Follow by Email

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Hypothetical Book Marketing Questions Worth Exploring




I recently enjoyed combing through the New York Times Bestseller, What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, by Randall Munroe.  It made me think about so many scenarios and possibilities – even improbabilities, and allowed my imagination to run wild.  There could be an application here to book marketing.

This book poses wild questions – and then attempts to answer them.  Need some examples?  It asks:

·         If everyone on the planet stayed away from each other for a couple of weeks, wouldn’t the common cold be wiped out?

·         How many Legos bricks would be needed to build a bridge from London to New York City?

·         Would a nuclear bomb, launched into the eye of a super hurricane, break the storm up?

·         What is the maximum number of different English-language Tweets that could be created?

You get the picture.  Now, let’s take that approach to book marketing and publicity and ask some fantastic questions:

·         What if we added up all of the words used to type up press releases to promote books for a year – how many 60,000–word books would they add up to?

·         What if we recruited and trained an army of 1,000 people to write a book on one specific topic?

·         What if you didn’t allow for any new books to be published for a month?

·         Could something happen that causes mass blindness or mass illiteracy?  How would it impart the book industry?

·         What if all of the books published this past year were recycled – every single copy of every title?  How many trees would it save?

·         What if you marketed your book every waking minute of a 16-hour day for a week – what would happen?

·         How many books could get media coverage from a newspaper, television show, radio show, or major blog or podcast if these media outlets were not allowed to cover the same books?

·         How many books does the New York Times Book Review receive each day for review consideration – and how many actually get reviewed?

·         How many books has the average librarian read?

·         How many books can the average person read or hear about in a year?

·         What if we all read the same book?

The list of questions can go on. But what if we can take a different approach to how books are marketed or sold?  What if we can create a more efficient system of how books are reviewed – and how those reviews are disseminated?  What if we all took a week-long vacation and spent that time only reading books?

We need to question what, how, and why we do what we do when it comes to writing, editing, selling, and promoting books.  There needs to be a better way than our current system.

The flaws are obvious:
·         The market is flooded by new books but it lacks a fair and accurate method of determining which books are worthy of our attention.
·         Though self-publishing no longer requires writers to seek permission from gatekeepers to have access to readers, there’s also no obligation or fail-safe to ensure a book is accurate, edited well, or even well-written. 
·         There are more books circulating than the reading public can handle, leaving most books with very few readers.
·         How do we ensure books that need to be written and published on topics that have been ignored or under examined get created?
·         How do we make sure truly great books receive the attention they deserve, regardless of who the author or publisher is, and regardless of the marketing budget available?

The publishing world tackles simple questions right now:
·         How do I advertise a book?
·         How do we get authors to tweet about their books?
·         Which media outlets should we approach for media coverage?
·         When shall we create a website to promote a book?

What if…
·         Authors and publishers followed good advice and the best-practices standards of successful authors?
·         Writers stopped fearing the media and marketed their books better?
·         Publishers actually put some support behind their books rather than leaving authors to fend for themselves?
·         The nation could improve literacy levels, allowing for many more books to be sold and read?
·         Writers honestly assessed their books in the face of popular or award-winning, critically acclaimed books, and make a decision to not release a book until it truly matches the high standards set by others?
·         Authors edited down their books to make them 10% shorter – but just as effective as they originally planned – so that we can read more books?

So many questions, so few answers.  It is fun to explore some of this stuff while other questions simply can’t be answered – nor should they be.  But we need to raise issues and ask questions – even wild ones – if we are to collectively move forward and make the book industry stronger and the book marketplace more efficient.


DON”T MISS THESE!!!

How Smart Book Marketing Decisions Are Made



How to have a successful book



Book Blog Post #3,000



What do authors want to hear about book publicity?



Why authors can’t rely on ads to market their books and brand



How to craft a brief message for long books



Why authors need coaches, just like athletes



Know the media’s purpose in order to have them cover your book



How do you find more book reviewers?



Valuable Info On Book Marketing Landscape For First-Time Authors



Scores of Best-Selling Book PR Tips from Book Expo PR Panel



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.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The History of the Book

The History of THE BOOK in 100 Books
The Complete Story, From Egypt to E-book
by Roderick Cave & Sara Ayad


Below are excerpts form a wonderful book that creatively shares the history of books:

From The Foreword by Sidney E. Berger & Michele V. Cloonan
“His knowledge of the book in all its manifestations, along with its place in history, is practically unparalleled…

“There are, of course, the standard entries in a volume of this sort:  texts written on cave walls and animal bones, clay tablets and palm leaves, bamboo-strip books, the Iliad, Beowulf, medieval illuminated manuscripts (naturally including the Book of Kells), the Gutenberg Bible, the Nuremberg Chronicle and so forth.  But we also get an Andean khipu from Peru (predating the Incas), papyrus scrolls, the Tripitaka Koreana and the Ethiopian Bible – better known as the Garima Gospels – to name just four examples….

“Clearly this is a special compilation, containing an extraordinary list of important – though often overlooked – books in a huge range of areas of scholarly and popular interests.”

Introduction
“Perhaps the popularity of e-books is rising:  perhaps the printed-paper book will disappear (just as the clay tablets of Babylon and the papyrus scrolls of ancient. Egypt have long since dropped out of use).

“We are by no means persuaded that the future form of the book will be entirely electronic; what is certain is that, over the past 10,000 plus years of history, humankind has developed ways of preserving and transmitting information which are deeply embedded in our sub consciousness.”

One Word, Many Surfaces
“For writing surfaces, mankind used stone, clay tablets, bark, leaves, papyrus, bones, animal skins and paper, and many other media.”

One Need, Many Solutions
“Almost unconsciously, we recognize the interplay between the medium and the message it carries. The history of the book is not a single development from a single source. Many societies developed their own writing systems.  The availability of clay in Mesopotamia, papyrus in Egypt and lontar palms in India and Indonesia – plus the variety of writing surfaces that were available in China and Southeast Asia – enabled all these areas to develop their own systems of writing and bookmaking.

“These developments occurred in different places and at different times, partly because of the continuing inventiveness and ingenuity of humankind.”

The Biggest Books Ever Written
“Perhaps because of its long tradition of both literacy and centralized government, China has frequently produced massive collections of books of importance, more like complete collections of the information content of libraries than the summaries usual in Western encyclopedias.  Soon after Emperor Yongle came to the throne, in 1403, he commissioned a large compilation on the whole range of knowledge, from religion, science, technology, astronomy, medicine and agriculture, through to drama, art, history and literature.  Over 2,000 scholars were put to work analyzing and editing over 8,000 texts, completing their task in five years.

“To write out the text, completed in 1408, the scribes used more than 370 million characters, filling over 11,000 volumes….Over the next 400 years, fire, war and looting reduced the holding of the three manuscripts to a mere 400 volumes, scattered in libraries and museums around the world…

“Learning from the past, the emperor Qianlong had seven manuscript copies made, and the scribes’ work, completed in 1782, filled nearly 37,000 volumes, using 800 million characters.  The devastation of wars has reduced them to four surviving sets, held in China and Taiwan.”

Monumental Korean Undertaking
Korea was the first country outside China to adopt printing and was a leader in developing printing from type.  Its most famous book is the Buddhist Eighty Thousand Tripitaka (the three main canons of Buddhist scriptures) of the 13th century CE.”

The Coming of Information Science
“The overabundance of books and other publications was becoming clear in Europe, as in America.  One of the most significant developments came from Belgium, where two lawyers established the International Institute of Bibliography (IIB) in 1895, transformed in 1937 into the International Federation for Information and Documentation (FID); it was responsible for elaborating Dewey’s classification into the Universal Decimal Classification.  The IIB had grand plans for a universal bibliography, and by 1914 it had collected over 11 million entries for its Universal Bibliographic Repertory, kept on cards.  As its name change suggests, the FID was much more interested in individual items of information than in books; their ways of trying to improve information service (including the use of microforms) were vital for the later development of computer-based systems.

“The influence of the FID was marked and was behind many of the changes in what was coming to be called “Information Science.”

The Bible
“Described as “the single most important scholarly publication of the Spanish Renaissance,” the Complutensian Polyglot Bible is famed for its editing, the success of its Greek typeface, which has been influential on type designers since the late 19th century.

“The classic verse epics of the Iliad and Odyssey, Petronius’ Satyricon or Apuleius’ The Golden Ass – or even the medieval Beowulf – are often described as the ancestors of the novel.  But the first prose book, often regarded as the earliest psychological novel, is The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (in English, Lady Murasaki), born in 978 CE and died c. 1014 or 1025.”

The Oldest Printed Book of All
“The Diamond Sutra is one of the key religious books of the sayings of the Buddha. It was first translated from Sanskrit to Chinese in 401 CE. The sutra’s name came from an Indian term, a symbolic ritual object that symbolizes the indestructibility of a diamond and the force of a thunderbolt.  Believers though they gained merit by copying the text; and this copy was made by Wang Jie on May 11, 868 CE.  It is the oldest surviving dated book, printed nearly 600 years before Gutenberg started printing in Europe.”

Cuneiform Tablets
“Cuneiform writing on clay tablets had a very long life.  Many of the earliest books including medical, legal, mathematical and others were in cuneiform and the oldest epic of all is the tale of Gilgamesh and the Flood.”

The Book Trade Develops
Chinese government was highly centralized, and its emperors (or their officials) planned on a grand scale.  As with many Western rulers, there was often a wish to bring books under control, through both censorship and patronage.  Attempts at all-comprehensive collections of religious, literary and scientific texts were made, the most famous being the Yongle Dadian (The Great Canon of the Yongle Emperor) of 1403-1408 CE, probably the biggest work ever produced (see pp 36-37).”

Origins of a Childrens’ Classic
Some of Aesop’s fables were rewritten as Aisopeia by Demetrius Phalereus (c. 350-280 BCE), famous for his part in the founding of the Alexandrian Library under Ptolemy I Soter.  But Demetrius’ version of the fables perished; today, we rely instead on a text by Valerious Babrius, who lived some time before 200 CE.  The earliest fragments of Greek papyrus manuscripts of the fables were rapidly followed by other manuscripts, in Latin and many other languages.  Editions of Aesop’s fables have been printed frequently, from the earliest days after Gutenberg’s printing press to today.”

A Timeless Epic
“If asked to name the most important literary work of all time, many people would name Homer’s Iliad.  Or possibly the Odyssey, also attributed to Homer: although the survival rate of Egyptian papyrus fragments of them (454 bits of the Iliad preserved against about 140 of the Odyssey) suggests that the Iliad’s Iron Age reminiscence of Bronze Age combat was always favored.

“Homer’s epic was believed to have been composed between 750-650 BCE, though some authorities date it much earlier to the 12th century BCE; but it is accepted that the texts of the Iliad and the Odyssey were standardized in processes that have continued ever since.”

The Foundation of Pharmacology
“With the Hippocratic Oath, the history of medicine is conventionally held to start with Hippocrates of Cos (c. 460-370 BCE).  Medical practice depended largely on preparations made from plants, and knowing which plants could cure (or kill) was vital.  In prehistory, such knowledge was passed orally, but Pedanus Diascorides systematized this information in his book known as De Materia Medica, written about 30-50 CE.  An army surgeon attached to Roman forces in Nero’s time; Dioscorides traveled widely in the Middle East.  He indentified the pharamacological properties and remedial effects of over 100 plants previously unknown to Roman and Greek physicians, and he also discussed over 500 other plants that were probably used earlier during Alexander the Great’s conquests.

“De Materia Medica became a standard text used by herb gatherers and pharmacists for over 1,500 years, spawning many manuscripts (and later printed versions) created all over the Western world – and in Arab lands even more than in Europe.”

The Father of Mapping
“Born in Alexandria, Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus c. 90-168 CE) was one of the most important Greek scientists, whose work on astronomy was to control European thought for over 1,500 years.  Ptolemy’s work in astronomy and geography deeply influenced Arabic scholarship in the work of the geographer al-Masudi (d. 956 CE) and others.  It was largely because of their work that Ptolemy’s manuscripts survived.

“The Geographia was in several parts, the first dealing with the problems of mapping our spherical globe on a flat surface.  Ptolemy invented the concepts of latitude and longitude, and his careful and detailed records of 8,000 places allowed later cartographers to plot these no their own maps.  His collection of place names and their coordinates reveals the geographic knowledge of the Roman Empire in the second century.  Apparently, a large-scale Ptolemean map was displayed in Autun (France) in the fourth century.”

DON”T MISS THESE!!!
Do Authors Need A Digital Diet?

15 Ways to Promote all Books

The Fast Book Marketing Start To 2018

Which pros - -not prose -- will you need to succeed this year?

How can all authors blog with impact?

Big Marketing Lessons From My All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts

Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released

Here are best author-publisher-publishing pro interviews of 2017

Study this exclusive author media training video from T J Walker

How do authors get on TV?


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."

Friday, December 7, 2018

Whopper Sells For A Penny – Should Books?




The other day I saw a full-page ad for Burger King. It was highlighting a promotion for stealing McDonald’s customers away. If you are in or near a McDonald’s (within 600 feet) and you use a special app to order a Whopper from Burger King, you get it for a penny. What a steal – literally, right out of the mouth of arch-rival and fast-food leader McDonald’s.  Does book publishing operate this way?  Should it?

When it comes to how specific books are marketed or promoted, I can’t say that I recall seeing anything like the BK-McD feud.  You just don’t see one author or publisher saying, “Hey, buy this book for 10 cents, not my competitor’s.”

Of course the main reason is that such a move would not be profitable.  Authors and publishers don’t want price wars. They all lose in that scenario. No one wins any kind of lasting market share or has any chance of repeat business.

So why do two corporate food giants battle it out so publicly?  Because there’s a bit of brand loyalty that develops.  If someone tries a Whopper and likes it, they may stick with BK long after the prices are jacked up.  Plus, once you come in to get a Whopper for a penny, you may spend money on other items – and bring a friend with you.  Plus, in terms of market share., BK gets to deny revenue to McD’s they would have otherwise earned.

Should authors attack each other’s books more, especially when they are in the same genre or about the same subject matter?  Do consumers want authors to trash talk another book?  By putting one book down, it doesn’t ensure readers will buy your book when so many other options exist.  A writer’s goal is not to damage other writers, but rather it is to build his or her base of followers.

Now, what would be interesting is to see partnerships between authors and corporate entities.  What if BK offered a penny Whopper along with a discounted copy of a good book to read while you consume your cholesterol-ridden, calorie-charged, nutrient-deficient meal?

Or how about some in-store events for authors that correlate with other promotions?  Why not a furniture sale while an author of a book on home design or furniture gives a talk or is on call to answer house decoration questions?

Look, there are no laws or rules prohibiting you, the author, from opening doors and finding new ways to promote your book.  If approaching a corporation seems daunting, start with your local indie store – be it furniture, pharmacy, clothing – whatever.  Find something that ties into your book’s subject matter and present yourself as a relevant expert who can help facilitate the store’s foot traffic.  It’s worth a try.

It certainly beats selling your book for a penny while you bully other authors.

DON”T MISS THESE!!!


5 Ways of Bestseller Book Marketing

Market your book using proven methods from others

NEW! FREE! 2019 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit 



Study this exclusive author media training video from T J Walker



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.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Interview with Inspirational Author Cheryl J. Heser




Walking at the Speed of Light:
Reflections for Following Jesus in Grief and Joy

NEW BOOK FROM MORGAN JAMES


1.        Cheryl, what inspired you to write your book?
I have written all my life, and writing is a natural reaction for me to any special situation or change. My reactions to my son Josh’s death needed expression. More important, after I went through such extreme grief and depression and emerged to a life actually enhanced by the situation, I wanted to share the experience and ideas about healing with other people. After I retired as a public library director, I returned to college at Lindenwood University to get my Masters Degree in Fine Arts in Writing. I assumed I would be focusing almost entirely on poetry as I always had, but instead I discovered classes on flash nonfiction and creative nonfiction which used my poetic skills in a new genre. Those studies opened the way to writing this book, approaching Josh’s story and ideas about grief and healing in nonfiction with a poetic touch.

2.        What advice do you have for those grieving the loss of a child?
First, people need to be kind to themselves, honor the feelings they have, and seek help and healing from sources around them rather than isolating themselves in their grief, which is the first inclination. Second, they need to understand that grief is not in any way “one size fits all.” In other words, everyone grieves in different ways for different lengths of time and each of us needs to be nonjudgmental of the feelings of others. Instead, we need to understand and be supportive. Although people heal in different ways, I know that everyone can find answers and comfort from Jesus’ words and comfort. They also can find solace in others’ stories; the importance of stories is the reason that I included so many with my ideas in the book.

3.        Tell us about your son. What type of person was he?
Josh was a bright light in our family from the time he was born, a wonderful son and his older brother’s best friend and his sister’s adored “little brother.” He was our “gentle giant” -- 6’8”, 245 pounds, strong and formidable and yet loving and kind. He had myriad friends including all of the farmers and ranchers he did mechanic work for and assisted on horseback at branding and gathering times. Also, there wasn’t a kid in Josh’s  “orbit” who didn’t adore him. Often, we adults would be indoors at a family gathering and look out the window to see Josh entertaining all the nephews and nieces on the huge tire swing, on the horses, or wherever. Add to all that a sense of mischief and a raucous sense of humor, and you have an idea of who Josh was.

4.        I understand your son was an organ donor. How many people did he help?
Six people received major organs, but over 100 people benefited from body parts. For example, two people didn’t have to have amputations because of his veins being implanted. People wrote of their appreciation of such things as vertebrae that stopped their back pain. I don’t think the public understands enough about what can happen when everything from eye corneas to skin to bone and muscle from a healthy person are used to people’s benefit. Most parts can go to anyone, but the heart, lungs and liver are size specific, which means that very large men often wait interminably for transplants of those organs. We have met the man who has his heart and correspond with the man who has his lungs, and in both cases they are effusively grateful.

5.         What role does faith play in your life today?
When I titled my book “Walking at the Speed of Light,” I seriously meant that I focus on walking with Jesus, the Light of the World, every day. I was raised attending church and Sunday School and encouraged by my parents to develop a strong faith which was augmented by being part of Campus Ministry and Christian Ministry in the National Parks. But my experience after Josh’s death increased my faith even more once I understood so clearly that the only solution to darkness is light and the only totally reliable Light comes from Jesus. I live a varied and busy life, but I make it a point to spend some time in prayer and reflection every day. I see faith and growth in faith as essential to coping with all parts of life.


6.        How was your faith challenged at the time of his death?
When my high school students faced setbacks academically or socially, I always told them it wasn’t “set in stone.” The day I paid for my son’s tombstone, I realized that this time it actually was set in stone, and the darkness took over because of the finality of death. Even though I believed that Josh was in Heaven, I felt so distanced from my faith, as though it belonged to another time, another phase in my life as a mother. I honestly feel that during my time of deepest depression, I had decided that my faith would not provide answers or real comfort, and I certainly could not provide it for myself. The despair was beyond description. I even stopped responding to “mentors” like Norman Vincent Peale and Mother Teresa until I was ready to let some light back in.

7.        What were the biggest challenges in putting your book together and writing about something so close to your heart and soul?
First, I had to decide how much of Josh’s story to tell and how to approach it, an area helped by my study of flash nonfiction, which requires “parachuting” into the middle of the action. Then I realized that this could not be a memoir because my experience was neither unique nor earth-shaking and because the purpose had moved away from just telling the story. Second, I learned to pray before I started writing each day to achieve and maintain focus. A subject “close to heart and soul” can become an invitation to scattered thoughts, repetition, judgments, preachiness, and other manifestations of lack of focus, which plagued me for awhile. Finally, one of my greatest challenges came after my completed manuscript was considered by publishers’ representatives, who agreed that a book of “reflections” should be composed of short chapters of 750 words.
Rewriting, especially of something so personal, is not easy.

8.        Do you have any words of advice for those seeking to write a book, especially about a deeply personal experience?
The first advice is total honesty. That may be easy to say, but it is not easy to achieve. To be totally honest, people have to really understand themselves and their experiences, something which requires introspection, clarity, and patience. Second, a writer has to be certain of wanting to share something deeply personal because once it’s “out there,” no one can gather it back and hide it again. Finally, a book needs a purpose, and that purpose needs to be determined and adhered to by the author. Since the purpose of my book is to use parts of my journey to help others, sharing Josh’s death and my despair and healing was integral to the writing. An author needs to find that point and maintain focus, something not either easy or painless.

For more information, please consult: www.Cheryljheser.com

DON”T MISS THESE!!!

5 Ways of Bestseller Book Marketing
https://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2018/12/5-ways-of-bestseller-book-marketing.html

Know WHY you are marketing a book; then determine the how, why, when
https://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2018/11/know-why-you-are-marketing-book-then.html

Market your book using proven methods from others

NEW! FREE! 2019 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit 

Study this exclusive author media training video from T J Walker


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.