A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Free speech, literacy, and great books are also discussed. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
must get asked at least once a day by authors:
“How do I break through?”
does one answer that? It takes the
following – in combination of some kind:
approach to branding and sales
requires these traits:
to apply time and financial resources
in reality but optimistic and filled with hope
with a sense of urgency
·Have someone be your champion
the breakthrough question is a little like answering these questions:
do I meet my soul mate?
do I raise super successful kids?
do I live to be 95 or more?
important than asking the question, one must look introspectively and deeply to
find his or her own answer. You must
determine how badly you want this, and honestly assess how deserving you are of
it. Ask yourself; what else are you
willing to do or change that could yield greater results?
wants to breakthrough but few know what to do and even fewer are willing or
able to do what it takes. Still, there’s
no guaranteed, foolproof method that can be applied by anyone for any book just
because they want to break through, even if it seems like they deserve a break.
things happen to nice people – and sometimes good things fail to materialize for
great writers. But there’s no reason to
feel defeated. If you are a truly talented writer and you believe in yourself, you just have to find the path
that leads to open doors. You’ll need to
take a risk and extend yourself, but greatness has a way of finding the
spotlight it seeks.
one’s breakthrough shall come when he or she takes an unconventional path. Rather than think best-seller list, awards,
or even major coverage in a top media outlet, think of other ways to build a readership and develop a growing fan base.
Think beyond the obvious.
do some authors do to break through?
1.Participation in a huge book giveaway or charity event so they can get free exposure for their
book and generate reviews and strong word-of-mouth demand.
out a full-page ad in a trade publication that provokes a strong reaction.
some powerful testimonials from famous people.
amazing reviews from leading media outlets.
a video that goes viral.
a book promoter or marketer to help you get out of the clutter pile.
someone famous or in the news to mention how the book changed their life.
a gimmicky event or get arrested or get attention with a public protest.
the book to a major lawsuit.
how the book impacted real lives (such as a diet book that led someone to drop
140 pounds). You can’t break through unless you take ownership of the frame of
mind that you:
deserving of it.
be denied of your destiny.
drives the bus. You need a healthy dose
of confidence, faith and conviction – but not bloated ego. You should believe in yourself based on the
merits, but not simply feel entitled to success without any basis.
has to break through, why not you? But
we can’t all break through, so answer:
may conclude that the current book is not the one that will get you noticed on
a grand scale. Sometimes success comes
on the second or third book. Keep
plugging away, keep learning and remain vigilant. Your time will come – provided you keep
pushing it and the stars align your way.
Expo comes to New York City - along with Book Con, May 31-June 4. The 2017 edition will be one that will be
like scores of other ones – a chance for authors and publishers to promote
their new books, a place for bookstores to find great deals, and a site for
literary agents to sell foreign rights to books. But it will also be a time for those in the
book industry to unite and reflect upon where their beloved book world is
BEA will be the smallest one in decades. The number of exhibitors has
steadily shrunk in the digital book era while conference officials artificially
limited the number of conference attendees.
But it will still represent what the book industry is all about –
creativity, great writing, and a networked industry that wants to see continual
me, I’ll use BEA to network with existing connections while meeting with new
people – some scheduled and some that I’ll just happen to come by. The public relations firm that I head up
marketing for is sponsoring the convention, as thousands of their fliers will
be given out to all attendees. I’ll be
looking to secure new clients, firm up existing relationships, and take a
peek into what big books are coming out soon. It’s a great time and place to
spot trends and take the temperature of an industry that’s seen a lot of
change and upheaval.
remember several Book Expos well. My
first one, which was called ABA back then was in Las Vegas, 1990. I went with the publisher of a small indie
press where I was the senior publicity director. This company had promotable books and
afforded me a great opportunity but they were cheaper than cheap and the
publisher, who worked with his fiancée (they eventually would break up) was
nuts. I used to field calls from authors
complaining and demanding royalties, and telling me how unhappy they
were. His solution was to ignore them
and screw them some more. He was the
book publishing equivalent of a slumlord.
2000, a decade later, I had my best BEA ever.
I met my wife there. Held in Chicago,
I attended a party where I met Laura, then the audio book marketing manager at
Random House Audiobooks. I was early into
my career at the company I presently work for. We hit it off and will be married 15 years this August, raising two
children, and an English bulldog.
BEAs have been a blur for me. They are
not as big or fun as they used to be.
There are fewer parties and not as many sightings of celebrities are to
be had. But it’s still the place where
we take time out to come together and celebrate one of the most precious
resources – books. May BEA 2017 and
beyond continue to hold promise for an industry in flux -- but growing again.
other day I sat down with my nine-year-old daughter to explain how to read a
newspaper. I pointed out the different sections, noted opinion columns and
editorials and letters to the editor vs. hard or feature news stories and how
images and words impact us. As I went
through this exercise I realized that authors need to go through a similar one
when it comes to looking at the media from the perspective of a book
marketer. Such insights will help
writers get a lot more coverage for their book and author brand.
let’s break down the media:
shows have country-wide appeal and as such, need a story with broad enough
appeal and relevance.There’s a
difference between a late-night comedy show, the evening national news, cable
news, morning shows, daytime talk, and weekend shows.Your pitch has to fit in with the type of
segment, tone, and demographics appeal that each show exists under.
story must have local tie-ins and geographic relevance.Do you live there?Did you grow up there?Are you connected to a local group or
participating in a local, newsworthy event?What visuals do you have to support the story?How do you turn your self-focused message
into wider appeal to the community?
to TV, national vs. local coverage makes a big difference in what those
producers look for in a guest. Radio is divided by formats.Is yours a business, health, sports, or
political story?There are specific
stations, networks or shows that address those areas.Think about appealing to multiple formats.
Maybe you have a business story that is also about health or your political
angle also has appeal to faith media.
at the editorial calendars of magazines and determine their areas of
coverage.Look at columnists, editors,
book reviewers, and freelance contributors and tailor your message to their
preferences. Newspapers that are weekly or community oriented want hyper local
content, especially if it relates to safety, education and small
businesses.Daily newspapers break down
differently – they are bigger, publish more frequently, and have numerous
sections.They also publish additional
podcasters, and online book reviewers – they are citizen journalists and have
different standards, needs, and personalities than traditional media.If you can create content for others, that’s
is where you generate all of the content and make connections – on Twitter, Facebook,
YouTube, Instagram, etc. As an author, you need to understand how the different
types of media work, identify whom to approach, and to develop targeted pitches
that are format-friendly and appeal to their narrow demographics.But once you get the hang of it, you merely,
repeat and rinse.It’s a numbers game –
the more outreach you do, especially when it’s customized and timed right, the
more likely you will see good results.
if they are to be successful, must make many choices as it relates to their
writing, book marketing, social life, career, family and other endeavors. What should writers use, as a filter or
guide, to help them discern where they should invest their time, money,
efforts, and brain power?
Here are some of the choices writers are confronted with:
When it comes to the act of writing, they need to determine:
shall I write about?
I stick to one genre?
I self-publish or pursue a literary agent?
much time shall I get aside to write, edit, research, and re-write?
it comes to book marketing, they will confront these choices:
type of activity should I be doing vs. hiring others to help?
should my press kit and website look like?
I be active on social media, and if so, which platform(s)?
I be blogging, podcasting, or creating videos?
much time will I make available for book promotions?
writers try to strike a balance between writing books and marketing them, they
still need to carve out time and energy to pursue their daily grind of chores,
work, relationships, parenting and everything else. Writers also need time to just reflect,
recharge, and redouble their efforts. So
how will they go about doing all of this – and not lose their minds?
goals. Once you know what you want to
accomplish, work backwards from there.
Determine what’s important to you.
your priorities. Think of the steps that
you need to take to achieve your goals.
ahead. A lot more can be accomplished
when you plan ahead and set multiple things in motion so that you don’t have to
rush or overcome the monumental task of fixing things that get backed up.
review your progress and tinker with making changes. Though consistency in your approach goes a
long way to being successful, sometimes variety and mixing things up gives you
laser focused on what you are doing and tune the rest out. However, be open to new things and people or
you’ll get stale in your thinking.
on success. If you are accelerating and
excelling in a specific area, ride the wave and put more resources there.
enough sleep. Don’t cheat yourself out of rest and dream time. You need a break to gain clarity and to avoid
feeling burdened by a growing to-do list.