Friday, January 13, 2012

Try These Ideas To Market Your Book

       1.      Put your Web site on a vanity license plate.

2.      Leave a copy of your book in popular locations: Starbucks, train station, mall, department of motor vehicles, or a bank. You never know who will discover it.

3.      Contact people with at least 10,000 Twitter followers or 1,000 Facebook connections and invite them to write a review of your book.  Offer to thank them with a $10 gift card.  Tell them to mention they received the gift card in their review.

4.      Put the cover of your book on a T-shirt for one-year-olds and hand them out for free at the park.  Everyone looks at kids and thinks they’re cute.  In fact, do the same for dogs.  Go to a dog run or neighborhood park and hand out something with your book cover or Web site – a water bottle, a leash, or a T-shirt for the tail-waggers will do.

5.      Give your books away as door prizes or raffles for charity events and church fund-raisers.

6.      Carry your book with you at all times and hold it in your hands where ever you are, especially when standing online or by a crowd.

7.      Ask food delivery services, such as your local pizza guy, to include a flier for your book.  Maybe you can offer to print their menu for free, provided an ad for your book is displayed on it.

8.      Do a special print run of your book that includes ads for local restaurants and stores.  Then distribute the books for free via the advertisers who paid for the advertisements. Just make sure you don’t have competitors advertising, otherwise they won’t want to hand out or re-sell the book.

9.      Print up sun-blockers or dashboard protectors that feature your book cover and site. Hand them out for free.

10.  Offer to send a free e-book to anyone who signs up for a copy AND provides 10 working e-mails of others who agree to share their e-mail.  Build an e-mail database to contact to sell your current and future books.

An Idea For The Ages

Perhaps it has already been done but here’s my idea that any publisher or author is free to take. How about publishing a book in different forms for different levels of reading, age, or status?  For example, how about publishing a book about health so that you have a children’s picture book version, an adaptable textbook version for high school, another version for 20 and 30-somethings, another one for 50- and 60-yea-olds and then a seniors version.  The book’s contents – photos, resources, stats, and some of the text could be altered to meet the specific needs, experiences, and level of understanding of the reader.

Sometimes we see spinoffs of popular concepts where a book now has a faith version or a teen version, which is fine. Why not do that at the onset, simultaneously?  It would be like ordering food off a menu but with dietary changes or preferences.  Three people at a table can eat steak, but have it prepared differently for each person.  Another example of customization in the marketplace is dress shopping.  You can get a dress in many different sizes.  So, too, should we be able to get a book and have it customized to meet the demographics of the buyer.

On the other hand, there is something to be said about the common or shared experience.  By all of us reading the same book, without content variation, we have a simultaneous or uniform experience, the way we all experience a movie or a TV show. What varies is how we absorb what we see, read and hear and how we choose to adapt some or all of it to some aspect of our lives.

I have no doubt that customized publishing will become all the rage before this decade is up. We’ll be able to buy new chapters, pay for updated materials, and request content based on criteria such as age, region, size, faith, sex or other relevant data.

So, start writing your book for EVERYONE!

Interview With Author Ellen Levitt

Ellen is a friend of mine from Brooklyn. Her most recent book, THE LOST SYNAGOGUES OF THE BRONX AND QUEENS (2011). Both are published by Avotaynu, a small Judaica press in NJ, was mentioned in the New York times January 1st.  She is also the author of Hi. The book THE LOST SYNAGOGUES OF BROOKLYN (2009).

  1. What inspired me you write the book? The first book, about Brooklyn's lost synagogues, came about because I had exhibited 22 photographs of these buildings, at the Brooklyn Historical Society. This was in 2006-2007. The publisher had a good response from the Brooklyn book, so I had proposed a Manhattan/Bronx book; he asked me to split this into 2 books. I added on the Queens synagogues with the Bronx.  I consider a "lost synagogue" to be a building that once housed a Jewish congregation, but they have since moved out and something else occupies the building now. Typically it is a church, but some are now schools, day care centers, medical facilities, private residences, even stores, bars, an art gallery! The topic is very interesting to me: it combines my interests in religion, urban history, architecture, demographics, photography.

  1. What was challenging to you in termss of book PR? The challenges to promoting my book are primarily because I am not famous! I have to make just about every connection from scratch. The publisher knows a few avenues but not many. I have done most of the contacting of publications, speaking engagements, etc. There are plenty of people who have either ignored me or said that my topic would not interest their audience. I have had to be resourceful and plug away. It is a learning experience, and I have to keep a thick skin. Local publications have been somewhat more receptive and I am grateful to every single publication or group that has helped me along the way.

  1. What do you love about being a published author? Even when I was in elementary school I wanted to be a writer. I must have been in 3rd or 4th grade and I was trying to write novels... I have found that it is easier to interest people in non-fiction topics. I found this niche topic, and there are people out there who are interested in learning more about it. I do feel that I have gotten more respect, for being published. It is also very gratifying to know that people are enjoying my books, spreading the word about them, the like. These 2 books are not my only published works; I have had articles, essays and letters published in various publications since the mid-1980s.

  1. How has the book been received thus far? The reception has mostly been positive, although a few people told me bluntly that the topic and the photos depressed them! There is a Yiddish word "Shanda"-- like a terrible shame, a horror. A few people have said something like "It's such a shanda that these synagogues became churches, etc." But my feeling has been that we can't stop Jews from moving out of their old neighborhoods, and the buildings they have departed from are looked upon as real estate. Someone buys it up and uses it. I might as well document what is left so that we won't forget these buildings! Many of them still retain their Jewish symbols, Hebrew words, stained glass designs, etc.

  1. What advice would you give to a struggling writer? If you have a non-fiction topic that interests you greatly, do research on it, immerse yourself in it for a while. Then go on a search engine and see if there are any books about your topic. If you notice that there is a certain angle about the topic that has NOT been covered, or only covered fitfully, then you may have an opening for your book! Then search for possible publishers. Write up a proposal, read and re-read it. Then send it out. See what kind of reception you get. If you work with a small publisher, don't expect to become wealthy overnight. And be prepared to do a lot of press work, speaking engagements, etc. It is not only about the research and writing. You have to...hustle!

Be ready to edit. Have a thick skin. Some years back I knew this woman who gave me a book written by her husband; apparently a publisher had been interested in it but wanted him to edit it a lot. He refused and then self-published it. Honestly, it was so poorly written and clumsy that it was awful. Not even funny awful. This guy should have listened to the editor, edited it, and then maybe he would have had a chance at releasing a decent product.

Thank everyone who helps you along the way. Be grateful. People don't have to do you any favors; acknowledge their assistance. It is only right!

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 He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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