Showing posts with label #TheFrugalBookPromoter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #TheFrugalBookPromoter. Show all posts

Making Your Book Reviews Into Workhorses



 A Peek at Great Book Review Idea from New Release 

Off-The-Wall -Alternatives

Making Your Reviews Into Workhorses

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

 

Excerpted (and adapted) from Carolyn’s new How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing career to be released this fall.

Authors rarely get the most of their reviews. Surprised? I think it’s either that they are so excited about the review or that the idea of extending a review’s value doesn’t occur to them. Or it’s because so many reviews these days come from readers. They aren’t professionals, so they have no idea how to distribute content beyond posting their review on Amazon.

One of the ways they can get more mileage from their reviews is to get them reprinted in more venues than the reviewer ever planned. Or you do it for them. And, no, it isn’t stealing or plagiarism if you get permission from the reviewer first. In fact, it can benefit the reviewer.
When you get further distribute reviews you already have, it’s like getting a little marketing bonus. Here’s how to do that:

If your reviewer doesn’t normally write reviews (these reviewers are often called reader reviewers), suggest she send her review or the link to her review to her friends as a recommendation.

If your reviewer lives in a town with a small daily or weekly newspaper, she could send her review to them. She may realize the thrill of being published the first time.

Ask your reviewer—even one who writes for a review journal—to post her review on Amazon.com, BN.com, and other online booksellers that have reader-review features. I have never had a reviewer decline my suggestion. It is ethical for a reviewer to do it or give you permission to reuse the review as long as she holds the copyright for the review. (Most reviewers do not sign copyright-limiting agreements with the medium who hires them.) Get more information on Amazon’s often misrepresented review policies in Chapter Eleven, “Managing Your Amazon Reviews.”
  
After you have permission from the reviewer to reprint the review, post it on your blog, on your Web site, and in your newsletter. Use quotations from the reviews to give credibility to selected media releases and queries.
  
Once you have permission to use reviews, send copies of good ones to bookstore buyers and event directors as part of your campaign to do book signings, to speak, or do workshops in their stores. Go to http://www.midwestbookreview.com/links/bookstor.htm for a starter list of bookstores.
  
Send quotations (blurbs) from the reviews you get to librarians, especially the ones in your home town or cities you plan to visit during book tours. Include order information. Try Midwest for a list of libraries.
  
Use snippets from positive reviews as blurbs in everything from your stationery to your blog. (Use your e-reader’s find function to search for other ideas for using your blurbs in this book.)
  
If your reviewer doesn’t respond to your request to post the review on Amazon, excerpt blurbs from them and post them on your Amazon buy page using Amazon’s Author Connect or Author Central features. They will appear on your Amazon sales page.
  
Include the crème de la crème of your reviews on the Praise Page of your media kit and inside the front cover of the next edition (perhaps a mass market edition like the pocket paperbacks sold in grocery stores?). See my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter https://www.howtodoitfrugally.com/frugal_book_promoterII.htm for the complete—and I do mean complete—lowdown on media kits.

Hint: Occasionally authors get reviews on Amazon that, shall we say…don’t thrill them. Reviews like that can be minimized by asking others for reviews. As new reviews are added, the old ones tend to get buried in the lineup of reviews. We can also (pleasantly!) refute a position a reviewer takes using the comment feature—or thank them for bringing something to our attention. We can also dispute their validity with Amazon, though that rarely works.
You can use some of these suggestions as part of your keeping-in-communication-with-reviewers effort after her review has been published.


Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. She taught editing and marketing classes at UCLA Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and carefully chooses one novel she believes in a year to edit. The Frugal Editor (bit.ly/FrugalEditor) award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View's Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences.
Her website is www.HowToDoItFrugally.com.

Be sure to check out: How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically



How Authors Can Get Books into Campus Libraries


Q&A a la Ann Landers

Getting Your Book into Campus Libraries and More!

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

INTRODUCTION:
I occasionally run a Q&A based on the Ann Landers columns in my SharingwithWriters newsletters. I grew to love Landers’ wisdom when I edited the originals way back when I was a staff writer for The Salt Lake Tribune. This is one that received the most feedback since I published my first e-newsletter back in 2003. 

QUESTION

Regarding university bookstores: I know that Random House had my book in their catalog targeting educational sellers. Is there more than that I can do? How would I 
1. identify them and
 2. approach them?

ANSWER

I'm going to use my husband's experience with his What Foreigners Need to Know About America from A to Z as an example because he was so successful with it. 

He put together a form letter (which he tweaks) depending on who it's going to. He goes online and finds areas on campus that could use his book. Great possibilities on campuses include: 
1. College acquisition librarians
2. International student programs and clubs 
3. Campus career centers
4. International studies professors
5. Professors who teach American  literature, history, etc., especially the ones who teach ESL (English as Second Language) students
4. Campus bookstore buyers  

He spends about thirty minutes a day finding all the resources available on one or two campuses. He sends query letters to each of those resources, always trying to address the specific person in charge (and spell his or her name correctly!). Sometimes that's only one contact a day. Some days, when research goes well, it's three or four.  

Lance has had some amazing successes like having his book chosen as gifts/recommendations by the university that hosts the Fulbright Scholars in the US each summer. His book is also been accepted by imore than 300 university libraries and some of those ordered more than one copy. 

He offers a free book to those influencers who show an interest (i.e. those who answer his e-mail) with a “yes!” response. I am “The Frugal Book Promoter,” so I love this approach. It costs less than just sending a book with a cover letter to each contact.  Of course, there is also a cost to sending books when requested, but otherwise using this method doesn’t cost an author anything out of pocket. I love it because the results of one’s efforts are easily traceable. You know, as an example, a professor has recommended it to a class when suddenly you sell thirty-five books all being shipped to the same place! 

I also love it because the dollar-and-cents results have proven to outweigh the expense. 

When Lance gets a perfunctory positive response, he sometimes worries he will be wasting a book. But that response usually results in many more than the sale of one book. He has had requests to use excerpts for professors’ classroom assignments or handouts. (He always provides those who ask for permission to reprint with an extensive bio and sales pitch that he asks them to include as part of the assignment.) The top sale we could trace to his letters (it's sometimes easier for self-published authors to trace sales to a specific effort) was fifty-nine copies. 

One more secret. He is persistent.

One more big benefit: I’s apparent that word travels among universities.  

Here’s an alternative that he tried. It isn't as frugal and not as effective because the contact is not personal, but it’s a lot less time-consuming than his one-on-one method: 

IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) has a catalog that they send out to selected resources. One goes to libraries. A separate one goes to university libraries and another to reviewers.  I've used that service for my books in my HowToDoItFrugally Series of books,too, and a couple of my poetry books. It can be good...or not. Depending on the title. 

Be aware that if you find an instructor who recommends your book or uses it as class reading, the bookstore often stocks the book automatically. But not always. It doesn’t hurt to mention in your query letter that your book was ordered by X university or that Professor X showed an interest in your book in a followup letter to the library’s buyer.

PS: The recommendations and endorsements from many of these contacts also resulted in a request from a Ukrainian press to publish his work in translation. It was also published in Simplified Chinese, apparently through his contact with a Chinese studies program at one of these universities.


MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Howard-Johnson is a multi award-winning novelist and poet who started her writing career in journalism, PR, and marketing. Her multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers has been helping authors since the publication of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; now in its second edition. The multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Editor; is also in its second edition, and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers and The Great First Impression Book Proposal are her inexpensive booklets for writers. Her Getting Great Reviews . She loves to tweet because it is a social network that understands the value of marketing. 

What To Do When a Book--Any Book--"Fails"


Determining What Went Wrong to Get Future Marketing Right

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Once upon a time, way back in the last decade, author and researcher Lisa Ann Hewlett's publicity predicament illustrated to the world of books what we authors suspected all along: Huge amounts of publicity surrounding a release don't necessarily translate into massive sales figures. I still remember it today and am haunted by it whenever a client tells me that her marketing isn’t working.

When a major publicity coup like Lisa’s turns out to be the most bitter dose of rejection we could expect to encounter, it’s an indicator that it could happen to anyone. That may happen even when the publicity is the stuff of which dreams—in Surround Sound and Technicolor—are made of.

It is reported (variably) that Hewlett’s Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children sold between 8,000 and 10,000 copies. Many authors would be ecstatic with sales figures that look like that, but everything is relative. It is believed that Miramax paid a six-figure advance for this title and projected sales in the 30,000 range for hardcover alone. Considering expectations for the book, the figures do appear dismal.

Therefore, smart people in the publishing industry searched for reasons for its less than stellar performance, especially with the kind of publicity this book received, and I mean biggies like Time Magazine (the cover, no less) and several "New York" magazines. TV shows like "60 Minutes," "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," and "NBC Nightly News" lined up behind this book, for heaven's sake. Even Oprah's magic book-sale-wand was not effective.

Hewlett’s book made great news! It warned young career women that they have been mislead by petri dish miracles reported in the press. She pointed out that women have come to believe that they can put conception after career and be reasonably sure they can have still have both. She attempts to exorcise that notion in Quest.

So, just what did go wrong?

Many groused that he title was not scintillating nor was the book’s cover. Those in the know wondered if that influenced book sales. But that’s a huge burden to put on professionally produced book cover or title choice in a book published by an experienced, savvy and BIG publisher. Something else was clearly wrong.

My thirty-seven-year-old-daughter who had just returned to college to embark on a career in anthropology suggested that women don't want to hear the dreadful news. She says, "I just flat out don't want to hear this bad news in the middle of something rewarding, exciting and new! Why would I slap down the price of a book to get depressed?" Another unmarried friend who is also caring for an aging mother said, “I wouldn’t buy it. What am I supposed to do with that kind of information once I have it?” For women like them, delaying childbearing isn’t a choice. It’s a necessity.

All this searching for answers may reap results, may help publicists and publishers and authors determine cause and effect so that this syndrome can be avoided in the future.

The problem lies in the fact that this soul-searching and hullabaloo was misdirected. Even Hewlett says, "I don't know what to make of this absence of huge sales." One can see her shaking her head in disbelief. If someone with her research skills can't figure it out, can anyone? It may be the economy, stupid. Or retailing. Or the book biz.

It's surely something completely out of the author's control unless someone had thought to run the idea by a focus group of career women the age of the book’s expected audience. In the publishing industry, the term “beta reader” is often associated with this kind of research, but it must be accompanied by hard questions posed to the readers and that seems to entail some notion of unforeseen exigencies.

That seems like a bit of a conundrum, don’t you think? To do that, a similar trial I might run for my The Frugal Book Promoter might miss the mark for brand new authors because a large percentage still might be operating on decades-old ideas of what big publishers will do in terms of marketing! If that hadn’t occurred to me or my publisher, we wouldn’t have asked the hard question!



But, I think the most valuable lesson that can be learned with the Quest kind of rejection—any kind, really—is that it is not personal, that it pay to search for the lesson even after the fact.

We must keep the faith, keep writing, and keep publicizing, because if we don't, we’ll never know if a book—or a career—was given the best possible chance at success.

Here’s what I know for sure. I now fear publishing less. If my faith should slip a tad, I know it need not be fatal. I know those things thanks to Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson is an award-winning novelist, poet, and author of the HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. She taught editing and marketing classes at UCLA Extension’s world-renowned Writers’ Program for nearly a decade and carefully chooses one novel she believes in a year to edit.

The Frugal Editor (bit.ly/FrugalEditor) award-winner as well as the winner of Reader View's Literary Award in the publishing category. She is the recipient of both the California Legislature's Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award and the coveted Irwin award. She appears in commercials for the likes of Blue Shield, Disney Cruises (Japan), and Time-Life CDs and is a popular speaker at writers’ conferences.

Her website is https://howtodoitfrugally.com/



Sixteen Ideas for Convincing You to Publish the 'Book Inside You'


Defeating Naysayers and Negative Thoughts

16 Reasons Why You Should Publish a Book 

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Author of the multi award-winning #HowToDoItFrugally Series
of books for writers

There are naysayers enough to fill every dark crevice in your defense against negativity. When people telling you not to publish a book (no, I won’t list all the reasons they will give you), here is a list for you to check to see if you have a viable reason for ignoring them: 

1.    My favorite: You want a book of memories or your genealogy to give to friends and relatives as holiday gifts—or to have just such a record organized and readily available. There are dozens of other examples. Perhaps you are Armenian, and you have dozens of of old-country remedies you’d like future generations (in your family or community) not to forget. 
2.    You want a hobby. You’ll love the book launch. You may love planning a creative book tour, too! 
3.    You want to improve your résumés. For college submissions or your next job. (Of course, if it is a popular book, that might be a more convincing résuméentry, but admissions officers might give a high school junior extra credit for doing something
other than the typical pink-lady kind of charity work.)
a.    This might work especially well if you are looking for a job in the media—from hometown press to online efforts. A blogger with a book? Not bad!
4.    If you are already an author, you often hear “establish yourself as an expert.” A book with the right theme or content can help anyone do that, but a book alone will not do it. An author must take build an entire platform, not just add a plank. Do not be mislead to think, “once published, immediate expert.” 
5.    If you want to run for public office, your book that can be shopped to the media to get more air and print attention, but a booklet you can give away to like-minded people who might support will also work well for you.  Don’t forget e-books that can be downloaded immediately—and free—by anyone!
6.    You are already a public speaker.  Don’t you want an additional income stream from selling your book at the back of the room? Wouldn’t having a book give you a better chance of convincing a program director that they need you? I once attended a free lunch at a chic club sponsored by a large investment firm searching for new clients. The author (or her agent) had sold her appearance by offering an imprinted swag bags with the author’s book and lots of souvenir memories inside for each attendee.
a.    A book might be a pathway to using your speaking skills as a spokesperson for a large corporation or your favorite foundation. You have seen celebrities do it, but you need only be an charismatic expert with speaking skills to find success this way.
7.    You are speaker who has been mostly speaking for free. In combination with a good marketing plan, more high-powered program directors with an available budget might find your resume more appealing.
8.    You are becoming aware that you must brand yourself. There are lots of ways to do this—some of them are outlined in my The Frugal Book Promoterbut most any profession, product, or business can benefit from having a published book as part of their branding. I’ve been in many doctors’ offices that distribute booklets, but a couple give away their entire book which is branding that suggests not only generosity as well as expertise. That book--an extra benefit for the same price as that expensive procedure—may get passed along to others. “Free” books are about building buzz.
9.    You are dedicated to a nonprofit group. There is power is ideas and words. A book might convince others to support the same group. A book might help that group get what they need from their own members. I published a booklet to encourage college seniors to continue their dedication to our group as alumnae. And I didn’t have to write it myself. Many members contributed anecdotes about how continued participation had benefited them. Booklets like this can be given as gifts or sold to raise funds for pet projects.
10.  Publishing houses love books that are suitable for selling spin-off products. But this works the other way around. You have a toy you’d like to market. Write a book using the toy as a character! Think about The Little Engine That Could.
11.  A screen writer once took a class from me at UCLA. He thought if he wrote a book, he could break into the movie business more easily. It’s possible! He was already great with dialogue, right? What he didn’t plan for is the steep learning curve required to write narrative. Even a screenplay writer with manuscripts secreted away in the bowels of her computer might suddenly become more interesting to Hollywood if an she has an amazing, original story or manages to make a book into a bestseller.
12.  Advocate. Your advocacy could be inspired by your religion, your passion for what yoga can do for lives, your politics, your profession. If you have a knack for inspiring others—personally or professionally—you may ask yourself what took you so long to write your book.  
13.  You want more visits to your website. Would a free book (or a book with a catchy title) attract extra clicks? Expect that you must use marketing skills to make an offer like this attract attention. I have been heard to say, “For a promotion to be successful, ya gotta promote the promotion!” 
a.    Here’s a reason you might want to draw more eyes to your site: The more traffic, the more ads you can sell on your site and the more you can charge for them. 
14.  You can publish to publish. The book you write and publish on your own might lead to an agent and an offer from a big publisher. This is not the direct line to such a goal, but it sometimes works out that way. 
15.  My least favorite reason: You can get revenge or speak out. This has been particularly popular in recent years, and if you live in a place that has a free press or free speech amendment, you have the right. In spite of my negativity, this kind of book works very well. A book like this has a better chance to sell well because—as they say—“controversy sells.”
16.  And last, you just want to publish a book. Call it ego. Why not. The learning curve necessary to make yourself proud is steep, but it’s also a lot of fun!

MORE ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST BLOGGER

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and retailer to the advice she gives in her HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers and the many classes she taught for nearly a decade as instructor for UCLA Extension’s world-renown Writers’ Program. The books in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers have won multiple awards. That series includes both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter 

and The Frugal Editor won awards from USA Book News, Readers’ Views Literary Award, the marketing award from Next Generation Indie Books and others including the coveted Irwin award. How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethicallyis the newest book in her HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers.

Howard-Johnson is the recipient of the California Legislature’s Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment Award, and her community’s Character and Ethics award for her work promoting tolerance with her writing. She was also named to Pasadena Weekly’s list of “Fourteen San Gabriel Valley women who make life happen” and was given her community’s Diamond Award for Achievement in the Arts. 
                  
The author loves to travel. She has visited eighty-nine countries and has studied writing at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom; Herzen University in St. Petersburg, Russia; and Charles University, Prague. She admits to carrying a pen and journal wherever she goes. Her website is www.howtodoitfrugally.com



Turning Jealousy into Success: Did Someone Beat You to It?

Turning Jealousy into Success
Or What You Can Do To Be the Featured Expert

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Someone Beat You To It, Huh?

Maybe we all have a tendency to feel disgruntled when our local newspaper quotes an expert who isn’t (really, he isn't!) as expert as we are! 

We feel even worse when when CNN features a talking head on the subject of their book and they disagree with us! 

Seems we have some choices. We can grumble to ourselves and lose sleep. We can write to whoever was remiss and complain. Or we can take positive action.

Here are your dos and don'ts: 

·     Whatever you do, do not complain on a social network or to the producer/talk show host or other media person about their lack of foresight (and appreciation of your brilliance).
·     Use your Googling skills to contact whoever was in charge (or to blame!) for this lack of foresight. Give yourself enough time to cool off and put your tactful hat on. Then, and only then, do you approach them. And you use a tactful approach: Something like, "Perhaps next time [subject x] comes up, you would like a different perspective on the topic. I also can offer expertise on related topics like xx and xx." 
·     Now it's time to use your query letter skills. Introduce yourself. Be very clear about your credentials. Unless you are famous, use your credential upfront--before your name per the advice of master PR Person Raleigh Pinsky. She gave me permission to use her script/template for how to approach reporters and others responsible for stories to put in the Appendix of The Frugal Book Promoter, second edition.  She explains that name-after-credentials plan. 
·       Send a product sample or a copy of your book with your media kit along with your query letter.
·      Repeat the process again when something similar hits the news. Your goal is to be remembered--or, better yet, be there when your editor or contact needs you.  Expand your campaign to include others who might cover the same kind of story.

Here's the number one biggest mistake you can make:
Don’t assume that because you write fiction, you can’t be an expert. Or because you are self-published, your expertise doesn't count. 
Of course your voice counts!  I am an expert on tolerance, polygamy, and a host of related subjects based on the theme and setting of my novel This Is the Place (www.bit.ly/ThisIsthePlace).  And yes, an author's expertise may rely at least in part on her profession outside the publishing industry.   All you have to do is examine the subjects of your fiction and see how it relates to what’s in the news. And be ready next time that subject come up in the news.  
Not all missed opportunities are missed forever. They can inspire us to do better next time around. 
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Carolyn Howard-Johnson is the author of the multi award-winning series of #HowToDoItFrugally books for writers including USA Book News’ winner for The Frugal Book Promoter. An instructor for UCLA Extension's renowned Writers Program for nearly a decade, she believes in entering (and winning!) contests and anthologies as an excellent way to separate our writing from the hundreds of thousands of books that get published each year. Two of her favorite awards are Woman of the Year in Arts and Entertainment given by members of the California Legislature and Women Who Make Life Happen, given by the Pasadena Weekly newspaper. She is also an award-winning poet and novelist and she loves passing along the tricks of the trade she learned from marketing those so-called hard-to-promote genres.


How to Sell Your Book in Bulk

  by Suzanne Lieurance Did you know that studies have shown that most self-published authors sell fewer than 200 copies of their book?   Tha...