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Author Blog Challenge 2015 – Starting Sept. 13 – Register Now!

In May 2013, I took over a small Phoenix-area Meetup group, called EPublishing and Online Book Promotion, from a prior organizer who had held about six meetings at a local coffee shop. Taking over as a Meetup organizer is much different than actually hosting Meetups, so the poor group languished, untouched and unmet, for about seven months. When I was finally ready to start holding meetings, I changed the name to Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion and I added some pizzazz to our Meetup page.

500

When I got around to holding meetings in January 2014, attendance was paltry at first – with just four people (including me!) at the meeting. That was then. Over the last two years, we’ve held nearly 60 Meetups, meeting twice a month for seminars on specific topics related to publishing and/or book promotion. We also hold a networking-only meeting once every other month, where members just come and share ideas and ask and answer questions about their writing and publishing experiences. And as a result, our membership has grown and grown – and we’re about to hit 500 members!

To celebrate our success, we’ve got a couple of events coming up. One is a party on Sept. 19 at the Phoenix City Grille. If you’re in the Phoenix area and want to join us, just make sure to RSVP.

FB Banner sm

The other big thing we’re doing is sponsoring another Author Blog Challenge. Since we’re celebrating 500 Meetup members, we’ll use a factor of 500, meaning this challenge will run for 5 weeks (35 days). If you’ve been thinking about starting a blog, this is the perfect time to launch one. If you’ve got a blog that’s been left unattended for some time, this is a great opportunity to give it a word transfusion. If you’d just like to meet other great authors from around the globe – yes, we welcome authors of any genre and skill level, published or just thinking about it, ebook or printed book, well known and with less exposure, from any location – this is the best chance to make such acquaintances.

nanowrimo for blogging

We started the Author Blog Challenge back in 2012. That first Challenge drew 90+ authors from 14 countries. I’d love to supersede both those numbers this time! So if you’re an author or aspiring author who fancies him/herself a blogger, get yourself registered today! The Challenge will get underway on Sunday, September 13th. If you know other authors who would find our challenge interesting/useful, please share the info and invite them to sign up, too.

The goal is to post on your blog for 35 days in a row. I’m not going to kid you – participation in this Challenge will require some dedication on your part. Those who manage to post all 35 days will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to the bookstore of their choice. However, even if you miss the 35-day mark, you will still benefit via: great exposure for your blog (and book), getting in some additional writing practice, and meeting other awesome fellow writers. All told, it’s a win-win-win.

Everyone who registers will receive a complimentary copy of my special report, “138 Tips to Help You Blog Like a Pro.”

You can write on the subjects of your choice, or follow our DAILY PROMPTS – all of which will be topics related to writing, publishing, and/or book marketing.

Just to give our participants even more incentive to write, we’ll be offering a Giveaway of the Day. We’re accepting donations from participants (there’s a space on the registration form to describe your donation). It could be an ebook, short story, poem, special report, piece of art – anything you can give away digitally. Each day’s participants will be entered into a drawing to win that day’s prize.

One writer I know asked if posting every day wouldn’t aggravate her subscribers. I thought that was an interesting question. While I can’t say for sure, I doubt it. For one thing, it’s temporary. Secondly, TELL your subscribers you’re participating in the Author Blog Challenge so they understand why you’re suddenly posting a lot more often than usual. Third, your subscribers subscribe because they like what you write! Every time I’ve participated in a blog challenge, I’ve added double-digits, in terms of subscribers.

Here’s the thing: participating in the Author Blog Challenge will benefit you. Really. It will:

  1. Improve your traffic
  2. Increase your subscribers
  3. Make you a part of a supportive community
  4. Give you the opportunity to make great new friends and connections

I hope you’ll join us!

Laura (AKA Marcie Brock)

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Want to learn lots more about launching a successful media campaign to help you build your author platform? Get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Write what should not be forgotten

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Write what should not be forgotten.”

Vintage desctop background

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

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12 tips for a successful PR campaign

You don’t have to hire a pro to initiate a successful PR campaign, as long as you realize it’s going to take some committed effort on your part. The following is a (partial) checklist of the things you will need if you intend to succeed.

  1. A goal. Of course your goal is to promote yourself, build your platform, and sell books. But PR-microphoneswhat’s the bigger “Why?”? Will your book change people’s lives? Make them laugh so hard they’ll remember your characters for years? Give you the chance to travel the world? Think beyond the obvious to the larger goal and vision for your PR campaign.
  2. A plan. This means a calendar with firm dates. It means knowing which media outlets you intend to approach, how you will pitch them, and how often. Begin with the end in mind (your release date is a good place to start) and work your way back from there.
  3. Lead time. The author who fails is the one who waits until his/her book is ready to go to print before beginning the marketing. You’ll want to begin your PR campaign at least six months prior to your book’s release and launch, including some pre-launch news releases.
  4. Research. What do you know about your target audience? Who are they? Where do they live? What are their hobbies? Where and how do they buy books? Where do they spend time online? Which blogs do they read? Which magazines do they read? How do they get their news? It’s impossible to craft a successful PR campaign without knowing the answers to these questions, at minimum.
  5. Great writing. Writing news releases is radically different from writing almost anything else. It’s not necessarily impressive writing, but it’s important that you know how to do it properly. News releases follow a specific format and style (this post should help). Writing your releases may feel clunky and awkward at first, but you will improve with practice.
  6. Diversity. Plan to approach and utilize a variety of media resources: radio, Internet radio, television, print, social media, bloggers, etc.
  7. Cash flow. You may not have a big budget, but you may have to put in some cash if you want to run a successful PR campaign, whether it’s buying a list or just having a professional marketing person look over your news releases before you send them out. The less you can (or want) to do yourself, the more money you’ll have to be willing to spend.
  8. A team. Trying to do it all yourself may seem like a valiant idea, but it’s often a foolish one. Who among your contacts can help you: make connections in the media, review your releases, encourage you when you’re down, help you meet your deadlines, etc.?
  9. Sticktoativeness. Promoting your book — particularly if it’s your first book — will take time. There’s no magic bullet. It may take a while, but if keep showing up, you’ll get there.
  10. Flexibility. Life is life, so curve balls will come your way, and not all will go as planned, in spite of your best efforts. Be ready to go with the flow — no melt-downs or losing hope because of a few inevitable hiccups.
  11. Updates. Chances are that you once you get going, you will need to reevaluate and perhaps adjust your initial plan. Some things will work better than you thought; others will not work at all. Regularly revisit your plan and shift strategies, as necessary.
  12. Implementation. All the planning in the world won’t help the best strategy in the world get off the ground without implementation. If you’re a great planner, but not a great doer (say you struggle with follow-up, for instance), you’ll want to get someone on your team who will help you execute the plan.

Lastly, remember to celebrate your successes. Take time to enjoy the wins, as they will likely be hard fought and so very sweet. Remember those feelings as you move forward and hit future snags. Above all else, keep moving forward!

Here’s to implementing YOUR successful PR campaign!

Laura (AKA Marcie Brock)

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________COVER

Want to learn lots more about launching a successful media campaign to help you build your author platform? Get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!

__________________

PR involves telling the STORY of your book and creating RELATIONSHIPS with those who will share it

It’s been a few years since we focused on media releases – and in that time, the “news” has continued to shift. There are fewer papers, more online media outlets – making story of your bookvideo hugely important, and bloggers continue to wield a mighty keyboard. If you’ve written a book, one of your primary goals in marketing it is getting the word out about it. And reaching readers en masse is still an important goal that media releases can help you accomplish.

In order for the media to take an interest in you and your book, you must first learn to craft the story of your book(s) and then give the media a reason to help you tell it. This means you must learn to think like a journalist, editor, program director, or media blogger. What kinds of stories interest them? What kinds of experts do they look to for explanations and background information? How can you help make their hectic jobs easier?

If you want to succeed at getting the media’s attention, you must:

  • Have a book that is promotable.
  • Offer interesting details about your personal background.
  • Radiate confidence, passion, and a winning personality.
  • Be willing to do whatever is necessary to build your platform.
  • Put in the right combination of cash, time, effort, and energy.
  • Exhibit exceptional creativity — or have someone on your team who does.
  • Understand that sometimes luck is a significant factor.

It is possible to generate media coverage through a news release you write yourself. A well written media release, put in front of the right editor or news programmer at the right time, can generate a story — regardless of whether you hire a PR person to write it for you or you write it yourself. Follow THESE tips to write your own release.

A successful PR campaign involves more than just giving away free downloads/chapters/books, tweeting, making videos, or media release blasts. It is about making a persistent, strategic effort to reach the influencers and get the media coverage that will help you grow your platform and build a following of devoted readers.

In order for your media campaign to succeed, you must view it as a conquerable challenge, not an impossible feat. Begin by building relationships with reporters, producers, bloggers, and others in the media and make yourself an invaluable resource to them. Twitter is a great place to begin.

Here’s to getting more eyeballs on your book!

Laura (AKA Marcie Brock)

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________COVER

Want to learn lots more about launching a successful media campaign to help you build your author platform? Get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!

__________________

Recycle your clothes and your ideas – it’s National Thrift Shop Day!

No one would ever accuse me of being a fashionista. I have lots of clothes – but I honestly cannot remember the last item (other than delicates) that I bought new, because I predominantly shop thrift stores and resale shops. It’s not about affording new clothes and other items – although I’ve never been a brand-name shopper – as much as it is the recycling, giving still-usable goods new life, and the thrill of finding something completely unexpected.

thrifting

After we recently moved house, some of the things I came across during my thrift shopping included:

  • Tea kettle – $4
  • 6-bottle wine rack – $5
  • 6 curtains – $12
  • Like-new air popcorn popper – $4
  • Coffee grinder – $5
  • Pair of shorts for my husband & 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle – 54 CENTS!

As it happens, today is National Thrift Shop Day. I don’t know about your community, but thrift stores are popping up everywhere in the Phoenix area.

NARTS, the Association of Resale Professionals, reports that the resale industry in the U.S. has buffalo exchangeannual revenues of about $16 billion, including antique stores. In that same article, NARTS references Buffalo Exchange, a resale clothing store that began in Tucson, Arizona (home of my alma mater, the University of Arizona). The company got its start with a 450-square-foot shop in 1974, and has grown to 45 stores, plus three franchises, in 17 states. It employs more than 700 people and had annual revenues of $81.6 million in 2012. Amazing! I used to live around the corner from the store that was its second home, on Helen Street, near the UA campus.

The thing about Buffalo Exchange is that it really is a place for people who know fashion. If that’s your world, you’ll probably be thrilled to talk shop with the knowledgeable staff and offer your trendy or vintage clothes for consignment. I am not such a person, so trying to sell clothes there has always caused me a bit of trepidation. I did have a great victory back in college, though, when the (snooty?) Buffalo Exchange buyer paid me $6 for a top I had made from a Simplicity pattern on the little Singer I kept in my dorm room.

Founded by an entrepreneurial husband-and-wife team, Kerstin and Spencer Block, Buffalo Exchange was a trendsetter. After Spencer passed away, his wife and daughter compiled some of his writing into an ebook called The Way of the Buffalo, in which they share “the funny, poignant, and always down-to-earth insights of a truly alternative entrepreneur whose values keep Buffalo Exchange the vibrant and ever-changing company it is today.”

Here are just the tip of the iceberg, 10 Basic Beliefs and Values of Buffalo Exchange:

way of buffalo

This is not a perfect book, by any means. But it’s a thoughtful book and a labor of love that preserves the best of the concepts that enabled the tiny acorn of a dream to grow and flourish into a multimillion-dollar business.

It’s certainly not the first time a brand has used a book to further its mission and message:

  • In October 2014, Renaissance Hotels released a coffee table book, The Art of Discovery, in partnership with the Creative Coalition, a social and political advocacy organization for the entertainment industry. The volume features 100 celebrities sharing their personal stories of discovery. The hotel chain’s goal with the book is bring to life its tagline, urging travelers to “Live life to discover.”
  • In April 2011, Pam Gaber published Gabriel’s Angels: The Story of the Dog Who Inspired a Revolution, about the work she and her Weimaraner did to launch the pet therapy field for abused, neglected, and abandoned children.
  • Back in 2009, I met Gary Kadi, the entrepreneurial dentist and author of Million Dollar Dentistry, a book that coaches dentists to transform and grow their practices.

For a business owner or entrepreneur with a success story to share, a book may be one of the very best ways to do that. And it doesn’t have to be long to be effective. It doesn’t even have to be printed to reach the masses, although printing is easier and less expensive than it’s ever been – so it’s probably a good idea to do both an ebook and a printed book.

If you’re ready to explore how easy it really is to write and publish your book, talk to us! We can walk you through the outlining and writing process, editing, cover design, and formatting your book for both print and ebook. And when it comes to marketing, we’ve got the knowhow to get your books into readers’ hands.

Why not recycle the ideas that brought you so much joy, satisfaction, and success – and put some extra money in your pocket in the process?

Laura

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SOURCES:
http://www.buffaloexchange.com/about-us

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/13/business/media/renaissance-hotels-lives-up-to-its-brand-name-by-sponsoring-a-book.html?_r=2

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Ideas are like rabbits…

Sunday Inspirations. Send us your favorite quote, image, poem, idea … anything that has been helpful or inspirational to your writing process. If we love it, we may use it as is, or take the inspiration and modify it in some way. Give us a link to your website or blog and we’ll be sure to give you credit! Email inspiration@writemarketdesign.com or post your suggestion in the comment section below!

Here’s today’s inspiration: “Ideas are like rabbits… You get a couple of them and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”

rabbit-021114-ykwv1

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

From Waldo to George to Stan … Mapping the Path of My Book

Do you remember the year that skinny, beanie-clad, glasses-wearing character burst onto the scene? It was 1987 when British illustrator Martin Handford created a series of children’s books that captured the attention of people around the world, spawning a comic strip, TV series, video games, and many a Halloween costume. Though known as Waldo in the US and Canada, the character’s name was Wally in his homeland and other names in different parts of the world.

whereswaldo

WheresGeorge.com

Perhaps playing on the Where’s Whatshisname concept, in December 1998, Hank Eskin created a website called WheresGeorge.com – wherein for no charge, people could register the serial number on a dollar bill, write or stamp WheresGeorge.com on it, and invite others to track the path of that dollar bill as it makes its way around the country – and perhaps the world.

wheres-george-map

 

BookCrossing.com

Enter BookCrossing.com. It’s the WheresGeorge.com for books! And just as I BookCrossing label2entered my book a few days ago, you can enter YOUR book on BookCrossing.com, release it into the world, and see where it goes.

Visit the website and register your book for a BCID (BookCrossing ID). Print one of their book plates or make your own, as I did. Place it prominently in the front of your book. I added a note:

BC note

I’m actually very excited right now, because a friend of mine is leaving soon for New York City and has offered to take my book and leave it somewhere in the City. Since the story is about a man who travels the world via many modes of transit, my friend decided a great place to leave the book will be the Staten Island Ferry – as these boats are often filled with tourists, artists, and fellow writers.

If you or someone you know will be traveling soon, why not give your book a BCID so you can release it – YES, for free – to see where it goes and what happens to it?

Here’s to tracking your book’s path!

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________Anatomy of a Book Launch

If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!

__________________

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