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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What Kind of Image Do You Project When Marketing Your Book?


How Do You See Yourself?
Marketing will succeed, in large part, based on how you see yourself. Or, more importantly, how others see you. To get others to see you as an expert with a certain persona, you must see yourself as being the image you want to project. You must believe in yourself, your book, your ideas, your value. But keep the ego in check. You need a healthy dose of confidence and pride in order to succeed, but no one wants to talk to an egomaniac who is so self-absorbed and blinded by his own baloney.

In marketing, your objective  is to convince others they should take an action step, such as buy your book. There are many ways to persuade people – a great offer, a big lie, desperation, etc. People want you to tell and show them how you will help them, for a fair price, in a way that sounds believable and possible. Some just want a pain-free, get-rich-quick solution to their problems and they expose themselves to willingly believe someone who makes outrageous claims. Your marketing style can be one of merit and substance but don’t forget you need style too.

How Do You Come Off  To Others?
People want to know who you are and where you’re coming from.  Some will make judgments based on your looks, your words, your demographics, etc.  Others will seek to get a sense of who you are, based on how you communicate with them. Here are some styles to consider:

Questioning Style:  You show your interest in them by asking a ton of questions.  You keep it focused on them, not you.

Inspiring Style:  People are drawn to you because you sound inspiring and motivating.  You display a lot of energy, smiles, and enthusiasm and you express optimism.

Analytical Style:  You come off as a seasoned veteran by approaching the conversation in a logical fashion.  You offer details, share stats and figures, and compile data.  You rely less on emotion and personality, but more on numbers and reality.

Interactive Style:  You have a give and take style – you ask questions but also offer ideas, feedback, etc.  You have a dialogue in an open setting,that allows for an exchange of information and opinions that allows for an exchange of information and opinions that allows for everyone to be heard.

Other ways to come off to another include: acting as a confidant and friend, offering to deliver measurable successes or challenging them to prove you wrong.  Each style – and there are others -- depends on your personality and the gut feeling you have for the person you’re dealing with.  Different people and situations call for different approaches.  There’s no one-size fits all method that works all the time for all people.

DON”T MISS THESE!!!

The Book Marketing Strategies Of Best-Sellers

How Authors Can Sell More Books

No. 1 Book Publicity Resource: 2019 Toolkit For Authors -- FREE

How Authors Get Bulk Sales Now

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

The Origin Of Idioms For Writers




You ever hear these expressions: cost an arm and a leg; long in the tooth; three sheets to the wind; wear your heart on your sleeve?

Sure you did.  Ever wonder their origins?

Wonder no more.  The Illustrated Histories of Everyday Expressions by James McGuire, reveals the stories behind some of the most popular idioms of the English language.

Here are a few of my favorites explained:

Riding Shotgun
This refers to someone calling dibs on sitting upfront in a car’s passenger seat.  It stems from the Wild West days when travel was dangerous.  Robberies took place on the highway often.  So, to defend against crime, coach drivers would hire someone to sit next to them, armed with a shotgun.

Let The Cat Out Of The Bag
This indicates a secret was carelessly revealed.  It comes from 1700s Europe when street vendors sold baby pigs in burlap sacks.  Some dishonest salesmen would substitute a cat for the more valuable pig.”  When one of these cats managed to wriggle free – letting the cat out of the bag - the deceit was revealed,” writes McGuire.

Pull Someone’s Leg
Joke around or play a prank.  Back in 1800s England, street children turned to pick pocketing to survive poverty.  They worked in tandem.  One kid pulls on your pant leg to distract you, while another grabbed a wallet, watch, or jewelry.  The confused victim didn’t even know which kid stole from him or her.

Paying Through The Nose
No one wants to pay an excessive amount for something, right?  Back in the day of the Vikings after they conquered a village, they demanded citizens pay taxes to them.  If someone didn’t pay, their nose was slit as punishment.  Around the same time, the Danish levied a tax against the just-conquered Irish and if one failed to pay, their nose was busted open.

Not only does the book deliver plausible explanations for phrases we’ve all uttered, it reminds us of these very idioms that can be used in our writings.  Will you turn a blind eye to what I’m saying?  Do I rub you the wrong way or am I barking up the wrong tree?

My Favorite:  Heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.  This means to receive irrefutable information from a reliable source.  Origin?  In the past, horse traders often lied about a horse’s age to increase its value.  But savvy buyers know that one can tell the age of a horse by looking at its teeth. Their length  tells all.

These idioms long outlive their original meaning because new circumstances arose to keep them relevant and applicable.  The fact that these terms survived for centuries shows they express a truth that rings true through the generations.  This book helps you to spot red herrings, know the ropes, bring home the bacon, and avoid burying your head in the sand.

“Always be reading.  Go to the library.  There’s magic in being surrounded by books.  Get lost in the stacks.  Read bibliographies.  It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.  Collect books, even if you don’t plan on reading them right away.  Nothing is more important than an unread library.”
--Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon

“But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide.  A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.  That is my belief.”
--Franz Kafka

“Literature duplicates the experience of living in a way that nothing else can, drawing you so fully into another life that you temporarily forget you have one of your own.  That is why you read it, and might even sit up in bed till early dawn, throwing your whole tomorrow out of whack, simply to find out what happens to some people who, you know perfectly well, are made up.”
--Barbara Kingsolver

“People wonder why the novel is the most popular form of literature; people wonder why it is read more than books of science or books of metaphysics.  The reason is very simple; it is merely that the novel is more true than they are.”
--G.K. Chesterton

“We read novels because we want to see the world through other experiences, other beings, other eyes, other cultures.”
--Orhan Pamuk


DON”T MISS THESE!!!
New Year's Resolutions For Every Author
https://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2019/12/new-years-resolutions-for-all-authors.html

The Book Marketing Strategies Of Best-Sellers

How Authors Can Sell More Books

No. 1 Book Publicity Resource: 2019 Toolkit For Authors -- FREE

How Authors Get Bulk Sales Now

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Should Authors Re-Think The Semicolon?




I recently read Semicolon:  The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark by Cecelia Watson.  For such a hyped book, I wasn’t thrilled. I should’ve known better – how exciting could such a book really be?

So why the sudden focus on a punctuation mark that most people don’t use or know how to apply properly?

The book’s goals to chart the transformation of a mark designed to create clarity to a mark destined to create confusion is noble, I guess, but do we really care enough to read an entire book about ;?

The lesson learned here?  The author believes grammar rules are needed – so we can violate them.  Her book is more about justification for dismissing language technicalities than it is for praising the semicolon or identifying its appropriate usage.  Here are select passages that may help you rethink your relationship to grammar, particularly the semicolon:

“It’s rough being a stickler for grammar these days,” sighs Lynne Truss in Eats, Shoots and Leaves, as if before “these days there was a time when everyone was committed to proper grammar and everyone agreed on what proper grammar constituted.”

Here are some interesting excerpts from Watson’s book:

1.      Self-styled grammar “sticklers,” “snobs,” “nazis,” and “bitches” want so much to get back to that point in the past where the majority of people respected language and understood its nuances, and society at large shared a common understanding of grammar rules.  But that place is a mirage.  There was no time when everyone spoke flawless English and people punctuated “properly.” It’s important to come to grips with this historical fact, because it influences how we act in the present:  after we nail down some basic punctuation history here through the story of the semicolon, I’ll show that hanging on to the old story about grammar – the mythical story – limits our relationship with language.  It keeps us from seeing, describing, and creating beauty in language that rules can’t comprehend.

2.      For those of you accustomed to thinking about punctuation as subject to rules, it probably sounds odd to suggest that punctuation usage could be subject to shifts in fashion.  One of the virtues of rules would be to insulate us from whims and fancies.  But even the originators of rule-based punctuation’s trendiness.  As we saw, they were conflicted about how best to negotiate the tension between rules and actual usage.  As a result of their examination of usage, grammarians became keen observers of the punctuation whims of writers.

3.      The law is skeletal, a mere naked framework of words, and those words require interpretation for the law to become animate and to act in the world.  Any time interpretation is involved (which really means:  any time a human being gets involved in anything), there is the opportunity for our best and most beautiful qualities to inflect the material we are interpreting – but there is equally the opportunity for our cynicism, our racism, and our little hatreds and bigotries to be  exercised through the application of laws that are at the end of the day inert tools that must be wielded by someone to construct a more or less merciful world.  Any other vision of our laws – any vision in which they are perfect and complete and speak for themselves – is fantasy.

4.      So we need another tactic, whether we think we consider ourselves beginners or advanced.  How do we learn to use English in a way that sticks better and works better than an abstracted list of memorized rules?  And  how do we learn to develop a writing style that’s recognizable, and at the same time master the ability to be flexible with that style as the occasion requires?

5.      But that reviewer of James is correct that uncertainty, ambiguity, and vagueness do put a certain burden on the reader.  Or maybe it’s better to say: they highlight the fact that writing is an exchange between at least two people:  writer and reader, or sometimes writer and the writer’s own future self.  There is nothing wrong with trying to be as precise as possible in your writing, or with trying to be clear; those goals are often productive and have their place.  But I don’t think it’s such a bad thing sometimes to be engaged in the practice of working things out in words, of having a conversation.  Ambiguity can be useful and productive, and it can make some room for new ideas.  It can help the reader create something out of the materials the writer providers.

6.      Still, technology takes even while it gives, and it’s not unreasonable to feel that one of the things it is taking is our ability to stop occasionally, or at least to slow down.  We bob along feeling helpless on a frantic current of light and noise, always on the move, our predicament best depicted in the linear leap forwards of the dash.  The semicolon represents a way to slow down, to stop, and to think; it measures time more meditatively than the catchall dash, and it can’t be chucked thoughtlessly into just any sentence in place of just any other mark.

7.      If rules don’t do what they set out to do for us – if rules are just idealizations of language that don’t manage either to help us learn to write well, or to describe why a piece of writing is effective or ineffective – does that mean that rules are totally worthless?  Not necessarily.  In fact, if we can learn to see past rules as the only framework with which we can understand and learn to use language, we might be able to see what purposes rules could really serve.  That is, we can peel away the justification that “rules are really in language” and free ourselves to ask instead, “What good might rules be even if they aren’t strictly necessary or sufficient?”  Rules considered as frameworks within which to work rather than as boundaries marking the outer limits of rhetorical possibility, might spur creativity, just as a poet might find it productive to work within the strictures of the sonnet form.  But we would be making a big mistake to teach that the only “legal” way to write poetry is to write sonnets.  The same goes for punctuation rules.

8.      That love is really for the English language, or for orderliness and organization, or for tradition.  None of these things is a foolish thing to love.  But if we really love English or if we love the sense of structure that grammar provides, or if we love traditions and a sense of shared linguistic practices across generations, we have to look somewhere else to celebrate that devotion; rules will be, just as they always have been, inadequate to form a protective fence around English.

9.      Even if they aren’t the basis by which we read and write, punctuation rules can’t just be unthought as though they never existed int eh first place.  We could not (and perhaps would not want to) go back to a time before there were punctuation rules.  But maybe we can think beyond them now, to develop a new, more functional, more ethical philosophy of punctuation; one that would support a richer way of learning, teaching, using, and loving language.  At the very least, by reflecting on the history of the commas, colon, question marks, and semicolons that dot our written language, we can gain some of the perspective necessary to properly evaluate the virtues and vices of rules.  After all, it’s impossible to confront assumptions that we can’t even see.

DON”T MISS THESE!!!

New Year's Resolutions For Every Author
https://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2019/12/new-years-resolutions-for-all-authors.html

How authors get their book marketing mojo – and avoid failure



Authors cannot succeed without the right attitude



So what is needed to be a champion book marketer?



Should You Promote Your Book By Yourself?



The Book Marketing Strategies Of Best-Sellers



How authors can sell more books



No. 1 Book Publicity Resource: 2019 Toolkit For Authors -- FREE




Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.



Sunday, December 29, 2019

Literary Curiosities & Factoids

Image result for literary images

I enjoyed reading a copy of The Literary Life and Other Curiosities:  Revised and Expanded by Robert Hendrickson.  The 25-year-old book is a compendium of literary curiosities and treats that should delight bibliophiles.

Here are some interesting factoids presented in the book:

·         The word typewriter came from American Christopher Latham Sholes, who patented the very first commercial typewriter in 1868.

·         The term “the pen is mightier than the sword” came from an 1839 play, Richelieu, by Edward Bulwer Lytton.

·         The most prolific published author in modern times is Kathleen Lindsay of South Africa.  She wrote 904 novels under six pen names.  She died at the age of 70 in 1973.

·         Did you know the famous line: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” comes from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning?

·         Lipograms are books that purposely do not contain one or more letters of the alphabet.

·         A sentence that contains all 26 letters of the alphabet is a pangram.

·         P.E.N. (International Association of Poets, Playwrights, Editors, Essayists and Novelists) turns 100 in 2021.

·         Which writer has been written the most about in books?  No. 1: Shakespeare. No. 2: Dante. No. 3: Goethe. No. 4: Cervantes. No. 5: Dickens.

·         The author of Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas, claims to have fathered over 500 illegitimate children.

·        A bibliopole is simply a book dealer, while a bibliotaph is one who conceals or hoards books, keeping them under lock and key, and a biblioclast is somebody who destroys books for any reason, ideological or not.  A bibliophile is someone who collects and treasures books either for their value or for what’s in them, and a bibliomaniac is a bibliophile gone bonkers, one who loves books to the point of madness.

·         America’s first book club was the Book-of-the-Month Club, founded in April 1926.

·         E is the most commonly used letter in English.  It is followed in order of use by t, a, i, s, o, n, h, r, d, l, u, c, m. f, w, y, p, g, b, v, k, j, q, x, z.

·         The twelve most commonly used written English words:

1.      the
2.      of
3.      and
4.      to
5.      a
6.      in
7.      that
8.      is
9.      I
10.  it
11.  for
12.  as

Language Oddities
Did you now that William Shakespeare used 22,000 different words in his plays, which was a significant percentage of recorded words back then.  The Old Testament, by comparison, only uses 6,000 unique words.  The average American uses only a few thousand words in everyday speech while the very educated may use 30,000 to 60,000 words.

According to I Hear America Talking, a 1976 book by Stuart Berg Flexner, the four most common words spoken in English are I, you, the A.  I and you accounted for 10% of all informal conversation.


The American Heritage Word Frequency book of 1971 said the top 10 most commonly written words were all three or few letters long.  “That” was the longest word used.

Home to Dead Writers
Paris’s Pere Lachaise Cemetery houses the remains of many literary greats, including Moliere, Colette, Daudet, Romains, Provst, Balzac, Apollinaire, Abelard and Heloise. The brilliant writers rest all over the place.  At Cambridge, Massachusetts in Mount Auburn Cemetery, we can find Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John Bartlett and Amy Lowell.  In London’s Highgate Cemetery you’ll find buried Karl Marx, George Eliot, Coleridge, and Mrs. Henry Wood.  Other cemeteries housing literary heavyweights include Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (Concord, MA), Forest Hills Cemetery (Boston), and Bunhill Fields (London).  The Novo-Divichy Cemetery in Moscow houses Chekhov, Gogol, Lenin, Stalin, and John Reed.  The Woodlawn Cemetery in New York houses Melville, Victor Herbert, George M. Cohan, and Nellie Bly. 

How authors get their book marketing mojo – and avoid failure

Authors cannot succeed without the right attitude

So what is needed to be a champion book marketer?

Should You Promote Your Book By Yourself?

The Book Marketing Strategies Of Best-Sellers

How authors can sell more books

No. 1 Book Publicity Resource: 2019 Toolkit For Authors -- FREE


Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

This Book Captures Abuses Of English Language – With Many Laughs

Image result for english language images



After reading through Anguished English:  An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language, by Richard Lederer, I realized three things:

One, our language gets bungled and bastardized daily, even by the media, politicians, celebrities and those we think should know better.

Two, in their defense, our language can be complex and filled with so many nuances that it’s easy to misplace a comma or substitute a word that completely alters a sentence’s meaning and purpose.

Three, our miscues in writing and speaking the world’s most-used language are funny and sometimes more powerful than the intended statement.

What’s also interesting about this book which dates back to a publication  date of three decades ago, is that it was penned pre-Internet.  Today there are even more illiterate moments to grab at – all for the taking online, in full display of billions of people.

Lederer, a writer and English teacher, broke his book down into blunders and bloopers of advertisements, newspaper headlines, student term papers, court proceedings, and some famous people who said witty things while abusing the language.

Some speech missteps could pose a real danger. Look at what one student wrote in a  term paper:  “Abstinence is a good thing if practiced in moderation.”

Here are some interesting signs and ads:

“Dinner Special – Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.”

“For Sale:  Antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.”

“Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.”

“We do not tear your clothing with machinery.  We do it carefully by hand.”

“Dog for sale:  eats anything and is fond of children.”

“Our bikinis are exciting.  They are simply the tops.”

“Illiterate?  Write today for free help.”

“Ladies and gentlemen, now you can have a bikini for a ridiculous figure.”

“And now, the Superstore – unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.”

Lederer notes of some historical and hysterical gaffes like the one made in a 1632 edition of the Good Book where it omitted one little word under the Seventh Commandment: “Thou shalt commit adultery.”

He quotes Sam Goldwyn, the legendary Hollywood movie producer with these gems:

“If I could drop dead right now, I’d be the happiest man alive!”

“When I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”

Then, of course, there’s Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra with his conflicted ability to speak.  I quote:

“Sometimes you can observe a lot by watching.”

“It ain’t over till it’s over.”

“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

“No wonder nobody comes here – it’s too crowded.”

And when he was asked if he wanted his pizza pie cut into four or eight slices, he remarked: “Better make it four. I don’t think I can eat eight pieces.”

Lederer had some especially revealing examples of ads from these people:

A Maine shop says: “Our motto is to give your customers the lowest possible prices and workmanship.”

In a NY medical building: “Mental health prevention center.”

In a maternity ward: “No children allowed.”

At a loan company: “Ask about our plans for owning your home.”

Outside a country shop:  We buy junk and sell antiques.”

An Oregonian general store window: “Why go elsewhere to be cheated, when you can come here?”

Of course, headlines from newspapers are great at playing on words – intentionally or not - witness these:  

“Deaf mute gets new hearing in killing.”
“Women’s Movement Called More Broad-Based.”
“Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers.”
“New Autos to Hit 5 Million.”
“Two convicts evade noose; jury hung.”
“Farmer Bill Dies in House.”
“Lawyers give poor free legal advice.”
“Reagan Wins on Budget, But More Lies Ahead”

People mix up metaphors or use malapropisms to give us big word abusage. Lederer tells us where the art of misusing words stems from:

“When people misuse words in an illiterate but numerous manner, we call the result a malapropism (French, mal a propos - not appropriate).  The term springs from the name of a character in Richard Sheridan’s Comedy The Rivals, written in 1775, and has come to stand for the kind of linguistic maladroitness exemplified in the statements above.”

He says the best malapropisms "are those that leap across the chasm of absurdity and land on the side of truth.”

I will leave you with a few malapropisms from Lederer:

“Life begins at contraception.”

“He suffered from unrequired love.”

“The defendant pleaded exterminating circumstance.”

“This movie is not for the screamish.”


DON”T MISS THESE!!!
The Book Marketing Strategies Of Best-Sellers

How Authors Can Sell More Books

No. 1 Book Publicity Resource: 2019 Toolkit For Authors -- FREE

How Authors Get Bulk Sales Now

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.