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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Does The Media Think Your Pitch Is Bullshit?



Your book may not be getting the level of news media coverage that you believe it deserves. There can be numerous reasons for this – you pitched the wrong media outlet or the wrong person at that outlet; there simply were better books or more qualified experts to choose from; bad timing; other news is dominating their attention.  But perhaps you are not getting media coverage because the media thinks you are full of crap.

Yes, your voice messages, emails, or mailed press release may simply sound too blustery, too commercial, and too good to be true.  Sometimes you can cross the line between hype and substance.  The media wants to be excited about something, but it doesn’t like to be a part of BS, unfounded claims, or assertions that sound too outrageous or controversial.

How do you know if your message to the media strikes the right balance in content, tone, and style?

Start by auditing our pitches, to see if you use:
·         Language that sounds like you’re selling a book vs. sharing an interesting news story idea.
·         Too much hyperbole.
·         Words that sound extreme.
·         Headlines that sound unreal – and unproven.
·         Facts or stats to bolster your pitch that come from unreliable sources.

The media is on high alert for fake news.  Now more than ever they are vetting experts and scrutinizing the messages that they let appear on their shows, in their publications, and online.

The media is also sensitive to pitches that could:
·         Lead to a story that generates lawsuits.
·         Cause advertisers to object to the editorial content.
·         Contradict the politics and ethical standards of a media outlet’s ownership and editorial brand.
·         Cause angry protests.

The media also wants something new.  Make sure your pitch doesn’t merely rehash past coverage or stories that have hit their expiration date.  Stay ahead of the news cycle and anticipate trends and upcoming calendars to figure out the optimum time to reach out to the media.

The best pitches will:
·         Offer solutions to problems.
·         Reveal actual news.
·         Add depth to things already being discussed in the news.
·         Touch upon sex, sports, money, health, politics, religion, parenting and jobs because that’s what people care about.
·         Raise concerns or fears over something that could impact many people.
·         Provide name-recognition insights/views to an issue.

Do your best to pitch the media – but avoid sounding too good to be true!


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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  

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Best Author Tales Are About Bookstores



How appropriate that I bought a book about bookstores from a nice indie bookstore in Woodstock, New York, a town that has memorialized the 1960s like no other place can.  The book came with a bookmark from the store, the Golden Note Book, that offered a quote from Doris Lessing:

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you.  Reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag – and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement.

The book that I purchased, My Bookstore:  Writers Celebrate Their Favorite Places to Browse Read, and Shop, edited by Ronald Rice and Booksellers Across North America, takes a terrific approach to talking about books and the stores that sell them.  

We hear from scores of established and successful writers, from New York Times best-selling authors to award-winning writers, including Ann Patchett, John Grisham, Pete Hamill, Paolo Mancuso, Nancy Thayer and Fannie Flagg.  They talk about their positive experiences in going to indie bookstores.  

I’ve been to a number of them and can attest to their unique qualities, including Denver’s Tattered Cover Book Store, Carol Gables Books & Books, Mystic’s Bank Square Books, Cambridge’s Harvard Book Store, Vineyard Haven’s Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Portland’s Powell’s City of Books, Austin’s Book People, NYC’s Strand Bookstore, McNally Jackson Books, Millerton’s Oblong Books & Music, and so many others.

The authors write glowingly of particular bookstores:

“places of genuine wonder.”
“physical manifestation of the wide world’s longest, best, most thrilling conversation.”
“the cultural soul of a large community.”
“bookshop as both a community center and a tabernacle of ideas.”
“is the hub of everything good and wise”
“kind of a sanctuary”

Author Jan Clinch wrote of Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, VT:

“The main thing was that the instant you stepped inside the door you knew that this was a place where books were honored.  There was a kind of respectful intelligence behind everything, and to make your way down the aisles was to engage in a conversation with whoever it was who’d arranged them.”

I conclude with words from Wendell Berry, who wrote of his beloved Louisville Store, Carmichaels Bookstore:

“Sometimes I go to buy a certain book.  Sometimes I go with no purpose but to see what books may be there and to visit a little while with the people who work there.  The place has the quietness, the friendliness, the smell and the tangibility that a bookstore ought to have. It is a fair incarnation of the manifold life of books.  To go there and find a book I didn’t expect or didn’t expect to want, to decide I want it, to buy it as a treasure to take home, to conduct the whole transaction in a passage or friendly conversation –that is to every way a pleasure.  A part of my economic life thus becomes a part of my social life.”

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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, September 27, 2017

Interview With Book Publisher Ilan Greenfield of Gefen Publishing House


On His Newest Book, My Jerusalem

Many could argue that no other city in the world has a more significant history than Jerusalem. Now the capital of Israel, it has been the prize of countless wars. The Holy City has served Jews for 3,000 years and is also where the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ took place, and it is where the Muslim prophet Muhammad ascended to Heaven. A new book takes a close look and a unique approach at what Jerusalem means to world leaders, through essays and photographs, capturing the significance of a 50-square mile strip of land on the 50th anniversary of its reunification.

My Jerusalem: The Eternal City (Gefen Publishing, House, cloth, 160 pages, October 1, 2017, $50, ISBN: 9789652299079) is the most important and monumental book that I have published in my 36 years of publishing,” says Ilan Greenfield, the book’s editor and publisher.

Greenfield combined dozens of stirring and insightful essays from those who understand the political, religious, and humanitarian importance of a stable Jerusalem. “As you read the different stories, I hope that you will think of your own Jerusalem story and consider your relationship to this unique and amazing city – and what Jerusalem means to you,” Greenfield says.

My Jerusalem is complemented by the award-winning photographs of Tel Aviv-based photographer Ziv Koren, who has had his work shared in 15 books and at exhibits across the globe, including the Metropolitan Museum of Tokyo, the Memorial Museum in Spain, the War Museum in Croatia, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. His work has been published in Time magazine, Newsweek, The Sunday New bel, Times Magazine, Stern, der Spiegel, Paris Match, Le Figaro, and other prominent publication across the globe.

The list of contributors is impressive. It includes heavyweight politicians, activists, philanthropists, academicians, artists and leaders from Israel and the United States, including:

·         Renowned legal expert Alan M. Dershowitz
·         Preeminent sex therapist, talk show host and Holocaust survivor Dr. Ruth Westheimer
·         Israel’s 10th president, Reuven Rivlin
·         Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu
·         Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat
·         Speaker of Israel Knesset, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
·         National Defense Emeritus, Anti-Defamation league, Abraham H. Foxman
·         National President of Hadassah, Ellen Hershkin
·         World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder 
·         Founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Rabbi Marvin Hier

Many submissions are from non-Jews, including Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, Pastor John Hager, founder and national chairman of Christians United for Israel, and U.S. presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

Here is an interview with Greenfield:

1.      Why is it so important that a book celebrating Jerusalem be published during its 50th anniversary of reunification? The importance of this unique album is not the 50th anniversary. The 50th anniversary is the trigger to its inception. The book conveys the yearning of Jews to Jerusalem throughout the past 2,000 years. While reading these personal stories we understand why it is important that Jerusalem stay the capital of Israel for ever as a united city with free access to all religions to their Holy sites.

2.      What surprised you in the contributions that you received for the book? What surprised me the most was the enthusiasm in which all the contributors have responded with. Including our President Reuven Rivlin, Alan Dershowitz, Malcolm Hoenlein, Pastor Hage. Mike Huckabee and Rabbi Sacks – they all were excited to take part in this unique volume and this can be seen in their personal story and connection to Jerusalem.

3.      What were some of the biggest names to provide their personal thoughts about Jerusalem? President Rivlin, Mayor Nir Barkat, and all the rest….

4.      What does Jerusalem mean to you? As a native Tel Avivian I remember the first night I slept in Jerusalem in 1982. I had returned from two years as a Zionist activist in Los Angeles and ecided to try and spend a few days in Jerusalem prior to returning to Tel Aviv. Waking up in the morning and seeing Jerusalem, inhaling Jerusalem – I knew that I am here to stay. Every morning is a unique day starting in this Holy City – yet today a vibrant and modern city as well.

5.      Is there any place on Earth quite like Jerusalem, with a long history of ties to Jews, Christians, and Muslims? The Centrality of Jerusalem is unique among the world. The combination of people in this small city is amazing, surprising and challenging.

6.      How do you feel the book that you published is unique and special so much so that you have stated “it’s the most important and monumental book that I will have published in my 36 years of publishing”?  With every contribution of a personal story that I received I realized that this book is not just another book – this is a monument for our capital – Jerusalem. It is not easy to gather personal stories from these contributors – yet their prompt response made me understand the immense importance of this project. 

7.      What themes get expressed over and over from most of the contributors? The most important theme in my mind is that when Jerusalem was not under Israeli rule – there was no freedom of religion. There was no access and no respect for other religions. Today – Jews, Christians and Muslims can pray in their Holy sites and can practice their religion freely. Before 1967 – this was not the case.

8.      Do you believe we can see lasting peace in Jerusalem? How about in the Middle East? I would like to be realistic. While Peace would be great – I believe the first step we must aspire is to have a no-war situation. We first need to be able to have co-existence – starting with Jerusalem. I am an optimist and I believe peace can be reached with much education and acceptance of others who think differently than we do.  Peace in this region will only be possible with a strong and stable Israel. Israel, a strong and democratic Jewish State, is so far the only stable entity in the region.

9.      Several of your contributors are leading thinkers and activists who are not Jewish.  What does Jerusalem mean to them? Jerusalem has a place in everyone's heart.  This is the City where it all happened and as we see many non-Jews from around the world continue coming as pilgrims to the Holy City. We must enable them to come and perform their religion and we should have 10,000,000 pilgrims in Jerusalem each and every year.

10.  Several of your contributors are American leaders. How does America help support Jerusalem? This is true. We have a scope of American Jewish leaders who have contributed to this album. They represent different streams of Judaism and a variety of political views. They all have in common the fact that Jerusalem must stay the capital of Israel. The United States has always stood alongside Israel and has historically supported the State of Israel. The United States should continue doing so and should move its Embassy to the city which the Israeli Government has declared as the capital of Israel. I believe that by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem the United States will make its most important contribution to reaching Peace in the Middle East.   This move will end speculation regarding the future of Jerusalem as a united city – the Capital of Israel.

Please note My Jerusalem is being promoted by the book publicity that I work for. To see more information, please consult: https://www.gefenpublishing.com/product.asp?productid=2291


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  

Book Marketing Lessons From Kids, Clergy, Women, Contractors & TV Sportscasters



Authors who are seeking attention for their books should learn from how others find a way to get noticed,  stick out, or differentiate from others.  Look no further than kids, women, sports announcers, clergy, and home contractors for inspiration.

1.      Kids
They scream and are loud.  They don’t always follow social norms or adult behavior cues.  They get in your face and say “look at me.”  Can you tap into the carefree, confident, and daring kid within you to sell yourself to others?

2.      Women
Women use the right clothes, perfume, shoes, hairstyle, accessories, and mannerisms to look appealing, even alluring.  They draw attention because they look good and exude a warmth or beauty that keeps all eyes on them.  Can you learn from how women use color, style, texture and appearance to draw people to you and your book?

3.      TV Sports Announcers
They use energy and voice to give off a feeling of urgency, passion and excitement. They rouse you with their melodic voices and exaggerated utterances.  They use wit, emotion, and insight to engage listeners. Can you copy what a lively sportscaster does to entice others to pay attention to you?

4.      Clergy
They too use their voice to make a point, often varying their tone with rising and quieting exclamations.  Sometimes a good silent pause after a profound statement gives more resonance than any additional words could.  Clergy have a way of tapping into the communal psyche and find a way to unite, inspire, and heal us.  Can you minister to others and show compassion for and interest in your potential readers?

5.      Home Contractors
These guys have a way of convincing you to use them and to feel confident that they will deliver on time, quality work, within a stated budget.  However, they often go over budget, have job delays, and don’t quite do the job the way you were told it would be done.  They may not lie, though some surely do, but they withhold knowledge that would impact your buying decision if you were aware of it.  Can you tap into the sides of you that can sell without thinking about whether the book is truly what that consumer would want or need?  Can you market yourself aggressively and play on a consumer’s ignorance, fears, or needs to make a book sale?

We really could learn from every person and type of profession on how to sell, get attention, and make a positive impression.  Study those that you admire and find effective.  Think about what they said or did or looked like as they convinced you to open your wallet or look in their direction.  Selling books is something anyone can do, especially when you have the right people to model.

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A 9-year-old girl loses mom; teaches me about life


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, September 26, 2017

Interview With Children’s Book Author Preston Rice



Author of Little Forces and the Water Rescue

1. What inspired you to launch a series of children's books with your twin brother?
As a father, my children will always be my inspiration. The conception of the Little Forces happened the night of our 33rd birthday where we both discussed the stories of the Little Forces. Writing these stories has allowed me to introduce the values in the books that I wish to instill in my own children. They have also allowed us to memorialize our good friends and their children within these pages as a tribute to their sacrifice, another part of our inspiration.

2. What themes are covered in your books?
The theme in every story is different, hitting on topics such as forgiveness, working together, being part of a community and being involved. Additionally, listening to your parents and respecting others around you is another focus. With these stories, we also introduce new technology but in a fun way where children can interact socially with other children and getting out doors to play. The stories are also written in a way to motivate children and inspire imagination and creativity.

3. You have been an active member of the armed forces. Please share with us a little about your experiences.
In 2001, I served in the United States Air Force where I spent my enlistment as a meteorologist. After 6 months of Technical School, my first assignment took me to Germany where I spend another 4 months learning about weather regimes and climatology across all of Europe. I began forecasting weather for many areas in Europe where we have U.S. Military Operations. I traveled much of Europe during my time there which was an amazing opportunity. After two years, I returned to a 3-month Technical School in order to learn how to become an observer and how to use equipment in the field for combat scenarios. After completion of this school I was stationed in Florida at the Special Operations base. I deployed to Iraq Operation Iraqi Freedom and briefed the commander and aircrews on weather conditions that could impact operations. Additionally, I deployed to Kuwait for a total of 256 days in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. I enjoyed the assignment, though my desire was to be part of the Elite Special Operations Combat Controllers though this did not seem to be an obtainable path due to the road blocks and poor vision. I ended up getting out of the military in 2005. Years later, after eye surgery, I had the opportunity train as a Combat Controller, but I gave it up in order to start a family. This decision was a tough one, but not one that I regret. I now have 3 beautiful children, two of which are currently characters in the Little Forces Series and the third will be introduced in due time!

4. What influence does your military experience play in your books' messages?
There is quite a bit of influence from our military experience that goes into these books. From leadership to even a refined version of operations in order to make this child friendly. Right away you can see Porter taking charge of the situation and Leading his friends. Everyone has a job to do and a responsibility. Within other books, we use some creativity in order to develop other military operations in an exciting way. We are very detail oriented and this is of the utmost importance.

5. Why is it important that we encourage children at a young age to step up and be heroes?
We all have heroes that we look up to. Typically, someone doing good and looking out for others is the premises for a hero, or even one with super powers. Using this idea, we think that children can develop these traits at an early age. While reading these books and seeing the actions of the characters, they can find that they hold power within themselves and have the ability help out those in need. We want to teach that it is ok to speak up or do something in situations that doesn’t look right. Stepping out of the comfort zone may be difficult at first, but it will help build on their character.

6. As a parent, how do you teach your children about teamwork and collaboration?
As a parent of multiple kids, I find it relatively easy. Lead by example and you will find that the children learn these behavioral traits quickly. Children are always observing, so as a parent, the ability to work with a significant other is extremely important. It is always great to show them how to do something at a young age rather than explaining it, though I practice both techniques simultaneously. With my sons, Porter and Keillor, they are very close in age and can learn to work together in order to achieve their goal. It can be something as simple as picking up their room and working together to accomplish the task, or even soccer where they pass the ball to each other. One time, the boys wanted to dress up as Spiderman. They both had their costumes on and I was the villain. They had to spray me with their web which was a can of silly string in order to capture me. They were both talking and devising a plan on how to get me which was great to watch. I believe that through regular play, children can learn quite a bit.

7. How does purchasing a book Help support the Special Operations Warrior Foundation? What does this organization do?
The Special Operations Warrior Foundation is a great organization which looks out for the families of the fallen in the Special Operations Community. I personally have seen the good this organization provides. Our good friend Andy Harvell was in the Extortion 17 crash in Afghanistan. He left behind a wife and two young sons, one which was still a new born. It was a dreadful day for all. The Special Operations Warrior Foundation used the funds received in donations to buy property and build a home for Andy’s family. This Organization also devoted to providing a college education to every child who has lost a parent serving in the U.S. Special Operations Command. At the end of every year, our goal at the Little Forces is to contribute a percentage of any proceeds to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation.

8. What is your latest book about, Little Forces and the Water Rescue?
This story is one that is quite common but done in a unique way. The idea behind this is that a boy doesn’t listen to his mother who is looking out for his best interest. By not listening and making poor decisions, he gets himself into a horrible situation. While not paying attention, he escalates the problem prompting the Little Forces into action. This time, they will have friends who offer a hand in order to pull of this daring rescue.

9. How much of a soldier's ability is learned vs being born with it? How can we raise better soldiers?
I believe the environment which one is raised may have something to do with how one may be more susceptible to becoming a soldier or even a better soldier, but I also believe that through our own experiences throughout youth and what we gravitate toward is a unique attribute. There are obvious abilities that one may not every have had the chance to learn if not given the opportunity through the military. That being said, raising a better soldier is also in the training. If we can better understand the human mind and the psychology behind it, we can train and motivate an individual to accomplish their tasks. This goes hand in hand with collaboration and cooperation and ultimately succeeding in the overall goal.

10. Do military families have unique challenges in raising their children?
Raising a family while serving in the military is nothing short of challenging. There is much more to it that those outside of the military will never perceive. For instance, if one parent is deployed and the other parent is home with the children, there are countless hours spent planning, organizing, scheduling, and taking care of the children as a single parent, not to mention the emotional aspect of being away from your significant other. On the flip side it is important to assure your family that you are ok while deployed. Communication may not be available from time to time while deployed either and being a way for so long is not the easiest of tasks. You still have to maintain focus and continue to do your job. You need to keep mentally sharp and on top of every detail. If there are problems at home or emergencies, you have to rely on others to help as it may take you a few days to get back home. I think the most important aspect of all is to ensure that the children know that their deployed parent loves them. It is also important to communicate with your family while deployed as much as possible and be involved where you can be.

Please note, Rice is a client of the book publicity firm that I work for. To see more information, please consult: www.littleforces.com.


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 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Can We Agree On The Best Books Ever?



How many different books can be the best book of all time?

Readers of books surely have more than one favorite book. There are different genres and sub-genres that one can break down into a list of personal classics.  One could also devise a list of books based on time – not just of the period or era a book was published, but the year or stage of life that the reader consumed the book.

In any given month there are far more books published than used to be released in a year just a generation ago.  And in one year there are far more books published than used to exist in all of the book world of all time up until the 1950s.  The market is flooding us with books at a time when we have an explosion of content online and more TV available than ever before and more music than in the history of the industry.  To make a list of best books seems harder and harder when we can’t even get to a tiny fraction of those available to us.

It seems like up until the past decade or two, making a list of best books was not so difficult.  In the 500+ year history of printing books, certain authors and titles hit a classic status and remained there for generations – even for centuries.

We all read Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Twain, and the like, whether we enjoy, understand or value their work.  Schools, libraries, museums, and bibliophiles and bookstores push their works onto us.  But what books, especially from the last 40-50 years are truly great, significant, and enjoyable?

Plenty, and that’s what makes putting a list together so hard.  More often than not, lists will vary from person to person, and over time the variance will increase because as the market provides more choices, more people will read and celebrate different books.  We will become a fractured reading public, with no unanimity on what the great books are.  Even our definition of greatness will not match-up with one another.

At best, we will have to create more narrowly defined best book lists. There will be many of them.  For instance, look at gender.  What are the best books by men – or for men?  By women or for women?  By gays or for them?  By transgender – or for them?

We can do it by era, race, region, and other demographics.  Who are the best Catholic, Muslim or Jewish writers?  Which books are best by a genre, such as romance, sci-fi, or fantasy?  Which are the best subs-genres, like erotica, space travel, or lesbian vampire thrillers?

So many books can speak differently to us at different times. Some books have lasting power transcending the tastes of society long after the author has died, and those books ring true because they examine human nature – ethics, love, life-death struggles, power, family, and faith.

I must confess that I’ve not read some of the great books but consumed them as plays or movies.  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo would be a good example.  Is that a category unto itself – best movie-adaptation of a book?

Books hit best-seller lists, get reviewed, win awards, get ranked in polls, and are placed on a variety of recommended reading lists.  But none of this makes a book great.  And no book may be able to remain great forever, for times change and even being human gets redefined by technology, medicine, and science.  Perhaps one day we are more cyborg-like, filled with gene-altering drugs and computer chips implanted in our brains, mixed in with foods from a lab, and when we attempt to read a book from 1997 or 1697 it will seem so foreign from our world that we won’t even be able to relate to the work that some now refer to as great or best.

A book is great if it makes an impression on you and helps you understand or live your life.  Read a book and seek out what you believe to be great.

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A 9-year-old girl loses mom; teaches me about life



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