A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
James W. Gaynor, author of Everything Becomes a Poem (Nemeton
Press), is a poet, artist, editor, and writer. A graduate of Kenyon College, he
lived for years in Paris, where he taught a course on Emily Dickinson at the
University of Paris, studied the development of the psychological novel in 17th
century France, and worked as a translator.
After returning to New York, Gaynor worked as an editor at Grosset &
Dunlap, Cuisine magazine, Scriptwriter News and Forbes
articles, book reviews, poems and essays have appeared in The New York Observer, OTVmagazine.com, The Gay and Lesbian Review
Worldwide, and Peeking Cat Poetry
Magazine. As #HaikuJim, Gaynor publishes a daily haiku drawn from current
newspaper headlines and is the creator of Can
You Haiku? — a corporate communications workshop based on using 17th-century
Japanese poetry techniques to improve effective use of today’s digital
platforms. Gaynor recently retired as the Global Verbal Identity Leader for
Ernst & Young LLP. For more info,
1.What really inspired you to write your book, to
force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? In my work as a poet, I’ve long been fascinated
by both the authors who create memorable opening and closing lines for their
novels. I believe that the lines we often can quote are, in fact, short,
unacknowledged poems that get lost in the sentences, paragraphs and chapters
Middlemarch is a favorite of mine, and several years ago, I wrote a poem,
‘Dorothea Restructured’ based on the novel’s famous closing sentence. The poem
has had an interesting cyber-life, and is one of the most ‘shared” of my poems.
(I love Facebook for making that possible!) It’s also appeared in several
online publications, and I included it in my collection, Everything Becomes a Poem.So, I decided I would make a list of my favorite first and last lines
and create a series of poems. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice seemed a
logical place to start — and I realized that the first line’s fame has, in a
way, cast a shadow over all the other chapters’ first lines — and then I became
curious to see what Austen was up to in the rest of her novel, and I took a
focused look at the remaining 60 chapter openings.
the haiku come in
Haiku are short, Japanese
poems, which, in the English tradition, consist of three lines (5 syllables / 7
syllables / 5 syllables). There is something wonderful and powerful in the
format. Children study them in grammar school here and adults always seem to
respond to learning how to write them.
In the early 80s, I
experienced a somewhat predictable, spiritually deracinated-Westerner,
child-of-the- 60s fascination with Zen Buddhism. I even flirted with the idea
of becoming a monk. In that process, I also studied haiku, ikebana (flower
arranging), and kendo (a martial art involving bamboo swords).
One of the things I came
to love about entering the austere and beautiful world that embraces both Zen
monks and their militaristic Samurai counterparts is that, yes, you’re supposed
to be able to slice your opponent into 53 thin pieces with grace and a minimum
of blood. But you should also be able to arrange flowers and write poetry. In
the Yin and Yang of life, everybody is both an artist and a warrior. It’s up to
you to create a coherent whole of your many dimensions.
Long story short: my career
as a monk did not work out, and I became an editor of books and magazines, a
newspaper essayist, book reviewer and a corporate communications specialist in
the financial services industry.
But for the past 30 years, I have maintained a
daily habit of writing a haiku based on the content of both a sentence and the
article in which it appears in the New
York Times — only I now give the classic syllabic pattern of 5 / 7 / 5 a
slant tailored to my secular career as a poet and writer. And, as #HaikuJim, I
have a daily haiku that I post on my blog (jameswgaynor.com), and I write contemporary haiku
commentary (usually humorous) for OTVmagazine.com. I also teach a haiku workshop for
corporate communicators called “Can You Haiku?” that looks at haiku as the
forerunner of the Tweet.
Back to Jane Austen
I began to wonder if the
61 chapter-opening lines of Pride and Prejudice could, in fact, be the basis
for a series of haiku. If each sentence was a kind of short poem, why couldn’t
it become a haiku?
And the book happened. I had no idea what I
was going to do when I finished, but I had a strong sense that I was onto
something interesting about Austen’s style and messaging.
2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? The classic haiku
contains a duality of message (such as joy in the moment coupled with sadness
at its transient nature), and attempts to answer three questions:
(the object, the action, e.g., falling leaf or petal, sound of water)
In this book, I created a summarizing word-image haiku
of each of the chapters in Pride and
Prejudice. In so doing, I found that a somewhat ironic and unexpected voice
emerging as each first sentence became a short poem. I began to hear what might
be Austen’s acidic feminine wit blending with my 21st-century
masculine sensibility — not surprising, given that I fell in love with Jane
Austen when I first heard “It is a truth universally acknowledged ...” and she and I have been in a committed relationship for more
than 50 years now.
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers
who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? I
recently spoke at New York’s Fordham University in New York on how this
approach can help readers to discover unexpected insights — and in so doing,
provide an alternative to the wet-shirt Firth-Darcy version of P&P that
has, in my opinion, unfairly dominated popular understanding of Austen’s clear,
sardonic tone. And the students were excited about looking at the novel’s
structure and action from a different perspective.
The students were very interested in the
first line of Chapter43:
Elizabeth, as they drove along, watched for the first
appearance of Pemberley Woods with some perturbation; and when at length they
turned in at the lodge, her spirits were in a high flutter.
Prior to studying the
first lines, I hadn’t really noticed the use of the word “flutter.” Elizabeth
Bennet, as we all know, is really not a flutterer. So, why now? Why the use of
a word more commonly associated with Regency heroines falling in love?
The answer, I think,
is that Austen is giving us exactly that clue: Elizabeth has fallen in love.
With Darcy as he is represented by his estate, the beloved
order-created-from-chaos so near and dear to the late 18-century English ideal.
She does not fall in romantic love with Darcy because he is handsome (we don’t
really know what he looks like) — she falls in love with him because he has
purpose. And, of course, a sizeable estate, but that is really secondary — and
the haiku I created reflects this interpretation:
a flutter effect. Could this
be real (-estate) love?
After the lecture, one young
woman told me the Jane Austen we discussed was exactly the voice she needed
guiding her love life — which confirms for me that, 200 years after her death,
Austen continues to exert her subtle influence.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Write for yourself. Write every day. Kill your
5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think
the book publishing industry is heading? Thanks to the ability to self-publish, the book world is now much
more open to beginning writers. The internet creates community and this allows
writers to find audiences, sometimes specialized and obscure — but audiences
nonetheless. And, while the platforms and devices proliferate, there will
always be a need for a three-dimensional book with which to curl up.
6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book? Once I started, I had a wonderful time, meeting
Austen’s characters in new ways, seeing the action quite differently. For
example, by answering the haiku questions of “When” (i.e., seasonal reference),
I realized that Pride and Prejudice
begins and ends in hunting season. While Bingley and Darcy may have come to
Hertfordshire for the shooting, they, in their roles as
single-men-in-possession-of-good-fortunes, are the ones being hunted. I don’t
think I had appreciated that before I started looking at the novel through a
haiku lens. It was only when I was finished that I thought, “OK. What have I
just done?” The biggest challenge was determining whether this was a very long
poem with 61 stanzas or possibly a book. And then trying to figure out if
anyone would ever want to read it.
7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in 61
Haiku (1,037 Syllables!) is two books for the price of one: a new look at
an old favorite for readers familiar with the story; and, for those who haven’t
yet read P&P, it’s a great introduction to a classic work of English
literature. And yes, Jane Austen had a sense of humor!
The All-New 2018
Toolkit to Promote a Book -- 7th annual edition
hear a lot of the same advice about book marketing and publicity. It’s very obvious what needs to be done. The question is how does one do these things
especially with limited time, money, desire, or knowledge?
best way to tackle this is to first take an overview of things. Start by identifying your short vs. long term
goals. Those goals will dictate your
priorities and help you schedule your time and allocate your resources
Short-term goals might be:
more copies of current book.
more presentations scheduled/book signings.
on social media to promote a book..
out to news media to seek reviews, interviews, byline article, guest-posts,
Long-term goals might be:
a stronger platform by increasing connections and followers on an expanded
number of social media sites.
lists of people to reach out to, introducing yourself.
your brand and author persona to help you sell future books.
with organizations, from non-profits and schools to businesses and churches, that
can expose you to more fans and readers.
look at all of the things you could be doing to market your book or brand and
you’ll realize that though there’s a lot of opportunity out there you must
narrow down what you’ll do, for how long, and at what cost. Just because you can do something doesn’t
mean that you should. Go for what will deliver the biggest payoff with the least
risk or investment.
You could do any-but not all-of the
1.Set up appearances
they be for free (church, school, non-profit)?
they provide an opportunity for book sales?
you get an increase in social media followers, testimonials for your marketing
materials, good experience that builds your resume, and a chance to share a
positive and powerful message?
you be paid or compensated for your appearance – perhaps at a conference,
before a company, or as a consultant?
you do book signings at bookstores or libraries?
you join a speakers’ bureau?
you attend events, whether free of charge or for a small fee, to have a chance
to mingle with people who can help you?
you join groups and organizations that help you expand upon or build a network
of professional connections \
you invest in growing as a writer by attending conferences, reading books, or
paying for online workshops?
you also seek to learn more about book marketing, subscribing to publications,
attending seminars, purchasing resources online, and hiring a consultant?
Twitter Linked In, You Tube, Instagram, Pinterest. Google+. For each one, consider your strategy to
develop profiles, engage others, increase connections, and build a fan
base. Will you blog regularly? Do you have a podcast? How much content can you create, share, and
convert into clicks, connections, and sales?
How often can you get others to interview you or talk about you vs. you
initiating the content?
television, newspapers and magazines.
They can turn your book into a best-seller. They also can be used to get you attention on
social media, such as when you share your TV appearance clip on social media,
on Facebook or Twitter. Create your
press kit, get media coaching, and reach out to targeted local, genre-specific,
or national – even international media, seeking reviews, feature stories,
news stories, panel discussions, interviews, byline articles, book excerpts, or
any type of exposure.
you advertise – and if so, where – online, print, or broadcast?
holding contests to doing mass giveaways, you can market your book to others.
Newsletters, webinars, skyping with book clubs, and joining forces with other
authors could give you a boost. Put
up a sign outside your house to promote your book. Hand out fliers by a mall parking lot. Cross promote someone else’s book, product or
service in exchange of them promoting you.
Net Galley, Amazon reviewers, and so many, websites offer opportunities for
book reviews. Will you make your digital
galley or printed book available, in a timely fashion, for review?
is a blend of social and traditional.
For instance, CNN.com would be digital media. So would HuffPost, Salon, and TheHill. Get people to cover you online. Be interviewed by bloggers, podcasters and
the websites of major media. Have video interviews with online TV outlets such
as Cheddar TV. Post press releases on
news wire services like PR Newswire or free wire services.
up your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, temple worshippers, bingo
players, and anyone you have ever come into contact with. Ask them to buy your book, post reviews,
follow you on social media and to pull favors to put you in front of anyone they know of who has some juice.
So what’s it gonna be?
overwhelmed and do nothing?
to do everything but not excel at anything?
on the short-term and long-term in a balanced manner?
others to help in areas you suck in?
author-turned-marketer can accomplish a lot – and will need to in order to
compete with the 3,500 new books flooding the marketplace daily. Take a smart, balanced approach and utilize
others to share in the plan. Good luck!
The All-New 2018
Toolkit to Promote a Book -- 7th annual edition
The Bridge of the Golden Wood: A Parable on How to Earn a Living
About the Book: Selected for Vermont’s elementary school
career/financial literacy curriculum. “5 stars. A clever storyteller …
colorfully illustrated. … A very educational resource.” - Jane Hills Orford for
Readers' Favorite. A child with a knack for solving problems helps some
hungry fish and finds a treasure. Illustrated Asian folk tale teaches the value
of work and includes career and business ideas plus online resources. Young
children will be captivated by the story; older ones will want to apply the
things they learn (for ages 4+). 26 pages; 530 words in dyslexic-friendly font
by former Silicon Valley recruiter Karl Beckstrand; more than 20,000 downloads;
hard cover, soft cover and ebook; ISBN: 978-0985398811 via Baker & Taylor,
Follett, Ingram, GozoBooks.com, Target.com
1. What really inspired you
to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and
conveying it into a book? Seeing a lack of kids’ curriculum on how money is
made—how to earn a living. I used to be a recruiter in Silicon Valley; today’s
graduates don't seem as prepared for work as their parents. Many young people don’t
know that failure is normal and can nourish future success.
2. What is it about and whom do you
believe us your targeted reader? A boy with a knack for solving problems
helps some hungry fish and finds a treasure. I hope it helps bridge the gap
between what kids learn in school and what they need to know/do to succeed in
life. Vermont’s Office of Treasurer has selected it as part of their financial
3. What do you hope will be the
everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain
with them long after putting it down? That helping others/solving problems
gives us experience, ideas, and a good reputation.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you
have for fellow writers? Join a writer’s group!
5. What trends in the book world do you
see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I think
ebooks are becoming more interactive—even animated (I worry that this will be a
disincentive for reading).
6. What great challenges did you have in
writing your book? Organizing the lessons I had learned as a recruiter and
business owner. There are more tips and free curriculum at ChildrenEarn.com
7. If people can only buy one book this
month, why should it be yours? My book will empower them to buy all the
books they want in the future!
Karl Beckstrand is the bestselling and award-winning author of
19 multicultural/multilingual books and more than 50 ebook titles (reviews by
Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book’s blog, ForeWord
Reviews). Raised in San Jose, CA (he knows the secret to peeling avocados),
he has a B.A. in journalism from BYU, an M.A. in international relations from
APU, and a broadcast & film certificate from Film A. Academy. Since 2004 he
has run Premio Publishing. His survival western, To Swallow the Earth,
won a 2016 International Book Award. A college media instructor, Beckstrand has
presented to Taiwan’s Global Leadership for Youth, city and state governments,
festivals, and schools. His nationally lauded Y.A. stories, e-book mysteries,
nonfiction, ESL/ELL Spanish/bilingual books, and wordless, and STEM books
feature ethnically diverse characters—and usually end with a twist. His work
has appeared in: Amazon, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble, Costco,
Follett, iBooks, Ingram, Papercrafts Magazine, Target.com, The Congressional Record, Walmart.com, FB, Twitter, http://KarlBeckstrand.com, https://GozoBooks.com
The All-New 2018 Toolkit to Promote a
Book -- 7th annual edition
so writing doesn’t seem to pay. You spend hours
researching, writing, and editing. Then
you spend time trying to sell your writing to a magazine, website, or book
publisher. Then you spend time marketing
and promoting your work. Is there a way
to make a few bucks from being a writer?
right, act like a non-profit and ask people to give you money – like a tipping
jar. If you have a PayPal account you
can create a PayPal Donate button and embed it into your site.
people to pay for content as a subscriber, the way magazines or newspapers
would charge people. Use chargebee.com
or easydigiitaldownloads.com or woocommerce.com. You can share content on a regular basis – daily, weekly, monthly or
quarterly – or find a way to post content at your leisure but to charge in set
amounts for increments of time.
to charging for an e-book, you charge for an online course that could include
video, worksheets, podcasts, or written content. Some helpful sites include teachable.com,
bigmarker.com, zippycourseplugin.com, zoom.us, and gotomeeting.com/webinar.
4.Sell Your Work
can write for publication with magazines or sell your work as a freelancer to a
news organization -- or sell your book to a publisher.
a book or file and sell it online via a self-publisher like Amazon’s Create
Space. You can sell information products
through gumroad.com or ejunkie.com.
written materials as part of your one-on-one trainings with people. Let’s say
you write about losing weight. You can
consult a group or an individual and support your teachings with written
can offer to write a company or organization’s history-for-hire.
8.Write For Free
your writing to showcase your abilities, knowledge, and writing style -- give it
away -- with the hopes it lures paying customers for some service or bigger
you have a big enough online following you can charge for advertising to your
blog or website. To accept advertisers,
look into litbreaker.com or google.com/adsense.
can also use your writing to boost your credentials and visibility with the
hopes of using it to get hired, promoted, or as a lead-in to launching a
business. Being a good, prolific writer
should net you some greenbacks. In fact,
you can make money off of the writing of others. You can join a program that gives you
commissions on book sales (affiliate marketing). The biggest one is affiliate-program.Amazon.com.
go write your way to success!
The All-New 2018 Toolkit to Promote a Book -- 7th annual