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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Interview With Author Cate Holahan



Lies She Told

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The very question of where novel ideas originate inspired me to write Lies She Told. I think that writers can’t positively pinpoint the source of their stories. All people have images, scenes, anecdotes, experiences, and articles that stick with them for some reason. Maybe what makes an impression has to do with an individual’s childhood or core personality traits or subconscious musings. Who really knows, though?

What is clear, is that writers take the things that stick and mash them together to form something else entirely. The main character in Lies She Told, Liza Cole, is a writer who doesn’t really know what she is drawing upon to pen her novel. As a result, when her fiction hints at clues to a disappearance in her real life, she doesn’t understand the reason for all the parallels. Maybe it’s all coincidence. Maybe she’s being influenced by struggles in her own life but is completely abstracting them in her work. Maybe she’s sensing things that she doesn’t consciously accept or understand.

In the book, every other chapter is the novel that Liza is writing. The reader must determine Liza’s inspiration for themselves. They have to figure out what is real, what is abstraction, and what is pure invention. The fun of the puzzle is picking that apart.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Lies She Told tells the story of Liza Cole, a suspense writer who has thirty days to write the thriller that could put her back on the bestseller lists. Her tight deadline is complicated by fertility treatments and a distracted husband struggling to keep his firm afloat after the unexplained disappearance of his law partner and friend, Nick.

Stressed both professionally and personally, Liza escapes into writing her latest heroine, Beth—a new mother who suspects her husband of cheating. When Beth’s rival ends up in the East River and Nick’s body is found in the same body of water, the lines between fiction and reality really begin to blur. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to truths about those closest to her. If she doesn’t the final page of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

My target audience is anyone who enjoys suspense, intriguing puzzles, and nuanced characters.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
I hope that readers will be left feeling empathy towards all the characters in the book, even the villains. I’ve tried to create a story in which people are put in difficult circumstances that make lying appear a better solution than telling the truth. All my central characters lie at one point or another. But I think I’ve made their reasons understandable and sympathetic, if not forgivable. And I think that’s why people will remember them.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
This advice is for writers who are still working to make a real living off of writing fiction. It ain’t easy, but write every day. Fiction writing is a job as well as an art. Like any job, you get better at it by doing it. When I wrote articles for a business publication, I still penned fiction in the evenings and on weekends. Then, after I became a mom, I wrote when I put the kids to sleep and during nap times. Now, I write when they’re in school and also after they go to bed. It’s hard to juggle a day job and a dream. But if you don’t treat writing like the career you want it to become, it won’t ever evolve into that.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I think that writers are asked to do more promotion now, in part because social media enables them to and also because there is so much content out there that really wonderful books can get lost in the shuffle if a writer isn’t actively discussing their work on the web. The promotional requirements are good and bad. The good is that writers can have some influence over whether or not people know that their books exist. The bad is that we all have a limited amount of time and very few writers have the luxury of only concentrating on writing a great novel. Not to mention that many semi-introverted writers, like myself, struggle with self-promotion.

My guess is that, in the future, even fewer writers will be able to avoid taking an active role in promoting their work. It’s part of being an author.

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
Time is always a challenge. Like many writers, I was rewriting and editing the book while working on my next project. The juggling is difficult. That said, I like tight deadlines. They remind me of my prior life as a journalist and force me to focus. Who doesn’t do their best work when concentrating only on the task at hand?

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Lies She Told demanded many sleepless nights, sponge-fulls of sweat, and quite a few tears on my part. Sleepless nights because I’d spent so much time with the characters that they wouldn’t let me rest, sweat because of the amount of work it took to create these characters and this puzzle, and tears because the story warrants them at points. I created characters that I felt for deeply that will form a bond with readers. And I put them in a twisty, taught situation. Readers will keep turning pages because the people are vivid and the puzzle demands thinking. Plus, it’s entertaining. But don’t take my word for it. Take RT Book Reviews word for it:  “If you can only pick one psychological thriller to read this fall, it needs to be Holahan’s Lies She Told.”

Cate Holahan is the acclaimed author of Lies She Told (Sept. 2017) The Widower's Wife (August 2016) and Dark Turns (November 2015), all published by Crooked Lane Books. An award-winning journalist and former television producer, her articles have appeared in BusinessWeek, The Boston Globe, The Record and on web sites for CBS, MSN Money, NorthJersey.com, BusinessWeek.com, and CNBC. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two daughters, ages 7 and 5, and dog Westley. For more information, see  www.cateholahan.com.

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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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Do You Dare Ignore The 6 Book PR Myths?



Some authors are under the wrong impression about book publicity, so please allow me to bust the following six myths concerning book PR:

1.     My publisher takes care of book publicity. 
Wishful thinking for those with a publisher. Only a handful get PR attention from them, and even then, it’s usually a limited effort in terms of the scope and duration for the work. To properly seize control of promoting your brand and the book you must supplement what a publisher does.  Obviously in the case of self-publishing, authors are completely on their own and must do all that they can to support their work.

2.     All I need are some good reviews. 
True, good reviews will be helpful but it doesn’t end there.  You need more than a handful of nice book reviews to get you on the map.  It’s a matter of quality – you may need dozens of reviews from consumers and 10 or more from the news media and professional book reviewers to get going.  Then you will need off-the-book page media exposure.  In addition to reviewers and the news media, you’ll need social media to be strong.  Interviews, guest-posts, byline articles, feature stories, and other media placements can be just as important as reviews.

3.     It’s all about social media
Wrong. Social media is important as part of the portfolio of what one does to properly promote and market a book and author brand.  Social media should support your efforts in regards to traditional media (print, TV, radio), digital media (blogs, podcasts, online reviews, websites), speaking engagements and webinars, and other marketing strategies.  Don’t ever put all of your eggs in one basket, especially one that has hundreds of millions of competing voices.

4.     I’ll hire someone to help on PR once I sell some books. 
It’ll be too late at that point.  You may feel you’re in a Catch-22 position, where you can’t afford publicity to help your book sell but you won’t get publicity if you first wait for book sales without properly promoting it.  A book has a certain shelf-life and the media has its own deadlines to work under.  You have to promote your book four to five months prior to launch date and up to three months post-publication.  If you first wait until you sell books to hire a publicist you severely limit what type of media he or she can garner for you.  Borrow, steal, and beg so you have funds to pay a publicist during the window of time that he or she can be useful to you.

5.     All of the media is online now. 
A lot of media is online but some of the biggest media is traditional media:  television, radio, magazines, and newspapers.  Do not be fooled into thinking the only thing out there are blogs, podcasts, Twitter, and Facebook.  Authors should still kill to be on national radio shows or featured on the Today Show or interviewed by USA Today.  Traditional media greatly influences other media and still pushes the news cycle in a significant way.  Don’t ignore non-digital media!

6.     My book is better than the competition.
Let’s say such a bold statement is true.  So what?  No one knows it’s great unless you do things to let people know about your book. Everyone needs to do PR, from first-time authors to best-selling ones, from the self-published to the Big 5 authors, from poetry and novels, to non-fiction and scholarly works.  You can never have enough exposure for a book.  It’s comforting to believe your book is great but you have to go out there and prove it to be so.  Don’t be lazy or overconfident -- circulate and get the word-of-mouth going.  Let third parties validate your greatness.

There are reasons these myths are perpetuated -- ignorance, unawareness, money, or time.  Sometimes you hear of one author who followed one of these myths but still managed to do well.  They are the exception – and they would’ve done better if they didn’t buy into these myths. Don’t be fooled.

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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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Do You Really Need A Book Publicist?



The new economy that allows people to simply do things on their own.-- rather than hire someone to do it for them -- is making people feel they can do anything.  Who needs a travel agent when you have Priceline or Hotels.com or Trip Advisor?  Who needs to buy second-hand stuff from a company when you can deal with a seller directly on eBay?  Who needs a human to do something a robot can do?  Why wait online to check out of the supermarket when you can do self-checkout?

So it’s no surprise that some authors mistakenly think they can replace what a professional book publicist does simply because he or she has access to some media lists or because social media is free.  The truth is authors can do more on their own than ever before, but more is also required.  A paid, experienced book publicist will save you time and get great results.  

Here are the top 14 reasons to use a book publicist:

1.      They write better press kits and pitches because they know what the media is expecting to receive.

2.      The media prefers to deal with a book publicist rather than a thousand authors who are strangers to them.

3.      They can media coach you and make sure you appear knowledgeable, likable, and understandable.

4.      They can analyze your website, social media, and marketing materials, and give you constructive criticism, strategic tips, and guidance on what to do – or not do.

5.      They are connected to the media, making introductions a lot easier for you.

6.      They know what some media outlets are working on and can clue you in on stories you may be appropriate for.

7.      They understand how the media works and what they are looking for and how/when to contact them – they are far more efficient than an author.

8.      Publicists have an experienced eye and can speak on your behalf a lot better than most authors can talk about themselves.

9.      A good publicist knows how to find media contacts that aren’t easily found or known about.

10.  Promoters think like promoters and always look for fresh angles to sell your book to the media.  Authors know how to write and are proficient in the area they write in, but book publicity is a distant second for their skill set.

11.  Book publicists are well aware of the news cycle, honorary days, anniversaries, holidays or other tie-ins to your book.  They can pitch you to media that you never thought of approaching, simply because they see things differently.

12.  They express themselves with passion, wit, sincerity, and professionalism.  They sound confident without bragging and present you in a way that allows the media to value your message and background.

13.  They remain ever optimistic and vigilant and don’t worry about rejections or criticisms.  They just keep plowing through obstacles or setbacks.

14.  Book publicists can invite you into their network of experts – editors, literary agents, fellow authors, and others who may prove to be valuable to you.

Of course, there are many lousy book publicists out there who simply are not worth even half of what they ask to be paid. Like anything else, evaluate your options, interview and interrogate them.  Look for good references and samples of solid work, and get a feel for the person you’ll work with.  It’s worth taking a chance, a book publicist can offer a huge pay-off when all goes well.

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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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Interview With Author Matthew Rudd Reynolds



A World on the Island’s Edge: Book 1 of the Golden Dolphin

Matthew Rudd Reynolds is a counselor out of Portland, Oregon who received his master’s from Multnomah University. Additionally, he has worked as a youth pastor for the previous 11 years. Today, Reynolds, a member of the deaf community, provides counseling to patients that are deaf.  For more info, please see: www.luxthegoldendolphin.com.

1.      What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or
experience and conveying it into a book? I had always wanted to write a book. That much was a no-brainer. I had an idea in my head for years and I decided to finally sit down and write it down. What resulted from that was my including some experiences from my childhood that I feel helped ground the narrative more. You have these fantastical ideas and theories but the kids — what they were going through, their individual struggles — some of those were based on childhood experiences, such as my grandmother having Alzheimer’s, for example. Those experiences just poured out naturally as I was writing the book. It wasn’t planned. Just came together the way it did.

2.      What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?Without giving too much away, it is about a girl named Andi who lives with her twin brother and grandmother on a fictional island in the San Juan Archipelago located in the northwestern United States. She and her brother Artie have been keeping their grandmother’s dementia a secret in an effort to keep their family together. However, it is becoming harder to keep others from finding out. After Andi discovers a golden dolphin named Lux with supernatural powers, she decides to keep him from being found out by the world. What follows are a series of adventures that culminate in their lives being changed forever. Who is my targeted reader? I would say anyone ages nine and up. I do believe that the book has crossover appeal and that all ages would enjoy it. Family members can certainly talk about it with each other! As my son put it, “The book is different and enjoyable for everyone. It is like watching a childhood movie when you’re older…when you’re young, you appreciate the fantasy and action elements more, how colorful it all is. When you’re older, you have a greater understanding of the story and the emotions behind that.”

3.      What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? I think the biggest thing I would want readers to take away from this is not to underestimate others. Andi and her brother Artie are both underestimated in different ways and to see how they triumph even against the most overwhelming of odds is, I think, inspiring. To remain strong even when the stakes are very high. I also hope that readers see that even though this is a fantasy novel, there is no ‘magic solution’. There is no special thing that makes all the challenges the characters face all right. The answers come from chasing and fighting for them, not waiting around for something to happen. Moreover, many of the triumphs that are won in the book are won through interdependence—working together. Everyone has something to bring to the table.  Finally, one of the characters—I won’t say who—sees and does things very differently. Our tendency as a people, I think, is to mock everything outside of our own experience. I hope this leaves readers with the understanding that one can’t do that—that everyone is capable of much more than we can possibly imagine.

4.      What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Both Stephen King and Madeline L’Engle agree on this: just write. I found that to be very true. While I had an idea in my head, I was more surprised at what came out in my writing this book than not. Don’t worry about edits until much, much later. Just fill the page. Writers also should not listen to that little voice in their heads that say they can’t do it. I believe writers should receive praise just as heavily as they receive criticism. I think people who are artists tend to weigh criticism more heavily than positive feedback. Both need to be weighed equally. Finally, if you think adults won’t understand what you’re writing about, then write it for children. Children are much less practical than adults and much smarter than they’re made out to be. They’re more willing to accept the world you’ve built and more open to ideas that you’re trying to convey.

5.      What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? As this is a self-published novel, I do have to touch on the rise of the self-publishing industry. It’s much harder, I think, to “break in” to the mainstream publishing industry than it was. It was never easy but now it’s almost impossible. I think in today’s world, self-publishing allows some writers to be discovered that might not be found otherwise. The rise of the Internet and social media demands that the author be involved in the promotion of their book. So having a superior knowledge of how to use both are necessary in increasing the chances of your book’s success. In fact, it's downright essential.

6.      What great challenges did you have in writing your book? Writing a book is hard work, but as this was my first time, I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be on a personal level. Questioning myself, questioning where I was steering the plot, balancing writing and my family life, balancing writing and my work life. And of course, there’s always dealing with that little voice in your head that says what you’re writing is no good, that it isn’t coming out the way it should be .As difficult as writing the book was, the editing process proved to be even more difficult. I’m very thankful to my many editors for their input and ideas, which I think helped me tighten and improve the book. But it was a difficult process for me, to balance helpful suggestions against the story I was trying to tell. Those decisions are never easy.

7.      If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? I think that the situations the characters face are rooted in real-life situations. The imaginative journey they take through the book, however, is quite fantastical. I believe the book balances both sides nicely; it is relatable in its characters and entertaining in its mythology. The book isn’t defined by one genre or one age group. It’s a story that I’ve wanted to tell for a long time. I feel that it has a lot of important messages that I think readers young and old will appreciate. If it can entertain someone and help them with something they’re going through, that’s an even bigger gift.
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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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

How Do Authors Get On TV?



Authors want to know how they can get on television, so I am going to tell you exactly how to do just that.

First, understand the TV landscape – how it works, what they look for, and how to package yourself in a timely fashion.

Second, realize that despite all of the tricks of the trade, connections that you make, and the greatness of your book, there’s still a very little chance that you’ll make it beyond local TV.  That’s just the reality of the percentages.  Too many authors – and others – are in a Hunger Gamesdeath match to get on TV.  Only a few will survive and thrive.

Let’s start by looking at television today.  The first thing you need to know is that each station and show is unique and requires a customized pitch.  What works for The View doesn’t get you onFox, MSNBC, or PBS.  Know the politics, demographics, guest history, and ownership of each show before you pitch it.

Next, differentiate, what kinds of personality the show wants. Do they want the serious expert or a talking miniskirt?  Are they looking for news, analysis, opinion or entertainment? Is it interested only in certain subjects?  How is the show slanted and who does it appeal to?  Hint:  Look at the commercials.

Break down each network or channel and list all of the different shows.  Identify the producers and bookers for each show.  Contact one person from a show before you contact others from the same show.  If you don’t get a yes or a response, move on to others.  You can pitch multiple shows simultaneously.

Shows - think in terms of scoops and competition.  They want exclusives and to be first to air a story but they mainly compete internally with other shows on their network the way siblings compete for a parent's affection, and they compete with those in their time slot on other networks.  Give them something they fear others will want.

Your pitch needs to be short, headline-centric, filled with bullet points and links to a video.  They want a visual to support the story.  They also want to see what you look and sound like.

TV wants a validated, credible voice on camera.  Make sure you have the right credentials and any third-party supporters – testimonials, links to other media, awards, etc. They want to see you are on TV before.

Give urgency to your pitch.  Answer this:  Why you – and why now?  They need to see you are a hot property and someone they need to work with.  Highlight your social media numbers if they are solid.

The general pecking order of things is authors need to get some exposure on local TV or with digital television (video on a leading site) before they can get the call up to the Big Leagues of national television.

Can you clearly, emphatically, and passionately convince a TV producer why he or she should give you a shot?  Can you speak with conviction and confidence?  Will you give them a positive and secure feeling about your on-camera presence and style?  TV doesn’t like to take chances.  It’s risk-averse.  It wants formulaic tried and true.  Attractive people, cute dogs, celebrities, and odd stories still own the airwaves. TV is just Facebook these days.

The fastest way to television is to have something newsworthy to say on a timely topic being debated in the current news cycle.  But most authors don’t have such hard news to reveal.  So you have to be creative and think like the producer you are appealing to.  Feed their concerns with something that gets them to turn a no to a yes.  

Your first place to audition is on YouTube.  Build up a strong following that a TV show would kill for.  Who knows, maybe one day you’ll be the one interviewing the media on your podcast.  You have potentially as much power as the media.


That’s right, the way to get on TV is to embrace a can-do attitude and then to showcase your talents online.  Go for it!

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Can you sell at least 10 copies of your book every day for a year?

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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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs