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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A 4-State Bestselling Plan


Florida recently surpassed New York as the third most-popular state.  A number of years ago Texas had supplanted NY for No. 2.  And some time last century, California zoomed past New York.  Times are changing.  Are books changing with them?

If you think about it, California, with 38.8 million people, has twice as many as Florida’s 19.9 and New York’s 19.7 million.  Texas just hit 27 million.  Four states hold 105.4 million – almost a third of the United States’ 320 million residents.  If you have a four-state approach to books you can:

·         Become a bestselling author
·         Generate major media coverage
·         Create a national legacy
·         Influence America's culture

These four states account for a huge chunk of the country, but if you want to concentrate on the 10 most populated metropolitan areas, zero in on these cities and their neighbors:

·         New York City metro 19.9 million
·         Los Angeles metro 13.1 million
·         Chicago metro 9.5 million
·         Dallas-Ft. Worth metro 6.8 million
·         Houston metro 6.3 million
·         Philadelphia metro 6.0 million
·         Washington, DC metro 5.9 million
·         Miami metro 5.8 million
·         Atlanta metro 5.5 million

·         Boston metro 4.7 million

Now, focusing on four huge states is not easy.  They are thousands of miles apart from each other.  Florida and New York are up to 2000 miles apart from the top of one to the bottom of the other.  Both are over 3000 miles from California, Texas, Florida, New York, and California are each big landmasses that would take time to navigate.  Each has numerous cities worth visiting.  But to narrow down a nation by hitting just four states is pretty incredible – and strategic.

If books focused on themes that appealed to people who live in those states you’d increase the chances of people buying books in those states.  Set a novel in Florida and California and you hit nearly 60 million combined.

One thing that we see is that the United States is made up of some mega states, then medium-sized ones like Pennsylvania and Ohio, and then smaller states.  The coastal states or border states tend to get the people, while middle America is kind of scattered around.  It’s been this way for a long time.

In terms of marketing to the four biggest states, you need to zero in on the biggest cities, such as SF, LA, SD for California or New York City, Buffalo, and Albany in New York, or South Florida, Orlando, and Jacksonville in Florida, or Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in Texas.

By pursuing events, bookstore signings, and sponsorships in those cities, you have a chance of generating local or national media headquartered there.  The other 46 states would naturally follow without doing anything.

A bonus to all of this is that you’re visiting some of the most beautiful parts of the country in CA and FL.  NY offers history and skyscrapers.  Texas offers good steaks.  Get your plane ticket set: Four states to a best-seller!

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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, January 26, 2015

The State of the Union For Books


President Barack Obama issued a passionate State of the Union address that revealed an ambitious agenda, a chance to shape his legacy, and an opportunity for the nation to reflect on where it is and questioned where it's heading.  Though he didn't directly mention any new initiatives to help writers or the book publishing industry, I have a few initiatives he could have presented to the watchful eyes and ears of an American public eager to see the nation grow as it moves beyond the shadows of The Great Recession and The Terrorism Era.

While Obama talked about making community college free, which could help to sell more textbooks, eh didn't talk about things that would really boost society, like:
·         A tax cut to book publishers
·         Allowing people to buy books pre-tax
·         Banning tales tax on books
·         Giving writers tuition reimbursement for Master of Fine Arts program participation
·         Creating a program to provide up to $100 worth of books to those living in poverty each year
·         Boosting government budgets for libraries
·         Hiring an army of 100,000 literary tutors to help immigrants, children, the unemployed, or those in prison to read and gain the most valuable of all skills

Granted, the State of the Union is just a big speech, full of bluster and chest-thumping, but even so, books should be a part of the national dialogue.  We need our top leader to share a vision about the value of books and to support the role they play in a society like ours.

Forget talk of the military, housing, jobs, or the political favorites such as abortion or immigration.  President Obama should have appealed to the masses by talking about books.  It's a safe area.  Who doesn't support reading and learning?  Who doesn't benefit from a more literate society?

Okay, so books won't win elections and talking about them is not too sexy.  But if we just keep talking about energy, taxes, the environment, ISIS, and the repeat issues of every local, state, and federal election, we'll never get to talking about books.

How about creating a national book club?
Could we declare 2015 the year of the book?
Shall the government fund awards to honor books?
Might the White House want to dedicate a day to meeting with publishing ambassadors and authors who make a difference?

The State of the Union was strong and inspiring, but next time the president of the United States could simply say: Read more books!

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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, January 25, 2015

Book Marketing Lesson's From Sal's Pizzeria


You wouldn't expect the busiest pizza place in town to be the one that doesn't deliver, doesn't accept credit cards, and fails to have  a customer-friendly demeanor, but Sal's in Mamaroneck, NY is hands-down the best pizza joint for miles. The competition is fierce, as just within two blocks of this establishment are no fewer than three pizza-dishing restaurants.

So how does a place become the unequivocal leader, the ultimate brand pace-setter? How can authors separate themselves from the pack in a similar fashion?

I don't even think Sal's advertises anywhere. It simply makes great pizza and its word-of-mouth has spread -- pun intended. They let their product be their spokesperson.

If you write a great book, that is the basis for getting raving fans. Without that, what word-of-mouth is being spread?

Now food and books are very different. You need food to live. Books may seem like your lifeblood but theoretically you can survive without books-- or can you?

Consuming food becomes a public experience, whereas reading books is more of a private thing.

Pricing varies wildly on food, from a slice costing two-and-a-half bucks to fifty-dollar dishes at high-end restaurants. Books are not expensive and digital books are dirt-cheap.

Whenever I talk to people about restaurants and pizza, almost everyone agrees Sal's is the best. This popularity is validated every time I wait on a line that often is out the door at Sal's. But many will also comment about the attitude its staff seems to take. They have a chip on their shoulders. You would think it is a negative, and one friend tells me he refuses to eat there because of their blatant disregard for the paying customer, but I think Sal's thrives in part because they remind you in their own way that their food is so good  that they can practically tell you to get lost.

Remember Seinfeld's Soup Nazi? Welcome to the Pizza Nazi.

I think all aspiring authors should take a trip through the door at Sal's and see firsthand how to build a brand -- and enjoy a slice or two or three of the greatest pizza in Westchester.

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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, January 24, 2015

Amazon Goes Hollywood


Amazon is always looking for new income streams or more to the point, new loss leaders.  They are the most diverse company in the world in terms of what they sell, what they make, and the services provided.  The only problem is this: They lose money and in the process, tear up the economy of the industries they touch.  Movies and Hollywood are up next.

It announced its plans to produce a dozen big-screen films this year.  However, to do so, their budgets will be limited. But that won’t stop them from messing with Hollywood’s pay scales and formulas.

Amazon wants to release movies into theaters and then one to two months later make them available for streaming for free to its 40 million prime subscribers ($99 per year).  It will beef up its entertainment business, which expanded to television successfully. It just won a Golden Globe.

Amazon is trying to be all things to all people and in the process of building marketshare and huge revenues, it piles up substantial losses.  But as long as Wall Street is supportive of the stock, Amazon can keep looking to cannibalize industry after industry.  The vultures smell blood and are going for the kill.

What’s left for Amazon to conquer?

·         Broadway plays
·         A radio network
·         Sell life insurance
·         Create a cemetery and offer discounted plots
·         Breed dogs and cats
·         Train police departments
·         Staff schools with teachers

Anything’s possible when you don’t have to turn a profit.

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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

Friday, January 23, 2015

Best Book Ever!?


Who is the greatest author?  What is the best book?

How can you begin to answer such questions?  It depends on one’s criteria for judging such things, and even then, there could be a wide disparity amongst gender, age, ethnicity and other demographic dividers.  Further, the answer is bound to change over time, not just because new books and talented authors come about, but because our needs and tastes change, and because the world changes.

Who or what body would be qualified to rank such things?

I think so many factors are at play in determining one’s all-time favorite list, including:
·         What exposure have you had to a variety of authors and genres?
·         How many books have you read?
·         What do you use as a filter to rate books?
·         Can you remember all that you’ve read?
·         What was going on in your life at the time you read it?
·         Can you remember all that you’ve read?
·         What stage of life and experience were you at the time you read each book?
·         How smart are you?  Can you fully appreciate the author’s talent?

Many writers copy the style of another, so do we properly acknowledge the pioneers of a style – or do we merely look to see who has perfected that style?

For my first 17 years – all through high school – I read only a handful of books cover to cover.  Yes, even though I love books now and valued the written word during my pre-English major years at college, I read more Cliff and Monarch Notes than actual books.  I read about books rather than reading them.

Some of it was due to time and convenience.  Other times, I couldn’t bear to read another Jane Austen book, and other times I needed help because the book was too complex.  However, I do recall enjoying the following books:

George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm
Bernard Malamud’s The Assistant
Ralph Ellison’s The Invisible Man
Joseph Heller’s Catch-22
William Golding’s Lord of the Flies
Jonathon Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels
William Shakespeare’s Hamlet
James Roswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson

I liked Joyce Carol Oates and I also liked reading essays and short stories.  There was Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky and Kafka’s Metamorphosis.  Ah, good memories.

My adult years have been spent with many books, but largely contemporary works, much more non-fiction than fiction, primarily because of my job and interests.  I feel a lot of fiction can be experienced via television and movies, as both industries base a lot of stuff on books.  Then again, everyone always says “the book’s better than the movie.”

The place I would start to look at with ranking books is the following:

·         Separate by genre (fiction vs. non-fiction and subcategories)
·         Divide by era (generations, centuries)
·         Weigh critical reviews, sales data, awards won, peer responses and fan reactions
·         Would you read it again – and still feel enhanced by it?
·         Did a book make you feel, see or learn something? 
·         Do you feel enriched for having read it? 
·         Do you fondly recall it years later? 
·         Is the book significant on some level – did it influence policy, behavior, or a movement?  Was it far superior to its contemporaries? 

·         How has the book been imitated by others?

We are too obsessed with rankings, ratings, awards, and declarations of greatness.  Just read what you want and enjoy it and encourage others to read more.  The best book is the one in your hands right now.

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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, January 22, 2015

How Will You Celebrate The Very First National Readathon Day?


Penguin Random House, Goodreads, Mashable, and The National Book Foundation created National Readathon Day for January 24, 2015.  It calls for non-stop marathon reading to happen from noon to four in the afternoon in your respective time zone.  You can share your love of books and support programs that promote reading by pledging to read and do fundraising for the National Book Foundation.

So how can you get involved?

1.      Join a group of people conducting public readathons.
2.      Form your own group.
3.      Encourage others to participate in the readathon.
4.      Buy books or visit your library.
5.      Tweet out your experience using the hashtag #TimeToRead.

Why is such a day needed?  Because we need to encourage everyone – especially our youth – to read books if we hope to promote books and literacy.  According to the National Book Foundation, 53% of all nine-year-olds read for pleasure but by age 17, that drops to 19%.

Read on January 24 – and get others to do so as well!

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

New Interview With Famed Author Warren Adler


Warren, what is your newest book about? My latest book, Treadmill, is a political thriller. It was inspired by my own experience in the gym in Washington and the people with whom I exercised. The main character is an unemployed lonely depressed man who keeps body and soul together by spending a great deal of time in the gym. Odd strangers begin to show up in the gym. There he befriends another man who mysteriously disappears and he sets out to find him. Why has he disappeared? Was it foul play? In his search he discovers that he too is being pursued for reasons he cannot fathom. It takes place in the Washington area. There is a political context. Beyond that I can’t reveal any more as it will give the plot away.

What inspired you to write it? I have written numerous books about political Washington where I lived for thirty-five years and knew many of the important figures during the time I lived there. I had special access, especially through the magazine that we owned (and my wife and son ran), called The Washington Dossier. I knew Presidents, Senators, Ambassadors, Congressman, media types and all the important people during that era. My eight mystery books feature Fiona Fitzgerald, daughter of a fictional Senator and a homicide detective in Washington. It is being adapted to a TV series.

How does it compare to some of your previous books? Compare? It is one of my 40 novels. I never compare them. I treat them all as my children and I never have favored any of my children. I love my work and have been doing it since I was a teenager.

You love to write across many genres and themes. Is that unusual for writers? I suppose it is unusual although many writers cross genres. I can’t write to the rules of any genre. I write what interests me. If it falls vaguely into a genre format I don’t realize it. It is both a benefit and a curse, but I just keep writing and let the chips fall where they may. I have optioned or sold many of my novels to film and television. My son Jonathan Robert Adler has formed his own production company, Grey Eagle Films, which has the rights to my books. He currently has nine of them in some form of development for theatrical films or TV.

Did I hear correctly that War of the Roses, your book that became famous as a movie, will be a Broadway play? What is that all about? Yes, it has been optioned as a Broadway play by important Broadway producers. Based exclusively on my novel, it has appeared in other countries all over the world. We are hopeful it will be staged on Broadway sometime this year or early next.

What trends are you seeing in book publishing today? The shift to digital has been astounding as I predicted when I introduced the first viable reader at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show in 2007. I am a pioneer in digital, having taken all of my book rights back in the late eighties. At that time I had twenty-seven novels published by traditional publishers, which were also translated into many languages. I have since published 13 in digital and POD with more to come. My company does not follow traditional patterns of publishing. My goal is to keep my authorial name alive beyond my lifetime. No one knows what will happen to the future of publishing and reading.

What did you make of the Amazon-Hachette dispute? A business ploy on the issue of how to split proceeds. It has been settled. The big question is how will the author benefit? We shall see.

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