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Archive for August, 2011

Resourceful authors do book signings at unusual – er, creative – venues

During a recent visit to Las Vegas to attend a conference that had nothing to do with book marketing, I happened upon one of the most creative book signing locations of all time. Carolyn Ahern, author of a children’s book series featuring Tino Turtle, was signing her book, Tino Turtle Travels to Paris, France at the Paris Hotel and Casino. The adorable plush turtles were the thing that originally caught my eye as my husband and I walked past Ahern’s display in one of the casino’s well-trafficked retail areas.

As Ahern was busy chatting with a customer and we were on a time budget, I did not get to ask where she is from. Thought I might glean the answer from her website, but this author’s site is devoid of ANY details resembling an author bio, so I can’t even hazard a guess as to how much money or effort she put into this adventure. Nevertheless, she got some great exposure. I’m here sharing her link with you, right?

Another author, Lennie Ross, is a Facebook friend who recently released a mystery titled Blow Me, which is set in a hair salon. Although she lives in the Los Angeles area, Lennie has scheduled a few signings in my hometown of Phoenix, at least one of which was at a HAIR SALON. She’s scheduling additional signings at southern California salons, as well, and is using Facebook to great advantage in promoting these events. Very nice!

Are you starting to see a theme? What makes your book special (aka, what’s your hook?) and where can you host book signings that are outside the normal bookstore venues?

My client, Amara Charles, is getting ready to release a new book this September on sacred sexuality that includes info ranging from learning how to read and understand your own and your partner’s sexual anatomy types to discovering how to have a full-body orgasm. Where do we want to hold our signings? You’ve got it – intimacy retailers like Fascinations and Castle Boutique! I’m even looking into out-0f-the-way places like the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas.

When it comes to Savvy Book Marketing, the sky is the limit. Get creative. Face the fear. Pick up the phone. And CALL! What’s the worst that could happen they say no? You’re no worse off hearing a no than you were before you tried. And … what if they say YES?!

Happy book signings!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM* status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

*Savvy Book Marketer


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What’s the HOOK that will lure that reporter, agent, or publisher to READ your book?

Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.
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“So what’s your book about?”

“Well, when I was a little girl, I used to love to collect seashells. In fact, until recently, I still had boxes and boxes of them all over my house. Every time I go to the beach, which is usually at least a couple times a year, I try to find a few new shells for my collection. Eventually, there got to be so many shells, I figured I either had to do something with them, or get rid of them. So I started making …”

“ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…”

Don’t let this be you!

Whether it’s a media release or the intro page of your book proposal, your marketing materials need a hook. A hook is a highly compelling anecdote, fact, quote, idea, or statistic that will convince a reporter, producer, agent, and/or editor to keep reading … and phone you up for either an interview or a meeting.

The media is absolutely inundated with news releases – a single media outlet can receive thousands of media releases in a single day. Agents and publishers receive book proposals by the wheelbarrow. What does your first SENTENCE say to capture their attention and immediately cause them to think, “I’ve GOT to read this book?” Your hook is the info that QUICKLY convinces someone your book is a must-read.

NOTE: If you can’t find something jaw-droppingly compelling about your book,  it’s unlikely that anyone else will be able to find it either.

We’ll talk next time about about HOW to present a compelling description of your book – but in the meantime, I want you to dig around until you uncover the theme, aspect, storyline, statistic, or other compelling concept that will make any editor or producer sit up and take notice.

MARCIE

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Please contact us if you’d like help putting together your media kit, media releases, or book proposal. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 25  Create a MiniBük: Fifth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 22 Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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Are you committed enough to your brand to TATTOO it onto your body?

I was at dinner with my sister and niece recently, and noticed a young woman at a nearby table with a tattoo of a snake winding around her shoulder. The lines were well defined, and the ink was obviously new. It was quite an elegant snake, mind you. But as I noticed it, I found myself wondering out loud, “How is she going to feel about that snake in 15 or 20 years?”

Tattooing has been practiced worldwide for centuries as a means of decorative body modification. According to Wikipedia, the earliest tattoos date to the Alps during the Neolithic era in the fourth-to-fifth millennium BC. Across the ages, people have gotten tattoos for many different reasons: rights of passage, marks of status, symbols of religious/spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, as sexual lures and/or marks of fertility, declarations of love, punishments, talismans, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves, and convicts. One thing is for sure: a tattoo is a commitment.

Speaking of commitments, you are committed to marketing and selling your book, and you recognize that your book is a business. Now your business has a brand, most likely accompanied by a logo. So here’s the question. Are you as committed to your brand as The Girl With the Snake Tattoo?

If you’re still in the process of designing your logo and building your brand, you’ll want to consider a few things:

  • Check out the logos of other businesses in your industry.
  • Focus on your core message.
  • Make your logo clean and functional.
  • Take your business name into consideration.
  • Illustrate the key benefit you offer.
  • Trendy looks will eventually become dated.
  • Use color advantageously.
  • Pay a designer to create an original logo for you.

Sometimes, when you build a brand people REALLY love, you don’t have to be the one to get the tattoo. Your loyal fans will take care of that for you. Seriously a Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers tattoo! These are the kinds of fans you want!

Personally, I’ve been toying with the idea of a tattoo for probably as long as Snake Girl has been alive. I may do it one day, even. A small, tasteful Celtic knot on my back or shoulder. Interesting, isn’t it? I love my logo, but you won’t find me getting a tattoo of it anytime soon.

So what are your takeaways from this perhaps seemingly far-flung topic of tattoos?

  1. Branding requires the right image both literally and figuratively.
  2. This image must appeal to your target market.
  3. Your brand is permanent, so choose wisely. Companies do rebrand, but such an undertaking usually involves great time, energy, and expense and is only done for a really good reason.
  4. Raving fans the kind who will tattoo a company’s brand on their bodies are awesome. How can you get YOUR fans to spread the word about you?

You don’t have to tattoo your book cover on your body to successfully market it, but you do need to give some consideration to the overall branding of your book(s), website, blog, print collateral, and other marketing materials. Make sure they are consistent and speak directly to your readers and prospective audience.

Happy brand-building!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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Create a MiniBük: Fifth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Well, we did it. We’ve been discussing 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Then we focused on marketing options available on Amazon. Next we went through the steps involved in putting your chapter(s) on a CD. Today is the fifth – and final – installment in this series, and we’ll be discussing the MiniBük as a way to give away sample chapters of your book.

This one is perhaps the most complicated of all the options and is the most like creating a “real” book, because you are creating a miniature version of a real book. The MiniBük is a small book or booklet, the size of a traditional index card. Because if its tiny capacity, the amount of text and number of pages you can include are limited.

You will need a word processing program whose files can be converted to PDF, cover art if you choose, and an Internet connection.

At this point, I have a mea culpa. I have never used the MiniBük program, but I have copies of a couple of them, given to me by someone who has created her own MiniBüks.

As you know if you’ve been reading this series, I include step-by-step instructions for each of the techniques I am recommending. Right now, however, I am quite cranky. I discovered the problem as I was putting this blog post together: the MiniBük website is deficient, in that it completely ignores the final and seemingly most important step in the process: submitting your files. So … I wrote the MiniBük people a letter expressing my irritation [indignation?]. I was hoping to hear back from them so I could provide a helpful answer, but there has been no response as of yet.

I was so cranky about this oversight by the MiniBük people that I was tempted to cancel this post altogether. BUT, that seemed petulant and unwise, as I do believe the MiniBük is quite a valuable tool for promoting sample chapters of your book. So, I leave it to you to decide. If you would still like to pursue the creation of a MiniBük, you can get everything ELSE you need from their site: www.MiniBük.com. The highlights:

  • 48 pages, max, for a saddle-stitched book
  • 64 pages, minimum, for a perfectbound book
  • Use a 20-pt font
  • Use an 8.5 x 11 layout with 1.5-inch margins on the sides and 1-inch margins at the top and bottom
  • Create a PDF of your interior pages
  • Create a PDF of your cover

And that’s all I know.

Now, there is a fee for creating these books. I want to clarify that this is a way for you to give away chapters at no cost to your readers but you will have to pay anywhere from 53 cents each to $2.25 each for the MiniBüks.

So there you have it. Five ways to give your readers and prospective readers a look at your writing before they buy your book(s). And there are dozens of other ways, too. Sites like Scribd, Helium, and Figment allow you to post your writing. StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites enable you to recommend your blog or site with excerpts. The ideas are nearly endless. Put on your SBM* thinking cap and discover some new ones of your own!

If you come up with any great new ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section! And, if you’ve got sample chapter(s) you’d like me to share, please send me a link and I’ll create a category called MARCIE’S READERS WRITE.

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

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Please contact us if you need help with any of the 5 methods of giving away your writing to  your readers and prospective readers. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Monday, August 22 Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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Look BEYOND your network to build your author platform

I was interviewed today by a self-publishing consultant for a new program she is putting together to guide first-time authors through the publishing and marketing processes. As is common in these interview scenarios, the interviewer sent me her questions ahead of time. The following is one of the best questions I’ve been asked in a long time.

What if an author’s own personal network
is not interested in their particular book?

Although the natural place for an author to begin growing their platform is with their current network, the fact is that the people in your network may NOT be interested in this particular book.

What then?

A few things…

(1)  Do your research. Go back to your reasons for writing the  book in the first place. Determine WHO your audience is and WHY they are interested in it.

(2)  Next, answer some questions about this target audience:

  • What are their demographics (age, education, marital/parenting status)?
  • What are their psychographics (personality traits, values, attitudes)?
  • What kinds of books, magazines, and Web sites do they already read?
  • Where, how, and with whom do they spend their time?
  • To which organizations and associations do they belong?
  • How can you best gain access to them, both virtually and in real life?

The answers to these questions will be your jumping off points for building your platform.

(3)  Don’t dismiss that uninterested network so quickly. Now that you’ve got some concrete data about the audience with whom you want to connect, comb through your personal network to determine who among them is ALREADY CONNECTED to any of these people and ask them to make the appropriate introductions for you.

(4)  Call on your personal network to become your ambassadors. Say you’ve morphed from your traditional topic of sales training into merchandising, and your personal network isn’t really interested in a  book on this subject. They are, however, hard-earned and loyal fans. So leverage your credentials and goodwill with them by calling on your network to share your new book topic with their own networks. The worst they can do is say no in which case you’re really no further behind than you were before asking. Best case scenario, someone from your existing network opens a door for you to the perfect liaison to help you grow your platform!

If this is your first book and you don’t already have a sizable platform, growing it will take time. But with diligence, consistency, and quality content and communication, you can do it. It’s never too early to start!

Happy platform-building…

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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CreateSpace pluses seem to outweigh the minuses

I first heard about CreateSpace about 3 years ago from a very savvy Web marketer friend. Acquired by Amazon.com in 2005, the company (formerly CustomFlix) was at the time an  on-demand DVD distributor. Since then, CreateSpace has expanded to become highly competitive in the production of on-demand books, CDs, and video.

Having had two clients who published back-to-back books, one through Lightning Source and the other through CreateSpace, I was sorely disappointed with the quality of the Lightning Source book and pleasantly surprised that CreateSpace exceeded all my expectations. I have subsequently listed my own title through them, and things seem to be going quite well.

A couple weeks ago, Marcie began a series called “5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing” one of those ways was taking advantage of the general tools offered by Amazon. As an Amazon company, it’s no surprise that CreateSpace also offers lots of useful tools for its authors. After its core POD service and access to distribution channels, perhaps its greatest asset is the CreateSpace Community, which offers lots of help for authors from both staff and other authors. The sheer numbers participating on the discussion streams indicates a lot of activity taking place here.

On the other hand, if a CreateSpace rep tries to sell you on their marketing tools, RUN!!! The CreateSpace marketing options are largely a scam, nothing more than a money-making machine for the company that will cost you as much as 20 TIMES MORE than you could be paying for the exact same products/services elsewhere.

Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.

So, on the whole, CreateSpace’s author services get a thumbs-up, while their marketing tools get a big raspberry and a giant thumbs-down.

While I never recommend that you shop solely on price, when it comes to spending money to get your book written, published, printed, and into the marketplace, be a truly Savvy Book Marketer and remember to do your research! These are some of the players you may need on your team, so do a good scouting job!

  • Editor
  • Book designer
  • Typesetter
  • Proofreader
  • Printer
  • Distributor
  • Social media strategist
  • Book trailer expert
  • Web designer
  • Print collateral (bookmarks, postcards, etc.)

Get references, compare notes, and make sure you are getting the best value for your money.

Happy marketing…

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been discussing 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Then we focused on marketing options available on Amazon. Today we’re going explore the possibility of putting your chapter(s) on a CD.

As mentioned above, we already talked about how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. This process of putting your chapter(s) on a CD will call on the PDF aspect of the eBook formatting.

The necessary supplies are a little more complicated, but easy enough to come by:

  • CD face labels
  • Blank CD
  • 8-1/2 by 11  OR 8-1/2 by 14 paper
  • CD or DVD case
  • CD burner on your computer
  • Scissors or paper cutter

Now, I won’t lie to you. This one is easy if you’ve got some basic design skills; if not, you might want to enlist some help.

Step 1

Start by translating some aspect of your cover to a CD face label. It can be as simple as using a postage-stamp image of the cover with the title and adding the word “eBook,” but you’ve got to make sure all of your graphics and text will fit on the printable portion of the label.

The easiest thing is to use a design program like Photoshop or CorelDraw, but you can also do this in a Microsoft program like Word or Publisher.

CD labels come two to a page. Determine whether the brand of labels you purchases lines up centered or off centered. The easiest thing for printing the off-centered labels is to print one, then flip the sheet over and put it back in your printer to do the second one.

The size of a CD label is:

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Step 2

The next step is deciding whether you will use a CD jewel case or a DVD case. Although jewel cases are less expensive and easier to carry in your purse or backpack, a DVD case is a little more formal and may express a higher degree of professionalism.

If you use a CD jewel case with a solid back, you will only need to worry about transferring the front cover of your book. However, you can include a tray liner that gives you more room for branding and descriptive text.

You can print a jewel case cover and inlay card on 8-1/2 by 11  paper.

The dimensions for a jewel case are:

Bleed means that the image prints off the side of the page. Bleed dimensions allow a little extra for cutting.

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If you use a DVD cover, you will need to transfer/create a front, back, and spine.

You will need to use 8-1/2 by 14 paper to print a DVD cover.

The dimensions for a DVD cover are:

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Step 3

Once you’ve printed your cover, cut it to size and insert it into your jewel case or DVD case.

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Step 4

In order to save your PDF file(s) to a CD, you will need a CD burner. Most newer computers come with this software already installed. Roxio is a burner that is commonly included on a fully loaded computer.

If your computer does not have CD-burning capabilities, you will either need to purchase the software or find a free version online. There are some decent ones available, but it may take a little digging through the Google to find them.

Save your PDF file(s) to the CD, and affix the label to it. Put the CD/DVD in the case and you’re good to go.

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While the process is easy enough, it can be time-consuming, so I recommend you make a decent number of CDs at a time. By the way, this will also work as a way to sell/distribute your entire book. If you get to the point where you find yourself making a LOT of them, you might consider outsourcing this project to a company that will burn the CDs and make the covers for you. One benefit of  doing it that way is the option to have the CD label silk-screened onto the CD, which increases professionalism another degree.

One of the nicest things you can do with an eBook on CD is autograph it. Although there are interesting new technologies emerging to allow for digital autographs, with a physical product in hand, you can sign your John Hancock the old-fashioned way, with a Sharpie or a plain old ballpoint pen.

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Minibüks as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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