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Friday, April 20, 2018

Give Authors A Shot At Congress!



With Paul Ryan announcing he is not running for re-election and that he’ll step down from being Speaker of the House, a wave of change is in the air on Capitol Hill and across the nation.  There’s a real possibility The Republicans will lose one or both chambers of Congress.  What if we had more authors run for Congress?

There are authors in Congress today.  Many of them wrote books as a tool to market themselves for an election, part memoir and part political policy.  But what if we had all kinds of people, who are primarily authors, seek to serve in our legislative branch?

We couldn’t do worse than with what we have now, a Congress filled with rich, selfish, and in some cases, unqualified, individuals, who care about an agenda that serves only the few at the expense of all.  Authors, however, would be great to have in Congress.

They are good communicators, researchers, and thinkers.  They can analyze, empathize, and balance two opposing sides.  They can craft a narrative that leads us to happier endings.  If they can’t enact change, they can at least change the way we view things.

What types of authors would serve us best?

The self-published author is a risk-taking, do-it-yourself entrepreneur with a vision.  We need a few of them.

The best-selling author knows how to take a good idea and sell it, building a loyal following.  We need a few of them as well.

The academic writer from a university press knows how to dive into an important issue and seek out credible sources to draw important conclusions to act upon.  We, too, need a few of them to serve us.

The children’s book author approaches big issues in a simple but loving way, using colorful images and good ethics to help us see certain truths and encourage us to take action.  Like Noah’s Ark, we need a few of these too.

The thriller writer warns us of societal dangers, of the problem with powerful entities or individuals who are out of control. They entertain us while seeking to restore normalcy to our lives.  A few of them should run for office as well.

We’ll need business authors, civics authors, poets, and motivational authors as well.  Heck, every author brings some kind of expertise and unique voice to the table.  They are intelligent, caring, and feeling individuals.  How great would Congress be if it was filled entirely with authors?

Then again, many authors have shortcomings.  They can prescribe what should be done but don’t always lift a finger to get it done.  They are great with words, short on deeds.  They have great imaginations, but can they deal with reality?  They are idealistic, but can’t they be practical?  They write a great deal but do they spend time actually living, doing, and experiencing?

Many authors are individualistic and not team players.  They are loners.  They write well but may shun public appearances or speaking before large crowds.  They have a moral compass – can they adjust to being deal-makers with scoundrels?

Maybe what we need is more authors on the staffs of those in Congress.  Writers write, politicians legislate.  They may be two different animals for which no reconciliation can exist.

But if an author ran for office, he or she would have my vote.  It beats the losers vying for office these days.   Our president was a reality television star (and author) and others have served Congress with credentials of actor, athlete, and businessman and no prior political experience at all. If we are taking in political novices and na├»ve candidates, we might as well try authors.  Perhaps we should get some erotica authors in office. They know all about fucking others over.  Literally.


“The art of reading is to skip judiciously.  Whole libraries may be skipped these days, when we have the results of them in our modern culture without going over the ground again.  And even of the books we decide to read, there are almost always large portions which do not concern us, and which we are sure to forget the day after we have read them.  The art is to skip all that does not concern us, while missing nothing that we really need.  No external guidance can teach us this; for nobody but ourselves can guess what the needs of our intellect may be.”
--P.G. Hamerton, The Intellectual Life (1882)

“I have decided that there is no excuse for poetry.  Poetry gives no adequate return in money, is expensive to print by reason of the waste of space occasioned by its form, and nearly always promulgates illusory concepts of life.  But a better case for the banning of all poetry is the simple fact that most of it is bad.  Nobody is going to manufacturer a thousand tons of jam in the expectation that five tons may be eatable.”
--Myles na Gopaleen, The Best of Myles (1968)

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Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released


Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Should You Build, Borrow Or Buy Your Book Publicity?




When it comes to your approach to book publicity are you a buyer, borrower, or a builder?

A buyer hires someone to promote their book for them.
A borrower is someone who gets some publicity as a result of his or her publisher’s efforts.
A builder is someone who builds their brand and takes an active role in securing his or her media exposure.

Sometimes an author can be pieces of all three simultaneously.  Which one are you?  Why?

Most authors, if their book is published by a reputable book publisher, will expect or hope for the publisher to provide some marketing muscle for their own product.  Often, authors are disappointed by the quality and duration of such efforts, if any activity was actually initiated at all.

They need to have a Plan B to supplement where the publisher, even under the best intentions, falls short.  An author has too much at stake with his book and brand to leave it all in the hands of a publisher that may lack the resources or the desire to do a full-court media press on your behalf.

Authors who self-publish or whose publisher clearly indicates little or nothing will be done to promote his or her book, the choice becomes clear:  buy or build?

Buying is not as easy as it sounds.  Buy what?  For how long?  From whom?  For how much? Authors may not know who is good or bad, for many promoters have the illusionist’s ability to talk a good talk and seek to take advantage of an author’s dreams, fears, ignorance, ego, and operating beliefs.

But leaving the details aside, let’s explore the concept of buying publicity.  The idea here is that you lock in a professional who can contact the right media, in the way media wants to be approached, with a great pitch, at the right time.  You look for experienced guidance, strategy, connections, and media coaching from this person.  The publicist can improve your website, guide you on social media, and offer ideas, creativity, and connect you to those who can be of assistance.  It’s like hiring a contractor, a lawyer or even a surgeon – you are getting someone who advocates for you and can quarterback the big picture.

Your publicist is not a brick-layer, a  lawn guy who merely cuts grass, or a person who changes the oil in your car.  Those jobs can be performed by the unskilled.  Book publicity is not brain surgery, but it does require knowledge, media contacts, passion, good writing skills, excellent research skills, media savvy, an assertive personality, and a competitive mindset.  A good publicist can take you far.

Building your publicity makes sense if you have no choice, as in no budget to hire a pro and no publisher to rely on, but it’s a time-consuming process with a huge learning curve.  I champion those who play an active role in their publicity, but I always caution against doing it solo.  By the time you figure out how to do this efficiently and successfully, it’ll be too late.

Be a builder, but don’t go it alone.  Borrow what’s available to you and always look to be a buyer because only then do you take ownership of your fate and seize control of your book marketing.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Speak With Conviction If You Want Media Coverage For Your Book



Let’s make shit happen -- and not let shit happen." 

--Brian Feinblum

One of the areas authors can improve when pitching the news media is to have a confident and unrelenting frame of mind.  They have to approach the process of contacting the media as one that says:  “I’ve got a good story.  Someone needs to tell it.”

Now, I’m not talking about coming from this with an egocentric mindset.  That won't get you so far.  That comes off as being lazy, self-centered, and narcissistic.  No one wants to hear from someone who thinks they are entitled to coverage.  Media exposure needs to be earned.

But, you have to have confidence, resiliency, and conviction in your voice and in your carefully worded email.  The news media needs to sense you have a genuine purpose and reason for contacting them.  They need to believe in you.  Lead them.

So how does one do this?

First, prioritize in your mind what the truly strongest points are – and lead with them.  Don’t circle around what really tugs at the media.  Play it up.  Lead with one of these:  emotion, passion, news predictions, or something that you know that the journalist personally cares about, or something that particular media outlet likes to cover.

Second, speak with a bit of edge.  You’re not begging them to cover something nor commanding them.  You don’t want to sound weak and desperate and you don’t want to come off as a big jerk.  You want to speak in that sweet spot that blends enthusiasm with purpose.

You are putting on the hat of a lawyer, advocating beyond a shadow of doubt, that what you present to them is important, useful, truthful, and interesting.  If you were advocating before a judge you’d look to make key points clear and to not rely solely on the weight of the facts but the believing and harmonizing sound of your voice.

To persuade anyone of anything, the other person has to appreciate your situation in a way that gets past doubt, ignorance or debate.  They have to like something about you and relate to your plight.  You need to quickly disarm their judging eyes and humanize your story.  Make them feel and care.  Get them into your shoes so that they, too, can experience as you do, and hear what you say clearly.

So just how does one lobby for something?  Ask a provocative question.  Cite an eye-opening stat.  Pile up the facts.  Seek empathy.  Tug at their emotional fragility.  Offer something unique, new, or of value.  Promise a result that you can deliver on.

Lastly, think like the media.  What do they need and want?  How will they perceive you?  What weaknesses or holes come with your story that need to be plugged?  Most importantly, speak with undeniable conviction and you will see results.  


Editorial:  Facebook Fiasco


In seeing Mark Zuckerberg testify for 10 hours before Congress about data privacy and the challenges of social media advertising ethics, it seems obvious to me that, as a society, we’re screwed.  No privacy.  No protection against ill-intended advertisers.  No avoidance of fake news.  No guarantees hackers can be stopped.  All in all, today’s consumer of digital media and social media is being scammed-over and over- not just by Russia or faceless corporations but by those we’ve entrusted our information with – Google, Twitter, FB, Apple, Amazon, etc.  To think otherwise is foolish and idealistic.

“In old days books were written by men of letters and read by the public.  Nowadays books are written by the public and read by nobody.”
--Oscar Wilde, in The Saturday Review (1894)


“I have never known any distress that an hour’s reading did not relieve.”

--Baron de Montesquieu, Pensees diverses (1899)


“You must put books alongside the subject they relate to if you want to attract a wider audience.  If someone is in a supermarket buying food then it makes sense to sell cookery books there too.”

--Terence Conran, in TheTimes (18 Sept. 1985)


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Interview with author Edward Stanton




Wide as the Wind

 

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book? When I read Jared Diamond’s famous article about the collapse of Easter Island’s habitat, titled “Easter’s End,” in Discover magazine (August 1995), I wondered if anyone had ever written a novel about this tragic event that is a cautionary tale for our times.  I could not find a novel in any language.  After reading everything available on the subject and traveling to Easter Island, I knew I had a potential jewel in my hands.  With a great sense of responsibility, I began writing.

 2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader? Wide as the Wind is above all a story of love and adventure, but it also deals with deforestation and the collapse of a natural habitat on a prehistoric Polynesian island.  It could be compared to the Disney film “Moana,” but there the environmental destruction is attributed to a cartoon monster; people, not monsters, were the real cause.  The novel is for all readers above the age of 12.
  
3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down? My hope would be that readers would be moved by the story, which evokes the Polynesian sea voyages that National Geographic has called the greatest adventure in human prehistory, as bold as modern space voyages.  But I would also devoutly wish for readers to remember the devastation caused by the abuse of our one and only earth.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Only write if you need to, if you cannot imagine a life without it.  If you have faith in your vision and your skin is thick enough to embrace rejection, keep writing.  If not, don’t kill yourself.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing
industry is heading? I see a slight turn away from digital books and a hunger for the real thing
and the smell of its pages.  I don’t have overwhelming evidence for this trend, only some
personal experience and the knowledge that the number of independent bookstores has increased
during the “retail apocalypse.”

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book? The challenge of patience.  From inception to publication, more than ten years passed; Wide as the Wind went through at least three major drafts.  There were many rejections by agents and publishers along the way.  Patience, persistence and faith in my writing led me through it.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?  Wide as the Wind is the first novel to dramatize the life of a people whose habitat is being destroyed.  The combination of a good story and a powerful message makes good fiction.  The novel’s story is compelling, and I trust the writing is good.

Edward Stanton was born in Colorado, raised in California and has lived in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Spain.  He is author of eleven books, some of which have been translated and published in Spanish, Arabic and Chinese.  Road of Stars to Santiago, the story of his 500-mile walk on the ancient pilgrimage route to Compostela, was called one of the two best books on the subject by The New York Times.  On the dust cover of this work, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Michener said, “Edward Stanton recounts his adventures with stylish conviction.”  His novel Wide as the Wind has won the 2017 Next Generation Award for Young Adult Fiction, the 2017 silver Moonbeam Award for Young Adult Historical Fiction and the 2018 silver Feathered Quill Award for Teen Fiction.  Stanton has also published short fiction, poems and translations in dozens of magazines and journals in the U.S. and abroad.  He has been a Fulbright scholar and has lectured in many countries around the world.  Stanton has received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and he was named Distinguished Alumni Lecturer at UCLA.  He is now working on his second novel—a thriller set in the aftermath of the Dirty War in Argentina—and a travel memoir titled VIDA: A Life, about Mexico and Spain.  For more info, please see: www.edwardstanton.com

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Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released


Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Monday, April 16, 2018

Go Beyond Your Book’s Story & Your Credentials To Promote Or Sell Your Book




We all sell our books by selling ourselves.  We rely on our core strength to be front and center, to convince people to buy the book or the media to cover it.  But what’s your second or third best feature?  You’ll need to know in order to go far.

When talking about your book you might sell the contents, telling us what’s in it and why it’s unique, new, comprehensive, etc. When talking about yourself, you may highlight your credentials – pro experience, training, schooling, and personal experiences.  You might reference some good media placements, key testimonials and the timeliness or relevance of your message.  But what if the facts aren’t enough?

You may believe a story is so strong that it sells itself, or that your insights and experiences are so interesting that others should want to talk to you, but there’s something else you need to closely look at and make sure it’s strong.  It’s your appearance, energy level, creativity, and personality.

We already agreed that book content and author credentials count for a lot and they need to be clearly presented, but behind what you write or say are these other intangibles that need to be groomed and perfected. These are what really sell others to take an action step and to literally buy in.

Let’s look closely at the likeability factor. Let’s face it, people judge us all day and night.  Is she pretty?  Is she youthful?  Is that one fat, pretty or dull? Is this one cheap, ignorant, or selfish?  We look at one’s body, image, voice, scent, friendliness, level of enthusiasm, and body language to determine if we want to buy a book from them – or interview them for a story.

Take a look at your appearance.  Do you dress the part?  Is something distracting others from listening to you?  Are you in good health and decent shape?  Are you attractive?  I know this shouldn’t sound like someone going to a dating site, but people do business with those they admire or find are similar to them.  What are you showing others?

Next, and the most easily corrected area, is your energy level.  Get rest, eat right, exercise, and take vitamins, consume caffeine, or do something to give you a shot of enthusiasm and vibrancy.  People feel moved by the energy around them.

Then look at your charisma. Are you a jokester, story teller or the helpful resource? Do you listen with sympathy and empathy?  Are you a charmer?  What type of person are you putting forward?

Lastly, how creative are you in what you say and do?  Think of how you can up your game and do things differently, better.

So, as I asked earlier, do you know what it is that enthuses others to buy from you, interact with you, or cover you in the media?  Whatever your strengths are, you’ll need to play them all up.  Don’t rely on having great content or a fabulous career.  You need to go the extra mile with your looks, passion, energy levels, and personality.  Otherwise, you’re not going to be discovered or embraced the way you’d expect or hope for.

To learn your strengths and identify weaknesses, look in a mirror.  Then ask others around you with a checklist for review, on what they perceive your strengths and weaknesses to be.  Get prepared for a reality check, but don’t cry and fold into a ball.  Do something about it.  Take advantage of the critical feedback and constructive advice and build a better presentation of yourself.

Now, just one point here that needs to be emphasized.  There’s no singular standard that we each must strive for. Nor should we expect to change everything where we fall short of an ideal.  But you should acknowledge room for improvement can be made, and to do your best to be your best.  Some changes will come easily and naturally while others may never come.  That’s okay.  

One has to know their limits but such limits shouldn’t be the excuse to allow you to change nothing.



“Good words are worth much and cost little.”
-- George Herbert, Jacula Prudentum (1651)

“How strangely do we diminish a thing as soon as we try to express it in words..”
--Maurice Maeterlinck, ‘Mystic Morality’ The Treasure of the Humble (1896)

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How should authors sell themselves?

The keys to great book marketing

How Authors Can Capture The Media’s Attention

Big Marketing Lessons From My All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts

Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released

Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource