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Paul Krupin’s Trash Proof Marketing and Publicity Blog

Paying for Book Reviews – Are the Book Reviewer Sites Operating in Compliance with FTC Truth in Advertising Disclosure Requirements?

Paying for Book Reviews - Are the Book Reviewer Sites Operating in Compliance with FTC Truth in Advertising Disclosure Requirements?

I am participating in some heated discussion on LinkedIn regarding whether authors should pay for book reviews. Some of the owners and participants of book publishing review sites are touting how valuable the pay for review services are to authors. I openly disagree with their ideas and statements.

On December 3, 2014, Daniel Leffert posted an article on The Indie’s Guide to Paid Publishing. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/authors/pw-select/article/64718-the-indie-author-s-guide-to-paid-reviews.html

I am a former attorney turned publicist who is very much opposed to seeing authors pay for reviews.

I respectfully wish to point out that according to the FTC regulations, if some one (e.g., any of the above companies identified) is paying reviewers and then posting those reviews to a review website for anyone to see, then each post is required to contain an appropriate disclosure.

Do you any of the businesses cited above abide by these requirements? I clicked on the book reviews. I don’t see very many clean and open disclosures.

You can read the regulations yourself here:

http://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/documents/federal_register_notices/guides-concerning-use-endorsements-and-testimonials-advertising-16-cfr-part-255/091015guidesconcerningtestimonials.pdf

or use this sniplink: http://goo.gl/rmtXGQ

Here’s the summary of one of the more interesting examples of FTC enforcement taken in 2012, that illustrates the expectations of the federal government:

The FTC also alleged that Spokeo deceptively posted endorsements of their service on news and technology websites and blogs, portraying the endorsements as independent when in reality they were created by Spokeo’s own employees.

The settlement fine is $800,000.

Here’s the link to this one: http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2012/06/spokeo-pay-800000-settle-ftc-charges-company-allegedly-marketed

Now people may think that the manner in which companies as like Blue Ink, Kirkus, Self-Publishing Review and other companies who offer paid review services self-police themselves is sufficient, but the regs and policy guidance clearly indicates that if each paid review isn’t disclosed sufficiently so that the viewing public knows of the fee arrangement, then they are very likely subject to legal action.

The Federal Trade Commission operates a complaint line too. Anyone can notify them of a situation and ask them to take action to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.

Here is the link to the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant:
https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-6

People can also call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,700 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Hope this helps.


Getting More Publicity – The 3 I Technique Video

So many people struggle when they pitch media for coverage. They really don’t understand what media want and need.

The 3 I Technique makes it very easy to select the best topic and then nail it on the first try.

And with news search engines to aid you it doesn’t matter where you are are at all. You just search on your keywords to identify the most recent media coverage.

Then you use the 3 I Technique and design a proposal for media coverage that matches readership interest and editorial style. Push the conversation forward in a new direction carefully and strategically.


When do you stop marketing?

Never, unless you have one and now two books that are so good they sell by themselves.

Promoting book one evolves into promoting the brand. And the brand is you. Part of every day must be dedicated to reaching out and communicating meaningfully to the people you are seeking to help, or entertain, or work with.

With every breath, you do your best to leave a trail of intellectual candy that taste so good, that after a few bites, people decide they need to have the whole bag.

Posted in Uncategorized

Unique is Not Good enough

What authors need to do to achieve success

Unique is not good enough.

What an author needs to achieve success might include one or more of the following:

Galvanizing
Uncommonly and relentlessly helpful
Magical
Transcends
Irresistible
Remarkable
Revolutionary
Game-Changing
Life-saving
Enlightening
Superbly crafted
Captivating
Pure Gold
Brilliant
True Stand Out
Exceeds All Expectations
Red Hot Imagination
Mesmerizing
Spellbinding
Rich treat
Catapults You Beyond
Brilliantly Plotted
Un-put-downable
Amazing
Perfectly Paced
Engrossing
Fiercely poetic
Lush exquisitely detailed
Gorgeous
Resolute
Page turning
Infectious
Vivid eloquence
Shocking clarity
Rich and intricate
Enthralling
Deeply satisfying
Surprising revelations
Masterful journey


Getting your articles syndicated is challenging but worth it

Getting your articles syndicated is challenging but worth it

I’ve worked on syndication strategies for a number of authors with the designed intent on increasing newspaper and magazine coverage as a means to achieving the platform and name recognition necessary to command a spot at major syndicates like Creators. It’s very difficult to be successful unless you commit to growing your devoted fan base audience and network over a long period of time. The competition is cutthroat. The demands are incredible.

The plan very simply, you create a pitch that offers a formatted ready for publication column designed for cut and paste utilization and you pitch it out there to your target media with four or five additional installments.

You tell the media, try it for free, and if you like it (e.g., the feedback they get helps them sell more subscriptions), then maybe they will buy what you offer on a regular basis. You must be prepared to sell each column cheap $1 to $5 a week for newspapers) and you raise your prices to whatever your market can handle. So $5 a week from each of 100 newspapers is $500 a week. 200 newspapers is $1000 a week. Sounds easy? It’s not.

We have been only semi-successful at this for most people who have tried it. Media actually tell us, “why should we pay you when we have so many people offering to do this for free?” The answer has to be “Quality and Sales” and you have to prove it quick and keep on proving it or they stop paying you.

Sometimes, we pitch single articles and get offered a regular column. Does it pay enough to justify the effort? It depends. Can you syndicate from a single position? Yes. Look at Dave Barry. His humor posts from the Miami Herald were syndicated nationwide.

Can you write something that turns people on like Dave Barry does? Prove it.

Of course, nowadays there are content mills out there that will take contributions from *anyone* who wants to give away content. It helps them grow, but the benefits to the author are often very low, even non-existent. Even a regular contributor position on the famed Huffington Post doesn’t automatically mean that much any more.

The ROI of course really depends on the person and whether the writing produces the interest and conversion to sales. People with expensive or multiple books, products or services income streams have an easier time achieving a break even plus. The ROI (return on investment) and ROTI (return on time invested), is worth it when you make more money off very few sales.

You have to test and pitch and improve and test and pitch again and again and again and again. You don’t just write in a vacuum. You develop, test, deploy, analyze and improve.

My simple acronym for this process is this: CACA

C – Create

A – Ask

C – Create again

A – Ask again

Your objective is to keep on placing things before YOUR people so they can decide to participate, play or purchase. But just realize that this is hard to do. Think about it! When was the last time you read the newspaper, and went and grabbed your credit card.

Few authors realize that creating the book is only the beginning. To be successful they have to find satisfaction in connecting with people again and again till they get enough action to pay for their investment in the work they created. It’s not just mechanics and technology. It’s not just fine art or excellence in creative writing.

There’s persistent, dedicated systematic communication outreach that has to drive people to action.

Success often lives or dies with the close monitoring of the one-to one relationship developed between the author and his or her audience. That is where the author must determine “what did I do and say that turned you on?”

Learn this and you can use the incredible array of media technologies.

Fail to learn this and nothing happens.

Just remember triumph is TRI with UMPH added.


Self Publishing Companies – The Best and the Worst

Search Word Pro - One Page Click Sheet- Self-Publishing Companies Pros and Cons

Search Word Pro – One Page Click Sheet- Self-Publishing Companies Pros and Cons

My new Search Word Pro ebooks are specially designed to help you get the best information marketing available at Google, Bing, SlideShare, YouTube and Pinterest and more. The sole purpose is to help help you discover tactical and actionable guidance to improve your knowledge, capabilities, to make your business grow.

Find the search words you want answers to. Click on an icon link and the desired search results open up. Start reviewing the results.

Search Word Pro – One Page Click Sheet- Self-Publishing Companies Pros and Cons

or sniplink http://goo.gl/G4zoYK

Read what people are saying carefully. Look before you leap. Study what other people are doing and saying. Identify actions you can take to improve what you are doing in your own marketing effort! Tiny changes can have a significant impact on your income.

Comments?


Search Word Pro One Pager on Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies

Search Word Pro One Pager on Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies

Many of you know I am getting ready to publish a new ebook series called Search Word Pro – they help people find the best information available on the Internet. You can see the technology in action here. This is a one page pdf file on “Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies”.

The results are there for all to see. The articles and links are very educational and some of the videos are very entertaining. One piece of advice for all who ponder using any self-publishing company — read the fine print. Know what you are signing up to. Look before you leap.

Here’s the link: “Search Word Pro One Pager on Evaluating Self-Publishing Companies”

or snip: http://goo.gl/BqX7UC

I welcome feedback and questions.


Why media say no and what to do about it

Why media say no and what to do about it

There are four primary reasons why media say no.

Media are publishers (or producers) who make their living off of two income streams: subscriptions and advertising. Every decision they make is tied to maintaining or improving these income streams, or protecting them from damage. When they receive a pitch they tend to need to see answers to three key questions:

1. How many people in my audience are going to be interested in this;

2. what’s the value to my audience; and

3. what will it cost me to do my job (time, resources, camera crews, lawyers, whatever).

The answers to 1 & 2 have to be A LOT of People and A LOT of value. The answer to 3. has to be VERY LITTLE (as in cut and paste, or we’ll come to you).

If you don’t meet these requirements, the answer is usually no.

If you get close, then you have to give them more information or the answer stays no.

The fourth issue is this: Running the article or feature or interview must also not result in really pissing off any of the existing major league advertisers. Media will not run an article if it will threaten their existing income streams.

What do you do?

Evaluate existing media coverage and design your pitch to meet readership interests and editorial style.

Make sure you won’t run afoul of the key advertisers.


Content messaging: Broad or narrow – which ROI is better?

Content messaging: Broad or narrow - which is better?

What did you say today? What did you sell today?

Look at your messaging. Is it aimed broad or is it aimed at a specific niche. Which sells best depends on where and how the ROI is returned?

If ten broad content posts produces a 0.02 percent ROI (in terms of dollars) and the ROTI (return on time invested) and you can get a 2 percent ROI off ten niche posts at the same ROI, then you get 100 times the ROI from your niche posts.

I personally observe in my clients and have experienced myself that broad content also carries a much higher risk of producing a negative ROI, if it produces “energy vultures”. These are people who simply become a time and money wasting drain which reduces and undermines the ROI you get from real prospects and customers.

Traffic does not always equate with profit. Sometimes, there is an investment required to to turn a cold call or inquiry into a hot prospect and paying client.

This is why I train my clients to go where your people are and learn how to turn them on. Usually that means teaching them something they didn’t know before.

But it’s not always niche content that does the trick. I have many clients who are superb generalists. They can be witty, hilarious, and make all sorts of people laugh, cry, cringe in horror or squeal with delight. Hey a half naked man or woman with six pack abs always gets heads to turn.

But when and if you get up close and personal, they turn you off. Their niche communications are too pushy, too impersonal, too demanding, and don’t deliver on the promise or expectations.

The lesson is that you have to develop whatever messaging you use carefully and test it till it gets the action you want. You have to study, analyze and improve every step in the funnel – every communications touch point and the overall process.

If you fail to track, then you lose the ability to know what is really happening. The trick is to take actions that can be tracked and use metrics that matter, so you can manage what you do effectively.

If you do something that helps, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, stop and do something else.

In fact, if you practice and test and improve your messaging so you do this really well, you will make them realize that hiring you (or buying whatever it is you are selling) is simply the best action they can take.


Are you ready to publish? Knowing when you are done.

Are you ready to publish? Knowing when you are done.

Each year I work with hundreds of authors and publishing companies. Very few of them ask enough strangers to give them feedback as part of their book creation process.

What I recommend people do is go slow. Start with family, friends, colleagues, employees and expand the circle till you reach strangers. Show and tell one on one. It’s possible to learn how to sell. That’s the miracle of the microcosm. If you learn what you need to say to people in your little neck of the woods, chances are you can then say the same thing anywhere and everywhere you go and you’ll be equally successful selling your products wherever you go.

But you need to learn those magic words first.You have to write to sell, and the job of writing isn’t done until the book sells. This is where most self-publishers go astray. They publish their book without verifying it was really ready for market. Many don’t even get the help of an editor!

You have to test your ideas and test your product and test your mar-com (marketing communications) on real live people. STRANGERS! You need to identify your end users and the people who will buy the book for your users. Then you need to learn what to say to get these people to take the action you want.

Write to sell and test, test, test. Do this in small doses till you get the right buy signals. Reliably. Not just once or twice, but repeatedly and reliably.

Do 25 to 50 POD versions and test it with these important people.

You’ll know by their behavior and response whether you are really ready to publish the book.

If you can’t get people to even look at it, then you’re not done.

If they look at it and put it down, then you still have work to do.

If people look at it and grab it, you might be done. It depends what happens when they then pick it up and peruse it. If they put it down, then you’re not done.

If you get good comments that say “OMG you turned me on” – capture it, and do more of it.

If you get negative feedback that says “YUCHHH!”, take it out or fix it. Get rid of it.

Improve with the CACA process. Create — Ask — Create Again — Ask Again.

Yes it can be pretty s****. You may choke on your pride and wake up after a sleepless night. You have to have the guts and fortitude to redesign and re-write it till you know you are done because it sings to people. You have to work with your prospective audience to get real feedback, and you must listen to what people say and address the issues you receive.

This may take a lot of reiterations. But one thing is for certain, there is a point that you will reach when you know that you are done. It’s a wonderful thing when you get to this point and know it.

So this is my bottom line advice: Write to sell. Don’t stop writing and re-writing till you know it sells, and sells easily and continuously.

Prove it with small test POD numbers. Use the technology that is available to all of us wisely. Then move it up through the publishing and promotion chain level by level.

In most cases, the author thinks the book should excite and grab people. But it doesn’t always happen that way.

So to me, they still have work to do. But they can’t speculate about what’s wrong, they need real data.

This is what I tell people to do – get the data. Figure out what you need to say and do to produce action that will satisfy your stated goals and objectives:

Go ask your candidate customers. Ask until you are blue in the face and get the hard difficult data and feedback you need to redesign and redo your project.