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Friday, March 6, 2015

46 Websites Every Author Needs To Know About



There are endless bits and bytes of resources, information, and advices when it comes to promoting and marketing a book.  Let me make it simple and share with you 46 sources you should utilize to get your book on the map.

Want to do book giveaways and connect online with others?  Get your butt to Shelfari, Library Think, GoodReads, BookLikes, Book Baby, Story Cartel, and NoiseTrade.

When it comes to getting reviews, you have many options.  Check out:

NetGalley
Reddit
Amazon’s Top Reviewers
Huffington Post
BlogNation
AwesomeIndies
BlogRank
BookBloggerDirectory
The Book Blogger List
Book Look Bloggers
The Indie Book Blog Database
The Indie Bookshelf
The IndieView
Kindle Obsessed
RadioActive Books
BlueInk Review
Book Rooster
BookWorks
Foreword
Kirkus
PWSelect
The US Review of Books
Self Publishing Reviews.

Other sites to check out include these:
RedRoom
Scribd
Authonomy
Book Rix
Wattpad
WeBook
Bublish
Pubslush
BookZone
BookBub
BookDaily
BookHub
EBookBooster
IndieAuthorNews
GalleyCat
PeopleReads

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Authors & Publishers: Take Note of Car Ads


There are two dominant types of advertisements for cars.  One tries to sell you on a brand or specific car model.  The other showcases prices at car dealers.  Could either approach work to sell your book?

Authors should never lead with price as the reason to buy their book.  Even at free, no one wants to waste their time on a book they believe won’t deliver whatever it is they are looking for.  When it comes to cars, ironically, the price is emphasized when, in fact, the price is relatively high.

Car ads usually won’t highlight the total sticker price of a car.  Instead, it’ll emphasize a low monthly payment, bury the upfront and extra fee numbers, and hope you are seduced by what is in big print.  If you sell on price, instead of saying your book is $14.95, say it’s 99c per chapter or 1c for every 30 words.

The brand ads for cars are closer to what you’d want to model, except these ads often don’t emphasize substance such as mpg, safety ratings, and the things we should judge a car by.  Instead they market an image that appeals to our personality or senses.  Don’t you want the car driven by the successful businessman or the one with a beautiful woman draped over it?  Commercials emphasize speed, and yet, what roads and traffic conditions – and laws – really allow you to race like a daredevil?

Should your advertisement market to consumers with facts and reasoning about your book, or should it sell the ideal, the fantasy, the psychological thrill?

Book advertisements may not really have a model outside their industry, but they could learn from the ads of other industries, including film, theater, and sports.

Book ads haven’t changed a lot over the years.  They still quote testimonials of famous people, pull from reviews and highlight the author’s name if a known entity.  Wouldn’t it be refreshing if those ads sold you on the anticipated benefits of reading such a book, whether a novel or non-fiction?

Here’s an example of an ad that falls short.  A two-page spread in the Feb. 22 NY Times Book Review for A Spool of Blue Thread never gives a single line as to what the book is about.  Knopf spent all of this money to say Anne Tyler has a new book out.  But there’s the problem.  If you are a fan, you don’t need the ad to remind you.  And even a fan wants to know what the book is about.  For the vast majority of people who never read her books or even heard of her, they won’t buy a book solely because she got nice blurbs.  I think 85% of the ad is great but by not using some real estate to scrawl a few descriptive sentences is a colossal failure.  But, to be fair, other publishers take the same approach, hoping you’ll judge a book by its cover – or title or blurbs.  The following ads lacked any descriptive copy: The Future of the Mind, Mightier than the Sword, The Room, Redeployment – and that was just to page seven in that same NYT Book Review section.

Sometimes the hope is that the merit of who gave the blurb will win you over – or that the blurb will actually explain what the book is about.

Books can’t be sold like cars or dresses.  Books represent experiences, ideas, emotions and dreams.  The ad copy should tap into the core of the human essence.   

We may be a visual society or one that attaches itself to brand names, but you need to give me more than the Huffington Post saying the book is a “wonderful read” or The Seattle Times saying it “couldn’t put this book down.”  Tell me what the book is about!

Ads should be like a back cover of a trade paperback – tell me who wrote the book, toss in some blurbs, and give me a bulleted description of the book.  Anything less is useless.

What does it say about the intellectual process of reading if our reading decisions are made based on skimpy ads that are so far removed substantively from the craft it seeks to promote?

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Marketing Like A Taxi Driver


While sitting in a yellow taxicab in Manhattan (No, I didn’t use Uber), it occurred to me the numerous similarities between how a cab driver goes about his business and how authors need to attack their publicity and marketing.  Come on a ride with me as I note 11 ways authors should promote books like a cabby.

1.      Be Assertive
Taxi drivers are not relaxed, passive, or conservative by any stretch.  They hustle to get fares and they literally cut corners to expedite their trips so they can get a new customer.  Learn from them.  Be scrappy and aggressive.

2.      Prepare To Change Directions
Taxis are always moving, but never in the same direction for too long.  You too must be out there and moving, but be ready to alter your course or methods.

3.      Be Ready To Apply Your Brakes
Sometimes you need to stop an activity and pursue a new one.  If a cab doesn’t stop, it can be fatal, and if you fail to see the stop signs to what you’re doing, you’re in for a crash.

4.      Anticipate And Be A Lane Ahead
Cabs always look ahead and see how they can negotiate traffic to position them to where they want to be.  They switch lanes often.  Survey your landscape and anticipate the roadblocks you need to navigate around. 

5.      Break The Rules – But Don’t Be Reckless
Cabs speed, fail to signal, and sometimes cut people off.  You too will have to push in ways that may seem like you’re pushing the envelope – just don’t run a red light!

6.      Know The Road Conditions
Cabs prepare to drive in bad weather, darkness, or lousy roads.  You should prep yourself for the bumpy road ahead.

7.      You Never Know Who You’ll Meet
Cab drivers never know who’ll get in their cab.  It could be a celebrity, a grouch or a crazy person.  They are prepared to talk to them to find out.  You too should talk to anyone and everyone everywhere, from supermarket lines to PTA meetings.

8.      Don’t Forget To Stop
All that speeding towards your goal sometimes requires time to pause, reflect, assess, and move on.  Cabbies have to stop in order to get a new fare and pick up passengers.  You may not pick up a passenger, but when you stop to take a break you might pick up a valuable idea.

9.      Fulfill Your Purpose
Taxis have a single purpose – to make money by taking people from point A to B, over and over.  Know what your purpose is – to market and promote your book to the targeted readers who would want your book.

10.  Use A GPS
Cabbies know the roads but always take along a GPS because they need a map to where they are going.  They can’t afford to get lost.  You too, need a road map.  Know where you’re going otherwise all that you’ve done is go nowhere fast.

11.  Time Is Money
Just as taxis often charge based on a meter (time and distance traveled), think of your own meter.  Put a value to your time and make sure you spend it wisely. 

One other similarity between cabbies and authors – aside from the mediocre pay and long hours – is that they are both called “hacks”!

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How Will You Convince The Media To Interview You?


How do you convince the news media to give you exposure?  You have to convince them to take a next step, so determine what that is.  Your goal may be to get the media to write about you and your book, but your first goal is have them agree to: look at your book, or to be available to briefly chat about what you have to offer, and to schedule an interview.

Each step leads to another.

One step you take is to convince them to look at your book, you’ll need to impress them with its contents.  In order to make them aware of relevant sections or passages, highlight with sticky notes or a letter as to what they should see first.  Then, help them make the transition from explaining what you wrote and identifying who you are to getting them to see why they should consider you as a source or a personality worth talking to.

Should you get them to take step two – to talk to you – you’ll need to discern their level of interest and feed them what they are looking for.  It’s not about you and what you wrote – it’s about them, their needs, and how you can service them.

If you make it past the first few steps, all that is left is to close the deal with an interview.

Try to learn of their questions ahead of time.  Get an idea of where they want to take their story and look to meet them where they need to get to.

So how do you get past the initial stage of convincing the journalist to take a next step with you?  You’ll need to approach them in a strategic way.  Here are some ideas:

1.      Reactive Approach
You see the journalist just wrote on a matter related to yours.  Contact them to show what you can offer on the subject.

2.      Pre-Emptive Approach
You may know a holiday, anniversary, or expected news event is coming up and you want to ride its coattails to get coverage for your book.  Contact the media and reference the special day, week or even a month out, and show how you’d be a good source should they choose to cover that special day.

3.      Argumentive Approach
Offer a contrarian viewpoint on a popular subject and show why it has merit.

4.      Controversial Approach
Make inflammatory statements, challenge the norms in a way that’s not so polite, and call out/criticize people and policies.

5.      New Facts Approach
Make media aware of new findings on something the media didn’t know about.

6.      Insiders Approach
Show how, based on experiences or connections, you are in the know with a behind-the-scenes look at something newsworthy.

7.      Popularity Approach
If your social media numbers are substantial, tell the media.  They run towards people with lots of followers. 

8.      Solutions Approach
Can you solve major problems?  Tell the media how.

9.      Criticism Approach
Is something wrong that needs fixing and we didn’t know it was a problem?  Expose the problem and watch the media run in.

10.  Celebrity Insight Approach
Are you in a position to comment on newsmakers, such as why a celebrity couple broke up or what drove a company out of business or why a politician is in a scandal?  Do tell.

There are many ways to get the media’s attention.  It all begins with a timely idea that is expressed succinctly to the right person at the targeted media outlet.  Get them to want to know more and to see your book.  One step will lead to another.

The litmus test to sound convincing?
·         Use facts and not bullshit
·         Sound firm and confident
·         Intimate you have knowledge the media doesn’t have
·         Explain your intentions are noble and purposeful
·         Come off as a friend they’d like to have
·         Don’t hyperbolize or theorize – just hit them with substantive ideas and information
·         Approach them as if you are doing them a favor

Good luck.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New


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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015


Monday, March 2, 2015

Engineering The Future of Reading


It’s 2015 and the new year should bring a lot of excitement to book publishing.  But I can’t help think about what I recently read in Newsweek regarding how scientists may reengineer humans and have us conform to the environment we live in.  A story in the December 12 issue said:

“Or, perhaps, a reimagining of what it means to be human.  In a paper released in 2012, S. Matthew Liao, a philosopher and ethicist at New York University, and some colleagues proposed a series of human-engineering projects that could make our very existence less damaging to the Earth.  Among the proposals were a patch you can put on your skin that would make you averse to the flavor of meat (cattle farms and a notorious producer of the greenhouse gas methane), genetic engineering in utero to make humans grow shorter (smaller people means fewer resources used), technological reengineering of our eyeballs to make us better at seeing at night (better night vision means lower energy consumption), and the extremely simple plan of education more women (the higher a woman’s education the fewer children she is likely to have, and fewer children means less human impact on the globe)."

Does this mean we may one day change people to become better readers?  Could we just program humans to download a book in their brains?  Will ebooks somehow get consumed without even using a reader like the Kindle or Nook?  Anything is possible with science.

But for 2015 I’m not expecting anything to be radically different as to how books are created, promoted, sold, or read.  We should expect more of the same.  But as I pen this, someone is in a lab thinking of a revolutionary way to alter how we do things, including how we think, create, and write.

Certainly we should expect to see computer-enabled texts to be produced.  It’s not inconceivable that a computer program can be created to reveal a combination of words to fill the length of a book.  A lot of garbage will spew out but a team of editors can sift through the trillions of permutations to pull out the gems.  Maybe such a process already goes on – who knows?

Maybe technology will look to advance, enhance, or merely alter how we do things, including anything related to books, but what should not change is society’s quest to discover new ideas and knowledge, to want to write about, it and share it, and to spur on dialogues about how to make life better.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New


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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Would You Vacation In Book Town?


While on a recent vacation (and a reprieve from negative wind chills) to Key West, Florida, I noticed how the whole town kind of works together to suck tourists dry of all available funds. The tourist attractions, hotels, restaurants, and stores may compete with one another, but they also collaborate in many respects.  It kind of reminds me of the book industry.

Key West, a very cool island that boasts of being the southernmost point in the United States – just 90 miles from Cuba – makes the most of its limited space.  It has something for everyone – a nightlife of bars to get stone drunk; great restaurants catering mostly to a seafood diet; historical places to visit like The Shipwreck Museum, The Train Museum; Hemingway’s House, and Truman’s Mini White House; water-based activities, including:jet skis, scuba diving, snorkeling, parasailing, speed-boating, dolphin-swimming, and wave-runners; and natural sightseeing on the beaches or walks through an architecturally-unique homes lining the overcrowded town.

The book industry, like a neighborhood, offers something for everyone.  It provides books in multiple forms – different-sized printed books, e-books, audio books, and vooks.  It features books on everything in existence known to humanity – and it provides books on countless fantasies and make-believe worlds.  Books can inspire, entertain, inform, and educate any person or any age, size, class, sex, ethnicity, nationality, or state of mind or body.

What if we combined the two – and formed a tourist town of books: Key West Campus.  Catchy name, right?  Think about it.  There must be some economically-challenged town in America that needs something to save it - and at the same time – it can save publishing.  Ok, let’s call it Book Town.

I can see it now – the town would be neatly divided into genres.  Each genre sector would feature stores, restaurants, and fun activities that support the theme of the books in the designated genre.  The streets can be named after famous authors or books.  People could even arrange for whole blocks to match a certain time period or sub-genre.

But would all of this be too manufactured, too conveniently fitted and manicured like some Disney Resort?  We need things a little dirty, messy, and natural.  We like old, even dilapidated, buildings and things.  We enjoy history and like the idea of eating at a 75-year-old restaurant, sleeping in a 200-year-old inn, or walking the streets once walked by centuries of important people.  I don’t think we could just build an instant Book Town like one builds an Epcot. But we could, revitalize a neighborhood like Detroit, with an already interesting history steeped in cars, music, and race riots.  Or do we go for a warm-weather place so we can ensure visitors year-round.  When some family members need a break from Book Heaven, they can down scrumptious food at an outdoor restaurant, take a swim at a beach, or jump out of an airplane (with a parachute made out of recycled books).

When you walk an Ivy League campus you may feel you’re in Book Town. Same for when walking the halls of certain museums, libraries, or bookstores – or the streets of New York City.  There doesn’t exist a Book Town, but for the one in my mind.

We live in a Catch-22 world where we couldn’t get people to rally around the creation of Book Town unless it already existed.  But it shouldn’t take a ton of arm-twisting to see that Book Town would not only serve the patrons well, but would be a profitable place to visit, one that you can come to over and over and feel assured of getting a new experience.

I long for Key West in the days following my return to cold weather.  In fact, two days after returning from a trip that included an 80-degree day, I felt -14 degree temperature at night while on a ski trip in The Berkshires.

Book Town could be the place where dreamers come to live, where writers grow inspired, where readers get to engage like-minded fans.  It could be a place where the synergy takes over and book-loving knowledge-seekers and question-raisers gather to seek community and shared love.

Plan your next vacation to Book Town.  If you discover where it is, let me know.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New




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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Parasail Your Author Fears Away


As a writer, do some things look thrilling but scary to you?  Perhaps you are contemplating putting your idea for a book out there to publishers and literary agents, but the fear of rejection is overwhelming the potential reward of being published.  Maybe you are considering plunging into self-publishing, but your concern that it could flop supersedes the potential payoff of a book that gets embraced by readers.  Think of engaging in a book marketing or book publicity campaign, but the fright of spending time and money overcomes the possible benefits such an activity could deliver?

In life there are many times where we get understandably scared of something that looks like fun but then find a way to forge ahead so we can realize the enjoyment of  having done it.  And yet, many times we do get derailed and hold back.  We end up not taking that extra step to transition from point A to B.

Why do we fall short of the finish line of our quest?
·       We let the negative potential takeover the positive.
·       We only worry of “not accomplishing” instead of obsessing over how it’ll feel “to accomplish” it.
·       Whispers from those who failed to go where you want to go creep in and become the only sound you hear.
·       You start to diminish what you’re trying to do and downplay it to the point you render it meaningless.
·       You forget that you’ve overcome greater obstacles in the past.

My son knows about overcoming fear in the pursuit of a goal.

While on vacation in Key West this winter, my 10-year-old son looked around and with an adventurous spirit too big to fail – or see danger – he wanted to do everything that he saw a sign for – scooters, skydiving, motorboat, jet ski.  And as soon as he’d cross something off his list, like snorkeling, he was ready for the next thing, not fully grasping that he just did something for the first time in his life.  Next up: parasailing.

I was 31 when I first parasailed along the coast of a Ft. Lauderdale beach.  I hadn’t done it since, though it was a lot of fun.  Now my son was asking to go and I was happy to join him for his debut in the air.  All excited to go, he started to get nervous once on the boat.

He looked at the parachute and remarked: “It looks like it’s made out of a garbage bag.”  I concurred.

When the two teenage girls went first, he got antsy and said “This is crazy.”

As he put on the harness he asked if I was scared and I said “Yes, but it looks like fun.  We’ll be fine.”

We all need a dad to tell us whatever we are pursuing is worth doing, that we can do it despite the potential downside.  We all need to pursue our parasail.

When it was our turn we listened to the boat captains' instructions, which were pretty simple: “Hold on!”

We are seated on a harness that clamps on to something that holds us to the garbage bag-like parachute.  The boat picks up some speed and a bungee-looking cord attached to a machine on the boat starts to let some slack go and suddenly we are lifting up into the air, the way I imagine one has an out-of-body experience.

We kept rising until maybe 25-30 feet and then there was a pause.  They wanted us to wave to the camera that was held and pointed by one of the workers.  They of course easily sold us a $40 DVD of photos and video to capture the moment.  My son and I were too frightened to let go to wave.

We quickly, but seemingly gently, scaled higher, eventually climbing at least a few hundred feet into the air.  It seemed peaceful and quiet.  It was nice we had each other, not only to comfort one another, but to share in such an exhilarating moment.

As things below us seemed smaller, the immensity of the ocean and sky grew.  We had a true birds-eye view o the world.  I took a second to pause with full awareness that I was somewhere extraordinary.  It was worth the risk and the feel of fear.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015