Friday, September 30, 2016

How Authors Get Testimonials That Impress

Everyone loves praise.  Authors and publishers especially need it for a book. Not just for bragging rights, endorsements help persuade individuals, stores, libraries, and organizations to buy books.  So what’s the best way of securing testimonials?

The most important thing about a testimony is who says something -- not what they say.  Additionally, you want a quantity of testimonials if you can’t secure a bunch of A-listers.  You want to impress others in a way that will lead them to dig into their wallet -- or digital funds -- and buy, buy, buy!

The ideal time to get testimonials is way before your book is out.  You can:

·         Place them on advance review copies to the media.
·         Post them on your website.
·         Include them when presenting yourself for speaking gigs, bulk sales, or introductions to those you network with.
·         Share them through your social media platform.

Where do you get testimonials?  You may already have some.  If someone emailed you or wrote a letter that contained a relevant sentence of praise, use it.  For instance, if you spoke before a group or organization last year and its president, executive director, or managing partner thanks you in a note for doing such a great job, quote him or her.

If you received positive media for prior books use it.  If a large magazine said of an earlier book that “the writing is forceful,” go ahead and quote it.

You should compile a list of who you know – for networking and marketing purposes -- and look to see who would be good to get a testimonial from.  It doesn’t matter how you know them -- relative, friend, former school chum, college, etc.- just ask.  Maybe you just met them or you attend the same synagogue or you both volunteer at the same place. Just ask.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Nothing.  What’s the upside?  Plenty.

Contact a number of people and simply say you value their standing in the community/industry and would love for them to support you by simply agreeing to do a testimonial.  The ask can be brief.  You can thank them for their consideration and vow to help them down the road if you are in such a position.  You can even suggest you’ll be glad to write the blurb just so they don’t have to feel obligated to figure out what to say.  Give them a few options.

Testimonials can range in length, from a word to a paragraph.  Vary their length.  Generally, short is better.  Rotate the adjectives and superlatives that are heaped upon you.  Reference things that make the testimonial. Sound powerful, heartfelt, and reflective of your truth.

Give them a deadline -- express some urgency and importance to them responding within a few weeks.  Busy people need deadlines and to feel wanted.

Think of who to get a testimonial from.  Any big name works even if he or she is completely out of your industry.  For instance, if you know a CEO of a major company, a celebrity, a professional athlete or a politician – but your book is on something like pet care or how to cook for diabetics – you should still slap on a known name to your testimonials.  You can still contact, in the case of pets, veterinarians, best-selling authors, and others related to the pet industry and animal world.

If you don’t know a lot of people -- or the right ones -- track down the ones you want.  Ask others who they know and see if they’ll introduce you.

There are plenty of paid endorsements out there too.  It’s something to consider.  Maybe you pay a big shot to write a foreword or introduction to your book.  Then you can quote from it.

Testimonials you should not seek out are ones that:

·         Are from people who are not known and don’t have relevant credentials.
·         Are merely consumers/clients/patients -- but with no recognition.
·         Are filled with negative impressions publicly.

Always review your list of testimonials.  Keep looking to trade up for bigger names.  If someone has gone down in stature since you received their testimonial, consider removing it.  I mean, would you want a testimonial from Bill Cosby?

Getting great reviews and media coverage can also serve as a testimonial.  In fact, if you were interviewed on radio or T.V. and you recorded these appearances, listen to find a pull quote.  Maybe a radio host says you are a great writer or a T.V. show host notes that your book is unique.  Quote ‘em and reference the media outlet.  It’s fair game.

You can have a lot of success going after testimonials.  They are worth having, but can take time to secure.  Keep at it until you feel you have the best possible ones from the best people.  If you feel you can get more -- and better ones -- go for it!

Maybe someone will write a testimonial to reflect your approach to getting testimonials!

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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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Interview With Author Alex White

Listening to Type: Making Language

1. What inspired you to write your book?
I love typography and I want more designers to understand how spoken and written language are connected. Listening to Type: Making Language Visible connects spoken and written language so typography becomes more logical and perhaps a little less intuitive.

2. What is it about?
This book is about typography, the one element that separates graphic designers from all other designers. It takes great sensitivity to messages and meanings for typography to enhance a message rather than merely deliver it.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book?
“I see with greater sensitivity, I think more clearly, I spent my time wisely when I read the book, and I spent my money wisely when I bought the book.”

4. What advice do you have for writers?
To me, writing is an act of discovery and self-education. It is less an act of showing off what I already know. My work is both as an author and as a professor of graphic design and design management. This is my eighth book, so I have some experience with writing as an activity. Ernest Hemingway is credited with having said, “The most important attribute for an author to have is a built in, shock-proof shit detector.” For sure it sounds like Hemingway. Writing takes time. My writing is done inside four hours a day, every day I am not at the university. It takes me a while to get the train (a book, a chapter, a section) moving, and I energetically protect the momentum I struggle to develop. It is easier to keep the train moving than it is to get it moving repeatedly. I write and design my books simultaneously, happily allowing the process of composing books lead me. That sense of discovery is what motivates me to keep coming up with ideas for books. One more bit of advice: if you don’t have the self discipline to force yourself to think every day (because writing is pure thinking), don’t even start. Though it looks like goofing around to outsiders – and believe me, I do get easily distracted in my research process, but that’s me teaching myself new things – writing is the toughest, most rewarding activity I can engage in.

5. Where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
I do not know, but it may be selling books by the chapter online. Concentration to read, let alone absorb, a whole book is dwindling. Complex ideas are harder to sell than simple ideas. That doesn’t mean books should be dumbed down, but ideas need to be more clearly explained. And greater clarity is a hard commodity to come by without losing important parts of an idea.

6. What challenges did you have in writing your book?
Preserving writing time from other parts of life. It has to be a priority for me and for my wife, who truly appreciates the self-discipline and effort it takes to spend in the office on off days from the university where I teach and run a graduate program in design management.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Listening to Type: Making Language Visible is unlike any other book on typography or design they own. It explains things so the reader’s thinking will change. It has lots of pretty pictures of design, like other books on the subject, to inspire (or copy), but the attending captions and text in this book empower the designer to adopt new ways of designing. Intentionally trying new ideas – new design processes – produces new results, and fresh design is every reader’s goal, isn’t it?

Please see  for more information.

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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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

Writers Run Toward The Finish Line

My wife finished a half-marathon within a minute of her time recorded last year in the same event, the only times she’s run such a distance.  She was glad just to finish, given she didn’t train as much as last year.  About an hour after she completed the race, aptly called Paine to Pain, what appeared to be the last runner crossed the finish line.  Almost all of the participants and their cheering squads had left and things were being packed up, but here came this woman chugging along and making sure she got to the end.  She may have fallen short of any goals she’d set for herself, but she showed determination and the triumph of will over exhaustion.  These runners are athletic models to the marathons and battles writers seek to overcome.

No matter how much you struggle as a writer, keep on persevering.  You will make it to the finish line.

Writers will get rejections, criticisms, and tough edits.  They will continue on.

They will get writer's block or feel they have reached a dead end.  But they’ll write again tomorrow.

They will feel exhausted from work, the burdens of daily life, and family obligations.  They’ll struggle to make money, they will get sad over a world gone to the crapper and they will confront the stages of life’s losses, changes, and challenges.  But they will keep on writing.

As the tall woman drove her lingering legs across the finish line that all other runners in the race had already crossed, she felt accomplished.  She also acknowledged she registered a poor time. Writers can be the same way, momentarily enjoying their work and seeing it as the best they could do under the current circumstances – and also keeping an eye on their true prize and expecting to improve and do better next time.  Even writers believe they wrote their best possible article, short story, or book, he or she never thinks of hitting their peak.  Tomorrow always brings the promise of more – and better writing.

This blog post may be of interest to you but I’m already thinking I could do better on another day. None of us are perfect so there’s always room for improvement.  I compete against myself to become the best possible writer I could be.  I learn from others, but I don’t feel fellow writers are competitors.  We all learn from each other – and make one another better at our craft.

Writers should set goals for themselves. The need to set deadlines for accomplishments.  They measure success by any number of metrics, including:

Money made from writing.
Number of people who read your stuff
People who are inspired by your writings.
How often you are published and by which media outlet.
Number of books published, by whom, and number sold
How well-received your writings are by the media.

But the real finish line or standard writers should go by is to have the courage, passion, and ability to pick up the pen – or keyboard – and keep looking to perfect their craft.  Good things will come the more you write.  Of course, writing is about quality and not quantity, but being prolific helps you improve.

You need to look back at your writings and see how you can improve. Experiment with the style and approach that you take.  Improve your vocabulary.  Incorporate elements other successful writers use.  Attend writing workshops and conferences.  Work with an editor.  Get others to provide feedback to your writings.

My style is this – write in a way that proposes new ideas while capturing the essence of a moment.  I like to put things into a context and give the reader a clear perspective on something.  I like to analyze things and ask far more questions than anyone could answer.  Through the process of inquiry, we may all get on the same page and look to find an answer or solution that the majority can accept or even embrace.  I’ll throw in some humor as well.  I write out of a deep conviction for truth -- to discover it, reveal it, and promote it.  If I can help another just with words, imagine what we all can do if we put our resources together.

There ae a lot of sports metaphors that we can apply to aspects of our lives, especially the art of writing.  But it seems like writing and sports are the opposite.  Writers don’t look like athletes and many athletes don’t become great writers or even readers.  Writers have muscles in their brain; athletes are conditioned and trained to compete and win.

But writers and runners or athletes certainly share these things in common:

·         They strive to be better no matter what they accomplish.
·         They spends hours at a time practicing, their passion.
·         They can be judged harshly -- or praised-publicly.
·         Millions of people can do what they do – but many won’t stick with it.
·         They believe in their abilities and are driven by a strong will.
·         They have discipline to stay focused and on track.
·         They celebrate a win, award, or accomplishment -- and then get back to what they need to do.
·         They both could benefit from having a therapist/mentor/coach.

No one remembers who won or didn’t finish the race this year, last year, or five years ago.  But those that participated remember everything, from their time and standing, to what it felt like not only to finish but to train in order to do well, to do their best.  Writers are preparing for their own half marathon right now, one word at a time.  Go for it!

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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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I Didn’t Sleep With Brad Pitt!

I feel it necessary to publicly announce at this very moment that I did not sleep, nor will I ever sleep, with Brad Pitt.  I will have no other comments at this time and ask that out of respect for my family that you honor my request for privacy.

For the record, I don’t believe my news shocks anyone.  I’m married with kids and neither Pitt nor I share a sexual attraction to one another or other guys.  But I’m also sure that because I write about Brad Pitt more people will read this than they normally would read my blog.

I’m delighted to use any trick to get more readers. Maybe next week I just make up a rumor about J.K. Rowling.  But it’s also sad commentary on the state of the news media, social media, and the gullible public. We are a TMZ-People-Enquirer nation.  We want celebrity gossip and are willing to believe anything because it seems like anything’s possible when it comes to the rich, famous, and beautiful.

Also for the record, I couldn’t give a crap about Brad Pitt’s personal life nor his acting career.  Same goes for Angelina Jolie.  Now, if you have some revealing photos of Emily Ratajkowski, I’ll take a look.  She’s smoking HOT, even if her body’s been assembled in six different warehouses.  But as gorgeous as she is, I don’t care to know anything about her.  I wouldn’t believe what’s said about her and wouldn’t care about the confirmed truth.  She’s not in my circle of reality.

But all of the media attention that’s going to the breakup of the year – if not the decade – is unwarranted.  Don’t we have 20 or 200 things that are more important, interesting, or useful to our lives that deserve attention and public debate?  Or is it because so many other things need to be addressed that we find it easier to get distracted by the ruined lives of two people who seemingly had it all – fame, fortune, beauty, hot spouse, and great career?  We would rather be a voyeur to those people and to celebrate their misery than to live our own lives with success and fulfillment.

If you want to promote your book, you need to tie into the news cycle of the day, and tap into the mentality that drives the news media.  Take anything you want to say and express it through a Bradgelina filter.  Try it:

How to avoid a bad break-up like Brad-Angelina.

Divorce Law:
When should a dad let his ex-wife keep the kids?  Why should Brad give Angelina his kids?

Could two competing spouses in the same industry hurt a marriage?  Would Brad and Angelina still be together if they didn’t work in Hollywood?

What will Brad & Angelina want from one another at the bank?

Why do spouses cheat on gorgeous spouses?  5 Reasons why Brad cheated on Angelina?

Real Estate
Where should a divorced, wealthy bachelor live?  Will Brad Pitt move far away from home?

Get the idea?  It’s six degrees of Brad-Angelina. Express your media pitch based on their breakup.  I don’t care if your book is about dieting.  Try this:  Did Angelina get too fat for Brad?  How to workout and save your marriage.  Is your book about skin care and looking younger? Why Angelina wasn't pretty enough for Brad:  How to look younger to keep your man. Maybe you wrote about parenting, cooking, or barbecuing.  It doesn’t matter.  Express your pitch in a Brad-Angelina framing and you’ll get some attention.

Now, you can’t just have a headline that lures one in and the rest of the pitch fails to link to Brad-Angelina, so be sure to carry through on your theme.  Express your pitch with bullet points that relate to them.

Nothing comes to mind when I think of the movies these two made.  Did they really make such amazing movies?  Even if they did make terrific movies, why must the media waste endless time by focusing our attention on their personal lives?  It’s not even shocking news.  It’s a bigger shock to see a Hollywood marriage last.

So my recommendation to get media attention is to say something -- anything -- even a rumor or the faux denial of one – that mentions either Pitt or Jolie.  That’s all that it takes.  Don’t waste anyone’s time telling us about a cure for cancer, how to make millions, or what meaning of life you discovered.  Just tell me something about the power couple that’s no more.

I guess I should also deny having slept with Angelina Jolie, but why make two announcements in one blog with I can circulate that message next week?

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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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Are You A Writer Who Thinks Big -- Really Big?

Some writers truly believe in their work and want to make a big splash.  They are willing to invest at a great cost – in time, money or resources – in order to do whatever it takes to break through the clutter and help them jump rungs in the ladder to the top?

Writers looking to create a name for themselves will:

1.      Orchestrate a best-seller campaign through pre-paid sales to friends.

2.      Pay for tons of social media followers.

3.      Go crazy with paid advertisements in high-profile media outlets.

4.      Take a huge, multi-city road tour with appearances in a dozen or more cities.

5.      Mail free copies of the book to influencers.

6.      Give out free digital copies to thousands of people.

7.      Invest in a strong public relations campaign.

8.      Extend into a sponsorship deal.

9.      Develop a relationship with partnerships to market the book.

10.  Create affiliate sales networks with generous commissions.

With unlimited resources -- and an uncontrolled willingness to use them - writers can pursue endless acts, stunts, and events to get greater exposure for their brand and book. For them, the pay-off goes beyond the sale of a book and extends to other potential benefits.  Marketing and promoting a book can lead the political or social change.  It can lead to paid speaking gigs, consulting deals, or even offers to host a T.V. show.  Amazing things can happen when your visibility gets high.

So what can and should you do when you don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars laying around?

You certainly can employ some of the above strategies, just at a scaled down version.  Do four of those things, instead of all 10.  Do them on a smaller budget as well.

Some of what you choose to do will be based on your perception or estimate of what the return on investment will be. You also have to determine how much risk you are willing to take. Ask yourself if you’re willing to borrow or go into debt for this.  It’s gambling and casinos always say you should bet only what you can afford to lose.

But let’s dream big for a moment.  You think you’re book is great and will sell if people just learn about it.  You also believe if you gain enough fame, the payoff will come from getting hired or paid to do other things, such as consult. How do you test that thinking?  How can you be certain that if you spend 40,000 bucks you’ll make it back in book sales and additional benefits?

Many writers dream big, but fail to act big. They have hopes and dreams – but lack the resources, guts or vision to truly take their book to a whole new level.  The writer who wants to break through can always do the things that the big boys/girls do, namely spend lavishly on marketing, so what stops you from doing it?

·         Do you not believe it’ll work?
·         Do you not have access, even through a loan, to the funds?
·         Do you simply not know where to properly spend the funds?

If you dream big, you must act big.  But before you can commit funds to anything, research what’s possible.  Determine, with hard facts and evidence, why, what you propose to do, should work.  Then hedge your bets.  

Get an investor to kick in some money.  You may give away some of the profits but you also insulate against the potential downside.  Or don’t get an investor.  They are greedy and demanding.  Go into this so that it’s all or nothing – either your heart and mind tell you it will work or it won’t.

We hedge, question, fear, and doubt way too much.  We’re all guilty of it.  At some point, each of us has to take a stand – one from facts; ideas, emotion, vision, energy – and just go for it.  Go big or go home – and stop deliberating in your head about what to do.

By the way, if you make it big, I want to hear about it.  If you fall short, know that you tried.  It’s better to pursue your dream than to just keep dreaming.

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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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©

Monday, September 26, 2016

How Do You Build The “Write” Platform To Snag A Good Literary Agent?

How should a writer create his or her platform, one that will show an ability to sell books – and impress literary agents and publishers?

A platform “is your personal ability to sell books through:

1.      “Who you are.

2.      “Personal and professional connections that you have.

3.      “Any media outlets (including personal blogs and social networks) that you can utilize to sell books.”

Those are the words of Chuck Sambuchino, who wrote about writer platforms in the newly published annual guide to literary agents from Writer’s Digest.

For those writers seeking to find a literary agent, they will find useful information and advice in the 26th Annual Edition -- Guide to Literary Agents:  2017.  

Fresh off the press, it tells would-be authors what they need to know to create a great query letter and book proposal, how to secure the right agent, and what you should expect an agent to do for you. It also has a detailed directory of literary agents, with contact information and notes on what particular agents are looking for.

A platform can be anything that reflects your brand and connections.  In short, it is the thing you can point to that says “I’m somebody” or “Lots of people know me.”

For some, they can point to past media coverage – articles about or by them in major outlets or genre–targeted publications; guest-posts on influential blogs; radio interviews in decent-sized markets; and television appearances. For others, it could be that you show large social media followings on whatever platform of choice – You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+ to name a few.  Perhaps your platform is a digital rolodex and you can show a database of 40,000 e-mails.  Whatever form it takes, you need to be able to impress others so they will feel inclined to invest in and work with you.

All of the potential in the world is wonderful, but agents and publishers need to feel confident there will be a payoff when they sign you.  No one wants to waste time or dream alongside of you.

So what else can you do to make a nice platform?

·         Feature some great endorsements or testimonials on your web site.
·         Show videos from public appearances and list organizations where you delivered presentations.
·         Blog regularly and build up followers to a substantial size.
·         Show a lot of views/likes for various posts, videos, or podcasts that you created or were the subject of.
·         Become a regular contributor to a publication or media outlet.
·         Have an impressive resume that shows supportive credentials for the subject matter that your book’s on.
·         List memberships and leadership positions to major organizations.
·         Show any awards of relevance.
·         Reference writing contests that you placed a high in.

So, where do you start?

Anywhere.  Then build on it.

If you speak at a local library and it goes well, schedule more talks at local libraries.  In between those appearances, increase your Twitter connections.  Send out queries to magazines and newspapers to get some freelance articles under your belt.  Attend some networking events in your field.  Launch a blog or podcast.  Create a short video series.  Go with your talents and interests and get out there.

Who knows, you may just find that your platform is so big that literary agents will start coming to you!

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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. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©.