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Posts Tagged ‘how to market your book’

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How are reviews, publicity and cross-promotion different?

Obtaining reviews (or really any type of publicity - newspaper articles, radio interviews, online chats or blog carnivals, etc.) is not the same as cross promotion. They are done for somewhat different reasons. Yes, they both are done to increase sales, but the audience and approach for each are different.

I think cross-promotion also goes beyond listings on other websites (link exchanges) and commenting on each others blogs about your products.

I define cross promotion much more broadly. I’ll take my own book as an example (www.roadtripdream.com). When the book first came out, I tried to come up with a list of COMPLIMENTARY businesses to mine - businesses who did different things than I did, but who might have a common interest with me in "cross promoting" each others businesses. Some of the companies that I came up with included AAA (mentioned often in the book), RVIA (the GoRVing people), MyTripJournal.com, PleasureWay (the maker of the RV we used on our trip), Good Sam Club and a couple of others. Shoot big, right?

These are what I consider to be long term sales. In other words, you can’t just call up one of these companies with an idea and walk away with a sale. RVIA I worked on for three years before we became national spokespeople for them and toured the country on their behalf doing media interviews, talking to people at the national AARP Life@50+ convention and, yes, mentioning and selling our book as our credential of authority.

With PleasureWay and subsequently RoadTrek, I never was able to implement my idea with them - giving talks in their retail dealers locations with the book as a gift for coming to hear the talk about RVing in a PleasureWay. A great way, I thought for them to build a list of potential buyers.But not everything works out along the way.

We traveled for AAA-Oregon for two years doing talks and promoting our book and AAA. For The Good Sam Club, I co-wrote a technology column with Dan Parlow of MyTripJournal for two years. He and I also did cross promotion on both our websites - I was the featured travel story for over a year - and he and I did joint RV shows where we both spoke separately on our areas of expertise and shared a booth - I sold my book and he showed how the MyTripJournal website recorded that trip. My map, his website and my book - great cross promotion. We both sold a lot at those events.

So, you see, cross promotion can go way beyond just simple links - it can lead to all kinds of opportunities if you are just a little creative and very patient. Almost every book has opportunities like these lurking inside the author’s imagination - if only you thought about it in a way that would help both businesses - not just you, but them also. The old WIIFM theory reigns true - What’s In It For ME!

Each of these opportunities eventually led to other interviews, articles, web links, sales to other points of distribution (ie Camping World, Traviler Life, etc.) and all kinds of fun things along the way.

So what businesses are complimentary to your book and how could you pitch a cross promotion with them? I’m sure if you think about it, you can come up with some great ideas.

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How to Write and Publish the Perfect Book

When it comes to publishing, there is a certain recipe for success. And while nothing is guaranteed, there are significant activities which must happen in order for your book to have a chance at success. I often speak of promotion, websites, and gathering a social media footprint. Today we’re taking a look at the equally important back-end issues. Now, I can’t guarantee if you follow this that you’ll come out leading the charge with the most perfect book, but you’ll certainly be close. Writers never intentionally write a bad book, or a book that’s not marketable. We do our best, and we often hope for the best. But in a world full of clutter, you have to do more than that. You have to step out to succeed, and you have to learn the ropes of your market and the publishing industry. Here are 11 points for you to consider:

1) How big is the market for your book? Before you launch headlong into a campaign or even write your book, be sure you know the market for it really well. Often, I find that authors don’t take the time to study their market. This is important because you need to know first and foremost if there is a market for your book. I know this might sound odd, but hear me out. Some years back I worked as a literary agent and was being pitched by this super-talented author. He’d written a book on why good men fall for bad or mean women. He was proud of this book, saying there was no other book like it on the market and further, that he’d written it for men. There are two problems with this:

First, that there is no other book like it on the market. If there isn’t a book like it on the market, there might be a reason why. It’s not that there are no new ideas, but most of the models that work consist of books that fit a certain, existing market. Second problem: a self-help book written for men. No offense guys, but women buy 97% of all self-help out there. If you’re writing a good book with a great topic but for the wrong audience, that’s a problem. Know the market.

Go to bookstores and talk to booksellers, they can be the best source of information for you. Ask them if they have a book on your topic and then have them point you in the direction of where those books are shelved so you can see for yourself what the competitive space looks like. If there isn’t a book on your topic, see if you can find out why. Ask a professional you trust. This could be your bookseller, or it could be a marketing professional. You’ll save yourself thousands of dollars by doing this. Regarding my talented author with a book written for the wrong market, once we repositioned him it was fine. It took little effort but saved him countless hours, dollars, and frustration.

2) What will you call it? When we worked with author Marci Shimoff, she told us that she spent two long weeks agonizing over the title of her book: Happy for No Reason. Marci was featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Secret, and had done extensive speaking events worldwide. Why would she agonize over the title of a book? Because the title (and the cover) are the most important elements of your book. People will judge a book by its cover and title, you can be certain of that. If you’re debating on a title, or even if you’ve settled on one, do not take chances. Find a professional who can give you important feedback. If a title is unappealing, too confusing, or too tied to branding that isn’t clear or benefit-driven, you could lose sales. Remember: the title of your book isn’t for you; it’s for your reader. Make it matter to them.

3) Don’t fall in love with your own ideas. This is a big one. It’s great to love your work; in fact, you should love it. You should be passionate about it. But don’t love it so much that you aren’t open to feedback. Feedback is critical to any successful book launch campaign. Further, if you aren’t open to feedback, you might miss some advice that could save your book and you from spending thousands of dollars pushing something that isn’t quite ready for the mainstream - or worse, a book that’s missed its mark only slightly. Be open to feedback and then seek that feedback from professionals you trust and respect.

4) Do you know how to compete with major publishers? If you’re self-publishing your book, or even trying to find a major NY publisher for your book, why would this matter? Because, as much as some folks like to say that NY publishers are doing it wrong, they are still the driving force behind the industry. Knowing when they typically release a majority of their titles and what their strengths and weaknesses are is important. Why? Because you need to understand what the competitive landscape looks like. It’s important to note, for example, that major publishers don’t generally publish to the niches. Why is that? Because they are focused (and must focus) on bigger areas: celebrity titles, trends, etc. Even the things (like the Snooki book) that might turn our stomachs. In an upcoming piece, I will spend some time discussing how NY Publishers work, as well as how you might compete with some of these giants.

5) What’s the "look" of your work? I’m speaking specifically about branding and book cover design. I would never trust my book cover to anyone less than a professional designer. Why? Because there are certain things you don’t want to leave to chance. This is another reason why you don’t want to get too close to your work. You might love a book cover that’s totally wrong for your book. Now, don’t misunderstand me. You should love your final cover, absolutely. But don’t love something that many professionals advise against. This could mean trouble. Further, you should do your research. Look at other covers; see what appeals to you and what does not. Make sure the cover is simple and powerful in design. If you have a brand aligned with your business, make sure there’s a synergy between them. Also, your cover shouldn’t be too complicated. If you have to explain the cover (or book title) you need to keep searching for a simpler message. Remember: you aren’t going to be able to be everywhere and speak to every consumer interested in your book about what the cover or title means. It should pique their interest without confusing them.

6) What other titles are competing with you? Knowing your competitive space is not only important, it’s mandatory. As I mentioned in #1, you want to identify your market and know that there’s an audience for your book. Once you do, however, you’ll want to get to know that market even better. You should read most (if not all) of the top books in your category (to the degree that time allows, of course). You should know the authors who write them and if possible, network with them via email, their blogs or (if you’re lucky) in person. Why is this crucial? Two reasons: The first is that you want to know what other titles are out there because your book needs to somehow align with the market. Also, what happens if you do research and find that there’s another book exactly like yours? Glad you found out now, aren’t you? Now you can change your book slightly to support a similar, but unique, message. Second, networking with other like-minded authors is always a win-win. It’s great if you can get to know them, share information, helpful tips, maybe even some upcoming networking events. Knowing your "neighbors" in publishing is never a wasted effort.

7) Who is your target audience and how will you reach them? Who are you writing for? Who is your audience? If you aren’t sure, now is the time to find out. Specifically, you want to make sure there’s an audience for your book and you want to know how to reach them. By reaching them I mean selling to them. If you’re unsure, a professional can help you identify this. The reason you want to do this early on is so that if needed, you can incorporate elements into your book that matter to your reader and make it more appealing to your audience. Identifying your target market and how you will access them is important because this could help you align with them before your book comes out. Let’s say that your audience is heavily into associations. This could be a great outlet for you to market to and even, if you’re so inclined, to position yourself as a speaker. If you’ve written fiction, this is important as well. Key associations in your market can be very helpful to your success both through promotion and networking. Authors have a tendency to isolate themselves. Yes, I know this is a stereotypical way of describing an author, but let’s face it, between writing, research, and promotion we’re clocking a lot of computer hours at our desk. It’s important to allocate some time to step out of your comfort zone and get to know the audience you are writing for.

8) How will someone buy your book? You might say: Duh - in bookstores and on Amazon. Well, maybe and maybe not. As I mentioned in #4, bookstore shelf space is often occupied by books published through major houses, therefore getting space on these shelves can be difficult. Your local store or stores may stock you, but that’s never certain until the book comes out. I recommend that you offer your book on your website and if you aren’t interested in shipping and fulfillment then link to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or whatever online e-tailer you feel most comfortable with.

9) What’s the best time to launch? Timing is everything, especially in publishing. Fall is always a big time for book releases. Publishers tend to publish their biggest titles in the Fall, making this sometimes a rough time to launch. Rough, but not impossible. If you’re launching in the Fall you will need to start your efforts early. And speaking of that - when will you start marketing your book? As soon as you have the title and branding complete. Start early, often I recommend six to eight months prior to the book launch.

10) What’s the unique message?How will you differentiate yourself from the competition? Your book is not the field of dreams; readers won’t beat a path to your door just because you wrote it. Remember that you must be different. You must be unique. It’s critical to identify your unique marketing message and, as well, identify your elevator pitch. What’s your elevator pitch? It’s a short, concise message that will help sell your book. It’s short, benefit-driven, intriguing, and all about the reader.

11) It’s not about you. The biggest and most important message in all of this is that despite the hours that you’ve toiled writing your book, at the end of the day it’s not about you. It’s about your reader, and moreover, it’s about what your book can do for the reader. If you keep this in mind as you move through the process of writing and publishing your book, you will have a title that will attract readership and help your writing career gain momentum.

Now that I’ve given you several ways to succeed, how do you align yourself with professionals you trust? First, do your homework. Read their websites, blogs and newsletters if they have one. If they purport to be social media experts, make sure you take a look at their social media footprint. I’ve had companies pitch me who say they are experts at social media yet they have no Facebook Page or Twitter account. That doesn’t seem very "expert" to me. References are always good to have as well. In fact, the more you can ask others who have been successful for the names of people they trust the quicker it will be for you to find people who have a good track record.

If you hire someone, make sure they can work hourly for you. You just want an opinion, perhaps some brainstorming time. You likely don’t need a package, just an hour, maybe two. You don’t need to spend your marketing budget on this process, but whatever you do spend can potentially save you a lot once the book hits the market.

Succeeding isn’t always about getting to the starting line on time. Often, it’s about all the work you do to get to the starting line and then, hopefully, to a successful finish. Our books are often an extension of ourselves, our businesses, and our personalities. But success requires more than just a good book. It requires a lot of sweat equity up front, and while it may seem like a hefty price for a book that hasn’t even launched, I can guarantee you this: The more you do now, the more you’ll save and succeed in the end. Good luck!

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Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

 

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What is the difference between marketing and promotion??

My degree is in Marketing, so I’ll give you the classical definitions, which I still use today when approaching a client’s project.


Marketing involves the "4 P’s" - Product, Price, Place and Promotion. A marketing plan looks at everything from the appropriateness of the Product for its market (target markets, competition, quality of the product, production values, etc.), how it is Priced in the market (low cost leader, price leader, value play, etc.), where it will be sold (Place) which for books is mostly about what types of distribution and outlets will be used, and finally Promotion - which people usually think of as "marketing" but you can now see, it is only one piece of marketing.


In big companies the marketing department sets the strategies and direction for the product or product line, then other parts of the company implement those strategies - sales, PR, communications, etc. As small presses, we do it all, but that doesn’t make it any less important to think about how all of these pieces function together.


There is nothing more disappointing to get a client who says "I’ve done all this ‘marketing’ for my book and spent all this money on advertising (part of promotion) and my book isn’t selling - what’s wrong?" Then I find out that the only place it can be purchased is on iUniverse’s (or some other POD publisher) website or just as bad, their just launched website. They have totally gotten the cart before the horse. You must have distribution before spending money or time on promotion. I’ve had similar horror stories with pricing problems and product problems. It ALL has to work together - product, price, place and promotion.


Back to promotion for a moment - promotion is made up of two major components in the book industry (well, any industry actually) - push and pull marketing - and again, you need to do both. Push marketing is "trade" marketing - getting your potential distribution partners interested in carrying your book - this can be trade reviews, ads in PW, attending BEA, etc. - these are book trade outlets. Pull marketing is what you do once you have your distribution set up - this is internet, broadcast, print and live presentations - things that are targeted towards your potential audience - getting them to go purchase your book. Remember - 7 impressions to make a sale - this is where pull marketing comes in (you pull the sales through the channels). In my opinion, you shouldn’t just focus on internet marketing - it is necessary to be wherever your potential readers are - and getting the word out via print media (newspapers and magazines), broadcast media (TV and radio) and doing live appearances are all valuable pieces of your plan and need to all be pulled into a coordinated effort.


A third type of marketing is what Seth Godin calls building your tribe - this is really the old institutional or branding marketing - building a name for yourself and your products. That should start well before the book is out - even up to a year isn’t too soon.


To drill down a little further on promotions, you have paid promotion which is called advertising - you get to tell your story however you want - you paid for it. The other type of promotion is publicity (whether via print, broadcast, or internet) and this is what most of us focus on (most small publishers can’t really afford much advertising). With publicity, you don’t get to advertise your product - the publicity outlet is telling a story of some type (news or entertainment) and you hope to be a part of it - these stories are much more powerful than advertising when you get featured as an expert or as an example in the story.

Hopefully that explains the difference between marketing and promotion.

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How Can You Make Your Book Successful?

Doing a commercially viable book involves many facets - all of which have to present and firing on all cylinders to create a successful project.

* Product - your book has to be well designed and produced and have a definable target audience of sufficient size to sell a "reasonable" number of books. One way to determine this is to go to Amazon and put in the key words for your book. See how many other books there are in your genre, what are their sales ranks? how long are they? how long have they been out? who published them? — all kinds of excellent competitive information available to help you.

* Pricing - Once you know that you have a well-produced book with a reasonably sized market that you can reach, then you have to make sure it is priced right for the market. You can’t base your retail price on anything except the price the market expects for your type of book. You can get a lot of this information from the research I suggest above.

* Place - Once you have your product and pricing right, then you have to understand the places where you will sell it. This includes everything from your trunk, to book stores, to non-traditional locations (gift shops, boat stores, RV stores - whatever suits your genre), to the internet, and more. You have to consider ALL the possible places that a potential buyer will look for your book and try to be there. Every distribution channel has a different cost and it is the combination of all your channel choices together that will make up your profitability picture. You can’t look at any one of them in isolation.

* Promotion - Most people think this is the only part of marketing that is important, but as you can see it is the very last piece of the puzzle to consider. Once you have everything else in place, THEN and only then, can you think about promoting your book. The saddest thing I see is people who spend time and money on promotion when they haven’t adequately addressed all the other pieces of the puzzle. Promotion comes in many flavors and some are costly, but many are not. I am not a big fan of paid advertising for independent publishers as it is just too costly to make a pay off. The four areas to consider are internet, broadcast, print and live presentations. A combination of those well executed, will provide success.

There is no quick fix or magic bullet - it is many things done consistently and well, over time.

I have been in the marketplace with my book since 2004. My strategy has shifted over that time as success has come, as the industry has changed, and as the books sales have changed. I’ve done two editions over many printings; have used wholesalers, a national distributor (Midpoint) and now use LSI. I’ve had sales into every part of the travel business and have had publicity in everything from the AP (3 times) to Money Magazine, to AAA to AARP and hundreds more - all from my own efforts with a small infusion of a publicist’s help early on. You can see some of it here: http://www.roadtripdream.com/media2.html

There is nothing special about what I did - I had never written professionally, knew nothing about the publishing business, and had no special help that isn’t available to each of you. It is about having a little money to invest in your own success, persistence and dedication to being successful, getting involved in (and understanding) the publishing business, understanding your own genre, and never giving up.

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Market Your Book on a Budget: A 12-step Check List

Today, join me in welcoming fellow coach, Judy Cullins with a guest post on evaluating your marketing plans Thank you Judy for your work on this.

 

Answer each question with a “yes” or “no” and see how prepared you are for success.


1. You have hired a book coach or Sherpa that is inside books, seminars, and 1 to 1 sessions to make sure each of your chapters will engage their readers to finish and recommend your book.


2. You have created chapter titles that brand you and your business. That’s how the big selling authors of non-fiction do it.


3. You have about $2000-2500 to make sure your book sells–in its writing and its marketing. (low cost coaching is an investment that pays at least 3X your fees).


4. You know the book and business trends and can write your book accordingly.


5. You have a website, blog site or plan on writing sales copy that will sell you and your books.


6. You’ve published articles for ezine directories and blogs, so you have a built in “audience” for your book.


7. You did some market research with a great marketing coach to find out if your book will sell a few, a middle amount or a lot of books.


8. You take all the good teleseminars and group coaching teleseminars to update your skills in writing and marketing.


9. You have a written marketing plan and know how you’re going to promote and sell your book– before you’ve written it.


10. You are part of a writer’s discussion group online, blog regularly and interact in the social media groups such as Linkedin.


11. You invest at least 10 hours a week to promote your book.


12. You carefully brainstormed your best book title for your particular audience to brand yourself.


If you answered "NO" to three or more of these questions, you will want to investigate resources that will make your journey easier and profitable.

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Book coach, Judy Cullins helps you transform your book idea into a helpful, entertaining and engaging book. She also helps you get far more visibility and credibility for your business, mostly through social media. Judy is the author of 13 business books including "How to Write Your eBook or Other Short Book-Fast!," and "LinkedIn Marketing: 8 Best Tactics to Build Book and Business Sales." Find her at www.bookcoaching.com

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Twenty-First Century Media Kits

Publicist Paul Krupin provided me his insight to current questions about Media Kits. The following is our interview. 

Q. Is there a place for a full-blown, old fashioned media kit any more, if so, when? 

I don’t believe there is a place for a standard one size fit all media kit at all. Each and every media one deals with, from the smallest blog online, newsletter to the largest magazine, newspaper or TV show is best viewed as a publisher who makes their income by publishing or producing content that people are willing to pay for. The media kit is one of the key methods for delivering the content that is needed to help that media do their job.

It should be a simple package with the minimum information needed to give the media what they need to do the job you want done.  So tailor what you give them to achieve your goals and address their specific stated or published needs and style.

 * handwritten short note

 * copy of the news release they received printed in laser color

 * book, product review, and/or promotion copies

 * cd/dvd with product photos, people photos & ms word files of text materials

 * pictures (4 by 6 size) of product and people photos for features

 * q & a’s - audience focused educational and entertaining information that allow shows to be created or feature story articles to be written

 * testimonials and reviewer comments that offer insights, but watch out that you only include comments from people but not media that compete with the one you are send to.

 You give the media what they need to do their job so that you get the best possible feature story coverage you can get. 

Q. Have online media rooms totally taken over the need for media “kits”? 

Not really, but it does make it easier and faster to make the content and information available to the media who are technologically savvy enough to utilize the materials you make available. Some media will happily go to an online media center. Some won’t. You need to determine the preferences of the particular media person you are working with and what they want or need to do their job.   

The robust online media center will get utilized. An effective online media kit can be one of the most valuable media and marketing tools you can create on your web site. It will help persuade even the most doubtful media that you are newsworthy and have what it takes to make their day.  When you send out a news release to your media, many of them will click on your link and come to your site. They are on a mission. They are searching for the information they need to write a feature story of some sort or an interview. You job is to make their visit fruitful and productive.  You must not only validate any claims you’ve made regarding your book, services or products, but you must also make it easy for the media editor or producer to find facts sufficient for them to quickly satisfy their needs.

When it comes to the Internet, the operative word to key in on is this one: “quick”. You must make it quick as a click to get what the editor needs. This may be facts, bio, pictures or interview questions. It can also be 200, 400, 600, 800, 1,000, 2,000 or 5,000 word articles.  Everything must be ready to go. Click it: they get it.

The goal is to make it attractive, easy to use, and ready to go for immediate media utilization. You create what you need to make the experience successful and enjoyable.

Q. What are the latest trends you are seeing? 

  1. Length does not matter. Content matters. With emailed news releases you can pitch the proposal for media, and then provide the media the camera ready problem solving tips articles, feature stories, and interview questions and answers with photos or video or audio very quickly and effectively.  Many media will know the quality as soon as they see it and use it right away. We see 1,000 to 3,000 to 6,000 word articles used this way. The days of the short one page faxed news release are gone.  You get to put your best foot forward.  
  2. Micro marketing communications tactics are important and need to be carefully developed and applied to headline, email subject lines, and to the leads of news releases. These are the door openers to getting media interested you your proposal for media coverage. Some news releases are received on cell phones (e.g., iPhones and Blackberries), portable notebooks, and laptops. The media will only see the subject line and maybe a snippet. Extra special care must be taken to make the headline identifies who will be interested and what the value is to the audience.  This is a quest for galvanizing nuggets of crystalline clarity that convey value and importance so well that the media responds with a “yes, send me more” and the door opens for a follow up that closes the deal.  
  3. The media is getting numb and there is a lot of mediocrity being produced.  Quality, credibility and persuasion are more important than ever.  To be successful you must learn how to turn people on and be effective with your communications.  This is the key question.  What can you say in three to five minutes that will absolutely convince half the people in front of you to hand you money for whatever it is you have to offer.  That’s what you need to figure out.  Once you create and prove this little script and once you really get it down and prove to yourself that it’s repeatable. That’s the miracle of the microcosm in America.  We’ve got a country of 330 million media indoctrinated people, and once you learn how to galvanize them even in your back yard, you can use technology to repeat the message and reproduce the response again and again. You must simply decide to be the very best you can be and give enthusiastically from the heart. Be sincere, be authentic, and go ahead and help the people you can help the most.  Do that and you will shine.

 

Thanks Paul for your insightful answers.

 

Paul J. Krupin, Direct Contact PR

Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message

http://www.DirectContactPR.com  Paul@DirectContactPR.com  Blog.DirectContactPR.com

800-457-8746 (Toll Free US); 509-531-8390  (Cell);  509-582-5174 (Direct)

Free eBook download http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/TrashProof2010.pdf

 

 

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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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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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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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