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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.

Ten Essential Facts Needed in Your News Release to Get Publicity for a Book Award

Ten Essential Facts Needed in Your News Release to Get Publicity for a Book Award

Congratulations – You’ve Won a Book Award.

If you are going to create a news release and seek publicity for your award, then here my suggestions on the essential facts you need to include in your copy:

1. headline – Author wins prize/award

2. one sentence killer – knock their socks off description of what the book is about

3. unusual or interesting facts about the situation/the book/the author/the topic/the issues

4. the specifics of the award – what, where when, or how much and why is this award so important and prestigious

5. three to four paragraphs about the book, who it features, what’s amazing about it, why people will like it

6. basic book facts and marketing information so people can find it and buy it

7. author bio and information

8. book cover photo and author photo

9. contact information

10. offer for review copy and interviews if you want to offer these items.

Finally, once you have the news release written, it needs to be distributed to the right media.

Proper targeting will maximize your chances of getting the right type of coverage in front of the people you can interest and help the most. So a childrens book needs to go to childrens media and editors, and a travel book needs to go to travel book media and editors and so forth.

You’ve worked hard to get this award. I hope this helps you take a few more steps in a positive direction so you can make the most of it.

Boiler Plate for a News Release

Guidance to a novice self publisher about writing a news release

A new author self-publisher on the Self-Publishing Yahoo list wrote:

> Can anybody direct me to a boiler plate for a press release that I
> can use to create my own? I have heard a variety of different things
> should be included. Most say that it should be only one page and
> other say it should be three to four pages. I would like it to be
> brief and to the point and something I can send out via email to a
> variety of sources. … I need to get this done in the next couple of days
> because my book will be back from the typesetter by then to go to
> Amazon, so I truthfully don’t have the time, nor the money to be
> purchasing several books and wading through them.”

Goodness, this looks like you’re hopping on the first and fastest and cheapest train to go by without looking where you are going. You run a real risk of ending up somewhere down the river with no hope of getting where you really want to go. Are you really hoping this will help you achieve publicity and publishing success?

I urge you to slow down and first really take the time to create a marketing message that truly inspires people to take the action you want. Learn to walk and talk with people about your book and learn to sell and speak about your topic first. PR and news releases aren’t a guaranteed trip to the bank. You need to learn how to connect with the people that matter the most to you.

If you don’t really focus on creating a pitch that works and refining it until it reliably produces a good response (as in they buy into YOU and your book), then you will encounter failure no matter what media you present your boilerplate messages to and no matter what technology you use to spread the word.

On the other hand, if you do slow down you can create a short set of talking points that educates, entertains and galvanizes the people that you help the most. Then once you have proven that your MAR-COM works, you can use it in your news releases.

But this is what you need to do first and you can do this right at home with the people around you. What you say (or write) will depend on who you are trying to connect with, what they need (in the way of guidance or advice or inspiration or entertainment) that you can give them, so that you make such an impression on them that they want to buy what you have to offer.

To really figure out if you are ready to do publicity you might want to read the following:

The Magic of Business
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=105

If you are indeed ready and your goal is to persuade them you have valuable ideas that can help them, then I would recommend you emulate a problem solving tips article or a feature story article format, or a radio and TV interview format.

One of the most popular sections of my web site is the free news release samples — pdf file downloads of numerous types of news releases for you to use as models for your own efforts. You can find examples of news releases for you to use as models.

http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-downloads

Once you have a goal for a news release in mind, then you can use my 3 I Technique.

Create a Better News Release with “The 3 I Technique”
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=52

You may also want to go directly to the hot button theory article to get more insight and education in making the media fall in love with you.

The Hot Button Theory: Maximizing Media Response to Your News Releases
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=35

If you’ve never really written a news release or have experienced limited success when you do, you might benefit from reading the following articles:

Why News Releases Fail — The Most Common Reasons & What to Do About It
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=22

Press releases – which types of news releases really work the best?
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=122

Copywriting – The blood, sweat and tears of getting publicity
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=121

If you really don’t have the time and energy to put into doing your publicity yourself you may choose to work with a publicist.

Evaluating the Range of Publicity Options – Making the Right Decision for You
http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=41

Finally – once you do create a news release you’ll need to then figure out how to transmit it to the right media. That’s where a good publicist can come in handy.

If you need help identifying who they are give me a call anytime, I help people in creating custom targeted media lists, book reviewer lists, and systematic action plans and tactics to identify the best web sites, newsletters, libraries, article repositories, blogs, forums, search engines, ezines, audio, video, radio sites and even social networking sites to contact to get the word out.

There are several other highly experience people on this list who can provide you with quality professional publicity guidance and assistance if you choose to make use of them. I highly recommend you take some time and do indeed read their books, study the articles at their web sites and contact them directly before you invest any more time and effort in your publishing endeavors so you avoid the personal pain and harsh financial impacts of failure.

One last little thought for you. I just am reading Reality Check, Guy Kawasaki’s newest book. I highly recommend this book to all serious business minded publishers, along with his previous book, The Art of the Start.

Chapter 41 is titled and devoted to DIY PR. He begins the chapter with a quote:

“If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on public relations.

~ Bill Gates.

Help and guidance for self publishers

Need to Know Guidance for Self Publishers

David Carnoy at CNET wrote a simply wonderful article describing the ins and out of self-publishing.

This well researched and experienced based article summarizes the state of the arti and should be mandatory reading for anyone and everyone contemplating the publishing of a book.

Self Publishing a Book: 25 Things You Need to Know.

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!

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.

A newspaper book reviewer comments on self publishing

book reviewer discusses the top issues and challenges of self-publishing

This is a blog post from April 2008 but it’s a very good discussion by book editor and reviewer Kel Munger who writes for The Sacramento News & Review. The article delves many of the top issues discussed here at the self-publishing group and offers up a very astute perspective.

The title is: “I banish thee to PublishAmerica!”

http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/bibliolatry/blogs/post?oid=659278

Great article. Wonderful blog post as examples go.

Search Inside the Book ? Good or Bad for Book Sales?

Evaluates the "Search Inside the Book" technology and how it can affect book sales

An author on the Yahoo Self Publishing list asked:

>>I am planning on using this feature for my book, The Guru Next Door, A
>>Teacher’s Legacy but wanted to check with ya’ll first. Is there any
>> reason NOT to do this?

I was actually interviewed at the Book Expo America on this issue back in late May 2005. I was standing in the Google Booth having a fun discussion (argument maybe) with some Google reps not knowing that IDG News Service industry reporter Stacy Cowley was madly taking notes right next to me and then wrote it all up for PC World magazine. Here’s a link to the article which is still available online.

Google Woos Book Publishers
http://www.pcworld.com/article/121247/google_woos_book_publishers.html

What you have to realize is that the search inside the book feature gives people the ability to make a better buying decision based on a snippet of a search on a key word that you don’t know.

The effect on your book sales will be determined by what happens when people see inside your book. Will that help you sell books?

Maybe.

It’s a lot like what happens if someone goes to the bookstore and finds your book on the shelf. If someone picks it up and turns the pages, what happens?

That’s about the size of it only now they are browsing online.

The question as far as book sales go is this:

Will a buying decision be favored if the reader sees what’s inside?

If the answer is yes, then theoretically, sales are improved compared to buying decisions based on cover, reviews, and testimonials only.

If the answer is no, then it likely doesn’t help you sell books.

The answer is in some ways dependent on the content and style of writing, organization, presentation, font size, and other characteristics of the content inside of the book.

The answer is also dependent on what the Amazon searcher enters, and how they feel about your book after reading the snippet they receive.

You have control over of the features of the content and presentation of your book. You don’t have control over what the searcher sees.

You also don’t have control over what Amazon or Google let’s the reader see.

You can experience this effect on your own buying purchases if you actively use this feature and make these types of observations when shopping.

What happens when people pick up your book? You need to find out in person first. Then you can estimate what happens online.

You might want to test the book without the search inside the book for a month or two before you add in the feature and then compare what if anything happens.

To me this is a fairly crucial bit of decisionmaking. You may be a person who has placed a lot of effort and money into creating a book that people will find attractive enough to buy. You may have spent a lot on cover design and marketing. You may have used a professional copy editor and book designer when you created your book. If the quality and writing is high in person then the chances are a similar response will occur when someone uses the search inside the book feature.

But if you haven’t done these things, then a person who sees inside the book will be able to see the quality shortcomings up close and personal and these factors will have a serious impact on the buying decision.

So if the reaction of a person who actually gets their hands on your book is not a buy decision, then maybe the search inside the book will not be helpful to you.

Since search Inside the Book and Google Print were introduced, my early observations about the technology have been pretty well born out.

Quality sells. First impressions make a whole lot of difference. The snippet can make you or break you.

You’ll need to evaluate whether the feature helps you based on how people in your target audience make decisions when looking at books like yours.

New Search Engine Marketing & PR Tool

New Search Engine Target Marketing & PR Tool - Test of a new search engine marketing and PR research tool

Everyone knows that online marketing is a powerful tool. One of the biggest challenges is to use the amazing power of seartch engines to your advantage.

Your goal when you search is to identify and target the right people, companies, organizations, media, blogs, and social networks and communicate with them.

If you find them, then you send them personal messages or a pitch or a proposal that allow you to be seen on their web pages, or in front of their auidence members or subscribers, with links back to your site. This improves your inbound links and the content people see on these other sites drives traffic, and creates interest and increases the number and quality of the prospects who are interested in buying what you offer.

That’s the theory anyway. But try using a search engine to target properly. Now you experience the real pain of the Internet. The excessive time, the web sites that don’t provide you with good information, the slowness, and the sheer volume of places you need to visit and material you need to read to find the right, trustworthy and reliable information – the critical business intelligence you need – to improve and grow your business.

The results you get from simples searches tend to be all over the map. It takes special skill to refine a search. Each search engine is sometimes different and requires special syntax.

Finding the right web sites say for your particular product or services, for a blog tour, or the right discussion groups and mailing lists, or the right affiliate sites for your product, is very simply a time consuming and arduous task.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could do this precision searching and targeting all in one location?

Well that’s why I’m creating a news specialized search tool that operates like a tv channel changer for specialized search engines. It basically allows you to enter your key words and then search all the top sites you’d want to search for custom targeted marketing and PR, all off one page.

Enter the words once and click – you’re on the top searchable resources specifically selected for targeted marketing and PR.

This tool is deceptively powerful. One commenter stated to me that the power of this system defies first pass comprehension. That’s I want your help and feedback.

I’ve created a beta test site. Will you also look at this and give me feedback?

Here is a sample page of results for one common keyword for the self-publishing industry.

(keywords= “self publishing”)

Each of the 50 + search engines listed is selected to help lead you to information, people, and organizations you’d want to contact if those were your key words.

The categories of search engines that a person who wants to do targeted pr and marketing include:

1. the regular web search engines

2. images

3. audio

4. video

5. books stores

6. ezines and newsletters

7. social networks

8. discussion groups and mailing lists

9. podcasts

10. affiliate programs

11. chat rooms

12. usenet

13. forums and message boards

14. media – magazines, newspapers, radio and tv

15. news search engines

16. SEO/SEM Tools

Look at the results page for the keywords “self publishing”. As you use this one page, you get to see the results in a new page. This one page allows you to send your key word search to about 50 search engines in each of these categories.

You can’t do this from the top search engines unless you search out and fund these searchable resources first. Here they are all at your fingertips just one click away. You don’t even need to retype your words. Just click on the search engine.

We’ve also programmed it so that each time you search, yoiu are getting an advanced search, not a simple search. This improves the quality pof the results for you.

With multiple words, the “quotes” for this search are on automatically. However, you can turn the quotes off with a click and expand the results any time.

The Search Word Pro web site is designed right now to be a subscription based license for a year which allows people to save their searches (100 of them) so it operates like a personal work station. The search page and link can be shared by email so it also has great utility as a viral and client tool, much like I’m doing with you right now. I can also create and license customized search tools like this on any topic.

What do you think? Did I leave any major online marketing categories out? Area there searchable resources that should be added to the list?

Comments welcome.

Getting More Book Publicity for fiction, non-fiction or ebooks – it really doesn’t matter that you wrote a book

Getting More Book Publicity for fiction, non-fiction or ebooks, it really doesn't matter

The type of book you have doesn’t matter to the media.

I’ll say it again.

The type of book you have doesn’t matter to the media.

I do a lot of work with fiction authors. I do a lot of work with non-fiction authors. I do a lot of work with ebook producers.

I used to distinguish how I wrote news releases for fiction compared to non-fiction, but over the years I’ve found that when it comes to getting publicity, it really doesn’t matter what the book is. Also, my experience to date is that I am not very enthused about book reviews, and I favor galvanizing feature stories and interviews. Book reviews tend to be most helpful to those who seek library and book store sales. For people who are working beyond the bookstore and library, and for those who sell direct, just rely on Amazon or online sales and web sites, or are pushing for quantity and special sales, problem solving tips articles, feature stories and in depth topical interviews produce far better return on investment. This is where I’ve seen the greatest gains for authors and publishers.

That’s because, from a publicity point of view, the media actually don’t care a lot about what the product is. They are only interested in publishing three things: news, education and entertainment. They honestly couldn’t care less about whether you wrote a book or have one available for sale. To most media that fact that you wrote a book is just a credential to you being a person who’s qualified to give a newsworthy comment.

Sure if they like the book, if it has real added value to a lot of people in their particular audience, then media may choose to write about the book. But for the most part, they aren’t real inclined to help you sell product. Their view is that if you want them to promote your product so you can sell books, then take out an ad.

What the media really wants to publish and what they respond to best is galvanizing quality content that is interesting to lots of people in their particular audience and that has real added value to them. This is what they need to satisfy their audience and keep the subscription and advertising revenues flowing. This is also what you need to provide them, if you want to get media coverage.

I can get people publicity whether they’ve written and published a book or not. I do this day in day out. All we have to do to be successful is focus on what the media needs. They respond to that.

Even a fiction book makes you an expert of a sort, who can offer helpful insights and information on topics germane and relevant to the book.

What that means is that we focus on using problem solving tips articles, human interest, delving into issues that people want to know about.

Some fiction examples that produced media success this year:

* For Ayna Meppelink’s book ‘I See a Red Door’, we present content talking about what it’s like to be just like her characters, a reluctant, psychic, doubting what her senses are telling her.

* For Mary Anna Evans book ‘Effigies’, we pitch talking points that explore the deep Southern culture, ethics, and biases that her characters encounter.

* For Molly Dwyers book ‘Requiem for the Author of Frankenstein’, we pitch interview and feature content that explores the feminist politic and what it’s like to be a revolutionary woman rising above desperate times.

* For Nick Ruth’s Dark Dreamweaver series, we emphasize the esteem building, character developing themes for young people, and the power of dreams and goal setting.

* For the children’s book, ‘Grandpa Grouper’, by Don Arends, we focused on the idea that the book delivers underwater adventure and contains distinctly innovative human interest. The lead sentence to the news release declares, “Grandpa Don Arends looks a lot like the main character in his new children’s book, ‘Grandpa Grouper, The Fish With Glasses.’

What you have to resist and avoid is telling the media anything at all about how your publishing struggles, marketing plans, publishing and promotional activities, and book sales. This will result in coverage that is all about you, but offers very little motivation to a reading or listening or watching audience to learn more about your products, and the knowledge, feelings, benefits and the personal experiences they can receive by getting what you offer. You need to focus what you offer on the media audience. That is your mission. That has to be your focus.

More important, you can’t just describe it, and say, it’s in the book. Your news release has to actually persuade media to call you and ask for the book to review, and to do that the release has to actually trigger some feelings, desire, want, and emotion. The news release has to do what your book does and achieve that emotional engagement in about 30 seconds. You have to deliver a thrill, a pleasure, an emotion and a personal experience. I wrote this up a while ago as a ‘rule for getting publicity success’ like this:

Tell me story (a short, bed time story), give me a local news angle (of interest to my particular audience), hit me in the pocket book (make me or save me money), teach me something I didn’t know before (educate me), amaze me or astound me (like in WOW!), make my stomach churn (in horror or fear), or turn me on (yes, sex sizzles).

No matter what type of book or service you have, getting publicity is a completely separate task and requires you to use different ideas and actions. And to get publicity that sells books you have to be very interesting, have incredible things to say, or offer truly helpful, educational, entertaining or humorous, or galvanizing ideas that interest people in who you are and what you have to offer.

This is a process of testing and refining what you say until you know that if you communicate certain things, a known action will result. You can interest media in writing about you if what you offer is exceptionally good. If create and offer something interesting, then you will improve your chances of getting favorable publicity significantly. Communicating that what you have to offer is good is crucial.

If you are at a loss for what to do here is a quick way to identify and develop your core material.

What I tell my clients is this:

Imagine being in front of 20 to 30 of the very best people you think would be most interested and who in your service.  Describe these people to me. These are your target customers so describe who they are.

Now identify the most important and interesting topic, challenges, or problem situation that will interest the maximum number of people you can think of in this pool of people, that relate to what you can speak about based on what you have created. 

Think about being entertaining and informative with your points and develop the ideas at your story telling best. Think about how you talk to people about your book, especially when the conversation results in a sale. Look at your reviewer testimonials. Why do people like what you do? Use what you learned to guide you. 

Then give me your ten best tips, problem solving actions or stories and ideas or lessons learned for your target audience.  Can you give these people your ten commandments?  Your best quips?  The most important things you learned by writing? 

Pretend you have three to five minutes to give these people ten absolutely phenomenal show stoppers.  That means for ten items, you have less than 30 seconds for each one, plus a one minute intro and a one minute ending.

The goal is to create a vision for the media that clearly illustrates and allows them to visualize in their minds what your presentation and their article or interview is going to look like — How you can help them put an article that gets favorable thank you’s by mail phone and email, or a good show that entertains and educates the people in their audience.

Focus less on passive ideas and more on actions or positions people can take that people can take today! that deliver immediate or tangible real time or near term benefits, impacts, or predictable consequences.   Use real stories about things that happened to you or other people to add human interest. 

These ‘show stoppers’ could be “Do This Today” types of actions if it is advice you are giving to solve a problem or “Get a Load of This” type of emotionally engaging stories that are dramatic and personal and illustrate some achievement in the face of adversity. 

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

In many cases ,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.

You can do five do’s and five don’ts or whatever.  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.

Hence the key to your success is being truly great at what you do. Help the people you can help the most. Please them and satisfy their needs beyond expectations. That’s what will get you attention. That’s how you create and deliver value.

That’s also how you market and achieve success and happiness.

I wrote an extensive article on this topic which you can see at my web site. It is titled:

Writing News Releases For Fiction Books

Here is another article that might be helpful to those who want more strategies in getting more book publicity titled: Cover letter or news release? Book review or feature story?

BTW – if you follow this advice, make sure you send what you create to me by email. I’ll be happy to take a look at them and give you some recommendations on what else to do next to get more publicity.