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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Best Way To Pitch Your Book To A Media Outlet



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If you had enough time to do something right, such as contacting a major media outlet about your book, how would you go about it?

First, research the outlet. What has it covered in the past on your subject or related subjects?  Who at the outlet was involved in the coverage – a specific writer, talk show host, or blogger?

Second, what are the demographics of that media outlet – who are they trying to appeal to?  Look at their advertising kit to know the answer.

Third, who does that outlet compete with? For instance, if it’s a national newspaper, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Washington Post go head–to-head daily for stories.  They each think about and watch how their competitors cover things.  Keep that in mind when pitching your story.

Fourth, think about the ideal timing to pitch an outlet.  Do you pitch during a busy time or a slower period?  Do you have a tie-in to the news cycle, a holiday, an anniversary, or an honorary day?

Fifth, what are the key story angles that you want to pitch and exactly how will you present these ideas to them? Will you do it by phone, email, package, in person, or via social media?  Will you include other elements other than that you have an author and a book?  For instance, do you have other experts, witnesses, or supporters to include in the story?

Sixth, do you have some interesting props or on-location items, to share with the outlet, to show how a cool story could unfold if done at a particular place?

Seventh, can you give your story a sense of urgency and answer the question:  Why cover this; why now?

Eighth, what stats, facts, or hard numbers can you share to clearly support your story?

Ninth, do you have strong testimonials for your work? Can you get someone of name or stature to stand by you?

Tenth, do you tap into what people really care about – wealth, religion, health, politics, relationships (sex), family, life, death, power, humor, beauty, or nature/animals?  You must get people to feel what you say, and to relate on a human level of whatever you want to share.  Give it some drama and draw people in so they can get emotional.  Will they be angry, sad, happy, motivated, or fulfilled?

There’s no perfect pitch or ideal situation to convey your story idea to a media outlet. The media  constantly are looking for a great story and it’s clear that if you can provide something of value, something that matches what that outlet tends to cover and something that seems timely, unique, and helpful, you’ll have a greater chance of convincing the media to cover you.


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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.

Interview with Red Wheel/Weiser Executive Director of Business Development Bonni Hamilton





1.      What do you love about working with authors and being around books? What’s not to love?!  Books change people’s lives in remarkable ways – I love being part of that even peripherally.

2.      How important are books in an era saturated by readily available content? Books are as important as they’ve always been – maybe even more so in this day of quick and easy content.  But, I’m also not a purist in the sense that I’m fine with however someone wants to read a book – on their digital device, on their phone, in print format – it makes no difference to me just as long as people read. This does not mean I don’t love the tactile feel or smell of a book in my hands, I adore that sensation!

3.      Bonni, what did you do before entering into a career in the book industry? I’ve always been in publishing, for the most part.  I started my career at Boston’s alternative weekly, The Boston Phoenix.  Like similar weeklies – The Village Voice comes to mind – it no longer exists unfortunately.  I also spent several years at Salon.com in various capacities in both their San Francisco and New York offices. Publishing and content have always been an important part of my life.

4.      How is Red Wheel Weiser growing as a book publisher?  We’ve recently purchased a new company that has allowed us to move into the business category – Career Press (more on our other categories below).  Additionally, we distribute titles for several smaller publishers and that business has been growing consistently for us year-over-year.

5.      Which imprints are part of them? What genres do you publish in? Here’s a description of our house along with the categories we publish into:



6.      What exactly do you do at Red Wheel Weiser? I’m the executive director of business development and wear many hats.  Luckily, I look ok in hats!  I’m responsible for all of our marketing and author relations, and I spearhead our digital relationships and all that goes into that aspect of our business.

7.      What have been some of your recently published hits? Crystal Gridwork by Kiera Fogg; The Art of Breathing by Danny Penman; Kahlil Gibran’s; Little Book of Life by Neil Douglas-Klotz; Your Guide to Forest Bathing by M. Amos Clifford,  What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don’t by Ann Marie Sabath; and Negotiating with a Bully by Greg Williams.

8.      What advice do you have for struggling authors? Marketing is as important as writing your book.  While many people don’t gravitate toward self-promotion, it’s incredibly important to get to that place where you can talk about your work in ways that promote your message and excite your readers, and keep them coming back for more.  Don’t leave marketing details for after your book is written, create a comprehensive marketing plan when you write the outline for your book and develop the plan alongside your manuscript.  You will be much happier in the end not leaving this important aspect to the last minute (or to chance). 

9.      What trends are you seeing in the book world? Print isn’t dead or the independent bookstore!  Ha!  In all seriousness, I think everyone from small to large firms has finally boarded the “keyword” train and we’re all getting better with SEO and book discovery. This doesn’t only help the online enterprises but also helps their bricks and mortar counterparts.  There’s a lot of noise out there and finding a way through is worth every effort.

10.  Which of your titles might make for great holiday gifts?
For the spiritual seeker on your list: The Book of Rumi translated by Maryam Mafi or C.S. Lewis’ Little Book of Wisdom.
For the vegan or aspiring vegan: Protest Kitchen by Carol J. Adams and Virginia Messina.
For the practicing witch: Blackthorn’s Botanical Magic by Amy Blackthorn or The Witches’ Almanac, Issue 38.
For the business exec: Serve Up, Coach Down by Nathan Jamail or The Leader Architect by Jim Grew.

For more information, please consult: www.redwheelweiser.com

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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.




Monday, December 10, 2018

A Podcast On Book Publicity That All Authors Should Embrace



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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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How authors can sell more books

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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.


DON”T MISS THESE!!!
How authors can sell more books

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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.