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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Local Bookstores Thrive In Cape Cod


I just returned from a lazy family vacation in Cape Cod and am happy to say the literary scene seems hopeful over there.

My wife and I drove our children, 9 and 6, to Chatham, MA, in an area one would describe as the elbow of the Cape.  It was our first family trip to Cape Cod.  I was in Hyannis last year for my foray into Cod life, speaking at a writer’s conference.  Judging by the happy faces at the end of our week-long sojourn to the outer edges of Massachusetts, I bet we’ll be back for many more summers.

Although the trip had plenty of highlights – whale watching off the coast of Provincetown, walking along hundreds of yards of sandbars at low tide along the Dennis-area Mayflower Beach, renting a powerboat and captaining our four-hour trip (I never drove a boat before), kayaking across Oyster Beach River, playing a late-night round of mini-golf, and biking 17 miles up and down the Rail Trail (I lugged my daughter in an attachment known as a trailer) – plus many beautiful beaches – I felt deep satisfaction in knowing the independent bookstore is alive and well.

Town after town we saw local bookstores with shelves stuffed with books.  These stores were pure – no toys, DVDs or music.  No cafes.  No distractions.  Just wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling paper.  Book-lovers feel a warm sensation when they come across such sights.

Some of these towns can be small in land mass and in population, but many have not just one but two bookstores.  It’s great to walk along Main Street in Chatham or Commercial Street in PTown or along the local streets of Orleans and see bookstores doing what they are supposed to be doing.

Each store feels secure and well established, as if anchoring these old towns for generations.  Wooden floors and wooden shelves make you feel at home.  The smell of knowledge, discovery and imagination is in the air.  Often the store is staffed not by people who could easily be working at the GAP, McDonald’s or Target, but mature adults with roots in books and the community.  Most often it’s the owner at the cash register.

Wisely, the stores don’t sell everything, not even all the best-sellers.  They highlight local authors, books of local interest, and books that reflect not just what people think what they want, but what they truly will value.

We supported the local bookstore and purchased several books.  Sure they’d be cheaper in a B&N superstore or a Wal-Mart-type bookstore or online at Amazon.  But the price of admission to keep our community bookstores is to pay full freight at such stores.  You get your book giftwrapped with the love of the book world.

It was also nice to see big, old libraries located prominently in the center of several of the towns we walked or drove through.  It may not seem like paper and water go together, but on a water-filled trip, I’m left thinking positively about the paper books in brick-and-mortar stores at the heart of a beautiful area.

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 © 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014

War of the Roses Coming To Broadway


I am so happy to report that a former client of mine at Media Connect, Warren Adler, will have his most famous book, The War of the Roses, once depicted in a major movie with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner,  turned into a Broadway show in 2015. It will be produced  by Tony Award-winning producers Jay Gutterman, Cindy Gutterman, Cathy Chernoff, Cal Moellenberg, and Wendy Faderman.  The story has already been a success overseas, selling out theatres in over a dozen countries.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of representing Warren Adler for his then new book, The Serpent’s Bite. Here are portions of an interview I did with him back then, with the man dubbed “the master of dysfunction.”

  1. Warren, you have been a part of the literary scene for nearly half a century.  At the age of 84, you are one of the elder statesmen for the publishing industry.  Where do you see the book industry heading? As I have been predicting ever since I first digitalized all my work more than a dozen years ago, and as I said when I introduced the SONY reader in 2007, as the first stand-alone reader at the Las Vegas Electronics Show, the publishing business will morph massively to cyberspace and considerably shrink the number of stores selling printed books, all of which has come true. What I did not foresee was the number of self-published books that would hit the marketplace and offer hard competition for traditionally published books. What is coming long-term, in my view, is a massive number of fiction books available on the Net, where it will be a challenge for any writer of fiction to be discoverable. Even major stars in fiction will find that they will have to work doubly hard to keep their brand in the eye of the reading public. Many will eventually lose their luster. The traditional publishers will not spend the marketing and advertising money to create new branded authors, although they are hoping, by publishing their first novels, to test the waters for their future brands.  There will be many flash-in-the-pan authors who will not warrant future investment in their careers. Indeed, authors of non-genre fiction like myself will be better off investing in their own branding, especially in today’s marketplace of fading print stores. Being discoverable as an author will not cut it without finding ways to penetrate the reading marketplace. This will grow more and more expensive as competition accelerates. There will be many frustrated novelists with hopes and dreams of fame and fortune.

  1. How would you describe your body of work? This is a tricky question. I write about love, erotic love, father and children love, grandparents and grandchildren love, love between siblings, and the vast gulf between aspirations and fulfillment and how it frustrates people who dream but cannot come to terms with the failure of their dreams. In The Serpent’s Bite, the female character becomes a monster out of frustration over her failed obsession to become a movie star, a direct slap at the celebrity culture. I have always been interested in power and coping with its loss. A number of my books do not end happily e.g. The War of the Roses, The Serpent’s Bite. In Hollywood I have been dubbed a “relationship writer,” whatever that means. Actually, many of my books end with a coming-to-terms with life’s adversity, and reaching a kind of philosophic calm, accepting life with all its problems, unfairness and cruelty.   My focus is the human condition in all its joys and failures. Many of my books, including my mystery series, are written from a female point of view. I am in awe of the strength of women in general and many of my books show these strengths as well as their weaknesses. In The Serpent’s Bite I believe I have created a monstrous female character who gets her just reward at the end.

  1. You never had a New York Times best-seller and yet you are probably one of the most successful writers because of your success in selling film and television rights for your books.  How do you explain that? I have always sincerely believed that my novels are like depth bombs: they take longer to explode when launched.  Hence I have always felt that that my legacy will be more important than my contemporary career, which has done pretty well in itself. Also at my age I am enjoying the process of exposing my work to new generations. It may seem to some as an adventure in egomania but I truly believe that after a half-century of intense creation of parallel worlds that I should at least send my rockets of experience as high as they can go. There is no downside for me. I have already experienced most of the disappointments and rejection that are the affliction of the creative writer. I have seen the writing stars of yesteryear disappear from the scene. I have seen all those who rejected me flame out, retire or go into the real estate business. I am beyond insult at this stage in my life. I write only what I must and am still going strong. Oh yes, about why my books sell to the movies: I haven’t got a clue.

  1. Tens of thousands of books are published weekly in America.  What does one need to do to stick out and get discovered? They need to do exactly what I am doing: Banging the drum as loud as I can.  It is hard for today’s author to get heard and discovered amid enormous competition, less shelf space, short promotional span, and an avalanche of competition on the internet.  I am setting the standard for such an approach but the outlay of money will do nothing unless there is a substantial backlist that might benefit the author. In my case the overspending on The Serpent’s Bite is designed to attract readers to my 32-book backlist. Nevertheless I trust to luck that the book will find its audience. In my opinion, it will be the harbinger example of what’s to come in establishing the non-genre writer’s career.

But discoverability is merely the opening gun. If word of mouth does not kick in all the promotion in the world will make no difference. Also, when you talk of 50,000 books, you are generalizing. Non-genre fiction is between a quarter and a third of all books on the Net. I write non-genre fiction, which further reduces the fiction numbers. Genre writers have the advantage especially if they are “factory” books, meaning books turned out by Patterson, Cussler and numerous romance novelists. These writers don’t write their own books anymore. They supervise their branded names and make enormous sums of money. Romance fiction is churned out by thousands of writers and follow strict formulas based on the needs and preferences of their readers. Sorry, that is not my goal or my interest. For me, the joy is in the work, which is everything. If a reader gets into my mindset and becomes a faithful reader what more can I ask? When all is said and done the novel is a one-on-one communication system. I have been lucky as hell making it a career. But then, one must consider that I did suffer through endless rejections of my work until I was 45 years old, when I was finally able to interest publishers. I immediately quit my business interests to concentrate on my writing career exclusively with single-minded devotion.

  1. What advice would you offer a struggling writer? I can only give advice to a “real” writer who puts his work above all other forms of activity. For him or her, the issue is not necessarily making a living but it is in the artistry, satisfaction and joy of the process. I do not agree with Samuel Johnson about only writing for money. A real writer writes because of his artistic need above all.

  1. Warren, you’ve been married for over 60 years to the same woman.  How did you come to write a book like The War of the Roses, which is not only about divorce, but the nastiest breakup of all time? It is the work of the imagination. Writing novels is creating a parallel world out of one’s observations, experience, insight and imagination. It is very difficult for people who do not write fiction to understand. Most people are literal minded and have no understanding of how the subconscious works. Some believe that these characters are created by literally basing them on real people going through these experiences. Not really. They are amalgamations of the writer’s conscious and subconscious world. Sets and props to indicate locales, just like the movies, and provide the backgrounds, but the characters are created out of whole cloth within the writer’s imagination and are as real to the writer as the people he meets in his daily life.

  1. You already have over two million words in print.  How much of writing comes naturally to you vs. it being a labor?  Do you edit much or do you stick with your first draft? The secret of writing is rewriting. I rewrite constantly, over and over again until I am reasonably satisfied. I usually can’t tell if I got it right until I’ve written one hundred pages or so. It is at that point that I either abandon the book or slog on.

  1. Your books don’t seem to have happy endings.  Is that contradictory to what most people expect or want? Maybe so, but some of the greatest books ever written have not had happy endings. Life, itself, does not have a happy ending. I can cite hundreds of books with no happy endings that have stood the test of time e.g. Madame Bovary, Anna Karenina, etc.  Actually a number of my books end happily, Random Hearts for example, Twilight Child, for another.

  1.  If nothing else, does The Serpent’s Bite, War of the Roses, and your other books have the reader feeling better about their lives as a result of seeing these reckless, violent, and angry characters play out lives of destruction and division? Yes, people see them as cautionary tales. I cannot tell you how many people have come up to me to say that The War of the Roses changed their lives by informing people it is better to compromise about material things in a divorce than let it get out of hand.

BLASTS FROM THE PAST

When pitching your book to online media, follow these steps:

Your book is great! But does it suck?

Patent advice from bestselling author

Writers must think like the media to get coverage

Ready for your million-dollar book launch?

How to publish for profit – really!

How to keep on top of book industry news, trends, resources

Attitude adjustment for those promoting books

24 tips to pitch the media

27 tips to pitch the media like a pro

Is your book pr bipolar?


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 © 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

TV Can Be Turned Off, But Not Books


While vacationing a few hundred miles from home, in the friendly confines of beach-laden Cape Cod, my wife and I turned off the television.  We didn’t watch any TV or see any movies and I have to say we didn’t miss it at all.  We read books and newspapers – along with taking nature in.  It was a nice reprieve from our day-to-day lives.  It wasn’t all rest and relaxation – we had two young kids to entertain – but to be screen-free was liberating.  Even time on our cell phones was at a minimum.

You hear other people say the same thing – that they turned off the electronics for a vacation and didn’t feel the worse off for it.  But most people don’t say, “Oh, I went on a vacation and didn’t read a thing.”  That should tell you something.

Books are so valuable to the lives we lead.  But TV and movies, as entertaining as they may be, can be shut off from time to time.  But books are always with us – whether we read for school, work, or pure pleasure – or simply to learn things.  They are with us on modes of transportation, on vacations, in bed, in our homes, at the coffee house, on a park bench, at the beach, and really anywhere you need or want to be.

There’s no on-button for books.  They are always with us, readily available to be opened and consumed.  I rarely go anywhere without a book, as so many moments make it conducive o break out into reading – while waiting on a line, commuting by train to work, taking an airplane, in the bathroom, sitting in a park, dining alone, etc.  TV seems like a distraction, not always a destination.  Books, however, are enjoyed from cover to cover, and always seem to be digested with a purpose.  We don’t read books as a background noise, but we do put the TV on just to feel like we are not alone.

Don’t get me wrong – doses of good TV are also very special to me.  I could never live without television nor should I have to.  I also love going to the movies.  But, given a choice, there are few things I choose over good reading materials.  Can you go a day – a week – or a month – without TV?  Maybe.  A day without books?  Never!

BLASTS FROM THE PAST

When pitching your book to online media, follow these steps:

Your book is great! But does it suck?

Patent advice from bestselling author

Writers must think like the media to get coverage

Ready for your million-dollar book launch?

How to publish for profit – really!

How to keep on top of book industry news, trends, resources

Attitude adjustment for those promoting books

24 tips to pitch the media

27 tips to pitch the media like a pro

Is your book pr bipolar?


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 © 2014

Your Book Is Great! But Does It Suck?


Let’s face it.  Ego has blinded millions of wannabe authors.  They write a book and are convinced it is destined for greatness.  Unfortunately, few others share that opinion.  Why is there such a disconnect between what writers think of their work – and what readers believe?

1.      Some authors are passionate about their writing to the point they are blind to any constructive criticism.  They find fault with anyone offering advice.

2.      Most people don’t give candid feedback, so even close friends and family members don’t open their mouths to help a writer correct course.

3.      Many writers don’t expose themselves to competitors’ books so they mistakenly believe no one else has produced a book like theirs – or as good a book, anyway.

4.      We are all driven by the lure of fame and fortune and many writers desperately seek approval from an adoring public, and thus, only see the possible outpouring of love in response to their book and not the likely response of rejection or casual indifference.

5.      Many authors don’t edit themselves well and often overrule the editors they hire.  Or worse, they didn’t hire an editor or get a good one.

6.      The writer may have intended something with his or her book but that vision didn’t translate onto paper when it came to penning the book.

7.      Many writers imitate what’s already been done, and thus, don’t offer anything new.

8.      Some writers feel like they are on a mission to change the world and that sense of righteousness and conviction can push them into overvaluing their written contribution to humanity.

9.      Writers can misread the marketplace as to what readers truly need or want.  Too much of something or too little of another can make for a bad book recipe.

10.  When a book fails to sell, though the issue may involve one’s ability to market, promote, and sell, it could be due to the fact the book isn’t very good.  Once an author takes an honest look at himself he will then start to see what others do. 

On the other hand, many books struggle to find their readership not because they are lousy books but simply because the market is saturated with books and other forms of content – a lot of which is free.  Today’s author can’t just produce a great book – no easy feat – but he or she has to market it well and often.  Once your grassroots effort to find readers gets your book into the hands of at least 1,000 people, you will have a chance to see it grow by word of mouth – or die from a lack of it.

Market your book as if it’s great, but think twice about publishing it if it’s no better than mediocre.  Being as good as others is not the bar – you must be better.  You can’t just believe you’re better – others will be the judge of that.   Listen to them.


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 © 2014

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Terrorism Book Sheds Insight As 9.11 Approaches


As 9.11 Anniversary Approaches, A New Book Lends A Unique Persepctive On Global Terrorism

The public relations firm I have worked with for 15 years, Media Connect, has promoted thousands of authors and books over the years but few have managed to educate me the way a new book on the subject of terrorism has.

Global Terrorism and its Effect on Humanity provides an educated, well researched primer on all aspects of terrorism – including its causes, recruitment tactics, methods use, and terrorists’ agendas -- and concludes with a proscription on how to fight and end the costly war on terrorism.  Further, it shows the sociological, psychological, physical, political, and economical toll of the war on terrorism on America --and its lasting impact upon humanity and human rights.

Written from the unique multi-cultural vantage point of a global scholar, businessman and political activist, Nigerian native Abayomi Nurain Mumuni, his book reveals the following:

·         Why and how the war on terrorism will eventually end.
·         Why we need to define what a victory in the war on terrorism looks like.
·         What needs to be done to defeat terrorism.
·         Provides lessons learned about the events of September 11.
·         Explains the profile, motivating ideologies, and practices of terrorists.
·         Lends insight to the financial psychological, physical, and political damages of terrorism.
·         Suggests why we should be open to negotiating with terrorists.
·         Why we struggle to understand and define terrorism.
·         Lends insight into the justifications and thinking of today’s terrorists

He brings an international perspective to the discussion about terrorism, having earned numerous advanced degrees and certifications on mediation, conflict resolution, public administration, international humanitarian law, UN peacekeeping operations, global and domestic terrorism, and homeland security from higher institutions of learning in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Israel, Nigeria, and the United States.  Abayomi is presently the CEO of a multi-national financial corporation and often travels across the globe.  He founded a political party in his homeland of Nigeria and ran for president there.

He concludes: “The US and its allies will win the war only if they fight it in the right way – with the same sort of patience, strength, and resolve that helped win the Cold War and with policies designed to provide alternative hopes and dreams to potential enemies. The war on terror will end with the collapse of the violent ideology that caused it – when bin Laden’s cause comes to be seen by its potential adherents as a failure, when they turn against it and adopt other goals and other means.”

Here is a Q & A with the author:

1.      In your book, Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity, you attempt to define what terrorism in the 2lst century is. Please tell us what your definition is. What I attempted to do in chapter one of Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity is draw attention to how difficult it is to find a universally accepted definition of terrorism. After the research that produced the book, I am better informed that to respond to this hydra-headed phenomena, scholars must divest it of any form of beatification or coloration and call a spade a spade. It is with this in mind that I concluded Chapter One by defining terrorism simply as a crime—any crime committed against human beings or against humanity. By that definition, I am trying to facilitate an easy identification wherever terrorism exists.

2.      You say that terrorism on its current scale had been foreign to a number of nations and regions, such as Africa. By creating awareness to others about the dangers and reaches of terrorism, what do you hope to accomplish? “Creating awareness to others about the dangers and reaches of terrorism” is what I hope to accomplish. In other words, this question is self-answered. Until quite recently, many in the African region did not know what terrorism was until occurrences in Europe and America started bringing it home. In fact, until 9/11, many people in Africa did not know anything about terrorism. Ignorance is a disease; it is not an excuse in law. Terrorism will not stay away from this part of the world simply because the possible/prospective victims do not know about it. The fact remains that terrorism is a global issue. It is not more native to one region than the other. In addition, it is as old as the human race. So, I thought I should write Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity to draw people’s attention to its variation in their midst and the extent of its existence everywhere.

3.      You claim that some countries lack a true understanding of what terrorism is. What don’t they know about the dangers of one group trying to kill another? Indeed, some nations lack a true understanding of what terrorism is and as a result fail to recognize it until it is full blown. Many authorities take religious crises for granted, failing (or waiting for too long) to take action when one religious sect rises up to attack another. This failure gives room to impunity and encourages more killings in the name of religion. This is exactly the case in Africa where religion holds sway as a factor in politics. Hence, religious crises are easily politicized. Many countries also fail to recognize religious riots as budding religious terrorism. Another thing that some countries do not understand is that terrorism spreads like an airborne disease. So, when terrorism is taking root in a neighboring state, they look away or pretend not to know about it. By the time the terrorists cross the border to establish a training camp, it will be too late to stop their operation. Unlike nations that have it fully or partly under control (because they have been coping with it for years), these other ignorant and inexperienced governments do not have any intelligence apparatus on ground.

4.      Abayomi, you grew up in Nigeria with a Christian mother and a Muslim father. How did you overcome prejudice or mistreatment as a result of your colorful background? My own sense of family, where I come from and what I made for myself is an important part of my life, however, sometimes you have to accept what life offers you and drink from every cup, because love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend; I grew up with this ideology.

5.      You conclude in your book that terrorism is a phase that won’t last, much like a nation vs. nation war or The Cold War. How will the war on terrorism end? My conclusion on how the war on terrorism will end stems from the fact that nothing remains the same forever. So I believe that the twisted ideologies that are behind terrorism will change with time as the adherents are confronted by changes in their environments. Secondly, but still connected with my belief in the inevitability of change, I believe that if The Cold War ended and gave way to what we have today, then there will definitely be an end to the present wave of terrorism. Remember how passionate the Russians were about communism and how convinced the West was in its opposition to it. Even then, the change came so fast that the advocates on both sides had no choice but to embrace it. (Next question (8) further explains this.)

6.      Why do you believe that eventually, Muslims will turn against the extremists in their midst? I really believe that Muslims will turn against the extremists in their midst. First, due to technology—the cable news and social media environment for instance, many hitherto closed societies are opening up, or are being exposed. As a result of technology, the whole world has become a global village and it is shrinking further. Such openness is bound to expose the contradictions between the teachings of Islamic fundamentalists (who sponsor or champion the cause of terrorism) and their lifestyle. More Muslims are getting to know what is happening outside their boundaries and are beginning to question lies told to them about perceived enemies. This is already happening as we see in the ‘Arab Springs’ that removed Gaddafi and Mubarak and currently challenging authorities in Syria and Iran.

7.      You have an interesting chapter about the motives of terrorists and what drives their actions. Beyond religious reasons, what other types of terrorists are lurking? As you mention, there are many motives that drive the terrorist, including religion. Every human being with a spirit wants to lean on one form of religion or the other. Religion, therefore, is a primary factor in what determines a man or woman’s actions. Apart from religion, other convictions that motivate the terrorist include social and political factors. And there is nobody who is free from all of these. These convictions determine a man’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with his society. When there is dissatisfaction, various innovation spring up for change. Unfortunately, some people have seen terrorism as one of such innovations.

8.      Why do you support negotiating with terrorists? This question is being addressed further in my up-coming book, Demand by Terror. It is becoming obvious that without negotiation, not much can be achieved by authorities in their fight against terrorism. So far, the only option I have identified as alternative to negotiation is military strike, and by which authorities will end up being accused of one crime or the other. Take Nigeria government’s efforts to destroy Boko Haram for instance. Out of eagerness to strike the terrorist group, collateral damages touched many civilians to the extent that the Civil Rights Organization accused the Nigerian government of a massacre in Bama village. Violence begets violence. In the new up-coming book, Demand by Terror, I am coming out with the conclusion that any response to a terrorist’s demands should not ignore negotiation. Negotiation has achieved more than military strikes, especially in hostage taking situations.

9.      You ran for the senate, presidency and Governor in 2011 in Nigeria, for the opposition party. What do you believe can strengthen democracy and the election process in nations where there is instability? Especially in the Third World Nations Democracy opens new vistas and opportunities. We should take the advantages that Democracy offers to correct the past mistakes.

10.  How has terrorism impacted America—financially, psychologically, legally, and physically? Terrorism has impacted not only America, but the whole world financially, psychologically, legally and physically as you mention. Financially, in cases like America where statistics are available, the budget for security and anti-terrorism programs has increased tremendously. Much of that could have gone into development programs both within and outside the US. Psychologically, the trauma of security check points in and outside the airport are immeasurable, not to mention the fear at the back of everybody’s mind that terror might strike anywhere, at any time. Legally, civil rights organizations have continued to question America about the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. And physically, in new infrastructure, security blocks defacing the landscapes of our cities worldwide. Indeed, terrorism has impacted America and the whole world tremendously.

11.  You say that the U.S. needs to define a clear vision for what a victory in the War on Terror would look like. Why? Without such a vision, the US will fight the war in the wrong way and expend or wear out its resources. This is exactly what terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda expect to happen—drag an unsuspecting US to a battle ground like Afghanistan and get them bogged down in another ‘Vietnam.’ This is my message in the concluding sections of Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity with sub-titles like ‘What Victory will look like,’ ‘The Right War,’ etc. It is interesting to note that the US seems to get the message judging by the Obama administration’s refusal to be drawn into perpetual war campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan. American should envision a victory like, i. destruction and prevention of a global Al Qaeda organization capable of the 9/11 style by, for instance, killing or capturing their leaders, ii. blockade of terrorists’ financial resources and interruption of their communication network. If America can continue to do and sustain these acts, they should consider the war won even if smaller and ineffectual splinter terrorist groups still exist. This means that even if anti-terrorism programs continue, it will no longer dominate her foreign policy.

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 © 2014.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Does Guest Blogging Pay Off To Market Books?



When involved in marketing or promoting anyone or anything, the question you should ask is: What’s the ROI?

No one wants to waste time, money, or brainpower on fruitless efforts or on things that will yield worthless results. Is guest blogging useful to the writer?

To answer that you need to ask yourself:
Who would I guest blog for?
How long would it take for me to create the post?
Once it posts, how involved will I be able to share it?

But before you delve into the nuts and bolts of guest blogging, ask yourself:

Do I like to write guest posts?
Can I deal with the word count requirements or deadline demands of the blog?
What else can I do if I don't guest blog -- and what are the potential benefits of those things?
How would I prioritize guest blogging compared to how else I could spend my life?

If a site or blog is targeted to the people you want to reach, that’s a plus. If the blog post can net you potential readers, connections, sales, branding, or something of value you should strongly consider doing it. If you can reuse or repurpose existing content, it becomes an easier proposition.

Guest blogging, like all facets of marketing, is an experimental venture. To see if it works for you, try it five or six times. See if it moves the dial. Weigh your efforts vs. rewards. Stack it up against all options available to you and measure its utility.

Guest blogging is a good way to test ideas and see what resonates. Those who normally follow your blog will likely be supportive of what you write on your blog but when you guest blog you get introduced to people who are otherwise unfamiliar with you and your work. Here’s your digital laboratory at work. 

Guest blogging helps when people Google you and they see you come up in all kinds of places. If you want to be perceived as an expert, thought leader, or a go-to voice, guest blog away.

I invite you to guest post on my blog, but please strictly follow the following format so I can use what you send while ensuring I do not have to get sucked into wasting my time fixing things or answering questions.

Email me your blog post at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. Don’t email me question about topic ideas. Don’t send me something you’ve already posted elsewhere- only new content, please.

Limit your post to 1,000 words. If it’s too long, it gets deleted.

Do not include any links within the post, BUT, at the end of the post, please use a paragraph to describe yourself and include up to four links for a site, Twitter handle, blog, Facebook page, etc.

Please create a title for your post that is not very long and sounds catchy.

Your blog post has to be into any of the following themes:
·         Why you write books
·         What you have learned as a mentor
·         How you overcome obstacles as an author
·         What you think the future of publishing is
·         How you promote or market your book

Certainly personalize the post, but where possible, make it about others and give ideas and information people would find useful and resourceful. I want to help build a community for my readers.

Guest blogging may not be the best use of your time and efforts, nor might this blog be the best place for you to guest blog for. But if you have the time and desire -- and recognize the value (and follow my instructions), I welcome you to guest blog. There’s no deadline to this offer but I ask that you not submit a guest blog to me  more than once in a six-month period, so as to keep my site’s content diverse and fresh.

Lastly, you can submit a jpeg of your current or upcoming book cover (only one) and one photo of yourself. I can’t guarantee I’ll use either. Also, once the guest post is live, I’ll send you the link and I welcome you to share it with everyone.

Good luck in your efforts to guest blog.

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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 © 2014.

When Pitching Online Media


Here are some tips when pitching digital media:

1.      Be mindful of what type of outlet you’re contacting. Is it a professional journalist at the dot.com of a major media outlet, such as CNN.com or is it a podcaster, blogger, online reviewer or some other type of outlet?

2.      Be respectful and address your email by their name, such as Dear Jane (first name is personable) and end with Sincerely or Best Wishes, followed by your name and contact info.

3.      Almost all interaction with online media is via e-mail or snail mail. It’s rare to talk by phone initially. However, traditional outlets, like the dot.com of a newspaper or magazine, may take your calls.

4.      The key to getting online media is to present a short, personalized, timely email that offers a catchy headline, your contact info, and a call to action. Let them know what you have to offer and then state how you’ll be helpful. They love it when you reference their blog or site and show you know something about it.

5.      Check out the outlets (sites) that you plan to contact. Note something positive about what you see and mention it in your email.

6.      The only way to get anyone to open your email is with a really catchy subject line. If they don’t like it, they’ll delete it without reading further. Your mission is to say something inviting with only 8-10 words. You don’t have to worry about punctuation and you can shorten words or eliminate words normally used to connect your thoughts in a complete sentence. For instance, if your book is about losing weight you could say: ‘New book: nutritionist of 20 years shows how to shed 20 LBS’. It includes key things—that there’s a book, that it’s written by someone with credentials and experience and that it delivers a promise. You could make it more interesting or provocative and say the benefits first (and use fewer words): ‘Lost 20 LBS via 20-Year Nutritionist’s New Book.’ Play around with your words like puzzle pieces. Make them match up in just the right order once. You have tried them out in different positions.

7.      The pitch should succinctly explain that you have a new book and show who it will benefit and why. Also, remember, where possible, to comment on the news or relevant personalities in your pitch, if it seems like it’ll get their attention.   Let them know you are available for reviews, interviews, and guest posts. Let them know more information can be found at your website (or if you don’t have one, send them to your blog or FB page). Summarize your credentials and if you’ve done media, reference a few outlets if they are big.

8.      If you don’t get a response within a few days it could just be that the person is busy combing through other emails or just distracted by life. Or maybe your email was read and he or she is mulling over what to do. Or perhaps your email didn’t quite give them what they desired. A week or two after contacting them, feel free to try again, this time with a different pitch, subject line, and headline. Sometimes repackaging your email and sending it during a different news cycle could get you different results than when you tried the first time.

9.      Remember that you want to present what you have as something they need or want. But if the person you are pitching at a big outlet, like Huffington Post, isn’t receptive, try other people at that outlet. For instance, you can try the book editor, or depending on your subject matter, the editors of other sections, such as health, food, parenting, news, features, etc. You can create a pitch targeted to the needs of the specific editor. The diet book we spoke of earlier is still the same book but how you talk about it can vary depending on who is listening.

10.  Don’t forget to offer free resources. Let them know about the topics you can write guest posts on. Let them know you have video, audio, or photos that they may find useful. Think like an editor—look to package up what you envision them doing and help them do it. 

Lastly, don’t worry about how many outlets ignore or reject you. Don’t take it personally and don’t feel 
defeated. There are many media outlets out there. Keep reaching out to more people until you get the favorable 
response you hope for and come to expect. 

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 © 2014