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Monday, December 10, 2018

A Podcast On Book Publicity That All Authors Should Embrace



              Image result for podcast image


I recently presented a workshop to authors on book publicity.  Innovative hybrid publisher Morgan James interviewed me for their podcast series. If you would like to match a voice to the millions of words presented in my blog, listen and hopefully learn about what authors can do to promote themselves to the media and market their books successfully.



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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

8 Ways Authors Overcome Book Marketing Roadblocks



Authors are tested every day to find the creativity, time, energy, and focus needed to write books and market themselves.  It’s similar to what a 300-pound person confronts daily – he or she has to summon the will, courage, time, and energy to both watch which foods are consumed and how much to exercise.  

Like the overweight individual, the author confronts a daily battle that’s fought in the mind as much as in the physical world.  So what can help authors overcome roadblocks, needs, fears, and bad habits when it comes to promoting a book?

1.      Pause -- Sometimes the best thing to do when we feel overwhelmed or burdened is to take a break, step back, and take a breather. Take a walk or do something that clears your mind and relaxes you. Then give yourself a pep talk and see where you can implement some modifications to how you have been approaching things. You may just need a fresh start.

2.      Therapy – Sure, most people think of seeing a therapist when they have a major problem to confront, perhaps an addiction, relationship struggles, parenting issues, or career conflicts.  They could be depressed or on the edge.  But one can see a therapist as a coach and seek out professional guidance on how to overcome whatever stands in their way. Sure, it may sound a little funny to tell a therapist you are there because you want to market a book and can’t jumpstart the process, but it’s really no different than any other barrier that people seek the help of a therapist to break, from losing weight, switching jobs, or opting out of a bad marriage.

3.      Education – Some fears come because there is a legitimate reason to feel insecure, unsure, or directionless.  You simply may lack the necessary information and understanding of what to do.  Start by reading up on book publicity strategy or general marketing tips. Learn about the media, traditional and social.  Study up on advertising trends.  Once you have current information you can work from a position of knowledge.

4.      Buddy Up – Whenever you enter a new situation you get paired up with a mentor or someone in the same boat as you.  In school you get paired with another student.  At a new job, someone shows you the ropes.  On a sports team, someone works out with you.  It is the same with books and authors.  Join a group of authors and share information and ideas, and be there to support each other.  They know exactly what you’re going through, while most others do not.

5.      Plan – You have more chances of success by putting a plan together.  Outline your goals and a timeline to achieve them.  Identify the micro-steps needed to fulfill each level of the process.  List your resources and note what you need to complete the job.  By planning ahead you give yourself time and power to succeed.

6.      Help – You may feel stopped in your tracks simply because some tasks are beyond your area of expertise and skill set.  Or there’s something you really don’t want to do but know it needs to get done.  In such a case, outsource it and employ a hired gun.

7.      Success – Nothing helps you do more and perform your best like success.  Start small and build up your stamina.  Find things you are good at and like to do, whatever the task, and once you get some wins under your belt it becomes easier to replicate success.

8.      Rewards – This can work two ways.  You can give yourself an incentive to achieve – a reward if you hit certain benchmarks along the way of your book marketing journey.  But you can also pre-reward yourself and celebrate on Day 1, like a kick-off or launch party to wish you success as you embark on your pursuit of book marketing victory.

Many authors will slip and fall along the way.  They find new stumbling blocks and unanticipated struggles.  They get up and move forward.  Then they try hard, do all that they believe is needed, and still fail.  But they don’t give up.  They move forward.  Soon they learn the ropes and get some small wins.  Now they reach higher, further, and beyond what’s in their field of vision.  They extend themselves out of their comfort zone.  Most will falter, but some can and will break through.

Don’t give up or deny yourself the chance at success.  No one said this is easy or that one gets what they want right away.  But writing a book can be fulfilling and marketing a book successfully can open up doors that will lead to more books, greater pay-offs, and the deep satisfaction of knowing that by believing in yourself and your words that you matter – and that the world is better off for it.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hypothetical Book Marketing Questions Worth Exploring




I recently enjoyed combing through the New York Times Bestseller, What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe.  It made me think about so many scenarios and possibilities – even improbabilities, and allowed my imagination to run wild.  There could be an application here to book marketing.

This book poses wild questions – and then attempts to answer them.  Need some examples?  It asks:

·         If everyone on the planet stayed away from each other for a couple of weeks, wouldn’t the common cold be wiped out?

·         How many Legos bricks would be needed to build a bridge from London to New York City?

·         Would a nuclear bomb, launched into the eye of a super hurricane, break the storm up?

·         What is the maximum number of different English-language Tweets that could be created?

You get the picture.  Now, let’s take that approach to book marketing and publicity and ask some fantastic questions:

·         What if we added up all of the words used to type up press releases to promote books for a year – how many 60,000–word books would they add up to?

·         What if we recruited and trained an army of 1,000 people to write a book on one specific topic?

·         What if you didn’t allow for any new books to be published for a month?

·         Could something happen that causes mass blindness or mass illiteracy?  How would it impart the book industry?

·         What if all of the books published this past year were recycled – every single copy of every title?  How many trees would it save?

·         What if you marketed your book every waking minute of a 16-hour day for a week – what would happen?

·         How many books could get media coverage from a newspaper, television show, radio show, or major blog or podcast if these media outlets were not allowed to cover the same books?

·         How many books does the New York Times Book Review receive each day for review consideration – and how many actually get reviewed?

·         How many books has the average librarian read?

·         How many books can the average person read or hear about in a year?

·         What if we all read the same book?

The list of questions can go on. But what if we can take a different approach to how books are marketed or sold?  What if we can create a more efficient system of how books are reviewed – and how those reviews are disseminated?  What if we all took a week-long vacation and spent that time only reading books?

We need to question what, how, and why we do what we do when it comes to writing, editing, selling, and promoting books.  There needs to be a better way than our current system.

The flaws are obvious:
·         The market is flooded by new books but it lacks a fair and accurate method of determining which books are worthy of our attention.
·         Though self-publishing no longer requires writers to seek permission from gatekeepers to have access to readers, there’s also no obligation or fail-safe to ensure a book is accurate, edited well, or even well-written. 
·         There are more books circulating than the reading public can handle, leaving most books with very few readers.
·         How do we ensure books that need to be written and published on topics that have been ignored or under examined get created?
·         How do we make sure truly great books receive the attention they deserve, regardless of who the author or publisher is, and regardless of the marketing budget available?

The publishing world tackles simple questions right now:
·         How do I advertise a book?
·         How do we get authors to tweet about their books?
·         Which media outlets should we approach for media coverage?
·         When shall we create a website to promote a book?

What if…
·         Authors and publishers followed good advice and the best-practices standards of successful authors?
·         Writers stopped fearing the media and marketed their books better?
·         Publishers actually put some support behind their books rather than leaving authors to fend for themselves?
·         The nation could improve literacy levels, allowing for many more books to be sold and read?
·         Writers honestly assessed their books in the face of popular or award-winning, critically acclaimed books, and make a decision to not release a book until it truly matches the high standards set by others?
·         Authors edited down their books to make them 10% shorter – but just as effective as they originally planned – so that we can read more books?

So many questions, so few answers.  It is fun to explore some of this stuff while other questions simply can’t be answered – nor should they be.  But we need to raise issues and ask questions – even wild ones – if we are to collectively move forward and make the book industry stronger and the book marketplace more efficient.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The History of the Book

The History of THE BOOK in 100 Books
The Complete Story, From Egypt to E-book
by Roderick Cave & Sara Ayad


Below are excerpts form a wonderful book that creatively shares the history of books:

From The Foreword by Sidney E. Berger & Michele V. Cloonan
“His knowledge of the book in all its manifestations, along with its place in history, is practically unparalleled…

“There are, of course, the standard entries in a volume of this sort:  texts written on cave walls and animal bones, clay tablets and palm leaves, bamboo-strip books, the Iliad, Beowulf, medieval illuminated manuscripts (naturally including the Book of Kells), the Gutenberg Bible, the Nuremberg Chronicle and so forth.  But we also get an Andean khipu from Peru (predating the Incas), papyrus scrolls, the Tripitaka Koreana and the Ethiopian Bible – better known as the Garima Gospels – to name just four examples….

“Clearly this is a special compilation, containing an extraordinary list of important – though often overlooked – books in a huge range of areas of scholarly and popular interests.”

Introduction
“Perhaps the popularity of e-books is rising:  perhaps the printed-paper book will disappear (just as the clay tablets of Babylon and the papyrus scrolls of ancient. Egypt have long since dropped out of use).

“We are by no means persuaded that the future form of the book will be entirely electronic; what is certain is that, over the past 10,000 plus years of history, humankind has developed ways of preserving and transmitting information which are deeply embedded in our sub consciousness.”

One Word, Many Surfaces
“For writing surfaces, mankind used stone, clay tablets, bark, leaves, papyrus, bones, animal skins and paper, and many other media.”

One Need, Many Solutions
“Almost unconsciously, we recognize the interplay between the medium and the message it carries. The history of the book is not a single development from a single source. Many societies developed their own writing systems.  The availability of clay in Mesopotamia, papyrus in Egypt and lontar palms in India and Indonesia – plus the variety of writing surfaces that were available in China and Southeast Asia – enabled all these areas to develop their own systems of writing and bookmaking.

“These developments occurred in different places and at different times, partly because of the continuing inventiveness and ingenuity of humankind.”

The Biggest Books Ever Written
“Perhaps because of its long tradition of both literacy and centralized government, China has frequently produced massive collections of books of importance, more like complete collections of the information content of libraries than the summaries usual in Western encyclopedias.  Soon after Emperor Yongle came to the throne, in 1403, he commissioned a large compilation on the whole range of knowledge, from religion, science, technology, astronomy, medicine and agriculture, through to drama, art, history and literature.  Over 2,000 scholars were put to work analyzing and editing over 8,000 texts, completing their task in five years.

“To write out the text, completed in 1408, the scribes used more than 370 million characters, filling over 11,000 volumes….Over the next 400 years, fire, war and looting reduced the holding of the three manuscripts to a mere 400 volumes, scattered in libraries and museums around the world…

“Learning from the past, the emperor Qianlong had seven manuscript copies made, and the scribes’ work, completed in 1782, filled nearly 37,000 volumes, using 800 million characters.  The devastation of wars has reduced them to four surviving sets, held in China and Taiwan.”

Monumental Korean Undertaking
Korea was the first country outside China to adopt printing and was a leader in developing printing from type.  Its most famous book is the Buddhist Eighty Thousand Tripitaka (the three main canons of Buddhist scriptures) of the 13th century CE.”

The Coming of Information Science
“The overabundance of books and other publications was becoming clear in Europe, as in America.  One of the most significant developments came from Belgium, where two lawyers established the International Institute of Bibliography (IIB) in 1895, transformed in 1937 into the International Federation for Information and Documentation (FID); it was responsible for elaborating Dewey’s classification into the Universal Decimal Classification.  The IIB had grand plans for a universal bibliography, and by 1914 it had collected over 11 million entries for its Universal Bibliographic Repertory, kept on cards.  As its name change suggests, the FID was much more interested in individual items of information than in books; their ways of trying to improve information service (including the use of microforms) were vital for the later development of computer-based systems.

“The influence of the FID was marked and was behind many of the changes in what was coming to be called “Information Science.”

The Bible
“Described as “the single most important scholarly publication of the Spanish Renaissance,” the Complutensian Polyglot Bible is famed for its editing, the success of its Greek typeface, which has been influential on type designers since the late 19th century.

“The classic verse epics of the Iliad and Odyssey, Petronius’ Satyricon or Apuleius’ The Golden Ass – or even the medieval Beowulf – are often described as the ancestors of the novel.  But the first prose book, often regarded as the earliest psychological novel, is The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (in English, Lady Murasaki), born in 978 CE and died c. 1014 or 1025.”

The Oldest Printed Book of All
“The Diamond Sutra is one of the key religious books of the sayings of the Buddha. It was first translated from Sanskrit to Chinese in 401 CE. The sutra’s name came from an Indian term, a symbolic ritual object that symbolizes the indestructibility of a diamond and the force of a thunderbolt.  Believers though they gained merit by copying the text; and this copy was made by Wang Jie on May 11, 868 CE.  It is the oldest surviving dated book, printed nearly 600 years before Gutenberg started printing in Europe.”

Cuneiform Tablets
“Cuneiform writing on clay tablets had a very long life.  Many of the earliest books including medical, legal, mathematical and others were in cuneiform and the oldest epic of all is the tale of Gilgamesh and the Flood.”

The Book Trade Develops
Chinese government was highly centralized, and its emperors (or their officials) planned on a grand scale.  As with many Western rulers, there was often a wish to bring books under control, through both censorship and patronage.  Attempts at all-comprehensive collections of religious, literary and scientific texts were made, the most famous being the Yongle Dadian (The Great Canon of the Yongle Emperor) of 1403-1408 CE, probably the biggest work ever produced (see pp 36-37).”

Origins of a Childrens’ Classic
Some of Aesop’s fables were rewritten as Aisopeia by Demetrius Phalereus (c. 350-280 BCE), famous for his part in the founding of the Alexandrian Library under Ptolemy I Soter.  But Demetrius’ version of the fables perished; today, we rely instead on a text by Valerious Babrius, who lived some time before 200 CE.  The earliest fragments of Greek papyrus manuscripts of the fables were rapidly followed by other manuscripts, in Latin and many other languages.  Editions of Aesop’s fables have been printed frequently, from the earliest days after Gutenberg’s printing press to today.”

A Timeless Epic
“If asked to name the most important literary work of all time, many people would name Homer’s Iliad.  Or possibly the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer: although the survival rate of Egyptian papyrus fragments of them (454 bits of the Iliad preserved against about 140 of the Odyssey) suggests that the Iliad’s Iron Age reminiscence of Bronze Age combat was always favored.

“Homer’s epic was believed to have been composed between 750-650 BCE, though some authorities date it much earlier to the 12th century BCE; but it is accepted that the texts of the Iliad and the Odyssey were standardized in processes that have continued ever since.”

The Foundation of Pharmacology
“With the Hippocratic Oath, the history of medicine is conventionally held to start with Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460-370 BCE).  Medical practice depended largely on preparations made from plants, and knowing which plants could cure (or kill) was vital.  In prehistory, such knowledge was passed orally, but Pedanus Diascorides systematized this information in his book known as De Materia Medica, written about 30-50 CE.  An army surgeon attached to Roman forces in Nero’s time; Dioscorides traveled widely in the Middle East.  He indentified the pharamacological properties and remedial effects of over 100 plants previously unknown to Roman and Greek physicians, and he also discussed over 500 other plants that were probably used earlier during Alexander the Great’s conquests.

“De Materia Medica became a standard text used by herb gatherers and pharmacists for over 1,500 years, spawning many manuscripts (and later printed versions) created all over the Western world – and in Arab lands even more than in Europe.”

The Father of Mapping
“Born in Alexandria, Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus c. 90-168 CE) was one of the most important Greek scientists, whose work on astronomy was to control European thought for over 1,500 years.  Ptolemy’s work in astronomy and geography deeply influenced Arabic scholarship in the work of the geographer al-Masudi (d. 956 CE) and others.  It was largely because of their work that Ptolemy’s manuscripts survived.

“The Geographia was in several parts, the first dealing with the problems of mapping our spherical globe on a flat surface.  Ptolemy invented the concepts of latitude and longitude, and his careful and detailed records of 8,000 places allowed later cartographers to plot these no their own maps.  His collection of place names and their coordinates reveals the geographic knowledge of the Roman Empire in the second century.  Apparently, a large-scale Ptolemean map was displayed in Autun (France) in the fourth century.”

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource."