Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Population Growth Revamps Book Marketing Strategy

The list of 20 biggest cities, based on a July 1, 2012 USA Today analysis of 2010 Census data, includes many surprises and statistical osdities. As a result, one must look at the news media in those locations and re-evaluate the book market landscape.

The top 20 includes 5 cities in California, and 4 in Texas, but only one in Florida – and it’s not Miami, Orlando, or Ft. Lauderdale.  The fastest growing big city is Austin, in the number 11 spot.  It’s grown 6.6% in the last two years.  The only city on the list to decline in population is fast-sinking Detroit.  At number 18 on the list, it shed 1.7% of its population over two years.

Oddly, Boston, Atlanta and Washington D.C. did not make the list.  It may just be the technical way that a population is accounted for, but these cities and for sure, their nearby suburbs, account for more people than places like El Paso or Memphis.  New Jersey, one of the biggest states, lacks a Top 20 city.

Many of the higher-ranking or fast-growing cities are spurred by an ever-expanding Latino market.  This means Spanish-language media will challenge some of the influence and reach of English-based media in these cities. 

In a country of 50 states and 310 million, there are only nine cities with one million or more people.  New York City is still, far and away, America’s biggest city.  Its 8.34 million residents surpass the combined totals of the cities ranked 11 through 20. 

When strategically planning your book marketing and book publicity campaign, take note of the top 20 cities:

1.      New York       8,336,697
2.      Los Angeles    3,857,799
3.      Chicago          2,714,856
4.      Houston          2,160,821
5.      Philadelphia    1,547,607
6.      Phoenix           1,488,750
7.      San Antonio    1,382,951
8.      San Diego       1,338,348
9.      Dallas              1,241,162
10.  San Jose          982,765
11.  Austin             842,592
12.  Jacksonville     836,507
13.  Indianapolis    834,852
14.  San Francisco  825,863
15.  Columbus        809,798
16.  Fort Worth      777,992
17.  Charlotte         775,202
18.  Detroit             701,475
19.  El Paso            672,538
20.  Memphis         655,155

Interview With Author Melissa Ridenour

What type of books do you write? I write children’s books. Both the books that I have written so far address issues that are of concern to children, parents, grandparents, teachers and other child caregivers regarding the safety and well-being of children. One book is already published, and the second one will be published by the end of May 2013.

My first book, What Would You Do? A Kid’s Guide to Staying Safe in a World of Strangers is a nonfiction children’s book. The book teaches and empowers children, in a non-threatening way, to take a proactive role in staying safe from abduction, exploitation, predators and harm. Published by Headline Books, Incorporated, it is a book that, ideally, is meant to be a shared experience among children, parents and teachers. It is an excellent reference that was honored as a Best Book Award Finalist from USA Book News. It also received a five star review from Reader’s Favorites. It is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Follett, Baker & Taylor, and Ingrams. Additional information and useful resources can be found at my book website, Melissa Harker Ridenour Books,

I was inspired to write such a stranger safety book because of a traumatic memory from my childhood. When my best friend and I were mere children, I awoke one school morning to my mother having to explain to me that I wouldn’t see my friend in school anymore. She explained to me that my friend had been abducted, raped, and murdered the evening before. That was a difficult thing for me to understand at that age.

As a child, when I would walk to school, I would have to pass the spot where my friend’s body was discovered. I remember, for the longest time, running terrified, past that spot each time. Adding to the tragedy of the story is the fact that her mother, the next year, committed suicide by hanging herself. She was never able to cope with the loss of her daughter, especially in such a violent way.

That haunting memory has always affected me, even as I became a mother myself. One of my greatest fears as a young mother, and even now that my children are grown with children of their own, is that something similar could happen to my children or grandchildren. That fear, combined with the alarming statistics regarding missing and exploited children, motivated me to write a book that would teach children to take a pro-active role in staying safe from abduction, and to help parents and other care givers learn how to keep children safe from abduction or harm.

What is your newest book about? My second book is being published at the end of May 2013. It is called The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale. It is not only a fun and imaginative school story about a big bully, the kids he picks on, and a little boy robot who tries to lead the charge to stop the bullying problem in their school, but it is also an informational book. It includes two sections of researched and effective strategies and resources for children, parents, and teachers to help them better deal with today’s ever-increasing bullying problem.  It will be available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. It will also be available in Nook format through Barnes & Noble.

What inspired you to write it? I was inspired to write The Bully and the Booger Baby: A Cautionary Tale because bullying in our schools is an ever-increasing problem. Children, parents and teachers are looking for solutions to the bullying dilemma. My new book offers solutions to children in the form of a fun fiction school story and through non-fiction researched strategies that will help children, parents and teachers recognize the bullying problem for the serious concern that it is and adequately address it.

What is the writing process like for you?    I have always written. Even as a child, I used to make up silly little stories and write them down for my family to read – whether they wanted to or not.  I also taught creative writing and research and writing as a Language Arts teacher. I didn’t start writing professionally until I retired from teaching.
I try to get writing done every day. From mid-morning to late afternoon, I am either working on new stories or trying to keep up with my freelance writing schedule. Actively promoting and marketing my books cuts into my writing time somewhat. Marketing and promotion, alone, is a full time job.

What did you do before you became an author?   I am a retired teacher and librarian. After retiring from teaching, I was able to devote more time to my writing career. I have always loved books and reading, and I have always strived to motivate children to love books and reading, as well. Now that I am a children’s book author, I still try to have a positive impact on children’s lives.

 I am motivated by advocating for the safety and well-being of children. I hope that my books, as well as my Child Safety Blog, will serve to advocate for that purpose.

How does it feel to be a published author? I enjoy being a published author. As a children’s book author, I am in a position to continue to positively impact children’s lives. There is something to be said for having a written legacy to leave behind, as well. Becoming published is a long and difficult endeavor, however. The process is not for the faint of heart.

Any advice for struggling writers? Publisher rejection slips are painful to both experienced and inexperienced writers, but publisher rejection comes with the territory. My suggestion is that writers should not take publisher rejection personally, keep writing and submitting, and don’t despair. They are in good company. Some very famous and successful writers have received their fair share of rejections and unfavorable reviews. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was referred to by critics as “a stiff, overwrought story”. Jane Austen was reviewed as “a husband –hunting butterfly.” A critic called Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities “a dead pull from start to finish”.  Just write, write, write! After writing something, put it aside for a time, and then come back to it later and read what you have written. Often that gives a fresh perspective to your writing and, most usually, results in editing and rewriting until you are satisfied with your finished piece. Oscar Wilde once said, “I have spent most of the day putting in a comma and the rest of the day taking it out.”

Where do you see book publishing heading? I believe that book publishing, like most businesses, took a hit during the recession This possibly makes it even more difficult for unknown writers to get published. It is discouraging to have one’s work buried beneath a publisher’s slush pile of countless manuscript submissions. That may be one reason that self-publishing has become an attractive option for writers who face difficulty finding a “home” for their cherished work. I also believe that traditional publishers have begun to take notice of the self-publishing option and are beginning to see self-published authors in a new and a little more respected light. They realize that many writers are enjoying the alternative of not sharing royalties with the big publishing houses. With that being said, though, who would not seize the opportunity to be picked up by a Random House or some other famed publishing enterprise?


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Why Authors – and Publicists & Publishers Need A Therapist

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This blog is copyrighted material by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2013

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