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Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Blizzard Humanizes All Of Us – Even Dogs


There’s nothing like a good snowstorm to literally clear the air.  When a big one like the Blizzard of 2015 hits the Northeast it doesn’t just wreak havoc and cause chaos.  It actually causes calm and quietude, albeit briefly.  It puts us on the same page, cleansing our busy lives, forcing us to pause.  For the first time in a long time I found a way to embrace, even love snow again.

As a child living in an apartment building without a car, big snows didn’t mean what they do today.  As an adult homeowner with a driveway and a busy, scheduled life. I of course worry about cleanup, andmaneuvering around piles of snow, getting to work, avoiding dangerous road conditions and hoping to avert a power outage.  But I realize none of it is in my control.  Time to just cede power to Mother Nature and embrace, rather than fight, what comes my way.

I’ll still have to shovel, clean my car, and work around the storm – but I will also allow myself to play with my kids, make a fire, and hunker down with some Netflix-presented fare.  I’ll also read a book.

Most holidays, vacations, or days off are planned for and usually involve family fun.   But snow days come randomly and force us to go nowhere but the limits of our home.  We hunker down and peer out the window, thankful we can wait it out and not have to battle the elements.

On Sunday, January 25, I became aware of the impending storm, one in which the mayor of nearby New York City predicted could unleash a record snowfall.  All of a sudden I got both anxious and excited.  I decided Id prepare for it by going food shopping – and then I'd just let the snow fall where it may.

In the early evening at around 5ish, I drove to Stop and Shop and discovered my neighbors were on the same page as me.  Luckily the store was stocked up on all essentials like milk and my real needs – chocolate and BBQ chips.  People acted sanely and decently even though a bit of fear and tension was in the air.

No one wants to come home empty-handed and everyone wants to think they’re pro-active and are doing something of importance.  We should control what we can, but never really seriously think we can control much.

While the television and radio news broadcasts feed their ratings with dire predictions and desperate pleas to stay home, people still need to lead their lives.  Still, that said, you start to get into a psychological tunnel and everything narrows through a thin ray of light.   It’s easy to group-think something bad is happening but we must counter it with reason and hope.

On Monday, January 26, my work colleagues and I made it into work, knowing we’ll leave early and possibly not meet again for a few days.  The fear of the snowfall kind of unites people.  We get focused on the same thing, at the same time– something that is rare.  But it’s moments like these that force strangers to talk to one another. It brings out the compassion in many.

By early evening, I headed home, learning that within four hours the last trains would leave Grand Central Station.  Metro North was shutting down.  You don’t see that too often.

What if the storm turns into a fraction of what the meteorologists predict?  I would never bet on what those idiots say.  Would we be disappointed if the ugly expectations aren’t realized?

What if the storm proves worse than any such prediction and ends up causing problems like roof cave-ins, car accidents, and loss of power, property, and lives?  Would we further our fear of storms?

What if it delivers as expected – and we survive as expected?  Will it make us stronger for it? Will we feel in a common bond with each other?

Whatever happens after a storm, we move on, and go back to our lives of competition, isolation, and self-obsession.  The storm’s lessons melt away with it.

But for a period of time, some 24-48 hours, we were humbled and given a chance to find ourselves on a collaborative mission.  We were all united to deal with the singular storm.

I don’t know why but I always think that a storm is the perfect time to commit a crime.  Everyone is locked away home and stores remain unguarded.  The overworked police tend to storm damage -related stuff and aren’t cruising for burglars.  Since no one is on the street, there are no witnesses to see a crime, no heroes to thwart it.  As the snow flows artfully onto the vacant streets a savvy thief could poetically commit any number of crimes without a concern for getting caught.

I remember some of the biggest snows in the area’s history, the biggest being one in 2006.  Another, in 2003, was tremendous.  I was turning 10 and 11 during the blizzards of ’77 and ’78.  I prefer snow storms to blackouts, hurricanes, and other seasonal disasters that can befall us.  When the snow comes one can only smile and think back to the glee they felt as children, for the little white powder is like candy falling from the sky.  I just want to lick it all up!

As we awoke on Tuesday, January 27, many of us found that the weatherman once again got it wrong.  Some got a foot or less – far from predictions of historic totals.  But Long Island got two feet and Boston the same.  Some parts of Connecticut hit a meter’s worth.

The cleanup and recovery period was up and running.  Kids take to nearby hills with plastic discs to go to make-shift tubing runs.  Adults get their shovels out and survey for property damage.

After digging my car and house out for a solid hour, I did the next most important thing, with my wife: We took our dog to the dog run, where fresh sheets of snow awaited her.  This five-year-old English Bulldog loves to romp in the snow.  It’s her beach, her Paris.

The roads were cleared in exceptionally good fashion and speed.  We drove about two or three miles to Ward Acres in New Rochelle.  As we pulled up to the front entrance, we didn’t see any cars and wondered if it was closed.  Upon further inspection we noticed a sign indicated we were in a snow emergency route spot.  We parked across the street at a closed neighborhood elementary school.

Daisy couldn’t wait to get to the park.  I could feel her tugging me forward as she snarled with snorty anticipation.  So many wonderful sounds come out of a creature that can’t talk.  But she can communicate her wishes.

She took off once we got to the gate, having labored through a football-field size lead-up of untouched, deep snow.  We spotted a pair of snow-shoers and their dog, and gravitated towards them.  One other guy with his dog was there.  It’s as if we were the only survivors of a post-apocalyptic scene.  But then a handful of other hound-lovers joined in and it was party time for these hearty dogs that were in lockdown until the storm passed.

After about 20 minutes of continuous, unrelenting dog-chasing, butt-sniffing, snow-eating, and pooping, Daisy was still going strong.  The squatty little girl was shorter than the ones who braved it at the park and her pushed-in nose causes heavy breathing from the slightest bit of movement.  Her tongue dangles outside of her fat-folded face and drags along the surface of snow drifts.  She was happy.

My wife spotted a video camera on a tripod and suggested it could be a news crew. I thought it was just a random stranger filming a winter scene.

As we walked slowly towards the trio we didn’t think much of them.  Nothing was happening.  But then a few minutes later a tall man lumbered towards us wearing a CBS news jacket and hat, microphone in gloved hand.  We made small talk and found out the reporter, Tony Aiello, actually lives nearby. It looks like he drew the soft story stick for the day.

As our banter continued on he suddenly put his microphone in front of my wife and started asking her to say and spell her name.  He then asked her questions about our dog.  As she spoke I started to think about what I might say but nothing in particular came to mind.

As she finished talking he moved on to me, asking me if I looked forward to coming to the dog park and if Daisy enjoys the weather.  I delivered a good line in one take about how she loves the snow and that it’s her doughnut.

I knew we would make the cut, even as he interviewed others.  We had Daisy going for us.  The brindle dog looks like a small pig.  How could you not put her on TV?  She sewed the deal when she ran up to him, all snow-covered, trying to eat his microphone.

After telling friends and family to watch Channel 2 News, WCBS at five o’clock, I felt disappointed when the hour-long show didn’t feature the story. I feared we’d been replaced by another story the reporter had done in the town next to us, showing kids tubing down a neighborhood hill.

How embarrassing and frustrating it would be if we were denied our 15 seconds of fame!  I started getting emails from people saying they didn’t see us on TV.  I told them we might make it on at 11:00 pm, but I had my doubts.

The higher-rated, but shortened 6 o’clock news came on and I let it be my background noise while I tended to other things.  Then, suddenly, at 6:15, I heard an introduction to a story that sounded like it could be mine.

I quickly yelled to my kids, wife, and dog to come to the TV and listen up.  The Feinblums were getting some screen time!

The minute and ten piece was great.  It opened with a scene of Daisy chasing a dog through the snow.  Then my wife, Laura, was featured, and then I spoke for a few seconds.  It closed with Daisy munching on the microphone, her scrunched face filled with snowflakes.

Not that long after I found the clip and started sending it to everyone, even our local mayor, who wrote back with appreciation.

I know in the scheme of things that this public airing won’t change the world or contribute to anything significant, but for a few moments we were able to celebrate the things that matter most to us – enjoying a day out with our family and loyal pet.  The snow day may have forced us to slow down and take a break from our busy lives, and though some were understandably frustrated by it, it was exactly what we needed.


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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 © 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Print Sales Increase Is Great For Books


Print books are rising for the first time since before the Great Recession/ebook revolution launch.  It’s the first time print book sales climbed since Borders closed up.  Could print really be poised for more growth even with eReader ownership rising?

I don’t know that one year’s gains is a trend any more than it could be an aberration but it is interesting to see print grow for the first time in six years.  It wasn’t a blp of growth, either, but it’s still 20% below the totals of 2008 and even  under 10% of those of 2010.

First, here are the numbers.  According to BookScan, which reportedly accounts for 85% of all print book sales, the number of printed books rose from 591 million sold in 2012 to 635 million in 2014 – about an 8% jump over two years.  778 million volumes were sold in 2008 and 718 million in 2010.

The population in the United States is 320 million people – plus we enjoy tens of millions of overseas tourists.  The number of paper books bought a year ago equals two per every American.  We can do better than that.

The numbers don’t show key factors, such as book price, changes in hard cover vs. trade paper vs. mass market.  It also doesn’t break down children’s book vs. adult.  But an increase is better than a decrease!

What could contribute to more print books being sold?

1.      More events by authors and publishers, pushing signed print books.

2.      Higher prices for ebooks so the gap between digital and print is closed.

3.      Opening more bookstores.

4.      Existing bookstores shelving more titles and more copies of them.

5.      Delaying the ebook by weeks or a month, giving print the lead, just like Hollywood releases to the big screen, then DVD purchase then on-demand or to Netflix and broadcast TV.

6.      Putting extras in print books that won’t be in a digital copy, maybe even attaching coupons/offers to print that are not done with digital.

7.      The industry needs to make a concerted effort to get consumers to stores.  The more they shop, the more they will buy.

8.      Sell physical books in atypical places, beyond the bookstore, such as at the cafĂ©, train station or supermarket and gift shop.

9.      More libraries should sell new books.  Why not?  It raises funds for them and provides a community service.

10.  More books should be purchased in bulk by wealthy individuals or corporations and donated to community groups serving children or the undereducated.

Really, there are a thousand ways to increase print sales – or book sales, period.  It’s up to marketing-reluctant authors, overworked publishers, under-aggressive retailers, and savvy marketers to assert themselves and get books sold everywhere – and often.  The book industry stalls from time to time but growth is not limited.  I see a billion print books being sold by 2020.  Call me the optimist, the fool, the dreamer.  Instead of trying to prove me wrong, prove me right.  We can grow print sales by double-digits annually.

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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 © 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

At The NY Public Library, A Physical Amazon



Shhh! I’m sitting in one of the nation’s most esteemed libraries, The New York Public Library.  The main building of the nation’s largest library system is located at the center of the country’s most culturally important city, on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue.  I’m here to say the library is alive and well – but it’s lost in another century.

I saw that some of the shelves in certain sections were barren.  How could a library, especially an esteemed one, let any bookcase space go unused?  Apparently they are in the middle of renovations and the books are hidden in a basement or worse, stuck in a New Jersey warehouse.  The blank walls sadden me and serve to forewarn us about the fate of our beloved libraries and physical books.

Despite the empty shelves, plenty of hall space was filled with books, just as I remembered as a child.  This building is enormous in size and in its depth of materials.  It is primarily a research library and less a lending one.

Some of the volumes that caught my eye was a set of 800 tall, hard-covered books that contained copies of the old card catalogs from 1911-1971.  I opened a random edition and couldn’t believe how many books are shown, on a page.  When you multiply it out you realize how many books used to exist – and that was up until 45 years ago.  We have published more books in the time period since – than in the history of all book publishing combined prior to then.

There were a few exhibits going on.  The main one featured 175 years of photography, and of course, photography books.  Given the subject matter and available content, I was vastly underwhelmed but encouraged to know that such a tribute existed.

I sat down at these old, large tables, made out of solid wood, sitting in a heavy wooden chair.  A desk lamp provided enough shadowy light to remind me of being back in school decades earlier.

Though I live in a suburb of NYC, I could still get a library card for the NY Pubic Library.  When I went to look at a particular reference material, I was told I needed a card.  I marched down the hall and got one.  The room looked dank and temporary, without a window.

You can’t help but walk around this illustrious building and historically-significant, architectural marvel, and not feel like you are part of something special.  So many words, ideas, and experiences are contained here, sitting side by side, waiting for someone to rediscover them.

At the photography exhibit, there was a placard that noted the decade-old Facebook is the single largest photo-sharing source in the world.  Some 350 million photos are uploaded daily – and growing.  This means in a 10-day period, 3.5 billion images are added to an already overcrowded site to a fattening Internet.  From New Year’s to April 10, Facebook will have posted 35,000,000,000 new photographs.  Additionally, 10,000,000 blogs will have been created.  Further, some 200,000 new books will have been published.

The library used to truly be a place where information was stored.  The books, magazines, newspapers, and journals represented a significant percentage of all recorded information.  Now a day of content added online far outstrips the voluminous content stored in any single library.

Libraries still serve a valuable need.  First, for those who can’t afford books or an eReader, they can have access to books for free.  Second, if you need the help of a trained librarian to find the info needed, you’ll be happy.  Third, to gain access to non-digitized books, documents, and physical records, get to the library.  Fourth, if you want to see an exhibit or hear an author speak, come on by.  Lastly, it’s a safe haven to students, researchers, bibliophiles, and those looking for a quiet respite from the world out there.


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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 © 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Authors Should Take Note Of Beer Co.'s Super Bowl Ad


The media world is on overload. Each day 300 million hours of video are watched on You Tube. On Facebook, 350 million photographs are uploaded daily. More than 100,000 blogs are created every 24 hours. There are 2,000 books published daily. How does one's message get heard?

One company is taking a smart approach. London-based New Castle beer couldn't afford to spend 4.5 million dollars on a 30-second TV spot to showcase its brew during The Super Bowl. Further, Anheiser-Busch is the main beer sponsor and had thrown enough money at the live event to ward off competitors. New Castle has one third of one percent of the $100 billion beer sector.

New Castle did something brilliant. It decided to get 20-30 non-beer brands to participate in its ad that will air online and on select NBC local affiliates during the Super Bowl. It is getting attention for its novel approach, as evidenced by The New York Times writing about it. Further, social media from the participating companies is creating a bigger buzz.

Could authors and publishers think this way, finding a means to work with each other to get attention and reduce costs?

Cross-promotional ad campaigns make sense. What if you bad a best-selling book, let's say by a really well-known author, and you place an ad for it side by side with s far lesser known author. The ad is not only a reminder to buy the popular book but is a way to create awareness for the unbranded author.

You can do the same with a social media campaign. Link the big and small so that the smaller book gets attention it otherwise would not.

Do something clever like having two different publishers with competing genre leaders join forces to discuss their books. It would be the best road show since Bush Sr. and Clinton teamed up for charitable causes.

How about this: Take the authors of two totally different genres and find a way to combine them. Can a business author tour with a diet and fitness author, or a parenting expert work with a pet expert? Why not?

How about you do a spoof on big-name celebrity book club selections? Or maybe you create a video of a fake book reviewer who hates everything--except your book. Perhaps you show a humorous video of how books are green-lighted and in the end it is a dog that is reading submissions.

New Castle had the right idea. Get others to subsidize your costs and make the campaign itself a media-worthy story.


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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 © 2015

Interview With Author Bethany Straker On Fear


1.      What inspired you to write your book? A couple of years ago, I suffered from anxiety, and I felt that I didn’t want to spend time dwelling on what was happening to my mind and body by reading all these self-help books. I found myself watching comedies, surrounding myself with comfort. I wanted anything I read to make me laugh, and make me feel less alone, maybe even laugh at myself. ‘Why Am I Scared of Everything?’ was a reaction to that.

2.      What message do you want to leave people with? I’d like the reader to take comfort from the universal themes of being nervous about the bigger and smaller things we all deal with, but also to leave people with a smile, realizing how these things just don’t matter. Our heroine, Regina, often paints the ‘worst case scenario’ in the book, and we can laugh at the improbability of this. It’s a message to tell people to just go for it. The inspiring quotes at the bottom of each page can act as a mantra for those tackling that particular anxiety.

3.      What do most people fear most often? We always hear about people fearing the big things: death and illness for example. ‘Why Am I Scared of Everything?’ looks at this, but the common everyday fears as well. So many of us fear just being in a room making small-talk with strangers. We fear flying, how we look, how we behave, driving. Almost anything can be a fear – and they’re all far more common than people think.

4.      What do people with anxiety fear that most don't concern themselves with? I remember not wanting to leave the house. I’d imagine all the things that could possibly go wrong. It’s the details that most without anxiety don’t think about. Thoughts like, ‘If I wear that, people will laugh at me.’ ‘I won’t be able to park, and people will watch me and judge me.’ ‘I’ll say something stupid to someone and look foolish.’ If you’re a confident person without anxiety, these are things that barely cross your mind. But with anxiety, just a trip to buy a newspaper can be a source of worry.

5.      Do people fail to take steps to prevent things that could go wrong? A lot of people with anxiety can do exactly the opposite. They take steps to avoid anything going wrong. Avoiding going out or not pushing themselves to achieve their ambitions.

6.      How can one be more optimistic and less anxiousThe knowledge that other people have the same issues, that anxiety is so common, can give people strength. For me it was a gradual process. I tried to look at my fears and dissect them, and I realized none of them were important. Practical things for me were listening to uplifting music, watching really funny films, getting exercise and not beating myself up if I didn’t do what I thought ‘I should’ do that day. If people stop pressuring themselves to do something they might end up doing it through wanting to anyway. 

      For more information, please read this:
      More than forty million adults in the United States suffer from anxiety disorders, and women are twice as likely as men to be riddled with unfettered anxiety.

      Author and illustrator Bethany Straker has had personal experience dealing with anxiety, and wanted to adopt a humorous approach at addressing our common fears. In her new book, Why Am I Scared of Everything?: A Diary of Our Greatest Worries and Inspirational Quotes to Remember, she highlights a selection of common anxiety-inducing fears such as:
    
      Being a failure
     Aging
     Changing jobs
     Having children
     Flying
     Becoming a bag lady
     And many more!


      With witty illustrations and inspirational quotes on each spread to help any anxiety sufferer get through the tough times, Why Am I Scared of Everything? promises to make the reader laugh at his or her own worries while feeling as if they aren’t alone in their fears. Available for pre-order now @ Amazon. The book debuts in February from Skyhorse Publishing.

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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 © 2015

2015 Anniversaries For Authors To Celebrate


Anniversaries are plentiful in 2015.  Whatever happened in 1215, 1915, 1815, and even 1990 contributed to the world we have today.  No doubt books have been – or will be – written about the celebrated events of yesteryear.  Below is a random sampling of milestone events:

100 Years Ago
Pluto was photographed for the first time
The first submarine disaster takes place
Babe Ruth makes his pitching debut
AT&T becomes the first corporation with a million stockholders
BMT (Brooklyn Rapid Transit) begins subway service

150 Years Ago
Lincoln assassinated
Civil War ends
Congress bans slavery
Alice in Wonderland is published

350 Years Ago
New Amsterdam legally becomes British and is renamed New York after English Duke of York

80 Years Ago
The first Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl is played
Iceland becomes first Western nation to legalize abortion
Monopoly board games go on sale

50 Years
First person to walk in space – Russian Astronaut Alexey Leonon
Death of Winston Churchill
MLK Jr’s First March from Selma
Sound of Music premiers
First US combat troops land in Vietnam

800 Years
Signing of the Magna Carta

200 Years
The War of 1812 concludes
Napoleon is exiled after defeat

25 Years
Hubble Telescope was launched
Encyclopedia Britannica sales peaked at 120,000 volumes
The number of librarians peaked
Gorbachev elected as the first president of the Soviet Union
Germany is reunified

75 Years
Elmer Fudd makes his cartoon debut
Booker T. Washington becomes first African-American to be depicted on a US postage stamp
The Battle of Britain in WWII

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 © 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A 4-State Bestselling Plan


Florida recently surpassed New York as the third most-popular state.  A number of years ago Texas had supplanted NY for No. 2.  And some time last century, California zoomed past New York.  Times are changing.  Are books changing with them?

If you think about it, California, with 38.8 million people, has twice as many as Florida’s 19.9 and New York’s 19.7 million.  Texas just hit 27 million.  Four states hold 105.4 million – almost a third of the United States’ 320 million residents.  If you have a four-state approach to books you can:

·         Become a bestselling author
·         Generate major media coverage
·         Create a national legacy
·         Influence America's culture

These four states account for a huge chunk of the country, but if you want to concentrate on the 10 most populated metropolitan areas, zero in on these cities and their neighbors:

·         New York City metro 19.9 million
·         Los Angeles metro 13.1 million
·         Chicago metro 9.5 million
·         Dallas-Ft. Worth metro 6.8 million
·         Houston metro 6.3 million
·         Philadelphia metro 6.0 million
·         Washington, DC metro 5.9 million
·         Miami metro 5.8 million
·         Atlanta metro 5.5 million

·         Boston metro 4.7 million

Now, focusing on four huge states is not easy.  They are thousands of miles apart from each other.  Florida and New York are up to 2000 miles apart from the top of one to the bottom of the other.  Both are over 3000 miles from California, Texas, Florida, New York, and California are each big landmasses that would take time to navigate.  Each has numerous cities worth visiting.  But to narrow down a nation by hitting just four states is pretty incredible – and strategic.

If books focused on themes that appealed to people who live in those states you’d increase the chances of people buying books in those states.  Set a novel in Florida and California and you hit nearly 60 million combined.

One thing that we see is that the United States is made up of some mega states, then medium-sized ones like Pennsylvania and Ohio, and then smaller states.  The coastal states or border states tend to get the people, while middle America is kind of scattered around.  It’s been this way for a long time.

In terms of marketing to the four biggest states, you need to zero in on the biggest cities, such as SF, LA, SD for California or New York City, Buffalo, and Albany in New York, or South Florida, Orlando, and Jacksonville in Florida, or Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio in Texas.

By pursuing events, bookstore signings, and sponsorships in those cities, you have a chance of generating local or national media headquartered there.  The other 46 states would naturally follow without doing anything.

A bonus to all of this is that you’re visiting some of the most beautiful parts of the country in CA and FL.  NY offers history and skyscrapers.  Texas offers good steaks.  Get your plane ticket set: Four states to a best-seller!

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 © 2015

Monday, January 26, 2015

The State of the Union For Books


President Barack Obama issued a passionate State of the Union address that revealed an ambitious agenda, a chance to shape his legacy, and an opportunity for the nation to reflect on where it is and questioned where it's heading.  Though he didn't directly mention any new initiatives to help writers or the book publishing industry, I have a few initiatives he could have presented to the watchful eyes and ears of an American public eager to see the nation grow as it moves beyond the shadows of The Great Recession and The Terrorism Era.

While Obama talked about making community college free, which could help to sell more textbooks, eh didn't talk about things that would really boost society, like:
·         A tax cut to book publishers
·         Allowing people to buy books pre-tax
·         Banning tales tax on books
·         Giving writers tuition reimbursement for Master of Fine Arts program participation
·         Creating a program to provide up to $100 worth of books to those living in poverty each year
·         Boosting government budgets for libraries
·         Hiring an army of 100,000 literary tutors to help immigrants, children, the unemployed, or those in prison to read and gain the most valuable of all skills

Granted, the State of the Union is just a big speech, full of bluster and chest-thumping, but even so, books should be a part of the national dialogue.  We need our top leader to share a vision about the value of books and to support the role they play in a society like ours.

Forget talk of the military, housing, jobs, or the political favorites such as abortion or immigration.  President Obama should have appealed to the masses by talking about books.  It's a safe area.  Who doesn't support reading and learning?  Who doesn't benefit from a more literate society?

Okay, so books won't win elections and talking about them is not too sexy.  But if we just keep talking about energy, taxes, the environment, ISIS, and the repeat issues of every local, state, and federal election, we'll never get to talking about books.

How about creating a national book club?
Could we declare 2015 the year of the book?
Shall the government fund awards to honor books?
Might the White House want to dedicate a day to meeting with publishing ambassadors and authors who make a difference?

The State of the Union was strong and inspiring, but next time the president of the United States could simply say: Read more books!

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 © 2015


Sunday, January 25, 2015

Book Marketing Lesson's From Sal's Pizzeria


You wouldn't expect the busiest pizza place in town to be the one that doesn't deliver, doesn't accept credit cards, and fails to have  a customer-friendly demeanor, but Sal's in Mamaroneck, NY is hands-down the best pizza joint for miles. The competition is fierce, as just within two blocks of this establishment are no fewer than three pizza-dishing restaurants.

So how does a place become the unequivocal leader, the ultimate brand pace-setter? How can authors separate themselves from the pack in a similar fashion?

I don't even think Sal's advertises anywhere. It simply makes great pizza and its word-of-mouth has spread -- pun intended. They let their product be their spokesperson.

If you write a great book, that is the basis for getting raving fans. Without that, what word-of-mouth is being spread?

Now food and books are very different. You need food to live. Books may seem like your lifeblood but theoretically you can survive without books-- or can you?

Consuming food becomes a public experience, whereas reading books is more of a private thing.

Pricing varies wildly on food, from a slice costing two-and-a-half bucks to fifty-dollar dishes at high-end restaurants. Books are not expensive and digital books are dirt-cheap.

Whenever I talk to people about restaurants and pizza, almost everyone agrees Sal's is the best. This popularity is validated every time I wait on a line that often is out the door at Sal's. But many will also comment about the attitude its staff seems to take. They have a chip on their shoulders. You would think it is a negative, and one friend tells me he refuses to eat there because of their blatant disregard for the paying customer, but I think Sal's thrives in part because they remind you in their own way that their food is so good  that they can practically tell you to get lost.

Remember Seinfeld's Soup Nazi? Welcome to the Pizza Nazi.

I think all aspiring authors should take a trip through the door at Sal's and see firsthand how to build a brand -- and enjoy a slice or two or three of the greatest pizza in Westchester.

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 © 2015

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Amazon Goes Hollywood


Amazon is always looking for new income streams or more to the point, new loss leaders.  They are the most diverse company in the world in terms of what they sell, what they make, and the services provided.  The only problem is this: They lose money and in the process, tear up the economy of the industries they touch.  Movies and Hollywood are up next.

It announced its plans to produce a dozen big-screen films this year.  However, to do so, their budgets will be limited. But that won’t stop them from messing with Hollywood’s pay scales and formulas.

Amazon wants to release movies into theaters and then one to two months later make them available for streaming for free to its 40 million prime subscribers ($99 per year).  It will beef up its entertainment business, which expanded to television successfully. It just won a Golden Globe.

Amazon is trying to be all things to all people and in the process of building marketshare and huge revenues, it piles up substantial losses.  But as long as Wall Street is supportive of the stock, Amazon can keep looking to cannibalize industry after industry.  The vultures smell blood and are going for the kill.

What’s left for Amazon to conquer?

·         Broadway plays
·         A radio network
·         Sell life insurance
·         Create a cemetery and offer discounted plots
·         Breed dogs and cats
·         Train police departments
·         Staff schools with teachers

Anything’s possible when you don’t have to turn a profit.

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 © 2015