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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Do You Understand What I’m Saying? Beware of Authorspeak!


Technology has certainly impacted communication capabilities over the centuries.  The invention of printing presses, telephone, radio, television, and computers has certainly altered how information is gathered, stored, and shared.  The internet would be the most recent – but not the last – significant invention to influence the exchange of ideas and information.  How is today’s technology impacting language, from word creation and usage to how we hear or understand what is being said?

It seems that we should conclude the following, that as a result of digital communications, we now can:

·         Transmit info anywhere across the globe in a matter of seconds
·         Use unlimited space to convey a message – no longer limited by time (i.e. TV broadcast) or physical space (paper).
·         Allow anyone to take center stage without needing to get past a gatekeeper or authoritative media outlet
·         Use citizen journalists and self-published authors to counter the established media and publishers

It also seems there are many pitfalls, including these:

·         There’s a digital divide – the majority of global citizens still don’t log onto the internet
·         No record is safe from hacking and manipulation
·         Fake news stories can be passed off as legitimate
·         With everyone crowdsourcing news and information, the centralization or authoritative sourcing of materials is degraded

We’re missing an editor for the Internet.  No one is there to double-check spelling, facts, grammar, punctuation, syntax, capitalization, or word usage.  Blogs, websites, emails, and social media postings are ruining the English language with its made-up words, misuse of words, short-handing of everything, and its poor substitution of symbols for words, Netspeak (LMAO), and the lack of complete sentences.  Net communication is brief, fragmented, and often so poorly structured that recipients could read a communication and think that the sender’s intention is actually the opposite of what was stated.

The Twitterization of language and communication is awful.  Our communications lack depth and completeness.  Or worse, we can’t summarize properly and lazily hand over a link to something rather than say what it’s about.  We just endlessly click, click, click – but we don’t always seem to say anything substantively. 

We treat communications as something we do to fill in an idle moment – waiting on line, going to the bathroom, sitting on a bus or train, during a commercial break, or while multi-tasking.  People used to give thought to what they’ll write.  They’d pause to edit it and reflect.  We now press send before we double-check to make sure we didn’t mistype any words.

Language is under attack.  It happens in waves, overtime.  For instance, when immigrants come in clusters, English gets abused.  It happens when major events or technologies come about and new words and terms are needed to keep up.  It happens within regions and groups.  Ebonics, Spanglish, and now Netspeak are the more recent causations for the bastardization of our language.  Then you have the PC police looking to sanitize words beyond recognition.  As you can see, there’s an ongoing assault on our language that is taking a toll on how we communicate with each other.

But the biggest problem may come from our schools.  Our education system fails to produce graduates who can write well, speak effectively, and master all aspects of the English Language.  With fewer people left to correct those not in the know, combined with those who should know better but fall into the fashion of the day, we leave our language vulnerable to misuse, abuse, distortion, and confusion.

On the other hand, language is not static nor permanent.  It reflects our society and bends to reflect who we are.  Sure, at any given time there are rules and standards that we need to adhere to or we will have illiteracy all around us, but we will need to be more tolerant of gyrations in the world of language.  For all we know, all of this worry over English could be moot.  Based on birth and immigration patterns, we could be a Spanish-speaking nation by the end of the century.  Or, if China continues to grow, we’ll all be speaking Mandarin.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, August 31, 2015

Interview with The Voice of Sexotica for the Rowdier Reader


Meet Kathleen K.

Move over E.L. James. We know all we need to know about one rich man and his inamorata.  Heed the call of the wild to the rowdy in a dozen oddly thoughtful, overtly sexual books available at KathleenKBooks.com.  Kathleen f/k/a/ Jamie is a former sex chat operator, she knows the lingo and recognizes the characters.  Her newest Dark Prince, Heed Thy Queen (In the Realm of Roles and Reversals) “is a titillating and highly provocative tinderbox, conflating taboo themes of hierarchal subservience, gender domination, and eroticized objectification.”*

Here is an interview with the one-time pay-to-say Sweet Talker.

What is your new book about?
Dark Prince, Heed Thy Queen finds the narrator hiding a searing sexual relationship from the people she loves but flaunting it in front of strangers.  She meets a cocksure man at a party and they abandon everything familiar for this chance at a wild love affair in their own little world.  Key dialog:

“Spread ‘em.”
“Spread me.”

There’s the theme.  The struggle is not only between them, but around them and within them.  This book shows the power of harmonic tremors:  not just the hard-pounding eruption events but how those cycle with the deep soothing surge of magma at the core.  She was looking for a bad boy and got one.  She felt unleashed and realized the leash had been social expectations.  These are educated people:  their sex safe-word is ‘hypocrite’ as if either would shame themselves by retreating from the other.

How does it differ from some of your earlier works?
The mix of my books goes from lyric about sex (Stoner with a Boner) to clinically brisk and cheeky (Honey B., Sexual Consultant) and includes graphic poetry and non-fiction Sweet Talkers about running a phone sex business.  I believe there is a spectrum of language available to address our interest in love∞sex.  Dark Prince is specifically forthright and explicit about one woman’s sexploration, guided and goaded by a stranger.  There is no reason for her to lie:  nothing to fear, nothing to lose.  It’s all and only about this meeting of a moment, and the moment is all.  Specifically, the book is ‘sexotic’.  Erotica is a matter of taste and timing, while sexotica qualifies by the depth and breadth of its carnal content. 

Why do you say this book "delivers the next iteration of Mommy porn -- and Daddy likes it too"?
The divide between porn and romance is severe, it is hard to navigate the middle ground.  The only way to do that is to recreate the clash of energies that occur in real sex:  the challenge-surrender and mutual assured destruction when the genders meet for mating.  It’s been my fortune to capture the colloquialism of sex, the practicalities and absurdities; readers find the feelings familiar and compelling.  By trusting the reader to bring some imagery of their own, I let them free associate, providing a framework upon which they conjugate thoughts.   The goal is to reach rowdier readers who by nature are inquisitive, tolerant and pragmatic about sexual themes as long as the language hold thems.  Curiosity turns out to be a trait found in all genders.

Is it hard to write a book that can stimulate both of the sexes?
In fact, the books are reviewed as inventive, intelligent, smart, sassy, witty and wise.  Those are gender-neutral words.  I’m surprised when people note I’m a female writing male characters as sexual beings, as if men hadn’t been doing that to females all along.  Characteristics of gender figure in sex scenes, of course, but the truer energy is beyond gender: it’s personal and biochemical and socio-logical.  Engaging the commotion of emotion around sex snatches the attention of articulate readers of any age, race, or sex if they like that kind of thing.  [I’m quick to label my work as “Not suitable for some, appreciated by others.”]  I acknowledge gender polarity as a necessary challenge in the nature of mammals: we are purpose-built to complement and blend, each sterile without the other.

You say your book probes the themes of submission, permission, and admission. What is left to discover about the human ability or desire to be whipped into climaxing?
Like any good “reporter” of a story, I need to include the who-what-where-when-how but to be a lively writer you need to sprinkle in the why.  I’ve chosen to work in vignettes so I can set a scene quickly.  The reader gets to do the detailing within borders I’ve sketched while I can find the fulcrum, the vertex, whatever you call those pivotal moments when you establish a freeze-frame.

Do you really think you could kick my ass?
I could stop kissing it.

We ascribe motive to actions using an emotional mix of our own.  Are you submitting to my wish to spank you, or are you admitting to your wish to be spanked?  We never tire of adventure stories, pioneering and trial-by-fire, setting them in a sexual context adds a little zing-zang.  

As an award-winning indie author how hard had it been to break through the literary scene?
The likelihood of being “discovered” is much like a lightning strike, so what I’ve done is set out my lightning rods.  I use Kirkus Reviews as my own trial-by-fire and that has worked in my favor both in quotable praise and by being Named to the Best (Indie) in 2013 for The Lunarium.  Kirkus designated a Featured Review July 2015 for Dark Prince, Heed Thy Queen. *  My Twitter @KathleenKxxx lets me get pithy with it every couple of days amplified by retweeting to tens of thousands via #EARTG.  I like making the books, I price them to sell ($6.66-9.99, Kindle discount 25%).  With a dozen books available, I’m covering a broad spectrum of potential readers. I’m easily branded with the pen name KathleenK which pairs well in web searches with erotica, porn, fiction,  voyeurism, phone sex, stoner, books, sexual consultant, dick size and gender dynamics.  It helps when an insider blog like this grants me a chance to address the community.  What I need is a promoter-publicist-agent who is as competent and productive in the dark art of marketing as I am in crafting books tailored for the night stand.


How would you describe your level of evocative prose and artistic style?
I’m pleased with the reaction to my narrative style, even those who don’t like the themes remark on the readability.  Language evolves with use and in my case I’ve concentrated on pinpoint phrasing in a colloquial freewheeling syntax.  I read a lot of different things, grammar texts and popular fiction and poetry and science, sharpening my appreciation of a well-turned come back (or come on).  By sharpening focus on a moment, the reader feels incorporated in the action, engaged by the scenarios, so the mix of sass and sympathy lets them throttle the intake.  It’s frank language, sometimes even stark, serving to highlight the provocative intent.  Working in this naughty vernacular, adding style and polish elevates it immediately.

Is there a certain voyeurism attached to your books?

There’s a contagious excitement, as one reviewer put it, a sense of involvement, readers “see” what’s going on due to the specific placement of words.  All books are offering a peek inside somewhere, opening a window to a world within its pages.  Sexotica isn’t as fulsome as erotica but it is richer than porn, the presentation of explicit detail rings true in a contextual sense because that is the allure, after all: physique and technique with a touch of mystique.  Just considering sex∞love and the infinity between enriches you, it feathers in new reactions.   For some people, my books present an unexpected opportunity to fertilize their imagination.  Rowdier readers need to dig deeper than the Best Seller list since we shun sexology as a dirty thing instead of celebrating it as valuable nuance, intertwining both pleasure and piqué. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Connecting Your Book To The News



Authors love to talk about their books and themselves, especially to the news media.  Though a book or author may be interesting on their merits, sometimes one needs to find a story idea that relates to what is in the news.  So just how does an author go about doing that?

To pitch yourself or a book to the media, based on the current news cycle, consider the following:

1.      Scan the Internet to see what’s in the news.  You can skim headlines at sites like CNN.com, Fox News, NYTimes.com, and Huffington Post.

2.      Sign up for Google Alerts on topics related to your book, and you’ll be fed news stories on them.

3.      See what’s trending on social media: Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

4.      Look ahead at the calendar, 30-60 days in advance, and note which relevant holidays, anniversaries, or important dates that relate to your book are coming up.

5.      Once you know what’s in the news and what special dates are coming, contact targeted media with a pitch that directly references either what’s in the news or an upcoming holiday.

6.      You want your pitch to stick out, so saying more of what’s out there won’t work.  Highlight your unique take on things.  Are you contrarian? Do you have data or knowledge that others do not?  Do you have a strong opinion that can be worded powerfully?  Is there an idea or call to action that you want to trumpet?

7.      The key to jacking the news or reacting to the media landscape is to pitch a story idea rather than just your book. There’s a difference in the approach that is key.  Lead with a newsy comment or idea – and then mention there’s a book, as opposed to leading with your book (unless the book is truly newsworthy).

8.      Find a unique perspective to bring to the media about a story they’ve been covering.  For instance, if your book is about parenting and there’s a story about a parent that abused a child, or a runway teen, or about a kid bullying another, seek to thrust yourself into the conversation with insight on what could’ve gone wrong, what should be done, or how such situations could be avoided.

Staying on top of the news and contacting the media at opportune times is important.  You don’t want to seem like you’re exploiting the news, so only offer concrete tips, advice, and insight that seem related to your area of expertise.  

Just just because you’re not directly involved with the subjects of a news event doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the story.  Speak up – you may just get heard.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, August 28, 2015

Fun, Educational Items From Smithsonian Are Great For Kids


I recently received some excellent educational items from Smithsonian.  One was Young Explorers 50 States Fact Book & Floor Puzzle – a fun way to learn geography and appreciate historical tidbits about each state.  For instance,, on The Empire State, my home of New York, you learn the state’s flower is the rose and the state bird is the Eastern Bluebird. I guess naming a Pidgeon as your state bird wouldn’t look good.  Some famous New York-born greats include Norman Rockwell, FDR, and Jonas Salk.

Smithsonian Sticker Creations:Dinosaurs was fun for my seven-year-old daughter.  She created her own framed play scene with the use of five deluxe 3-D stickers.  175 reusable stickers is just what she needed.  A similar package, Under The Sea, also gave her hours of enjoyment.

There was some amazing photography, coupled with interesting facts, contained in a binder book, Smithsonian Discover: Earth, which filled my 10-year-old son’s brain with information on disasters, including wildfires, landslides, hurricanes, lightning strikes, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.

But my favorite thing was a nicely packaged box set of oversized, fact-filled cards called Smithsonian Everything You Need To Know.  It was for 2nd and 3rd-graders.  The 275 cards covered history, animals, outer space, dinosaurs, geography, human body, and US presidents.  The facts about presidents was very interesting.

I didn’t know that James Madison, the smallest American president, was all of 100 pounds and stood just five-foot-four.  But the weirdest factoid was that three of the first five US presidents died on the Fourth of July, and two – Jefferson and John Adams – died exactly on the same day – on our nation’s 50th birthday, July 4, 1826.  That would make a good book.  Was foul play involved – maybe suicide or murder?

Did you know it wasn’t until our eighth president, Martin Van Buren, that we had the first American-born citizen to be president?

Did you realize one president – William Harrison – only served 32 days – and was the first president to die in office?

Here’s something not spoken of often: Andrew Jackson was born into poverty and couldn’t read or write until his wife taught him how. This was another interestig fact contained in this package.

For summer fun – and a way to make learning outside the classroom appealing – these materials from Smithsonian are worth obtaining.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, August 27, 2015

Book Sales Are Rising, Led By Audiobooks



Bookstore sales rose 3.9% in the second quarter of the year – a nice healthy jump in the right direction.  In the first quarter, according to the Association of American Publishers, e-book sales were down 2.5% - now accounting for 30% of all book sales.

This is good news on a number of levels.  First, overall, book sales are increasing.  Second, bookstore sales are growing.  Third, print books are holding their own and took back some of the ground they lost over the past half-dozen years to e-books.  The industry needs print books to succeed.  Stores do too.  And, whether consumers realize it or not, they benefit from all of this as well.

You know what else is rising?  Audiobooks.

By big numbers.

Audiobook units sold increased, the number of titles for sale in audio increased, and the revenue increased by 19.5% this past year.  That’s huge.  Even though audiobooks only make up a sliver of the marketplace, they are poised for growth.  In a digital download world, audiobooks fit in with our lifestyle and device-driven culture.

Who listens to audiobooks?


·         Readers who want to experience a book on a different level
·         Youth who read the book while listening to it
·         Those commuting by car, train, or plane
·         People doing chores – cooking, gardening, cleaning
·         Exercisers who don’t want music or the news in their ears
·         Vacationers and beach-goers
·         Those with visual impairment
·         People who have not mastered literacy

Audiobooks can enhance the learning process for kids and teens today.  Take a look at www.soundlearningapa.org to learn the facts.

Five years ago, some 6,000 new audiobook titles were released.  It’s quadrupled in growth, now at 25,000 annual titles and expanding quickly.

I have some fond memories of audiobooks.  For one, I met my wife at an audiobook launch party at Book Expo.  She was the marketing manager for Random House Audio at the time. For another, my son, then just six, listened to all of Marley & Me, and learned about the cycle of life and dogs.  My daughter, at around age 5 or 6, listened to the folk song, Blowing in the Wind while reading an illustrated book with the same words.

Books are growing, especially audiobooks.  Add to the trend and let me know if you’ve heard a good book lately.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, August 26, 2015

Don’t Say This To The Media When Promoting A Book



You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, or so it’s been said.  This is certainly true with the news media.  Here are things you should avoid saying to the news media when promoting your book:

1.      “It received just a few bad reviews.”
2.      “My book may have a few typos, so please excuse them.”
3.      “I edited the book myself.”
4.      “The book was published two years ago but since no one bought it I changed the title and cover and just re-released it.”
5.      “This book is good, but my next book is even better.”
6.      “Everyone should want to read my book.”
7.      “I’ve never spoken to the media before.”
8.      “My book doesn’t have great distribution.”
9.      “If I had more time, the book could have been even better.”
10.  “Sorry the book is so long.  I didn’t quite know how to end it.”

Don’t ask questions like these:

1.      “Can I approve of the story before it’s published?”
2.      “Don’t quote me on that, okay?”
3.      “Is this off the record,” after you spoke without setting such a condition.
4.      “Can you make what I just said sound better?”
5.      “So, what do you think of my book?”

All of this may seem like common sense, but what happens when authors communicate with the media is they either get nervous and confess their insecurities and weaknesses, or they get relaxed and think a gentle reporter is a friend with whom they can share anything.

Authors need to operate under these guidelines:

1.      Don’t volunteer negative information.
2.      Don’t raise a topic that could lead to something embarrassing.
3.      Don’t come off sounding egotistical.
4.      Don’t be so shy that the journalist doesn’t hear anything worthy to report on.
5.      Think like the person interviewing you.  Ask yourself what needs he or she has and what could be said to impress the reporter.
6.      Always assume everything is on the record.
7.      Learn more about the reporter or media outlet prior to the interview so that you can speak in a way that appeals to the reporter’s needs, preferences, or readership/viewership/listenership demographics.

The media understands that most authors aren’t media trained, and even those that are could still be prone to a misstep. The media can be forgiving or overlook somethings but be on high alert, especially when your book is controversial.  The media may just want to trap you or highlight a negative.  

Follow the above guidelines and you should be fine.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, August 25, 2015

Have You Read A Short Story Book?



I must confess that I don’t read poetry or short story books often. Btu when I do expose myself to these unique forms, I always feel impressed with how authors can be creative while operating under certain parameters.

One such book comes from a client of the book publicity firm that I work for.  This collection of 20 short stories, The Book Of Names, is very good.  The stories, ranging from two to 26 pages each, find a way to engage the reader from the first sentence.  Even when the stories seem complete you still can see how many of them could be developed into full-length novels.

It makes me wonder why we don’t see more short story books.  It would make sense that we have a lot of these books, given how society is. We are on the run all the time.  We have commutes to work and we have short attention spans.  Reading a five- or 20-page story would fill in the gaps with ease.

Writing short stories requires as much talent – if not more – to write long-length novels. You need to develop context, the characters, and plot fairly quickly while being descriptive and mysterious enough to engage the reader’s curiosity and concern.

There aren’t as many awards out there for the short story format as there are full novels. There’s a need to honor and celebrate short stories and to publicize these works.  The short story book could be a way to introduce a writer to the public, showcasing a dozen or more stories and topics.  

Will you read a short story book today?

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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