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Note From The Editor
Welcome to another issue of the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter!
Welcome to the official start of the holiday season (though my local Target had decorations up on October 2). I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and are able to enjoy a long weekend with friends and family, or just get caught up on a great book.
This week we're looking at the scourge of fake reviews and how to avoid them. I would encourage all of you not to bow to the fake review cycle that's currently going on, it'll just come back to bite you and the industry (especially indie publishing) doesn't need another red flag following its authors. This piece also ran in Publishers Weekly and we got some great feedback. I hope you enjoy it!
We have another great issue stuffed with enough fab marketing tips to keep you busy well into the new year. And if you're looking for some great ways to do some last minute promotion, check out our eBook programs which have been wildly successful for authors looking to get their eBooks out there quickly and inexpensively.
Wishing you a great holiday season!
Penny, Paula, Amy and everyone at Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
Feature Article: 8 Ways to Get Reviews That Aren't Fake
We've always had a problem with "fake." Whether it was a fake Kate Spade handbag, or a knock-off clothing line, fake has always been a part of our culture. Most of this is made popular by the "don't you want to have it, too?" mindset that often surrounds celebrities: "Get the dress Jennifer Aniston wore for only $200!" Most of us, however, can spot fake. Or, to help avoid litigation, many reputable companies offer knock-offs of celebrity Oscar gowns and what-not. Fake, however, is not limited to fashion anymore.
Now, fake and counterfeit has begun permeating the publishing industry. We've seen things like 35 Shades of Grey and other knock-off titles that seem to circumvent any legal challenges, but there's a new challenge on the frontier, that of fake reviews. Do you believe reviews? A majority of us don't, but more often than not we believed the consumer reviews. Not so much anymore, especially now when reviews can be bought, or in some cases, simply faked. The message seems to be: if you want to get noticed, you'd better be prepared to "fake it till you make it." That's a nice saying, in theory, but when you're talking about polluting an Amazon page with a bunch of dummy reviews, that's another story.
So, what's an author to do? I'm sure as time wears on it will be tempting to buy into this but what happens when we do? We end up with a cluttered market packed with "I loved this!" and we're left to wonder, did the person really love it and, even worse, did they even read it? We all want to be liked, or rather, we want our work to be liked but to what end?
Several years ago we were on a team retreat, at that time a savvy team member came to me and said "We can't put our stock in reviews, these folks are inundated with books to look over, we need to find other channels." And so we did. Where we used to do review-centric programs (meaning that the success or failure of a marketing campaign depended on the number of reviews we got), we now offer campaigns that are balanced and yes, we like to get reviews for our customers, but that's not always the best way to grow your market. Here is perhaps a different set of ideas (and maybe a few you've heard before) about getting exposure and (if you're lucky) getting reviews:
1. Stay engaged: I see a lot of folks who aren't engaged in the process or their reader. I'm not talking about running through your to-do list of marketing activities. I'm talking about staying engaged with your reader. Talking to them via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, whatever. Your reader is your end user, you want reviews to get to them, but in the absence of reviews guess what? Your outreach to your reader will have a far greater impact on your market and your sales.
2. Know the rules: The rules of the game are important. Part of what's so discouraging to bloggers (and eats away at their time) is that authors don't often take the time to know who to pitch. That's what makes paid reviews so tempting (among other things), you can send in a check and then you get reviews. Real, honest, and thorough reviews take time but keep this in mind: when this shakes out and presumably "consumer" reviews don't have the credibility they once did, where do you think authors will start to go? To the long-time, credible reviewers - where it all started. So, get to know them now. They have a following and people who read them know, they can't be bought.
3. Start early: As with anything in marketing, start early. I'm going to run through some networking tips in another section but for now, start thinking in terms of early, early, early. How soon should you start? Six months at a minimum.
4. Review other books: Reviewing other people's books works great on a number of levels. First and foremost, it's important to support other authors in your market. You want reviews? Guess what? So do they. Get out and review their books, they'll appreciate the effort. Then, when it's time for your book to come out, let them know you're published, offer to send them a copy and (if they have the time) encourage a review. Keep in mind that they may or may not do it, you aren't trading reviews here, you're paying it forward.
5. Please and thank you: When was the last time you thanked someone for a review? If you haven't, you should. You'll write more books and may want to pitch them again, and even if you don't, saying thank you takes no work at all. Show them your appreciation. Consider this, Midwest Book Review has worked tirelessly to do reviews for years, they ask for nothing. Occasionally I'll get a letter from them saying "if you want to help out, we could really use stamps." It's a small thing, with a huge impact. We're all in this together, help out the people who help so many others. Spread the word about the review, thank them, be gracious. You'll be glad you did.
6. Network: If the idea of networking makes you think of long, boring events where you hand out your cards like candies out of a Pez dispenser, take heart - it doesn't have to be like that. You can network on a variety of sites. Let's take LinkedIn for example, which is a great place to network with the media. Join groups in your area of expertise and contribute once a week or so, connect with media and bloggers in your market and then comment on their updates and posts. See? You don't even have to leave your house or, for that matter, attend some boring, colorless event to stay connected.
7. Social media contacts: When was the last time you went through your social media contacts, your Likes on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn? Part of your monthly networking outreach could be to send a quick note to 4 contacts on each social media site. Why? Because there's a big likelihood that you are connected to a blogger, bookstore buyer, or reviewer. You simply never know who is part of your network unless you take time to explore them!
8. Reviews aren't the end game: At the end of the day reviews may not be the way to greater sales. Consider this: have you ever pitched yourself as a contributor to bloggers or blogs? Have you reached out to any newsletters in your industry? Have you considered excerpting your book online somewhere? Consider other options, brainstorm with other authors who are facing the same challenges.
While we love easy, easy isn't always best. A slew of five-star reviews on an Amazon page is now considered suspect. If you want to build your credibility you'll need to work harder. Consumers want authentic, they want transparency. By looking outside of the norm and really maximizing what you already have access to, you can rise about the review noise and, in so doing, will begin to build much more credibility for yourself in the long-term. Credibility breeds respect, and that could bring you more legitimate reviews than you know what to do with.
We now live in a world where anyone can publish at any time. With one click of a button you can become an author. But I believe the journey is much greater than that. It's more than just putting words on paper and hitting a few buttons. It's an effort and it requires time, patience, persistence and passion.
Someone asked me once "Wouldn't it be great if everyone loved your book?" Not really, I said. Not everyone's going to love what I write or what I do. I love the love, but it's in the criticism that I often find my biggest growth.
Listen Now: Find Millions of Readers Online to Review, Recommend & Buy Your Books
Smart authors don't waste time fretting over shrunken book review sections in newspapers and magazines. Instead, they penetrate sites like Goodreads.com, the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. That's where more than 7.3 million members are creating virtual bookshelves and reviewing and recommending books, and buying books based on their friends' reviews.
Be sure to "Like" our Facebook Page for marketing articles and tips, YouTube videos from our book marketing channel, notices about upcoming webinars, Publishing Insider shows, and more: http://www.facebook.com/bookmarketingame.
Need book marketing content? Visit the articles page on our AME website and you'll find a range of articles by Penny, which may be used along with her byline (provided at the top of the page) at no cost. The complete list is at:http://www.amarketingexpert.com/articles/.
View "Turn Your Book Into a Movie" and much more on AME's Book Marketing Channel on YouTube. New videos are added regularly to keep you up to date on all things book marketing! http://www.youtube.com/user/BookmarketingAME.
The following scenario is probably quite familiar to a lot of writers. You enter your favourite bookstore, browsing through the various books of your preferred genre and secretly you dream about that manuscript on your computer or gathering dust in the drawer at home, filling up the shelf space. Well, here's my story of how my dream has become a reality and how yours can too.
It began back in early 2005. I was sitting home one day in my living room and the image of the protagonist for my novel, Henry Simmons, garbed in golden armour and a red cloak fastened around his neck, entered my mind. I thought that this image was astounding and I commenced plotting out the first book, The Zargothian Tales: Return of the Son of Hamorin, which is part of a trilogy. Before I knew it, I had all the chapters mapped out and all that was left now was the daunting task of sitting down and writing the novel.
As I was approximately four chapters into The Zargothian Tales: Return of the Son of Hamorin, tragedy struck and I was knocked down by a car. The result was that I had a severely fractured right ankle and was wheelchair bound for seven months. Now, as with anyone in this rather unfavourable situation, the usual questions began to run through my mind: "Why did this happen to me?" "What did I do to deserve this?" The fear of never being able to walk again constantly hung over me like a dark cloud. Once these questions and worries had abated and a fortnight elapsed, I decided that instead of complaining and fretting, I should be grateful to be alive and that this accident granted me the opportunity to write my novel.
Having finally come to terms with my situation, I dived straight into Henry's adventure and put aside an hour or two every day to continue writing and conducting some research. Within six months, I had completed the manuscript and now came the other fun part of being a writer: the editing. Of course, I say "fun" with a hint of sarcasm. For another six months, I read, re-read and eliminated some paragraphs/pages, which I thought hindered the story. A suggestion was made that I send it to a proofreader and I did.
Once all this was done, there loomed on the horizon the most daunting task a writer could ever undertake - finding a publisher. At times, it seemed that I would never find one, despite reading and religiously adhering to all the advice given in books such as, The Writers' and Artists' Yearbook and The Writers' Market. To say that it was a struggle would be an understatement. All this was worthwhile, however, because after receiving roughly 75 to 80 rejections during a gruelling two years of relentless searching, I finally obtained a publisher and my book was released in December 2010. Eleven months later, it was released in paperback and is now standing on shelves in bookstores.
A question that I'm frequently asked is, "Was all the heartache worth it?" In one simple word, yes because I've achieved what many haven't. My advice to fellow writers out there is the following:
1. Never follow trends. If your story contains well-developed characters, believable dialogue, a riveting plot and every chapter ending on an exciting cliffhanger, then you're onto a winner and it will stand on its own merits.
2. Do some market research. Make sure that there are no other novels out there like yours. If there are, then you could be accused of plagiarism or run the risk of being labelled "unoriginal." Think outside the box and ask yourself, "What if?" This question has spawned many classic tales that have endured the test of time.
3. Make sure that you get opinions of your manuscript from friends who you know will be brutally honest. This will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
4. Don't be too disheartened by all the rejection slips. How many authors have we read or heard about who were the recipients of many rejections but still managed to overcome this? If you believe in your story, then go for it and never surrender to the "Nos." Bear in mind that it only ever takes one "Yes" to be published.
5. Once you have achieved the nigh impossible goal of nabbing a publisher, be sure toplan out a marketing strategy. God knows you worked hard enough on your novel so now it's time to make it sell and don't leave it all up to your publisher. Seize the initiative and promote yourself. You could begin doing this at least six months before the release date. Creating a website can be a great way to get your book noticed and joining social networking websites such as Bebo, Facebook and Twitter is a useful way to tell people about your novel and direct traffic towards your site, which in turn, could result in sales. My website is: www.thezargothiantales.com. Hiring a local PR company might not be a bad idea either because they could have valuable media contacts.
6. Learn to blog effectively and make sure that what you have to say is worth reading. Always keep your intended audience in mind when blogging. This is a unique way to promote yourself and your novel. Some chick-lit and even fantasy authors have been snapped up by literary agents/publishers through their blogs. You can set up a blog account for free at Blogger (www.blogger.com) and WordPress (www.wordpress.com). Be warned: some blogging software can have a bit of a learning curve.
Another question I'm asked is, "How do you know if it is 'The One'?" The answer is simple: if you feel excited while writing it and if you can't wait to get home from work and continue typing or writing your hero/heroine's adventure, then you know it is "The One."
Don't just daydream about your book being a bestseller because if that's all you do, then that's all it will remain - just a dream. Sit down, plot out your novel and get writing. So what are you doing still reading this then? Good luck!
Aidan Lucid's The Zargothian Tales: Return of the Son of Hamorin, is available to purchase as an eBook at http://www.wordtechs.com/ZTLucid.html or www.amazon.com. His book is also available to purchase in paperback athttp://www.thezargothiantales.com A portion of the royalties go towards a charity in Ireland called, "Friends of ABLE," which is an organisation that helps people with disabilities gain new work skills and also employment.
Discover the Key to eBook Success with our Powerful eBook Programs
The key to eBook success is this: finding readers for your book! Our eBook programs will help push your title out to eBook lovers everywhere, including readers and possible reviewers.
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* 5 Amazon or Barnes & Noble reviews to dress up your book's page and draw eyes! * Guaranteed 10-15 submissions on top eBook promotion sites. * LibraryThing giveaway: we will coordinate and promote a giveaway on LibraryThing for you so you don't have to do a thing! And winners are encouraged to review your book! * We'll promote your giveaway to the 5 top online giveaway sites. * We'll also promote your book to our 13,000 Twitter followers. * Finally, we'll promote your book on 5 top eBook free download promotion sites*.
Silver eBook Promotion: $499
* Guaranteed 10-15 submissions on top eBook promotion sites. * LibraryThing giveaway: we will coordinate and promote a giveaway on LibraryThing for you so you don't have to do a thing! And winners are encouraged to review your book! * We'll promote your giveaway to the 5 top online giveaway sites. * We'll also promote your book to our 13,000 Twitter followers. * Finally, we'll promote your book on 5 top eBook free download promotion sites*.
Be in the know and hear what the publishing insiders: Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. - and her guests - offer in terms of tips and insights into the industry! Listen here. Publishing Insiders is now available on iTunes, so you can keep up with the show wherever you go!
Upcoming show: Join us Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. Pacific for a look back at the year in publishing, featuring special guests and our publishing predictions for 2013!
Shows available for download include:
* Authors: Are You Licensed? * Do You Have Klout? * The Secrets of eBook Marketing & Sales * Secrets to Successful Book Marketing * Do You Have a Platform? * All About Mobile Marketing * What's Going on With Google Updates? * No Money Out of Pocket: Shooting Your Book to Stardom * Secrets to Creating Book Titles That Sell * How to Create a Brand-Building Buzz with Media * Book Reviews: Do You Need Them? * Special Guest Amy Porterfield on The New Facebook Page * All Things Pinterest * "Like" My Stuff * Secrets to Creating Children's Book Apps * Lead Without Followers with Dave Ursillo * Facebook Facts from Social Media Expert Mari Smith * Special Guest Mike Stelzner on social media marketing * Special Guest Amy Porterfield on Facebook Marketing * Special Guest Chris Brogan on Google+ * How and Where to Sell Your Self-Published Book * Speaker Tips for Authors * How to Get Your Book Reviewed * The Future of Author Events * What Authors Must Know About Book Cover Design * SPECIAL GUEST Seth Godin: Poke the Box * Smart Self-Publishing: Why Book Design & Editing Matter * Smart Self-Publishing: Making Money with eBooks * Smart Self-Publishing Series: Becoming Your Own Publisher
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If you want to get more out of your Facebook Page - more fans, more leads, more results - then this program is for you!
Amy Porterfield is the co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and a Social Media Strategist for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Many consider Amy the go-to person for all things Facebook Marketing.
Submit Your Book Today: Indie Excellence Awards 2013
The 7th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards are now open for submissions!
NIEA celebrates overall excellence, including design and promotional text, so that discerning readers know an NIEA winner or finalist is something special. What's more, award announcements receive extensive media coverage you can leverage to your sales advantage.
These events are completely free to viewers - just log on to Skype for a lively discussion!
If you're involved in a book group or want to share this offer with others please have them email firstname.lastname@example.org, put "Author Skype Events" in the subject line, and we'll make sure you receive announcements on upcoming events. Receiving announcements in no way obligates you to attend.
If you've got a Reader Tip you'd like to share, please send it email@example.com with the subject line "reader tip." Submissions should be 75 words or less.
WHO ARE WE
Author Marketing Experts, Inc. is a full-service book marketing, promotion, and publicity company. We serve authors at all stages of marketing and promotion. We offer a full range of packages and services to choose from.
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