by Dave Giorgio
The limitlessness of computer technology is beyond imagination. Still, most of us can imagine a lot. Take the case of listening to audio on your computer (audio can be any kind of recording, such as music, spoken books, interviews, etc.)
What makes any kind of sound recording computer-related is the fact that any recording can be made into a computer file. In other words, just as every Microsoft word document you create is a computer file, so too are any audio files you load onto a computer.
These audio files sit on your hard drive rather inconspicuously until you wish to listen to them through your computers speaker system. If you have speakers hooked up to your computer, you can listen to one of these audio files by double clicking on it.
No special software is required, as the playback software for this audio comes with your computer. Such examples of pre-installed software would be Windows Media Player for PC or ITunes, which comes preinstalled with for Macintosh computers.
If you are a PC owner and would like to listen to audio on your computer using iTunes software (which is excellent), you’re in luck, as Apple also provides a version of iTunes just for PC users.
iTunes allows you to actually listen to all sorts of music and audio book samples, so that you may choose something you’d like to buy. Then, with a couple of clicks, you’ll own that music or audio book and it will download right to your computer for your enjoyment!
Once downloaded, just double click on this audio file and you will be able to listen on your computer. Whether this is music, audio books, or something else, it’s just that easy, and CHEAPER than purchasing the CD version at the store.
Now, imagine how it was 20 years ago. You’d go to a store and buy a big bulky album on vinyl. You’d have a huge record collection with a big warm sound but lots of static and taking up a wall full of space.
Now, audio on your computer takes up no physical space. The access is instant. This sets the stage for authors to have a platform to use in book creation, marketing, and sales.
It is through this technology that a great deal of the audio book publishing segment has sprung over the past ten years.
Photo courtesy of Ariel da Silva Parreira.
Director, Author Services, LinDee Rochelle, October 28, 2010:
Writing a book can be a real roller coaster ride – thrilling, sometimes chilling, and deliciously scary. Isn’t it true though that roller coasters are much more fun when you’re screaming through the ups and downs, and screeching around the corners, with a friend in the bumpy car beside you?
This thought crossed my mind at our recent conference, as I chatted with Lois Stern, an enthusiastic and caring Infinity author. I listened to her contribution in a panel discussion and Lois reminded us that authors are people too!
In addition to our passion with a pen (or keyboard), we ride the roller coaster of life through the highs and lows that sometimes sidetracks our writing. Since you’re reading this, you likely are an author or very close to someone who makes writing a priority in life. What can you do to help?
What better time to be aware of your author-friends’ needs than on the cusp of National Authors’ Day (November 1st) and National Novel Writing Month? Of course we should be kind, compassionate and caring to everyone every day. Um, and we should all be billionaires.
However, with just a little time and moderate effort, you can make a difference – support imagination and creativity for an author who needs a little extra quiet-time, or a refreshing afternoon of inspiration.
Offer to clean the kitchen while she writes, or get the kids out of her hair for a few hours – take ‘em for a roller coaster ride! Yes, guy authors need love too. Help him with his honey-do list, or take his place behind the lawnmower.
Recent turbulence in the industry has opened up many opportunities for independent authors, making publishing far easier and more affordable than ever before. We now have incredible freedom to write what we want – we just need the time to do it.
Laura Rudacille, another Infinity author, generously offers space on her periodic event tables for other authors’ marketing materials. What a terrific way to help fellow authors take advantage of an extra promotional opportunity that they may not have otherwise had the time or the dime for.
And in her own grass roots campaign of “authors helping authors,” Lois lends a helping hand where she sees a need, be it a ride to the store, or simply a sympathetic ear. November 1st is just the beginning – what can you do for your special author?
Peace … LinDee
(Dedicated to all my author friends – happy National Authors’ Day!)
VP of Author Services, John F. Harnish, Ocotber 27, 2010:
During the last century, billions of tons of unsold books, magazines and newspapers were plunged into dismal dumps and landfills. These wasted publications poisoned the surrounding earth with their toxic inks, dyes, toner, and papers—this is the nasty carbon footprint the publishing industry has been leaving behind, as the imprint of slowly decaying remnants of once inspired expressiveness.
Four decades ago, the first annual observation of Earth Day generated early sparks of awareness about the harmful impact caused by dumping massive amounts of printed paper into overflowing landfills.
At the turn of the 21st century, greening publishers began to use evolutionary printing processes to effectively reduce the number of books printed to align with the total count of books actually sold. Environmentally friendly paper mills developed cost-effective methodologies to manufacture high quality paper, using significant amounts of recycled paper.
Now, many publishing companies are teaming up with green foundations such as Eco-libris in order to better our environment.
Eco-Libris is a green company working with book lovers, bookstores, publishers and authors worldwide to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books.
Book festivals are also jumping on the green initiative by promoting green practices.
The 2011 Green Book Festival has issued the call for entries to its annual competition honoring books that contribute to greater understanding, respect and positive action on the changing worldwide environment.
The 2011 Green Book Festival will consider published, self-published and independent publishers.
For more information check out: http://www.greenbookfestival.com
-John F. Harnish
by Brittany Lavin
There are many steps along the path of becoming a published author. Some are small steps and some are big steps. The biggest steps (and sometimes the most difficult) are writing the book and getting it published.
I will never say that writing the book is the easy part. However, there are times when it seems it was much easier to write a book then to publish one. This doesn’t always have to be the case. It all depends on the path you decide to take.
Determination will take you a long way. Perseverance is the path to publishing. Here are some things to think about beforehand.
- Is your book really complete? I’m sure you have gone over it and over it 1,000 times. However, that idea that popped into your head a week ago might just make or break it. Go over it 1,001 times. It will make all the difference.
- Is your book edited and formatted correctly? Have another pair of eyes handy for copyediting. They might pick up something you missed. Remember, the little things matter.
- Think about marketing! How will you market your books? Who is your target audience? How can you get people excited to buy your book once it is published? Marketing and promotion are the keys to a successful writing career- start early!
- Prepare yourself for rejection. The path to becoming a published author is paved with rejection letters. Don’t let this discourage you! Forge your own path- explore the possibilities of self-publishing.
- Perhaps the most important thing to think about when getting your book published is to remember why you started writing in the first place. It wasn’t just to become rich and famous was it? No. It was because you love writing. Remember that and remember that you aren’t alone on this path.
Photo courtesy of abcdz2000.
by Brittany Lavin
NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an online phenomenon that has taken the writing world by storm. Founded in 1999 by a group of writers, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 175 page, 50,000 word novel in one month—November 1st -30th to be exact.
I personally think this is a fantastic way to get writers to sit down and do just that- write! What’s more- it’s a way to write without worrying about the quality, but the quantity. This contest gives you permission to write without worrying about constant editing and tweaking. Rather, it is just about creating.
And you won’t be the only one! In 2009, NaNoWriMo had over 165,000 participants. More than 30,000 of those participants finished their novel by the deadline.
I challenge each and every one of you to enter this contest. Remember, it’s not about writing the Great Novel, but writing any novel. That idea that has been spinning its wheels inside your head for months now? Write it! Stop worrying about character development and plot points and just write it! Maybe it will be terrible, but after it’s done you can go back and make all the edits and changes you like because the foundation will already be there.
So now the only question is…are you up for the challenge?
For more information on NaNoWriMo check out their website: www.nanowrimo.org
Photo courtesy of Ove Tøpfer.
by Dave Giorgio
Last week I wrote a little about abridgement to give you a taste of what it is. Today, I will focus on how it can benefit an author publishing a book.
First, abridgment is usually something asked for by a book publisher when the publisher feels a lengthy book can be shortened to make it practical to publish as an audio book. Put that way, it sounds like something pushed for by the book publisher and a situation where the author gets short changed. After all, most authors consider their book to be ideal, as written.
But there's much more to this than meets that first glance. In some cases, a publisher just can't swing the cost of creating the audio version of a long title. So it may come down to doing the audio version or not. If the publisher owns the audio rights, then the audio book might not be feasible; and there may be no option left for the author.
And if the audio version never gets released, that could be a serious blow to both the author and the publisher. How serious a blow? Consider that audio rights are extremely coveted by publishers; that audio book publishers are scrambling to acquire audio book rights every single day in order to publish audio versions of titles, even back lists.
So when abridgment is the only option, we embrace it. But not only because it may be the vehicle that gets the book into audio format. One of the beautiful things about abridgment is the straight forward nature with which a book can be re-rendered. The stark nature of the result is akin to the beauty of black and white photography. Yes, there is less color. And somehow the subject is enhanced.
And for writers who embrace the abridgment process with a positive outlook, many are able to view their work with new eyes and enjoy the process. There is a challenge involved with streamlining your own work. But those who do so and enjoy the process find that it makes them better writers in the long run.
And when that abridged audio book hits the streets, earns sales on its own, and then drives sales for the full length, printed version, the success acquired makes it all worthwhile.
Photo coutesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian.
Director, Author Services, LinDee Rochelle, October 21, 2010:
We’re in the Do-It-Yourself Era in practically every phase of our lives. Though the term seems to have originated in the 1950s, it is particularly applicable to the current publishing industry.
My momma often said, “If you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all.” This is especially true for your book, when doing it over will cost additional hard-earned dollars, if you don’t realize that what you say is important, but how you say it may sell the book.
DIY book publishing does not mean you should be in such a hurry to finally let your message be heard that you forget or neglect, to produce a polished, quality book in presentation, as well.
Once upon a time …
As little as a decade ago, we had time to roam aisle after aisle of our neighborhood bookstores, perusing not only titles and attractive covers, but discovering an ugly duckling hiding a graceful swan within its pages.
Not so anymore. We rush through the rows of bookstore tomes seeking only the title we found online, where we had clicked past page-after-page of books in a matter of a minute. Savvy readers are more conscious of the outward appearance and initial impact of your book than ever before – time is money –and they’re in a hurry.
If content is King, presentation is Queen – and we all know she’s the real brains behind the guy – she gets the job done (I say, with an impish smile and tongue firmly planted in cheek). Chances are good she’ll make the first book sale. Then it’s up to the Content King to hook them and reel them in for gift-giving copies and a purchase of your next book.
Some presentation elements may seem obvious to seasoned authors, or those who’ve done their due diligence. However, along with the proven items below, are also subtle key factors that often figure into the presentation equation:
L’s Seven Suggestions … for fastidious book formatting for powerful presentations
- Front cover, of course: watch trends – books are no less susceptible to fashion than your teenager; review current designer covers by perusing the best sellers’ lists in your genre. Discard the top 10, because they are generally trading on established authors’ name which dictates a different style; then evaluate the other 10+. What do they have in common? What is attractive to you?
- Back cover: barely less important than the front cover, it is not quite as susceptible to trends, although it is now common for the back cover to follow the same graphic design as the front – wrapped. Where you have flexibility is in the text/images. Again, review similar current genres; are they sporting the author’s bio, a list of testimonials, an intriguing excerpt?
- Front / back matter: an often neglected element, readers may not consciously grade your book on it, but instinctively know something is amiss if accepted practices are lacking.
- Readable font(s): less is more and cute is irritating. I discovered that recently when trying out fonts for my own book; while I love the Comic Sans style, in a whole book, it is difficult and tiring to read. Though I ultimately chose an uncommon font, its letters are clean, well-spaced without wasting space, and easy to read for long periods of time (Maiandra GD).
- Clean and attractive content formatting: if you’re in a DIY situation for formatting your book and find yourself without the technical skills necessary, either ensure your publisher will follow your lead and format for you, or hire a talented professional. This element, like the cover, should not be ignored, nor hastily prepared.
- Appropriate white space: again to the formatting – know how to space your lines for easy reading. (In Microsoft the “Paragraph/Spacing” commands are available for adjustment.) Even if your book is going into the eBook platform only, it’s still imperative to make it readable on a small screen – space works, though not too much, as shorter is better in eBooks.
- It’s a fact: typos and minor errors appear in virtually every book. Strive for absolute perfection in at least the first 20 pages; not that the rest of your book isn’t important, but by the time they stumble on an error later, you’ll have hooked them into overlooking it!
These are all major elements of a book that affect the 7 seconds or so your reader’s brain has to digest it. Use those precious seconds well.
Whether you must do-it-yourself to balance your budget, or simply prefer the control, remember, the more polished and professional your book appears, the more accepted and marketable it is. Happy selling!
Rock on … LinDee
by John F. Harnish
Just like writers have different styles of writing, so do copyeditors have different approaches to editing. The ideal copyeditor works with a delicate touch fixing grammatical goofs, correcting typos and generally cleaning things up to make the author look better while carefully retaining the author’s expressive voice. Certain rules of grammar and for proper spelling must be adhered to in order to achieve professional standards. There is, however, a bit of latitude regarding some possible changes and word substitution.
Back in the eons of time I was assigned a publishing house editor who was making rather arbitrary decisions and meaningless word substitutions. In my opinion, my original word was just as fitting as the editor substituted word – in some cases my words were even more befitting in keeping with the tone and flow of my writing. I boldly confronted the editor with charges of him totally wrecking my work with all his pointless changes. Why was he doing this? I was totally shocked when he agreed that most of the changes were just being made for the sake of change. Besides, he added, he had to do something to justify his job! Bummer – his justifying was trashing my hard work! As it was back then, when a publisher assigned an editor to a project they were on it from start to finish. Not so today with commercial publishers, with downsizing and mergers an author could experience working with a variety of editors in the course o f completing a project. Each brings different editing skills, experience and talent to the table. Thusly some editors will be easier to work with than others. Hopefully you won’t encounter someone more concerned with job security than professionally editing your manuscript.
Another editor I was honored to work with was Nancy Jackson, also known as Mason. She had a gift when it came to editing the hard parts – you know, like when you know what the piece needs to convey but it just isn’t doing it – close, but no cigar. She was a master at cutting and switching phrases from here to there that created crystal clarity with fabulous flow. I learned more from her about editing styles and techniques than I ever did in the many classes and workshops I’ve attended. She explained her role as an editor as working with the author to make their work sparkle, and do it in such a way that doesn’t even show the tender touch of her finger tips upon the completed piece. Leaving no marks is indeed the trademark of a skillful and talented editor.
However, don't try to break all the rules and pass it off as developing your signature style as a writer – the only thing your style will show are your shortcomings! First-time authors seem to have an urgent need to establish a distinctive writing voice and mistakenly use those crude attempts at style to disregard the rules of effective writing. Then they get bummed when a copyeditor corrects their many errors. Too many times the telling of the story gets lost in the quest for an elusive style.
Photo courtesy of Zsuzsanna Kilian.
by Brittany Lavin
I’ll be the first to tell you that writing a book isn’t easy. It’s anything but easy. Writing a book is time consuming and challenging. There’s character development, plot points, and denouement…oh my! Not to mention extensive critiquing and editing. It’s physically, emotionally, and mentally draining.
It’s also one of the most fulfilling feelings I have ever experienced.
It’s my belief that everyone has a writing itch. There’s always that moment where a person says “Hey, that’d be a pretty good story.” It’s time to do just that!
Here are just some of the reasons you should write a book:
- Nowadays, finding a job you really love is difficult. If you love to write- make it your job! There’s nothing like waking up and being excited to start your day doing something you love.
- “I’ve written a book.” It will become your favorite thing to say!
- It will help you realize your ideas. Perhaps you never thought you were capable of writing (or finishing) a book. Prove yourself wrong! Take that idea that has been stewing your brain and put it on paper.
- Writing your first book may just lead to another, and another, and another! Before you know it a job you love could become a career you love.
- Writing a book is like showing the world who you really are. Whether you write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or self-help- it’s bringing your true self to light.
Perhaps you have already finished a book. Perhaps you are just starting. Either way, consider yourself a very accomplished individual!
However, your work isn’t over when your book is complete. If anything, it should be just beginning as you take the next step from writer to published author.
Photo by: Lidal-K.
by Dave Giorgio
Abridgment is the one of the least understood aspects of publishing that I have come across. While many people view abridgment as a work of the devil, I will happily play devil's advocate on this subject. I will do this simply to provide greater insight into a form of editing that is not the devil's tool, but rather, can provide a potentially heavenly outcome for some books.
So what is book abridgment? It is the process of taking your book and editing it down to get a lower word count. Many times, this is for the sake of releasing an audio book. In other cases, abridged versions of books serve as a "young readers" series. For example, my daughter and I once read an abridged version of “Treasure Island” when she was just starting to read chapter books. It was a great way for us to experience a classic story in a form that was digestible for her.
And you know what? Though I've read the original many times, and have even listened to the audio version of that book, I didn't miss anything from the original. That tells me that the abridgment was done particularly well.
In most other cases, abridgment works best for prescriptive non-fiction, which are books that fall into the how-to, self-help categories. In the case of a streamlined audio product, an abridged version will give the listener the most essential aspects of the book.
So what does the author gain? Aside from the publishing costs being reduced (which is a worthy subject unto itself), many authors enjoy the process of rendering their book down to its most vital parts. Some even consider abridgment a healthy aspect of the writing process, putting the author on the spot by asking: "Is this the most concise book I can write? Have I gotten to the point or have I danced around the main point of what I am saying?"
Whether for a non-fiction book, a children's book, or just for yourself, abridgment can provide a great deal of opportunity for the author.
Photo courtesy of dazmac.
by John F. Harnish
In 2006, I had the good fortune to attend the 45th reunion of my ’61 graduating class.
A friend suggested I put copies of my books on each table as prizes for my classmates – perhaps one book for the person at each table with the closest birthday, and the other to the class member who traveled the greatest distance to attend the reunion. This was much better than my original idea of just displaying copies of my published books on a table with other books authored by my class members.
I called the reunion organizers to ask if this would be possible. She liked the idea of giving my books away as prizes, but first she needed committee approval. There were over 500 in my graduating class, and I figured about 120 would be attending – based on the attendance at the 40th reunion. That would mean 12 round tables with 10 class members and spouses at each table.
The organizer called several days before the event to let me know there would be 180 attending, seated at 18 round tables. Thusly, just before the start of the banquet, I placed books on each of the tables. When the emcees were doing the raffle drawing, they also announced that my books were table prizes and that I’d be available to sign them throughout the evening. Alas, I forgot the one essential item absolutely necessary for every book signing – a good pen!!!
For a few brief, magical hours, I felt like a Rock Star, and I didn’t even have to sing – I just had to sign my books. It was way cool being the only author there with books to give out and sign. This clearly wasn’t a selling books situation – like crass salespersons pitching and passing out their cards at purely social events. This was all about bringing a smile to my classmates by giving books as gifts, and yes, with hopes for some word-of-mouth benefits. But most of all, it was just a lot of fun!
Consider attending your next high school or college reunion. Contact the organizers well ahead of time to get their okay for your special table prizes, and be prepared to wait until the committee has a chance to discuss your generous offer. If you can’t attend, perhaps you can make arrangements with the organizer to give copies of your book out as door prizes as a gift to the class with your regrets that you can’t be there – assuring them you’ll be there in spirit.
You don’t have to put a book on each table – you could tape your author business cards randomly under a half-dozen chair seats and the lucky people sitting in those chairs wins a copy of your book. Order your books in time to receive them a week before the event – and order a few extra to have on hand just in case someone wants to buy an extra copy to give to a friend. If you’re traveling to another city for your reunion, your books can be sent directly to the hotel, but make sure to have the correct address for UPS deliveries and include your check-in arrival date.
Once all this busy work is done, go ahead and enjoy your evening. Dress up in some sharp duds, put on your dancing shoes, and wear a proud smile!!! After all, you’re a bit of a celebrity now – you’re a published author. And oh, don’t forget to bring your pen!!!
Photo courtesy of Mary Gober.
by LinDee Rochelle
Just like a prime piece of real estate, whether virtual or physical, marketing venues for your book should be based on location … location … location.
If you’re published or in the pseudo-downtime of proof production, next to a marketing plan (with a comprehensive editorial calendar), establishing unique marketing opportunities should be at the top of your to-do list.
Yes, you still want a print book, and it should be available for bookstore ordering. And yes, of course, you must have an accompanying website and blog. However, “getting out there” and meeting your reading public is still the most effective way to drive sales—and get those tweets flowing about your book.
Where to go, what to do? Don’t sell just your book … sell you!
Be daring. Be adventurous. Live a little!
Determine a few key elements about your book that might have their own public interest events and establish yourself as an expert, who just happens to have a book for sale.
I did that last weekend with only ARC editions in hand (Advance Reading Copy) in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at a vinyl record show, with my upcoming book, Blast from Your Past! Rock-n-Roll Radio DJs who ROCKED Your World! 1954-1979, Vol. I (soon to be released by Infinity). And you can do it, too.
Not to overdo the word, but what a blast! While there are many sides to the BFYP book, and though it’s about radio DJs, vinyl records obviously drove the era; so when an established monthly record show approached me to appear, I jumped at the chance.
Themed trade shows are not like a home & garden show or bridal show where people come to “get ideas” and may not let go of a thin, silver dime!
These shows focus on a specific area of interest and attendees come expecting to spend dollars to enhance their hobby or learn something new about it, or—buy—an interesting book that features it. And I was the only author in the room. Niiiice.
Unleash the expert within.
What’s your book about, where is it set, or is there a unique element to its backstory? Infinity author, Will Hutchison, writes historical novels; his most recent, The Gettysburg Conspiracy led him to unique selling experiences. He discovered the miniature military figures events (yes! there are shows for that), where sales are brisk and he learns even more about his subject, to write more books! But other theme-oriented ideas come to mind.
Does your murder mystery protagonist play a saxophone? John D. Wolf’s does (Benny Plays the Blues, Infinity), so a good venue for him might be a solo appearance at one of the laid-back vintage record shops, where he speaks about the intricacies of the Blues—and sells his book.
Anyone out there with a focus on comic books? Welllllll, you might get a tad overwhelmed at Comic-Con, the granddaddy of all themed trade shows; it’s a pretty pricey event. Look instead, for small special interest trading shows that might stem from a collecting organization—like the Keystone Record Collectors that contacted me for the Pennsylvania Music Expo.
L’s Seven Suggestions … for establishing your book’s location, location, location.
♪ List 3 elements of your book that you are now very knowledgeable in (or can easily enhance your knowledge of); i.e., a travel destination—think travel shows, etc.
♪ Search the ‘Net for community and national organizations that focus on those elements
♪ Review their event calendars for related shows
♪ Look for publications, virtual and print, that cater to special interest topics
♪ Hint: they too, will have event lists and perhaps an ad or two
♪ Have you thought about college or university events specializing in a specific academic topic?
♪ Are you homebound? Create a virtual event—make no mistake, it will take every bit as much energy and time as a terrestrial show, but you won’t have to go anywhere.
And remember, though it’s the best scenario, you don’t always have to come out ahead of the financial game at an event of this type—think of the networking with attendees and other dealers / vendors, exposure for your book, and future marketing opportunities—and chalk it up to business expenses at the end of the year.
Most importantly, have fun—while there, I was treated to dinner by a friend, at Lancaster’s Horse Inn—it’s hidden in an alley and once served as a horse stable, then a speakeasy! Cool.
Photo courtesy of Aaron Murphy.
by John F. Harnish
Everyone looks forward to going away on vacation. Perhaps you’re planning a trip to the beach or maybe to the cool scenic beauty of the mountains. Then too, you might be taking the kids to enjoy the many thrills of Disney World. Whatever form of get-away you’re arranging, plan on taking copies of your book with you.
You might be thinking, “Are you crazy? I don’t need to take my book on vacation with me!” But if you leave your book at home, you’ll miss a golden opportunity to do some easy promotions and maybe even sell several copies. After all, who couldn’t use a few extras bucks in their pocket to help fund vacation fun? Making a few direct sales to folks you meet on vacation can make it a most profitable time for you.
Take a few copies of your book with you so when someone says, “Oh, you’re an author – what have you written?” you’ll have a book close at hand to do an easy show-and-tell for them. A book in hand is a surer sale than the interested party promising to order a copy from Amazon.com when they return home – odds are they’ll forget to order. If everyone who said they’d order a book actually followed through with their intentions, we’d all sell a lot more books. Sadly, they usually don’t do it, even though you gave them a bookmark, postcard or business card with complete ordering information for your book. Out of sight, out of mind, and you missed a sale.
Some resorts have an activities director who plans and coordinates events for guests to participate in during their stay. Get in touch with this person as soon as you’ve checked in and are settled in your room. Let them know you’re a vacationing author and you’d be delighted to do a reading and autograph copies of your book for their guests. Be flexible with your availability and express your willingness to fill in at the last minute if they suddenly have an open slot in their events schedule. Most likely you’ll be the only author there with a book to sell to a captive audience – much better than competing will all the other books in a bookstore.
If you have enough lead time, you could contact the resort activity director to schedule a reading during your stay. In terms of the post-event benefits, you’ll see and talk with fellow guests who, after attending the reading, will give you feedback. Plus, they’ll have time to read your book – after all, they’re on vacation, too! Naturally, you’ll enjoy a rush when you see folks sitting around the pool reading your book. Be prepared for them to engage you in conversation about your book. Don’t be shy – ask them to write a review!
Remember your loyal fans while you’re on vacation. Take a dozen or so names and addresses harvested from your website and send them a postcard with a brief personal note related to your book and the joys of being on vacation. Your investment of an hour, along with a few dollars for postcards and postage, will yield a tremendous amount of goodwill with your fans. Of course, some of them will call their friends and say, “You’ll never guess who I just got a postcard from!”
Yes, in this digital age of email and ecards, an actual postcard delivered at the door is something to talk about and the buzz about your book will continue. If there’s an independent bookstore close to where you’re staying, do indeed stop by for a brief visit and introduce yourself as a vacationing author. Give the owner/manager a complimentary copy of your book. Don’t waste your time or a book on any of the bookstore chains – they’re only authorized to order books with a local connection or by authors living in the area. Instead, take the time to visit the local library; they often have a summer reading circle of library patrons who would probably be thrilled to have a visiting author do a reading – they might even allow you to sell copies of your book.
Photo by: markcbrennan
by John F. Harnish
It isn’t news that the once booming economy of the United States is in dire straits. These trying times have touched our lives in a multitude of financially-challenged afflictions. Of special interest to authors is the detrimental impact this depressed economy is having on the book publishing industry.
The remaining mainstream book publishing houses have had more layoffs and down-sizing by dropping several well known house imprints. There is a major reduction in the number of purchased manuscripts being acquired and eventually published.
Slashed advertising budgets are being allocated to launch books by eminent and long established authors – they’re putting their bets on what has sold well, book after book. Corporate mandates make it mission critical for every published book to produce their projected numbers. Staffing cuts have reduced several publishing services – such as copyediting and rights verification – traditionally done by the mainstream houses.
All things considered, this is not the time to invest your time attempting to attract the interest of a major house in publishing your book. Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as valuable as knowing what to do. Now is the time to renew you efforts to promote your book to people who will perhaps buy a copy of your book. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Print media is struggling to retain a dwindling subscriber base that’s essential for justifying ever increasing advertising rates. Once highly valued column inches devoted to reviewing new releases have been dropped or drastically reduced in several leading daily and monthly printed publications. Ads for new books in many of these publications have been reduced in size and frequency, because these costly advertisements aren’t producing expected book sales in this depressed economy. In troubled times, advertising budgets are usually the first to be trimmed.
Reach out to family, friends and associates who have read your book and ask them to write and post online reviews or blurbs – every bit of exposure for your book is a benefit. Make it easy by doing a Google search for websites, sites where the info about your book would be of interest to visitors, and send your potential reviewers the link, so they can put up what they think about your book. Be patient, as it may take awhile for them to write a blurb and post or send it to you.
If you haven’t invested your time and a little bit of money in creating a website for your published book, now is the time to do it. Keep the design of your website simple, and focused entirely on your book and you, the author. Don’t mess around with setting up a shopping cart to do direct sales – you want to do a brief show-and-tell to make the sale, and then direct the buyer to www.buybooksontheweb.com and to your book page, place their book order.
What kind of books are selling in these turbulent times??? How-to and do-it-yourself books are popular because they often include things you can do yourself to save money. Almost any book that will help readers save time and money is worthy of promoting in targeted markets where the benefits are easy to relate with. Self-improvement books also sell well.
Books expanding on health issues and developing healthy attitudes and habits are popular as well as inspirational books that offer positive encouragement.
All types of novels telling interesting and compelling stories are perfect for escaping into. Popular fiction sells in depressed times, but you need to use your creativity to hook potential readers on the escapism qualities of your novel.
One of the ways for generating a new revenue flow is to make your published content available for sale in different versions such as eBooks and audio books.
Photo courtesy of Dani Simmonds.
Here is one more great way to promote and market your published book!
Established in 1997, PRWeb™ has become one of the major press release distribution companies on the Web. Today PRWeb takes advantage of its Online Visibility Engine™ (OVE). The OVE™ ensures that your news is the most visible of any news on and off the Web.
PRWeb distributes news to over 100,000 journalists and attracts a wide range of opt-in journalists, allowing them to customize their daily press release news feeds. Journalists select the industry categories they follow. Whenever a press release is submitted in their industry category, the journalists receive it by e-mail as they prefer.
Live editors review all press releases prior to distribution. Following distribution they are archived so that they can be indexed and easily found many years into the future. The editorial review and automatic archiving that is done at PRWeb make it the preferred choice for generating publicity today and in the future.
Also, PRWeb places your news directly in front of the eyes of your audience. Press releases distributed by PRWeb are regularly featured in Yahoo! News, Google News and thousands of other online locations. This dual distribution to both traditional journalists and the online audience has generated publicity, established expert status, created brand recognition and loyalty, and created new customers, as well as higher search engine placement, relevant search traffic and powerful reputation management.
Other benefits of PRWeb include the ability to attach files to the press release and upload images. These files and images can include items such as white papers, biographies, book excerpts, a PDF file, and photographs or graphics such as book covers.
Since January 2005, PRWeb has conducted a series of daily, free Webinars that further educate users about PRWeb, allowing them to examine the results that others have achieved by promoting their press releases online via PRWeb. PRWeb has a simple, easy to use, self serve online service found at www.PRWeb.com.
PRWeb can also assist you with all of your writing needs via its service bureau found at PRWebdirect™. Simply go to www.PRWebdirect.com and use the simplest and most efficient newswire service ever.
by Dave Giorgio
You might think that audio books have only been around for a very short time. This is understandable, as the popularity of audio books as a consumer format has only blossomed (and mightily) since the advent of digital downloads and media players such as the iPod.
However, audio books have been in existence since as early as 1931, when the U.S. Congress established the Talking-Book program. It was intended to help the blind who were unable read and was called the Books for the Adult Blind project.
In 1933, anthropologist JP Harrington sought to capture the oral storytelling of Native American tribes using aluminum disks and a car battery-powered turntable. In 1935, Congress approved the free mailings of audio books to blind citizens.
More recently, in 1992, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically challenged distributed hundreds of thousands of recorded books to physically challenged listeners.
The greatest boon for audio books as a consumer format really came in 2001 with the launch of the iPod. Millions were sold and the demand for digital content became very high. Audio books were the perfect fit for the ipod, as many books are quite a few hours in length, and the ipod is able to store hundreds of hours of audio.
The iTunes Store and Audible.com both sell downloadable versions of audio books. These digital audio books have been encrypted with technology to prevent the downloadable content from being distributed to or listened to by anyone who is not the original purchaser of the book.
So its been over the past ten years that many people have gotten turned on to audio books, and for good reason. An audio book is like a companion that is with you on long drives, when working out, on the bus, train or plane, or even in bed.
I am an audio book producer, narrator, and listener. There's even more fascinating history behind the story. But perhaps most fascinating will be the next book I listen to.
Photo courtesy of Shawn Himmelberger.
by John F. Harnish
What is success? Posing that question to different people will result in different answers. It’s an achievement, certainly, but achievements are subjective; to a published author, “success” may be defined as selling a single book; to another, “success” may be getting their name on the bestseller list. Everyone has an idea about what success looks likes for them. But the “looks” of success are as fleeting as fashion trends. Milestones marking the accomplishments of others are often imposed as a solid mark of successes. But those markers should only serve as guidelines, for success varies from person to person.
Authors frequently ask how many books have to sell to be considered a bestseller. If you define success as receiving a return on your investment, then when you cross the breakeven-point you’ve succeeded in earning a profit. Lasting success can come from informative books that were written to improve the quality of life with practical insight focused on helping to fix real world problems. There’s a special sense of satisfaction in knowing that your book provides the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of your readers.
Success in publishing isn’t always measured by numbers of books sold. The most important thing about success is that it is defined as you need your success to be. The touch-stones of your successes are more omnipotent than the worn milestones marking the past achievements of others. For some authors, having their books selling consistently month-after-month is more important than having a brief moment as a bestseller. Other authors are happy with the success of selling a few hundred copies to family and friends.
Some authors feel successful when their published book is the springboard that propels them into a lucrative contract with a mainstream publishing house. Others know the security of a different kind of success when their book goes out-of-print with a traditional publisher and the author is able to continue to benefit from their efforts by re-releasing the book through Infinity Publishing.
Everyone has a different notion of what sweet success tastes like to them. Your publishing accomplishments depend entirely on how you envision success and your ability to do the ongoing work in order to bring your success to fruition. Sometimes the very best measurement of success comes with that warm feeling deep inside when you know you’ve done good!!!
Photo courtesy of Sanja Gjenero.
by LinDee Rochelle
I am a champion of small, intimate authors’ events. Not that the big and bold don’t have their attractions. In this age of social networking with a bazillion friends and associates we often gather in slick, isolating virtual events, frequently mirrored by manic metropolitan conferences.
There’s something to be said however, for meeting with a publishing expert in a quiet corner, or chatting up a new author friend who recently discovered a great book marketing technique they’re eager to share. These scenarios happen easily in a friendly venue outside the burgs of hectic humanity. Bonus: small conferences help you slow down and strategically contemplate the road ahead.
Infinity’s 11th annual conference in Valley Forge, PA, the last weekend in September, offered great insights on every level of book promotion, as any good marketing event should. A bonus for attendees though, was time to meet privately with publishing and marketing gurus like Dan Poynter and Brian Jud, and opportunities to network one-on-one, as opposed to a chance elevator stand-up routine.
Smaller conferences also mean the ability to hear every word and nuance without having to sit in the first three rows. But more than that you’re able to connect with the principles of the event and establish a more meaningful personal association than is possible with virtual meetings, or as you sit in a room of hundreds, gazing up at a podium speaker 50 feet away.
Generous with their time, the experts at Infinity’s “Express Yourself … “ Gathering of Authors were available throughout the weekend at intimate meals and pre-dinner social hours (remember those?). I was fortunate to share several panels with them and though “in the biz” for years, still listened and learned:
Dan Poynter: If you’re not “connected” fire up your social skills and follow his lead. (Twitter, Google Alerts, Facebook, YouTube, and do you have a website/blog yet?!)
Marc Schulman: We’re only in the infancy stage of electronics and their impact on books. Stay aware of major innovations and adjust your marketing accordingly.
Brian Jud:We’re selling content, not books. Make sure your promotions include AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.
Melanie Rigney: Are you ready for the “big time”? Professional editing must precede publication, which will make your marketing easier and your sales brisker.
Jeniffer Thompson: What are you selling – you or your book? Hint: you! And does your website funnel readers from page to page? Don’t let your website stagnate.
Tonya Evans: Literary laws are changing daily. There is no longer a “general standard” for anything. Protect yourself! Be safe rather than sorry when using others’ works and brand names.
L’s Seven Suggestions … book marketing strategies for Thinking Ahead:
- Begin your book marketing before it has even cleared the proof book phase (earlier, if you have a finished cover). Create buzz through your website, blog, and other social networking circles.
- Create a marketing calendar that begins today through no less than the next 18 months.
- Even if you don’t plan to advertise, request ad / editorial calendars from your local newspapers (virtual & print), radio and TV, for the appropriate section or shows; review what upcoming topics are planned to feature – add to your calendar and query at least 2 months prior, if possible – 6 months ahead for major holidays.
- Mark your calendar with special “national” days that you can capitalize on – have a cookbook? Do you know January 21st is Rid the World of Fad Diets and Gimmicks Day? (http://www.adsources.com/IDEAS/Cal/01jan.htm) Start your promotion NOW.*
- Scour the news for topics related to your book – yes, even fiction – what’s happening that your protagonist endured, too? In what major location is your book set – is it in the news today?
- Are there other authors in your area who share your book’s topic? Create an “authors’ day” event at your local library about this subject (http://www.publiclibraries.com/). Book no less than 6 months in advance; sell your topic and you, but have your book available. (Make sure your publisher distributes to libraries – Infinity does.)
- Always Think Ahead! Memorize your next 6 months of book marketing appearances and events. This strategy may leave you foggy on what day today is, but you’ll confidently rattle off your next important dates.
Photo by: Oquendo
VP of Author Services, John F. Harnish, October 5, 2010:
As it has been said so many times, in so many, many ways, writing is a very lonely form of creative expression. The silently solo art of conjuring thoughts into reflective words appearing on the printed page has rendered a significant number of writers to become rather introverted by their isolated writing habits. Some folks would say they don’t get out much!!!
Book futurist, Dan Poynter, was one of the first international authorities on successful book publishing to identify and address the unique needs of introverted writers. His interactions with tens of thousands of authors, during his frequent globe-trotting adventures, have confirmed prevailing introverted traits in most writers.
The dictionary defines an introverted person as tending to be shy and quiet, or ill at ease in front of a group and fearful of public speaking, In addition to – or perhaps as an explanation – the writer person is often perceived as being self-absorbed and uninterested in other people and events happening in the world around them.
Dan’s observations nailed the shy, reserved qualities of many writers; however, apart from the creative curse of at times becoming immersed in the solitude of personal expressiveness, writers are acutely aware of other people and the world around them because that is what they frequently write about.
Writers write to inform and entertain readers with their wordsmithing skills for telling the story. The entertainment aspect in this brave new world of book publishing and self-promotions by the author, increasingly involves speaking to groups interested in learning more about the author’s book.
Some authors avoid the hassle of public appearances by making a video to broadcast their book pitches across the vastness of the Internet via YouTube, Google, FaceBook, etc. Other authors prefer face-to-face time with small groups of potential customers for their books. The best way to learn about folks most interested in hearing about your book is by contacting your local library. Special topic reading circles often meet at libraries and they will usually welcome visiting authors. It’s amazing how fears of public speaking fade away when you’re talking with a gathering of neighbors, friends, and strangers at the library.
Often times, seemingly shy authors are magically transformed into dynamic presenters when they have the opportunity to talk about their book and answer questions on the topic or genre. They know the book completely and are comfortable talking about the insight they gained while researching the topic.
Dan Poynter urges writers to get the book inside them out there in a printed form. After the book is published, the author needs to reach out and talk about their book. It’s the buzz generated by the author that stimulates book sales – and that’s a fact.
-John F. Harnish
There are a variety of newsletters available to help you to polish your wordsmithing skills, develop new marketing ideas, stay legal, and understand surfacing trends in the book publishing industry. Here are a few on-line newsletters that are worth subscribing to:
The Writers Network News, an ezine published by Bobbie Christmas, professional editor and owner of Zebra Communications, www.zebraeditor.com.
Book Promotion Newsletter, an ezine supported by subscriptions featuring articles and promotional coups for generating book publicity, published by Fran Silverman, www.bookpromotionnewsletter.com.
The Marketing Minute, brought to you every Wednesday by Marcia Yudkin, marketing consultant and author. This unique ezine takes a minute to read and is available at www.yudkin.com/marketing.htm.
Book Marketing Matters, published by Brian Jud, is an ezine dedicated to helping you to get your fair share of the special-sales markets and sell more books profitably. It’s available at www.bookmarketing.com.
Smart Fast Newsletter, covers the business and legal aspects of being an author. It’s published by Jean D. Sifleet, Esq., CPA, Business Attorney, and author and is available at www.smartfast.com.
Publishing Poynters, published by Dan Poynter. This ezine is full of pointers to help authors understand and benefit from the latest trends in book publishing. Available at www.parapub.com.
The Book Marketing Expert Newsletter!, published by Penny C. Sansevieri, is a bi-weekly ezine packed with insider tips on book marketing & promotion and is available at www.amarketingexpert.com.
John Kremer's Book Marketing Tip of the Week is an ezine published by John Kremer with hints to improve the effectiveness of your book marketing efforts. To subscribe, visit www.bookmarket.com.
And of course:
The Author's Gazette
, published by Infinity Publishing
is an informative resource for teaching authors how to be effective in their efforts to promote and market their published books. To subscribe, visit www.infinitypublishing.com
by Dave Giorgio
Recently, I was responding to an author’s email when he asked me to google his book. I did, and found some intriguing semi-book-related content. I told him that it looked interesting. He then asked if I had read his book. I had not.
It was at that moment that I realized that since I have been a book publisher, I don’t choose the books I read anymore. I only read books that come my way due to my work. In a sense, you could say that I don’t choose them, they choose me.
That’s not a bad thing, mind you. Sure, super geeked out sci-fi isn’t my first choice, but the authors I work for are all good writers and it’s a pretty cool gig.
So let me tell you about the most recent book that I have “read.” It’s by Dan Poynter of parapub.com. He is the world’s foremost expert on self publishing. I am an audio book producer and director, and I got to work with Dan in our studio recording a 1-Hour Audio version of one of his recent books.
As you can imagine, I have worked on all sorts of titles from many places. Books originally published by Random House, Simon and Schuster, Grand Central, 12 Books, FaithWords, etc. So the books that I get to work on are all pretty good.
Which leads me back to my recent session with Dan Poynter. I am not usually compelled to blog about specific books or authors. But this guy is a winner. For several hours in the studio, Dan read his book as I read along, doing my usual directing and recording gig.
Dan’s written over 127 books and has lectured and taught virtually everywhere. So I could see how an author like this could be so together with his writing. The bottom line was that I walked away from the recording session totally impressed with what he wrote. That doesn’t happen often.
It goes back to something I wrote in one of my earlier blogs, about how good content can be the driving factor in the success of an audio book. And in this case, I was certain that what I was hearing and reading was great content. I know this book will be successful. I know that the reason why will be the great content written by the author.
So the point is to make it great. Put everything you have into your writing. Read the classics for inspiration and guidance, research everything possible, including books on writing, have the book edited, etc.
And as you’re finishing up your excellent book, think about some handsome and talented guy sitting in a recording studio, listening to your book, smiling. Well, I’m the guy sitting next to him, also smiling. :-)
Photo courtesy of Robert Aichinger.