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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Interview With Author Rodi Szoke


Our Young Guardians: Seven & Two

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? One day, when my daughter was about three years old. She asked me why I had to lock the doors of our house at night. She caught me entirely unprepared, so I couldn’t offer an answer that wouldn’t have alarmed her. She left me standing there thinking about how unprepared I was to talk with her about difficult subjects. That night I thought about writing a story for my daughter as another avenue to share with her some key life lessons.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? Seven & Two is the first installment of the Our Young Guardians fantasy series. This is the story of a group of children that lived a long time ago and had to leave their families to join a quest against a dark army, against evil. Through their adventures, we not only learn about their struggles in that fight, but also how they faced the challenges of going through adolescence by themselves. We see them developing friendships, finding love, but also facing tough issues, such as addiction, discrimination, parenthood, etc. I think children 10 and up will greatly enjoy it. Lately, I’ve received communications from readers of all ages asking me about the next installment.

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? First, I’d hope they’ve had a great time reading it.  A message that I’ve tried to convey throughout the book is how important it is to teach our young ones what is truly important in life (friendship, love, helping others in need, to enjoy and take care of our world, etc.) If we do that, hopefully they will start to see others with their hearts instead of their eyes. We must help them become the pillars of the next generations, but we have to be careful not to make them grow too fast.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Let your heart take control of your writing. Once he is done, ask your brain for his opinion.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I am new to the publishing world, but I can say that nowadays are more avenues for authors to expose their art. Traditional publishing is still a very solid platform, but self-publishing and electronic formats are carrying the words of new and seasoned artists to places very difficult to reach before. I think it’s exciting.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book? Finding time to write was always a challenge for me due to my day job. It took me twelve years to publish this first novel, but I am right on track to complete and publish the second installment by year end.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? I believe this book is a well-rounded mix of fantasy, adventure, magic and love. If readers would like to see how common children fight for an entire world while growing up on their own, then this is the book for them.

Rodi Szoke was born in Mexico City but now lives with his family in Texas. His ancestry blends Hungarian and Mexican heritages across generations. He earned his bachelor’s degree in information technology in 1991 and has worked in that field ever since. Early in his life, Rodi developed a keen interest in fantasy and sci-fi adventures, making him grow into an avid moviegoer and casual gamer. Seven & Two is his debut novel. For more information, please see: https://www.rodibooks.com.  

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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

Which Social Media Should Authors and Publishers Embrace?



How often do U.S. Internet users access the biggest social media web sites?

You may be surprised that there’s only one where the majority of American Internet users go on at least once a week.  70% click on Facebook.

After that, the number drop by more than 50%.  Just 32% click on Instagram, followed by 30% for Twitter, 25% on SnapChat, 25% on Pinterest, 18% for Tumblr, and 17% on LinkedIn.

Obviously, these sites, in one way or another compete for your attention.  Some are unique and others are similar to each other.  The story didn’t say how many hours users spend on these sites or how often they go onto them, but most people appear to use their social media with greater frequency than a few years ago.

SnapChat, the latest to go public, is the newest of the big 7, having launched in 2011.  Facebook dates back to 2004 and is the oldest of the group.

Google+ has been a failure and doesn’t really make the cut, but Google’s You Tube is ever popular.  Over a billion hours of daily video viewing takes place on the site.  So how should authors and book publishers take advantage of what social media sites have to offer?

Social media can be an ally and enemy of the book world.  On the con side, all of these sites suck time away from authors who would rather write than market themselves.  These sites also steal potential consumers who could be using those hours of clicking to read and buy books.  Their free content directly threatens a pay-content model for book publishing.

On the positive side, social media allows for networking, advertising, and the promoting of authors and their books.  That is a valuable tool that continues to grow.

Authors and publishers continue to experiment with how to exploit social media to sell books.  Is it with advertising?  Digital book give-aways?  Blogger tours?  Author-created blogs or podcasts?  Do videos or posting of photos work better to sell books than online book reviews and interviews?  Really, it’s a little bit of everything, in varying degrees of percentages that work best.  Of course, a diversified social media portfolio can stretch and tax authors who have limited time, patience, or marketing skills to pull this off.

Social media is a big ego cesspool.  Everyone is diligent at posting and sharing, but not as good at digesting the barrage of content or taking an action step, such as buying a book.  The click-through rate for most tweets, FB posts, and YouTube videos is probably low.  The sell-through rate is even lower.  But all of this is a numbers game.  Throw enough out there and someone will buy.  It all depends on the quality of a quantity of posted content.  It also depends on the size and caliber of your connected network.  Are you hitting the right people with the right content, with a great enough incentive to share it?

You probably interrupted the reading of this blog post to respond to several intrusive texts or to dart off an email.  Communication invites more communication – but it can crush us.  Social media can be invaluable to promoting and selling books -- provided you use your time effectively and limit its usage, especially if other areas offer a more lucrative return such as direct marketing, speaking tour, traditional media or exchanging large email lists with those who can tell lots of people about your book.

so which social media should publishers and authors pursue? The one that produces, the one that you enjoy doing, and the one with growth potential. There is no singular formula that applies to everyone.

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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, March 22, 2017

Interview with author Kat Kronenberg


Dream Big


1.       What really inspired you to write Dream Big, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
Ten years ago at a symphony with my husband, my dream was born. The idea to write a book about a smile that would help encourage children and their families to live their best life filled with connection and kindness, hit me over the head like a 2 x 4. I have personally experienced a lot of heartache in my life. I’ve buried a brother, a sister, a brother-in-law, and both of my parents all very suddenly and at different times, and I think that is what forced me to write Dream Big. It was a way to turn my heart ache into something meaningful and to show people how to find meaning, hope, direction, and connection when life gets hard. The one beautiful constant, the one true connector I have found over and over again in my life in spite of circumstance has been the power of a “Big Belly Smile”. A smile that comes all the way up from your belly, through your chest, and radiates from your face a belief in yourself, your dreams, and “Something Bigger”.  

2.     What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
The book is about the power of possibility, showing us how the first caterpillar with 16 feet actually achieved her dream to fly. Napoleon Hill said, “If you can see it and believe it, you can achieve it.” Or Zig Ziglar, “If you can dream it, you can achieve it.” A tadpole with no legs can end up dancing and singing on the side of the stream. We too, no matter what age we are, can live our dreams. Walt Disney said, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” So Dream Big is meant to be shared and enjoyed by all age readers!

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?
The importance of their dreams and the power of their smile to help make them come true. Dreams are the heartbeat of our lives. They are where our passions flow from. Dreams are our hope and inspiration. They give us a reason to wake up in the morning. They show us which direction to go, what goals to set, what thrilling people to meet, etc. To sit at the dinner table or in the classroom and talk about everyone’s dreams, brainstorm on how to achieve them, people you can meet, books you can read, etc. I hope creates strong, lasting bonds that gets everyone out there to live their best life.

4.     What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Persistence. Read. Persistence. Critique groups. Persistence. Learn new things. Set new goals. Meet new people and celebrate every step of the process. Never see anything as a failure, but only an opportunity to learn and improve.

5.     What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I think the book world like all creative endeavors is always changing with the tide, but with children’s book I see the children driving the sales as much as the schools, libraries, and parents.
What the kids enjoy and want to read I think is becoming a great key to the industry.

6.     What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
I had a lot of real life happening for the 10 years I wrote the book. Planning two weddings for my adopted daughters, the birth of two grand babies, raising two amazing young men, and the loss of both of my parents separately in that time frame. I also was not clear for a long time besides the power of a smile on what the story was supposed to be about. I knew the specific animals I wanted in the story, but how or what type of book I was meant to write eluded me. So I wrote it every which way imaginable. I must have written 100’s of drafts over the years, with people, without, middle grade, 100 word picture books, in verse, and the list goes.

7.     If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
People should buy Dream Big to create lasting connection with those around them as they share the thrill of becoming the hero of their own story by pursuing their dreams using the animals—SHHH— secret from Dream Big.

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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

Take A Jounalistic Approach To Book Publicity



When I broke into the book publishing world nearly three decades ago, I went to work for a small press in New York City, straight out of college.  I was green but eager to contribute, especially when it came to what I had a passion for the news media.

Though my aspiration was to become a journalist, I found myself excelling in book publicity, the opposite of journalism.  I felt almost guilty at how good I was at promoting books to the news media, using my journalist’s brain to package and sell my authors to them.

Book publicity and journalism are connected at the hip, as one needs the other to exist. Promoters need the news media to cover their books; the media needs something to write about.  

The book promoter has a commercial agenda; the journalist just wants a good story.  The promoter spins, hides, or repackages the facts; the journalist values truth above all else. The promoter wants to sell more books; the journalist needs to sell more newspaper or magazines – or to increase ratings on TV or radio – or generate more online clicks to justify ad rates.  Together, they create a nice little tandem, book publicists and the media.

To be a good book publicist, think like the media. What do they want?  How can you present what you have in a simple but interesting manner? How do you tap into what the media is looking for while staying true to who you are?

Journalists want:

·         To be given a story idea that sounds new and fresh.
·         To be pitched quickly.
·         To feel you are being honest and straightforward.
·         Someone with relevant credentials who has something of importance to say and expresses it in an intriguing and clear way.
·         A scoop or an exclusive.
·         Someone who sounds like they can be readily available for an interview, follow-up questions, or to share any needed documents or resources to round out a story.
·         A good visual to complement the story.
·         People who have done some media and can speak in sound bites.
·         To hear a few good quotes and not PR speak or bullshit jargon.
·         To be treated with respect and reverence.
·         To cover a story that warns, helps, forms,  uplifts or entertains others.
·         A strong headline that gets people excited.
·         The highlights and don’t want to have to read a ton or check through a dozen links.

Anticipate what a media outlet wants to hear.  Target and customize your pitch to fulfill the needs of the demographics of their readers – listeners – viewers.  Say what’s important – then demonstrate it.  Show them why what you have is relevant, timely, or newsy.  Most of all, help them envision the segment or story, so their job is made easier.

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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, March 21, 2017

Interview with author Kristin Bartzokis


Diary of a Beautiful Disaster

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?  I realized I had message to share and voice that many people admired.  My family and friends had been urging me to write a book about my life with Treacher Collins syndrome for many years.  I wasn’t ready ten years ago to take on that challenge, but I finally felt that I had a variety of experiences from birth to the present that I could turn into a well-rounded story.  Most importantly of all, I finally had the courage to try.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?  My story is about growing up with Treacher Collins syndrome, a craniofacial abnormality that set me apart from my peers.  It details the mental, emotional, and physical tolls that reconstructive surgeries had on my life over the course of thirty-three years.  But it’s also about the strength and courage I had to have in order to conquer the obstacles placed in my way because of my syndrome.  I believe this story will resonate with anyone who has ever faced challenges and needed a way to overcome them. 

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 think one of the most important messages of this book is the importance of choosing to be strong in those challenging moments.  I think my story is laden with that message.  I am proof that perseverance, determination, and courage can turn a disastrous beginning into a beautiful life, and I hope that my readers understand these values can shape theirs lives too. 

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? If you dream about writing a book, do it.  Set a deadline and devise a writing schedule.  I told myself I needed to write 500 words a day but then changed it to 1,000 to allow for more editing time.  I have a full time job so I brought my laptop to work and wrote on my lunch break.  Then I continued writing at home after dinner.  Know that you will likely not have a life for a while, and that is perfectly acceptable.  The accomplishment of completing your book will be well worth the sacrifices. 

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I see inspirational stories taking the reins of the book world.  We’re living in a time when readers want to be uplifted by a story.  Instead of focusing on the tragedy that is happening in the real world, readers want to find comfort in the words on the pages.  I think the publishing industry is following suit with that.  They’re looking for the best stories that can leave lasting emotional connections with readers.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book? The greatest challenge I faced with Diary of a Beautiful Disaster was writing for a book as opposed to writing for a blog.  I had to slightly adapt my voice so that it resonated well over 50,000 words, while keeping the same vulnerability and honesty that my blog followers have come to appreciate.  I had to stay out of my own head in order to confidently come to the realization that I could find my voice and write a great book.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? Every person has noticed someone with a disability or deformity and wondered what that person’s life was really like.  But even if they had the courage to ask questions, they’d never fully understand what it is like to live with a physical difference.  My book, Diary of a Beautiful Disaster, closes the gap between curiosity and reality.  It is an honest, emotional rollercoaster of a read.  Just as quickly as the disasters break your heart, the triumphs mend it.  This book is a raw and beautiful story that will leave you inspired.

Kristin Bartzokis’s life was defined the moment Kristin entered the world. When you’re born with a facial abnormality such as Treacher Collins syndrome, you’re not the smart one, the funny one, or the pretty one; you’re the girl with the strange face and hearing aid. This made Kristin a warrior from a young age. She surpassed boundaries and crashed through walls, proudly accepting the challenge to stand out. Kristin, author of Diary of a Beautiful Disaster (KiCam Projects, 2017) resides in Central Florida and works in product development for a local attraction. Once a champion gymnast, she now focuses on running marathons. In her free time, Kristin can be found designing T-shirts, watching baseball, and blogging at diaryofabeautifuldisaster.com. for more info, please see:  kristinbartzokis.com

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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