Showing posts with label Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Author Carolyn Howard-Johnson. Show all posts

Friday, August 5, 2022

How to Jumpstart Book Sales with Reviews and Excerpts

August 5, 2022, #2 in Carolyn's Guestpost Series for #WritersontheMove Blog

How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts

By Carolyn Howard-Johnson

This is the second in Carolyn’s guest post series with excerpts from her 
Feel free to retrieve the first entry for this series from this blog’s July 5, 2022 entry, 
and follow the four-part series through to October 5, 2022.

“Very simply put, reviews are the gift that keeps giving.” ~ CHJ

This is the second in my guest post series on getting and using credible reviews and on making them into forever reviews to launch a book or to jumpstart the sales of a book that has been around for a while. It is always my pleasure to share excerpts from my multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers when I can reach (and help!) more authors with that information. Do go back to the first in this series of posts published on this blog on July 5, 2022, or read the entire book, 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 get a more complete story on the magic of reviews and blurbs. You’ll benefit from all 300 pages of it, including how to get and use mail order catalogs and why you should.

Using Your Reviews and Excerpts Now and Forever

The beauty of reviews and the praise extracted from them is that you can continue to use them as long as you want, and some can be used for more than just the book that is being reviewed. An example of that is a review or excerpt from a review that praises your writing style as opposed to the specific title. With that in mind, you are ready to go to work making your new reviews (and your old ones) into marketing workhorses for your entire writing career.

§   Post full reviews on your blog. The post works best if you introduce it with a little information about the reviewer, the journal, or your personal response to having received it. You can use excerpts in the sidebar of your blog, too.

To extend the exposure of your review, submit it to my The New Book Review blog (thenewbookreview.blogspot.com). I started it to help authors when I realized it would be a physical impossibility to say yes to review requests from my many readers and students. If you use it, please follow the submission guidelines in the tabs on the home page of the blog exactly. Because I am frugal with time, I try to make this process a copy-and-paste operation.

Use both full reviews and excerpts on your web site.

o   Put your favorite review on your book’s page within your web site. You should have one complete review for every book you publish (and a separate page on your web site for each book you publish).

o   Use short excerpts from reviews on almost every page of your web site: In the footer of each page, in a sidebar, and in a table or cell to help break up copy. You may find other places to install an excerpt/blurb/endorsement as your web site grows.

o   Should you get a review in a prestigious journal, use a phrase like “As seen in Publisher’s Weekly” on your homepage, on other appropriate spots on your site, and in your general marketing campaign.

Announce any new reviews you get on your social networks. When you do this, use a light voice to avoid appearing braggadocio like a Donald-Trump-Running-for-President. He may be able to get away with it, but you probably won’t. Instead, frame it as a thank you to the person who gave you the review, the medium where it appeared, or both. Link to the review (that’s doing the reviewer a favor) and tag her using the little @ sign so she is aware that you cared enough to promote her web site or journal. By doing so, you are paving the way to assure she more easily accepts your next book for review.

Send out media releases (also called—less accurately—press releases) to the local press when you get a review in a prestigious review journal. Use the filter on your contact list to pull out media that might be interested. If you live in a metropolitan area with a major newspaper, they may view this kind of release as clutter, but your local throw-away paper or subsidiary news or feature editor may love it.

Use an excerpt from your review in any one or all of these places where an endorsement will make people more aware of your book:

o   Use quotations excerpted from reviews as part of your signature.

o   Put the crème de la crème excerpts from your reviews on the Praise Page in your media kit. For media kits, use short blurbs rather than long ones. Bullets help each excerpt (blurb) stand out and indicates to gatekeepers who read it that you cared enough to make it easy for them. Get step-by-step instructions for writing and assembling a professional media kit in the third edition of my The Frugal Book Promoter (bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII) now published by Modern History Press.

o   Use an excerpt on your preprinted mailing labels as part of your branding.

o   Use them the same way on your checks.

o   Feature them on your return-address labels. Your return labels can be much larger than the ones charity organizations send you. I use Vistaprint.com for these. I try to find room for my book cover image and sometimes an excerpt from a review as well.

o   Use them on the back cover of your book, of course.

o   In How To Get Great Book Reviews I talk about how you can use excerpts on a page of praise just inside the front cover of you next book or future editions of the book you are working on.

o   Send the excerpt from your review to event planners at bookstores in your hometown or cities you’ll be visiting. Encourage them to post it near the display of your book when you read or do a workshop for them.

o   Make a short excerpt praising your book part of your query letter for a book signing or workshop.

o   Use praise in the header or footer of your stationery.

o   When appropriate, use or adapt something someone has said about your book as a motto.

o   Use excerpts from your reviews (credited, of course!) in handouts you distribute when you speak or present at conferences or tradeshows. Use them like this:

Examples you share in the body of your handout.

o   In the header or footer of your handout.

o   Near your contact information.

o   Use excerpts on your business cards or bookmarks.

o   The U.S. postal service now offers specially printed postage stamps. Did you ever dream your picture might someday land on a postage stamp? Now you can do it (for a fee). Include your book’s cover and a brief excerpt from a review. Sometimes you can take a cue from the movie industry and excerpt just one word like this:

“ . . .  Scandalous!” ~ Publishers Weekly

o  Don’t forget to use excerpts (blurbs) as endorsements in your newsletter.

o   A thank-you feature in the #SharingwithWriters Newsletter I am about to reinstate served (and will serve) several purposes. Yes, gratitude. But it also extends the exposure of my reviews or other promotions. It’s about networking. It acts as a resource for my subscribers with links they will find valuable for getting reviews for their own books or to find books for their own reading pleasure. Subscribers who choose to submit their successes also get a little extra publicity.

o   Use excerpts from reviews judiciously in the footers, backmatter, or frontmatter of other books you publish, or new editions of the book that was originally reviewed.


Note: “Books you publish” might include whitepapers, e-books, or booklets you give away as promotions. Read the case study of my most successful cross-promotional booklets of this e-cookbook in The Frugal Book Promoter (bit.ly/FrugalBookPromoIII). The idea can be adapted to most genres.

Use one of your pithiest excerpts on the signs you take to book fairs, book signings, conferences, and tradeshows.

Tip: Kinko’s/FedEx is a good place to get a poster made and laminated. Floor- and table-standing retractable canvas banners (as seen in photo) are expensive but worth it if you frequently choose these kinds of events because they are sturdy enough to use over and over and easy to roll and fold for travel.



Circle September 5, 2022, on your calendar for the next post in this series of four excerpted from How To Get Great Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Earlier posts in this series start on July 5, 2022, and cover topics that help you make your reviews into marketing magic that pretty much lasts forever.


More on Guest Blogger and Regular WritersOnTheMove Contributor 


Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain to the advice she gives in her multi award-winning 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. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter,now in its third edition from Modern History Press, and her winningest book, 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. The third full book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

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 ninety one countries before her travels were so rudely interrupted by Covid 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 Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Carolyn Howard-Johnson Shares How to Make Reviews into Marketing Workhorses

 


July 5, 2022, #1
How to Make Reviews into Marketing Workhorses
By Carolyn Howard-Johnson
This is the first of a series of guest posts for #WritersontheMove 
that help writers understand the power of reviews with excerpts from her 
How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically: 
The ins and outs of using free reviews to build and sustain a writing caree
r

Follow them on the fifth of each month through October 5, 2022.
“Very simply put, reviews are the gift that keeps giving.” ~ CHJ
So you have a review now. Maybe it’s your first. Maybe it’s your umpteenth. You may be able to determine that sales resulted from it. You may not. If not, you may be disappointed. Don’t be. The work a review can do for you has just begun. Here are a few ways you can extend its usefulness.

Permission To Reprint the Review
The sooner we ask for permission to reprint any review we get, the better. That gives us the freedom to use it as needs arise. As our file of reviews-with-permission grows, we come to understand that it is an unmatched cache of promotion jewels.
The best way to get permission to reprint from amateur and reader reviewers is to ask the reviewer personally. If your review is in a journal, you may not know who the reviewer is, but you can ask the editor or publisher for permission. Tell either contact you would like to reprint. Ask them how they would like to be credited and what link and other contact information they would like you to use. Just these two questions should suggest to your reviewer that they could benefit from giving you that permission. Add those details to your file so you it will nudge you to the right thing long into the future when you may decide to use it again.

Keep in mind that copyright law gives you the right to quote excerpts from a review without asking. So if all your grant-permission-rights efforts fail, you can choose, quote, and credit a positive sentence or phrase from the review when you can get permission—and when you can’t--as long as you credit the reviewer. The guidelines for quoting from a review are called fair use and they differ from genre to genre and situation to situation. But for novels and full books of nonfiction, Amazon uses twenty-five words as a guideline and I trust they have great copyright attorneys advising them.

Caveat: Getting unnecessary permission can be cumbersome and counterproductive. Or it can be a great advantage. When you’re working with reviews, asking permission can slow you down, but it can also earn you friends as you work with those who reviewed your book. They are influencers in communities of readers. So balance your decision-making process each time you get a review. Ask yourself, Is the reviewer and/or publisher prestigious, credible, approachable? Is the long-term advantage of networking worth the time and effort in your schedule as it exists in this moment. I hope you use networking approach most often. A great contact (read that friend!) is almost always worth the time it takes to make one.

Here is how to use both the reviews and blurbs excerpted from my 300-page-plus How To Get Great Reviews. It will help WritersontheMove subscribers and visitors extract ethical blurbs (endorsements) from their reviews and credit them appropriately.

Excerpting Blurbs and Endorsements from Reviews

Most of us weren’t taught this excerpting business in school, probably because excerpting seems such a nonissue. Many have no idea how to do it and don’t realize they need to figure it out. They can go miserably astray.

Blurbs may be neglected because there is confusion about what they are. I have heard them called endorsements, testimonials, praise, quotes, blurbs, and even bullets because they are frequently printed on the back cover of books set off by little BB-sized dots.

When my husband solicited blurbs from VIPs in the Asian community for his first book What Foreigners Need to Know about America from A to Z (bit.ly/AmericaAtoZ), he came up with a few other . . . ahem! . . . choice words for getting them. He had been told it is a difficult process. Difficult, but not impossible. He ended up with endorsements from the ambassador to China from the U.S. and the ambassador from China to the U.S. This illustrates why authors shouldn’t listen to naysayers who think approaching influencers is futile. You can do it and you can do it effectively. His step-by-step method takes a full section in How To Get Great Book Reviews and it may be something you need for your process. But for now, the excerpting process is easy and a lot of fun. Let’s say you have a review that includes some praise or even a word that made you happy. Perhaps the rest of it wasn’t all you’d like it to be. Perhaps (yikes!) it doesn’t include your name or title! Here’s how to proceed:

    Put on your marketing bonnet and reread your review thinking “soundbites” or the phrases that remind you of the praise you see in ads for movies. Many of them are excerpts or little clips from advance reviews of that film.
    Choose the little gems that make you glad you wrote the book. Some will be very short. Even one word. Shorties are used for everything from restaurants to movies because they emphasize the raves that are . . . mmmm, over the top—even forbidden when publishers and authors use them about their own work. Words like awesome and fantastic.
    Select some of the praise that points out the benefit a reader might get if he or she reads your book.
    When you must leave something out of the sentence you choose, let ellipses (three little dots…) take the place of those missing words.
    Sometimes you need to substitute for purposes of clarity or brevity. If the blurb says, “If there is any justice in the world, this book is destined to be a classic,” and you would rather have the title of your book in that excerpt rather than this book, you can do that. Remove this book and replace those words with the name of the book: “Two Natures by Jendi Reiter.” You need to put the squarish brackets around the part you insert yourself. So it would read “… if there is any justice in the world, [Two Natures by Jendi Reiter] is destined to be a classic.”

Note: You can see that your job is to make the excerpt as true to the original meaning as possible without sacrificing its value.

    Stow your excerpts in a file you can refer to later. Be sure to include the accreditation for each blurb. That avoids confusion later and makes using one of them a quick copy-and-paste process. The best accreditation included the name and of the reviewer and the entity the review was published in or the position or book the reviewer is most known for.
    Though we should also take care when we quote others, it is legal to quote for certain purposes and in certain amounts without getting permission especially if you write commentary, satire, criticism, academic material, or news reports. Reviews are considered criticism. If you are using your reviews efficiently, you will probably already have permission to reprint according to guidelines we’ve already mentioned. (Use How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically’s Index to look up all the references to copyright in that book.)
    The number of words you can use without permission depends upon the size of the copyrighted work as a whole. Guidelines differ from genre to genre. Find specific guidelines at the Library of Congress web site (loc.gov/) or let a research librarian help you. The online bookstore division of Amazon protects itself by allowing quotations and blurbs of up to twenty-five words directly from reviews.

Note: Those who want to learn more about copyright law as it applies to authors will find help in Literary Law Guide for Authors: Copyrights, Trademarks and Contracts in Plain Language (bit.ly/LitLawGuide) by Tonya Marie Evans and Susan Borden Evans with a foreword by my deceased friend and book marketing guru Dan Poynter.

Once you have asked for reprint rights or a review journal like Midwest Book Review notifies you when your review has been posted and the notification includes permission to reuse it—a very nice service that benefits both Midwest and you—record each permission you are given in a folder reserved for great blurbs and reviews. Use  a subfolder for each of your book titles. At that point, you are ready to go to work.

Watch for my next guest blog on WritersontheMove on August 5, 2022. We’ll cover ways you never imagined you could use your reviews and the excerpts (blurbs or endorsements) you have gleaned from them. Trust me, there are probably several free and frugal ways to use your blurbs and endorsements you have never thought of. If you can’t wait, try my How To Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically at https://bit.ly/GreatBkReviews available as an ebook or paperback.



More on Guest Blogger and Regular WritersontheMove Contributor 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson brings her experience as a publicist, journalist, marketer, and founder and owner of a retail chain to the advice she gives in her multi award-winning 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. All her books for writers are multi award winners including both the first and second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter, now in its third edition from Modern History Press. Her multi award-winning 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. The third full book in the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers is How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically.

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 ninety-one countries before her travels were so rudely interrupted by Covid 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 Web site is www.howtodoitfrugally.com.



How to Jumpstart Book Sales with Reviews and Excerpts

August 5, 2022, #2 in Carolyn's Guestpost Series for #WritersontheMove Blog How to Use Your Reviews and Excerpts By Carolyn Howard-Johns...