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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

How Do Authors Break Through?



I must get asked at least once a day by authors:  “How do I break through?”

How does one answer that?  It takes the following – in combination of some kind:

1.      Great book
2.      Luck
3.      Tireless promotions
4.      Effective marketing
5.      Creative approach to branding and sales

It requires these traits:

·         Courage to try
·         Resilience to rejection
·         Savvy, pushy approach
·         Willingness to apply time and financial resources
·         Grounded in reality but optimistic and filled with hope
·         Act with a sense of urgency
·         Good networking skills
·         Have someone be your champion

Answering the breakthrough question is a little like answering these questions:

·         How do I meet my soul mate?
·         How do I raise super successful kids?
·         How do I live to be 95 or more?

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? 

Everyone 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.

Bad 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.

Perhaps 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.

What 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.

2.      Take out a full-page ad in a trade publication that provokes a strong reaction.

3.      Land some powerful testimonials from famous people.

4.      Get amazing reviews from leading media outlets.

5.      Create a video that goes viral.

6.      Pay a book promoter or marketer to help you get out of the clutter pile.

7.      Get someone famous or in the news to mention how the book changed their life.

8.      Do a gimmicky event or get arrested or get attention with a public protest.

9.      Link the book to a major lawsuit.

Demonstrate 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:

·         Can do it.
·         Are deserving of it.
·         Can’t be denied of your destiny.

Attitude 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.

Someone has to break through, why not you?  But we can’t all break through, so answer:  Why you?

You 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.

Recent Posts
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Trends in book sales influence how authors handle marketplace

Why do some authors refuse to pursue achievable and productive media coverage?

Do you take responsibility for your book PR?

Interview with best-selling author Tess Gerritsen

10 Lessons For Authors-Turned-Bloggers

12 Big Threats to Free Speech
Can you market your book for five minutes a day?

Does Your Subject Line Stink?

Should authors Use Twitter or Facebook?

How Big Book Marketing Comes From Small Things

How Barnes & Noble Can Stop Bleeding Money -- & Win Back The Book Market

Overcoming Your Book Marketing Phobia!
Do You Promote Your Book Outrageously?

Do You Support The Bookism Movement?

What Color Is Your Book Marketing Parachute?

Your 2017 Complete Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit

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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

The Aging Of Book Expo



Book 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 headed.

This 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 growth.

For 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.

I 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 fiancĂ©e (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.

In 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.

Recent 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.

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An author primer on how the news media works

Can you market your book for five minutes a day?

Does Your Subject Line Stink?

Should Authors Use Twitter or Facebook?

Overcoming Your Book Marketing Phobia!

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What Color Is Your Book Marketing Parachute?

Your 2017 Complete Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit


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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Author Primer On How The Media Works



The 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.

So let’s break down the media:

National TV
These 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.

Local TV
Your 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?

Radio
Similar 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.

Print
Look 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 content online.

Digital
Bloggers, 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 a plus.

Social
This 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.

Recent Posts
10 Ways To Effectively Approach Book Publicity


Trends in book sales influence how authors handle marketplace

Why do some authors refuse to pursue achievable and productive media coverage?

Do you take responsibility for your book PR?

Interview with best-selling author Tess Gerritsen

10 Lessons For Authors-Turned-Bloggers

12 Big Threats to Free Speech

Can you market your book for five minutes a day?

Does Your Subject Line Stink?

Should authors Use Twitter or Facebook?

How Big Book Marketing Comes From Small Things

How Barnes & Noble Can Stop Bleeding Money -- & Win Back The Book Market

Overcoming Your Book Marketing Phobia!
Do You Promote Your Book Outrageously?

Do You Support The Bookism Movement?

What Color Is Your Book Marketing Parachute?
Your 2017 Complete Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit


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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Choices Authors Must Make




Authors, 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:

·         What shall I write about?

·         Will I stick to one genre?

·         Should I self-publish or pursue a literary agent?

·         How much time shall I get aside to write, edit, research, and re-write?

When it comes to book marketing, they will confront these choices:

·         What type of activity should I be doing vs. hiring others to help?

·         What should my press kit and website look like?

·         Will I be active on social media, and if so, which platform(s)?

·         Should I be blogging, podcasting, or creating videos?

·         How much time will I make available for book promotions?

While 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?

1. Set goals.  Once you know what you want to accomplish, work backwards from there.  Determine what’s important to you.

2. Identify your priorities.  Think of the steps that you need to take to achieve your goals.

3. Plan 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.

4. Constantly 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 fresh opportunities.

5. Be 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.

6. Build on success.  If you are accelerating and excelling in a specific area, ride the wave and put more resources there.

7. Get 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.

Lastly, have fun with whatever you are doing.

Recent Posts
Do you take responsibility for your book PR?

Interview with best-selling author Tess Gerritsen

10 Lessons For Authors-Turned-Bloggers

12 Big Threats to Free Speech

Can you market your book for five minutes a day?

Does Your Subject Line Stink?

Should authors Use Twitter or Facebook?

How Big Book Marketing Comes From Small Things

How Barnes & Noble Can Stop Bleeding Money -- & Win Back The Book Market

Overcoming Your Book Marketing Phobia!
Do You Promote Your Book Outrageously?

Do You Support The Bookism Movement?

What Color Is Your Book Marketing Parachute?

Your 2017 Complete Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit


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 brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs