly, use TweetAdder or Tweepi to target who to follow – and whom you want to follow you.


Amazon: Miracle or Apocalypse on 34th Street?

Authors will hashtag their way to success

How to sell your book in 10 steps

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

Time To Kill Ebola – Quarantine The Country

Mad Cow Disease, Avian Fly, West Nile Virus, Pig Flu, SARS.  In the past decade, fears of a pandemic have been raised by the alarmist media and frightful health community.  Thankfully, none of them came to be anything significant in the United States.  But with each new threat identified, the public has become numb to dire warnings of death, disease, and doom.

Now Ebola is here.

Many mistakes have been made.  First, Ebola was not in the United States until a sick and infected man from Liberia was allowed to fly here for treatment.  We imported a disease that did not exist in the US.

Then, the Texas hospital where the man was treated, either violated protocols or wasn’t properly informed or given all the necessary resources because two nurses have now come down with the deadly African disease.

I’m not a disease expert, but it seems like this disease has a chance to spread across the globe if something isn’t done to prevent and treat infections.  I have zero confidence in the CDC or any government to truthfully and competently address this disease.

It’s not easy being alive in 2014. We live with fears of a pandemic, terrorism, global warming, and an economic meltdown.  Every generation has lived through tough and challenging times.  Many periods of history were harsh but as society progresses with technology; it seems our demise on a grand scale is more realistic.  It’s something that would happen quickly and suddenly.

OK, so why the fear-mongering?  Why go dreary and depressing?  Sorry, that’s not my intention here.  But the whole threat of an Ebola outbreak seems more real to me than prior panics.  The virus is nature’s terrorism and we have many vulnerable spots.

The world should pool its resources and knowledge in an unprecedented way to kill this scourge before it goes any further.  Nothing else will mean anything if everyone dies.  Of course no one wants life disturbed and disrupted, but better to be inconvenienced now than fighting for life later.

Do some drastic things.  Quarantine the US – no outside flights enter our country.  And we don’t leave the country.  Close all businesses, homes and schools for a period of time.  Until it’s safe again. Wait 21 days? Sorry, no book tours and no public appearances, authors.  We need to go into lockdown.

I know, it’s not realistic and to do so could collapse the marketplace, but we’d all be alive to pick up the pieces later.  Otherwise, we risk extermination that could happen rapidly and forcefully.  The race for a cure is on – or an inoculation.  But look at polio, AIDS, and other diseases and how long it took to find a solution.  We can’t cure cancer or even the common cold.  Do we stand a chance against Ebola?

Halloween is approaching but we don’t need to dress in costumes to fabricate a scare.  We have a real one right before us.  How will we meet this threat?

The optimistic side of me says that there will be a way to contain this and that technology and science will save us.  But there’s another side that says human error and behavior could doom us.  Just like the stock market and economy goes through cycles, viruses go through cycles.  We’re due for a pandemic and all the signs point to the real possibility that it’s here, now.

But should we survive this latest scare and threat, I’m sure there will be plenty of books written about it.  Then social media can go viral about the books and instead of a killer plague circulating it will be an author or book that infects society.  But until then, lock your doors and self-isolate. Death could be at our doors.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

Paperbacks Sold Online Rule The Marketplace

Ebook sales, by units, rank third, behind hardcover books and paperback books.  When you look at revenue, ebooks are still third but fall further back from the other two formats.  This comes from a Nielsen Books & Consumers Survey from January to June, 2014.

42% of all books sold are paperbacks.  25% are hardcover books.  23% are ebooks.  3% are audios.  7% are “other” though I can’t imagine what that looks like if its not print, audio, or digital.  But because paper books sell for a lot more than ebooks paper books make up more than 80% of the book revenue.

When it comes to where books are sold, we are an Amazon nation.  Amazon sells six out of every 10 e-books sold. Online commerce accounts for 39% of all books sold (based on units not price).  These books can be in any format.  Almost all of the online commerce comes from Amazon. 21% of all sales come from bookstore chains, primarily Barnes & Noble.  Mass merchandisers, book clubs, independent bookstores, supermarkets, warehouse clubs and drugstores combine for 21% of the market.  16% of all books sold don’t come from any of these sources.

What was interesting about the survey is it revealed what motivates the purchases of book buyers:

·         12% said in-store displays inspired their purchases.
·         10% said friends and family recommendations influenced their purchases.
·         8% said they purchased their titles after browsing the websites of online retailers.

I’m also sure that social media, traditional media, advertising and other factors influence book purchases.

All of these surveys, bestseller lists, and sales scans tell us where people buy what they buy.  But are consumers reacting to the marketplace or does the marketplace react to consumers?

For instance, if you determine you will only buy ebooks, then what you buy depends on which reader you use and what that company offers by way of selection and price.  Such a person will never be influenced by what’s in a physical store unless they purposely window-shop and use the store as a showcase.

There were some genre variances in people's buying habits.  For instance, 47% of all romance book units purchased come online but only 25% of all children’s book units sold come online.  A likely reason is that romance or erotica is purchased online so no one feels awkward buying it in a store.  Further, fiction increasingly is read digitally, whereas children’s books are physical by choice.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014