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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How To Show Value For Your Book


My 10-year-old son and I were joking around about what we would do if someone offered us a half-million dollars for our soon-to-be six-year-old English Bulldog, Daisy.  I told him no one’s offering ka-ching for our pooch but if they did, I’d giftwrap her and hand-deliver the cute little beast. 

He was surprised by my answer.

I told him I love her and think she’s great – but I’d love the money more!

He then asked would I do it for $250,000?  Yep.  Then he inquired about $100, 000.  Oh, yes!  Then he asked about $10,000.  I told him no.

Then he asked if I’d sell him for $500,000.  I told him of course not.  He then said: “Yeah, but you would’ve sold Daisy, and she’s part of the family” I told him she’s a dog and though she’s a lot of fun, we could replace her with 50 dogs – and still have a pile of money to buy a lot of things.

This whole exercise shows that everyone is willing to part with something for the right price.  As an author, you want to do the opposite: show that your book has enough value so others part with their money to buy it – at the right price.

Authors have it tough, but they can show value in any number of ways including:

·         Comparing how their book matches up to their competition in quality and price
·         Telling what their book will do for the reader
·         Explaining that you are best qualified to write this book
·         Showing how its unique and that nothing is quite like it
·         Measuring how non-book tools or entertainment forms aren’t as good, or interesting, or complete, or as up-to-date as your book
·         Saying how the book will make you feel good, enjoy life more, and reach a level of satisfaction

The way my son keeps asking at what price would I decline to sell our dog, you should ask at what price would people say no to your book. Figure out the highest price one is wiling to pay – and why they’d pay it.  Then, appeal to those reasons and price point in your marketing materials.

The best way to sell a book’s to:

--Highlight the benefits of reading it.
--Give samples of great writing.
--Repeat your credentials if you are uniquely qualified to write this book.
--Mention media coverage, awards, and key testimonials that the book has garnered.

If none of this works, see if they’ll trade a bulldog for your book!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 29, 2015

Patriots Celebrate Independence Day With Books!


As Americans are about to celebrate Independence Day this July 4th, our nation will turn 239 years old.  It seems like the Bicentennial was a recent moment.  I wonder if people, who are looking to be patriotic, will recognize that they can honor the United States by reading a book, helping others to read books, or by donating books.  

To be patriotic is not about just waving a flag, proclaiming patriotism, complaining about immigrants, or shooting a gun in the air.  No, it’s much more than saying you belong to the Tea Party.

To be patriotic is to support peace, not war.  It is to participate in elections and the governing process.  It is to volunteer, give to charities, and act responsibly.  I think it also means to read books and promote literacy.  In fact, people should read about civic duty, ethics, government, politics, and history.  That would be a very good July 4th!

As a proud American, I see being patriotic to mean someone who loves this country and is willing to nurture it.  Patriotism does not have to be about the military and fighting to the death to protect our country against unknown enemies.  It should be about making this nation better, smarter, and more loving.  The process starts with reading books and using the power of books to develop an intelligent, caring, and successful country.  

Be patriotic this July 4 – read and share books!

March In A Parade For Authors: Our True Heroes

When Books Can Talk To Us At Book Expo America

Drink Up At The Book Pub Crawl And Get Drunk On Books

Book Marketing Advice You Fin On A T-Shirt


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 28, 2015

Manipulating Content, Stuffing Ballots, & Faking Lists Are The American Way


There are troubling examples of our failing participatory democracy everywhere, and the process has accelerated in the share-me digital age.  Here are a few examples:

·         A PR firm, Sunshine Sachs, reports The New York Times, was accused of editing Wikipedia pages of its star clients to remove negative references.  This was done through paid editors that didn’t disclose their relationship to the firm, a violation of Wikipedia’s standards.  The crowd-sourced, group-edited site has repeatedly had issues with false information, censored information, and improperly sourced material.

·         The all-star voting for Major League baseball is done by fans.  There have been cases where fans stuffed paper ballots to get their hometown favorites into the All-Star game, often when the player was not performing like a true all-star.  It got worse this year when people were allowed to cast online votes, apparently with no limitation.  As a result, though voting is not yet final, almost all of the players of one team, the KC Royals, could make the starting lineup.  They’re a good team, but they don’t have a deserving all-star at every position.

·         Bestseller lists are based on book sales but the lists can be manipulated and don’t account for certain sales made outside of registered bookstore and online channels. The truly bestselling books probably don’t match up with two-thirds of the ones on official lists.

·         When things are searched for on Google, the list of what comes up and the order it comes up is not always in direct correlation to a meaningful or even fair standard.  Certainly, the algorithm used is not transparent, yet search influences knowledge, news, commerce and politics.

·         Non-felons, who are over age 18 and are legal citizens have the right to vote but on average, only half do in any given election, sometimes at far less numbers for equally important primaries.  How can we have a responsible government when no one accepts the responsibility to vote and to be informed?

Our society depends on there being a legitimate structure.  When we can’t depend on voting systems to be legitimate or information reliable or our awards to be doled out on the merits, we are a compromised nation.  Americans know or suspect that money influences everything.  It’s a factor in in politics and other aspects of our lives.

It’s up to institutions to refrain from such practices and for citizens and consumers to expose such stuff and call bullshit on all of the times powerful forces seek to manipulate the facts of reality.  Lies, cover-ups, pay-offs, or blackmail are what run America.  

The truth is out there – but so is a falsehood – so beware of which one you have stumbled upon.  It’s getting harder to know if what one is being told is truth is in fact a fact lie.  Read, question, research – and share what you find.  We need to crowdsource the truth!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 27, 2015

Minting Money – And Books!


The Treasury Department recently announced it was going to remove the image of Alexander Hamilton, the founder of The New York Post and the nation’s first treasurer, from the $10 bill and replace him with an unnamed woman in 2020 – a century after women gained the right to vote.

A logical choice would be Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female US Supreme Court Justice, or maybe a woman suffragist such as Harriet Tubman would do the trick.  As a black female, she would fulfill two firsts.  Rosa Parks would also kill two birds with one stone.

I’d love to see an author on our money.  The currency of the United States is ideas and content, so why not a writer?  Our money is not reserved just for politicians or political figures.  Let’s put a female author on the ten.

It has to be someone who made a significant contribution to America, who is dead, and whose books are still read today.  Oprah, EL James or JK Rowling wouldn’t qualify.  But there is no shortage of great writes who would met the actual specifications of the US Treasury.

To qualify, according to the government, one has to be dead, be familiar to the general public, and have made a contribution to American democracy.  So far, only white men seem to have filled the bill, so to speak.  On coins, Susan B. Anthony graces the failed $1 coin.  An identity-less Lady Liberty also graced silver dollar coins.  Another failed dollar coin was of an Indian, Sacagawea.  Helen Keller also made it onto a coin, the back of the quarter for Alabama in 2003.  That’s it.

Let’s explore great American female writers such as these:

·         Maya Angelou
·         Harper Lee (if she passes soon)
·         Edith Wharton
·         Emily Dickinson
·         Joyce Carol Oates (if she passes soon)
·         Laura Ingalls Wilder
·         Flanner O’Conner
·         Eudora Welty
·         Dorothy Parker
·         Sylvia Plath
·         Pearl S. Buck

If there isn’t a condition that one must be born in America, consider Ayn Rand.

Certainly, a qualified female writer should be given great consideration.  We don’t need to look beyond those who used their gifts and talents to make the world a better place, who employed the power of written words.

We don’t do enough to honor our writers and great thinkers.  Today’s society is absorbed in itself, using social media to promote, well, itself.  The generation of “me” media has taken over.  If it’s not ourselves that we’re absorbed in, we’re enamored in celebrities from theater and TV, sports heroes, and musical artists.

Writers deserve a seat at the able when it comes to money.  Ironically, most writers struggle to make money, so it would be a bit odd for one to adorn what few can attain.  Still, as a status symbol, writers deserve top billing on the 10-spot.  Perhaps if a writer made it onto our money we can elevate publishing to a new level.

I’m not sure why people need to be on money.  Maybe it should be great monuments, documents or animals that are featured on money.  Or, we can feature a library, indie bookstore, or a famous book cover on our money.

Books and authors are worth our praise, attention, and literally, our money.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 26, 2015

Interview With Virginia Stringer, Author of Just Maggy



What inspired you to write your book?   I hadn’t really planned to write a book. My medium had always been youth theatre, as a director, teacher and published playwright, so I began writing what I thought would be a fifty-minute play, about an impetuous little princess. The main character, Maagy, is an amalgamation of my two daughters and my two granddaughters. I watched my son with his girls and remembered some of our difficulties, raising his two sisters. The ideas seemed to flow like water. I knew it was no longer a children’s play, when there was more scenery description than conversation and it was 150 pages long! I had embarked upon a ten-year adventure, of my own. There are four more books, already, and no end in sight.

What are its central themes? “Just Maagy” is really about the struggles girls face, when growing into womanhood. The story begins on Maagy’s thirteenth birthday, a time of hormonal changes, emotional roller coasters and storm clouds on the horizon. To make matters worse, her widowed father has spoiled her. Maagy must learn to cope with her coming of age, as well as, her destiny. Her journey addresses fundamental social issues, such as integrity, humility, empathy and social responsibility (after all, she will become the queen in five years and she is woefully unprepared for it). Maagy is feisty and not afraid to stand up for what she believes and is, also, not afraid to stand up to those who would try to intimidate or bully her. This is important in today’s adolescent climate.

How do we teach these things to kids?  First and foremost, start early! Even babies can begin to learn manners... require “please” and “thank you”… teach them to use eating utensils, instead of their fingers… teach them to pick up their toys and clothes and put them away. It may take a great deal of patience, with some, but the reward, for consistently requiring standards is worth the effort. These lessons are about far more than etiquette or tidying up. Second, but certainly not less important, always live the message being spoken. Words are fine, but nothing teaches integrity and humility like watching a parent set a good example, by always doing the right thing, when the wrong thing would be so much easier. Finally, keep love in your heart, even if anger is flying out of your mouth! Choices have consequences, but bad decisions do not make bad children. Discipline from a place of concern and wellbeing, not from a place of revenge or spitefulness. It’s always easy to “Monday Morning Quarterback”. I’ve raised my babies and see the rewards, but, honestly, when I was in the thick of it, I’m not sure I could have been so philosophical!

What challenges did you overcome in writing this book? What I had to overcome was my own myopic vision of my work. Truthfully, I had to get over myself! In the beginning… fall of 2004… I was writing a book about me. I was processing my sub conscience, even though I didn’t recognize it, at the time, creating a cathartic adventure, as lived through my little princess. But then, the well of creativity ran dry, after a year or so. In about 2010, I rediscovered “Growing up Maagy”, the working title for the book, and began, anew. I was inexperienced at the skill and art of writing and developed a “style” I thought was oh-so-cute. It was pretentious. I was writing from a periscope’s viewpoint, until an old friend, from the past, just happened to visit and I imposed upon him to read it and give me perspective. His carefully worded phrases of both critique and praise, for what was good, opened Maagy’s world to me and, over the next two years, I had the majority of three more books well under way. The next obstacle was deciding whether I was writing strictly for myself or if I wanted other people to read my words and glean something useful. I knew that, with the latter, I would need to be brutal with the cuts… there was so much of my own childhood that no one else could possibly find interesting. I made the right decision and the cutting and crying began. Once I had a product I was proud of, it was time to let other people read… oh boy! I’m a pretty tough old broad, but hearing comments, which didn’t always mesh with my lofty opinions, was sobering. However, I worked hard to jump that hurdle, as well, and forced myself to listen. I even took the suggestions… on a number of occasions. Writing is like any other artistic endeavor. It is very personal… visceral… and critique goes to the gut, like a knife. However, it is also a process, which needs perspective, if the goal is to share the art with the rest of world. It’s a battle I fight with myself, daily!

What do you find is rewarding about being a published author? So far, it’s not the fame and fortune! Hopefully, that will come. Seriously, the best rewards are when I go to schools and talk about the process of writing and read excerpts from “Just Maagy”. I’m an actor, at heart, and give quite an animated rendition of some of the funnier moments… like the food fight, at her birthday party. Then there are poignant moments between her father, King Henry, and Maagy, which the kids find touching. They love the hints of magic and Maagy’s spit-and-vinegar personality. After devoting my life to being a mother, a choice I wouldn’t change for the world, it feels good to be known for something that is uniquely me… even though my children are, in one way or the other, very present, throughout the series of books. I feel as though I have something to share with readers, children and adults, and I’ve accomplished it and that is very rewarding.

Any advice to a struggling writer? KEEP WRITING!!! I’m always full of advice… just ask my kids. Advice is totally free and you can take it or leave it, but if you are asking, then I’m telling… KEEP WRITING!! You definitely will not get it right, the first time. You will need to cut, rewrite, edit, go cold as ice… as dark as a moonless night… but keep at it… if you only write two words at a time. Go back and re-read and edit. Sometimes, it gives you new perspective or triggers a thought. Never leave home without paper and pen or electronic device you can access, in a moment’s notice. I’ve written some of my best scenes while driving between North Carolina and Florida. I can’t count the number of times I’ve stopped at a rest area or Cracker Barrel to drag out the Mac and write something that popped into my head. I’ve extended many a nine-hour drive to ten or eleven! Edit for yourself, at first and then, get someone you trust, to be honest with you, to read your work. Listen, even if you don’t change a word, at least, listen to what they have to say. No one is pricklier about criticism than I am and I don’t always change anything… I’m stubborn that way… but I do listen. The last bit of advice I’ll offer is to consider self-publishing, especially if you’re adamant about keeping the words pure and yours. It’s not cheap. However, if you look at it as your start-up cost to do business, it softens the blow and the expenses are tax deductible. If one takes this route, it is extremely important to choose a reputable publisher, not just a fly by night organization from the Internet. Choose an online, self-publishing company, which is affiliated with a traditional publishing house, as Archway Publishing is a division of Simon and Schuster. This is important, because self-published authors need a lot of support services, like publicity, marketing materials, etc., which many online publishers don’t have. I hope these words of “wisdom” are helpful    

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 25, 2015

Interview With Author Ellen Levitt, New York Chronicler

     Author of WALKING MANHATTAN (Wilderness Press)


Ellen Levitt is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, New York, who has written for such publications as The New York Times, the New York Daily News, and New York Teacher.  She is also the author of the three books in the series The Lost Synagogues of New York City (Avotaynu).  A graduate of Barnard College, she has conducted walking, bus, and bicycling tour of New York City and is a veteran public-school teacher.

Below is an interview with the author/photographer about her new book:

1.   What inspired you to write your newest book? I had queried the publisher months earlier about writing a Brooklyn or Queens guide. They said that was covered. and I figured I wouldn't hear from them again. Lo and behold, a few months later an editor contacted me via LinkedIn, and asked if I would be interested in (as well as qualified for) writing a Manhattan guide. I said yes!

2.   Aren't there plenty of NY guidebooks out there? What's new in yours?  There are many NYC guidebooks out there. This series is known for specifically guided tours, with distinct "turn left" and "turn right" directions. The book is more than a descriptive list; it's as if you had someone leading you around. And I wrote a lot about parks, houses of worship, not just the best known sights/sites.

3.   There's nothing like walking NYC. What are your favorite places?  Some of my favorite places to walk in NYC are in public parks, such as Central Park, Inwood Hill Park, Riverside Park. I also like to walk around in the East Village and Chinatown-- but not on really hot days. Neither neighborhood has enough trees!

4.   As a lifelong New Yorker, how did you write the book for non-New Yorkers?  I chose to write this book for people who are out-of-towners as well as residents. (I also figured that would make it more marketable.) But I realized that certain sights are of particular interest to those who are newcomers. I was instructed to explain certain aspects for people who would have little background. The editors also reminded me at times to go into depth in certain parts, if necessary.

5.   Some of your other books are about NYC. Do you think that NYC is the most fascinating city in the US? in the world? Yes, I have written 3 other books about NYC, and have ideas floating in my head for at least 2 more NYC books! Is NYC the most fascinating place in the US? IMHO, yes. A few other cities are quite fascinating, such as San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC. But NYC has such a huge concentration of places that people want to visit. They touch upon history, culture, commerce, nature, entertainment... And I state this, as much as I love to travel I do think that NYC is the most fascinating. As far as the whole world... I think NYC is part of a small prized group of cities, and I would include it among London, Paris, Jerusalem. Maybe Berlin also?

6.   You are a Brooklynite. When will a Brooklyn book come out? Someone else wrote the Brooklyn and Queens walking tour books for this Wilderness Press series. I did offer to write a combo Bronx/Staten Island guide; we will see if that pans out.

7.   What advice do you have for fellow writers? Advice: Be persistent and be organized. I have queried publishers with other ideas that have been rejected. I cannot think of any writer who has not faced rejection; it is something you have to get over. It stings, yes, but you have to try again. Or sometimes you have to abandon a certain topic and try another. Once you do have the assignment, be organized. It's to your benefit. And be willing to be edited, and do editing.  And I think that there are many, many more opportunities for writing non-fiction than writing fiction. It's easier to be an unknown or lesser known writer, and get non-fiction opportunities. There are more ways to do it. If you turn up your nose to non-fiction, you will find it much harder to get published. It is something writers have to confront.

Book Excerpt
When people think of New York City, most often they’re thinking of Manhattan, the most densely populated of the five boroughs that constitute this city.  As a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, I bow my head in deference to Manhattan as the capital, the lifeline, the cultural core, the economic engine overall.

The Lenape Indians referred to this long, tin piece of land as Manna-hata, or “island of many hills.”  During colonial times, the Dutch and then the British had control over Manhattan.  Some parts sustained much damage during the American Revolution, but once the war for independence was won, New York became the first capital of the nation.


Through the years, Manhattan has been a center of commerce and finance, education and scholarship, entertainment and culture, innovation and research.  It has seen destruction in the form of fires, terrorist attacks, storms, power outages, looting, and accidents of many types – car, rail, and construction among them.  Meanwhile, the infrastructure of Manhattan is astounding: from bridges to alleys, skyscrapers to pop-up shops, along with commercial and residential edifices, religious and educational sites, parks and playgrounds.  Automobiles, buses, train, boats, and helicopters arrive and depart daily (but not airplanes; the nearest airports are in Queens and New Jersey). 


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 24, 2015

What Will Make The Media Want To Talk To You?



When pitching the news media, one can employ any number of styles and call upon a variety of pitches.  What will work best to get you that interview?

Customized pitches work the best.  Know what media outlet you’re talking to and know more about the specific producer or editor that you are contacting.  What do they tend to like?  What’s been done by them lately?

Know the news cycle.  Is there a big story out there that your book can shed light on?  Is there a holiday or relevant anniversary coming up that you can tap into?

Are you leading with the fact a problem exists – or that you have a solution?  Many people will complain about an issue heavily, but go lightly on their prescription.  It should be the other way around.

Do you emphasize credentials and tell them who you are and why you’re uniquely qualified to share an advanced perspective on matters of concern?

Can you give a proportioned perspective to the media and put into context the magnitude of the issue you want to discuss?  Will they understand its significance and relevance?  They need to see that what you discuss will not only impact a lot of people, but especially those in the demographics of their viewers, listeners, and readers.

What you deliver to the media depends on your method of delivery.  Are you seeing them in person?  Talking by phone?  Mailing a package?  Emailing something?  If you see them in person, your appearance, body language, voice, and presentation mannerisms influence their views.  If you call on the phone, your voice and level of energy will need to sell it.  If you mail a package, the book will speak for itself – along with supplemental materials, clever packaging, and attractive trinkets.  Email relies on words – and sometimes images – to sell it – but avoid cluttering them with endless clickable and downloadable junk.

The media needs to hear certain things early into the pitch or they move on.  They want to succinctly know who you are and what you have to offer.  Kill the fluff and hype, hold the story telling, and get to the point.  They operate under extreme pressures and lack time – always.

Use key buzzwords that draw attention.  Someone didn’t pass on – they dropped dead from a violent heart attack. Someone didn’t sleep their way to the top – they screwed or screwed over anyone that stood in their way.  Someone didn’t lose 150 pounds in three months with a cool diet – they lost half their body mass in just 90 days by utilizing a revolutionary diet that calls for dieters to eat fiber-rich foods.  Your book doesn’t tell people how to save for retirement – it shows anyone in any career how to retire by age 60 and be a millionaire.

Have examples ready to support your ideas, claims, and predictions.  The media not only wants to hear validation for your bluster – it wants to reference them for a story.

Create a villain – and be the hero.  The media loves drama and controversy.  Present them with a good-bad confrontation.

Hit a key touch point.  I don’t care what your book is about or which media outlet you are pitching.  We’re all human.  Did you reference sex, money, travel, family, or death?  These are driving forces – toss in emotion, curiosity, power, and crime for good measure.

Remember, most media has an agenda, whether it be to serve its followers, advertisers, ownership’s business dealings, the politics of the media outlet, or the existence of competition. Find the things that  a media outlet cares about and fill the void.

Finally, communicate with enthusiasm, passion, energy, vision, and confidence.  You are a force and a voice – let the media know it!

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 23, 2015

Crowdsourcing Books By Robots… Read On!


We hear the terms “crowdfunding” and “crowdsourcing” and find the Kickstarter and Wikipedia world to be fascinating.  We’ve come to a time where people can work together and contribute to the greater good.  But shouldn’t we see books as the original crowdsource force for bringing ideas together for the collective, by the collective?

We may see books as individual units, each one an expression of ideas, research, experiences, and views from single authors.  But when you look at all books and see we now have millions of people who have crowdsourced history, fantasy, and everything in between, you realize that all books are pieces to a bigger puzzle.

However, books can’t tell us what is not known, and they can’t even speculate or raise questions unless they have the capacity and vision to even ask such things.  Books are limited by the world’s reality and history, by space travel and time, and by the physical limitations of our brains.  But what if books become something other than written by humans?  If computers and robots get involved, could books look a lot different?  Would a book eventually become unreadable – not because a computer may spew gibberish – but because artificial intelligence will far exceed our capacity to comprehend information and ideas presented to us?

Maybe all of this pondering is meaningless.  It’s a certainty that computers will increasingly play a role in what gets published.  Computers already help with research, editing, and generating word selection.  Computers can analyze data and find patterns that humans don’t detect easily.  Computers make us think differently about the world and tap into an awareness that the world’s growth will depend on them.

It’s hard to imagine that a creative form, such as writing, would be left to non-humans, but in the future I have no doubt that robots will be our authors. It will change the role of humans.  Humans will be editors and help determine if a robot’s book makes sense and is consumable by its readers.  The creative force will no longer lie in being a writer but in penning code to ensure that robots produce nothing less than Shakespearian quality.

We may think of robots as being task-oriented machines.  Lift this, crush that, measure this, move that.  But they are able to do so much more and once they take words and turn them into bits of data and start to process the billions and billions and billions of combinations and sequences of words, they will produce a book that could win a Pulitzer or a Nobel Prize.  For all we know, it’s happened already.  Perhaps the owner of such an invention or software prefers to remain anonymous and to keep this a secret.

Reading a book, for the near future, however, seems like it won’t change.  We’ll still read a book and choose to retain what feels useful or interesting.  But maybe one day we’ll download books to a chip in our brains and the experience will change dramatically.

It all seems like a science fiction story you’d find in a book, but we look to be moving in the direction of embracing technology and letting it take over every aspect of our lives. Technology is invasive and touches everything that we do – from work to play, from office to home to wherever we are.  It went from being a novelty and an option to a requirement.  This is progress, on one level, and something dehumanizing on another.

Whomever or whatever writes books – and however humans consume these books – we know one thing: there still remains a need for new stories, better stories, interesting ideas, and the shared discovery of new information.  Books crowdsource humanity’s needs to learn and grow and that will never change.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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


Trump Exposes Lack of Book Publishing Leadership



It doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Independent, or political atheist, but when someone like Donald Trump enters the presidential race – along with about 20 other unelectable – you suddenly pay attention.  Though comedians like Jon Stewart love Trump for professional reasons, more than 90% of the electorate couldn’t cast a vote for Commander in Bluster.  But there’s something about his swagger, his look of confidence and passion in his voice that you simply can’t turn away when he comes on television.  As a book promoter, I idolize him.  He’s everything someone should emulate when it comes to his ability to grab the spotlight.  As for a politician, well, if you like to sip Tea Party Kool-Aid, he’s a poster boy, but he’s not my cup of tea.

Trump knows he can’t win the Oval Office.  He’s never won an elected office anywhere and never held a politically appointed position.  His resume as a businessman is questionable when you look at his bankruptcies alongside his skyscrapers.  His personal life is fodder for the National Enquirer, TMZ, and People magazine.  His political views are uninformed and his solutions are not practical.  But he roars like a lion and acts as if he’s already holding the position he’s running for.

He wouldn’t really want to be president.  Then he’d be held accountable.  His soundbites sound tough and engaging, but governing is more than ridiculing someone publicly.  He also couldn’t afford to be a public servant.  He wants to run his real estate reality show empire and not get sidetracked dealing with issues he can’t fix.  The billionaire-as-politician worked with Michael Bloomberg as three-time mayor in New York, but Trump would fail at running a school PTA.

Still, Trump knows how to negotiate, to make deals, and to bully others into submission.  He knows how to challenge others and to rally crowds to his side.  He has a way of making an unsubstantiated claim and giving it relevancy.  He’s an unrivaled force.

Trump, who puts his name on books the way he does buildings, should work for the Dept. of Commerce or whichever agency makes trade deals.  Let him go out and make America great again.  I just hope he doesn’t start a war in the process.

The book industry needs a branding genius like Trump.  He simply thrusts himself into the spotlight and despite years of outrageous claims, wrong predictions, and failed businesses, he manages to waltz around as if he’s already president.  The guy's a natural leader.  No one is leading book publishing now.  Name a single person that you identify with the book world now. Maybe it’s an author like EL James or JK Rowling, but they are just popular authors.  Is it a leading publishing executive?  Name him or her.  No one comes to mind. Amazon, a faceless monstrosity, runs the industry from a computer, with no one to take accountability or give direction.

The leading forces in the industry are not people, but companies.  Amazon, B&N, Penguin Random, and social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  But who is behind any of them – and how outspoken are they about books and publishing?  Why is that?

When an industry is dehumanized and is no longer made up of strong voices – with ideas, opinions, and experienced insights – the industry becomes just another automated commoditized business.  How ironic that an industry filled with a product that expresses views, history, visions, and emotions can’t seem to find an individual to be its ambassador, to be its champion.

If someone like Trump existed in the book publishing industry the landscape would look dramatically different.  The industry desperately needs a lively character to promulgate a vision and to cheer-lead.  Book publishing shouldn’t be left in the quiet darkness, run by a handful of multi-national conglomerates that treat books like any other product.

Books are truly special and need to be promoted and talked about in a way that makes people pay attention.  Trump, when the presidential run flops, give me a call.  I have a job for you.

Did You See These Posts?

March In A Parade For Authors: Our True Heroes

When Books Can Talk To Us At Book Expo America

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Book Marketing Advice You Fin On A T-Shirt



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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, June 21, 2015

State of Digital Affairs Impacts Books



Which social media platforms are favored by the youth of America?  According a 2015 Internet Trends Report released by USA Today, of 12 to 24-year-olds, 74% are on Facebook.  59% are on Instagram and 57% are on Snapchat.  Just 32% are on Twitter and 30% use Vine.  Google+ is used by 26% and 20% use Pinterest.  15% are on WhatsApp.

Just 20 years ago, says the report, 30 million worldwide users were online.  Now it’s 2.8 billion people.  In that corresponding time, 1.25% of the world used a mobile phone.  Now, 73% or 5.2 billion use one.

However, the number of global Internet users is increasing at a declining rate. In 2012, an increase of 11% in users took place.  Then 10% two years ago, and now 8% last year.

The biggest trend is the increase in mobile.  The number of hours spent with devices has greatly increased in a short period of time.  In just six years, from 2008 to 2014, the number of hours spent by adult Americans on tech devices doubled to 5.3 hours per day.  Now, in fairness, the types of devices and their capabilities has greatly changed.  In that time period, iPads came out and smartphones took over.  They not only give us email and games or social media, but they give us eBooks and streaming video.  I would expect the usage to still increase.  Mobile went from 20 minutes a day in 2008 to 160 minutes in 2014 – an eight-fold increase.  Desktop/laptop usage increased by a little over 10% but declined about 8% from 2011.

So this study tells us what we already know – we’re tethered to our devices and dependent on them for everything.  We don’t shop, socialize, or entertain without a device nearby.  

What does this mean for books?

Print books are endangered to just by Amazon or eBooks but by the fact people look to everything being online.  How do you pull someone away from the busy world found in the palm of your hand to quietly read a good old paper book?

While attending the annual book trade show, Book Expo America, there were a number of exhibitors parading their latest software that turns a paper children’s book into an animated digital book with sound and movement.  Once we get our youngest kids weaned on digital books there will be little hope of introducing paper later.

We need more studies showing exactly how people spend time with their devices.  What are they viewing, reading or surfing exactly?  How much time is spent reading books, digital or paper?

For the next decade the trend is clear.  We’ll add more people to the list of device users, mostly those from the lower economic strata and seniors – and all users will gradually increase their level of usage in terms of time.

I’m also certain, given the immigration policies and patterns, Spanish online will grow.  The digital world makes it easier to find things in other languages, so rather than forcing people to learn English – which they should – you’ll see more non-English usage online.

Additionally, the Internet will see greater growth overseas, in communist nations with limited use, such as China and Cuba, or in poor, tech-deficient areas like Africa.

However, in 15-20 years, there’ll be no more growth.  We’ll max out on who has a device and how much time is spent online.  The Internet Big Bang will cease to forever expand but by the thinnest of margins.  What will happen then?  Will anyone be reading books in 2032?

Did You See These Posts?

March In A Parade For Authors: Our True Heroes

When Books Can Talk To Us At Book Expo America

Drink Up At The Book Pub Crawl And Get Drunk On Books

Book Marketing Advice You Fin On A T-Shirt


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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