Sunday, February 14, 2021

Author Report Cards: Do You Make The Grade?

The once famous Edward I. Koch, boisterous mayor of New York City in the late 70s and 80s, used to ask, rhetorically of the media and his constituents: ‘How am I doin’?”

He felt the answer should be “Great.” He didn’t wait around to hear what anyone, especially a critic, really thought. He felt good about himself, confident he would eventually win most people over in his favor.

Should authors feel that way about themselves? 

They certainly should exude confidence and act in an assertive manner. If they don’t clearly indicate support for themselves then who will? 

But one’s inflated ego or ability to act blindly to things must not creep in either. Authors must always seek to win over critics, persuade someone to try their book, and get the media to see them as worthy of coverage. 

So how do you grade yourself? What do you well that you must keep up and build upon? Where do you fall short that needs improvement? Be honest.

An author’s report card may look something like this. One is a column of things an author can do to market their book; the other is a grade of their efforts; another for results. Finally, a notes column is available to brainstorm critical feedback and suggestions for improvement or expansion.

May I suggest your list can look something like this:

— comprehensive coverage of key areas
— crafting readable, interesting content
— making content up-to-date 
— design quality and user-friendliness of site

— identifying topics to speak on 
— outlining your presentation
— identifying the types of groups to pursue
— creating a specific contact list of places to speak
— contacting such groups
— crafting a query letter and speakers kit
— scheduling speaking appearances

Social Media Platforms
— determine which platforms to be on
— sign up to be on two or three
— learn how to use each platform
— develop content for posting
— post often, regularly, and consistently
— make a targeted and daily effort to increase your connection totals

Traditional Media 
— craft a pitch letter and press kit
— research a targeted media list
— reach out and follow-up with said list

Content Creation
— establish a blog
— establish a podcast
— establish a YouTube channel
— create content for each, schedule your postings, and circulate your content
— guest-post on people’s blogs
— write byline articles for sites, journals, newspapers, newsletters, and magazines

Testimonials & Reviews
— make a detailed contact list of whom to reach out to for book reviews or testimonials of your work, writing, or character
— reach out to people you know to get reviews
— submit your book for review to newspapers, magazines, trade journals, bloggers, amazon reviewers, and online book reviewers

— research a list of where to submit your book for an award
— make note of submission deadlines and requirements
— apply to them

— locate ad venues and pricing
— research which ads work and why — then copy that strategy
— try some ads and measure effectiveness
— pour money into what works and stop your losses on the duds

Bulk Sales
— develop a list of companies, schools, churches, non-profits, groups, and government agencies that you can sell multiple copies to
— construct a letter to send to them
— send the letter

— writing more books
— creating paid webinars, courses, and audiobooks
— using the book to get a literary agent for a new book
— networking
— repurposing old content 
— creating other products or services based on your book

Go ahead, grade your efforts in each area. Did you think about doing something — or did you do it? Did you really give it your all —or a half-assed attempt? Exactly how much time, brains, effort, and resources were devoted to the task at hand?

Next, grade your results. Did you do a great job, very good, ordinary, sub-par, or failure? 

Lastly, everything, no matter how wonderful you think you are— or how shitty a job you did— should get some notations next to it on how to do better. When we stop questioning ourselves ,or fail to see room for improvement, we become stunted and cease to be all that we are capable of being. We may even end up atrophying and go backwards.

How am I doing?

Ask yourself this question daily — and be prepared for an honest answer. From yourself.

Learn, Grow, Succeed!!

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How Can Authors Market More Efficiently?

Are You A Book Marketing Badass?

Authors Need to Know Why They Write Books

How Authors Should Build A Platform

Brian Feinblum, the founder of BookMarketingBuzzBlog, can be reached at  You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult:

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