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Is YOUR book newsworthy?

Continuing our PR theme…

Virtually every author thinks his or her book is fantastic. The reality is that most aren’t – especially (and unfortunately) most self-published books. Authors have great intentions, but they often lack skill and fail to recruit others to fill their gaps. Things like poor spelling, ridiculous grammar mistakes, meandering storylines, absent editing, and amateur cover designs are a handful of the most egregious sins that first-time self-publishing authors commit.

Person read newspaper

That’s not the worst part, though. The worst part is that they so often let their egos get in the way, refusing to even ask for input or advice until they’ve spent boatloads of money and effort, only to find they’ve created a mediocre book. I am a publishing consultant by trade, but I make it a practice not to offer advice unless asked. Many a self-published author has proudly given or shown me a book that I would never recommend, let alone purchase.

This may challenge you a bit, but I’m not willing to sugar-coat things just to make you feel better. That won’t do you any good. Here’s the straight scoop: newsworthy books are good books — usually REALLY good books. Newsworthy books give people — the media, in particular — reasons to talk about them. Newsworthy books won’t sell themselves, but they will lend themselves to word-of-mouth and interviews and retweets.

Here are some questions that may help you discover whether you’ve written a newsworthy book:

NONFICTION BOOKS

  • Is your book the first to point out a trend or raise an issue?
  • Do you have a unique approach for a well-covered subject?
  • Does your book raise thought-provoking questions on an important topic?
  • Does your book offer a behind-the-scenes look at a specific industry, celebrity, organization, or company that would interest the general public?
  • Is your book controversial, extreme, avant-garde, politically incorrect, and/or scandalous?
  • Does your book offer step-by-step instructions to solve a vexing problem?
  • Does your book inspire its readers to make sweeping life changes?
  • Does your book offer commentary on
    and/or a tie-in to an­other popular book/ movie/ TV show?

FICTION BOOKS

  • Is yours just another dog story, or is it about a family of ferrets?
  • Are the main characters rich and powerful, or people everyone can relate to, like a school teacher and a truck driver?
  • Do your characters follow traditional gender roles, or is the school teacher male and the truck driver female?
  • Is your book set in present-day America, or is it set in 1950s Havana, Cuba?
  • Do you write about real places, companies, universities, and religions — or go the safe route and fictionalize everything?
  • Is your book overburdened with lots of explanations, or do you use active verbs and descriptive nouns?
  • Are your characters ones bloggers or journalists will relate to?
  • Does your book inspire its readers to make sweeping life changes?
  • Does your book offer commentary on and/or a tie-in to another popular book/movie/TV show?

If you’re starting to realize that your book is less newsworthy than it could be, maybe it’s time for a rewrite.

Here’s to making your book newsworthy!

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? Book your complimentary 20-minute consultation (phone or Skype). Or get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!

602.518.5376 or phxazlaura on Skype

__________________

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SUNDAY INSPIRATIONS: Stories are good lies…

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: “Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.”

Stories are good lies

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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Mistakes to avoid when starting a PR campaign

We’ve been spending some time these last couple weeks discussing PR and how to make it work for you.

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

12 tips for a successful PR campaign

Many first-time authors make marketing blunders that cost them sales. While publicity and marketing are different sides of the same coin — getting out the word about your book — the mistakes and successes with each often overlap. If you are a new author about to ignite your first PR campaign, here are a few mistakes to avoid:

  • Waiting too long to start planning your PR campaignoops
  • Embarking on a PR campaign without a plan
  • Lacking the necessary confidence in yourself or your books
  • Having a fear of or aversion to self-promotion
  • Letting your discomfort dissuade you from approaching the media
  • Thinking you can do it all yourself
  • Believing PR isn’t that important
  • Assuming your publisher — if you have one — will do all the heavy PR lifting
  • Thinking too small
  • Failing to budget
  • Assuming it won’t take much work to drum up media interest in your books
  • Thinking that the reasons readers buy a particular book are the same things that make it newsworthy
  • Making one tiny unsuccessful stab at PR and quitting because “It just doesn’t work.”

Here’s to implementing YOUR successful PR campaign!

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? Book your complimentary 20-minute consultation (phone or Skype). Or get my comprehensive book, The Author’s Media Tool Kit today!

602.518.5376 or phxazlaura on Skype

__________________

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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)

__________________

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!

__________________

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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

__________________

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!

__________________

Read Full Post »

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)

__________________

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!

__________________

Read Full Post »

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!

__________________

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