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Posts Tagged ‘book marketing’

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Build Your Presence and Expertise - You’ll be rewarded

Book success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes being in the marketplace long enough, working your media contacts consistently enough, having good search engine rankings so that people find you – and eventually people start coming to find you for your expertise – not your book – and then you get great quotes that sell books. 

This inquiry arrived this morning. I receive probably one of these every couple of weeks or so now – but to get an article around your expertise in a magazine of this scope is a gift.  Even though I no longer actively promote my book, all my previous work is still creating results - and selling books.

My name is XX and I’m the editorial intern at Realsimple.com.  I’m currently working on putting together a checklist for all the things you need to pack in your car for a big road trip, and I’m in need of an expert who can tell me exactly what all I should include. I thought that with you might be able to provide some expertise on the matter, as you have 50,000 miles under your belt.

Please let me know if you would be interested in helping out for this article and we could set up a time to talk on the phone. I appreciate your time and look forward to hearing from you.

Do you think I followed up on this email in about one minute! We had a great conversation and the article will be completed soon. 

This is the power of patience. You have to build your platform, collect your "tribe" and have an excellent web presence and you too will get calls like this. Patience - you can’t do it in a day or a week. That is why you should start well before your book comes out. I’ll link to the article when it comes out.

 

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Are Book Award Contests Worth the Fees?

So many of my blog posts come out of responding to a question from a client or colleague and this is no exception.

Here’s why I think book awards are valuable to authors who are struggling to get recognition and feedback for their books: 

·         Stimulates sales – most people don’t care or understand what the award or sticker is – only that the book has one.

·         Stimulates bookings – get more radio interviews, book signings and speaking gigs

·         Provides credibility and feedback on the title for the author/publisher

·         Good for putting on your media materials to add credibility

·         Gets buyers in book stores, libraries and other outlets a reason to at least look at a book twice

·         The “gold seal” impresses consumers to buy the book when in a store or at a signing

·         Might get someone interested who wouldn’t be otherwise – like a traditional publisher – again it is the “second look” idea 

I have a story that I often tell about a book signing we did where we ran out of the books that the store had ordered from our distributor (they weren’t stickered), so I went to the car and brought in another case, which just happened to already be stickered. Pretty soon, the people who had bought the earlier store copies were coming back wanting their stickers – “why doesn’t mine have the award stickers on it?”  Geez, fortunately, I had brought extra stickers in my kit of supplies, so I went and got them and stickered their books – and the extras we left at the store. 

People are weird.  But I do know that my awards have helped my books and my consulting business.  Having won the Ben Franklin for the best marketed booked in 2006 was the start of my consulting business – people started calling me to help them with their books too.So awards are good for not just books.

I guess I feel that the small fee to enter (if you have a worthy book), is insignificant compared to the possible “good things” that can come from it. And yes, as many people point out, it is a good source of revenue for the company holding the contest, but they do have expenses for shipping to judges, preparing the awards, and in the case of the IPPYs and Ben Franklins – they put on quite a nice event for the winners and provide some publicity around the award winners.

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What Book Reviewers are Up Against

Here is a peek into the “sorting” room at ForeWord Magazine – one of the premiere reviewers (for the trade) of independently published books. It gives you some idea of the sheer quantity of books out there seeking reviews and why your book has to be of perfect quality to be considered, much less to get a review.

http://www.forewordreviews.com/foreword-insideout/volume-1/

Trade reviews are important to help your book get into book stores and libraries. If you aren’t using trade distribution or worried about libraries as part of your business plan, then you wouldn’t submit your book to an organization like ForeWord.

If your marketing plan is focused entirely on direct contact with your potential customers, then you would want to try to get reviews and articles in newspapers, magazines, websites and blogs that are directed towards your target market.

Regardless of your target publications, you need to remember that the chaos you see in the short video goes on at every publication every day.

What will you do to stand out from the crowd?

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The Power of Article Banks and Google Alerts

Here is an example of the power of Google Alerts and the power of having articles in article banks.

I wrote this article several years ago and put it on a couple of article banks and on my website and today it pops up on my Google Alerts for the book name because this website picked it up and used it. I was a little upset at first because the requested byline isn’t at the bottom of it – but then I noticed that they put the information in a little different format in the middle of the article – and that was OK with me.


My analytics for my website told me the other day that there are now over 3,000 inbound links to my website – that means that there are 3,000 places on the web that have my website URL listed somewhere on their website where people can just click and instantly be on my website. It could be embedded in a story like this, listed on a resource page, mentioned in a blog post, etc.  Some of those links I cultivated early on in my website’s life trying to get people to link to me, or post and article etc. Now I do nothing because people just find the articles, link from one post to another, etc.  

The moral of the story is to write those articles now, get them onto relevant websites, blogs and article banks; spend some time getting relevant sites to use your material, do an interview with you, post a review (use your sample review), or run a contest with your book as the prize. Some work early on, pays big dividends down the road.

What Not to Do on Your Summer Vacation!
By admin
The website has a television clip of them sharing their experiences, a complete budget worksheet (.xls format) for both long and short trips, information on their award-winning book, "Live Your Road Trip Dream" and much more.
levis ophthalmic collection - http://eduagain.com/learn/un851451383i92/

 

 

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Why isn’t my book selling?

From a client: 

My book is getting great reviews in places like Foreword Magazine, so why isn’t it selling better?

My answer:

There are two kinds of marketing - push and pull. Anything that is primarily for "the trade" (publishing) is "pushing" your message into the channels so that they know about it, can put it in their system if desired, and even stock it in the stores if they feel that there is/will be consumer demand. That includes most reviews, ads in trade publications, shows like BEA, etc. 

The other side of the equation - pull marketing - is marketing to the consumer so that they will "pull" the book through the trade channels. You have to have both types of marketing to the target buyers in order for your book to have robust sales.

The other parts of the puzzle are distribution (which you have), the product itself has to be done well (which you have) and it has to be priced right for the buyer - most people buying books today in your genre aren’t expecting a hard cover book and a higher than $20 price point, so that slows sales.

So you need to get the consumer to know about your book more widely - and that takes continuous exposure for as long as the book is selling.

So the question for you is what are you doing each month on an ongoing basis to create the consumer demand? There are lots of avenues to do that - radio, lifestyle stories in print or online, stories about parts of your book in article banks online, interviews in print, broadcast and online, live appearances and more.

Make yourself a calendar of your activities each month that are media related - make sure your distributor knows about all the media you are doing each month so they can tell the stores. If you have 2-4 things every month that are national or strongly regionally focused, you will see sales increase.

 

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Organizing a Successful Virtual Book Tour

Let’s face it: Unless you are a celebrity, traveling the country and hitting up bookstore after bookstore for signings is probably not going to sell many books. You’ll more than likely spend way more for travel than you’ll make in book sales. Enter the virtual age. From the comfort of your own home or office, you can set up a virtual author book tour and reap real rewards from this effective—and inexpensive!—marketing tool.

So what is a virtual author book tour? Basically it involves visiting—virtually, of course—a group of websites for a period of time. The visits can take several different forms: interviews, guest posts, book reviews, book excerpts, and so on. (You can read more here in an interview I did with Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., and author of Red Hot Internet Publicity.) The sites usually range from blogs, websites, online radio stations, and social networking sites. The purpose is to increase an author’s online exposure, drive additional traffic to his or her website, increase search engine rankings, and hopefully sell more books.

It’s not difficult to set up a virtual tour, but it will take some research, planning, and followup. You can do it yourself–or you can hire a company to do it for you. We’ve been setting up tours for authors for the past year or so, and we’ve learned a lot as far as what is needed to make a book tour successful.

I consider the first two items on the list to be essential; we have found it is much more difficult to set up a successful tour with authors who are not active online and who do not wish to blog regularly. I believe it is far less beneficial to the hosts as well, to host these types of authors, and they are less apt to agree to an appearance. And frankly, I don’t blame them!) 

  • Be an active blogger who not only blogs regularly but who comments on others’ blogs. Make yourself known in the “blogosphere.”
  • Be active in social media sites (we recommend Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter). You don’t necessarily have to have 10,000 Twitter followers, but you should be networking on these sites, providing valuable content where appropriate, and building your following. 
  • Have a capture system on your website (and I’m assuming you have one that highlights your book or that has a page about your book) so you can collect email addresses and build your list. Provide those who sign up with something of value—such as a free report or subscription to your newsletter.
  • Have a call to action on your website instructing visitors to purchase your book, such as “Buy your copy today!”
  • Develop a list of potential hosts based on sites your target market hangs out on. If you’re an active blogger in your genre already, chances are you’ve got a list of sites you check regularly. Find others. Concentrate on those who get a fair amount of traffic.
  • Be familiar with the sites you plan to approach so you can avoid those that would not be appropriate. Send a personal inquiry, letting them know you’ve been following their site and emphasizing why your appearance there would benefit their readers/listeners. Include a link to your website where they can read more details about your book, your author bio, and other pertinent links. Indicate the date ranges of your tour; plan ahead as some sites are booked well in advance. You probably won’t want to book more than one or two appearances per day.
  • Respond immediately to replies, sending a review copy of the book promptly when it is requested. Confirm the details—date, type of appearance, and topic desired.
  • Keep track of where you will be appearing and when. (We use an Excel spreadsheet.) Follow up with your host a couple weeks before your appearance. Make sure they have everything they need from you, including a photo of you and your book as well as your bio.
  • Let everyone know. Once you start getting appearances scheduled for your virtual tour, start letting your friends and fans on Twitter and Facebook know about it. Be sure to include details—including links—on your website, blog, and newsletter.
  • Visit frequently.The day of your appearance, make sure to visit the website or blog regularly, answering questions and responding to comments. If your appearance involves a live podcast, be ready for questions.
  • Follow up with all your hosts afterward and be sure to thank them.

We love virtual author book tours. It’s a great way for authors to increase exposure, gain new fans, and sell more books. Hosts too benefit by gathering additional visitors to their sites. And there is no chance for jetlag!

Guest Post by Sue Collier from her blog at Self Publishing Resources

As a writing coach and publishing consultant, Sue has worked with hundreds of authors, helping them write, edit, and publish hundreds of books. My book The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing is slated for publication by Writer’s Digest in March 2010. I currently own Self-Publishing Resources; we provide book writing, book packaging, and book marketing services for self-publishers and small presses.

 

 

 

 

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Why won’t the book stores talk to me?

 

Recently I received an email from a gentleman who had his first book on the market. He was upset - he couldn’t figure out what he was doing wrong:

I composed what I thought was quite a good marketing email and set up a wholesale easy-ordering web page accepting purchase order, check or major credit cards through Paypal. All for naught.  I sent it to dozens of indie stores and got no takers.  Web stats indicated they never even visited the order page.  I phoned quite a few too, and they had very little interest in speaking to a (micro) publisher or author.  Do you think that’s a typical response, or might I be doing something wrong?

My response helped him see his plight from a very different viewpoint:

Put yourself in the place of the retailer. There are 500,000 new books this year to choose from. You have your accounts set-up with Ingram and maybe B&T. You can aggregate purchases onto a single order form, get one bill, have full return privileges, they keep track of everything for you – you have only one account (or maybe two) to keep track of and your buys and returns are all tracked perfectly.  Running a book store is difficult, but at least the ordering has been made easier with the advent of Ingram. The retailer no longer has to deal with thousands of vendors – if it is worthy, it will be available from a wholesaler at a minimum. It is a way of “weeding” things out too.

Then you get this piece of email from someone who you don’t know, don’t know anything about the author or the book – just one book that I’ve never heard of – and who is this publisher? – and I can’t just order it from Ingram or B&T?  DELETE….

Make sense?  It is a very tough business and no one wants to make life any more difficult than it needs to be.  Why would they disturb their business model to deal with you? What’s in it for them?  If you want to play their game, you have to use their tools – wholesalers, distributors, and mainstream promotion.  If you can’t or don’t want to do that, you are going to have to be happy with direct to consumer promotions – mainly through the internet, but others are possible.  This is what a marketing plan is all about – making those choices and having a business plan to back it up – how will you finance your choices and a million other decisions.

I feel badly for you because you are trying to do things right, but you are thinking in terms of your own self-interest, not the self-interest of the book retailer who is the "gatekeeper" to your success.

 

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Is the 70% Kindle “royalty” a good deal?

So, what no one is talking about is the little line that Amazon slipped into their announcement package: " For each Kindle book sold, authors and publishers who choose the new 70 percent royalty option will receive 70 percent of list price, net of delivery costs."

They went on to say: "Delivery costs will be based on file size and pricing will be $0.15/MB. At today’s median DTP file size of 368KB, delivery costs would be less than $0.06 per unit sold."

NO BIG DEAL, right? 

Well, maybe not right now, but the e-book arena is expected to explode with all kinds of new features embedded in books - links, pictures, video, animation, and who knows what else - and what does that mean?  BANDWIDTH. Cost to download.

That is what Amazon is really doing - positioning today for the huge files that will be downloaded in the future - and the ability to charge the publisher/author for the "delivery" of those files.

We may all be yearning for the days of 25-30% "royalty."

 

 

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The Decade of Mobile Publishing

This is a guest post from a fellow Linked-In member - very insightful about the coming decade.

 

Whether it will be the Apple Kindle killer or someone else’s tablet computer, mobile publishing will have a huge impact in the next decade with serious consequences for the print industry. Printers who choose to disregard this phenomenon will do so at their own peril. Print production will rapidly become a subset of multimedia production. Folks with knowledge of print production will retain their value only if they also augment their skill set with a thorough knowledge of video, flash, html authoring and other multimedia skills.

Many have argued that formats like the Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook and other electronic content delivery systems will never have the look, feel and flexibility of the printed page. In some cases they are probably right, but in the vast majority of cases, that point of view is simply wishful thinking.

Here’s why. The next decade will see tablet PCs that are much more than electronic books. They will have gorgeous full-color touch screens that will come very close to simulating paper, but will have even more flexibility. You will be able to write on them, create art on them, shoot and retouch and edit photos and video on them, and of course connect with the Internet through WiFi and 4G networks. Phone, fax, notebook, notepad, still and video camera, voice recorder, calendar, LinkedIn, Facebook and a whole lot more all in one 6×9 package weighing a pound our less.

Would you honestly spend two or three times as much money for every book you buy when you can carry around a few dozen books everywhere you go and use the same device to replace your laptop, desktop, fax machine and more?

A few other things will almost certainly happen in the next decade. Solid state memory will probably replace existing hard drives because they are better suited for mobile computing. The ability to read SD cards is already a de facto standard in the PC market. CDs will fade in popularity because the devices for reading them are simply too bulky for tablet applications, and they will be replaced by SD cards. It’s a bit surprising that this trend hasn’t already started, though I suppose CDs are still cheaper than SD cards and the superior capacity of the cards is not a plus when you are selling music. Still, movies are not yet moving to SD cards either. I predict they will in the coming decade. The bulk and cost of adding CD/DVD read/write mechanisms to tablet PCs will make the manufacturers of those devices opt for smaller memory devices that don’t require any moving parts.

When a very good full color tablet PC hits the market, which may happen as early as next month if Apple rumors are correct, they will sell by the millions. Netbooks are already selling well, but they just don’t hit that sweet-spot of portability and capability that a Kindle-sized tablet PC will offer. The book sellers are ready to pounce on the market since they make most of their money on books and related offerings, not on the end-delivery product. Amazon and Barnes and Noble may try to keep pace with new offerings, but it seems likely a more full-featured machine will quickly eclipse the models currently available.

If you’re looking for a growth market, I’d suggest European-style men’s carry bags which will be perfect for the new tablet PCs. They’re too big for your pocket, but a heck of a lot easier to carry around than a laptop.

Authored by Stephen Beals  http://www.printoolz.com

 

 

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When do you Start Marketing Your Book?

Get your book really ready by following these steps:

1) You need a distribution strategy (whether POD or off-set - just the logistics are different) - how sad is it to create great buzz - and you don’t have your book anyplace where the trade and consumers can get it for your anxious buyers. Big lost sales and a waste of $$ on the publicist.

2) To engage a trade distributor (assuming you are doing print runs) you must have a written marketing plan for them.

3) You have to make sure that your product is top notch - or a publicist won’t take it - their reputation is on the line with every book they recommend to their media contacts. that is what you are really paying for - who they know.

4) You have to make sure that your price is competitive with other books in your genre or no amount of publicity will create the sales that you expect.

5) You need a good media kit for the publicist to use as a basis for the publicity she/he will create for you - or you can pay the publicist to do that work for you.

When I can "have it my way" - which isn’t often (<: - I prefer to work on the book at least 6 months ahead of the pub date - you really need that much time to get the marketing/distribution/pricing plans together, apply to distributors, get their paperwork done, get their sales team representing your book to the chains, the chains place their advance orders, you know how many to print and ship to them, they have to get them in stores - all prior to your pub date.

A website is another activity that should be done as early as possible - you can use it to begin creating advance buzz for your book, have a media room where the media can learn about your book (cover art, pictures from the book, pub date, etc.) and a place to post your media coverage as it comes in. You can post your Table of contents, a sample chapter, do a blog, and so on - lots you can do to start building that platform waaayyy ahead of the book.

You also need your publicist in place with your media kit to do pre-pub reviewers 3-4 months minimum before pub date (required time), get early copies out to large magazines with long lead times, and then when the time gets closer, do newspapers, blogs, websites, and short cycle magazines.

WHEW!!! See why it takes 6 months? Oh - and YOU have to follow-up on all this to maximize the impact.

My motto: No follow-up = no results

Of course all of this is predicated on your goals for your project, the amount of resources (time & money) you can devote to your book and any constraints that your life situation imposes on you (don’t want to do live appearances or maybe radio terrifies you, etc.).

So give your book a chance – start early and plan your marketing just as carefully as you planned your words on the page.

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