The Book Marketing Blogby Penny Sansevieri
February 23, 2011
We had a great show that examined the ebook phenomenon and what that means for authors. In a word: opportunity!
About our guests:
Karen McQuestion’s essays have appeared in Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Christian Science Monitor and several anthologies. She is the author of six books self-published on Amazon’s Kindle, one of which, the novel, A Scattered Life, caught the attention of an L.A. based production company and became the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for film. Five of her previously self-published books will now be published by AmazonEncore. McQuestion lives with her family in Hartland, Wisconsin. Learn more at http://www.karenmcquestion.com/.
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, 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/.
To illustrate the phenomenal growth of ebooks, in January 2011, indie publisher Sourcebooks announced that 35% of its book sales that month were ebooks.
Jumping into Ebooks
Ebooks constitute an enormous market, much more so than anyone anticipated. When ebooks first arrived on the scene no one really knew what to make of them. Were they a fad? Karen and Tony discuss why and when they decided to take the plunge…
Karen said she had been writing novels no one wanted to publish. This went on for years; she even had agents twice and got some great feedback and near misses, but she never got what she really wanted: a publishing deal. In 2009, Karen heard about Boyd Morrison, an author on a similar path, whose print books had not sold. He put his books on Kindle, sold 7,500 copies in less than three months, and got a book deal with Touchstone. http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/boyd-morrison-kindle-author-lands-major-book-deal_b11943. Karen decided to give it a try.
Tony turned to ebooks a little later. He had known about ebooks for a long time, and decided to dip a toe into ebooks in December, when he had his first two books published on Kindle.
Choosing an Ebook Platform
In July 2009, there was no iPad, readers couldn’t get ebooks on any phones, but Karen knew about the Kindle and Nook. There was so much information about Kindle that Karen decided to use that format as an experiment. Her hopes were high, but her expectations were low.
She uploaded two books toward the end of the month, and with 10 days left made $30. Karen joked with her husband that if she kept putting her books on Kindle they could go out to lunch once a month. By month two on Kindle, Karen’s books made $300 – when there hadn’t been any interest in them previously. Her husband asked her how many more books she had, and one by one Karen uploaded all of her books, focusing on Kindle because that’s where the majority of ebook sales were.
Tony went with Nook and Kindle. He notes that ebooks make sense for the frugal author. All of the tools for formatting and uploading are available for authors at no cost. There is a learning curve, but the information (on formatting and other issues) is out there. Tony got his two books out pretty quickly – and now he’s looking at his unpublished books. There’s one book he wrote approximately six years ago that he will now publish strictly as an ebook. The investment in ebooks is so low that Tony makes three times more royalties with ebooks compared to print. He considers ebook publishing an amazing path for authors.
Marketing Your Ebook
Once your ebook is uploaded, how can people find it? There are well over 800,000 titles in the Kindle store, for instance. Karen says an author can do some of the marketing work before the ebook is available for purchase. Do this by designating keywords and categories at Amazon. Authors get 20 keywords, although many gloss over this step. However, Karen says readers find your book through these tags. In her case, Karen used keywords such as “romantic comedy,” “chick lit,” etc. and filled in all 20 keywords in all five categories. She also priced her books very low, because she figured no one knew about her or her books and they would be willing to take a chance on an author if the books weren’t expensive. Finally, Karen relied upon Amazon’s sample feature, which allows readers to download a free sample of a book. If readers like your sample they will very often purchase the book.
Karen also used Kindleboards.com, a forum for Kindle lovers, and the Amazon site itself to get the word out about her books. She did not blatantly push her book, but became part of the communities, and that way the members got to know who she was and about her books.
Sales of Karen’s books began to snowball as people bought ebook devices, and word of mouth kept the sales going. In May 2010, her ebook success story was mentioned in a Wall Street Journal article.
Interestingly, Karen markets less now, because each book builds on her previous books. If readers like one book by an author, and all the books are priced reasonably, then they buy the other books.
Tony is planning a blog tour, building buzz with some helpers, offering excerpts for free and doing a newsletter blitz. Ebooks allow authors to do a lot more with their marketing a lot sooner. And Tony is thrilled about the new Kindle feature that allows users to loan their books to others. He will use this feature for his ebooks as it has the potential of expanding name recognition in a big way. You’re not missing out on sales by loaning ebooks, but finding new readers, he says.
The Surprising Elements of Ebooks
Tony says the economics of ebooks surprised him more than anything else. When authors go the ebook route and do the work themselves, their initial investment is low and the profits come quickly. And now, with mobile technology, not just Kindle and other ebook readers but smartphones too, it’s easy to read and carry thousands of books everywhere. This is going to become the norm for the future for authors and readers, he says.
From the standpoint of being a writer, Karen says she’s been most surprised by the opportunities ebooks have brought. She once wrote a “quiet” novel, a character-based, humorous and touching book that did not have a great marketing hook, put it on Kindle and within a short period of time sold a lot of copies. Then an LA film producer contacted Karen for the rights to A Scattered Life for a movie. There are so many opportunities with ebooks, such as the chance to write different kinds of books, novellas, essays and short stories.
Sources, Pricing and More
A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing blog by Joe Konrath http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ taught Karen everything she needed to know about publishing ebooks. Authors should write a good book, get it edited, critiqued, etc. and try putting it up on Kindle. The book could take off, but if it doesn’t take off, that’s your answer – maybe it’s not going to take off at this point, she says.
Tony turned to Google to get started. Amazon has a pretty good guide for its Kindle. However, Tony also searched YouTube for videos because he likes visual guides. He also followed the blogs of people who discussed their Kindle experience.
What about book length, price and the book cover? Tony says he started at $7.99, but after doing a survey he found that price was probably higher than the average Kindle book. Once he lowered the price to $4.99, his books started taking off. He’s not sure if the price will remain the same, but it’s easy to go in and change the price point with a click of the button. His advice is to find similar ebooks and look at the price point. Don’t price your ebook too high or you will price yourself out of sales.
Another piece of advice: you have a totally different piece of technology so don’t confine yourself to old marketing – think outside the box. Tony’s book, Conducting Twitter Contests, was published as PDF with embedded videos. For the ebook version, he used all the hyperlinks and put those on a dedicated Kindle page. You can’t watch the videos on the Kindle, but as you’re reading you can click on the links and go to the website with video.
Karen had priced all her books on the low side. She and Amazon Encore debated the price for A Scattered Life, and ultimately the price remained at $2.99 and she sold 100,000 of the book downloads. She doesn’t think that would have happened if the book had a higher price. If your goal is to get people to read your books, it’s better to price them lower.
For Karen, this is writer heaven, a dream come true. Ebooks are a growing market and as the actual devices become lower in price it will become more mainstream. The ebook market for books for teens is now expanding (many teens got Nooks, Kindles, etc. for the holidays). And authors can be creative: Amanda Hocking has sold more than 500,000 ebooks on her own. One of her smart marketing moves was pricing the first book in her series at 99 cents. At the end of the first book was an excerpt for book #2. Karen had a Kindle, and bought book #2. That second installment had an excerpt from the third book, so Karen bought the third – and both of those books are $2.99. By then, Karen didn’t mind the higher price because knew she knew Amanda’s books would deliver.
With 1,500 books published every day in the U.S. (print, not ebooks) and very few access points for these books, what ebooks have done is offer a way for authors to get published and experiment. They’ll find out right away if readers like their book. With ebooks, authors have quick access to readers and no blocks to distribution, unlike print publishing.
Aspiring writers should keep the faith. If they couldn’t get published before, just jump in and try ebooks. The opportunities are there, Karen says.
You can download the full show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2011/02/23/smart-self-publishing-part-3-making-money-with-ebooks
Please join us March 8, 2011 for the Smart Self Publishing Series, Part 4: Why Book Design & Editing Matter
If you want your self-published book to stand out, you need: a good front cover, strong overall book design, compelling back cover copy and, most importantly: strong editing. Our guest Sue Collier, President of Self-Publishing Resources and co-author of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, will discuss these issues, why they matter so much, and how authors can find the right professionals to ensure their book shines.
About our guest: As president and CEO of SPR, Sue Collier oversees all book project work, coordinating a team of experts and holding true to the result-getting principles she learned from founder Marilyn Ross, who continues to serve as the consultant to the consultant. 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/.
February 9, 2011
We had a great show that continues our Smart Self Publishing Series, with Part 2 focusing on Becoming Your Own Publisher.
About our guests: Eric Kampmann is President of Midpoint Trade Books, a leading sales and distribution company designed to provide crucial services to today’s independent publishers. Midpoint has built its excellent reputation as an innovative and powerful sales driven company designed to help independent publishers compete successfully in the trade book marketplace. Kampmann is also the Publisher and President of two publishing companies: Beaufort Books and Moyer Bell. Beaufort gained national attention in 2007 when it published the national bestseller If I Did It in partnership with the family of Ron Goldman. Kampmann has taught courses on book publishing at Harvard, Columbia, NYU and numerous publishing and writers conferences. He is the author of The Book Publishers Handbook (2007).
Tanya Hall is the Business Development Manager at Greenleaf Book Group, a publisher and distributor specializing in the growth and development of independent authors and small presses. Tanya drives Greenleaf’s efforts to develop strategic partnerships to grow Greenleaf’s reputation as a leading independent publisher. Prior to her current role, she built Greenleaf’s distribution program into major retail and wholesale channels. Before joining the publishing industry, Tanya worked as a television producer for Extra! and E! Cable Networks.
How has book distribution changed during the last few years?
Tanya noted that Borders used to buy large quantities of books up front, but they also used to return a lot of books later. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble started with fewer books and increased orders over time. When Borders starting having trouble, it whittled down Greenleaf’s avenues to sell and forced them to take hard look at diversifying by reaching out to special sales accounts (non-bookstore) to offset that change. What non-bookstore markets? Half of their list is business titles, so the markets include airports, where they do a lot of business. Gift markets include gift trade shows, hospital gift shops and corporate accounts, where a client might have connections. Greenleaf looks at where the author has existing connections, where his or her message resonates and the audiences the book addresses.
Publishing has disregarded every major change that’s come down the pike during the last 20 years. In 1996, Eric started a publishing company during a bookselling revolution – not started by the publishers, but by Baker & Taylor, Amazon, B&N and to a smaller extent Borders, and other accounts. There was an enormous change in what was being bought, what was available. This changed the market. The traditional New York publishers have not had the ability to perceive these changes, for several reasons, he said.
If you design these companies right and put together pieces right, then the need for capital is much more limited than people will tell you, Eric says. Lean and mean is the machine you want to have. Selling to the trade part of the world has never been easier. If I Did It, for example, a Beaufort bestseller, had a signed contract Aug. 15, and they shipped 125,000 copies to bookstores on Sept. 12… that’s less than 1 month, and soon after, the book was on the New York Times bestseller list. There’s a huge advantage independent publishers have, a flexibility in the marketplace. The key is teamwork. Many don’t understand the complexity of publishing, there are all these different parts, and they have to be working in conjunction with each other.
What does a distributor do?
A good distributor is a company that proactively sells your book … it’s not making your book “available,” Tanya says. You want a distributor with a sales force to sell your book, and handle packaging, shipping returns, etc. A distributor handles all of the logistical aspects of the book.
Can every publisher be a distributor? Tanya says it depends on the quality of the content. At Greenleaf, they work with authors from idea inception to publication, but do have cases where they only handle distribution.
Distributors do all the things in publishing that no one else is willing or able to do, adds Eric. Most people don’t know what salespeople do, or the logistics of a warehouse. Authors should visit Ingram’s distribution center if they are getting into publishing. It’s an engineering marvel – their job is to get a book from A to B in the fastest amount of time at the lowest cost.
Eric says his company will take single-title book publishers. They’ve had success stories. It goes to the quality of the books. They assess the salability of any prospective title.
What is important to know about the submission process?
Once authors fill out the application form and send Eric and his team whatever they have (manuscript, proposal, etc), they can quickly assess if it’s a fit. What can help get a foot in the door? The secret with me is knowing somebody I know, Eric says. He would take an applicant much more seriously if he or she was recommended by someone he knows, over someone just coming through the door. Or if someone in his company has seen something, that’s very influential.
At Greenleaf, they also assess marketability and the author’s platform. Tanya says another vital factor is an author’s willingness to work. If somebody comes to us from a publicist, I know they’ve made that very important step, that’s very influential. We’re looking for differentiated content and a platform, as well as who will approach this as a partnership.
Does an author need a strong social media presence?
Tanya says it depends on where the audience is … for some content, having a strong social media platform makes sense. We don’t expect to see a strong social media presence with certain other types of content. Platform overall is huge, but what that’s comprised of should vary from project to project, based on where primary audiences are.
Eric says in the hierarchy of publishing we live in a realm of celebrity… whether they are a businessperson, from Hollywood, or a TV person, they have a huge following of some kind that can express itself through social media. Eric makes exceptions when they have an author come to them without a social media presence – but possessing a lot of drive. I would hate to put up criteria of a social media platform of 4,000… no, I look at what they can build. Sometimes we don’t have much to build with. We can harvest what authors have already done, that’s what distributors do. Big publishers are almost trapped by needing to have books by celebrities because they need bestsellers. I love the world we live in, our world filled with energy and possibilities.
What should a publisher expect from a distributor?
Old truths remain true, says Eric: It’s a relationship business. I think it’s a judgment call and an experiential kind of business. What they should expect from us is a total commitment from our company to them on a relationship basis. We have to stop talking once in a while and we have to listen – often authors are your best salesperson. Listen, be involved, be connected, that’s the key to our continued growth and success.
So much involves managing expectations, says Tanya. We try to give ballpark ideas to publishers on what they can expect sales-wise based on what we hear from retail chains. Transparency is also important, such as the online sales reporting that Greenleaf provides to clients. They should also not expect to NOT do any work. They still have to pound the pavement, especially as the author becomes a brand. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to get the name out there, the book out there.
The most important thing a new author has to think about is what’s best for them – it might not be finding an agent and trying to get published by Viking, it may not be the best route, Eric says. Sometimes it’s going to CreateSpace via Amazon and saying, I’m going to start out modestly. The beauty of that is it limits the investment, and if something good happens you can move out of that realm. It is a potential way of getting published on a very modest scale.
As an author, your first book may not be the most amazing success you’ve ever had. Your dreams have to be circumscribed by the reality of the enormous competitiveness of this business. I always say: the world is not waiting for your book. What I mean by that – we help the world care, we get the world to stop long enough to say “I want to buy that,” but it takes an enormous amount of work, energy, blood, sweat and tears to make that happen – because the world is essentially passive in nature when it comes to the next book coming out, he adds.
What are the biggest pitfalls?
Not doing your homework, says Tanya. It’s vital to understand the business of publishing.
Eric agrees that not doing homework and understanding how publishing works is a huge issue. Not knowing what a sales person does, for instance. They don’t make bestsellers, they have a relationship with people at B&N and are a conduit through which books pass from our outlet into the stores. They aren’t predicting success, but estimating the possibility of success.
Also, less is more when comes to first printings. Large publishing houses operate on a short runway, and need a big press run, which loses steam quickly. With a long runway there is no timeline for a book to take off, it could be 1 year, 2 years or more before a book gets the word of mouth it needs. That’s the huge advantage smaller publishers have.
Predictions for book publishing in 2011:
At Greenleaf, Tanya says they’ll keep trucking along doing what they do well – they see changes in retail channels, but have been insulated from some of it due to relationships they’ve built. Ebook sales are up for Greenleaf and don’t seem to cannibalize print sales.
The ebook phenomenon is very real and they aren’t necessarily cannibalizing traditional book sales, Eric says. Ebook sales might have more impact on paperbacks, but that’s only a theory. There may be changes in companies in 2011. But if you’re running a tight ship and being realistic about the economy, it should be a good year.
You can download the full show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepublishinginsiders/2011/02/09/smart-self-publishing-series-part-2-becoming-your-own-publisher.
Please join us Feb. 22, 2011 for the Smart Self Publishing Series, Part 3: Making Money with Ebooks
Ebooks currently make up almost 10% of book sales, and their stratospheric growth is expected to continue. With the various devices out there – Kindle, Kobo, Nook, iPad, among others – and the formatting issues, how should you even begin? More importantly, several indie authors are making significant money by selling ebooks. What are their secrets? We’ll discuss these issues and many more with our special guests, authors Karen McQuestion and Tony Eldridge.
About our guests: Karen McQuestion’s essays have appeared in Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Christian Science Monitor and several anthologies. She is the author of six books self-published on Amazon’s Kindle, one of which, the novel, A Scattered Life, caught the attention of an L.A. based production company and became the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for film. Five of her previously self-published books will now be published by AmazonEncore. McQuestion lives with her family in Hartland, Wisconsin. Learn more at http://www.karenmcquestion.com/.
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, 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/.
January 12, 2011
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.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.
Please join us Jan. 25, 2011 for the 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:
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/.
December 15, 2010
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/.
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.
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).
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.
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.
* 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?
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):
– 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)
– 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!
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/.
December 1, 2010
We had another great show hosted by Penny Sansevieri titled ‘Secrets to Getting Your Book into Libraries.’
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.
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.
* 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):
* 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.
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.
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).
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/.
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.
November 17, 2010
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.
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.
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?
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.
Don’t take â€˜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!
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/.
- Think Beyond The Bookstore (terrywhalin.blogspot.com)
November 4, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Attention! Jim Kukral Knows Customer Evangelists Rule (successful-blog.com)
- Are You Thinking Like Google? (seobook.com)
- Universal Truth Of Selling On The Web: Easy & Simple Wins (seobook.com)
October 21, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
* 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
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?
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.
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
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.
- The Whys and Hows of Guest Blogging (ereleases.com)
- 6 Ways to Keep Your Blog Posts Full of Fresh Content (social-media.blognotions.com)
- 7 Ways to Write Better Blog Posts (quickonlinetips.com)
- 8 Things You Can Do to be a Better Blogger (blogher.com)
September 9, 2010
We had another great show titled “Pursue Your Publishing Dreams,” with author and publisher Marc Allen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Upcoming Episodes – Please join us Sept. 21 for How to Make Money on Twitter (No, Really)
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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August 26, 2010
We had a lively and informative show this week full of marketing ideas for authors that we hope you’ll find useful!
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.
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
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.
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.
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/).
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.
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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