by Sherrie Wilkolaski
Not a week goes by when I don’t get asked by a fiction author, “how do I write a blog?” This always surprises me, because as I see it, writers of fiction can really have fun with their blogs. They don’t have to stick with facts and they get to be creative. So for all of your fiction authors out there, here are some blogging tips you can use as a guide to make the most of your blog, #3 is my favorite. Enjoy!
Write about your genre. I know this seems like an obvious first tip, but honestly most of the fiction authors I talk with haven’t even considered this. Who better to give an opinion or insight into a particular category of work, than an author who writes about their subject matter? Give your two cents on where you see your genre going; how things are changing with eBooks, independent publishing and where the genre is going. This will position you as an expert author in your designated field. It may even open doors for you to guest blog on other sites. (See tip #4 about guest blogging opportunities)
Use your book development research. You’ve invested your time to do the research necessary to develop your characters habits, the geography for the setting of your novel and small oddities that make the little details of your book so interesting. Don’t let your research go to waste. Take what you’ve learned along the way and expand on those subjects. You’ll find you won’t ever run out of ideas. Write about your experience during the research phase and then go deep. If you realize you have a lot of content, create a series of blogs on the subject to keep the readers coming back for more.
Let your characters do a guest blog. This is my favorite blogging tool for fiction authors. Bring your characters to life and let them do some guest blogging appearances on your blog. I recommend this to an author about a year ago and his blog traffic doubled once he started having his characters started making an appearance. This gives you an opportunity to work your craft while developing a deeper connection to the characters in your work. Your readers will enjoy learning more about your villains, heroines and heroes. It’s also a nice way to test or introduce new characters. Bring them to life and get creative.
Invite other authors to guest blog on your site. To create some variety on your blog, why not invite some fellow authors to do a guest blog on your site? It will give you the day off while creating a cross promotional opportunity. Have your guest author announce to their network of followers that they are doing a guest blog on your site and be sure to ask them for a link back to your site. Their readers will be introduced to you and your work to readers (and potential book buyers) who are already reading what you write about.
Test out new content. If you’re working on a new piece or not sure which way you should take your next chapter, ask your readers. Post a few samples of your writings and see what kind of feedback you get. You’ll create excitement, your readers will enjoy being a part of the process.
Voice your opinion. If you were reading an article on Huffington Post, or let’s say, the Infinity Publishing blog, and you like the topic or discussion, write about that. It will give your readers another chance to get to know you, on a different level. It doesn’t have to be book or writing related, a blog is a bit more informal, so use it to open up and let people know who you are. If you’re a sports fan and your favorite team just made the play-offs, nothing wrong in giving a shout out via your blog.
Get on a schedule. This is probably the biggest challenge for most authors relative to blogging, but it will keep you in a writing groove. To get on track, create an editorial calendar for yourself, using a spreadsheet or put it in a Word document. Maybe you want to blog 2-3 times a week. Plan out what topics you want to write on for the next month, quarter or if you’re ambitious, for the entire year. Pick the days you want to do your posts and the days you want to feature a guest blogger. If you keep a set schedule, your readers will know what to expect and will look forward to seeing your posts on particular days. You also want to be post around the same time each day, first thing in the morning is always a good bet that more people will see your blog. I recommend writing several blog articles and then get them scheduled in advance. There are many online tools that will integrate with your blog, like SocialOomph or Hootsuite, and you can schedule your blogs to be automatically delivered. Do whatever works best for you.
Best of luck to you and happy blogging!
With all the talk of Facebook, Twitter, blogging and other social media, we often forget how we used to promote a book: locally. Many books that hit big success did so by building a regional buzz. But regional seems a lot less sexy these days and often gets overlooked. If media is being pursued, it’s often on a national level, bypassing individual markets altogether.
One of the things I’ve found about regional promotion is that it can often surprise you. When we worked on The Kennedy Detail last November, we had enormous success regionally, while major stations and national markets seemed to lag in interest for this exceptional title. In fact, I believe that part of the reason this book hit the bestseller list was because of the regional buzz.
If you’re wondering how regional coverage can affect your success, let me tell you another story. Some years back two women inLouisianawrote a Cajun cookbook. Now, if any of you have been toLouisianayou know that there are hundreds of Cajun cookbooks, nothing really unique there, right? But these women figured that out and decided instead of trying to do a national push, they would focus regionally. They were everywhere: airports, drycleaners, coffee shops, grocery stores and restaurants. The result? They built exceptional buzz for this book and ended up getting the attention of a New Yorkpublisher who offered them a big deal to buy the book. Sometimes small can be big.
So, what would regional pitching look like for you? Well, my recommendation to any author is saturate your market. Make sure everyone in your city or town knows about you and what you’re doing. Additionally, you don’t need to just focus on your region, you could expand this out to other parts of the country as well. If the idea of pitching regionally has piqued your interest, here are some ways to make it work:
Don’t repurpose national pitches: This is a big one. I don’t recommend that you use your national pitches for your local market. Local cares about local and even though every station will report on major national stories, it’s always best if they have a regional tie-in.
Get to know your area: This is especially true if you’re pitching outside of your market. Get to know the nuances of the market you are going after. Know their hot buttons and then decide whether your story can tie into them. But regardless, you want to understand the market you are pitching.
Local media varies: Local media will vary depending on the region you’re in. For some markets print has the biggest voice, for others it’s broadcast. By digging into your area and getting to know the region, important segments will start to become apparent. For example, in areas that have a lot of morning shows they will generally have a pretty balanced broadcast and print consumption. But other areas might surprise you. For example, I just moved fromSan Diego where, despite the size of the city, they only have one paper serving it: The San Diego Union Tribune. If you don’t make it into that paper, you’re not in great shape. Especially if your regional campaign is heavily driven to print. The flip side of this is that this city has a lot of great broadcast opportunities both in TV and radio, so your time might be better spent there.
Tailor, tailor, tailor: Don’t forget that local matters so you’ll want to make sure and position your pitch on a local angle.
Getting to know you: It’s easier than ever to get to know a market by reading, listening, or watching online. This will help you identify reporters, journalists, and radio hosts who might have a keen interest in what you are pitching.
Event pitching: Regional media loves talking about events and other tie-ins. One of the best ways to get local media is by doing an event.
Getting into Bookstores: If your goal is to get bookstores to place orders, a regional push can help there as well. If you’re doing events or media locally, this will help drive readers into the stores and the numbers start adding up, which could encourage bookstores to order more copies!
Small is big: When we pitch regionally, we never overlook the small, local papers. Often they are the freebies you get in supermarkets. I have found that they are often very well-read in the community and can help to drive a lot of interest to your book or event. They are sometimes difficult to find though and don’t always show up in media databases. Having someone in the area is great to help identify these local publications. If you don’t have anyone locally, call the bookstore where you’re doing an event, and if there isn’t an event as part of this media push, call the local supermarket and ask them!
Getting focused regionally can be a great enhancement to any campaign. It’s also a great way to bring longevity to a marketing push. Regional markets aren’t always as hung up on book release dates as bigger, national markets are so the window is much wider here for pitching.
Inifinty Publishing author Elle Febbo is doing her part to support her local community. Former foster child turned best-selling author and child advocate, Elle Febbo is raising awareness and funds using her best seller, What Love is A-Z, to support support of Citizens Commission on Human Rights of Florida. Her book was released last year. The book has also recently been nominated for an award by the Film Advisory Board, and also positioned for an Independent Publishers Award (IPPY Award) in NYC this June 2012.
A special edition of the publication has been printed in support of CCHR Florida, and comes complete with a poetry contest entry form on the final page. Through the month of January, CCHR Florida will be gifting a copy of the best-seller to anyone donating $30 or more to their campaign for healthy kids, and is also gearing up to release a compilation of children’s poetry later in the year.
Febbo was just 12 years old and living in her first foster home when she became an award winning, published author, and she says it was all because of a contest much like this one, which her social worker encouraged her to enter. “A child’s voice is a powerful one” says the author, “and that one contest changed my life-- it reminded my heart that anything was possible.”
Her award winning publication, What Love is A-Z, has been used to raise funds for such organizations as the World Food Programme, the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Orangewood Children’s Home, Reading Is Fundamental of So. Ca., and the list goes on. Clearly, she’s on a mission and her bottom line is two-fold. “The children we serve are just as important as the dollars we raise”, says the author and mother from Los Angeles, Ca.
The Citizens Commission on Human Rights is a national advocacy group, dedicated to exposing mental health violations and psychiatric abuse of children and foster youth. Earlier this year, Febbo gave a speech at the Capitol Theater in Clearwater Florida at a Benefit Concert, sharing her personal story, and thanking those who continue to shed light on an often dark subject matter, and who continue to speak out on behalf of the voiceless.
For more information, visit www.ellefebbo.com, or visit www.CCHRFlorida.org.
11862 Balboa Blvd. #214
Granada Hills CA 91344
Phone (424) 262-4506
# # # #
Elle Febbo is an accomplished author, international journalist, national speaker, personal and professional writing coach and social advocate. She is also a member of the National Writers Union. She has been a leader in Business and Social Charities since 2003, with appearances on radio, television, and from stages.
Febbo was just 12 years old and living in her first foster home when she became an award winning, published author. Elle lives in Los Angeles with her family. She strives to shed light on the power of Love, Compassion, and Uniting for Purpose, advocating a commitment to the betterment of all, starting with our youth. She passionately inspires the masses to live and work from the heart for a more rewarding, and spiritually accomplished life experience.
By: Dan Smith, CEO of Smith Publicity
What is 6" by 9," usually weighs roughly one pound, and is giving an increasing number of business leaders an advantage over the competition? A book.
The use of 'the book as a business card' has added a new and powerful tool to marketing arsenals to build credibility and attract new business opportunities. Experts, consultants, and professionals from various fields are putting their knowledge into professionally-published books–a calling card sure to make a bigger and more meaningful impression than the traditional business card.
Marketing—especially for businesspeople in consulting and service industries—is about credibility, and a book establishes a person as someone who has reached a level of expertise. It allows readers (potential clients) to learn more about their philosophies, thought process and successful case studies, much more so than a simple brochure. And, you don't have to be published by a major house to achieve and utilize this credibility. Authors are proving that it doesn't matter if a book is self-published -- the end result in terms of marketing benefits is the same.
“Call it a golden business card, but the reality is having a book in print is a phenomenal door opener,” says Joe Takash, author of Results Through Relationships: Building Trust, Performance and Profit Through People. “I’ve been speaking professionally for twenty years and have been fortunate to have achieved nice results with clients prior to the book, but the fact that I have been published has launched bigger opportunities and helped justified raising my fees.”
I recently spoke to a highly credentialed, successful consultant. He was asked by a corporation to prepare a proposal for an all day seminar. He was told his proposal looked great, but they ultimately decided to go with someone else simply because they were impressed the competitor was a “published author,” and one who charged a significantly higher fee. The only real difference was one had a book. This consultant is in now in the process of self-publishing a book as he sees the benefits and new opportunities this will bring his business.
Who can benefit from the book-as-business card?
Consultants, specializing in virtually all trades
Service-providing business owners, from insurance companies and home security experts to psychologists and financial planners
Self-help professionals, motivational speakers, etc.
Non-profit organization leaders
Having a book, however, is but one element of the book-as-marketing-tool strategy. If an author/expert secures media attention, his or her credibility is enhanced even further. When a prospective customer visits a website or reads a company brochure showing TV or radio interviews, or features from newspapers and magazines, it showcases this person is a trustworthy expert in his or her field.
Businesspeople can announce to their prospective clients that they are important enough, credible enough, and interesting enough to have the media interview or feature them. This is marketing power in its purest form.
“My book was a major launching pad,” explains Bill Losey, author of Retire In A Weekend! The Baby Boomer’s Guide To Making Work Optional. “It has positioned me as a thought-leader nationwide and has led to speaking opportunities and an interview with the number one guy at a national television network. The book is attractive to the media and being an author has totally separated me from the competition and more than half of my new client inquiries are coming from out of state. I've gone from relative obscurity to the national spotlight in one year. I wish I had written my book years earlier.”
What makes all of this possible is the book. While non-authors can get media coverage, most of the people you hear on radio, see on TV, or read about in newspapers and magazines are in fact authors. The book, again, acts as the credibility attracting the media.
When you crunch your marketing budget numbers, consider this: A four color brochure may cost many thousands of dollars to create, design, and print. Add in mailing costs and other related expenses, and you can easily exceed $15,000. Today, thanks to the print-on-demand and the self-publishing revolution, you can have a professionally designed and produced book for as little as $1,000.
Brochures and collateral materials tell prospective clients what you can do, a book proves you know what you're doing—and give you the space to explain your ideas. Add in the media coverage, and you then have other people (the media) proving you are an expert because they thought enough of you to interview or write about you.
So, bottom line: As the adage goes, “write about what you know.” Write about your business, your tradecraft; and teach others, via a book, the most essential elements of the service you provide. Put in the printed word that which you do best. When your book is printed and available for purchase, promote it, get media coverage; hand it out at presentations or talks; give it away, and customers will come. You can't be complacent, however. A book does nothing for you if you don't market it and make others aware of it. Use it, and get absolute maximum value from your marketing investment.
You've become an author. You’ve proven you are an expert. While the world won't fall at your feet because you've written a book, you will have created an invaluable advantage over your competition.
Dan Smith is CEO of Smith Publicity, Inc., a full service book promotion and public relations agency with offices in New Jersey, New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto and London. Smith Publicity has implemented more than 1,000 promotional campaigns. Clients of Smith Publicity have appeared on virtually every major radio and television show, and been featured in top publications across the world. For more information please visit www.smithpublicity.com.
By: LinDee Rochelle
As authors, we consider our muse's first nudge to write a book, divine inspiration. Often our thoughts don't go beyond that initial idea until we're popping the champagne cork at a book launch party.
Some authors however, see more than just a book at the same instant of inspiration - they envision a brand, an opportunity, and a very grand future for their book. David J. Friedman is such an author, and we can all learn from his foresight.
When David finished Fundamentally Different and submitted it to Infinity, he wasn't quite sure how to begin the next phase - creating an effective marketing and promotion campaign. His timing was good, and he relied on elements from his book and twenty-seven year business career to carry him forward; but he was a new author and marketing a book defies normal marketing avenues.
Though creating a marketing plan is highly recommended, when queried, David responded, "To be honest, I did not create a marketing plan. I initially wrote this book more as a goal to accomplish - a thing to cross off the list more than anything else. ...Let me just write it and I'll think about the rest later." Sound familiar? (I'm guilty, too.)
So when should you be thinking beyond the initial burst of sales to family and friends? David had the right idea - practically from the moment the manuscript leaves your hands for publication - and some say even before.
But what comes first? David's approach was very effective. "I put together an email distribution list. I used Constant Contact - fabulous program - so user-friendly. I looked through every contact I knew from anywhere; who did I know from business, friends, relatives ... the cornerstone was the email campaign."
His first email blast went out while his book was in production, announcing its publication.
He created a website in preparation for the book's debut.
Sent out another email campaign, with a reminder of the publication date and announced the new website and included a link.
To maximize his exposure his book was published and distributed in all formats (hard cover, soft cover, eBook, and audio), David continued sending emails every 4-6 weeks, to announce their availability.
Marketing in the book industry was a foreign language to David, so he hired a book marketing expert who assisted him with creating and implementing further marketing strategies:
Posted a sample chapter for his website in both print and audio
Social media marketing via Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter
Virtual book tour through blogs
Selected key words to support his content for long-term SEO growth
Press release (with a video clip!) to major media to obtain radio and TV guest spots
Worked a media coach to enhance his on-air & in-person appearances
Used Infinity's Sponsorship Program which prepares his book for corporate client distribution.
David's book marketing program is branding Fundamentally Different and establishing him as an expert in his field. You don't need your book in hand to begin the hype. Is your book in production? Roll up your sleeves and work on your marketing ideas while you wait. To schedule your free Infinity marketing consultation and learn more about how Infinity can help market your book, email your Author Advocate directly, or email@example.com. David did, and he's off to a great start!
by Sandra Poirier-Diaz, president of Smith Publicity
If your goal is to sell books or attract new business, then bylined articles are a great way to reach your target audiences with a controlled message showcasing your expertise.
First, what is a bylined article? It is an article, written by you, and is published in a magazine, newspaper or online outlet. Full credit is given to you as the author, along with a nice blurb about you, your book and your business (if applicable).
Placement of your article gives you credibility, continues to establish you as a leader and expert in your field, differentiates you from your competitors and opens new opportunities for you. These may include opportunities for regular article submissions, expert commentary, consulting projects, speaking engagements and invitations from publishers for your next book. All of these have happened for our clients, including an author who shared he received more than $500,000 in new business as a direct result of just a few months of media exposure.
Once you have written the article, you (or your publicist) pitch it to targeted media for placement. Often your photo or even book cover may accompany the article.
Here are some tips for writing a bylined article to increase the chance for placement and attracting readers:
1. Pick a topic with valuable information for your audience. The article cannot be about how great you are or how wonderful your book is. Although that might be the case, you need to select a topic related to your book and expertise that will inform, educate, or inspire readers. The goal is to give readers insight to your thoughts, ideas, and advice and to entice them to learn more about you, your company (if applicable), and to buy your book.
Here are examples:
- Business relationship author wrote an article on tips to remember people’s names, target was general business audiences,
- Author with a specialized target audience wrote an article on the Tax Benefits of Oil Investments
- A successful woman CEO and author wrote an article: Women You’re Unique. You Lead Differently from Men, and that’s a Good Thing—Especially in the World of Business!
2. Include lessons learned/case studies. Showcase your expertise by including case studies where there was a real life challenge and how your advice resulted in a positive solution. Readers will learn from the lesson and you will shine as an authority. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Look at the chapters in your book and isolate one point to write about. Again, the goal is to entice people to learn more about you.
3. Know your media outlet. If you have a particular magazine, blog or online site in mind, read the type and style of bylined articles they publish. If your relationship self-help book can be useful to teens, women and newly divorced women, write an article specific to one audience. Don’t make it generic. If your entrepreneurial book can be of use to specific industries, write an article just for them—the family business, a graphic designer, a financial planner, etc.
4. Choosing the right article headline. Again, look through your favorite magazine or online sites for article headlines that grab your attention. Use active, not passive words. Highlight benefits, not features. Examples of weak and strong headlines:
Fabulous Diet Tip that Makes a Difference!
or better ....
5 Ways to Visibly Reduce Body Fat in 30 Days
Use Back Up Storage Drive With 1TB of Memory
or better ...
Never Lose Another Computer File Again
Investing Your Money For the Future
or better ...
10 Tips to Save NOW for Your Toddler’s College Education
5. Know the length of an article. A good rule of thumb for the length of an article is between 700 and 1200 words. Again, if you have a specific outlet in mind, check specific submission guidelines for the outlet.
Using your published article. Once published, showcase your articles as part of your resume, in your brochures, as handouts in your presentations, on your website, etc. It gives you credibility—as featured on HuffingtonPost.com, as featured in TIME magazine. Plus, online articles never go away and will turn up when people search for you online. Although bylined articles take care and thought in creating, the benefits of showcasing your book and expertise are priceless.
Sandra Poirier-Diaz is president of Smith Publicity, one of the premier book publicity and book marketing firms in the industry. Since 1997, Smith Publicity has implemented more than 1,000 promotional campaigns. Clients of Smith Publicity have appeared on virtually every major radio and television show, and been featured in top publications across the world. For more information please visit www.smithpublicity.com orSandy@smithpublicity.com
By: Sherrie Wilkolaski
With only a few days left to Christmas, you may be wondering what last minute gift you might get for your favorite author. Here is a list of gifts that you can give any time of year. Most authors won’t come out and ask for what they really want this holiday season, so use this list as your cheat sheet.
1. Buy a copy of the book. Authors love to sell more books. If you know an author (or are just a fan) buy a copy of their book. It will make their day, even if they don’t know it was you. If you already have a copy, buy another and give it as a gift. That’s two gifts for the price of one!
2. Book review. A book review is worth a thousand words. Give the gift of a favorable review this holiday season. Jump on to Amazon.com, GoodReads.com, LibraryThing.com or whatever your favorite reader-centric watering hole is. It will be a gift that keeps on giving, for years to come. If you happen to have the same last name as the author, use your initials or encourage a friend to post a review.
3. Tell your friends. If you’re an avid reader you’ve probably already promoting your favorite books on GoodReads or LibraryThing, so that is great. Be sure your author’s book is on your virtual bookshelf and don’t forget to rate and review it. What about sending out an email to your list of friends and contacts about your favorite book? Everyone is always looking for a new book to read and would probably appreciate the referral.
4.Get social. In this modern day of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a variety of other social media outlets, why not give a shout out and promote your favorite book and author with a tweet, post on Facebook or put them in your LinkedIn network. Get creative. Just one tweet or re-tweet will go a long way…well that is, if you have followers. Don’t forget to post on the author’s Fan Page how much you like their work!
5. Book events. Offer to throw your favorite author a book signing event. Get your friends together, tie it in with your business (if possible) or tie it in with a fundraising promotion. People love to meet authors and authors love book signing events, so do them a favor and organize an event for them. Even if it’s only a few people, it will get people reading and talking about the book. Books are sold one at a time, so every little bit helps!
These are only a few ideas on how you can give back to your favorite author. This holiday season support your favorite author and get creative. It will be the best gift they get all year long!
Photo courtesy of: nicephoto via sxc.hu
Sherrie Wilkolaski is a public relations and marketing expert for independent authors and traditional publishers. Her boutique publishing house style draws authors to her—it’s the measurable results in book sales that keep them loyal. A former Director of Publishing Services at Lulu and Director of Marketing at Author Marketing Experts, Inc., in the past, she has also co-hosted the blog talk radio show, “The Publishing Insiders.” She serves as a publishing columnist for the Raleigh Examiner. Currently, she is a marketing consultant with Infinity Publishing. She is the author of “How to Start a Wedding Planning Business” and the “Cookies and Cocktails” cookbook series. Her third, yet to be titled, book is coming out in the spring of 2012.
A group of Infinity authors will be meeting for a book signing event at the King of Prussia Mall on Saturday, December 17th.
"The Art of the Written Word" event will be hosted at "Nestology", located in The Court of King of Prussia Mall. The store is owned by new Infinity author Caroline Ludovici, whose book "The Obsidian Mask" is due for release the week of the event.
Many of our local authors will also be in attendance to sign and present their books. They include:
Zeni Earnest, a resident of Phialdelphia, PA, will present her book The Clear Secret and A Cup of Coffee & A Blueberry Muffin .
Jane Hamilton, The Caregiver's Guide to Self Care: Help For Your Caregiving Journey .
Timothy Hedrick will present both his books: A Fulfilled Life and A Collection of Thoughts .
Jennifer Monahan, whose travels have taken her to forty-four of the fifty United States, will be signing her book An American in Oz: Discovering the Island Continent of Australia.
Kevin Rebbe, Mr. Stinkas and the Little Cheese Shop.
Laura Rudacille, of York, PA, will be signing her 3 books: Here's The Thing... , Saltwater Cowboy , and Invisible Woman .
James Strait, Déjà vu All Over Again .
S.A. Williams, who was named to Who’s Who in the World, 2001 and 2003, will sign and present her book Anna's Secret Legacy.
The event will be held from 1pm to 6pm. Wine and cheese will also be offered and the event is open to the public.
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