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Publicity Planner for 2010

Publicity Planner for 2010

Publicity Planner for 2010

Each year I create an annual publicity plan to help people look ahead and map out their ideas for acquiring publicity throughout the year.

This unique publicity planner provides a month-at-a-glance roadmap to holidays throughout the year and identifies the lead time for each holiday.

The special design makes it easy to develop a detailed personalized framework of key dates and events so that you map out your strategy and ideas to promote your book or your writing in 2010.

You can get it along with lots of other free downloads here

Publicity Planner for 2010 – http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-downloads/

Or just click here to download the pdf file stratight away.

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/Publicityplan2010.pdf

Incredible book publicity & promotion innovation demonstrated on the NYC Subway

Incredible book publicity & promotion innovation demonstrated on the NYC Subway

Hats off to The Book Bench and the Book Department at the New Yorker for a great snapshot of a truly innovative approach to book promotion.

Timely topic, Great energy and enthusiasm, and almost free! (cost of a subway token!)

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2009/12/1000-words-diy.html

Do note that they are asking for more picture tells a thousand word book related photo submissions at the web site.

We need to ask for a follow up to see if the author gets a NYC publisher!

Free Book Publicity Podcast – Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book?

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book? You betcha!

On November 19th, 2009 I had a wonderful time being interviewed for Authors Access with Victor R. Volkman and Irene Watson about whether Press Releases are still revelant to marketing and promoting books.

We covered a wide-range of talking points, including:

* So What Exactly Is A News Release?

* Why Is This So Hard To Do? What Makes This So Special?

* So What Exactly Do Media People Look For When They Receive A News Release?

* So What Do You Need To Do To Write A News Release That Really Works & Truly Gets Media Attention?

* How do you know when you’re ready?

* What Specifically Should Authors Do To Create This Galvanizing Candy ­This Magic Script.

* What is the Magic Formula (DPAA+H)? (“Dramatic Personal Achievement in the face of Adversity, plus a little Humor”)

* Which Are Better For Authors To Aim At – Book Reviews Or Feature Stories & Why?

* How do you know when you achieve success with a news release?

* So once you have a trash proof news release, what do you do with it

Download the free Authors Access podcast interview free at:

http://authorsaccess.com/archives/164
A pdf file that summarizes all the talking points is also available here:

Are News Releases Effective for Marketing Your Book? http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/arepressreleasesaneffectiveway.pdf

The Trash Proof News Releases is available as a free ebook at Smashwords:

Trash Proof News Releases

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/5921

If you write what you think is a trash proof news release, send it to me and I’ll send you my extra two bits!

Paul@DirectContactPR.com

Getting more book reviews for self-published books

Getting more book reviews for self-published books

Self-published authors often complain about how hard it is to get book reviews. Many of my clients are self published authors.

I don’t think that media distinguish books by whether they are from self-publishers or quality publshers that much any more. Some do, but it’s because they make an assumpition of quality. That is what they really seek to do anyway so as not to waste their time. They separate books that are quality books from books that are not.

Self published books get reviews day in day out. I will heartily affirm the advice from Jacqueline Simmons of Beagle Bay and Jim Cox of Midwest Book Review that a quality book is the first essential requirement.

But there is a second essential requirement you need to get down pat especially if you want to achieve financial success with your book.

That is this: You have to talk to your target audience and persuade them to take action to get your quality product. That means that the messages you create have to communicate meaningfully and incite and even galvanize these people to action.

There are many ways that authors can do that. The best way is to simply decide that you want to truly impress and interest the right people. So start with this question:

Who is going to be most interested in what I can talk about? This can’t be “everyone”. It has to be people in a pool or group that has similar interests. Then you have to think up how you are going to reach them and communicate with them. You have to identify the communications technology and pathway you will use.

Finally you ask yourself to identify what are you going to say in three minutes that will get them to come right up and hand you money.

You may think this is a crazy way to sell books or to get book reviews, but I do this for authors for a living. Authors are actually the best person to identify “the magic words” because when they start talking sincerely and openly and get spontaneous and excited about their writing, that’s when they say the things that interest people the most.

AND THE BEST PART ABOUT THIS IS THAT YOU CAN DO THIS ANYWHERE.

But you may need help with this. You may need to work with someone who watches your audience when you talk and notices what happens when you say certain things. What you are looking for is the sentences and speech that gets people to drill you with rapt attention.

You need to identify and capture what you say that really turns people on.

This is the exact language and information that you need to use in your news releases that get you book reviews. This is what you need to use so that you also get feature stories and interviews. You need to learn what you can say that really turns people on. It may or may not be inside the book you wrote. Don’t think that it has to be out of the book. It can be about you, your topic, your dog or your Aunt Tilly. It just has to be so good that people get so interested in you that they are persuaded to take a look at your creation.

From my experience with authors and experts of all types, what it really comes down to is a three to five minute piece that galvanizes people with you doing what you absolutely do the best. There is a method that I use to help people develop what they need. Here it is:

Imagine being in front of 20 to 30 of the very best people you think would be most interested you and what you do. Describe these people so that you have a picture of who they are and what they look like.

Now identify the absolute most interesting topic, challenge, or problem situation you can think of, that will interest the maximum number of people just like them.

NOW give them your five to ten best tips, problem solving actions, ideas, stories, jokes, or lessons learned. WHATEVER! Just focus your energy on your target audience and give them your very best. Can you give these people your ten commandments? Can you knock their socks off so that half of them come flying out of their chairs with their pocketbooks or wallets open? (BTW that’s a 50 percent response). That’s your goal. Do you realize that even if you only get one in ten to buy, that’s a ten percent response, and that’s still remarkable. Most business operate their marketing profitably at a much lower response rate. Less than 1 percent.

I want you to pretend you have three to five minutes to give a these people eight to maybe ten absolutely phenomenal show stoppers. That means for ten items, you have less than 20 seconds or less for each one, plus a one minute intro and a one minute ending.

This is what we put into your news release. This si what you offer to reviewers to get them interested in your book. Don’t think that all you need to do is describe your book. That’s not going to cut it. You need to prove that people will be interested. You need to communicate and demonstrate the value to the audience.

The goal is to create a vision for the media that clearly illustrates and allows them to see in their minds — How you can help or entertain or educate the people you can help or educate or entertain the most.

Focus less on ideas than on actions that people can take to deliver immediate or tangible real time or near term benefits, impacts, or predictable consequences. These show stoppers should be “Do This Today” types of actions.

This forms the core content to the news release/show proposal pitch.

These will also be publishable as an article with some caveats we can add to the beginning and ending of the core content to turn it into a proper news release offering. It will also become the core script for a Q & A style interview, so they serve many purposes. These ideas will also persuade media editors to ask for and review your book.

You can do whatever you can do. You just have to be your wittiest and most galvanizing self. You can be humorous and/or serious, just be good and make them memorable. Keep them G Rated.

This method works. I use it all the time to get my clients to stop selling and really create, develop and offer the media the news, education and entertainment they need to decide to give people media coverage. I used this technique with authors of all types.

Want proof? Create a Google News Alert on the words ‘book review’ so you can receive clips and see who’s getting covered to your heart’s content like this:

http://news.google.com/news/search?pz=1&ned=us&hl=en&q=book+review+

Study the results each day and see how the media is writing about book authors these days. Evaluate existing coverage and use my 3 I technique.

So here’s the bottom line. I hope you take may advice. Self published authors do get reviews.

First WRITE A GOOD BOOK.

Second LEARN HOW TO TURN PEOPLE ON WHEN YOU SPEAK ABOUT YOUR BOOK.

Help the people you can help the most and offer the very best most educational and entertaining three to five minutes of talk you possibly can.

BY the way, if you do follow this advice, send me your best tips or talking points in an email message. I’ll be happy to comment and give you recommendations on what you’ve created and show you how to go the distance to create a news release that will produce the maximum results.

This is how you’ll get the most media response, the best book reviews and the most effective publicity you’ve ever experienced. You’ll also sell more books.

I guarantee that once you create and prove this little script of yours and once you really get it down and prove to yourself that it’s repeatable, you can use it again and again everywhere you go. That’s the miracle of the microcosm in America. We’ve got a country of 330 million media indoctrinated people, and once you learn how to galvanize them in your back yard, you can use technology to repeat the message and reproduce the response again and again.

A Book Publicity Success Story for a book published over ten years ago

A Book Publicity PR Success Story - about a book published over ten years ago

I just had to share this one hot off the press.

About a month ago I wrote a news release for client Susan Casey, author of the book Women Invent! The book was first published in 1997.

I decided to create a feature story and I worked with the author to develop quality detailed content with an offer of photos highlighting the accomplishments and achievements of famous women inventors from the past 100 plus years. We sent out the news release email html in early February to a custom list of science, education, and women’s media nationwide.

Here’s the link to the article published yesterday March 31, 2009 in Fast Company Magazine:

http://www.fastcompany.com/article/some-greatest-inventors-were-women

Lesson learned – the age of the book doesn’t matter. Galvanizing content and timeliness matters.

March is Women’s History Month.

Good to the last drop!

If anyone wants to see the news release pdf file please send me an email.

Paul J. Krupin – Direct Contact PR
Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
http://www.DirectContactPR.com Paul@DirectContactPR.com
800-457-8746 509-545-2707
http://blog.directcontactpr.com/

Washington Post drops stand alone book review section

Washington Post drops stand alone book review section

The Washington Post is dropping their stand alone book section and will be moving book reviews into other sections of the paper…

See the whole story http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/28/AR2009012802208.html

End of an era.

Publicizing and Promoting By Helping People the People You Can Help the Most

Tactics and strategies for getting the best publicity that creates interest and sales

It’s perhaps the most common question I hear after a client walks in the front door. I wrote a book, now what do i do?

I reviewed many years of doing PR and marketing for thousands of clients and from experience, it appears that it all comes down to …

HELPING THE PEOPLE YOU CAN HELP THE MOST

What is the most effective communication that you can put in front of people that will get them interested in what you have to offer? What type of message will attract more of the right type of people to you and will create the best and lasting impression? How can you maximize your sales with the lowest possible budget?

There are several types of news releases or marketing communications that you can choose to use to get peoples’ attention and interest. Sure, you can create a product announcement, a book review or a personal story about your quest to create a book or a product. But these types of messages tend to produce a relatively low impact on how much coverage you get and how many products or services you sell. That’s because it’s all about you and you fail to really give the media what they want the most.

The best media coverage results when you offer something of value that appeals to lots of people in the audience at a deep personal level.

By far, the highest impact media coverage and sales comes from value-packed problem solving messages placed before needy people in a dramatic way.

What this means is that you if you want publicity and sales you need to craft your messages and couple them with actions so that you help the people you can help the most.

With authors and publishers this usually means that you create and use a problem solving tips article approach which identifies a crucial problem and offers your best advice on how to solve or alleviate that problem.

Then when people read or see this type of message, they experience hope and desire for these benefits, and they contact you and purchase the book, product or service that you offer.

There are three key questions you need to answer to use this technique successfully.

• What can you do to help people?
• Who are the people you can help?
• How can you reach them to let them and others know you can help them?

This technique is very powerful. Helping people in need gets attention. It brands you as a helpful person. It motivates people to find out more about you. Depending on the value of your help, it even creates a sense of obligation that triggers a reciprocal response. Of course, the beneficial impacts this has on your relationships with your prospects and customers dramatically reduces the barriers to sales. It can also be so powerful that people realize that to get as much of you as they really need, they need to hire you or buy what you offer.

With non-fiction books, products and expert professional services this technique the help you offer is based on the topic in which you are most expert. The people you focus on are those who need your expertise the most.

Even if you are a fiction author, you focus those people who are most interested in your type of work and you choose to be helpful, entertaining, inspiring and galvanizing so that they get interested in you and what you have to offer.

What is Help? To help means to give support or assistance that solves a problem or improves a situation in some tangible way. To help means to give a remedy or provide relief to someone or do something for someone else that enables them to achieve something they want, need or desire.

Help can be a noun. You can give people something tangible or intangible that they do not have enough of.

Help can be a verb. You can do something for people that they cannot do by themselves.

To offer help you must identify a problem or issue that people are experiencing. You can identify the barriers or challenges people face. A barrier to progress is an opportunity for problem solving.

Then you must identify what they must do to address or overcome that barrier. You have to look inside yourself and find knowledge and experience that you are particularly qualified to present in a fashion that people will trust with confidence.

You then organize these actions or ideas into a presentation and deliver them to the people you are trying to help so that they can receive the support or the assistance and can act on your advice to receive and experience the benefits you offer.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP PEOPLE?

Step one is to identify what you can do to help people.

There are lots of ways you can people. Think about what you do best. Think about what you created. Think about how you have learned to make a difference to people in their lives. Decide to focus and harness your energies to help people. Think about the biggest problems people in your target group face. Identify what you can do to help them.

Look over this list of possible ways to help people. Then come up with your best ideas.

Physically

Go to them
Go with them
Be with them
Lift them up
Pick them up
Transport them
Shelter them
Protect them
Bring whoever they need to them
Bring whatever they need to them
Bring them wherever they need to go

Mentally

Guide people to better choices
Consult, give advice, provide counsel, listen and console
Teach people how to do something better
Explain how to do something important
Explain how to do something better
Tell people exactly how to build, create, develop, find, or achieve something
Tell people how to avoid disaster, pain, anguish, or negative experiences
Provide interpretation to help people achieve greater understanding
Simplify and explain a complex poorly understood issue, topic or mystery
Tell stories to demonstrate a concept
Provide information to fill in a lack of knowledge

Materially

Give people what they need or want
Give money, food, shelter, materials, water, staple items, essential sundries, tools,
Provide tangible aid, support and resources where too few are available
Provide personal or technical expertise
Volunteer time, expertise, services
Send manpower — people to provide capability
Canvass a neighborhood asking for material supplies for the needy
Collect and store material supplies for the needy.
Deliver supplies to the needy.

Socially

Introducing someone to others who can help them
Giving referrals to others who can help someone
Communicate with others on behalf of someone
Get other involved or engaged in helping someone
Raise awareness of a need or situation
Enlist others to devote energy to needy people
Lead or manage an effort to get an organization to focus their resources and effort on a problem

Financially

Give money – donate funds
Give time to help raise money
Tell people about someone else’s financial needs
Create a fund for someone
Conduct or support a fundraiser for someone
Ask others to give money
Get visible in public raising money
Call people by phone to raise money
Write people by letter and email to raise money
Go see people and ask them for money and support
Get other involved, motivated, and committed to give or raise money.

No doubt there are lots of other ways to help people. Use this list as a checklist to identify the things that you can do.

There are things that fall in the category of ACTIONS.

There are things that fall in the category of IDEAS, ADVICE, OR GUIDANCE.

Most authors will tend to focus on the advice and guidance elements. But some of the best publicity that creative people can get couple advice with real social action and when thy go out into the community to find and help the people who need their help the most. Action attracts people. People in motion doing things gets attention.

WHO ARE THE PEOPLE YOU CAN HELP?

Step two is to identify the people who you can help the most.

Look at your customers. Consider that each one is representative of other people with similar interests and problems.

This is the miracle of the microcosm. It is the most powerful tool for creating a targeted marketing plan there is.

When you solve the problems of one, you have a solution that you can now offer and deliver to for many others with the same problem.

So no matter where you are, you can develop a process for helping someone and achieving a sale. Then you can target these people and re-play the messages that resulted in you being able to satisfy your original customer.

So look at your customers carefully. Identify their:

Age
Sex
Personal characteristics
Social characteristics
Employment characteristics
Religious characteristics
Physical characteristics
Education
Professional credentials
Professional affiliations
Hobbies
etc.

Do this for each of your customers. Make a list of these factors. Identify the common characteristics of your customers.

Do this systematically for each type of customer you have.

Now this is very important – now identify how many customers fall into each factor and what they spend or are worth to you.

Now put them into a tentative priority list from most value to the least value.

HOW CAN YOU REACH THEM TO LET THEM AND OTHERS KNOW YOU CAN HELP THEM?

Step three requires you identify how you can effectively reach the people who you can help the most.

So where do you find more of the people you can help the most?

For each one of the demographic characteristics you identified, think of where you will find more people just like your customer. Now you need to identify where you can help them and how you can communicate effectively with them.

You can communicate with people by taking action, by writing, by or by speaking, either in person or from a distance.

Where can YOU do this readily and comfortably? What exactly do you need to propose and get people to agree to?

You can communicate with them using directly in person, by phone or by email and the Internet.

You can also use media to communicate with them. To target media you ask the question: What do my customers read, watch or listen to, particularly when looking for the type of help that I’m offering? The targeted list of newspapers, magazines, radio, tv, news services, syndicates and Internet media that results is a structured set of people that you want to contact to see if they will help you reach your target audience.

You can also identifying the key places where you will find more people of like mind:

Groups
Associations
Clubs
Institutions
Foundations
Support Groups

Search to find ways to reach out and touch more people just like your customer. Use the communication technologies that these people are accustomed to using to communicate with their friends and peers.

You can use the list brokers and also search the Internet and make use of online subject directories and databases.

This can be done nationally, regionally or this can be done locally town by town.

If you use search engines in particular you can target the places where you find similar groups of people with similar interests or needs. Use a plus these plus a to zero in on web sites in specific geographic areas like this:

Then you create and present the right type of pitch to offer your help to them.

If it is direct aid you offer, you say, “Can I come over and help you?”

If it is an speaking event, you say “Can I talk to your group?”

If it is an article, you say, “Will you publish this helpful information?”

If it is an interview, you say “Will you let me share these ideas on the air?”

And so on. You craft your offer to help to match the situation and your capabilities. You also craft your messages to convey the appropriate ideas and actions.

Do it. Get out there and help the people you can help the most.

1. you know how you can help
2. you know who you can help
3. you know where they are located
4. you know how they communicate with each other
5. now take action to help them and communicate with them

Helping people is a natural attraction to media. It is very easy to get media to pay attention to a community involvement event.

If you schedule an event to help people let your local target media know what you are doing.

Write up a problem solving tips article that presents your support or assistance or describes what you do or did to help people. Let the media know when and where the event will happen.

Target similar people with similar problem solving actions and advice.

Create a value-packed problem solving action, package or article. Target the right media and ask them to share your message so that you help people. Target the organizations and support groups that your target audience belongs to and ask them to share your message so that you help people.

Use your value packed problem solving abilities, stories, and content in a variety of ways:

News releases for articles
News releases for interviews
Email
Business proposals
Phone conversations
Street mail
Brochures
Pamphlets
White papers
Audio
Videos
Live, taped, telephone or web presentations, speaking events, workshops or seminars

You can also tailor this same content and use it for

Search engines for key word discovery
Web page content
Blog posts and tours
Ezines and newsletters
Mailing Lists and discussion groups
Forums and Article Posts
Social media

Adapt your problem solving stories and tips articles so that your best most helpful actions and guidance are also incorporated into your marketing communications.

Leverage your core content and make use of the diverse technologies and places where you find the people that you can help the most.

Media Comments on Self-Published Books

Results of a media survey regarding self publishing and self published books

Every year for the past several years I’ve done a survey questionnaire of media and asked them to provide me with responses to several crucial questions. This year one of the questions I asked was “How do you feel about self published books?” The questionnaire was transmitted in early November and nearly all the responses were received by Nov 3 to 14, 2008. So the data is about a month old.

So here it is straight from the horses’ mouth. Media Comments about Self Published Books.

What follows is pure and unadulterated, fresh and very revealing responses from media in magazines, newspapers, radio, tv and news services and syndicates across in the US and Canada. I have not edited the responses at all. What they wrote to me is what you see.

Warning! It’s not a pretty picture. Self publishing is not viewed in a favorable way. You can understand why when you see what these people have seen and read what they wrote. But there is crucial business intelligence, perspective and valuable insight to be gained by studying these comments.

What this means is that if you choose to self publish, it’s very important that you be aware of these issues and do your best to create a quality product so that you don’t perpetuate the rather dismal perception people have of the self-publishing industry.

>>> The key lessons learned is simple: Write a good book. Make sure it is a really good book. And then do a really good job telling the right people you wrote a really good book. < < < Are you ready? Media Comments on Self-Published Books December 2008
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=127

Or as a pdf file:

http://www.directcontactpr.com/files/files/mediacommentsonselfpublishedbo.pdf
Comments and discussion welcome!

Getting More Publicity — Getting More Sales – How to Be Galvanizing

22 ways to be galvanizing and interesting to media, prospects and customers

Last week someone on the Self-Publishing discussion list at Yahoo Groups asked “what goes into a news release”.

It took me a while to wrap my mind around an approach that I was satisfied with since we have so many diverse creative people on the list. The response had to be useful to all.

In many ways, this is perhaps the most common question I receive from authors once they start promoting and marketing. I rephrased the question a little.

How do I get people to pay attention to me?

I reviewed the news releases that I’ve done for the past few years for authors and publishers seeking to identify the common characteristics of those communications that produced the stellar media responses and the book sales that went with them. I sought to take a fresh look at that set of key issues that appear in the marketing communications that produce the best success.

It was a fun exercise. So here’s what this exercise revealed about:

How to be Galvanizing

1. Be right and be first to tell people that you are right on.

2. Be wrong but keep trying to do it right and be the first to admit it, telling people what you did wrong and are doing about it.

3. Communicate clearly and help the people you can help the most. Put your audience first.

4. Demonstrate purpose. Do something noble and heroic and active, don’t just talk about it.

5. Be passionate and surprise people by doing something interesting, unusual, and real.

6. Make people laugh and smile at you, with you and at themselves.

7. Give people relief from a headache or the pain they are experiencing now.

8. Show people a half naked man or woman. Why? Because it works. Now make it relevant or meaningful to your ideas in some surprising and legitimate way.

9. Tell people about their innermost fears or insecurities.

10. Predict what is going to happen six weeks from now and why it is important.

11. Be spontaneously alive and exuberant about people and your ideas.

12. Show people courage and do something amazing and brave.

13. Be astonishingly honest and sincere. Achieve authentic.

14. Be irreverent and make people realize the folly of their beliefs..

15. Tell true dramatic and personal stories. Focus on achievement in the face or adversity. Help people see themselves in the story.

16. Shake people to their roots. Tear apart a sacred cow.

17. Scare people with a prediction. Identify and describe the common enemy or the crisis on the horizon.

18. Use a really good relevant photograph. Give people visual evidence so they know they are in good company.

19. Do your absolute best and create something truly remarkable and memorable.

20. Create a vivid metaphor that illustrates and relates to your audience at a deep personal level.

21. Create a visual picture that makes people realize what their future will be like.

22. Tell people exactly what they need to do to be healthy, involved, authentic, purposeful, connected to the future, inspired to find greater meaning and motivated to take immediate action to fulfill their destiny.

It’s my belief and experience that these triggers to getting attention and galvanizing people are useful and applicable to all the marketing communications you use to promote your books or products or services.

You must develop, test and prove that you have content that can do this yourself. You can also get help from experienced people to do this. You can hire publicists or marketing experts to assist you.

Then you can place these ideas into the headline and lead of your news releases. You use these ideas to flesh out the content of your problem solving tips articles, feature stories, and interview talking points.

You use these ideas to make what people read, hear, or see about you sticky. You want them to take it with them and show someone else what you have done.

Your goal is to make such an incredible impression — an indelible memory about you — that gets people so interested in you that they are motivated to buy *everything* you have available.

It’s applicable to situations where you are speaking to people whether it be one on one, or if you are talking to a group of people and you goal is to get people to buy your book or your services.

It’s also applicable whether you are publishing an article in a newspaper, doing an interview, or posting something to a web site or a blog or an article site.

I hope you find that even just one of these is something you can use and benefit from.

All you need is to find and use is one.

Once you have these ideas you can create the news releases and marketing communications you need to get better sales and better coverage with media.

A galvanizing message will tend to resonate with certain types of people and media. You may have to change your target to match the message. You may have to change your message to match your target.

If you find out that one galvanizing idea works for one group or type of people, you may have to find out whether it works as well if you present it to another type of demographic pool of people. A message that works with mature seniors, may or may not work well with fitness, health or women’s. A message that works well with techies may not work well with business or education. You may have to find out what works and this may take time and effort.

Depending on what you have to offer, a targeted media list and a targeted approach to media may be what works the best.

I would enjoy feedback and comments on this post. Please feel free to contact me if you have any ideas on how to make these better.

Paul J. Krupin – Direct Contact PR
Reach the Right Media in the Right Market with the Right Message
http://www.DirectContactPR.com Paul@DirectContactPR.com
800-457-8746 509-545-2707
http://blog.directcontactpr.com/

Realistic chances of success for a memoir

Tips on how to help guide an author of a self published memoir

Here is my November 21, 2008 response to a post to the online discussion group Small-Pub Civil at Yahoo groups:

>>Hello, everyone! One of my authors has written a 250+ page book about his open-heart surgery. The bulk of it is autobiographical, including childhood memories, interviews with
everyone from the surgeon down to the cleaning staff and an entire chapter of get-well emails from his friends (he has their permission, BTW). Since he produces and hosts a long-
running regional TV show with a reasonably-sized fan base and is promoting the hell out of the book, I am confident he will sell a few thousand copies. But he’s expecting big-time
national success, including being stocked in the chains and selling on QVC. He is seriously counting on coverage in the NYT.

>> When I try to point out that this is unlikely he accuses me of negativism. Am I just being negative?

———————————

I encounter this with authors all the time. It goes with the territory. It could be a truly remarkable memoir. It might contain experiences that can make people smile, cry and laugh as they read. But then again, he may not yet have gotten any meaningful feedback from people, or the feedback he has received may be designed to make him feel good and congratulate him on his effort and accomplishment with having written a book.

I wrote an article to try to get people to grasp the significance of their dream and what it means to them if they really want to see other people appreciate their writing, especially if they really intend to now use that writing to achieve fame and financial success.

I work with hundreds of authors and publishing companies each year and really and truly, very few of them have really created a book that it good enough to achieve fame, glory and financial success for the author. Most are labors of love. There’s a sizable financial investment and personal emotional investment that’s required to go from “author” to “best selling author” and few really have what it takes to make it through the gauntlet of the marketplace.

What I recommend people do is go slow. 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.

You have to test your ideas and test your product and test your mar-com (marketing communications) on real live people. 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.

You may have to redesign and re-write it till you know you are done. 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.

Here’s what I’ve observed and experienced.

You know when you are done…

When people look at it, grab it, look at it again, look up to see where the cashier is, and then head to the cashier.

You show your book someone and they hold it close and won’t give it back freely.

You show them the book and they reach for their wallet.

They pick up one book, look at it, and grab four or five of them and head to the cashier.

One person picks up the book, grabs it and heads to find and show his or her friend the book, and they both grab one for themselves and buy it.

You know that you have something when kids pull it off the shelf and haul it over to their mothers and fathers with a look of desire and wanting and excitement in their eyes that says please????!!!!

I call this the hoarding syndrome. What you are witnessing I call a clutching response. It occurs when people touch something and decide that they want it.

This behavior in people clearly indicates to you that the book or object they are holding has such inherent value and importance that they are willing to pay for it. They know it and you know it instantly. They clutch the object of their desire in their hot sweaty hands and pull it in close to their body as if to possess it and protect it.

I know you’ve seen this and even experienced it yourself. You see it in stores and shopping centers all the time. I see it when my wife and teenage daughters shop. I know from their behavior when I’m toast. There is no arguing with them once they’ve experienced certain hormonal reactions to objects that they’ve been in close physical contact with. That’s they way we humans respond to certain material experiences.

Other people here have no doubt experienced this in a variety of ways. It would be very cool to hear from people about when they knew that they were done.

I work with a lot of authors and publishers, and I see success a lot less frequently that I wish I would see. I attribute this to people rushing through to publishing their books without making sure they have created a product that people will actually buy.

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.

I had a recent publisher come to me with a book which presented his ideas on how to have a successful marriage by using a marriage contract.

Myself, I’m a former attorney and I would not pick up a book that had a marriage contract in it.

Do people want to run their marriage off of a contract? Like it’s a job or a construction project? Do they want to reduce communications and relationships to policies, procedures and stipulated provisions?

When we looked at our marriage vows, my wife said “strike the obey” and I said “and add in this here dispute resolution clause”.

And that’s what the minister did, and we still live by those words.

And that was the oral vows.

Put it in writing? Something doesn’t fit in the picture. Like ‘what’s love got to do with it?’

This is the type of process most people go through when they contemplate buying a book.

Do I want to get married to this person and his or her ideas? Even if I can get divorced from them later?

You are not done until people fall in love with your creation. You’ll know it only when it happens.