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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Is It Time For Book Engineering?


If books can help us solve problems, shouldn’t authors get together to agree on which problems should be made a priority to write about?  Or do we let the current system of letting writers choose what to write about stay in place, even if it means society doesn’t benefit as much?

Imagine a more organized society where authors are encouraged, rewarded, and assisted – provided they write on approved topics within certain parameters.  If it’s determined that we need fewer books on bullying and abortion, but more on guns and the environment, what incentives would we give to those who choose to write on these topics?  To give such incentives and assignments, is that a form of government censorship -- or is it merely a smart and fair way to rally our nation’s writing resources?

If the country needs more nurses, private practices and the government would start paying higher salaries, increasing training, and doing a better job of recruitment.  If the nation needs more books on a topic, what concerted effort – and by whom – has or can be made to encourage writers to cover it?

Maybe we need an app that does matchmaking, lining up what books need to be written to writers who are willing and able to write them.  Simultaneously, should we have incentives not to write about overdone or useless topics?  Who is to say that nothing new can or should be written on such areas?

Further, should we encourage more non-fiction books to be written over fiction?  After all, shouldn’t writers first inform us of what is before we explore who we could be?

On the other hand, could fiction at time be more valuable instructive, and interesting than non-fiction?  Books don’t just convey or preserve information, but rather, they explore ideas, fantasize alternative universes, prosper theories, and help us dream.

But of the million-plus new books released each year, we probably could use a little more of some kind of books, and fewer of others.  Further, we need different areas and angles of an issue explored deeper, further.

Maybe we need books that discuss how to solve real problems, from cancer and terrorism to environmental meltdown and government corruption.  And we need fewer books about star athletes, celebrities, and criminals.  But that becomes a judgment call of personal preference.

Could we really have a way of guiding writers to cover underserved areas, the way we incentivize people to move and work in Alaska, or to take up a job that’s dangerous?

Perhaps.

Some writers will write about anything if there’s enough money flowing their way. Others will feel like they are serving their country by stepping it up.  Some writers will become enraptured in an egotistical thing, to overcome a challenge.  Certainly other writers will be curious to see if they can uncover something new or different on the topics offered.

Maybe we need a kind of Peace Corps approach to books, where we identify needs and then recruit writers to fill the voids.  Writers can come to the rescue and put a spotlight on an issue and raise awareness for it.  One book will beget others and before you know it, you have a dialogue going.

So what would we focus a group of writers on?
·         Books that explain things well on topics like historical events, how to make money, and how to           live a full life
·         Books on important things – health, parenting, peace, and government
·         Stories that truly inspire our youth
·         Books that promote literacy and education

We need books on everything and anything, but we could do with fewer books about Kim Kardashian or Bill Cosby.  Engineering the world through books can be powerful and it might require an organized effort but realistically, we can’t architect or quarterback which books get published.  As long as a book adds value, it should be published.  Alternative viewpoints, contrarian ideas, new takes on old information, and fresh voices with unique perspectives deserve to be heard.  We can’t have a quota system for books. Book eugenics may not serve us well.

What we need to organize, however, are higher standards to be imposed for those looking to publish a book.  Whether it’s self-publishing or the Big 5, we need to demand writers adhere to certain quality controls.  Books need editing, fact checking, and so many other things before they are worthy of being placed in the hands of others.  Some books just don’t measure up.

In the coming year I’m sure there will be some books that debut with a lot of success and take us by surprise.  There will be great books that come out that we didn’t anticipate and couldn’t even imagine would exist.  No amount of planning can guarantee such books would get published and maybe if quotes were in place, some of these books wouldn’t ever see the light of day.  That would be a shame.

Writers are free to pursue their heart and what they believe is important.  Perhaps that’s the best way.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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, December 30, 2014

We Should Have An Author Convention


Authors Could Use An Invention Convention

I attended my son’s fourth-grade all-day event, the Invention Convention, just before the holidays. It was great to see what the minds of nine-year-olds and ten-year-olds can come up with for an invention. His was something he dubbed The Dish Pro, a dishwasher for the single dish.

Other kids offered inventions that addressed practical solutions to real problems. Some of the creations addressed things their grandparents struggled with, including arthritis. Others solved things the kids came across in places like the supermarket.

It all got me to wonder, what if authors could have such a day where they each display their book and get to explain what it is about?

There are book fairs and even Book Expo that will show some authors at a booth, hawking their books, but they are in the minority. Let’s have a show dedicated just to authors, where the only exhibitor is an author, available and ready to explain what their book is about, why they wrote it, whom it’s for, and why you should read it.

One might say the Internet is the virtual convention and each author website or Facebook page is the booth, but nothing beats face-to-face contact with live authors. To grow the book industry we will always need to have human interaction – at a convention, at a store, at a public event. I hope one day there will be an Author Convention. Would you attend or participate?


DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New


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, December 29, 2014

Ready To Collect Book Publishing Trading Cards?


The man considered the father of the modern sports trading card, Sy Berger, just died at age 91. The longtime Topps baseball card executive helped design the structure of trading cards that continues today with a formula of player image on front and statistics on the back.

Anyone who collected these cards in the past six decades should give a shout-out to him.

News of his death inspired an idea for book publishing. Why don't we create trading cards that celebrate great authors, great books, major publishers, key publishing individuals and significant moments in publishing's history?

There can be s children's version and an adult one. They can be stored, you guessed it, in a book.

When I was a kid of the 70s and a teen of the 80s, I collected baseball cards, Wacky Pack stickers, magazines, newspapers, coins, stamps, TV Guide covers and things that no one even thinks about today. We collect gadgets now. We went from the physical to digital and now collectibles exist in the clouds.

But I think if we honored the publishing world with trading cards it would be a fun way to educate and inspire the reading public about the history of the book and its social, political, and financial significance in the world today.

Who knows, maybe one day kids will trade a baseball card for an author card!

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New


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


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Which Rules Should Writers Break?


I came across a book, The Rules To Break: A Personal Code for Living Your Life, Your Way by Richard Templar, and saw him define 90 rules that we tend to live by – and then showed a counter approach to each of them.

He turned “Give as good as you get” into “You get what you give,” and “Take one step at a time” becomes “If you want big things to change, you have to make big changes.”  “Stick to what you’re good at” turned into “Stretch yourself” and “Don’t sacrifice yourself for a relationship” becomes “It’s the compromises that make relationships worth having.”

By the end of the book you don’t know what to believe because you begin to get both sides to everything, with pros and cons to each.  The truth is both and neither versions are correct, depending on your circumstances and the world you live in.  Slavery was accepted 150 years ago.  So was riding a horse everywhere.  Times change and so do our values and our approaches to life.

But the book got me thinking.  Just what are the rules governing authors, publishers, book promoters and editors?  Whatever they are, do you embrace them or do you see the contrarian point of view?

Certainly, acquisition editors and book publishers operate under all kinds of rules, theories, fears, and desires.  Their psychological frame of mind influences decisions of what to publish and who to promote.  What if they operate under delusions, lies, errors, myths, and distortions?  What if they don’t have all the facts or misinterpret the data?

We all operate under some notion of how to act, filtering all that comes to us through a prism that probably is outdated, incomplete, even biased.  It’s time to examine and question the assumptions we operate under.  Perhaps we need a good mind cleansing.

·         What worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. 
·         What used to be true may no longer be correct. 
·         What was dismissed under another standard may not be embraced. 
·         The people who used to be seen as not important or relevant may suddenly be those you should connect with.
·         Test your facts, update your resources, and simply question the way things have been.  Did they change?  Should you change?  What needs to be altered in your attitude, activity, and style?

2015 is approaching.  Time doesn’t stand still.  Things change faster than ever.  Everything is global, instant, and technology-driven.  We live with words, ideas, and fantasies for a living.  Don’t be afraid to change but be fearful of not changing.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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, December 25, 2014

Theory of Everything Film Can Inspire Authors


I just saw Theory of Everything, the new movie about the internationally loved scientist, Stephen Hawking, famous for his book, A Brief History of Time. I enjoyed it on a number of levels – how this brilliant man overcame his life-threatening but disabling neurological disorder; how his wife was so strong to persevere through decades of marriage to a man that burdened but amazed her; and how all of life could possibly be explained by a scientific theory. The movie is worth seeing, but it could have used less PG and more R. Maybe I am so used to gratuitous violence of Showtime and HBO that I am getting conditioned not to appreciate a story unless it has someone naked cursing and beating the crap out of another.

For authors, many can relate to a single-minded quest to uncover the truth behind the world we live in.  Many writers spend their lives thinking, postulating, exploring, researching, analyzing and theorizing on how we should live life and how to understand what its meaning is. I am on such a journey.

Authors look at life and put a microscope to it, looking to find a way to solve its puzzle. We make the mistake of thinking life is solvable and explainable. Maybe it is not. Maybe there is no formula to explain it all. Would we even know when we discovered the ultimate truth – and would we accept it? Do we have the capacity to find and embrace a complete truth of who we are, why we are here, and where we are heading?

Different industries and areas of study approach the topic form their perspective – physicists see the world through their prism; theologians another; artists another; and so on. There may at times be an overlap in how different groups see the world, and at times they express completely polar opposite viewpoints from each other.

Are words even adequate to uncover and express some ultimate, big-picture truth? Maybe we don’t have the right tools to measure what we need to understand in order to draw any meaningful conclusions. This has been the case throughout history. Every generation gets smarter though the advances and experiences and technological breakthroughs of prior generations. We think we are so evolved from the Middle Ages, let alone the days of cave men, but imagine life in a hundred, a thousand or in ten thousand years, after so many more discoveries and experiences take place. Whatever truth we even think we unravel now will likely pale in comparison to the truth that will present itself in the future.

But while we wait to think through things and come up with a singular truth to explain our existence, it will be helpful to spend a few hours digesting Theory of Everything, for at the very least, it’s a theory of something, and sometimes that can be good enough to sustain each of us who are on a journey.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New


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, December 24, 2014

Book Buying Patterns In US Are Surprising


New York City Ranks Low On Book-Buying

New York City residents, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer report analysis published in The New York Times, spend less than the average Americans on books.  It is hard to believe, given it is the cultural and publishing capitals of America. How could Houston and Phoenix outdo NYC?

According to the study, Seattle residents outspent all on books. San Francisco was up there. So were Philadelphia, Boston and Minneapolis.  Scoring low was Miami, as well as NYC, San Diego, Dallas, Atlanta, Cleveland and LA.  NY is apparently tops when spending on status goods, but when it comes to buying books it ranks low.



DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New


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, December 23, 2014

Print Books Showing Growth!



According to a recent report from Publishers Weekly about print book sales registered by Nielsen Book Scan, the number of printed books sold may rise this year for the first time since they began falling in 2009.

Through the first 47 weeks of the year, 2% more print book units were sold in 2014 vs. 2013.  The good news is the final five weeks (holiday rush) of last year were up substantially from prior years.  If that trend holds true, 2014 could be a solid year for print books.

Interestingly, the growth in print during the holiday season is coming from younger readers.  Juvenile non-fiction holiday sales jumped 36.9% last year from 2010 and juvenile fiction surged 24.3% in the same period.  Books make great gifts and if people are buying them for our youth – or if youth buys it for their fellow generation – this could be huge.  Could the click-and-surf generation embrace print books enough to sustain a longer-lasting, more substantial recovery for print books?

Santa, all I want for Christmas – and Chanukah and Kwanzaa – is to see the book world grow.  We all benefit from a healthy and vibrant book marketplace.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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, December 22, 2014

New Book IDs 25 Manners That Matter Most


Over the years I’ve read through a number of books that explain how we should act when it comes to manners and etiquette.  I recall reading Miss Manners and Emily Post and Ann Landers and Dear Abby.  Some reveal attitudes, mores, styles, ethics or religious-based tenets on how to treat one another or act in a given situation.  Some were detailed on how to do the small things while others focus on the core of how we really interact with fellow humans.  I had the pleasure to skim through a breezy new handbook, Manners That Matter Most: The Easy Guide To Etiquette At Home And In The World by June Eding.

Such a book will always be needed because people don’t always do what’s right.   We have become self-centered, selfish, or ignorant and unaware of the world around us.  The younger generations need to be told the rules of the road and older people need reminders of how to acknowledge and treat others.

Manners aren’t necessarily about how to dress or speak, though they could be, but rather they are about what we say and do and how we treat people around us.  Are you talking loudly on your cellphone in a restaurant?  Are you cutting people off on the highway?  Do you gossip about others?  Do you fail to clean up your messes?  Do you take other people’s schedules and circumstances into consideration?

“Having good manners means thinking about other people and treating them with kindness and respect,” writes Eding.  “It doesn’t take much, but small actions make a big difference.  In the course of a busy day, simple gestures reassure the people we interact with that we are taking them into consideration and doing what we can to make things more pleasant.  For those we know and love, employing good manners solidifies our relationship and shows others how much we appreciate them.

“These small kindnesses make our lives easier.  They take the anxiety out of living in a world where we are constantly meeting new people and encountering new faces.  They help make our relationships at home, at work, and among friends more rewarding.”

She says practicing good manners does not have to be a chore or complicated.

“Simple actions make a big impact,” she writers.  “Show up on time (or apologize sincerely if we’re late), serve someone else before we serve ourselves at a table, or hold the door open for someone if their hands are full.  These actions form a portrait in someone else’s mind of who we really are: A considerate, thoughtful person.

“Having good manners means understanding that we all want respect and kindness, and striving to do what we can to ensure other people are treated well.”

So how do manners apply to our modern life that increasingly revolves around on-demand technology?  Do we behave poorly at work or home because we have zeroed in on a handheld device while shunning human contact?  Do all of the work-at-home employee change how and when work is done?  Are global communications and business dealings impacting how we treat each other?

She says we shouldn’t take those we love for granted nor should we skip the pleasantries with others, such as saying “please” or “thank you.”  She offers tips on how to treat family members and roommates with respect (don’t yell across the house) and reminds us to do things like chores, acknowledging the efforts of another, and not to talk to people with barriers, such as through a bathroom door.

The section on table manners, from how to hold a fork to banning devices, are useful reminders, as are her tips for hosting a dinner party, how to be a considerate guest, and how to have engaging conversations.

Behaving properly is not always easy but can be quite rewarding.  “Manners help us make the most of those moments,” she states. “They remind us to keep a cool head when a minor annoyance arises, refrain from criticizing someone, or hold back from going on at length about our frustrating day.  With these interruptions set aside, we can enjoy a more meaningful encounter with others.”

The main portion of her book centers on 25 habits or principles, including:

·         Take the time to be polite – don’t rush
·         Express gratitude the right way
·         Offer to help and provide a kind word or gesture
·         Listen carefully and often
·         Teach by example
·         Be a person of your word
·         Respect other people’s space
·         Be appreciative
·         Smile and be friendly
·         Get back to people promptly
·         Know when to apologize meaningfully
·         Keep your problems to yourself
·         Don’t boss others

One maxim that stuck out was “treat yourself well.”  She said: “I don’t practice bad manners when it comes to how you treat yourself” and “think of yourself as another person.”  She notes if you keep scolding or berating yourself you will not be in a strong position to practice sensitivity toward those around you.

The concluding principle, Don’t Assume Honesty Is The Best Policy, is one I will need to pay more attention to.  She warned that sharing your opinions is not always welcomed, writing: “Having good manners doesn’t mean you have to lie or be dishonest.  It just means respecting another person’s feelings and putting those feelings first.  Your honest opinion might save someone from some serious trouble, but if your words will harm, insult, or injure another person, skip it.”

But don’t skip this book!  It is a pleasant reminder of how we should be treated and treat others.  If we all read this book we’d hopefully find a little more effort in acting better towards one another.  As the new year approaches and you reflect on what you want to change, eliminate, add, or accomplish, think about how you act towards others.  If you improve upon your relationships and social interactions you will contribute to a better world.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Will Television Be Dead By 2030?


Netflix made a claim this month that broadcast television will be gone in 15 years.  My reaction went from “impossible” to “maybe” to “how do we prepare for that?”

Streaming or downloadable TV is on the rise.  Netflix, Amazon and other companies have been creating original content that can be downloaded to a device of your choice, from a smartphone, iPad, laptop and desktop to a television set.  You could spend all day watching video via YouTube as well.  Is this what will replace TV?

Television will not disappear.  Every form of media that’s come out to the public has remained, but its relevance has eroded.  Print, the oldest form, including books, magazines, and newspapers are still around.  So is radio, television, and the Internet.  Same for movie theaters, musical concerts, plays, and dance. 

But things change.

None of these things are quite as significant as they used to be, in part, because they compete with one another.  There are more producers of content, more forms of content, and ways to communicate than ever before.  But nothing goes away completely. 

For instance, Comedy Central and late-night television shows have not replaced going to a comedy club.  Watching Peter Pan on TV doesn’t stop others from seeing it acted out on a live stage. Watching big-screen movie with other fans has not been replaced by video on demand.  People still read The New York Times and People magazine.  But there’s no question that each industry and format has suffered a loss of paying customers.

Now Netflix believes that multi-billion-dollar brands like The Today Show, Fox, ESPN, or 60 Minutes are just going to fade away?  I don’t think so.

People do experience TV differently than they used to. First, the quality of network TV and cable has decreased, but the pay-per-view channels are still fantastic.  Second, many people don’t watch things as they air, but rather, they DVR things to skip commercials, download on demand when it’s convenient for them, or use their TV set to stream a movie from Netflix, watch amateur videos they found online, or tune in to free and paid webinars.

Still, at the core of it, people want good content from reliable, respectable brands that presumably use professional editing, production, and trained staff to create a quality presentation.  Plus there are live events worth watching from sports and news to daily entertainment like David Letterman or Jon Stewart.  There will always be television in that there will be scheduled and unscheduled video content available to be viewed at home on a big screen.  But people will also watch on mobile devices and the choice of content will explode.

But TV needs its anchor or foundation of channels that have standards in place to ensure a show meets certain production values.  Further, we need producers and editors to filter and cleanup what is shown.  We don’t want amateur night every day.  It’s nice to have the option to view new talent or unsanctioned content, but I still want my Law & Order: SVU, Homeland, Mad Men, Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the Mets, etc.

Those who “run” TV today will still be players in the medium, but newer players like Amazon and Netflix no doubt will play a bigger role.  TV has evolved many times.  The 80s was the explosion of cable, the 90s was pay-per-view and pay channels like Showtime, the 2000s was Blockbuster-Netflix transition, 2010s is DVR, streaming, and now original non-network content from Netflix, Amazon, etc.  The 2020’s will look different as well.

Content, in all of its formats and ways of deliverability, is alive.  In fact, we have a lot of content.  What we need is better quality content, a global editor/librarian to track, catalog and review it, and a way for certain standards to be adopted by anyone creating content.

Some content moves from medium to medium.  For instance, Superman went from comic books to television to movies to remade TV and new movies. A concept can live on in all formats – plays, blogs, books, etc.  So anything that gets created in one format, could be translated into others, thus a single creation may get more exposure than ever before.  On the other hand, a new TV show or book may get buried by the avalanche of competition within its own medium and against the collective body of content out there in all forms.

The future content creator has many opportunities and obstacles awaiting him.  He went from having to impress an agent or a producer or publisher to now having to impress investors and consumers in order to launch content.  He or she will do so with millions of information sources to compete from. 

The future of the media will come down to how it can be consumed by new consumers.  Parts of the world aren’t wired for anything.  At least 15% of the world is physically dark digitally, due to a lack of power towers.  If you get them on board, you just found one billion readers, listeners, and viewers.

Next, find people who will pay for content.  Plenty of people pirate, cable, buy black market content for cheap, or just take advantage of what they can legitimately get for free online or the library.  If we can convert some freeloaders, we’ll add hundreds of millions of consumers.

The next issue is global.  Each nation seeks to export content and have it translated so others will buy it beyond its borders.  The US creates and exports a lot of content.  We’ll need to do more of that while places like India and China will continue to develop their own content and then to export it to us.

Lastly, literacy, at least for books, newspapers, and magazines is an issue.  One in eleven American adults are illiterate.  We could generate more content sales if we can just get people to read.

TV won’t be dead in 2030.  By then there will no doubt be new power influencers and media brands, new ways to share content, and new forms of content.

Maybe in 2030 we will have:

·         Exposure to more overseas channels, beyond the BBC
·         TV that’s instantly transcribed and available for download to be read or listened to
·         Television shows that are acted out in theatre right after they air
·         TV that instantly dramatizes and acts out a hit book – faster than film companies adapt books into movies
·         Ways to alter shows as they air, where you can insert your own character or watch a version with something different, such as a show’s white characters are now black or some cast member who is not as attractive as someone else is replaced
·         Old shows are re-aired with new endings
·         Classic shows are updated to reflect today’s times.  For instance, Michael Brady is a computer programmer, Jerry Seinfeld is a CNN talk show host, Archie Bunker works for Uber, and MASH takes place in Iraq

Who knows what TV or anything will be like in 2030, but I’m sure of this:  These will be a ton of content out there – and only a fraction of it will be very good.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New


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


Friday, December 19, 2014

Donations To The Humanities Are Up



Only one in $20 donated in 2013 went to the arts, culture, and the humanities, but the 16.66 billion dollars represented a boost of 7.8% from the prior year.  The Wall Street Journal reports that religious organizations and causes get the most donations, accounting for nearly one in three dollars donated.  Over 100 billion dollars flowed to religion last year.  Education received half of that amount.

So which sectors get the most donations?
1.      Religious
2.      Educational
3.      Human Services
4.      Foundations
5.      Health
6.      Public Society Benefit
7.      Arts, Culture, Humanities
8.      International Affairs
9.      Environment and Animals

One may wonder which is more important – saving lives or merely improving them?  Should more money be given for life-death matters – or should it be invested in improving the lives of others?  Should donations merely benefit a few people in a significant way or many, but on a lesser level?

For the arts, humanities, and culture, I can see many ways donations help museums and institutions to thrive or survive.  There’s no end to what can be done to service the needs or desires of the population.  Just look at books.

We could donate money to help libraries, museum exhibits, and organizations to provide more books, resources, and support staff.  We could buy books for the underprivileged, hire tutors to address literacy, and fund writers’ grants.

16 billion and change seems like nothing, considering what our government spends money on.  One billionaire, like Michael Bloomberg, could single-handedly fund what was given last year for the arta, books, and cultural groups – and still have billions left over.  Maybe that’s what we should do – get a new billionaire each year to invest in the arts and then find another to fund the following year and so forth.  He could pay for all of the books consumers bought from Barnes & Noble this year  - and still have billions of dollars available to fulfill his whims.

Have you contributed to the arts and humanities?  What are you waiting for?  Below are the most common reasons high-net-worth households gave for opening their wallets in 2013:

74.9% believe their gift can make a difference
73% received personal satisfaction from giving
66% like to support the same cause/organization annually
63% want to give back to their community
62% gave to groups they volunteer at or serve on the board for
50% give because of political or philosophical beliefs
45% seek to remedy an issue that affected them or those close to them
44% gave as a spontaneous reaction to those in need
40% gave because of religious beliefs
40% donated to honor another person
34% gave to earn a tax break
33% gave out of a desire to set an example for future generations
29% gave when asked

Maybe we can take a page from this playbook and use it when it comes to book sales.  Let’s rewrite the donation reasons and turn them into bookselling strategies:

1.      Convince others your book can make a difference
2.      Show them they’ll receive satisfaction from reading
3.      Get readers used to buying the same type of book over and over
4.      Show them how your book gives back to the community
5.      Have them buy because of a political or philosophical belief
6.      Show how the book remedies some aspect of their life – or the lives of those close to them
7.      Have them buy your book on impulse

It’s worth a shot, try it.

I’ll leave you with this:

The Wall Street Journal said 70% of those polled said they’d take an action (donate) after seeing a friend’s social media post about making a donation.  SO the key is to get your friends to buy your book!  But you already knew that.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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

Interview With Grammarly Head of Online Marketing Yuriy Timen


1.      How are people using Grammarly? Grammarly is the most advanced automated grammar checker out there. It is a web application that is currently used by four plus million people around the world. Students use it to write stronger essays, theses, and college applications. Teachers are using Grammarly as a 24x7 supplement for grading students’ work. Professionals use it to get instant feedback on the accuracy, impact and credibility of their English writing in a variety of disciplines – including legal, healthcare, marketing, technical and journalism. Grammarly has also been an equally powerful tool for job seekers who can use it to perfect cover letters and other related communication with potential employers. Non-native English speakers use Grammarly across a variety of these use cases as well as their everyday written communication like emailing.

2.      Is our use of grammar getting worse as a society? I think the use of correct grammar has been on the decline because of how connected the internet has made us. We communicate more information with more people in less time. As a result, our grammar is being sacrificed when texting, emailing, and sending a Facebook message. There are also more English speakers in the world than ever before with nearly two billion people. As more and more people are learning English, the difficulty is collectively mastering it. The key to solving this will be bringing proper grammar to people in an instant and informative way.

3.      Why was the site created? Grammarly was started in 2008 by our founders, Alex Shevchenko and Max Lytvyn, both English language learners with the mission to improve lives by improving communication. We want Grammarly to be an easy way for students, professionals, job seekers and English language learners to become better, more accurate English language writers and help them learn and understand the rules of grammar. Well-written English is critical to learning and achieving better grades, attaining a job or better position in one’s profession, and can help non-native English language learners reach their goals.

4.      You conducted a recent study about how one's writing skills impact his or her career opportunities. What did you find out? We recently reviewed 448 freelance professionals' profiles in eight categories on Elance, an online staffing platform, and summed up the results in an infographic. Our goal was to determine whether accurate, or inaccurate, writing in a freelancer's personal profile is related to that person's credibility, hireability, or pay. We found that the best-reviewed freelancers across all categories are those with the least writing errors per 100 words. Also, overall better writers tend to earn more money per job particularly in the fields of engineering & manufacturing, finance & management, legal, and sales & marketing. It is important to remember correct grammar pays off!

5.      Any expansion plans for 2015? We have some exciting plans for 2015 that include bringing Grammarly everywhere you write and perfecting our algorithms. Our goal is to use machine learning and deep Natural Language Processing expertise to create the most accurate automated proofreader that’s available 24x7.

6.      What could be done to improve the area of employing good grammar? A lot of people use tools like Grammarly to grammar check their work. Whenever you have individual questions, there are helpful blogs and resources like Grammar Girl. Besides that, good grammar is like playing a musical instrument. You have to keep practicing to remain proficient. English is my second language and, besides using these tools, I have found that reading and keeping a journal daily has drastically improved my grammar.

7.      If English is too hard to learn, should we just switch to Spanish? English, Spanish, French; languages all have their learning curves. Grammarly is focusing on the most widely used and impactful language: English. I’m very proud to be a part of Grammarly’s efforts to provide an easy way for students, professionals, job seekers and English language learners to become more effective written communicators.

DON’T MISS: ALL NEW RESOURCE OF THE YEAR

2015 Book PR & Marketing Toolkit: All New



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