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Friday, November 30, 2018

Do Authors Deserve A Tax Break Now?




While President Donald Trump handed out all kinds of tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy – with some scraps for the middle class in non-coastal states – he neglected to give a tax break to the one constituency that really needs and deserves it:  writers.

Yes, writers, particularly authors, deserve a break.  They struggle to get published, toil in anonymity until their big book marketing break happens (if it does), and often don’t make a lot of money from their work.  Studies have shown that authors earn at a rate below the poverty level.

Writers often don’t incorporate (they should), which would allow them to take deductions from obvious expenses (laptops, writers conferences, book publicity) and for things that contribute to their professional existence (writing classes, home office, printer cartridges, pads, etc.).  However, these expense deductions are only good if they happen in the same year that you make money.

For instance, let’s say you received a book advance of $5,000 in 2018 but earned royalties in 2019.  Your expenses of 2017, when you wrote but didn’t make much money, can’t be deducted when there’s nothing to deduct from, and yet the expenses of 2017 contributed to you getting a book deal in 2018 and the ability to earn more in 2019.  See what I’m saying?

But now let’s take it a step further.  What if you spent a boatload on college as an English major.  What if you then got a Masters in Fine Arts?  Where is the tax break for your education and training? How are you being credited with all of the books on writing that you bought for the past decade?  How are you compensated for the thousands of hours of thinking, researching, interviewing, writing, and editing of things never published or paid a fee for?

Writers, the backbone of American creativity, should get a tax break, tax credit, tax refund – and anything that will help support them so they can afford to do the nation’s thinking, chronicling, and entertaining.

Authors pay a heavy price to write.

They are ignored by the public, misunderstood by friends and family, and generally feel underappreciated.  They want to contribute something to society and yet society doesn’t see it fit to finance their efforts.

What if more people could practice their art more freely, not as shackled by financial pressures?  What if those who write could devote more time to it, rather than sneak it in between chores or at the expense of sleep and family life?

Let’s pay our authors and give something to those who have sacrificed so much.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Why Authors Must Watch Rocky




If I can give authors really good advice, it would be to watch Rocky.  

In all my years of watching thousands of movies, I have never found one quite like it.  The entire franchise of Sylvester Stallone films continues today, with installment No. 8, Creed II, and it is very, very good.  So how does a movie retain a 42-year-old hold on the public?

It starts with the theme song, filled with powerful trumpets and energy.  Gonna Fly Now.  Listen to it, right now.  Play it.  Again.  Again.  Again.  I could never tire of it.  

The song has a powerful impact every single time I listen to it.  I feel moved, inspired, empowered.  I feel youthful and determined.  I’m ready to tear apart whatever or whomever stands in my way of pursuing my dreams, living my convictions, and sharing my truth with others.

You may not like sports or care for boxing, a barbaric activity that would be outlawed anywhere but in the ring.  No matter.  The Rocky movies are all about the battles we fight – in life, inside ourselves, deep in our spirits.  It doesn’t matter the size of your opponent, the level of risk, or a challenge of achieving your goals, or the doubters around us.  What matters is the heart and soul inside of you, the forceful spirit that allows you to be your best and to use brains, skills, strength, and determination to win.

Writers are underdogs, and like Rocky, must summon up the courage to live their convictions.  Rocky never gets old for those like me who fell in love with what he stands for.  This year is my 40-year anniversary of seeing the classic film. When it came out in theaters, my parents didn’t take me.  I was nine.  But by 1978 I saw it on TV and fell in love with it.  Everyone needs the spirit of Rocky in their life, but especially writers.  We need the motivation, support, and modeled leadership that Rocky brings us.

Writers experience, observe, research, imagine, think, and hypothesize about life.  They live in a world that doesn’t exist as much as they live in the real one. They see the world for what it is, but ask if we can do better, be better, and find ways to right the shortcomings of humanity. They submerge their emotional worth, their identity, and their intellectual talent into their books.  It’s only proper that a fictional character help champion them in their pursuit of writing greatness.

I try to watch It’s a Wonderful Life every year, reminding myself that even when times get tough, we must choose to live.  I watch The Wizard of Oz to remember that we don’t get our skills or talents from others.  No Oz is needed to get what you really want.  And I watch Rocky because I remind myself to dig deeper and to fight for what I want.

There are many great movies, just as there are so many great books, plays, and songs but let there be no doubt that Rocky stands above all.  Watch it.  Get pumped. Go for your dreams!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Interview with Author Annalisa Parent On writing Novels



                                                        Storytelling for Pantsers: 
                              How to Write and Revise Your Novel without an Outline 


1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a Book? There are 20 million people out there who want to write a book, yet only 1 million books in total are published per year. What that means is that the vast majority of people who want to write a book never finish a book to publishable.

 To me that's a tragedy.

What I've noticed about so many writers is that they come up against the nonlinear nature of the creative process and they get stuck.  In other words, they’ve written chapter 1 and then chapter 8 and then chapter 5--these are smart people and they want the creative process to be a little bit more straightforward. Unfortunately, our brains don't cooperate with this mission and the result is a lot of frustrated writers who never get their message out into the world.

 I wanted to do something about this problem, to help people to get their stories out and to get them out well. I combined my years of experience working with writers with my study of Neuroscience to create a guidebook to help writers out of the murky-murky mess they often find themselves in and to find more straightforward success in sharing their important message.

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
This book is for you if you:
• Have started a novel at least 68 times (the same novel) and only written the
first chapter
• Write chapter 1. And then chapter 5. And then chapter 2. etc.
• Need to write to discover your story. (It’s highly likely you’re also the kind
of writer who, when asked what writing is like, says “I just watch my characters
and write down what they do.”)
• Get lost in the weeds of writing and revision because portions of your novel
are in different phases of the writing process.
• Feel frustrated because “Dang it; writing’s hard enough. Why do I always
have to complicate it?”
• Think the cover of this book is cool, or wear pants. Because, hey, the cover is
cool. So are you, and so is this book.(Who says you can’t judge a book by it’s
cover? Pshaw.)

3. Are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer? Hungry for a book that shows you how to write and revise your novel without an outline?
Discover the secret sauce to help those of us seat-flyers get at least some grounding
in what we do, and to find and use a system in the chaos that is pantsing.


4. 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?
One of the most gratifying pieces of feedback that I've gotten from readers of Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise your Novel without an Outline
 is that they finally found a home. What I mean by that is that many writers have been told that they must outline in order to truly be a writer. They've tried to outline, they've tried to be a writer they're not and they're frustrated and the writing isn't going anywhere. What they tell me after finishing Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise your Novel without an Outline is it they finally understand the writer that they are, they're motivated to write and most importantly for many of them it's the first time that they're writing style has been validated not only by another author but by science itself.

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
The best advice I have is: find the writer you are, and be that writer. Neuroscience has given us so many clues into how to optimize brain function better to be more creative, and to stay in creative flow longer. If someone tells you “In order to be a writer, you MUST outline,” or “you must NOT outline,” or “you must stand on your head while writing…” they’re full it. While that may be true for them, and it may indicate their journey to find their best writer, there are very few rules that are universally true. In order to be a writer, you write. You put words together. That’s the rule. So, find YOUR best writer, and be that writer. There’s gold in them there hills.

6. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
Self-publishing, or Indie Publishing, has democratized the publication process. This means that more people are publishing now than ever before. While I am in favor of this trend overall, I stand with an emerging number of high-level indie publishing professionals who believe that quality remains paramount--regardless of how an author wants to publish. For fiction writers, this means that regardless of how one publishes, a quality engaging, clear story always comes first.

7. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
I wrote Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise your Novel without an Outline in a month. I was on a tight deadline from the then publisher, who asked me to write the book, and we were going to use it for some major events that were coming up. I did it--and handed in my manuscript to the editor at something like 11:50 PM the last day of the month, but I don’t recommend it to anyone! I had no words left at the end of that month. I had used them all up writing 267 pages of writing advice to would-be fiction authors, and i was a poor, poor conversationalist for at least a week afterward.

8. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours? 
Because life is short and how-to books should be funny, not drudgery. I won a humor award for my book--now that’s saying something for a how-to book. I work with writers who take the writing craft seriously without taking themselves too seriously, and the style of this book reflects that mission. Deeply serious about the craft issues that stump non-outliners, and whimsical and fun in all other moments. Pantsers are unique individuals, and, as I say “the creative process is wonky.” This book helps writers to get unstuck and to get some true forward momentum. 

About the AuthorAnnalisa Parent helps writers to finish, publish and sell their novels. She owns and operates Date with the Muse, LLC, which helps storytellers to publish traditionally at the highest level possible. 

A Teacher of the Year nominee for her use of neuroscientific principles, she applies these same principles to her work with writers to create confidence, writing flow, and success. 

Her book Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Outline and Revise your Novel without an Outline helps non-outlining fiction writers to work through the writing and revision process with ease, and has been lauded by multiple New York Times bestselling author John David Mann as “brimming over with invaluable practical writerly wisdom...her love of life—pours out of every paragraph. Read her book. It will infuse joy into your days and make you a better writer.”

Annalisa writes for many local, national, and international publications, has written and produced sketches for a Telly-Award winning television show. She has been featured on Huffington Post Live for her fiction writing, CBS, Associated Press and Korean Broadcast Systems, as well as many internationals podcasts, radio programs, writing conferences and workshops.

for more info, please see: http://datewiththemuse.com for fiction writers and Laurel Elite Books for entrepreneurs. 

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Book Marketing Truisms You Should Follow


Image result for book imagesWith over 3,000 blog posts about book marketing published in the past 7+ years, you would think I will run out of something to say about book publicity.  But there’s always something I can tell you that will help you raise your media profile, build your brand, and influence others with your empowering message.  Why am I so confident about that?

Well, some things change over time and even what I wrote five years ago may not prove to be as effective today.  Conversely, sometimes writers need reminders about proven, timeless strategies so that they don’t get falsely swayed by the shiny new toy in the room.

But I think there’s always advice to be given out because people are in need of it. Until everyone’s a best-selling author (impossible), there will always be a need for some experienced PR professional to share his wisdom.

I will always offer a thought, idea, experience, or question that will be of value because I understand how authors think and what they need or desire.  All writers want an edge over others.  They desperately crave a shortcut to marketing success.  They feel entitled to break through, but they just can’t seem to crack the book publicity code.

Another reason I never run out of something to say is because I know many writers are eager to learn and improve as book promoters, and I don’t want to let them down. However, great book marketing really comes down to a handful of truisms, including these:

·         You need to be in it, to win it.  Every day get out there and promote your book and market yourself.  No excuses!

·         Book publicity is a team sport.  Aside from your efforts, seek a contribution from your publisher (if one exists) and hire others to help you.

·         Prioritize your efforts amongst the key staples:  social media, speaking, traditional media, direct marketing, advertising, and networking.

·         Don’t demand or expect success – you must earn it.  Go out there and take what you think is yours, but don’t just expect it to come to you.

·         Give people something – advice, support, ideas, encouragement, resources, hope – and let others see you as a value-provider.

·         Allow people to test your book – give them free samples or cool resources that allows others to see the quality of your writing, the styles of your content, and the voice that you speak from.

·         Ask others for help.  Start with friends, family, colleagues, neighbors – and their friends, family, colleagues and neighbors.  Ask for something specific – to post a positive review on a specific site by a set date; to buy the book on a specific date; to introduce you to more readers; to pull strings to invite you to speak somewhere; to connect you to people who can help you in a particular capacity.

·         Have a book marketing, plan – with a timeline, goals and action steps.

·         Be willing to take a risk, to take an opportunity and turn it into a big win.

·         Approach all of your publicity from the perspective that you are here to help others with your book.  Good things come when you operate from good intentions.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

A Great Book For Bibliophiles




If you love books, be sure to check out a copy of Bibliophile:  An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount.  It is one of the more beautifully put-together books about books in recent times, filled with many wonderful drawings and lists of things such as:

·         Beloved bookstores
·         Little free libraries
·         Books made into great TV shows and movies
·         Writing rooms of famous authors
·         Iconic book covers
·         Cult classics
·         The recommendations of bookish people
·         Song about books

There were also the usual lists – best books on history, romance, cooking, poetry, mysteries, etc., as well as great books on animals, adventures, dystopia, southern literature, and science-fiction.  Something for everyone.

It’s easy to fall in love with a book that pays tribute to books.  It’s even easier when the words are accompanied by original art work.  

Mount, an award-winning illustrator and designer, founded a company a decade ago, Ideal Bookshelf, that makes things for people who love books, including paintings of book covers that have changed people’s lives.

I fell in love with her attractive book cover, which is unusually arresting and textually pleasing to the touch.  Her introduction reveals the A-game perspective that she brought to this book’s creation:

“And if you love a book, no doubt many other people love it, too.  That shared love connects us and sparks that miraculous feel of not being alone in the world.  Which is exactly the whole point of books, showing us the world as others see it helping us understand each other, reminding us we’re all human.”

She had some quirky content, including drawings of bookstore cats – yes, felines that occupied bookstores.  It honors great bookstores, such as New York’s Strand Bookstore, just as easily as discussing cult classic books, striking libraries such as India’s The Rampur Raza Library, and books about dysfunctional families.

The only section of her book that I have to call into question is her list of all-time bestsellers.  She doesn’t identify the source for numbers and they exclude two books – The Bible and Guiness Book of World Records – that I’ve heard by numerous sources as being in the top 10 of all-time selling books.  I also don’t see any Shakespeare books on here, but maybe there’s a reason why the most famous writer in the world, after 400 years, hasn’t cracked this list.

According to Mount, these are the all-time top 10 selling books:

Don Quixote 500 million copies
A Tale of Two Cities 200 million copies
The Alchemist 180 million copies
The Little Prince 140 million copies
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 107 million copies
The Hobbitt 100 million copies
And Then There Were None 100 million copies
The Dream of the Red Chamber 100 million copies
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 100 million copies
The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe 85 million copies

I found the pieces on writer-owned bookstores to be intriguing.  Jeff Kinney, Ann Patchett, Judy Blume, and Louise Erdrich are among authors who own bookstores.  Book mobiles, graphic novels, and books that cover war got their due as well, but I really loved her essay on the pets of writers, including a dog for John Steinbeck, cats for Ernest Hemingway and a monkey for Leonard Woolf.

Lastly, I found a nice section on books that discuss how to write, her illustrated explanation of physical books, and her essay on illustrated books for grown-ups to be interesting.  I also appreciated her four-page spread on world-changing book people.

There’s something for everyone in this book-lover’s lovely book.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America and participated in a PR panel at the Sarah Lawrence College Writers Institute Conference.