Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
A Christmas Gift from Afghanistan
December 20, 2014by: ameeditor
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A Gift from AfghanistanIt’s getting close to Christmas and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but people are getting testy. We all have too much to do and time seems to be shrinking. Will we get our cards out in time? And what the heck will you get Aunt Ethel this year, for the gal who has everything?

Though it seems like a very stressful time, we’re so fortunate to have these things to worry about. We’re lucky that we can plan a Christmas dinner or a fun holiday get-together. Long lines at the department store? That’s great, too. Because you know what? Things could be a whole lot worse. All you have to do is turn on the news to see what I mean.

Last week I was stressed, trying to get work done, my shopping finished, the cards sent. There were a million things going on and then I got this voicemail from Afghanistan from someone I’d never met and will likely never meet. From that moment on, everything slammed into perspective. Have a listen and see if you don’t agree.


Here’s a bit of back story on how I ended up getting this call:

Every year we send care packages to a group of military overseas. These care packages often go to smallish bases with less than 100 guys. We are able to do this with the help of a team member who has a husband in the Army. This year we stuffed Christmas stockings with chocolate, beef jerky, warm socks, books, DVD’s and all sorts of things we thought they may like.

I believe in doing this because well, it’s important to remember that regardless of how we may each feel about the war, these men and women go there to do their job. They are in harm’s way every single day and they do so without complaining. They simply go where they are told.

During WWII my mom and her family were all in Belgium, I have heard the stories, it was horrible. I remember when she told me about the first time she saw an American tanker and the US flag come around the corner. They were being liberated, they were free. The men who went there fought a horrible battle and did so without complaining. They showed up and did the job. Many did not come home. I’m grateful to the ones who fought then and saved my family and that gratitude extends itself to the troops who find themselves in a very different place, fighting a very different battle. So my own personal reasons for doing this go back to that time but whatever your reasons, just do it.

So share your gratitude. Send a box or a letter or a card. Remember them not just around Christmas but all year round. You have no idea what a small gift like that can mean to someone who is thousands of miles away, fighting a battle we thought was long over.







How to Send a Care Package to the Troops!

Inspired to do this on your own? It’s very easy. There are national orgs that will ship packages like and but you can also take a different route if you want to do something more direct and personal. Here is who we did it:

The Army Sargent who helped us had a direct link, obviously but if you don’t know someone like that I bet someone in your community does. Start first with local churches, they can often connect you with base chaplains who can introduce a unit or someone stateside who can help organize a similar thing to what we did. Also, Rotary Clubs are good, too. Additionally our Army contact said: “ask around, because a lot of people know someone in the service and the service people who have been deployed know what it’s like to spend Christmas in the middle of a desert or wherever overseas and will be more than willing to help”

Note that there’s really no organization on the part of the service person, you just need an address and a name. The addresses are all APO/FPO so you don’t know where they wind up. You get a # of guys so you know who to buy for and the address, it’s actually VERY easy.

The list of things you may want to send varies but much like getting in touch, it’s also a lot simpler than you may think. Here is what we found they really love:

  • American candy like Snickers (we got huge boxes of it at Costco)
  • Beef jerky (again, Costco)
  • Socks, heavy socks because the desert can be really cold at night
  • Razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes and even toothpicks.
  • Books: we ordered books off of Amazon and also went to local bookstores to support the stores in our area. We got a mix of mystery books, thrillers, war books (WWI and WWII), war history books. etc.
  • DVD’s – these are great because when they’re done watching them they can leave them there for the next rotation. Again anything war-related, action packed, that kind of a thing.
  • We got other stocking stuffers at The Dollar Store, we got all the stockings there that we stuffed. We also got other things from there like candy canes, etc.

These are just some ideas, if you get to chat with the base chaplain ask him if he has any ideas, too.

We often include a letter or cards to the service people as well.


Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of December 15, 2014
December 19, 2014by: Penny
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Prepare for the New Year with insights from these top book marketing tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include creating a marketing plan, pitching to book reviewers, strengthening your social media marketing, and more. Happy marketing!


* 26 Tips to Strengthen Your Social Media Marketing

Change is good, and with a new year around the corner, it’s time to examine your social media marketing and make improvements:

* 6 Ways to Resuscitate Your Novel

Writers have to learn how to remove elements that don’t move their stories forward:

Tip 34

* Four Tips on What NOT to Say (or Pitch or Do) to Get Your Book Reviewed

Authors always want book reviews, but many shoot themselves in the foot when it comes time to pitch. Learn what to do – and what to avoid:

* 3 Ways Authors Can Stand Out and Market Themselves

It takes planning, work, and creativity – but here are some examples to provide some inspiration:

* How to Reach Readers via Your Library

Play the local card, by pitching yourself as a local author with a new book out:

* How Your Self-Published Book Can Create Multiple Streams of Revenue

You can’t achieve much if readers don’t know about your books. Get some ideas for pre-launch, launch, and post-launch efforts to get your book noticed:

* 7 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block

Get some practical suggestions – from an author – on how to get the writing groove back:

* Why and How to Set Book Marketing Goals for 2015

Authors should set book marketing goals. These steps will help you create a strong plan to guide you in the coming year:

* 16 Important Publishing Tips I Picked Up at a Writers Conference

You always learn something at a conference, and one writer shares her top 16 tips:

Why You Want Return Visits to Your Website
December 18, 2014by: ameeditor
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Why you want return visits - blog_pinWhen you look at your analytics, do you get excited about new visitors? Well you should.

New people to your site are great but return visitors are important, too.


Because a high return visitor rate means you have content worth seeing again and again – in terms of a blog and other website content.

So what are you doing to get return visitors?

This is an important question to ask yourself!

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5 Steps for Crafting the Perfect Book Review Pitch: Tip #35 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
December 17, 2014by: ameeditor
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Welcome to Tip #35 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. So, ready? Here we go!

5 Steps for Crafting the Perfect Book Review Pitch

Tip 35Every author wants book reviews – they help build buzz, inform potential readers and buyers about your book and when done well, give enough information about your book to intrigue without giving away all the pertinent details. Getting ready for the review process does take some pre-planning, as we’ve previously covered in 6 Things Your Website Should Tell Book Reviewers About You (and Your Book) and 7 Simple Steps to Getting Your Book Reviewed

Once you’ve built a list of reviewers to go after, it’s time to start pitching. While this may not be as difficult as achieving world peace, it’s amazing how many authors make some big mistakes at this stage, in everything from poorly written subject lines to impersonal (unimpressive) pitches to not providing the appropriate book details.

Simplicity rules: Your email subject line should be brief, yet clear. “Review request: (Name of Book/genre)” is quite effective. You don’t have room to write a novel on the subject line and you want the recipient to be clear what your email is about. This is helpful particularly if your email lands in the recipient’s spam box – a good, concise subject header makes it clear that the email is legitimate. Then, onto the pitch itself.

It’s important to realize that thousands of books are published each year so competition for reviews is fierce. The average new book, if it’s not heavily promoted by one of the major New York publishing houses, is not likely to get much in the way of reviews from newspapers and magazines. That review space has been shrinking for years, anyway. Meanwhile, there has been considerable growth in book blogging and reviewing online; but even with that growth there are still far more books being published than bloggers available to review them. Understand that most reviewers do this as a labor of love and make little to no money. Their review blogs are not full-time endeavors, but something they work into their already busy lives. Learning how to make the best first impression possible when you send that pitch is vital.

Personalize: First of all, most bloggers identify themselves somewhere on their blogs – if they don’t sign their posts with their name, the “about me” section typically lists their name or nickname. Use it! When you use a blogger’s name one thing is instantly clear: you actually took the time to find out who you’re pitching. That’s a big plus. Introduce yourself (briefly), and then don’t just ask them to review your book, give them a reason – have they reviewed other books similar to yours? Do they specialize in reviewing books in your genre?

If you’re comfortable having a little fun with your pitch, by all means do so – I once saw a pitch for a frothy romance that asked potential reviewers if they’d like to sin with a duke. Very catchy and appropriate for the book! But – don’t force it – if that’s not your personality, then don’t worry about it. It’s far more important to explain who you are, what your book is about, WHY this reviewer should be interested in your book and provide links to your website so they can follow up, learn more about your book and decide whether they’d like to request a review copy. They will follow up by clicking through on links, so make sure your website has all the necessary information about you and your book.

If you did your homework during your research phase you may know some things about this blogger that might help you get a review request. For instance, if they love a particular author and your book is in a similar vein, that’s something you can put in your pitch.

Basics count: Make sure you include all the basic book information in the email:

ISBN (the 13 digit ISBN of your preferred format, hardcover or paperback)
Publication Date (month, year)
And include your website link. (This should also be included on your PR, which you will send out with copies of your book).

Timeframe for replies: You may or may not hear back right away. Each blogger has a different schedule – some people check email daily, others may only check weekly. Be patient. It’s fine to follow up in a couple of weeks if you really felt you matched up with a particular blog and didn’t hear back. It’s possible your original email ended up in a spam folder or was overlooked (the sheer volume of review requests that reviewers receive is pretty staggering). After that, if there’s still no word, let it go. Seek reviews from other bloggers. If you do receive a “No thank you,” move on, it’s not an invitation to try to arm-twist the reviewer into taking on your book.

Additional pitching options: Fiction and nonfiction authors may take a different approach when pitching. For fiction, it may make sense to seek bloggers who review books in your genre; but if your fictional book covers topics that you are an expert in, you may have some other options. For instance, if you heavily researched the history of a city or a historical figure you may find bloggers who are history buffs who might be open to reviewing your book. Sometimes it helps to brainstorm a list of topics from your book, fact or fiction, in order to generate ideas of what type of publications or bloggers or reviewers you should target.

With nonfiction, you’re an expert on the topic(s) at hand and should look for your peers in those areas when seeking reviewers. It’s much more competitive in this realm, but instead of deciding not to pitch someone who could be a competitor see if there are ways for you to help each other – and use that as part of your pitch. You never know what kind of partnership you can develop if you don’t ask. Darren Rowse at ProBlogger covers this really well on his blog, and his blog is worth following. Two useful articles include:

* How to Pitch Bloggers – Make it a Win/Win/Win Situation

* How to Pitch to Bloggers – 21 Tips

* From Journalistics blog – What’s the Best Way to Pitch Bloggers?

More pitching advice:

Additional information

While your PR piece is something you can send out to alert the world to your book and also post to various sites online, it is also a vital document that should be included with every review copy you send out. As a result you’ll want to be sure your PR piece – which should be two pages MAXIMUM – has your contact information (phone and email), website url, book synopsis, brief author bio and the book information you used for your pitch (the listing that includes genre, ISBN, publication date, etc.) You are dealing with very busy people who are deluged with hundreds of books a year and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to write about your book – and what’s better than having a PR piece handy with everything they could possibly need – from the book description to the about the author section, website link, book information and so forth? They’ll love you for it!

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – December 15, 2014
December 15, 2014by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on writing and getting published. Thank you to all of the contributors!


Hazel Longuet submitted Gifts for Writers and Authors posted at A Novel Experience, saying, “Perfect Christmas Gifts For Writers and Authors. Trying to find the perfect present for people can be a trial and no-one wants to waste money on an unappreciated gift. Well luckily for you I’ve done all the heavy lifting and found a range of items to help you find the perfect present for the writer in your life. They will love them – and love you for buying them.”

writer at work

book marketing tips for authors

Chrys Fey submitted Writing Tips, Part One posted at Write with Fey, saying, “Today I am highlighting 25 of my best writing tips I’ve shared on my blog over the last three years. Enjoy!”

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted 22 Cookbook and Nonfiction Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Here are 22 cookbook publishers welcoming proposals from authors – no agent needed! And, as an added bonus, many of these publishers also accept nonfiction in other categories. (Remember, non-fiction publishers want proposals, not manuscripts.) Make sure to read the full submission guidelines before you submit.”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link:

Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of December 8, 2014
December 12, 2014by: Penny
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Here’s a rundown of some top book marketing tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include why rushing kills good books, whether hiring help or going the DIY route makes more sense for authors, working with book bloggers, and more. Happy marketing!


* How Can Authors Stand Out on Social Media?

It may seem like social media consists of a lot of noise and little useful info. But you can use social media to find and grow an audience:

social media networks for authors

* How Hurry Kills Good Books

There are many reasons for you to take your time writing and publishing your books. Think quality over quantity:

* Self-Publishing: DIY or Hire Help?

Many writers hear that they need to hire professionals, but you can do a lot yourself – if you want to:

* 4 Tips for Working With Book Bloggers

Bloggers can be very helpful when it comes to getting exposure for your book. Here’s how to find the right bloggers for your book:

* Why It’s Good to Get Bad Reviews

Having a few not-so-great reviews for your book can give your book credibility:

* 12 Ways to Avoid Looking Clueless On Social Media

Get some great tips from social media expert Guy Kawasaki:

* Email Marketing for Writers: Build Your List!

If you collect more emails, you can improve your email marketing and sell more books:

* 11 Social Media Statistics You Should Have Known Yesterday

Did you know the most repinned images on Pinterest have multiple colors? Learn that and more:

Four Tips on What NOT to Say (or Pitch or Do) to Get Your Book Reviewed: Tip #34 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
December 10, 2014by: ameeditor
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Welcome to Tip #34 of our 52 Ways to Sell More Books! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books.  Want the complete book of tips? Get it here!

Four Tips on What NOT to Say (or Pitch or Do) to Get Your Book Reviewed

Tip 34If you want guarantees, you won’t find them in book reviews. Death and taxes, yes – but the book review process is a sea of unknowns, from how many review requests you’ll get to who’ll actually post a review to whether they’ll even like your book at all.

When you’ve got people reviewing books mostly as a labor of love, the reality is, that review you expected this month may be delayed by a couple of months. Or, they may not love your book and be pretty blunt about it. Life happens. It’s fine to check back with a reviewer if you haven’t heard anything and had been given a review timeframe. It’s fine to correct a factual error in a review, but it’s not appropriate to start a fight with someone who has fairly reviewed your book and just decided it didn’t work for them.

What else should you keep in mind during the review process?

Be a Pro. It probably seems unnecessary to state that being professional at all times is important, but there have been so many author-initiated blog brouhahas online that we can’t take anything for granted. Ask nicely when requesting a review; be gracious if the answer is no. It’s not personal. If you’ve done your homework you may know going in that a particular blogger – who you’ve identified as a key blogger for your book – is overwhelmed with a review backlog. Perhaps the blogger is up for a guest post, and if you see the blog often includes them, be prepared to pitch some ideas. Maybe it’s a good site for contests – again, be ready to suggest a contest and terms. Pay attention to what the blogger does on his or her blog – it’s most definitely not all reviews, all the time – and see if there is anything you can contribute to either complement a review or in place of a review.

Be appreciative. I can count on both hands, with fingers left over, the number of authors we’ve worked with who have bothered to thank reviewers. Do it. The authors who do take the time to email the blogger to say thanks are usually rewarded by developing relationships with the bloggers they thank. If that blogger enjoyed the author’s book they usually ask if they can review the author’s next book, and so on. What was originally a one-time situation now becomes an ongoing relationship in which the reviewer follows the author’s career and the author has additional opportunities for book reviews, interviews and more – and not only with that blogger; chances are the blogger’s peers who like the same kind of books are going to take notice.

Never burn bridges. Even if a review you receive is unfair, or not the quality you expected, there is only so much you can do. If there is a factual error, by all means alert the blogger immediately with the correction. Otherwise, if you just don’t like the review, let it go. Just remember that whatever the review says, you never know how readers will react and I’ve seen many cases in which the lukewarm review caused others to say they wanted to read the book for themselves. You’re getting free publicity and you have to realize that everyone may take away a different perspective from one review. And you should still thank them, nicely, for taking the time to review your book.

Take the long view. Also understand that the Internet has brought together hundreds of book lovers (aka book bloggers) as never before, and not only do they share their love of books, they also discuss problems, issues and more. Angry authors have gotten plenty of bad coverage this way, with the result being that a multitude of reviewers have sworn they will never review any work by that author. Ever. There’s an adage about never getting into a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel – a reference to newspapers and magazines – but the reality now is you don’t want to get into a fight with someone who has a blog with hundreds (or more) of followers, plus Twitter and Facebook accounts and the ability to broadcast bad news far and wide. Don’t let that be you!

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – December 8, 2014
December 8, 2014by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on social media, and book marketing, that we hope you’ll enjoy. Thank you to all of the contributors!

Book Marketing

Sarah Bolme submitted Visibility posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Without contacts or glasses, my visibility is really poor. I can’t read things on my computer screen from a normal distance without these visual aids. Without visual aids, what I see on my computer screen is still visible, just fuzzy and unreadable. Many books suffer from a fate far worse than poor visibility. Many are invisible.”

examining laptop with magnifying glass

Hazel Longuet submitted Writing Tips: This Week’s Most Popular Writing Articles posted at A Novel Experience, saying, “I’m serving up this week’s portion of collective genius – articles on writing, self-publishing and marketing books, as decided by the actions of my social media followers. They’re a discerning bunch and have selected some great articles this week. So kick-back and jump into the tasty world of writing…”

Social Media

Erica Verrillo submitted 15 Reading and Writing Communities That Can Boost Your Platform posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Reading and writing communities can be a great way to get feedback on your writing. They also host competitions for the most popular stories, which are then publicized. On some of the larger sites, notably Wattpad and authonomy, there are tie-ins with media, publishing houses, and, in the case of WEbook, a service that helps writers pitch directly to agents.”

That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link:

Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of December 1, 2014
December 5, 2014by: Penny
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Gain some great advice and ideas from these book marketing tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include 15 reading and writing communities to find readers, 6 ways to jump on holiday sales, a writer’s guide to mental health, and more. Happy marketing!


* 6 Ways to Jump on Holiday Sales

You’ve still got a chance to get some sales for the holidays:

holding out a gift

* What Authors Should Know About Amazon Book Categories

Did you know Amazon has a separate setup for print books and ebooks? You can select two categories per book, and here’s how you should choose:

* Where the Readers Are: 15 Reading and Writing Communities that Can Boost Your Platform

You may not have heard of some of these sites – like Scriggler, WEBook, Critters – but they could be great places to find readers:

* Frazzled, Overwhelmed, Swamped? A Writer’s Guide to Mental Health

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of trying to do everything. Here’s how you can talk yourself down:

* How to Optimize Your Pins for the Pinterest Smart Feed

If you want additional exposure on Pinterest, learn how to use the smart feed:

* How to Sell More Books to the Right Target Audience

Ask yourself these key questions so your book will be noticed by the right people:

* 10 Ways Authors Can Make Crowdfunding Work

You can use crowdfunding to raise money for your publishing project, and also collect pre-orders and market your book pre-publication. Here’s how:

* Tips for Making Sure Editors Don’t Skip Over Your Email Pitch

Research reveals that email is the best way to pitch editors; and your subject line is what really matters:

Hashtag Do’s and Don’ts
December 5, 2014by: ameeditor
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Now that Hashtags are so popular, it’s a great idea to use them. But there are specific things that work and that don’t work for Hashtags, let’s look at a few:

POSTED hashtag do's and don'ts 12042014 - blog_pin



– Shorter Hashtags are always best, longer hashtags take up too much space in your tweet.
– If you’re creating your own hashtag, make sure that it makes sense to the follower. Using keywords in hashtags is always a great idea.
– Take a look at sites like and see if you can use a hashtag that’s trending and relevant to your topic. You can also use (another great hashtag directory) to find solid, trending hashtags and their conversations.


– Use too many hashtags in a tweet or other post; it will just get distracting and hard to read.
– Using hashtags that are too hard to read, understand, or too quirky. Being quirky is fine if it’s part of a trend, such as #angiesrightleg which was a trending tweet a few years ago at the Oscars, but otherwise stay away from long tweets that are too hard to understand.
– Don’t use more than two words in your hashtags, the longer they are the harder they are to read.
– And finally, don’t use a hashtag just for the sake of using it. It won’t get you blacklisted per se, but it won’t help in your online marketing efforts, either.

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