The Book Marketing Blogby Penny Sansevieri
July 27, 2011
We had a great show featuring Sherrie Wilkolaski, AME’s Director of Marketing, and our special guest Shelley Hitz, discussing the many ways to re-purpose content and communicate with your followers across social media and online platforms.
About our guest: Shelley Hitz is an entrepreneur, speaker, author and consultant to organizations, individuals and businesses who want to multiply their impact through self-publishing. She teaches from personal experience. Over a two-year span, while working full-time, she self-published five books, multiple audio CDs, authored two websites that attract thousands of visitors each month, and created multiple products that she sells through her website and at her speaking engagements.
Her website, http://www.Self-Publishing-Coach.com also offers a monthly newsletter, tele-classes, special reports, e-books, webinars, podcasts, videos as well as book marketing resources to help individuals, small organizations, and businesses achieve their goals and multiply their impact through self-publishing. (more…)
July 15, 2011
We’re highlighting several of the best book marketing Tweets from the past week, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include making yourself irresistible to the media, tracking retweets and clicks on Twitter, using book trailers to drive sales and including 5 essential ingredients on your website. Happy marketing!
* The 5 Essential Ingredients of the Writer’s Website
Make sure you include these items on your website; your readers will appreciate it!
July 13, 2011
We had a great show with host Penny Sansevieri and our special guest Amy Collins, who discussed how author events are as relevant as ever.
About our guest: Amy Collins is the owner of The Cadence Group, a sales and marketing service provider for the publishing industry. In 2008, The Cadence Group launched New Shelves Distribution, a full-scale book warehousing, sales and fulfillment company selling publisher’s books directly to the national chains and independent bookstores in North America. http://www.thecadencegrp.com/
Events are vital to an author’s success:
With publishing going digital, are author events a thing of the past? No, they are just as valid, says Amy. They are changing just as fast as everything else, but events are extremely valid. They are different from 10 or 12 years ago – and they are an absolute necessity. It’s what authors need to do to get out there. (more…)
June 15, 2011
We had a great show – with a lot of listener questions – covering what authors should know about selling their book in bulk and special sales with our guest Amy Collins.
About our guest:
Amy Collins is the owner of The Cadence Group, a sales and marketing service provider for the publishing industry. In 2008, The Cadence Group launched New Shelves Distribution, a full-scale book warehousing, sales and fulfillment company selling publisher’s books directly to the national chains and independent bookstores in North America. Learn more at http://www.thecadencegrp.com/. (more…)
June 1, 2011
We had a great show on the ins and outs of book cover design (as well as some general book design dos and don’ts) with expert Jeniffer Thompson.
About our guest:
Jeniffer Thompson is the author of Website WOW: Turn Your Website Into Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool. She brings more than 12 years of marketing and publishing experience to her current position as President of Monkey C Media. She understands the importance of creating a site that will engage and strategically draw your audience toward a powerful call-to-action. (more…)
May 18, 2011
We had a great show on the future of literary agents, featuring two great guests who are in the midst of all of these changes that impact agents, publishers and authors.
About our guests:
Katharine Sands is with the Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, founded in 1974. http://www.sarahjanefreymann.com/index.html
May 4, 2011
We had an informative show about ebook and audio book distribution with three special guests:
* Brian Felsen is president of BookBaby/CD Baby/HostBaby. BookBaby digitally distributes the works of independent authors, poets, memoirists, and publishers, making their ebooks available to digital retailers worldwide (including Apple iBookstore, Barnes & Noble.com, Sony’s Reader Store, and Amazon.com). He also is the president of CD Baby, the world’s largest online distributor of independent music. www.bookbaby.com
* Jeffrey Kafer of SpringBrook Audio is an award-winning voice talent and audio book producer. Having narrated over 30 books for such publishers as Audible, Studio Now, Mountainland Publishing, and Books in Motion, Jeffrey knows exactly what it takes to make a world-class audio book. He handles production for all SpringBrook Audio and Perfect Voices titles and post-production for Crossroad Press titles. Jeffrey works out of his home studio in the Seattle area, serving clients worldwide. www.springbrookaudio.com
* David Niall Wilson, owner of Crossroads Press, has been writing and publishing horror, dark fantasy, and science fiction since the mid-eighties. His novels include Maelstrom, Sins of the Flash, Vintage Soul, The Mote in Andrea’s Eye, Deep Blue, the Grails Covenant Trilogy, Star Trek Voyager: Chrysalis, Except You Go Through Shadow, This is My Blood, and the Dark Ages Vampire clan novel Lasombra, among others. He has over 150 short stories published in five collections, one of which, Defining Moments, was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award in 2007. He has won the Bram Stoker Award for his poetry, and his short fiction, and has high hopes of someday writing something remembered as great. crossroadspress.com (more…)
April 21, 2011
We had a great show about additional distribution options – with an emphasis on getting into bookstores – with special guest Amy Collins.
About our guest: Amy Collins is the owner of The Cadence Group, a sales and marketing service provider for the publishing industry. In 2008, The Cadence Group launched New Shelves Distribution, a full-scale book warehousing, sales and fulfillment company selling publisher’s books directly to the national chains and independent bookstores in North America. (more…)
April 6, 2011
We had a great show on what every author should know about book distribution.
Our guest and cohost was Sherrie Wilkolaski, who is Director of Marketing at Author Marketing Experts, Inc., where she is responsible for client relations, product development, campaign team management and business development.
Distribution is a challenge for most authors. Many want to get on Amazon.com, and that’s all they know. But distribution is the ability to get the book out in front of as many people as possible. Amazon is one channel. Other channels include online bookstores, ebooks, audio books, book clubs and bricks and mortar bookstores. Begin by doing your research and thinking ahead. You have options. Be flexible, find experts to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. (more…)
March 9, 2011
We had a great show with host Penny Sansevieri highlighting tips and tricks and savvy publishing advice for book design, front and back covers and editing!
About our special guest: Sue Collier is President of Self-Publishing Resources and co-author of “The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing.” As president and CEO of SPR, Sue oversees all book project work, coordinating a team of experts and holding true to the result-getting principles she learned from founder Marilyn Ross.
SPR provides turnkey service to individuals and organizations seeking to publish and promote their own books, handling all aspects of book editing, design, production, and marketing and promotions. Sue also offers personalized coaching services for authors and small presses, providing them with the benefits of her extensive publishing background. Over the past two decades, she has worked with hundreds of clients, guiding them through the self-publishing process, and helping them produce professional, attractive books. Learn more at http://selfpublishingresources.com/.
We were also joined by Jeniffer Thompson, the author of “Website WOW: Turn Your Website Into Your Most Powerful Marketing Tool.” She brings more than 12 years of marketing and publishing experience to her current position as President of Monkey C Media, http://www.monkeycmedia.com/.
And finally, AME’s Director of Marketing and publishing consultant Sherrie Wilkolaski rounded out our panel. Sherrie is responsible for client relations, product development, campaign team management and business development at AME. She successfully stumbled into the self-published market quite by accident with the success of her own best-selling book, which reached a #1 sales rank back in 2003. Sherrie then started her own self-published marketing company and has helped thousands of authors publish and market their titles.
Mom should not edit your book. Really
It may sound funny, but we’ve heard from authors who say their mom has edited their book… or helped with their design or cover.
Common mistakes authors make include not wanting to edit their books, to their books not having a front or back cover. Or, they might have a nice front cover, but the back cover is blank. It’s so important to turn your book over to a professional who can help you edit the book – not just for typos and grammar, but for structure. Additionally, you want professionals who can help you design a strong, compelling front and back cover for your book.
Sue says about 60-70 percent of books she sees do not have a professional cover design. Of the books with front covers, about half don’t have back covers. Yet any publisher will say that the cover is a critical marketing piece of a book, if not the most important marketing tool. Your cover serves as a teaser, a billboard that shows the reader why he or she should read your book.
Positive growth in book editing
Editing makes or breaks a project. And no one can edit their own work. They’re too close to it. A professional, unbiased editor is the way to go.
We’ve seen many authors who think their book is the field of dreams… write it and they will buy. These authors just want to get their book out the door so they skimp on editing. However, Sue says she is starting to get more prospects that are coming in to discuss editing. Authors are getting the message that editing is important. Their book is their resume. If they would never send out a resume full of typos, why send out an error-filled book?
Spell-check seemed to convince many writers that editing was no longer necessary. But as any good writer or editor knows, spell-check has its drawbacks.
Create compelling book covers
One of the first considerations is how will your book cover look thumbnail size – can you read the title?
Photos and fonts can create a mood for a book; there are certain fonts associated with the 80s, for instance, while other fonts are simply classic, adds Jeniffer.
Placement matters, too, for your title, graphics, etc. It’s important to use a designer who has experience. Sherrie notes that Amazon.com rejects a lot of book covers because they don’t meet the retailer’s requirements. The final sizing is due to the final page count so that’s another challenge.
The cover should convey to a reader instantly what the book is about, it shouldn’t be confusing. A prospective reader shouldn’t have to open the book to see what it’s about.
To find designers, ask around in writers’ groups, and also, with book covers you like, check the credits. The designer is often mentioned in the book.
Why does back cover copy matter?
Back cover copy is terribly misunderstood. Some authors put nothing on the back; others want to pack every inch of space on the back cover with copy – which no one will read.
Sue suggests the following elements for a good back cover, which should be short and sweet:
* a headline
* a benefit statement about the book (what’s in it for readers: such as what will they learn, feel, etc. – make it fun and interesting
* testimonials – if you have them, they are very important. You want to show readers the book’s benefits.
Bookstores like short, succinct, and easy to read book covers (front and back).
Jeniffer says 250 words is a good place to start for the back cover copy. Include a couple of bullet points, plus one or two endorsements – you need these ‘sound bites’ to grab readers’ attention and highlight the benefits of the book to them.
Sherrie also advises authors to have their book title repeated on the back cover. Also, do not try to cram as much as possible onto the back cover. If it’s too cluttered, no one will read it.
If authors are struggling with space constraints on the back cover, they can put their author bio inside. It’s far more important to make sure you tell readers about the book on the back cover.
What kind of image should go on the front cover?
Can an unknown author’s photo appear on the front cover? In general, this is not a good idea. You need to have a face that can sell books, which is typically someone who’s well-known and has an established brand.
However, Jeniffer recalls a Pilates book about weight loss, in which the instructor clearly practiced what she preached. Her cover photo validated her book’s message so it was effective.
If an author can’t afford a cover designer, what should he or she do?
Jeniffer recommends studying book covers and looking for what you like as well as seeking out covers in your genre. If you don’t have design experience, see if you can get an art student who can help.
Sue observes that authors who show these potential cover ideas to their husband, children, etc. don’t always get the most honest opinions. Go outside your comfort zone, such as to a local bookstore and ask what they think of the cover, if it would attract them. Get an opinion from people who sell books, that’s the best opinion you can get. These are front line people who know what sells. Turn your bookstore into a laboratory – get to know your genre, how the books are shelved, etc.
Authors can also post their cover options on their social media accounts such as Facebook or Twitter to get feedback (and then it serves as a marketing opportunity for the book, says Sherrie).
How to title a book
Authors must step away from their personal feelings and take the advice of professionals. Titling a book is one of the most important things about the book. There have been cases where books were re-titled and re-released and became bestsellers. For instance, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” was originally titled “You Can Feel Good Again.”
The title should be catchy, preferably descriptive (especially if it’s fiction), and it needs to grab people’s attention – which is very tough to do, Sue acknowledges.
But the right title can make a huge difference, she adds, mentioning “The Art of Courtship.” Retitled “The Art of Kissing,” it outsold Courtship by 6,000 to 2,000 copies.
A â€˜Squash’ titled cookbook sold 1,500 copies, but when it was renamed the â€˜Zucchini’ cookbook, sales zoomed to 300,000 copies. Just changing one word can lead to great sales.
Several classic books that we know and love started out with decidedly different – and not so compelling – titles:
- “The Dead Un-Dead” became “Dracula”
- “The Last Man in Europe” became “1984”
- “Catch 18″ and “Catch 11″ became “Catch 22″
- “Atticus” became “To Kill a Mockingbird”
- “First Impressions” became “Pride and Prejudice”
- “Fiesta” became “The Sun Also Rises”
- “Strike” became “Atlas Shrugged”
- “Mistress Mary” became “The Secret Garden”
Sue advises brainstorming titles and typing out ideas, reading your first chapter and table of contents, getting opinions AND making sure no one else is using the title you want to use for your book.
Jeniffer recommends making the title easy to remember, short and to the point, big enough to read on a thumbnail cover online or from 10 feet away in a bookstore. Have a good website url that ties into that brand.
Adds Sherrie: brainstorm, whittle down your list, and give it time, think about it, talk about it.
You can download the full show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2011/03/09/smart-self–publishing-series-part-4-why-book-design-editing-matter.
Please join us March 22, 2011 for Secrets to Landing An Agent
So – how do authors manage to get an agent? Special guest Jeff Rivera will offer tips to finding your writing voice, developing a platform, writing winning query letters, choosing between agents and much more! Whether you are still writing your book, have been self published, or have unsuccessfully queried agents in the past, this show will offer invaluable insights on what it takes to get an agent. Jeff Rivera is the founder of http://www.HowtoWriteaQueryLetter.com. With over 100 clients to date, he has a 100% track record of getting at least 10 literary agents to request to read his client’s manuscripts and proposals.