Monday, May 14, 2012

Kentucky Derby Of Book Publicity

I am not a big fan of horse racing but I will watch the big races of the year.  Last weekend was the Kentucky Derby.  I rooted for No. 6, not knowing he was actually favored to win by 4-1 odds, only because my son’s baseball jersey is the same number.  The horse that did win, No. 19, came out of nowhere, with 15-1 odds, to pull it out in an exciting late dash to the finish line.  No. 6 finished in second even though he led for the entire race but the last 100 yards. 

As a book promoter, I take away a number of lessons from this:
·         No one can predict your success—sometimes you can overcome the odds.
·         A fast jump out of the gate doesn’t negate a strong finish.
·         Some horses get judged by their size and looks—so do some books by their covers.
·         Some bet based on a horse’s catchy name just like some buy a  book based on its catchy title
·         On any given day, any horse can win a race and on any given day a book can find its readers.
·         The horse that wins gets all the media attention.

In publishing there are sure bets, like bestselling authors, and long-shots, such as self-published authors.  But any author or book can surprise us and come out of nowhere to make it big.

Publishers wage bets daily with their decisions of which books to publish, and which ones to back with publicity, marketing, and advertising.  Many get it wrong.  Every time a book is published, the opportunity for a surprise exists.

That’s what makes horse racing so exciting.  You can predict, guess, and wager all you want.  Run the race and see where you finish.

In Case You Missed It

Market And Promote Your Book Like Jimmy From The Deli

Happy Anniversary, Blog!

Yesterday, May 13, marked the one-year anniversary of this blog. My first post was about the branding of Donald Trump. I want to thank everyone who is reading this blog and hope you enjoy my insights, advice, and resources.

I am proud to say I delivered over 300 posts in this inaugural year. I always strive to provide interesting, useful, and timely information, ideas, interviews, and analysis. My goal is to inform, enlighten, and inspire those who practice the art of book marketing and book publicity, whether as a professional or a first-timer.

I love books and assume you do too. We may compete in life or even in our promotional pursuits, but I feel we also form a community of individuals who take an interest in the world we live in. May this blog serve to create a dialogue and to provide a forum for all who treasure books and support the publishing industry.

Thank you for your support!

Some of the recent posts that best represent this blog include these:

The Future Of Publishing: 2016

33 Twitter Tips, Sites & Strategies

70 Insights On Books, Reading, Publishing

Cheap Books Are Overpriced But Expensive Art Is Not

What Would Willy Loman Tell Book Publicists Today?

Interview With Steven Rosato, Event Director of Book Expo America

15 Ways For Authors to Work With Book Publicists Effectively

Measuring The Value Of A Book Publicity Campaign

Are You Prepared For Book Publicity Hunger Games?

Book Advertising That Makes Sense

Book Marketing Pep Talk

Interview With Business Author Dennis AuBuchon

1.      What type of books do you write? I write non-fiction books.  The approach of the books I have written or will write is to inform my readers about topics or issues that may be important to them or are important to them.  The topics of the two books I have written are something that affects every individual and business in the country and for that matter the world.

2.      What is your latest or upcoming book about? My latest book is titled:   What Makes a Good Audit?   It is about the audit process from the perspective of those being audited and individuals performing the audits.  Many topics are issues come forth during the performance of audits from both sides.  My book is aimed at discussing the process of auditing from both perspectives and identifying the responsibilities of both sides.  The principles and requirements of the audit process are presented from the government perspective and private industry.  Comparisons are made between both aspects including terms used to perform the same aspects where only the name is different.  The book also identifies the benefits of audits from the auditor perspective and those being audited.

3.      What inspired you to write it? I was inspired about the audit process as it is a topic that is misunderstood in many respects by the general public.  While companies and organizations often have audits it does not mean every individual is always involved in audits being conducted.  I have over 25 years experience in quality assurance perspectives and I am a certified quality auditor with experience in auditing as a team member and as an audit team leader.  My experiences in performing the audits I have helped to bring a new understanding to the audit process.  The situations I faced in audits and how I responded to them brings options to the table on how to respond to confrontational situations.

4.      What did you do before you became an author? Before I became an author I worked for over 30 years as a civil servant.  I had various duties not the least of which was involved in quality assurance principles and performing quality audits

5.      How does it feel to be a published author? It feels great to be a published author.  When I received copies of my first book with my name on it created a feeling unlike any other I had before.  Having your name on something like a book provides some recognition of expertise if it is a non-fiction book and helps to gain exposure for your knowledge and experience.   

6.      Any advice for struggling writers? When I began writing I was new to the publishing industry and did not have much knowledge about the process.  For new or struggling writers I would say to never give up.  The technology available today offers unlimited opportunities to get published.  The electronic age we are in today makes it easier to get published either through a traditional publisher or self-published.   The key thing for new or struggling writers is to make sure what you write whether it is a book or an article to make it unique.  There are countless topics on which to write again the key is to approach a topic from a different perspective than previously written.  We all have our opinions on issues and writing helps to put our perspectives in print.  The last point to make is you must be committed to the topics on which you write for if you are not the quality or the lack of it will be seen in the finished product. Another aspect is for new or struggling writers to get involved with the social media networking process.  Networking through the social media craze will benefit you more than you can ever imagine.  The connections I have made helped me obtain some recognition for the topics on which I have written.  One example included an offer to write for a new organization looking to treat the news from a new perspective and approach which includes the integrity principles for which I am committed.

7.      Where do you see book publishing heading? I see the publishing industry changing in ways we may not now comprehend.  The technology we have today continues to evolve and this will have an impact on the publishing industry not only on what gets published but the quantity.  To date I have written over 550 articles and I write for five websites.  The fact that I have written this many articles and the opportunities I have had is a signal that we only need to recognize the opportunities which present themselves and take advantage of them.   It is an unknown factor what the publishing industry will become but it is bound to include electronic and print versions.  The electronic versions are increasing as new technology evolves bring increased opportunities to reach new prospective buyers.

For more information, please consult:

Interview With Romance Author Danette Kriehn

1. What type of books do you write? I write what I grew up reading – romantic suspense and romantic comedies. I’m one of those annoying people who believes that love really does make the world go ‘round! As a reader, I always gravitated toward those stories that combined a compelling mystery with a larger-than-life romance between two appealing, relatable characters—which is what I was going for with my first novel, JUST OUT OF REACH. I’m also a sucker for a great sense of humor (it’s one of my husband’s best qualities), so I really enjoy (reading and writing) stories that make me smile, even laugh out loud. Life is just too short not to find and appreciate all the humor there is in it! Bottom line, my ultimate goal as a writer is to give my readers not only an entertaining, adrenalin-filled ride, but the proverbial happy ending as well. (And what’s so wrong with a happy ending, anyway?)

2. What is your latest or upcoming book about? Funny you should ask! My second novel is a romantic comedy tentatively titled “Fate, Flatulence, and Fortune Cookies” (see what I mean?), and I'm just about finished with the first draft of the manuscript. It’s the story of Grace, a slightly uptight journalist who unexpectedly loses her job and is forced to take a temporary job writing fortunes for a fortune cookie company just to pay the rent. As if that weren’t bad enough, she meets Ben, the attorney for the fortune cookie company, under less than rosy circumstances, shall we say, and because of his amused, less than gentlemanly response to her accidental—and extremely embarrassing!—social transgression (hence, the title), she decides to give him a much-needed lesson in etiquette! Let the antics ensue! Meanwhile, Grace also starts receiving anonymous “clues” in the form of fortunes while she is working at the fortune cookie company, and realizes that someone at the company is trying to tell her something—but what? It’s a fun (and hopefully funny) love story with a bit of a mystery thrown in for readers to try and solve!

3. What inspired you to write it? I wanted to do something that has never been done before in the romance genre: take a rarely talked about (let alone written about) natural biological function (gulp!)—and one which normally makes most women highly uncomfortable—and turn it into something funny and endearing. In other words, I want my readers to appreciate how love always sees beyond the gawky, clumsy, inelegant part of ourselves and finds our unique charms. This novel basically reaffirms that something wonderful can come from even the most excruciatingly awkward encounter—from even the most disastrous of circumstances.

4. What did you do before you became an author? I was a business attorney for twenty years (up until last summer), but I never truly enjoyed my work. I picked the career originally because I thought it was an “acceptable” profession (that’s my dad talking) and that it would “fit” the image I was trying to (and thought I had to) portray: that of being an intelligent, I’ve-got-it-all-together-and-can-handle-anything woman. It took me twenty years to finally figure out that who I was on the outside wasn’t the person I really was on the inside, which was why I could never shake that underlying sense of unhappiness. I finally realized nothing would change unless I changed it, so I pounded out my first book in six months while still working full-time, then quit my “regular” job, self-published my novel, and finally became my true, authentic self. What freedom! I’ve always wanted to write but didn’t pursue it initially due to the lack of a steady income (my dad talking again), and because the particular genre I love (romance) was always getting a bad rap from the rest of the literary world (how could an intelligent woman like me even think of writing romance novels?!). But it’s the best-selling genre in the publishing industry, hands down, which should tell us all something: that love does matter, and that women—including me—can be smart and sexy at the same time!

5. How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? I'm self-published author, so I’m not sure that qualifies as being “published” in the traditional sense! But I mention this distinction only to show other struggling writers that being “published” doesn’t mean the same thing that it used to. No longer do we have to send out query after query after query just waiting for someone to decide our work is somehow worthy of a second look. Now writers have a multitude of options before them, and they can get their work published without having to get the “approval” of an agent or editor or publisher. And a lot of quality work is being self-published and sold now (and selling very well, I might add), which just goes to show that the opinion of these agents, editors, and publishers is not the final measure of a work’s merit or marketability/salability.

When I received my author’s copy of JUST OUT OF REACH and held my book in my hands for the very first time (my words, my story, in print—incredible!), I realized it was definitely worth all the years of waiting, all the years of wishing. It confirmed to me that anything is possible if you truly believe. Further validation of this is the fact that JUST OUT OF REACH received two awards from my publisher (their Editor’s Choice and Rising Star awards) and was also a quarter-finalist in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. So my advice to struggling writers is twofold: (1) never stop writing (and never let the business of writing interfere with the pleasure of writing); and (2) never stop believing in yourself and your dream, no matter what anyone says.

6. Where do you see book publishing heading? I believe the traditional book publishing industry is going to continue to decline (because of the rise of electronic media, and because the traditional industry is no longer willing to take on any new, untried authors), while the self-publishing market is very likely going to continue to rise (I suspect exponentially so in the coming years), much like social media has done. I foresee electronic books (especially self-published eBooks) becoming a significant part of the publishing picture in the near future. Writers are just tired of waiting around for someone else to make their dreams come true, and being the resourceful lot that we are, self-publishing has now become a viable alternative, and it no longer holds quite the stigma that it used to. So go forth, writers, and publish!

Interview With Historical Fiction Author Kristina McMorris

  1. What type of books do you write? I write historical women's fiction, or what some would refer to as WWII love stories, each of them inspired by true stories.

  1. What is your latest or upcoming book about? Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, set in Los Angeles in 1941, features a violinist named Maddie Kern. In spite of her Julliard ambitions, she secretly elopes with her Japanese American boyfriend—the night before Pearl Harbor is bombed. When her husband, Lane, is interned, she dares to voluntarily live in the relocation camp, where she doesn't belong in either world. As Maddie strives for the hard-won acceptance of her new family, Lane risks everything he holds dear to prove his allegiance to America.  

  1. What inspired you to write it? Years ago, an old family friend shared with me that he had fought for America while his brother served for Japan. I was captivated by the idea. But it wasn't until a decade later, when I'd found my calling as a writer, that I recalled his story and realized what a compelling premise it would make for a novel. Combined with my undying love for the U.S. miniseries "North and the South," I set out to write my book. But in the midst of research, I happened across an obscure mention of roughly two hundred non-Japanese spouses who had chosen to live in the U.S. internment camps by choice. I called my agent that very day and said, "This is it. I have my story!"

  1. What did you do before you became an author? Until a handful of years ago, when my grandparents' WWII courtship letters inspired me to pen my first novel, Letters from Home, I was the owner of a wedding/event-planning company and a PR Director of a dozen years. I was also a weekly TV host for the WB (I'd been hosting weekly programs since age nine—yes, it was a strange childhood!), so I really never envisioned myself as an author. Thankfully, I didn't know was I was in for, because I might have run screaming the other way and would have missed out on an amazing experience.

  1. How does it feel to be a published author?  You mean the glamorous author life of having a personal assistant, chef, chauffeur, maid, and….oh, wait. That's just in my fantasies! Honestly, I won't deny how wonderful it is to hold a "real" version of my book in my hands and to see it on the B&N or Costco book tables. Also, the friendships I've made with other authors have been equally meaningful. But at the end of the day, it's a job—and not that much different than before I was published, writing and pitching and promoting away, but now with scary deadlines.

  1. Any advice for struggling writers? I would say, when it comes to literary critiques, treat feedback like a cafeteria line: pick and choose what works for you. At the end of the day, the writing should represent your voice. Don't let anyone edit out what is uniquely yours.

  1. Where do you see book publishing heading?  Well, the last time I checked my crystal ball, it replied with: "Who the heck knows?" This is certainly the question just about everyone in the industry is wondering. As soon as we think we have a vague idea, the landscape shifts. I do believe (not that this is a profound thought) that e-books and the venues to reach readers will continue to rise steadily. Opportunities for authors will also increase, which is always a great thing. Where this will ultimately leave traditional players in the publishing field will be interesting to watch, as will seeing how they choose to evolve, which, of course, everyone—writers included—will have to do in order to thrive in the business, if not at least survive.

For more information, please consult:

Interview With Novelist James Reese

  1. What type of books do you write? I have published four novels for adults, all flirting with the Gothic genre: The Herculine Trilogy, comprised of THE BOOK OF SHADOWS, THE BOOK OF SPIRITS, and THE WITCHERY, and THE DRACULA DOSSIER. THE BOOK OF SHADOWS was a New York Times bestseller, and together the novels have been published in twelve languages to date. Recently, I published my first Young Adult novel, THE STRANGE CASE OF DOCTOR JEKYLL AND MADEMOISELLE ODILE, riffing on the Stevenson classic. Another YA is due to follow next year in the Shadow Sisters series. Meanwhile, I am plotting (literally) a return to adult fiction as well.

  1. What is your latest or upcoming book about? THE STRANGE CASE is something of a prequel to the Stevenson story. In the novel, a young Henry Jekyll acquires the transformative “salts” from a French peasant girl while both are trapped in the Paris of the Commune in 1871.

  1. What inspired you to write it? I was  rereading the Stevenson novella at the same time that I decided to research the Commune and, voila, the great “What if…?” presented itself: What if a young Henry Jekyll, laughed out of London owing to his research into the “transcendental,” ran into a girl descended from the Cagot, a French clan purported to have witchly powers. And what if the girl did have powers, and Doctor Jekyll co-opted them to achieve his own ends? And what if… So it goes, till finally there’s a novel on the page. It’s always great fun, watching all the research and speculation transform itself into a story.

  1. How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? Seeing a beautiful new book with your name across the front cover never gets old; and shame on me if it ever does. It’s an extraordinary thing to cull a completed work from one’s imagination, and I feel both fortunate and lucky to make a living doing so. I can only encourage struggling writers – and all writers struggle, all the time – to persevere. To read, to write and then to edit ruthlessly before rewriting. Set your work aside before revising it, too. For a month or more, if you can. It’s a great favor you’ll be doing both yourself and the work. Then, yes, persevere. And remember, you don’t have to achieve consensus about your work; rather, all you need is one agent and one editor to sign on, and then you’re off on the road towards a readership. That said, until you type “The End,” you’ve got nothing to work with. So, with a nod to Nike, Just do it!

  1. Where do you see book publishing heading? I don’t get worked up over the ever-moribund (or so they say) state of publishing. I follow developments, of course; but I choose instead to focus on content. I write, in other words, and let the business people worry about the business. Overall, though, it seems to me that publishing is going through a metamorphosis similar to that which the music business endured over the past few decades. Hopefully, we’ve learned from music’s Napsterish lessons and are better off for it. Time will tell. What we know for sure, though, is that capital-s Story will endure, and so the writer best serves the larger community – within and beyond publishing – by writing, period.
For more information, consult:
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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