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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Will The Curtain Close On The Book Publishing Circus?



The “Greatest Show on Earth” folded its tents forever after its final performance this past week.  The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus has entertained generations of kids and families for the past 146 years.  It is indeed the end of an era and one of the greatest rings in entertainment history.  It’s hard to believe the circus is dead in America.

The circus cited greater production costs and waning ticket sales in an era where everyone self-entertains through a digital box as the final nail in the coffin.  Decades of protests by animal rights groups didn’t help either.

But I think that something that found itself to be profitable for a century and a half but is now no more, is hard to comprehend. It would be like Major League Baseball just closing its doors or Hollywood studios shutting movie theaters – or book publishers closing up shop.  But it’s no longer impossible to envision a dark day when any or all those things disappear.

Look, one day cars that you drive may not be consumer options.  The entire marketplace is changing and as science, technology, and demographics shift dramatically, so will the things we take for granted as being useful staples of our culture and society.  So I pose to you the unthinkable – or the inevitable:  Will book publishing one day cease to exist?

Books can be self-published by anyone.  Many authors bypass publishers and distribute directly to consumers.  Will they completely eviscerate traditional publishers?

Traditional publishers still perform many valuable tasks when it comes to editing, cover design, distribution, rights sales, foreign sales, and nurturing an author’s brand.  But for authors who don’t want to share profits with the middleman and who don’t believe publishers really benefit them, they will seek out alternative publishing options.  The gatekeeper era is over.

On the other hand, most authors do not make significant money self-publishing. They have start-up costs to get their book in shape.  Then they invest in marketing packages to improve their distribution.  They may also hire a book publicist.  They will find they have to do or oversee every aspect of publishing, sales, and marketing.  They have editorial control and feel free, but they too are not living in a panacea.

So what’s the best solution?

I think hybrid publishing makes a lot of sense, where writers and publishers bear expense burdens fairly – and share in the profits more equitably.  It’s a developing phenomenon that’s sure to catch on over time.

There should be some form of a book publishing industry for decades to come, even if it seems like a free Internet and technological distractions are poised to push it to extinction down the road.  

Is book publishing following the path of the big-tent circus – or will it correct course and find a way to still prove profitable and useful to the new world?

Time to send in the clowns, if for nothing else, to provide comic relief and rid our brains of the burden of having to even contemplate a future without a book publishing industry.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 


Friday, May 26, 2017

10 Ways To Approach Book Publicity



Promoting and marketing a book takes many skills, a lot of time, some money, and a handful of resources.  But it also requires a certain mental approach, one that allows you to stay focused and to act with perseverance – even in the face of rejection.

Here are some traits needed to succeed as a book marketer:

1. Act with a sense of urgency.  No reason to put off things that you should be doing now.

2. Be detail-oriented.  The small things count. Do all the things and take all of the steps one needs to achieve.

3. Constantly reach out to potential media, sales opportunities, or speaking engagements.  It’s a numbers game -- the more you send out, the more will come back in your favor.

4. Prioritize your efforts.  Have your eyes on the target – you have A’s, B’s, and C’s.

5. Diversify your approach.  Think news media – TV, radio, print.  Think digital media – bloggers, podcasters, online reviewers.  Think social media – Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Instagram, Pinterest and Linked In.

6. Go beyond the media.  Think speaking engagements, participation in conferences, and networking with others.

7. Never give up.  Keep pushing, keep trying.  Switch up methods, pitches, or timing.  Something will work for you.

8. Don’t let your ego drive you – and blind you.  Yes, be proud and set goals that are achievable, but don’t delude yourself into thinking you deserve to be at a high level of media exposure when in fact you don’t necessarily warrant such coverage.  Extend yourself and reach far, but don’t burden yourself into thinking you should be somewhere that you’re not.

9. Be open to help and seek advice.  We can do a lot on our own, but we always achieve more when we collaborate and unite.

10. Look to work with other writers.  Team-up with fellow writers and share ideas, experiences, and resources.  You are not competitors.

Writers can easily feel frustrated, depressed, angry, or even alone when they get rejected and run into walls but book marketing can be something that they excel at.  A new frame of mind and a healthier approach to book publicity can invigorate you and give you a needed boost.  Every day is a new day with fresh chances to make your dreams come true.  Believe in your abilities, trust in your creativity, and take the initiative to get the media exposure you feel you deserve.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Trends In Book Sales Impact How Authors Approach Marketplace



As an author you want your book to sell.  You know there are many formats that you can sell your book -- hardcover, softcover, mass market paperback, digital audio, CD, and e-book.  You also know there are many channels to sell through -- big box stores, bookstore chains, indie bookstores, catalogs, online, schools, etc.  But did you know how book sales are trending and where the hot markets are?

New data released by NPD Group Book Scan shows that book sales are all over the place.  The conclusion?  You should seek to sell your book in as many formats through as many channels as possible. You have to diversify your portfolio – to be available everywhere.

Obviously if you are e-book-only publishing, your marketplace is strictly reserved to e-retailers, but if you publish in other formats, the marketplace available to you is wide-ranging.

So what do the numbers show?

E-retailers move about 40% of all book units sold.  Bookstores sell 40% of all print units sold.  The other 20% comes from a variety of other sources.  None of these stats take into account certain unregistered sales, such as book sales at an event where a bookstore is not used to process sales or when authors sell copies in bulk to organizations and groups.  Further, many sales that are processed directly by an author on his or her website do not get counted in either.

2016 was either a down or up year depending on how you look at things.  In terms of unit sales – and not actual dollars – total sales of print and e-book units slumped in 2016 by 1.4% across all channels.  However, that figure excluded board books and physical audiobooks.  When they are factored in, sales rose by 3.3%.

The format that has suffered the most this decade is the mass market paperback.  Since 2010, units collapsed in sales and are down 46.4%. E-books, though they account for a lot of sales – 22.9% of all units old – dropped from being 25.7% of all units sold in 2015.  In fact, e-book unit sales have dropped every year since their 2013 peak, when 243 million units were sold.  Last year, only 179 million e-book units were sold.

Book clubs, fairs, and mass merchandisers largely account for the rest of the book marketplace.

So, as an author, you may be wondering what does all this mean?  Well, it certainly shows diversification in the marketplace works.  Just selling on Amazon is not enough, nor is being stocked at a handful of indies. Authors must make sure they have books available in all kinds of places – digital and brick.  Where possible, offer your book in multiple formats.  Consumers have a wide variety of preferences and tastes when it comes to how they consume content and where they purchase it.

Be everything to everyone – available everywhere.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Interview With Associated Press NBA Writer Brian Mahoney



As a successful sports journalist for the Associated Press, what tips can you share about what a good pitch to you and the media should look like?
Good access so the writer can get something besides what is being pitched. Tons of athletes and coaches have an endorsement deal or wrote a book, so it’s hard to do a story about that and make it newsworthy. But if I’m offered time with them to talk about other topics besides that, I’m much more receptive. And often, their story gets more attention.

As you reflect back on your career, do any particular events or stories that you reported on stay with you?
Jeremy Lin’s run of Linsanity with the Knicks in 2012 was pretty unforgettable, and the NBA’s work stoppage just before that was an important story because it meant so much to the fans and there were so few of us covering it. Michael Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction was fun. But I’d say covering the 2008 Olympic basketball team will probably always be my career highlight. Kobe and LeBron will go down as two of the all-time greats and a bunch of other Hall of Famers were on the team, and the atmosphere in China was great. Their first game was against the Chinese, and when Yao Ming made a 3-pointer for the first basket of the game, the crowd roar was about as loud as I’ve ever heard.

Brian, what advice do you have for those interested in pursuing a career in journalism and the media?
First, consider being a doctor or a lawyer instead. But if you really want to be a journalist, particularly in sports, know as much as you can about all of them. Everyone wants to cover the Super Bowl and you may know every football fact there is, but you’re more likely to be doing high school softball instead at first. For me, my first year at a previous job was Tiger Woods’ rookie year on the PGA Tour. I had barely ever watched or played golf, but suddenly the demand for coverage shot up, so I got myself involved in that and sort of figured it out. So, follow a wide array of voices and experts on social media so you can be a jack of all trades.

How did you break into journalism and what inspired you to enter the fray?
I always hoped there would be a way to work in sports but didn’t think it would be possible. Then my junior year at UConn, the Daily Campus had an ad in the paper seeking sports writers, and would have free pizza at a meeting. A buddy told we should go check it out because we needed an activity on the resume, and luckily I was to get a few assignments quickly and prove myself. From there, I got to cover a number of sports over the next two years and I was on my way.

You have interviewed a number of sports authors, including Hall of Fame athletes. Which books or players stand out in your mind?
It’s always fun when you get to talk to someone you watched as a kid, now that they’re away from the game and more relaxed. Michael Jordan, believe it or not, was never on the cover of an official NBA video game until after he retired. I interviewed him about that. I talked to Magic Johnson when a play was made about his friendship and rivalry with Larry Bird. They enjoyed talking about that stuff. Mike Krzyzewski, the coach, and Jerry Colangelo, the USA Basketball chairman, both wrote books after the 2008 Olympics, so it was neat to learn some details I hadn’t already known. And Chris Mullin, who now coaches St. John’s, was my favorite player when I was a kid, so it was a thrill when I got to meet him and then cover his Hall of Fame induction.

You have covered the Olympics, NBA Finals, NCAA Finals, and baseball. Which one is the hardest to cover -- why?
They all have certain types of challenges. The Olympics has the most obstacles with things like security, foreign languages, etc. Are your phone and internet going to work? Does the person you have to interview speak any English? But, it’s the most rewarding of them once you get everything all figured out. With baseball, you never know how long your day is going to be. You can start around 3 or 3:30 for pregame, then have a game that goes extra innings and next thing you know you get home at 2 a.m. and they have a day game the next day.

Have you contemplated writing a book?
Yes, I have. In fact at one point I thought I was going to do one. I had been asked by a company, and I started working on it but while I was waiting for all the necessary approvals from my company, they got someone else. The thing I realized then is how difficult it would be for someone like myself, whose average story is probably about 600-700 words, to write long enough. It’s like going from a 40-yard dash to a marathon.

What trends do you see going on in the media that concern you? Do you also see opportunities?
Obviously we all saw the recent layoffs at ESPN. I have a lot of friends out of work. So I think we’re all concerned. Players and teams have found ways to lessen the importance of the media by using their own writers and websites to provide (positive) coverage. But, I also think this last election and what’s gone on since has reinforced the importance of a professional, honest media that’s providing straight facts, so that’s encouraging.

Can you give hope to the fans of the team you cover, the Knicks, and tell us one day James Dolan will sell the team?
No, I cannot. To his credit, Dolan cares greatly about delivering a good product at Madison Square Garden, and the arena, entertainment, concessions and everything else are as good as you’ll find. But he’s terrible at owning a basketball team and makes poor decisions, such as firing good people too soon and sticking with the wrong ones too long. So, hope for the Knicks is hard to find.


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Why Some Authors Fail to Pursue Achievable, Productive Media Coverage



I’ve spoken to thousands of authors in just the past few years and have found that all too often authors fail to pursue the right media. I would love to inspire these writers to change their faulty approach and rethink how they should go about promoting their book.

For instance, I spoke with the author of a self-published book who told me he only wanted to go after TV. His book was a year old and he had managed to get one local TV appearance in that time.  I explained that national TV is highly unlikely – but that he should focus on the things that are achievable and useful.

He was angered that I had to essentially tell him he wasn’t TV-worthy.  In reality, I’m just the messenger.  National TV is not looking for what he’s selling.  I don’t make the rules.  I would rather not waste his time or money to pursue fool’s gold.  But my honesty was met with dismissiveness.

Authors write, in part, out of ego, but that ego gets in the way when it comes to publicity.  They think they warrant more coverage or deserve attention from a specific media outlet or certain type of media when, in fact, they should be thankful for the media that may actually want to pay attention to their book or message.

Authors should be of the frame of mind to do the following:

  • Pursue traditional, social, and digital media – don’t single out one type of media while ignoring the rest.
  • Hire a promoter if you can’t or won’t invest time to garner media coverage.
  • Look at all portfolios of media:  TV, print, online, radio and come up with realistic strategies to succeed in each area.
  • Be prepared to put more effort into areas where you are having success – and to move away from areas that yield little or no dividends.

We all want what we can’t have and we all have the right to dream and strive to achieve what seems just outside our grasp.  But we have the obligation to ourselves to get real and stop deluding ourselves into believing we should be doing something like pursuing TV when in reality we should be doing something else.

Authors should trust the professionals.  If I thought TV was a possibility for this author I would’ve offered it for a fee, but I didn’t feel taking his money to achieve nothing was the right way to go. Some other publicist will likely tell him what he wants to hear and take the money and run. I hate to see authors taken advantage of, but sometimes their ego leads them astray. They only want to hear and believe what they think is their destiny.

Book PR doesn't work that way.

Writers often learn the hard way that generating PR for a book can be challenging sometimes, brutally unforgiving, but it can be a productive process when you focus on what’s achievable and useful.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Interview with author KRISTEN ULMER



The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to do Instead


Kristen Ulmer is thought leader, fear specialist and former professional extreme athlete who radically challenges existing norms about fear. Named the best woman extreme skier in the world for 12 years and voted the North American most extreme woman athlete in all disciplines, Ulmer has spent a lifetime facing fear. She spent 15 years being labeled “fearless” by the outdoor industry, a designation she now realizes is not only impossible, but undesirable. Recognizing the deep misunderstanding we all have when it comes to the emotion of fear, Ulmer seeks to end our humanity-wide war against it, which will not only resolve many common, epidemic problems we face, but allow us the greatest chance to achieve our whole-mind potential. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street JournalThe New York TimesForbesNPRMoreOutside,and USA Today, to name but a few. Her book, The Art of Fear: Why Conquering Fear Won’t Work and What to Do Instead, will be released on June 13, 2017. Ulmer lives in Salt Lake City, Utah with her husband Kirk Jellum and their two savannah cats. For more info, please see: www.kristenulmer.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?    

What inspired me to write this book is this: as a mindset facilitator, I noticed most of my clients problems were being resolved once they healed their relationship with fear- meaning they took fear out of the basement and welcomed it into their lives as an honored and natural part of who they are. Yet everywhere I looked, were other facilitators, teachers, doctors and more, only seeking to help their clients put fear further and further in the basement. That action, while well intended, was harming a lot of folks. So I realized I needed to speak up about what I had learned, and speak up in a big way.    

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?    

The Art of Fear addresses the cause of our fear and anxiety based problems- the cause being the current way we view and deal with fear. At this time, there exists a humanity wide belief that fear is a hindrance which must be fought, overcome, or rationalized away-- and that emotional intelligence is our ability to understand our emotions, and ultimately control them.   Weaving in my own personal story as someone who was celebrated in the media for being great at doing exactly that, I outline how my successful "conquering of fear" ability had unfortunate side effects, and caused alarming, long term problems for me. I found out the hard way, that that effort is entirely the wrong approach for dealing with this strong, and wildly misunderstood emotion. Today however, I realize "emotional intelligence" could instead be our ability to feel and express our emotions in a mature and creative way. That shift simply changes, everything.  I give very specific, and fun advice on how to make this transformation, and why that effort can solve many of our fear and anxiety based problems. I also write about how forging a healthy relationship with fear is also a path to living your most magnificent life.   My audience is anyone who struggles with under-performing, burn out, indecisiveness, insomnia, depression, excessive anxiety, excessive anger, excessive fear, reoccurring injury or injury that won't heal, illness that makes no sense, and more.    

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 the way to deal with fear is the exact opposite of what they've ever been taught. And that if you start a fear practice, meaning you find a way to feel and honor your fear, that action is one of the best things you will ever do toward solving your problems, coming alive, expanding who you are, and going all the way with your time here on earth.   

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?    

Once you get started writing your book, if it was really meant to be (meaning you've figured out the right book to write) and you are on the right path, the process of writing it will become magical. And in my experience, easy.   For me, writing The Art of Fear became one of the best, most natural experiences of my life. Right up there with marrying my amazing husband. I even think it was better than the process of becoming a professional extreme skier. I wonder, too, if it feels about the same as growing, giving birth to, and raising a baby?    

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?    

There seems to be great support for authors who are seeking to challenge existing norms, or are willing to break up existing patterns. In today's rapidly changing world, thought leaders who are willing to step way outside of current belief systems, seem to be getting book contracts. But perhaps, has that always been the case?  

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?    

I am computer illiterate. There's that. Oh and I wrote the book while on the road. I wrote in Cuba, Hawaii, Mexico, Alaska, the Caribbean, at Burning Man. While that sounds ideal, I assure, it was not. I'm used to being a lady of leisure, so when all my friends were off having a blast I stayed in my hotel (or RV) typing away furiously with two fingers. While visiting Cuba even, I wrote 6 hours a day. Who does that?     

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?  

Here's the deal: Your relationship with fear... is the most important relationship of your life. If you don't have a healthy, conscious, considerate relationship with it, you don't have one with yourself. If you are at war with fear, you are at war with yourself.   But if you end that war, a war mind you that is unwinnable and being carried out in your unconscious mind and messing up your life in covert ways you often can't see, not only do so many of your problems become very manageable, and your life will start to make complete sense, but you will rise to a new level of whole mind potential.   Oh, and I tell some great stories too. It will be a crazy ride for you on at least four levels: a big picture understanding of why fear is showing up for humanity the way it is, my ridiculous, thought provoking, personal story of what it was like to be a professional extreme athlete, major ah ha moments about your own life, and wild analogies that drive everything home. Layers, baby, layers…  

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs