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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Client Who Feared Publicity


I have had a number of clients over the years who have befuddled me.  They invest in a big campaign only to prove uncooperative and na├»ve about the process. I have had authors tell me they refuse to blog or use Twitter.  Others turned down major media opportunities because they simply didn’t want to make time for them.  Other times I had clients who thought a media outlet wasn’t worth doing even though it was big or influential.  But no one takes the prize for the client with the strangest attitude than a CEO of a Fortune 500 company I worked with a number of years ago.

Though he wrote a book on a subject that had already been covered to death by the media, he had great credentials and an interesting background.  For his NYC trip we had a schedule that any author would kill for – except him.  Interviews were scheduled to take place with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, Fortune, AP and four major national business television shows. Just prior to his trip we got a glowing Miami Herald review, where the book ranked second on its business best-seller chart.

The Chicago Sun-Times also came out with a glowing review. The author had just done a 16-interview satellite TV tour and a 15-interview radio tour that included 10 nationally syndicated shows, each reaching hundreds of markets. The campaign was poised to explode.  The book was climbing best-seller lists for NYT, WSJ and Amazon.

The CEO was a first-time author but he was savvy. He was in the news previously for things pertaining to his business so we assumed he loved doing media and understood what was needed to have a successful campaign.  He didn’t want media coaching yet he was fearful of how the media would treat him or portray his book.

He had cancelled several interviews and looked like he might cancel a few more. Luckily, he didn’t.

The PR would benefit him personally, the company, and his book sales. He said he was investing a half-million dollars into the marketing of the book, though only a fraction of that was for our PR campaign.  You would think he would be a willing participant for PR but he surprised us by what he declined to do.  He turned down more media than most authors can garner.

It turned out he just had too many hang-ups, fears, and time constraints to do all the media we got for him.  His expectations were a bit odd.  But it all just goes to show you that anything can sabotage a PR campaign – even your own client.  It’s one thing when you can’t generate media interest for something you know is media-worthy, but it’s another when your client thinks the media is not worthy of him.

I haven’t quite run into anyone like him before or since, but I see mini-versions pop up here and there.  So here’s my advice:  Don’t enter into a PR campaign if your greatest concern is that you’ll actually get the media attention you hired someone to get for you.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.




Thursday, August 30, 2012

37 Ways To Get Paid For Your Words


If you have great ideas, excellent writing skills, and a creative approach to your craft, you may be wondering just how you can cash-in on your genius and hard work. Well, wonder no more. Here is a list – in no set order -- of at least 37 ways to whore your wordsmith talents:

1.      Advertising copywriter
2.      Press kit writer
3.      Website content provider
4.      Write TV and radio commercials
5.      Ghostwriter of books
6.      Author poetry, short stories, children’s books, and essays
7.      Be a script doctor
8.      Write catalog copy
9.      Book jacket copywriter
10.  Business plan writer
11.  Grant writer
12.  Annual reports writer
13.  Technical writing
14.  Paid to blog, tweet, post on FB, and other social media for others
15.  Write white papers
16.  Write text for educational manuals
17.  Write training manuals
18.  Write for business, trade, scholarly or specialized newsletters/journals
19.  Co-author a book
20.  Write scripts for theater, TV, film, or radio shows
21.  Write book reviews or product reviews
22.  Write jokes
23.  Write captions for art pamphlets and photo publications
24.  Articles for journals and newsletters
25.  Write eulogies and obituaries
26.  Speech writing
27.  Write personal or corporate histories
28.  Write government reports
29.  Create polls, surveys, and questionnaires
30.  Direct-mail copywriter
31.  Brochure writer
32.  Write entries for encyclopedias
33.  Resume writing
34.  Webinar content writing
35.  Software content writing
36.  Writing content for online videos
37.  Self-publish a newsletter or blog for a subscription fee and/or advertising

You can also be a researcher, editor, indexer, writing consultant or writing teacher. Or maybe you can be a translator. So many possibilities! Or you can write graffiti on the walls of public restrooms – but it doesn’t pay much. Other options? Write comic books, horoscopes, greeting cards, or fortune cookie sayings. Or write letters to your mom.

Of course, the best way to utilize your writing abilities is to pen the great American novel, write a great non-fiction book, and pen magazine and newspaper articles. Good luck in however you choose to apply yourself.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

1,000 Ways To Find A Literary Agent


Hundreds of thousands of authors self- published their works last year, many by choice and many more because they couldn’t find a book publisher. If you want to get published, you need a literary agent and there’s no better resource to find information on over 1,000 literary agents than the new 2013 Guide to Literary Agents by Writer’s Digest Books.

The book makes it easy to search for agents who specialize in certain genres. Each entry features contact information, a website, types of books handled, terms for representation, and the various writer’s conferences they attend. Submission tips are also provided.

The first 119 pages reveal useful information about how to find and work with a literary agent, including a 14- page FAQ. There’s also a glossary of terms, sample query letters, and a list of writers conferences.

The $30 paperback includes a free one-year online subscription to writersmarket.com. You should also check out  http://bit.ly/QteCom and follow @writersdigest on Twitter.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

8 Ways To Attract Useful Twitter Followers


McGraw-Hill recently sent me a copy of The Tao of Twitter by Mark W. Schaefer, who also wrote Return on Influence. I like the sub-title of his newest book: Changing Your Life and Business 140 Characters at a Time.

The book offers useful tips on building followers and using Twitter as a competitive advantage. His credentials include consulting and teaching and he was named by Forbes magazine as one of the top 50 social media power influencers of the world.

So how does one gain useful followers? The first thing you should do is do not look for a shortcut by purchasing them. He writes: “Unfortunately where corruption can occur, corruption will occur, and Twitter is no different. There is a cottage industry dedicated to bullying accounts of blank followers and then selling them to unsuspecting buyers for instant “credibility.”

In no set order, here are four tips, based on Schaefer’s advice, to find the followers you need and want:

1.      Find Twitter users by location at LocalChirps, Tweetie, and TwitterGrader.com.

2.      See Wefollow.com to find people associated with certain interests or keywords. FilterTweeps allows you to search through Twitter bios based on combinations of words and locations. You can also search based on the size of one’s followers. Tweelow.com has a directory of Twitter members by categories.

3.      For a list of Twitter lists check out Listorious.com

4.      To find people by keywords or location, look at the advanced search function found not on the main Twitter site but at https://twitter.com/#!/search-advanced.

Lastly, here are four great tips, word-for-word, from Schaefer:

5.      “Once you are on Twitter for awhile, you will notice that people will place you on public ‘lists’. There are generally categorized by a special interest or geographic location. For example, I might be on lists for ‘marketing experts,’ ‘bloggers,’ or ‘business educators.

“If you click on somebody’s name and view her profile, you can see every public list she has created and every public list she is on. Dig into these lists, and you will probably find a goldmine of interesting people to follow.”

6.      “At the top of the main Twitter home page, you will see an icon called “Discover.” If you click on that, you can see ‘Activity.’ This will show new people that your followers are following. There’s a good chance these would be good contacts for you, too.”

7.      “Also look for lists that follow your key stakeholders. For example, if you find a competitor that keeps lists, you might want to check it out and ‘steal’ his followers. All of these lists are public information, so there are no ethical problems with this at all.”

8.      Tracackr is a tool that allows you to find and follow people who are influential in your space. It allows you to identify the ‘authorities’ in your industry who can mean the most to your business or your client’s.”

Schaefer’s blog can be found at www.businessesgrow.com and he can be followed on Twitter @markwschaefer.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What Do You Do With A Bad Review?


They say there is no such thing as bad publicity. What about a bad book review? Here is what I advise clients to do when they get a bad review:

1.                  Find a sentence or phrase that is positive -- or at least not negative –and use that as your pull quote.

2.                  Ignore it and move on. Be motivated to get positive media.

3.                  Reference that you got reviewed by such and such publications and list the one with the negative review but don’t share the contents of the reviews. Don’t place a link to them on your site.

4.                  Do not complain to the reviewer that wrote the negative review. They won’t change it and you might need to win this person over for your next book.

5.                  Weigh what the reviewer said and do a quick reality check. Is any of what the person said true? Can you learn anything from their feedback?

6.                  Don’t give the bad review too much credence, especially if you received many other reviews that were positive. Reviewers are not Harvard-tenured surgeons – some have the credentials of opinion-stating and nothing more.

7.                  Realize that reviewers do not break you. There is a lot more media out there and ways to promote a book. Do not let a bad review be an excuse to stop trying to market your book.

8.                  Tell your friends you got a bad review and need their help to counter it by posting favorable reviews on their blogs and Web sites and on bn.com, amazon.com, etc.

Most importantly, learn to live with criticism, even if you think it is unjustified. The world simply has many tastes and preferences and you will never be able to appease everyone. If you get a lot of bad reviews then it may just mean your book is simply not as good as you believed it to be. So what? You will write an even better one next time!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Barnes & Noble Is Still Playing Catch-Up


When I saw the recent NY Times headline: “Barnes & Noble Is to Sell Its E-Reader in Britain,” I could not believe that it had not been selling it there already. What was this company thinking?

The UK has intelligent book-reading consumers of tens of millions. It seems to me like it is another state, just like Canada is seems like an extension of the US. England should sell American products, such as the Nook, especially if Amazon is selling Kindles there.

I just don’t understand why the leading bookstore chain in the U.S. did not see England as a ripe expansion opportunity sooner.

What is next? Will Apple sell iPads in the UK or Toyota sell cars there too? Oh, wait, they already do. Duh! B&N needs to sell books and Nooks everywhere. If that Mars spaceship indicates life is on that planet, B&N better start packing. It needs to be everywhere. Otherwise, it will be nowhere.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Monday, August 27, 2012

2013 Writer’s Market Is Better Than Ever


The 2013 Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition is out and for those who are in the early stages of their writing career, I could not recommend a better introduction to the world of publishing than this book.

The annual staple of wannabe authors and freelance writers lives up to its reputation as being the place to start when looking to find a book publisher or a magazine (to submit articles to). Writer’s Digest Books is charging $50 for the paperback book, which at first seems high, but the information contained is well-researched and essential to the writer seeking to market his work, so a price tag of $100 wouldn’t phase him.

The book contains an abbreviated list of literary agent contacts, an expansive list of book publishers and a substantial list of magazine contacts. Further, it lists interesting things, such as awards, key publishing organizations, and a chart of what one should expect to get paid for various freelance services such as ghostwriting a book, editing a manuscript, or designing a Web site. The first 180 pages are filled with essays on topics of the day, including: publishing contracts 101; creating an author platform; finding freelance opportunities online; blogging basics; and how to improve your presentation skills.

I have been reading this book for nearly 25 years and still appreciate the information provided.

One useful thing that comes with this book is a scratch-off code that allows the purchaser to get a free online subscription for one year to www.writersmarket.com.

What the book does not contain is essays on the bigger issues facing writers today – the decline of publishing advances; the increased competition for book sales;  the fall of the bookstore; the digital wars that are making ebooks sell for just 99 cents; how authors are giving away so much free content out of desperation to find readership. But that is the ugly side of the business. No one needs to write about that; writers will discover their own truths soon enough.

For writers looking to commoditize their words and ideas, the best resource is still Writer’s Market. The 2013 edition reinforces that writers still have thousands of publishers and publications to sell their words to. So start the query-letter process now!

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

21 Book Marketing Tips


Here are 21 factors to take into consideration when it comes to marketing your book:

1.                  How much time and money will you be able to dedicate to consistently marketing your book? Will you hire another to help you or do it all for you?

2.                  What are you hoping to accomplish with your marketing efforts – How many sales do you seek?  Are you marketing a brand and persona – and not just a book? Do you have other things to sell aside from your book?

3.                  Identify who your customer is, from the ideal to the general to the least likely. Then think about how to find your potential customer – where do he or she live, hang out, and shop?

4.                  Think about offering discounts and special deals, when necessary, but don’t lead your marketing efforts by selling on price alone. People still need to want or need what you have to offer – even if it’s free. Tap into why people will buy from you and sell them based on those reasons, least of which should be price.

5.                  Find those who need your book. Then look for those who might desire it.

6.                  Market to places or in ways where little competition exists.

7.                  Diversify your efforts so that you are hitting multiple markets and approaching them in a multitude of ways. You can’t make it by hitting just one market – such as just bookstores, or one location, such as your hometown, or by appealing to one type of buyer.

8.                  Go where you have already had some success. Milk it and exploit it until you find what used to be profitable is no longer.

9.                  Find out where your competitors have been and look to clean up some scraps.

10.              Go where the cost to market is minimal but the payoff potential is great. Cost-effective marketing is not just the marketing vehicle that costs the least. There is a ratio to figure out cost effectiveness – investment cost vs profits reaped – but you will need to experiment to find what works for you.

11.              Find those who can market to others – let people work on your behalf – but only reward them with fat commissions and don’t pay upfront selling costs.

12.              Market where there is opportunity – timing, location, price – but be prepared for things to dry up quickly.

13.              Market to others in a way that they would be receptive to. You need to come across as friendly, familiar and reliable. Think like the person you are marketing to – determine what they are concerned with and how they would like to be pitched.

14.              Market in ways or to places where you don’t need any kind of permission, legal approval, or bureaucratic authorization.

15.              Plan ahead with a timeline and allow for plans to get delayed, changed, or foiled. You need a plan of action but you shouldn’t expect to stick to it 100%.

16.              Copy what works for others in your situation.

17.              Look to model what others outside the book industry have done – learn from how other industries, products and services are marketed.

18.              Make your marketing efforts consistent – you need do something daily to help your cause.

19.              Don’t worry if you try something and it doesn’t deliver. Measure results, live and learn, and move on.

20.              Sample everything. If it works, do it on a bigger scale, but don’t start big.

21.              Balance your budget of time, money, and resources between marketing (paid sales efforts) and public relations (free news media exposure).

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Friday, August 24, 2012

I Can’t Find A Great Summer Read


You would think that someone in the book industry would be able to find the perfect book to escape with while on vacation, but I found a trip to Barnes & Noble the other night to be fruitless.

Sure I could have gone off of reviews or recommendations of friends and colleagues, but I wanted to just discover a book. I must have looked at a hundred books, scanning the shelves in desperation to find a book I could love. I was met with disappointment.

I am sure there is at least one good book in this store, but I just could not find it. I looked at biography, erotica, thriller, and photography books. Nothing made me feel I had to have it. I wanted to like what I put in my hands, but cover images and titles didn’t lure me in and jacket copy didn’t close the deal. Flipping through pages to randomly capture an undeniably great sentence didn’t work either.

In my sampling of books I just did not feel I was being offered something new. I can see why Fifty Shades of Grey has captured the top spots on best-seller lists for months. Not only is it a testament to the social barrier these books have broken, but it shows that nothing out there is unifying people to rally to its support. Even books that are selling well by industry standards couldn’t fill up a baseball stadium of readers. Where is the great book?

Maybe there are some exceptionally good books out there but their covers and descriptive copy fall so short that consumers cannot get past the surface to dig for the fruit. For all I know, there could be some real gems out there but when you judge a book by its cover, you get nowhere.

I might spend my upcoming vacation doing what I love more than reading or anything else – writing. I am 1900 pages deep into a book on ethics and 220 pages deep into a book on marketing, but perhaps it is time to try my hand at fiction.

I suppose my fiction would be talky and preachy, sprinkled with questions. I might be able to get some good dialogue going as well but the time the story takes place would have to be over a number of hours or days. I would find it hard to stretch out beyond that. I would like to just examine a snapshot in time about a character and intensely explore his or her self-destruction.

Maybe my characters would also read a really good book. I would just be hard pressed to name
it.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dozens Of Booksellers Online Not Named Amazon


Are there other e-retailers for books aside from bn.com, amazon.com, walmart.com, and the ones we all have come to know? Sure – here are some of them:


A Book Company, LLC
Academic Pub/Shared Books
Apple
Audiobooks.com
BOL
Books on Board
Booksense/IndieBound (ABA)
Centraal Boekhuis
Cokesbury
Computer Manuals Ltd
Cyber Read
Diesel eBooks
Direct eBooks
eBook Mall
eBookshop
eBrary
eChapterOne, LLC
Entourage Systems, Inc.
Fictionwise, Inc.
Google Books
Interead Ltd
Lulu Press, Inc.
Lybrary.com
MBS Books
Overdrive
PayLoadz, Inc
Powell's Books
Sentient 6/MedUSA, LLC
University Readers
Wizpac, Ltd.
Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.