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Friday, January 31, 2014

Can Authors Make Room To Market & Promote A Book?


Imagine living more than the life you live, where your mind wanders day and night into the worlds of before, of the future, of the never were, and of the never could be? Welcome to the world of the writer, a restless soul who is living a dual life – the real one around him, and the one of his creative mind. Is there room for a third life – that of the book promoter?

Whether you dabble in fiction or non-fiction, as a writer, you explore, you research, and you map out scenarios in your head, weighing possibilities with probabilities. The metrics of our scale of thought, as writers, are not measureable. Writers are constantly thinking, observing, analyzing, questioning, and probing. We don’t quite accept reality as it is, all while trying to accurately understand the fundamentals of the reality in which we exist. Promoting a book can interfere with that.

Authors will be challenged to promote their book based on obvious factors:

·         Time
·         Knowledge
·         Ability
·         Desire
·         Resources

But it may be that the biggest obstacle they have to overcome is themselves – their thoughts and creative energy are dedicated to living life fully and to passionately writing. Where is there room in their hearts to promote and market a book?

Marketing is about sales and money. Writers may want money but they value words, ideas, and the pursuit of truth. So, when given a choice, writers pursue the contemplative life, rather than the entrepreneur’s.

Think about it. When given, say, an hour to yourself, if not distracted by the realities of house chores, caring for others, exercising, eating, and a zillion other needs, will you spend time writing, researching, and editing – or will you spend time marketing and promoting your book?

Writers should come to apply the same approach to book publicity as they do to writing. The reward will be that what you’ve written will get discovered, and all that you hoped your book would do will start to have a chance to come true.

Your book won’t be found, unless it’s promoted.
Your book won’t be turned into a movie, unless it’s promoted.
Your book can’t be used as a calling card to generate consulting business opportunities or speaking gigs, unless it’s promoted.
Your book can’t be used to land a big publishing deal, unless it’s promoted.
Your book can’t impact the lives of others, unless it’s promoted.

In order to advance your writing career, see to it that you promote your book. If you can’t or won’t do it, hire someone. The potential benefits of book marketing are great; without promoting your book, the chances of failure are greater.

I understand the mind and soul of the writer and the publicist. It’s not easy to be either, and certainly hardest to be both. But in a world of specialization, the hybrid may find the most success.

Call upon your best skills and passion to promote your book, and soon you may get to live in the world you seek to create. 


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

How Non-Fiction Can Promote Fiction


Fiction authors find themselves challenged to promote their books, more so than non-fiction authors, especially when it’s their debut novel. Why? Non-fiction has many more avenues to promote to. Have a book about improving your marriage? You’d speak to groups, media, and others about your book. Have a romance novel? You are limited to bookstores, libraries, book groups, literary gatherings, and book conventions. But there’s plenty you can do to market and promote a novel, and the best way to do that is to have a non-fiction book to lay the groundwork.

It may seem odd that in order to promote one book you need to promote another, but that’s exactly what would help novelists.

If you write the marriage/relationship advice and how-to book first, you can promote it and then, when you release your romance novel, you can take advantage of the connections you made from the first book.

As an expert in relationships, your romance novel will then have more credibility. You aren’t just promoting an interesting story, but theoretically, an informed one. All things being equal, a marriage counselor of 20 years may tell a more believable and relatable story than a novice writer without such experience. You are perceived differently as a non-fiction expert, and that perception should work to your advantage when you seek to:

-          Schedule speaking gigs
-          Garner media appearances
-          Market your book to groups or organizations

Many authors write just fiction or just nonfiction and never cross over. But you may find you can get the best of both worlds by writing in both the real and make-believe ones.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Glimpse Into The The Future For Your Book


How Will Authors Battle A Language Of Irrelevancy?

Language is changing every day. We are using words today that did not exist a year ago, a decade ago, or a century ago. The process is accelerating as an outgrowth of our emerging global society, and the ever expanding world of technology. Soon, the books we write today may be unreadable to future generations. What we write today could be extinct before we even die.

Look at the references, metaphors, and analogies that we tend to provide. They reference the Internet, entertainment, sports, and technology. Prior generations referenced the military, political unrest, and mass production. Prior to that, the main reference was Biblical, or about nature and the environment, or the cycles of birth and death. Life is changing quickly, as are our books.

It’s only logical that people write about what they know, experience, feel, and think. But the pace of life has stepped up and the flow of change is faster than ever. However else that rapid change impacts our lives or the state of society, it clearly is the game-changer when it comes to what authors write about, how they write about it, and how readers interpret or come to understand and appreciate what has been written.

I’m concerned that by the end of this century, humans will have a tough time reading the books of today without some type of decoder.

The English language is already under threat by many forces and influences. Ebonics, Spanglish, and terms from other fields such as business and sports are transforming what we communicate to one another. The ever-expanding list of pop cultural references and the ever new terms coined by technology and social media are diluting the core of our language.

Nearly 7,000 languages are still spoken worldwide yet about half are endangered, as no more than 3,000 people speak any of each of those languages.

The English language is likely to live on for a long time because it is spoken and taught all over the world but the basis for that is the fact the US is an economic and military powerhouse. Should the US fall far behind other countries, especially China or India, our language will shrink in usage and it will be denigrated by an infusion if foreign words that will come about from globalization.

According to Ethnologue: 17th edition, English is the third most common language, trailing Chinese by far and Spanish by a much narrower amount. My concern, for our lifetime, is not that English will disappear but the version of English that had existed pre-Internet will become so bastardized that modern-day texts will be I recognizable by the 22nd century.


You may not notice it year to year, the way new terms sprout up, new uses of old ones come about, and how we slowly but surely transmit stories, ideas, and concepts that will not be understandable unless placed in a context. Our books will seem more foreign to people of 2097 than old English texts from 1297 seem to us now.

We constantly reference mass media – various celebrities, TV shows, blogs, and bits of information that will become meaningless down the road. To talk about Googling someone or Tweeting a video link seems so relevant today. Tomorrow it will seem like we’re talking in Chinese.

Medicine may keep us around longer. Science will sustain our planet. Technology will continually change how we do something. No one wants to negate the advances of society, but these massive changes that occur continuously will eventually erase any understanding of today’s primitive world.

Why is the current era so radically different from the future-to-be? Because tech spawns tech. We’ve gone from making a better widget to not needing the widget. Or we change it so much and so often that it is not recognizable. If a typewriter has turned into a computer, and a phone into the Internet, we’ll see wholesale changes across every aspect of life. Our books reflect the world we live in. If the world changes, so do books, both in content, words, and format.

Think of the parallel course that we are being taken on. If objects change shape, size, function, etc. – so do words, and the contents of our books change in proportion to society’s technological revolution.

Soon will come the game-changers – events, discoveries, or people that force our understanding and approach to life to radically be altered.

We live in a throw-away world. Our books and ideas are just as easily disposable. And it’s happening right now. Even as we document life with huge amounts of data, social media, books, and recording devices, our world of today won’t be understood, remembered, or even acknowledged some time in the not so distant future.


What is the he lifecycle of
·         Ideas?
·         Things?
·         Events?
·         Issues?
·         Concepts?
·         Inventions?
·         Words?
·         Values?

Will we be able to accurately understand and put into context what 2014 life is?

Will we be able to value or appreciate what we transcribe or translate?

Soon there will be:
·         More changes in our world and language
·         The speed of change will increase, menaing things will change even faster
·         There will be a continual evolution  of change while there will always be periods of revolutionary change
·         Vast population increases and demographic changes – altering our needs, ideas, and words

The future is more than mere shoe styles changing. People may not wear shoes or have feet. Or the shoe will be turned into mind bionics on steroids. Form, function, purpose – even existence – will be challenged and radically altered. The question is: How fast will these things happen? How fast will language expand to keep up with new products, events, and schools of thought? How fast will humans change – size, age, ability, view? Will we hybridize into some other form, merged with machines or drugs? Will books be able to keep up?

Don’t get me wrong. The future may not be bleak or destructive – it may be a utopia or a nirvana that we can’t imagine. But in any case, the future is sure to look at the past – our present – and struggle to recognize how their world morphed out of ours, the way we wonder how we evolved from the caveman or the ape. And the books of our day that so carefully reflect the mood, culture, and intellectual capacity of our society shall disappear due to irrelevance and to being unrecognizable. This won’t happen in a million years, or even a millennia, but perhaps a century – or sooner.

Our world today is viewed with disdain, confusion, and concern by the Amish. We all will be viewed as Neanderthals or the Amish by future generations.

It’s ironic that through technology, it seems our words will be preserved more permanently. The digitization of our books could ensure our books will physically outlive their usefulness.

If, through science, we have breakthrough discoveries for diseases and ways to combat the challenges of life, and new ways we can experience life, combined with technology’s ability to alter the way we learn, communicate, travel, or experience every facet of life, we will change and change and change to the point where it is beyond recognition, on a scale never before seen. 

And it will change over and over and over again -- and again -- and again. And again.

There are always pockets of industry that are forgotten, ignored, or undiscovered. The world before printed books is little known to us. The world before 5,000 or 10,000 years ago is barely represented today. Prior to that, the average human lumps 8000 BC with the dinosaur era.

We can’t help it. It’s human nature to ignore, forget, or misunderstand history. But soon our history won’t be understood or referenced. Sure, people centuries from now will still recognize the US Constitution and the Civil War and certain watershed moments in our history, provided America remains a free nation – but no one will understand the life of how we lived in 2014 – nor care. They simply won’t understand our language nor the culture that created it. And they won't be reading any books from today.

So if the planet's extinction is seemingly inevitable (sun burns out), humanity's extinction is inevitable (war, disease, asteroid, alien invasion, robot takeover?), and your book's functional life is likely limited, how will you make your book of today useful and relevant to today;s reader AND readable in the coming centuries?

Will you focus on things that we hope or think will endure -- strong emotions like love, as well things like beauty, nature, and power -- or will we write about things that could be subject to great change due to technological advances and scientific evolution?

Perhaps nothing is immune from the changes our world will come to endure. Nothing remains out of the reach of time, the laboratory or the evolving nature of humanity.

You may say “no way!” or “so what?” And either seems plausible. Whether you agree or not, the world’s accelerating change will likely leave our books in a wasteland. The thought sobers me.

But all that said,  writers write and they write what they know and feel and think. time will tell what has true lasting power. It can't be predicted what will be of importance to the future. Maybe faster, longer-distance space travel (beyond our galaxy) and time travel will come to be and then the future generations will come back to pay us a visit - -and read our books.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Beware The False Prophets Of Book Publishing


Even if you are not deeply religious, you no doubt have heard of various prophets.  Most major religions have them, and almost all of the religions have not recognized any modern-day prophets.  This raises many questions, which relate to publishing.  Writers are the closest thing to prophets… they declare ways we could or should live but don’t necessarily say their writings are God-delivered or even God-inspired.

So, which prophets should we listen to – and for how long?  Are certain prophets relevant for an era and then new ones come to reinterpret the world and advise accordingly?

In the days of religion going back centuries and thousands of years, competing prophets spoke out.  How did we know who spoke for God and who for themselves?  Who was to say who was right and who was wrong?  Why did history record the words of some prophets, but not all of them?  Are the recordings accurate and complete?  Have they been translated and then redefined over the years in a proper manner?  Did some recordings of prophets disappear?

What about prophets who came before we could record and preserve their words?  Perhaps prophets’ words are only meant to be heard for a certain people and time and not forever.

How do we know if someone proclaiming to be a prophet today is genuine and not merely crazy, self-serving, or a liar?  Are today’s prophets those who influence us – politicians, pro athletes, CEOs, celebrities, and newsmakers?  Are they our authors, who seek to use words to sway your views and actions, or to at least get us to question things and spur a dialogue of change?

Why do we listen to the so-called experts?  Who is really qualified to be an expert?  What is the shelf-life of an expert?

If I was to see a doctor, I’d want someone in the sweet spot ages of 45-50 or so.  Such a person is presumably young enough to be open to learning new things and is old enough to take a seasoned and mature approach to my care.  Someone right out of med school is too green, too techy.  Someone older has skipped over the tech revolution and likely is jaded by having “seen it all.”  Now, I could be totally wrong on how I filter for a doctor.  Age isn’t everything.  Their experience, credentials, success rate, knowledge, availability, bedside manner, and acceptance of my insurance also weigh on my decision to use him or her.

Book publishing has many false prophets.  So many experts out there, as well as people in important positions of power and influence, are not true prophets because:

·         They are not really qualified to speak about something
·         They speak with a bias of reward (they only promote what betters them)
·         They communicate with a bias of perspective (they only know so much and not everything)
·         They speak with ulterior motives, some of which may directly conflict with your needs
·         They may identify  a problem or issue but really don’t offer a solution or their solution is not viable or is worse than the problem they seek to fix
·         They are ego-driven and not speaking from a pure heart

A lot of advice that is shared in the book industry is by people who suffer from many or all of the above.  Most industries are the same in that regard.  There are different situations, people, or times – there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to book publishing.  There are many ways to write, edit, promote, market, publish, sell, and design a book.  Run from the prophet who says they know all and know better. Run from the one who says a problem can be resolved in four easy steps.

Maybe I am a false prophet when it comes to book publicity.  I only know what I know, from school, seminars, listening to others, reading books, experimenting with clients, and the principles of communication and human nature. I may know more than many, but not more than all – and no one knows anything near everything.  I, too, have a bias; I work in the PR industry.  When will I tell you to not hire a book publicist?  Although I give advice to you to promote yourself, I’d be out of business if I didn’t have authors hiring me, right?

I try to give honest, comprehensive, correct, and relevant advice, strategy, and resources to help all who are on the writing and book publicity journey.  I know a number of people, for any number of reasons, will hire a book publicist and specifically hire my firm, so I don’t have to say anything that sounds like an infomercial.  My hope is you value this blog and see it represents smart thinking and personable insights.  In my case, merely attempting to be a prophet will be beneficial to you and me.

But, have your eyes wide open – and your wallet shut – when listening to our publishing prophets, know-it-all gurus, get-rich-quick schemes, and self-anointed experts.  They only know of profits – and not prophecy.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Different Book Sales Styles To Consider


I met a woman at a book publishing conference over the summer who really impressed me.  She explained how people tend to fall into one of four types of learners and that once you know how to teach someone—based on their type—you are able to truly help them.  These learning types tended to vary from one another by a certain degree, enough to the point that one would not be confused with another.  Imagine if her work was used to help dissect the four types of consumers and how to sell to each type once you’ve identified their type?  Imagine if you could write books in a way that keeps in mind the different learning styles out there?  Imagine if the world could be chopped up and labeled so easily?

I tend to doubt the accuracy of any system that attempts to categorize and neatly separate people.  There are always exceptions and there are often people who could fall into multiple categories.  Still, that said it’s worth exploring if there are different types of consumers out there when it comes to books and if there’s a way to figure out how to sell to each of these types.

People buy books for all kinds of reasons and some are obvious.  They like the genre or the particular author.  They read a positive review.  A friend recommended it.  A book club chose it.  They are buying a gift for someone.

But, within those reasons, choices still need to be made.  What influences those choices?

Some will say it comes down to things like title and cover design or price or book length.  Certainly these things factor into a purchasing decision, but what else appeals to or turns off potential consumers?

I think we buy books that we think:
We should read because they are popular
Will be just like something else we enjoyed
Will be so different from our usual fare
Will have key elements such as sex, adventure, or fantasy
Will be so different from the life we live
Will be useful
Is needed in our ives

If some of these things swirl around the heads of consumers, how do we, as authors, appeal to the consumer in a way that we convince them that we have exactly what they need, want or desire?

You have to appeal to multiple push-buttons of consumers.  One line of your back cover copy might appeal to the person looking to suspend reality while another line may describe something that helps the potential reader identify with.  And another line may reference some other sales point.

People will be sold to in different styles.  Some pay attention to the facts while others buy on emotions.  For some, content is king and for others it’s all about price and perceived value.  Most people just want things made easy and convenient and will pay a premium for this.  Others like to ask questions and mull over the least risky of decisions as if they were Hamlet.

You can say forget all of this and just sell the way you know, to your comfort level, to the type of consumer you can relate to.  You are willing to risk losing sales if it brings you closer to winning over a certain percentage of sales by playing to your strengths.

Maybe a book should just sell itself.  A reader should be able to determine in one minute whether a book is for them, based on key factors such as price, title, subject matter, writing style, and layout.  But in order to get people to explore these things, one must call attention to their book.  Your ad, blog post, tweet, Web copy, and press release must immediately get one’s attention and make them feel connected to your book.  Choose your words carefully, for depending on what you say—and how you say it—you may appeal to many consumers or none at all.  It depends on their learning style.


DID YOU MISS THESE GEMS?

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Mass Communications Disconnect

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

Guest Post: Four Ways to Create Stronger Female Fantasy Characters


by Andi O’Connor, author of the new novel, “Silevethiel” (Purple Sun Press).

The fantasy genre is extremely popular with people of all ages. That's fine, except that in fantasy, women often play such roles as serving as the hero’s love interest, or the weak heroine who constantly relies on others to protect her, quickly come to mind. Too frequently, women are used as an ornament in fantasy stories. Rarely do we see capable, independent female characters who defy these overused stereotypes. Here are four ways to create stronger women characters in fantasy:

World Building
One of the most important aspects of writing fantasy is creating a unique and believable world. This carries forward into helping build stronger female characters. If the society created is more open to the idea of female equality as a whole, the potential for your characters is huge. Have fun with your world creation and take it past the obvious choices of putting one or two women in leadership positions. Be creative. Even the most subtle elements such as tradition in naming can open up wonderful avenues for your female characters to grow beyond their customary roles.

Reveal
Something commonly seen in fantasy is a woman disguising herself as a man in order to fight in a war. At first glance, it seems rather empowering, but it’s actually quite the opposite. Having a character conform to society’s expectations teaches your readers – especially minorities and those viewed to be ‘different’ – to do the same. Don’t let your woman fighter succeed only because of a disguise. Let her abilities speak louder than her gender and have others come to accept and respect her for who and what she is. Of course, accomplishing such a feat wouldn’t be easy in any world—real or imaginary. Let there be opposition. Take advantage of the opportunity to showcase her struggles. Let your readers see what she does to overcome the obstacles she faces. How does she handle her fellow soldiers, superiors, or family members who view her as inferior? How are the few men who support her treated by their peers? Asking yourself these types of questions will open up an infinite amount of ways to strengthen and create depth in your characters—and not just the women!

Clothing
At first, this point may seem a tad weird, but it’s not! How many times do you pick up a fantasy novel, look at the cover, and see a woman – holding a sword or other weapon – wearing something entirely impractical and often a paper’s width away from being inappropriate? You guessed it—quite often. Yes, the artist has creative license and the covers aren’t always completely accurate representations of the characters described in the book, but there certainly are connections and similarities. Dressing your women fantasy characters – particularly female warriors – in what is so commonly seen objectifies them and automatically prevents them from being taken seriously. And rightly so. No one with even a shred of common sense would charge into battle wearing the medieval equivalent of a string bikini. They would be dead in two seconds. Be inventive with armor and clothing creations, but also be practical. Respect the role of your female character. If you would dress a male in the same situation in a full suit of armor, then do the same for the woman. Let your female characters serve a greater purpose than mere eye candy.

Growth & Development
One of the best ways to create stronger women in your writing is to allow them to grow beyond the gender stereotypes. Start with a character that fits her position to a ‘T’. Perhaps she’s a lady of nobility – meant to produce a long line of sons. Perhaps she’s a bar wench there to entice the male customers because of her curves. Whatever her background, put her in a situation where – either by choice or necessity – she can evolve beyond the proper or subservient woman she was groomed to be. Allow your readers to see her transformation first-hand. Give some insight on what she thinks of the woman she becomes and how others handle her change.

Women can be, and do, so much more than simply fit inside the complacent molds our society has designed for them. Treat your female characters as people—not as decorations. Creating stronger female characters with more depth will open up a wonderful array of avenues for both you and your readers.
 
Andi O’Connor is the author of “Silevethiel” (Purple Sun Press). Connect with her at www.andioconnor.com/.


DID YOU MISS THESE GEMS?


18 Questions You Need To Ask To Make Your Book A Success



Why do I search for meaning #online?



Are authors sexy enough to sell books?



Which books are worthy of PR?



Will Your Book Be Relevant – Or Read – In 2114?



Interview With Leading Book Marketer Brian Feinblum



What An Author Is Worth



65 Websites For Writers & Publishers



Mass Communications Disconnect



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, 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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.