Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Branding: The Secret to Selling More Books
January 12, 2011by: Paula
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We had a great show to kick off 2011 on Branding, why it’s so important and what authors need to know.
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Consumers crave brands because they crave consistency – that consistency brings them in AND keeps them coming back. For an author, the key is to figure out what your message is and understand the look of the market.

What do we mean? People need to be able to look at your book and get who you are and what the book is about.

There’s a great example from mystery author LJ Sellers. Her first book is The Sex Club, which is not a traditional title for a mystery, and some mystery genre aficionados did not like the title. As a result, the rest of her books have titles more associated with the genre. Those titles make it easier for readers to know what they’re getting when they see an LJ Sellers book.

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Do your research: Authors should do their homework before they start branding themselves. What are others in your genre doing, especially the successful authors? You don’t want to blindly copy someone else, but get a feel for the trends that could impact your brand and sales. You may see trends in color, message and/or packaging that say something important. It’s no coincidence that chick lit books tend to have colorful covers or that mystery/thriller websites often have a dark and foreboding look to them.

Look at how to brainstorm your brand and seek objective advice. You want to figure out who you are, what your goals are and then develop a plan to get there.

Help people find you: When we discuss platform building it’s about who you can reach through your message. For example, at AME our reach is around 30,000 followers, fans and subscribers based on our newsletter, blog, Facebook Page, Twitter and other social media, and that’s all part of our platform.

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Branding involves a number of things: your book title, book topic, website, business cards, bookmarks, promotional materials, etc… and you want all of these properties to be consistent. AME uses bookmarketingAME on our social media properties in order to use our keywords (book marketing). This is vital because you want people to find you; at AME, we want to be found by people who seek book marketing expertise. Yours might be cozy mysteries, dark thrillers, life coaching – whatever fits your brand.

You’ll want to register your brand names before someone else takes them. Visit namechk.com, which lists a few hundred sites including social bookmarking sites, and see if your names are available. Be sure to secure all of the domains associated with your name and brand.

Know the why and what: When you’re building a platform, you must have a reason to do what you’re doing: why are you blogging or on Facebook or using Twitter or doing public speaking events? The answers provide you with a strategy to help you grow your platform.

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Don’t cut corners: You’re obligated to give your readers a good experience: give them a book that’s vetted and edited and has a great cover (all areas authors are tempted to skimp on) – these are all your resume. If you lose a reader once because you’ve over-promised and under-delivered, you’ll never get them back. Also, get to know other people in your market – they may have vendors you can use, you can network with them and their followers, trade off on guest blogging or other marketing efforts and generally find ways to collaborate.

There are more opportunities than ever for people to get published, which means competition is increasing. A strong focus on your message and brand is really, really important in order to stand out.

Your website is analogous to your business card and therefore very important to your branding and platform. If money is an issue, you can start with a free Blogspot or WordPress site, and then you will be able to transfer those domains when you’re ready to purchase your own domain.

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Be careful of not just Internet hype but book marketing hype in general – especially any offer promising sales – it just can’t be done. Marketing takes work and effort – you have to invest in yourself, develop a plan and market yourself consistently and regularly.

Email us at info@amarketingexpert.com for feedback, and there are a lot of people in the industry who are happy to answer your questions – take advantage of their knowledge!

To download and listen to the entire show, go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2011/01/12/branding-the-secret-to-selling-more-books.

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Upcoming Episode:

Please join us Jan. 25, 2011 for the Smart Self Publishing Series, Part 1: Print on Demand

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2011/01/26/smart-self-publishing-series-part-1-print-on-demand

These days, there are more choices than ever to get published, but publishing – like any industry – is full of scams. Most publishers are not unethical but how can you avoid predators with pie-in-the-sky promises that can’t be fulfilled? Our special guests, Grael Norton, acquisitions manager for Wheatmark, Inc., and Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, will show us how to see through the hype and discuss the how-to’s of contracts, publication costs, royalty statements, book covers and much, much more.

About our guests:

* Grael Norton, Acquisitions Manager, Wheatmark, Inc. helps authors get their manuscripts ready for market and coaches them on publishing success.

He’s also a Senior Faculty member of the Authors Academy, where published and aspiring authors learn how to sell more books. To learn the 7 Steps to Publishing Success, visit www.Authors-Academy.com.

Wheatmark, Inc., helps authors write, produce, and distribute their books successfully – even if they’ve never written a book or distributed a product before.

* Mark Coker is the founder of Smashwords, where more than 3,500 serious writers and 100 independent publishers publish and distribute and have complete control over how to sample, price and market their books. Learn more at http://www.smashwords.com/.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Top Publishing Trends for 2011
December 15, 2010by: Paula
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It’s been a crazy year in publishing – with one of the top stories being the meteoric rise of ebooks and digital reading devices. iPad, Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders … now joined by Google with its eBookstore, which will allow independent bookstores to sell ebooks and give them a place in the digital book world. See http://mashable.com/2010/12/06/google-ebooks/.

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By the first quarter of 2010, ebooks accounted for 5 percent total book sales in the U.S., according to the Book Industry Study Group. By summer, Amazon.com reported that ebook sales outpaced hardcover book sales: for every 100 hardcover books sold, Amazon sold 143 Kindle books. By late fall, the Association of American Publishers was reporting that ebook sales made up 9 percent of total consumer book sales. See http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/ebooks_ereaders_top_trends_2010.php.

We also saw a year in which the tried and true didn’t always work for traditional publishers, who have depended on big-name authors and celebrity books for stellar sales. Bestselling author John Grisham’s fall release The Confession experienced a decrease in first week print sales from his previous book. Ebook sales, however, saved the day and constituted one-third of the book’s sales. As a result, overall week one sales of The Confession surpassed that of his last thriller, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703957804575602792076468702.html.

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Sales of Sarah Palin’s second book America By Heart has not taken off like her first book did, and the publisher has not gone back to print. Her book was expected to be one of the fall’s big hits. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/09/AR2010120906067.html. Jersey Shore reality show star Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has a hotly hyped book The Situation that is not selling well (two of his co-stars also have book deals).

The logo of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

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Some forecasts held out. Jonathan Franzen’s hotly anticipated novel Freedom hit the bestseller list, and he got to make up with Oprah for his earlier snub of her show. George W. Bush’s memoir Decision Points made the former president a member of the bestselling ex-president’s club (hot on the heels of Bill Clinton). The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series produced another bestseller. And books published prior to 2010, such as the Stieg Larsson thrillers and Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, continued their reign on bestseller lists.

Still, what’s clear is the publishing world has changed drastically. The digital world means traditional publishing needs to move faster and offer a variety of formats for books. The explosion of ereading devices has broken down barriers for a number of indie authors, who can publish and market their books, at a low cost, directly to a reading audience hungry for material.

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The Year Ahead

So what does 2011 hold for publishing? The Publishing Insiders – host Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.; Search Engine Marketing Expert Susan Gilbert and AME COO Paula Krapf – took a look into their crystal ball to predict the following:

* iPad will get competition as other tablets enter the market. Microsoft is working on one, and Amazon is hotly rumored to be developing a tablet, too. Others are sure to join.

* Interactive ebooks are going to take off, thanks to the success of iPad (and possibly its competitors).

* A number of books will go straight to ebook and bypass print.

* There will be bestselling indie ebook authors who will find success via Kindle, Nook, Google eBookstore, Smashwords, Scribd and the myriad other ways to sell ebooks. See http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2010/12/bestseller-shift.html.

* The issues associated with print publishing, including the cost and time of producing the print product, will lead to ebook-only publishers.

* Indie bookstores will become a one-stop source for everything book related, since they can now sell ebooks via Google eBookstore.

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* Oprah will become a publisher? She’s heavily promoted reading and books on her show, which will end in May 2011. Marketing guru Seth Godin is leading the way for heavily branded names launching their own publishing companies, so why not Oprah?

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Publishing gossip:

We didn’t have a chance to cover this on the show, so news junkies, this is for you:

* Borders reports a loss of $74.4 million in the fourth quarter yet has announced it’s interested in bidding for Barnes & Noble (which is looking for a buyer): http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/45465-borders-sales-disappoint-loss-soars-liquidity-issues-arise.html

* Amazon strikes a deal with Nielsen, and now authors have access to their sales data – here’s a great blog post and observations from author Dave Cullen (his book Columbine is a must-read): http://www.davecullenblog.com/2010/12/amazon-torpedoes-publishers-insanity-of.html

* The Year in Disturbing Celebrity Book Deals (makes us want to poke our eyes out):

Snooki at Seaside Heights NJ

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- Jersey Shore’s The Situation by Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino – sales are doing poorly

- Jersey Shore’s Snooki has A Shore Thing coming out in January 2011

- Jersey Shore’s JWOWW also has a book, The Rules According to JWOWW (no pub date listed)

Gracias Paul

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- The Salahis – the White House Crashers, whose book Cirque du Salahi is averaging 1.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon.com

- Paul the Octopus – who predicted every single German World Cup game outcome. He picked the winning World Cup team by choosing between two mussels in separate containers marked with the relevant flag. He became a multi-million dollar brand … but died in October (so is the book deal dead too?)

- Christine O’Donnell is writing a book, hopefully titled I Am Not A Witch; I’m You – scheduled for Aug. 2011

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. We’ll see you with more publishing news in 2011!

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Upcoming Episode – Please join us Jan. 11, 2011 for  Branding: The Secret to Selling More Books

If you’ve ever wondered what motivates people to buy a book, consider this: consumers don’t buy a book, they buy a brand. This is true now more than ever. Why? Because people want consistency (think McDonald’s), they want value, and they want to be entertained, enlightened, or educated. A brand, when done properly, can really pull in readers to your site, your message, and your book. Learn how to do it. For background, see http://www.amarketingexpert.com/branding-the-secret-to-selling-more-books/.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Secrets to Getting Your Book Into Libraries
December 1, 2010by: Paula
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We had another great show hosted by Penny Sansevieri titled ‘Secrets to Getting Your Book into Libraries.’

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Before moving onto the show topic, we discussed some publishing news, including a campaign to get people into bookstores this holiday season. Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day is Dec. 4, 2010. Modeled after Take Your Daughter to Work Day, this is designed to help bookstores flourish and thrive. You can learn more – and see if any bookstores in your area are participating, by visiting http://takeyourchildtoabookstore.org.

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In an economically challenged climate guess what starts to soar? Libraries. The library market is strong and getting stronger. If you haven’t made libraries part of your target market you should. And despite all the book buzz online, it’s still nice to get your book onto a library shelf. For most of us, this seems like an exclusive right devoted to an exclusive group of best-selling authors. While some piece of this is true, the reality is that if you have a good book, you can get into the library system. You can download the full show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2010/12/01/secrets-to-getting-your-book-into-libraries.

Some library statistics:

According to the American Library Association (ALA) -

* There are approximately 122,101 libraries in the U.S.

* Over $5 billion worth of books, periodicals, audiovisual, and other materials were purchased by libraries in 2007, with over $1.9 billion spent on book purchases alone.

* More than one-tenth of publishers’ net book sales are to libraries.

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* Libraries purchase books for adults, young adults, children, and special readers (emerging literates, large print, braille).

How can you get your book into libraries?

Libraries tend to buy hardback and trade books but some do pick up mass market, Penny noted.

Reviews: Librarians mainly use the following periodicals to determine which books to select for their collections (the links will offer information about the submission process, which varies for each publication):

* Library Journal – http://www.libraryjournal.com/lj/reviews/book/885142-421/library_journal_book_review_editors.html.csp

* Booklist – http://www.booklistonline.com/default.aspx?page=general_info&id=65

* Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries – http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/acrl/publications/choice/infoforpub/informationpublishers.cfm

* The Horn Book Magazine – http://www.hbook.com/aboutus/publications/submissions.asp

* Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books – http://bccb.lis.illinois.edu/pubguide.html

* Kirkus Reviews – http://www.kirkusreviews.com/kirkusreviews/about_us/submission.jsp

* Publishers Weekly – http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/corp/submissionguidelines.html

There are also librarians online who review books, and they may choose to donate your book to their library or recommend that it be added to the collection. You can find librarians on Twitter: http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/best-library-people-on-twitter_b11945.

At the Library
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Mail your book: You can mail libraries directly with a copy of your book and a request; obtain a list of libraries through the ALA or the library locator listed below.

Trade shows: See if you can exhibit at library trade shows; learn more at http://exhibitors.ala.org/.

Library events: Ask if your library will let you do an event or participate in one of their reading groups.

Become acquainted with your library: See if you can donate a copy of your book, or if they can add your book to their collection. Discover what they buy, and then you can talk to them about how they make purchases, their purchase timeframe, etc. Building relationships with your local library personnel is a good idea; if pitching your book or event doesn’t work, you may find another way to fill a need for them (and promote your book at the same time).

Recommendations/requests: Since libraries have websites, often with places for book recommendations, get requests/recommendations for your book listed there.

Self-publishing considerations

Minneapolis Public Library - checkout

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If your book is self-published, you need distribution. There are three main distributors to consider:

Quality Books Inc.: http://www.quality-books.com/

Unique Books Inc.: http://www.uniquebooksinc.com/

Baker & Taylor: http://www.baker-taylor.com/ (technically they are a wholesaler but they can also help you access the library market)

However, before you approach a distributor you need to work several months in advance of your book’s publication and develop a marketing plan. Your marketing plan needs two key components. First is the market segment, which is the WHO of who you will market to and HOW you intend to reach that audience (online and offline), including target group(s), media you’ll seek, events you’ll do, etc. The second piece consists of your sales outlets, the WHERE your book will be sold and HOW you will sell your book (online and offline).

Additional resources

If you need a library locator, check out: http://www.libdex.com (libraries worldwide).

Find additional information on all of the above at Marketing to Libraries, http://www.ala.org/ala/professionalresources/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet05.cfm.

And be sure to refer to our own blog post, http://www.amarketingexpert.com/7-secrets-to-getting-into-libraries/.

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Upcoming Episodes:

Kindle & iPad
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Please join us Dec. 14, 4 p.m. Pacific for Top Publishing Trends for 2011, our final show of the year, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2010/12/15/top-publishing-trends-for-2011.

It’s hard to believe, but 2010 is winding down. We’ll take a look at the hot publishing topics and issues of the past year and then look into our crystal ball to forecast what lies ahead. One hint: our projections are sure to include e-books, digital readers and indie authors.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Getting Your Book Into Bookstores with Elaine Wilkes
November 17, 2010by: Paula
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We had another great show titled ‘Getting Your Book Into Bookstores,’ with special guest Elaine Wilkes, who offered timely and useful tips for getting your book into stores – just in time for the holidays!

To kick things off, we consulted Search Engine Marketing Expert Susan Gilbert for a tip.

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Susan discussed the need to resize or edit online photos and images. Programs like Photoshop are difficult for some people to master, but a free site, http://fotoflexer.com/, allows users to upload images there. While it’s similar to Photoshop, fotoflexer is easier to use. You can edit photos from Photobucket, MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and many other sites. Features include animation, scissors, smart resizing, recoloring and more.

For additional resources and tips check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.

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About our guest: Elaine Wilkes, Ph.D., N.C., M.A., LEED is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Nature’s Secret messages: Hidden In Plain Sight, that was awarded a rare star recommendation from the prestigious Publishers Weekly – known as the Bible of the book industry. She has been an interviewed on numerous radio and TV shows such as CNN, Headline News, E! Entertainment, and has been quoted in major media such as Forbes, CNN, Chicago Tribune, and Woman’s World, to name a few. As an actress, she was under an exclusive contract with NBC, and appeared with “A” list actors in numerous TV shows, movies, and in over 75 TV commercials. She’s a motivational speaker who gives dynamic presentations on marketing, health, and well-being. Visit: http://www.ElaineWilkes.com.

It doesn’t matter whether your book is soon to be released or is already released; you don’t want your books sitting in a distributor’s warehouse or in a garage. Did you know there are thousands of stores that sell books? It’s true, it’s not just bookstores but: gift stores, health food stores, farmer’s markets, military bases, hospitals, souvenir stores, specialty stores and much, much more. And 70 percent of books sold are sold in brick and mortar stores.

When Elaine’s book was published by a major publisher she assumed her book would be carried in all the stores. It had even received a coveted starred review from Publishers Weekly. After publication she went to a local bookstore to see her book on the shelves, but the store didn’t have it. In fact, none of the local stores stocked her book. It wasn’t ordered for the stores because six months before a book comes out, the publisher’s sales rep meets with bookstore people – and at that point her book wasn’t finished, the sales rep didn’t know much about it and as a result, no bookstores picked it up.

This shows how important it is, if you have a publisher, to make sure you get to know the sales rep right away. The sales reps have a lot of books to shop so make your book stand out – pitch your book to them and get them fired up to make the sale.

Typically for a bookstore to pick up your book you need to have a distributor (such as Ingram) in place. Bookstores are not the only sales venue for your books, however.

Where can you sell your book?

At the farmers' market
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Think of all the different places for your book depending on its topic: farmer’s markets, Kinko’s, Office Depot, Kmart, beauty salons, hospitals, health food stores, specialty stores, gift shops, Hallmark, natural food stores, Walgreens… What are you waiting for? See if they’ll carry your book!

Ask for the manager in person and start with one store. If you do get into one store, and your book is selling there, go to other store managers and see if they’ll stock your book based on its sales at the first store.

Be proactive; if you’re doing media then let the local stores know about it; authors often lose sales by not letting stores know they’re doing media in the area. People come in looking for the book and it’s not there. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

If you email bookstores to request they stock your book, they can use that information to prequalify you. You should include your book’s ISBN, your contact information, and let them know if you have a distributor and if your book is returnable (it’s easier for stores to order your book if it’s returnable because then they incur no loss for leftover books).

Tell them you’ll do a book signing – sometimes they’ll put your book on a front table to promote the event – and get a lot of additional authors to do a signing with you so you don’t have to carry the burden of the event yourself. By combining efforts with other authors you can get a better turnout, too, with each of you inviting all of your contacts to attend.

If a store takes your book on a trial basis and they sell copies, they’ll re-order, and now you’re in the computer as a book that sells.

Robert Dugoni Book Signing
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Don’t take ‘No’ for an answer

When you get “no,” it means you have to be a little bit more creative: think of all the places you can get your book sold. Also don’t call or ask just once and then quit, follow up, make your case, you can’t give up. Be persistent in a nice way.

The good news is that it’s not too late to get into bookstores or other stores for the holidays – start calling or emailing now!

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Upcoming Episodes – Please join us Nov. 30 for Secrets to Getting Your Book Into Libraries, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2010/12/01/secrets-to-getting-your-book-into-libraries.

In an economically challenged climate guess what starts to soar? Libraries. The library market is strong and getting stronger. If you haven’t made libraries part of your target market you should. And despite all the book buzz online, it’s still nice to get your book onto a library shelf. For most of us, this seems like an exclusive right devoted to an exclusive group of best-selling authors. While some piece of this is true, the reality is that if you have a good book, you can get into the library system. We’ll show you how. Learn more at http://www.amarketingexpert.com/7-secrets-to-getting-into-libraries/.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: This Book Will Make You Money with Special Guest Jim Kukral
November 4, 2010by: Paula
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We had another great show titled This Book Will Make You Money with special guest Jim Kukral, an expert on web marketing.

To kick things off, we consulted Search Engine Marketing Expert Susan Gilbert for a tip.

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Susan discussed one of the drawbacks of the live “group” chat in Facebook. Although it’s an interesting and potentially useful feature, it can have drawbacks. For instance, after Susan was invited to join chat groups her Facebook mailbox was initially overwhelmed with a flood of emails. First, there were the invitations to join group chats, followed by a wave people responding to the invitation and then emails from people who felt they were being spammed and wanted to be removed from the list.

There are video instructions for removing yourself from such groups, and Susan has created a post on her blog that includes an update, a link to a Wired article on the live group chat, and instructions on how to get off the list if you’ve been invited.

For additional resources and tips check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.

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For over 15-years, Jim Kukral has helped small businesses and large companies like FedEx, Sherwin Williams, Ernst & Young and Progressive Auto Insurance understand how to find success on the Web. Jim is the author of the book, “Attention! This Book Will Make You Money,” as well as a professional speaker, blogger and Web business consultant. Find out more by visiting www.JimKukral.com. You can also follow Jim on Twitter http://twitter.com/JimKukral.

This Book Will Make You Money is a tactical book to help businesses and brands learn how to get attention – the book uses case studies to show how it can be done.

When it comes to marketing, Jim says stunts do work – but you have to take it to the second level – and once you get some attention you have to work to maintain it.

Matthew Lesko

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Perhaps one of the best examples of stunt marketing is Matthew Lesko, the author of reference books who is also known as “the question mark guy” thanks to his trademark suit embellished with the punctuation mark. If you’re not doing something memorable you’re in the middle (and forgettable), Jim says.

Consistency is key

Marketing also requires a commitment and consistency – you have to keep marketing until you get a lead, a sales or publicity, he says.

Not everyone is born a marketer, but what Jim is seeing now is a shift where everyone realizes they have to learn to be a marketer for their product, their service, their book – everyone has to be a marketer. “Authors, your book and your brand is a business, and the biggest mistake you make is not to treat it as a business and to build your brand,” he says.

Sometimes the best marketing move is to simply make a decision and stick with it. Ego can make marketers lose money, says Jim; for instance, if you worry too much about what others think.

Cover of
Cover of Skinny Bitch

A good publishing example involves the book Skinny Bitch. Some people felt that the title was too negative and might turn people off, but the authors weren’t afraid to go with it. The book became a bestseller, and co-authors Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin have appeared on a variety of TV shows and been interviewed by numerous publications.

It’s OK to fail

When authors become marketers they have to realize that their efforts will take time. They can’t do something once and write it off, they have to be willing to learn, Jim says.

Marketers have to learn how to fail, and if they fail, they must try again.

What makes marketing work? Anything that creates an emotional incentive. Whether it’s negativity or humor, if you can create emotion you can get a reaction: inspire, scare, amuse, and they will buy.

Make people feel something, an emotion: make them laugh, cry, get angry. Then get them on your email list or to attend an event, and then you will find that buyers will come and react. “You want buyers, customers may or may not buy. Buyers buy – so create a notion and the buyers will come,” he says.

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Upcoming Episodes – Please join us Nov. 16 for Getting Your Book into Bookstores, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2010/11/17/getting-your-book-into-bookstores.

With the holidays around the corner, learn the insider’s tips to getting your book on the shelves with special guest Elaine Wilkes.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Blogging Ideas the Whole Year Through
October 21, 2010by: Paula
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We had another great show titled “Blogging Ideas the Whole Year Through,” with special guest author and book marketer Tony Eldridge that was chock full of ideas to keep bloggers going all year long.

To kick things off, we consulted Search Engine Marketing Expert Susan Gilbert for a tip.

Susan offered an inspirational story with a moral for all authors: never give up; getting your book “out there” may take time, but it will happen.

Blogging is like planting seeds; authors have a hard time sometimes coming up with ideas for their blog, they will do 1 or 2 posts and then say: nothing is happening; there aren’t a lot of subscribers, etc. But blogging is a process, it takes time and you have to keep going.

Susan said when she was self-publishing her book The Land of I Can, she really worked hard to promote the book. For two years she went to bookstores, did speaking engagements, fundraisers, Amazon promotions… she pounded the pavement and got some orders, but sales were not happening as fast as she thought they would.

In Susan’s case, the book she wrote was a 52-page illustrated gift book which she thought women would buy for themselves and to give to other women. She made sure it was available in Hallmark and other gift stores. And, after two years, that went into effect when a woman who oversaw support services for the principals of the San Diego unified school district received a copy of The Land of I Can. The San Diego unified district was about to undergo a lot of change and this woman bought 250 copies to give as a gift to each principal. In turn, the principals gave the book to teachers, who started using them in character development courses.

Seed Trays: Spinach, Squash, Onion, Courgette,...
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Now, even though it’s 10 years later, every September Susan gets large orders from schools or booksellers on behalf of school districts using the book. Publishing and promoting the book planted the seeds, and in this case it just happened that those seeds were picked up somewhere other than where Susan originally imagined. And they took it and planted it elsewhere. It’s the same idea when you start blogging – keep in mind you’re planting seeds… it takes time but it will bear fruit.

For additional resources and tips check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.

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Our guest Tony Eldridge is the author of the award winning action/adventure novel, The Samson Effect, which Clive Cussler calls a “first rate thriller brimming with intrigue and adventure.” He is also the creator of Marketing Tips for Authors, http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/, a site that publishes free tips and videos to help authors learn marketing techniques for their books. You can read the serial release of The Samson Effect at http://samsoneffect.marketingtipsforauthors.com/.

Some blogging stats:

· There are now 70 million blogs

· Approximately 120,000 are started each day or 1.4 new blogs every second

· Bloggers post an average of 17 posts per second (or 1.5 million posts per day)

When Tony started Marketing Tips for Authors, he wanted to have a blog to build his platform and to be a tool for selling his book. Before he went live with the blog Tony sat down and thought about what to talk about, not just short term, but 1-2 years down the road. Tony has a marketing background so it was natural to tap into that experience when he began the blog. The point of Marketing Tips for Authors was to share experiences and ideas, and also gather resources from other authors to share with his readers.

However, Tony notes we all hit the wall with maintaining a blog at some point; while a book has a last chapter, a blog is a never-ending project and that can be a psychological block for many.

So, where can bloggers find ideas and inspiration?

* Breaking News: blog on current events in your industry.

* Google Alerts: set Google alerts for the topics of your choice and see what others say on your topic.

* Books, Conferences, Seminars: share your experience with your readers.

* Listen To Your Readers: use reader comments, or reader emails as fodder for blog posts.

* Interviews: interview an expert in your field. Experts generally love to do interviews and they will share the interview with their followers, which expands your base, too.

* Carnivals: these are posts that list links to other posts on a subject – carnival posts make it easy to keep a blog going, and you can send people to links of useful information you’ve found online. They’re easy posts to write, consisting of a sentence/link, so it’s a nice and easy feature to do regularly.

* Make Lists: people love to scan lists; “6 ways to;” “8 steps for better;” etc. – Tony says whenever he speaks or writes on subject, uses a 1., 2., 3. format … for list ideas on his blog he uses his own experiences, researches what other bloggers do, Googles topics and filters through the best ideas.

* Case Studies: break down the merits of an event & highlight the pros/cons

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Complain/Praise: whether it’s Google, Twitter, Firefox, you can easily find material to comment on.

* Define buzz words: web 2.0, geotargeting, or a niche, there’s plenty to choose from.

* Schedule/write your blogs in advance: most blog platforms let you schedule posts.

* Read up on your subject in your area of expertise and blog on it.

* Take a break: use guest bloggers, run ‘best of’ posts, schedule a series – or take a break and let people know are on vacation if want to recharge.

How often should you blog?

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Reexamine your post’s frequency: once a week is a good start – Tony says it’s more important to blog on a regular basis than push yourself to blog a specific number of times/week. If you blog regularly then people know when to look for your new posts. Start out couple days a week to get a rhythm going and then work up to additional days if you want.

Set posting categories: Tony uses “guest bloggers,” “book reviews,” “advice posts,” etc. He manages to blog several times a week by running a carnival one day a week, a guest blog another day, followed by how-to articles on other days and sometimes reviews. When using that kind of format for the week, Tony doesn’t feel he has the pressure of writing five original blog posts every week.

Find Guest Bloggers: to keep the continuity of your blog going – target potential guest bloggers by visiting blogs you find interesting and contact the blogger and ask if they want to share marketing success/tips with readers. Send invitations out to writers’ groups, invite your blog commenters to write a guest post; Tony says these people have a lot to share with others and are engaged.

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Additional blogging ideas

* The Author Marketing Experts blog has blogging ideas for each month: http://fb.me/DqZAid4R – for instance, October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, Children’s Magazine Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Gay & Lesbian History Month, National Book Month, etc. You can piggyback onto these events all year long.

* Fiction ideas: blog in character, partner with other authors so you can spread the responsibility, talk about writing (inspiration, goals, tips etc.), publishing options (self published? ebooks?).

* Other ideas: write good (catchy) headlines, do giveaways, add your blog url to your email signature line, comment on other blogs, use RSS so people can subscribe to your blog.

A blog is a very unique marketing medium that will live on – you’ll get residual traffic, you can Tweet on your blog posts and continue to build traffic that way, and once your posts are indexed in Google your blog will continue to spread online.

Special offer: 50% off of Tony Eldridge’s video e-book, “Conducting Effective Twitter Contests,” http://bit.ly/b1mqQz.

Links for additional inspiration and ideas

October Fire! / Feu d'octobre!
Image by Denis Collette…!!! via Flickr

http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/2009/05/6-ways-to-cure-blogger-writers-block.html

http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/2010/10/marketing-tips-around-net-october-15th.html

http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/2010/10/10-ways-to-find-material-to-blog-about.html

http://www.amarketingexpert.com/10-simple-ways-to-become-a-powerhouse-blogger/

http://www.amarketingexpert.com/top-10-secrets-of-a-super-blogger/

http://www.amarketingexpert.com/seven-powerful-ways-to-find-new-readers-for-your-blog/

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Upcoming Episodes – Please join us Nov. 2 for This Book Will Make You Money with Jim Kukral

For over 15-years, Jim Kukral has helped small businesses and large companies like FedEx, Sherwin Williams, Ernst & Young and Progressive Auto Insurance understand how find success on the Web. Jim is the author of the book, Attention! This Book Will Make You Money, as well as a professional speaker, blogger and Web business consultant. Find out more by visiting www.JimKukral.com, and his blog, http://www.jimkukral.com/category/blog/. You can also follow Jim on Twitter http://twitter.com/JimKukral.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Pursue Your Publishing Dreams
September 9, 2010by: Paula
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We had another great show titled “Pursue Your Publishing Dreams,” with author and publisher Marc Allen.

Google Docs

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To kick things off, we consulted Search Engine Marketing Expert Susan Gilbert for a tip. Although Google docs have been around for a while now, Susan said there may be people who don’t realize what a useful set of tools these are. They are available for free. All you need is a Gmail account and then you have access to Google docs, which allow users in different locations to share their work. (Once you have Gmail you’ll see the documents label in the top left corner of your Gmail page). You can create documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and drawings. You can invite other Gmail users to share the documents with you and decide if each user can edit, revise or update those documents.

Google docs also offers all kinds of templates – for budgeting, tracking schedules, invoices and much more – there’s a lot of functionality.

Susan says anyone in business world, which includes authors, would benefit from Google docs.

For additional resources and tips check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.

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About our guest: Publisher Marc Allen believes in encouraging people to go for their dreams, and daring to do what they love – and then showing them how they can get wonderfully rewarded for it. Publishing for him has always been a vehicle to realize his greatest dreams. Books have completely changed his life, and can change the world. He is an internationally renowned author and president and publisher of New World Library, which he co-founded (with Shakti Gawain) in 1977. He has guided the company from a small start-up with no capital to its current position as one of the leading independent publishers in the country. His latest book is The Greatest Secret of All. It may be Marc’s most important book, because it gives us not only one of the clearest explanations of the “secret” of creating what you want in life, but also the far greater secrets of a life well-lived, a life of happiness, inner peace, ease, and fulfillment, where you contribute to making the world a better place for all. Learn more at http://www.newworldlibrary.com/ and http://www.marcallen.com/.

By the time Marc turned 30 he was ready to get serious about his life. The previous year, an incredible opportunity dropped into his lap and provided the template for his future. Originally asked to help at a seminar along with Shakti Gawain, Marc had to fill in when the speaker had a breakdown. Things went so well the pair was invited to do another seminar, and that launched their careers.

They put together a book and self published – although Marc is quick to say self publishers shouldn’t call themselves self-published because they do everything any publisher does – they are really independent publishers.

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26.8.1919-5.9.1997)...

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As Marc and Shakti started writing and publishing, everything grew from there, the books were getting distribution. Their shoestring operation really took off when one of their first books, Shakti’s Creative Visualization became a word of mouth phenomenon that put them on the map. Today, Creative Visualization has sold more than 3 million copies and has been translated into more than 30 foreign editions.

Now New World Library has a large roster of bestselling authors, including Joseph Campbell, Eckhart Tolle, Jennifer Louden, Brother Wayne Teasdale, Riane Eisler, Echo Bodine, Mother Teresa, Richard Carlson, Alan Watts, Kent Nerburn, Christina Baldwin, Brad Warner, Daphne Rose Kingma, and, of course, Shakti and Marc.

Although the publishing world has been in turmoil, and some industry insiders don’t see a bright future, Marc disagrees. There are more opportunities now than ever, he says, because it’s never been cheaper or easier to self publish.

Digital books are only increasing opportunities for authors. Marc predicts that half of their income will eventually derive from digital books. All of their titles are on Kindle and most are already on the iPad. There are about 400 books in their catalog and they publish about 40 books a year. Now they can keep everything in print thanks to the small print runs that are available now, and they can also have e-book versions too, so that their books are always available in some form.

Behold the iPad in All Its Glory

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Publishers now have so many ways to market and sell their books, they can have a multi-pronged strategy. Speaking, seminars, tele-seminars, social media – there are a lot of methods available to reach the public.

For instance, New World Library is now doing audio courses to deliver online – there’s no manufacturing involved and it’s a great way to reach their audience.

Although there is a lot of competition for authors, Marc says authors shouldn’t worry about it. With 320 million people in the US and over 6 billion in the world, it’s possible to find some segment that will resonate with what you say.

“You have to have a unique take on it, actually write it and create it and get it out there,” he says.

Even with all the changes to the corporate publishing model, Marc says there are still selling opportunities because people want traditional books. It’s all in the management. Similarly, he believes chain stores should be doing great but they have been badly managed; for example, Borders got into trouble after getting into expensive store leases.

The Strand Book Store, Manhattan.
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Marc does think the need for bookstores will continue. “I think print books will be treasured for hundreds of years more,” he says.

One of best parts of being a publisher is the feedback. Marc says he gets a lot of letters, such as the one from a violent offender, imprisoned for his crimes, who got a copy of As You Think by James Allen while in prison. He wrote to Marc and said the book changed his life; now he’s a model prisoner who teaches courses based on the book.

It all boils down to belief: “We can do every technique in the world, but if your beliefs underneath are that you don’t have what it takes to succeed, you won’t,” he says.

Marc will appear on a panel at the 21 Century Book Marketing event Sept. 25 in San Diego – where he’ll discuss marketing in the 21st century. You can learn more at http://mixiv.com/vp/60394/19173.

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Upcoming Episodes – Please join us Sept. 21 for How to Make Money on Twitter (No, Really)

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For many of us, Twitter is a good news/bad news social networking site. The good news is it’s super popular and it seems like everyone is using it. The bad news is that for the newbie Twitter person (and even if you’ve been on this site for a while) it can be confusing to know what is working, what isn’t and what’s actually making a difference. After almost two years on Twitter, we’ve learned a lot of lessons – both in using Twitter to maximize your marketing goals as well as learning how to turn your Twitter tribe into engaged Twitter buyers. Now we’ll show you how to monetize Twitter and maximize it towards your Twitter efforts. Learn more at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-maximize-the-value_b_477641.html.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-up: Amp Up Your Book Promotion with Jo-Anne Vandermeulen
August 26, 2010by: Paula
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We had a lively and informative show this week full of marketing ideas for authors that we hope you’ll find useful!

Dreaming of more civilized times
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First, Search Engine Marketing expert Susan Gilbert discussed a free new social site: BearHug, http://bearhugapp.com/welcome.

BearHug offers three main features:

* pulse for messages – you can send updates through the web, Twitter, email, RSS, SMS

* answers – your community can ask you questions, which you and other BearHug members can answer

* first rate ratings and reviews allows members to receive and share feedback, opinions and results

There are some great possibilities here, and Susan said she’d have an update once she had more time to see how all the features work. Check it out, it’s free!

For additional resources and tips, check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.

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About our guest: Jo-Anne Vandermeulen hosts a weekly live Blog Talk Radio show, “Authors Articulating,” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prempromotions, where she shares marketing and promotional tips for writers. Learn about the importance of online marketing, as well as tips and insights into top social media networks such as Facebook, Amazon Connect, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads and more! A published author, Jo-Anne’s first book, a women’s fiction (suspense/romance) called Conquer All Obstacles was released in November 2009. Her latest book, a non-fiction resource titled Premium Promotional Tips for Writers, was released in December 2009. She recently created a new online business where she supports and markets her fellow writers: Premium Promotional Services, http://www.premiumpromotions.biz. She offers free marketing tips to authors at http://joconquerobstacles.com.

Jo-Anne knew she needed to build an author platform for herself, and was determined to learn how. She began to read and seek information on how to market herself and her book. She discovered a lot of great resources online and began to write about them on her own blog, figuring that she could help others as she was learning. Ultimately, Jo-Anne branched out from blogging about marketing tips to also offering marketing services for authors.

Helpful Shortcuts for Social Media

TweetDeck
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All authors have to market themselves, she says, but there are so many options available that it can be overwhelming to develop a strategy. And no one can be online 24/7. Fortunately, there are shortcuts available that can syndicate your content to various social media sites. That way, you only post material to one site, and that content will automatically post to the other sites. TweetDeck, http://www.tweetdeck.com/ for one, allows you to syndicate material to Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and LinkedIn; click once and your content appears on all of those sites.

Jo-Anne notes that you want to make sure there isn’t too much repetition of your message online, because then you seem like a spammer. The goal is to be approachable and interactive with your audience. This applies particularly if you use more than one syndication site, like Ping http://ping.fm/ – you may want to send different messages through this site to set it apart from the messages you post to TweetDeck or another syndication site.

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Twaitter, http://www.twaitter.com/, allows you to schedule tweets to run at given times; SocialOomph https://www.socialoomph.com/ is similar. This way you can schedule several day’s worth (or more) Tweets and free up your time for other things.

Getting Started on Platform-building

Jo-Anne recommends http://www.booktour.com/ to begin. The site is free, and once you register you can upload material. It’s like having a one-page resume for yourself, and everything is conveniently in one spot, no searching through computer files and folders.

Every social media profile should have a link back to your website – be proactive! Many authors forget simple steps like this, but it’s important to make it as easy as possible for people to find you – and contact you – online. Authors should also not be afraid to get online and try the sites, make mistakes and learn from them.

The top three social networking sites online are currently Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Before LinkedIn, YouTube held the #3 spot, it just goes to show that social media is constantly changing and evolving. Authors should have profiles on the major sites and use sites with syndication (such as TweetDeck, Ping and SocialOomph) to keep their material updated on those sites. Authors can’t put all their eggs in one basket – have accounts on various sites, and some help via syndication, to ensure that the sites are updated frequently.

Good Reads
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Another important site for authors is Goodreads, http://www.goodreads.com/, which features a mix of authors and readers. Goodreads is simple to navigate and has an author program designed to help authors promote their books: http://www.goodreads.com/author/program.

Facebook is a must but tougher to navigate, Jo-Anne notes.

The Importance of Blogging

In addition, authors should create their own blogs. There are a number of free platforms, including WordPress http://wordpress.com/ and Blogger http://www.blogger.com/home. A website is mostly stationary, but a blog is a place where there’s interaction, and it’s a place where readers and fans can see you and your books in a more personal setting. Your readers are looking for a more intimate relationship with you, and you can build fans if you have your own site and contact place.

Susan Gilbert notes that WordPress is a platform and can be deployed on its own account with its own domain name to create a website (as Author Marketing Experts did with their revamped site, http://www.amarketingexpert.com/).

WordPress Administration
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Susan adds that WordPress is search engine friendly so you can never go wrong developing a website using a WP platform – and you can import it when you have a custom site done.

Jo-Anne says authors should make sure their book/product is selling high up on their websites (appearing “above the fold,” so to speak) and to make their buy buttons very clear – it’s a call to action.

Authors should also include a photo of themselves on their site. Even if your book is not published, most readers will be interested in you before your book is out, you are important and need an author platform.

For blogging topics, think of an area of expertise, your niche – something that when you write about it you can’t stop because it comes naturally. Make sure you give valuable content to your readers, something they want. When targeting your audience, think about who will be purchasing your books, and figure out how to find them and attract them.

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Upcoming Episodes – Please join us Sept. 7 for Pursue Your Publishing Dreams with Marc Allen

Publisher Marc Allen believes in encouraging people to go for their dreams, and daring to do what they love – and then showing them how they can get wonderfully rewarded for it. Publishing for him has always been a vehicle to realize his greatest dreams. Books have completely changed his life, and can change the world. Join us to learn what Marc has to share! About our guest: Marc Allen is an internationally renowned author and president and publisher of New World Library, which he co-founded (with Shakti Gawain) in 1977. He has guided the company from a small start-up with no capital to its current position as one of the leading independent publishers in the country. His latest book is The Greatest Secret of All. It may be Marc’s most important book, because it gives us not only one of the clearest explanations of the “secret” of creating what you want in life, but also the far greater secrets of a life well-lived, a life of happiness, inner peace, ease, and fulfillment, where you contribute to making the world a better place for all. Learn more at http://www.newworldlibrary.com/ and http://www.marcallen.com/.

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Publishing Insiders wrap-up: A Self-Publishing Success Story
August 12, 2010by: Paula
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We had an inspirational show with self-published author Randy Kearse, who has managed to sell 14,000 copies of his books – with many of those sales made on the New York City subway. Blessed with a lot of drive and a true entrepreneurial spirit, Randy attributes his success to doing whatever he can, whenever he can, to tell people about his books.

Map of the New York Subway
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The show kicked off with a segment on what to look for in a web host, with SEO expert Susan Gilbert.

It’s important to select a good hosting company as not all are created equal, she says.

Two of the most important things to consider are: your up time – it has to be 99%, and not many hosts have that. In addition, you need a good 24-hour 800 number to call. Susan says you need to have a phone number, and if your host doesn’t have a number, don’t use them.

Don’t go with free. If you can’t afford $150 a year for web hosting, don’t even bother, she adds.

And be careful, even with big names – Go Daddy, for instance, has security issues.

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For the full scoop on what to look for in a web host, including some recommendations, visit Susan’s blog:

http://www.susangilbert.com/how-to-select-a-good-hosting-company-not-all-hosts-are-created-equal/.

For additional resources and tips check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.

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About our guest: Once deemed a menace to society by a judge who sentenced him to 15 years in 1992, Randy Kearse, author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur, served 13 years, 6 months and 2 days in federal prison. He returned to society with a new perspective, a fresh focus, and strong determination to succeed. Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. Randy grew up in the Farragut housing projects. He provides people with a formula to turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity. He is the author of Street Talk: Da Official Guide to Hip-Hop & Urban Slanguage (first self-published then picked up by Barricade Books Inc. for Street Talk; Changin’ Your Game Plan: How to use incarceration as a stepping stone for SUCCESS; The Writing Game: How to Print, Publish, Profit in the Book Industry; co-wrote From Incarceration 2 Incorporation with best selling author J.M. Benjamin; and recently released The Street Survival Guide for the young Black and Latino Male. Learn more at http://www.randykearse.com/ and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/nyregion/10books.html.

Randy said that selling his books on the New York City subway happened by chance. He used to set up a table on the street in shopping areas, a tactic he used for about a year until a van accident made it difficult for him and his books to get around the city.

One day he put some books in a bag, jumped on a train, and started talking up his books with subway riders. People were very receptive, and Randy eventually put together a presentation – and the rest is history.

He doesn’t go out every day on the subway to make book sales because it’s not realistic to sell every day at the same level of energy.

While subway riders seem to comprise a tough crowd, he said people have been very supportive. For one, they see in Randy an example of someone who has a passion to do something adventurous, and it excites them.

The book he sells on the subway, Changin’ Your Game Plan: How to use incarceration as a stepping stone for SUCCESS is a nonfiction motivational piece that covers his life journey of overcoming mistakes and adversity. Randy finds his story resonates with a lot of people who have overcome something, and it also appeals to people who love an underdog story.

And Randy has had an amazing comeback – he spent 13 years, 6 months, and 2 days in prison and has since turned his life completely around.

Now he wants to be known for some good in life, not just bad. “Nobody is born bad, we learn to be bad, we make decisions/choices that put us in a bad direction, so we need to go back to that period where we had dreams and choices,” he says.

Randy started writing Street Talk: Da Official Guide to Hip-Hop & Urban Slanguage while incarcerated. He admits prison is a tough place to get creative energy going, and people were saying he’d never sell the book. He never stopped believing, though.

Motivation is not a problem because he’s seen so many lives wasted, destroyed or squandered, and he doesn’t want anyone else to go through what he’s been through.

“It’s about choices, and it’s the choices we make that determine the life we’re going to live,” he says. We all have a certain strength in us, it’s a matter of bringing it out.

Selling books to the public on the street, and later the subway, was not easy at first. Randy said he felt shy about approaching people. Yet when he was living on the street and doing wrong, he wasn’t afraid then. He asked himself: “Why be afraid now, when I’m doing right? That’s how I go forth in my life now,” he says.

What’s surprised him the most on this journey to becoming a successful author is how well people receive him. “A lot of times we have an idea of what a person who has been in prison is like,” he observes, but when Randy speaks to people, he says they tell him they never would have known he’d been in prison if he hadn’t told them. People have not placed a scarlet letter on him, Randy says.

Randy admits it’s still an amazing feeling when someone walks up and says, “I read your book, or it’s changed my son’s life.” He thinks, “You’re talking to me? I’m not sure I will ever get used to that. I never guessed Changin’ the Game Plan would have such an impact, I hoped to provoke some people to change – that they would read the book and say, if this guy can change, I can change, too.”

Although Randy’s stature is growing, he says, “I’m an ordinary guy, you can walk up and talk to me. I don’t think I’m better than anybody just because I’ve written a book.” He went to a book expo with 100 writers, and 99 authors were sitting down waiting for someone to come up to them. That’s not how Randy operates. “I don’t sit down at a book signing. I’m going to meet you and greet you on the same level, eye to eye, I want to shake your hand… people can miss something if they are waiting for others to take action,” he says.

Meanwhile, he keeps on selling; everywhere he goes has books with him. Randy has sold books at Burger King, McDonald’s… and he’s always ready to sell – “anything I can possibly do I’m out there selling books.” He attends conferences, speaks at all kinds of events and has shared his message on boat rides, at barbecues, in schools, at barber shops – he’s open to any and all ideas. You can see Randy in action on this YouTube video.

The most unique place Randy has sold a book is in a bookstore. He walked into a bookstore, started up a conversation with a patron and asked them if they ever read this book (showing them a copy of his book). They asked who wrote it, Randy said he did – and the patron bought it.

It’s that kind of drive that makes a difference. As self-published authors, “we have to grind, be creative. If I don’t sell books, I don’t eat,” he says.

Description: F Train, Manhattan-bound, 17 May ...
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Next up, Randy will start a newspaper in the fall about overcoming adversity, starting businesses, things to inspire people that he hopes to turn into a radio show or local TV access show. “I want to inspire people to live out their dreams,” he says, and these new vehicles will allow him to market his books for free.

In addition, Randy will appear on a book marketing panel at the Self Publishing Expo Oct. 2, 2010 at the Sheraton New York, http://www.selfpubbookexpo.com/.

Randy’s mother is proud of his journey, he says. “That is more priceless than anything I’ve done, just to see the smile on her face.”

His advice to self published authors is simple and straightforward: “Just go get ‘em. Don’t be afraid to approach people about your books, promote them. The worst thing people can do is to say, no, I’m not interested. Give out flyers, beat the street.”

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Upcoming Episodes

Please join us August 24 for our next show, Amp Up Your Online Book Promotion with Jo-Anne Vandermeulen http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2010/08/24/amp-up-your-online-book-promtion-with-jo-anne-vand. Jo-Anne hosts a weekly live Blog Talk Radio show, “Authors Articulating,” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/prempromotions, where she shares marketing and promotional tips for writers. Learn about the importance of online marketing, as well as tips and insights into top social media networks such as Facebook, Amazon Connect, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads and more! A published author, Jo-Anne’s first book, a women’s fiction (suspense/romance) called “Conquer All Obstacles” was released in November 2009. Her latest book, a non-fiction resource titled Premium Promotional Tips for Writers, was released in December 2009. She recently created a new online business where she supports and markets her fellow writers: Premium Promotional Services, http://www.premiumpromotions.biz.

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Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: From Blog to Book
July 29, 2010by: Paula
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We had a great show with a lot of tips and insights, From Blog to Book, with guest Pamela Redmond Satran, who turned her blog, How Not to Act Old, into a book that was published by HarperCollins in August 2009.

Leading into the interview, SEO expert Susan Gilbert noted that success is in the mind of the beholder – and you can measure success of a website or blog in different ways. However, everyone should have long- and short-term goals in mind when they set out.

Goals can include quantifying the number of site visitors, newsletter sign-ups, blog subscribers, comments following each post or retweets on Twitter. The value you assign these items varies based on why you’re doing this in the first place.

“If you have it in mind to build a blog because you’re creating content for a book, then think big in terms of structure,” Gilbert says. Start with a strong back end system for your site that can handle the growth.

How will you know it’s a success? The systems you put in place to measure this from day one will let you know if you’re moving in the right direction. If you’re getting sign-ups, comments, visitors … you’ll have evidence that you’re doing something right.

For additional resources and tips, check Susan Gilbert’s website, www.susangilbert.com.

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About our guest: Pamela Redmond Satran, http://pamelaredmondsatran.com, is the author of the NY Times bestselling humor book How Not To Act Old, based on her blog (http://hownottoactold.com) of the same name, and of five novels, including Younger and The Man I Should Have Married, and the baby name books Cool Names for Babies and The Baby Name Bible, which became the foundation of http://nameberry.com.  She also writes a column for Glamour and also writes frequently for The Daily Beast and The Huffington Post. Learn more about her blog to book experience at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pamela-redmond-satran/how-to-turn-your-blog-int_b_643477.html.

Pamela said she started her blog, How Not to Act Old, with the intention of getting published. When she first had the idea, Pamela thought it would make a quick, fun magazine article, but she couldn’t find anyone interested in the piece. Meanwhile, she had to learn how to blog that summer as her baby naming site, nameberry.com, was going live. She figured she would try blogging and see how it went.

She started How Not to Act Old in June 2008, and she says while evidence of increasing site traffic, visitors, etc. is important, another important factor to consider when blogging is sustainability. Is the blog something you can keep going for a couple of years? You need time to build an audience, sell a book, drum up interest…. you’re basically in it for the long haul.

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There is also no guarantee that people who read the blog will buy the book, she says; they may assume they’ve read it all on the blog. Or, if the blog is free online, why pay $15 or $20 for more for a book?

Things to consider when deciding if your blog is worthy of a book: you’ll need a lot of new material, which can take a year or so to build up. “Look at the issue from 30,000 feet – the big picture: probably the best chance of success is if you go out the door with a sharp idea that you know hasn’t been overdone online or in books, and with a url that builds your brand (don’t have different urls for your blog, Facebook page, Twitter, etc.).” In addition, writing, tone and graphics used in print can make it difficult to translate from books to the web, which is a very visual medium. Yet all kinds of elements should be part of your blog package, including video and music – even if those are not part of the book, she says.

Pamela says she knew How Not to Act Old was a fresh idea because no one was writing to new generation of middle-aged people – who swore they would never be middle aged or act old. She sent blog posts around and got a lot of positive reaction from friends and family, who were sending the pieces to other people (of course your friends and mom will love what you write, she says, but if your friends’ friends make it viral, that’s one way to know you’ve tapped into something).

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Bloggers entertaining the idea of getting a book deal should pay attention to industry news. Publisher’s Lunch, Publisher’s Marketplace and Publisher’s Weekly are online so you can keep up with book deals: who is getting them, and what kind of books. You can Google popular blogs and blog topics, or check sites like Technorati.com to see what has people buzzing, or if your topic is overdone.

Also, if you’re serious, buy the web domain name that is right for your book and blog. For tracking statistics such as site visitors, Google analytics is a free program that offers a lot of data.

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Pamela used a WordPress blog and got her domain name – How Not to Act Old – and she was very happy with it. She used the built-in WordPress measurement tools to learn where traffic was coming from, when her blog was getting spikes in visitors and other details.

Interestingly enough, when Pamela was meeting with publishers about turning her blog into a book, nobody asked her about her blog traffic. “I was surprised. I think publishers have had to get a lot more sophisticated very quickly – two years ago nobody asked me how many unique visitors … and it’s harder now to get the numbers in traffic that will impress a publisher,” she says.

In this tougher market, she says you should use blog and traffic statistics to make a great presentation to a publisher, and use those stats to show growth and provide evidence that your blog will continue to grow.

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With digital books so popular right now, writers should probably think “blog to e-book and self publish,” Pamela adds, because it’s so much easier and much more respectable to self-publish now. “If you build an audience for your blog and have something fresh to say in a book, in some ways then why do you need a publisher? Sell your book to your audience directly.” Plus, if you sell a lot of e-books, traditional publishers will take notice.

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Upcoming Episodes

Please join us August 10 for our next show, A Self Publishing Success Story, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2010/08/10/a-self-publishing-success-story.

Authors can and should look beyond the bookstore for their book sales, and Randy Kearse has found a winning formula selling his books on the New York City subway. Over the past three years, Randy has sold about 14,000 copies of his books at $10 apiece, offering his message of hope, redemption and success. Randy will share his story and his strategies for his successful subway sales.

About our guest: Once deemed a menace to society by a judge who sentenced him to 15 years in 1992, Randy Kearse, author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur, served 13 years, 6 months and 2 days in federal prison. He returned to society with a new perspective, a fresh focus, and strong determination to succeed. Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y. Randy grew up in the Farragut housing projects. He provides people with a formula to turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity.

Randy is the author of Street Talk: Da Official Guide to Hip-Hop & Urban Slanguage (first self-published then picked up by Barricade Books Inc. for Street Talk); Changin’ Your Game Plan: How to use incarceration as a stepping stone for SUCCESS; The Writing Game: How to Print, Publish, Profit in the Book Industry; co-wrote From Incarceration 2 Incorporation with best selling author J.M. Benjamin; and recently released The Street Survival Guide for the Young Black and Latino Male. Learn more at http://www.randykearse.com/ and http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/10/nyregion/10books.html.

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