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Category Archives: Book Launch

Stop Talking About Your Book, Start Talking About Your Passion

Stop Talking About Your Book, Start Talking About Your Passion

My attention was recently brought to a discussion in the Author U group on LinkedIn, and it highlighted one tip that sometimes I think we as authors forget (or misinterpret): Stop Talking About Your Book!

Now, I know someone is thinking “If I don’t talk about it, how will they know?“, or maybe they ask themselves “How else will I make my book stand out?“.

To those thoughts, and any similar thoughts I respond: “What if potential readers are so turned off by your tactics that they don’t even give your book a chance?

We have all seen them: groups on Facebook filled with flyby promotions. Groups that ONLY these authors are visiting just to drop off their latest promo. Authors, you should know that your readers have left the building. Besieged by promotion after promotion with no dialogue, they have blocked or left this group and you are not promoting to anyone. Remember the other authors aren’t active either, they just want to drop a line about their latest soon-to-be best-seller.

Promote Your Passion

Elwood Billshot, author at Toolnet.us and a fellow Author U mate says this about how you can more effectively promote your book:

Many engaging comments in a variety of groups and conversations will generate interest in you as a person. Eventually this becomes an interest in your work.

The key to promoting your book is not Spam, it’s about relationships. If you are not sure where the line is, I recommend you read The Unbreakable Rules of Marketing: 9 1/2 Ways to Get People to Love You by Cathey Armillas to fully understand what I mean. The relationships you create with fellow authors and readers is what will generate the interest you need and the sales you want. It’s a journey, it takes commitment, and as Elwood also says, “It’s all about persistence and attrition.”

Talk about why you chose this subject, what about it is near to your heart. People can connect to your passion and your ideas, if you let them in. Readers enjoy books because it gives them something to focus on, enjoy, and escape. Your conversations should be similar: give them something to focus on, allow them to enjoy their interactions with you, and then they may choose to “escape” with a book written by you, an individual who has proven to be interesting. This personal relationship can also make a lifetime fan and an influencer of your book.

A Personal Note…

I met Liv Warfield on my first Girls’ Night Out in Portland. She sang. I mean she SANG! Loved it. I got to talk to Liv after, and she was so friendly I just had to give up my $5 for her CD. I saw Liv Warfield often after that, I went to shows and I visited her store. I dragged my husband and every friend I knew to see Liv, and when her Prince-approved album The Unexpected came out I bought my copy immediately and I promote her every chance I get. To me, Liv Warfield is better than Beyoncé or Taylor Swift because she is REAL! I met her, I see her often and Liv Warfield is always friendly, so I feel like I know her. I also know others who have provided their stamp of approval from their encounters with Liv. It’s all about relationships.

Your Passion Makes Your Book Come Alive

This doesn’t mean you pass up the opportunity to strategically drop a promotional post in the appropriate sections of a group, and some will encourage this. Just remember that when everyone is selling, few are actually buying. As Judith Briles, The Book Shepherd says, “It takes deep, down passion to make a book come alive… it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or nonfiction.”

What’s your Passion? Post a quick, blatant promo for your book or service here!

RCarter-EventRochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, an award-winning book publishing company. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To AuthorpreneurshipWrite Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

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Is Your Fiction Novel Getting the Attention It Deserves?

Adapted from an article by Marsha Friedman

Many new fiction authors are surprised to discover that 1) They have to work just as hard promoting their book as they did to write it, and 2) Getting media attention for works of fiction is really hard!

Most journalists and talk show hosts just don’t seem interested in fiction. Even when the author has great testimonials from people who’ve read their book. And even when the topic is profoundly compelling.

But you can get great publicity – and that’s not a fictitious tale!

Novelists are among the most under-served groups in terms of needing marketing help. One big problem is that many authors, and even marketers, strive only for publicity that overtly promotes the book, such as reviews, articles describing the plot and characters, and author Q-and-A’s about “why I wrote it.” That’s fine for journalists, show hosts and bloggers who specialize in writing and talking about books, but the rest will tell you, “Buy an ad!”

While the media may not be interested in the books – you can get them interested in the author. They’re always in need of expert sources to address topical news, trends and issues. Authors often do extensive research on a topic, place or character to make their novels more plausible. That becomes an area of expertise.

Their novel may be loosely based on their own experiences: growing up during the Depression, teaching in an urban school, traveling to foreign countries. That certainly makes them qualified to offer opinions on those topics or issues related to them.

Often, the themes in a novel reflect the lessons or morals the author feels are important to share. It may be that redemption is possible for any wrongdoers; that sacrifice brings rewards; that conforming to societal expectations is not necessarily a good thing

These themes underlie daily news stories, as well. Fiction authors can add depth and context to events and issues by identifying the underlying themes and expanding on them.

How will talking about something related to your book provide the publicity you need?

It gives both you and your book exposure. When quoted by journalists or interviewed on a talk show segment, you’re “Pamela Samuels Young, author of Anybody’s Daughter.” Your website address may get printed, repeated on air or flashed on TV screens. You may even get asked a couple questions about your book, in addition to the newsworthy information you provide.

Second, being quoted by traditional media is marketing gold; it’s an implied endorsement of both you and your book. If you’re the person journalists and show hosts are turning to for insight and expertise, they must value what you have to say.

Thanks to the Internet, that publicity is now worth more than ever. Almost every print publication also publishes online, where articles are exposed to even more people and can live indefinitely. Post links to these on your website, as well as links to, or clips of, your radio and TV interviews, and they’ll continue to give that credibility that makes you stand apart.

Yes, for many fiction writers, getting exposure can be daunting. But it’s not impossible!

Consider the areas of expertise you’ve developed that are relevant to your book; be willing to share that expertise, and focus more on exposure than overt book promotion, and a whole new world will open up to you.
And that’s no fantasy.

What kind of media coverage have you been able to get for your Fiction novel? What topics did you focus the discussion on?

 

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Authors to Love | The Business of Writing

author love

Written Voices Blog has been hosting a unique “Authors to Love” series this week in honor of Valentine’s Day.  All the authors introduced write about the business of writing. Authors such as Michelle Stimpson and Barbara Joe Williams have been featured thus far, with more to come the rest of the week. Today, Rochelle Carter, the CEO and publisher of Ellechor Media LLC, introduces readers to her latest book release The 7-Step Guide to Authorpreneurship.

Click Here for the Exclusive Excerpt!

 

RCarter-Event

Rochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, a company with three publishing imprints and a bookstore. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To AuthorpreneurshipWrite Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

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5 Simple Ways to Support the Author You Love

5 Simple Ways to Support the Author You Love

Dear Reader/ Supporter,

Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know you loved my book, or that you love that I’ve written one! I truly appreciate your kind words and promises for support. While hearing these things make me very happy, there are a few tangible things that you can do to really say “I love you!” or even just “I like you, you’re cool.” I hope you will take the time to follow-up on your appreciation for my work, since I can’t be a successful author without support from people like you. Thank you again for your time!

5 Simple Ways to Support An Author

  1. Buy A Copy From Me As A Gift For Friends And Family- It truly is a better payout for me as an author, so if you are able please collect your autographed copy of my book from me directly, or at least directly from my publisher
  2. Write A Review- It does not need to be a very long one, but simply write a few words on what impacted you most about my book. You can then copy and paste your review on other online bookstores. There’s nothing wrong with copying review and using it on other sites, like Amazon, GoodReads, Shelfari, Barnes&Noble.com or CBD.com
  3. Tell A Friend or Family Member– I know you have a friend/ family member or two that also enjoys reading. Why not suggest my book to that friend or family member? Word-of-mouth is the best way to help support an author! The more times a person hears about or sees a book, the greater the chances that they’ll pick it up and read it.
  4. Recommend Me At Your Library– Many libraries have online suggestion forms for new books, so fill one out please! If you frequent the library in person, take a moment to talk to them about your recommendation.
  5. Vote for Me In Free Contests- I am probably paying to enter several book awards where readers are the voters. Please take a moment to click on my post and vote.

And reader, if you have another minute you can also:

  • Click the “Like” Button– Please “Like” my author page on Facebook if I have one, and on my book’s Amazon page (it’s near the top of my book page)
  • Share my Book- It can be on Facebook/ Twitter/ Instagram/ Pinterest, whatever social media you use, with a short note on what you enjoyed about my book
  • Click on the “Tags People Associate With This Product” on Amazon– The more tags and the more clicks, the better a book will come up in search results, so please add the ones you feel are relevant

Sincerely,

Your Ever-Grateful Author

RCarter-Event

Rochelle Carter is the CEO/ Publisher at Ellechor Media LLC, a company with three publishing imprints and a bookstore. She is the author of The 7-Step Guide To Authorpreneurship, Write Success: Inspirational Quotes For The Authorpreneur, and Becoming An Author: Your Quick Start Guide to a Successful Book Launch, three books she put together to help educate and motivate authors based on her experiences with publishing and her own authors.

 

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The Savvy Authorpreneur Presents… David William Jackson, Jr.

Gangmember-Turned-Activist Shares Secrets of His Success in Autobiography

The Man Behind the Music David William Jackson

Beaverton, OR. September 9, 2013 –Many people measure success according to a person’s income or job title. They might also look at who you know, where you live or what kind of car you drive. By all accounts, David William Jackson, Jr., is a successful man. Under the alias O.G. One, he is a nationally recognized deejay and music producer. He is CEO of his own company and founder of a non-profit mentoring organization. His website features photos of him with celebrities such as Rihanna and Neyo. Jackson, however, uses a different yardstick to measure his success—one based on his faith in God and helping those in need.

When asked what one thing he is most proud of, Jackson said, “Still having a desire to believe in God.”

Looking at where Jackson is today, it is easy to dismiss his claim. After all, how hard is it to believe in God when the blessings are abundant and plentiful? Definitely not as difficult as it might be for a child raised in a physically and emotionally abusive environment or a young man caught up in gang violence. Yet there is where Jackson found—and held on to—his faith.

Jackson shares his life story in The Man Behind the Music: The Life & Times of David William “O.G.ONE” Jackson (Ellechor eBooks & Co., July 2014). Co-authored with Rochell D. Hart, Jackson’s autobiography is a candid message meant to inspire.

“I would like to believe that my one decision to better my life has inspired others, so I believe there are others like me, male and female, who need to know that they’re not alone,” Jackson said.

The son of a young and misguided single mother and loving but absent father, Jackson’s childhood was one of transient, impoverished chaos. His mother seemingly settled down after joining the Ecclesia Athletic Association, a religious organization founded by Eldridge Broussard, Jr., in the Watts area of Los Angeles. However, the media frenzy that erupted following the beating death of Broussard’s 8-year-old daughter depicted the group as a violent, oppressive cult. This exposé resulted in more than 50 children were removed from the group’s commune. Four members were charged and convicted of first-degree manslaughter for the young girl’s death—one of whom was Jackson’s own mother.

One of the few constants in Jackson’s life was music. Some of his first memories are of watching his musician father rehearse, listening to Motown classics with his grandmother and sitting in church services reverberating with soulful hymns. At Christmas and birthdays, Jackson’s father would gift him with some type of musical instrument, inspiring a deep and lifelong passion which would eventually lead Jackson on to success.

It was several years before Jackson finally severed ties with Ecclesia Athletic Association. Despite the manipulation and violence, the group gave members a sense of belonging and acceptance. When Jackson left the organization, he had few friends and even fewer options. He worked numerous menial jobs to try and make ends meet for himself and his young family. One of the first turning points in Jackson becoming the man he is today occurred when he applied for a job working with gang-affected youth. It was during these program events that Jackson began spinning records. When a local promoter invited him to deejay for a Run DMC and Naughty by Nature concert, he was in. Leveraging his contacts and budding reputation, Jackson sought out opportunities to produce music.

 Always with an ear cocked for what God had to say about the direction his life should take, Jackson walked through the doors that opened and didn’t look back on the windows that closed. He simultaneously cultivated his career and continued his involvement with at-risk youth, racking up parallel lists of achievements. He has deejayed events for artists such as Jay-Z, Brian McKnight, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent. His community activism encompasses motivational speaking, mentoring, fund raising, philanthropy and the establishment of his own non-profit organization.

The Man Behind the Music isn’t a “how to get rich quick” tale nor is it the candy-coated story of poor-boy-makes-good. However, Jackson does reveal the secrets of his success—knowledge he gained through his own struggles to believe in his self-worth and to find his purpose in life: “Someone believing in me when I didn’t know how to believe in myself. Surrounding myself will information and people that enhanced the belief that I was worthy of love and success, and lastly, making a very conscious choice of who and what I wanted to be and going after it.”

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To request reprint permission, to schedule an interview, public appearance or book signing; to request a review copy; or to obtain promotional materials (digital images, author bio, etc.), please contact Rochelle Carter (rcarter@ellechorpublishing.com; 559-744-3553).

 

The Authorpreneur and the “Amateur” Book Reviewer/ Blogger

Much has changed in the old fortress of publishing over the past twenty years (since the rise of the Internet and self-publishing).

However, the biggest change we’ve seen in publishing isn’t the rise of eBooks, the evolution of self-publishing, or Amazon’s domination over traditional booksellers. It’s the fact that–regardless of where or how an author is published–the author has really become the book’s most reliable sales rep, marketing manager, publicity department, etc. Publishing nowadays requires AUTHORS to be the product, and the book sells based on how well the author performs. Every author needs to be active in both grassroots and large-scale marketing campaigns. 

Goodreads.com is one of the most popular contemporary social media sites, and it’s centered solely around the amateur reviewer. The value of Amazon customer reviews is enormous nowadays, not only to convince readers to pick up the book but to secure other publicity and notice.

On that note, “amateur” review bloggers (I say amateur, but these professional bloggers are really anything but amateur!) are getting more and more attention and respect among individual readers, booksellers, and industry professionals and publications. The best part is that most of them are responding to the fact that most authors are their own sales reps, marketing managers, and publicity departments, so the need for an “official” publicist isn’t exactly necessary for securing high-profile reviews from successful self-made book reviewers. Below is a list of the best “amateur” review bloggers we know of! If you’re a reader, check them out to find out what’s new. If you’re an author, drop them a line!

1) Bookslut

2) Becky’s Book Reviews

3) books i done read

4) Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog

5) The New Book Review

6) A Book and a Review

7) Shelf Love

8) Bibliophile Stalker

9) The Book Nest

10) The Overweight Bookshelf

11) A Geek At Heart

12) Reading for Sanity

13) Books on the Knob

14) The Book Smugglers

15) The Literary Saloon

16) Omnivoracious

17) The Bookshop Blog

18) Read React Review

19) Bookroom Reviews

20) Booking Mama

 

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HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK PART-TIME WHILE WORKING FULL-TIME

You come home from a long day at work and just want to veg. Your nagging “to do” list of laundry, mowing the lawn, and cleaning out your car seem so daunting. But there is something else you are forgetting. Something really important. What was it?

How To Market

Oh yeah. My book was just released. I should get to that.

The reality for many authors is that success is not instant. Being an author isn’t a high-paying, full-time job for many; and so authors must work a different, perhaps less exciting, full-time job in order to support their goals of perhaps one day becoming a bestselling author.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be an instant success? To wake up one day, quit your regular job and just earn millions in royalties from book sales?

Bestselling author Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper, said on her podcast, “So You Want to Be a Writer,” explains that most writers don’t get published. Even others who do get their book printed only see little sales. Vow not to let that happen to you.

You know you need to spend time marketing. But how do you get there? How do you spend the time needed in order to market your book when your day already feels like it is filled to the max?

Picoult continues: “For many people, the tricky thing is time… often, if you’re working a 9-to-5 job, the last thing you want to do is sit down and work on your novel at the end of the day. But if you don’t give yourself a designated time to write everyday, it won’t happen…. You don’t need six hours. Just a half hour. Or several.”

While she is talking about writing a book, the same concept could be applied tomarketing as well. So many authors out there are struggling with time, just like you. The difference between authors with titles that sell and titles that don’t are that the successful authors go out and market their book when they could, whenever they could. The unsuccessful ones only dream about it, let other things get in the way, and offer the excuse, “I just don’t have the time.”

Don’t let that be you!

As you embark on your journey of being an author while holding down a full-time job, keep these important tips in mind:

Set aside time everyday to devote to marketing.

Develop a Promotion Plan of effective marketing techniques.

Be consistent over a long period of time.

If you can do these three things, eventually it won’t matter that you don’t have gobs of hours to spend marketing your book. Do these things, and hopefully you will be the successful author you have always dreamed of being.

1. Set aside time everyday to devote to marketing. Carve out time to devote to your book every single day. What time can you stick to? Get up early, spend part of your lunch hour, or wait until the kids are in bed. Or do all three! Whenever you can spare time, that time is for you and your book. Nothing else. Commit now and set a timer if you have to! No veering off and doing other things. This is focused time just for marketing. Go.

2. Develop a Promotion Plan of effective marketing techniques. As early as possible, the best thing you can do is spend time developing a Promotion Plan. Ideally, this is done while your book is going through the editing/publishing process so it is ready to go once you go to print. But if your book is already in print, it’s not too late to kick-start your marketing plan. Start today. Start now.

What is a Promotion Plan? Think of it as a business plan. It’s everything written down step by step that you need to do to get your business off the ground and selling your product. It is always a work in progress, so keep it handy and change and update as needed.

What to include in your Promotion Plan? First, check with your publishing company. They may offer details for you (we provide information to our authors and include a sample promotion plan as well) or you may find ideas in the marketing books or online.

Why is this Promotion Plan so crucial? A plan is key because it outlines what you will be doing as soon as your book is published, what you will do after that, and what you will do to market in the next year. With this plan, you don’t come home from work wondering “what should I do to market my book today?” because you already know. You already have a plan. A Promotion Plan will save you time in the long run. It will keep you motivated and focused.

To begin writing your Promotion Plan, first educate yourself on the book marketing process. Read books, listen to experts give talks, sign up for e-newsletters—whatever you can do to learn about book marketing. This will take time, which is why doing this before your book is in print is the ideal.

You must become educated because you’ll want to know what the experts do so that you can emulate them and try their ideas. For example, did you know that bookstore signings aren’t very effective? Did you know that not very many authors today do book tours? Did you know that you can earn a lot more in royalties by selling your book directly? Book marketing has changed a lot, especially in the last few years with the Internet and social networking becoming a big part of people’s lives. So don’t skip education. Learn everything you can about book marketing and what works. It will take time, but it is essential.

A few books to get you started: 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer,Guerrilla Marketing For Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work by Jay Conrad Levinson, The Complete Guide to Book Publicity by Jodee Blanco, 55 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Book on the Internet by Bob Baker.

Read these books on the train on your way to work, listen to them on tape, read a chapter while waiting at the doctor’s office—devour all the information when you can and where you can. As you read these books, take notes and put the ideas in your Promotion Plan.

Here are some things you will be learning from those books. We suggest putting them in your plan, though make sure to read up on them for more details:

*Develop an author website/blog/social networking page. Continually add to them so they become information centers on a certain topic rather than just about you and your book.

*Create press kit.

*Write and later publish articles on subjects relating to your book’s genre.

*Order copies of your book in bulk so you can 1. Sell direct and earn more royalties, and 2. Send copies to the media and other centers of influence to be reviewed. These reviews can be added to your website and/or the back cover of your book. Both are worth the initial investment.

*Set your release date (typically a few months following the initial printing)

*Set up events such as speaking engagements, book signings (at places other than bookstores).

*Post reviews and have others post reviews on sites like Amazon.com.

*Set up interviews with local media, then regional, niche media (relating to your genre) and then go for national. Become an “expert” in your field and offer information to the media so they will use you as a resource.

As you write these into your plan, also write down how you will do these things. Plan them out as much as possible. What will you include in your website? If you aren’t sure, check back with some of the marketing books for details. What should be included in a press kit? Again, check back with marketing experts or check out our other blog post (LINK). Write down the details in your plan so when the time comes to implement this step, you will be ready to go.

Keep adding to your plan and refine it; perhaps your publishing company’s marketing department will take a look at it and offer suggestions. Be flexible and open to new ideas. be willing to try anything.

3. Be consistent over a long period of time. You made it! Your book is in print!

Now that tangible copies are ready to order, the key is to implement those items on your Promotion Plan. Order copies to sell direct. Add a shopping cart to your website so people can order. Write a blog post about it. Send copies out to be reviewed. And more. You should know exactly what to do because it will all be spelled out in your Promotion Plan.

Continue to spend a little time everyday at the same time, implementing things from your Promotion Plan. Perhaps one day you could write an article and submit it to an ezine. The next day you could get copies ready to mail out for review. The following day you could set up a speaking event. You may not complete each task in one day, but keep at it. If you stick with your Promotion Plan and work on the things that are the most effective, hopefully sales will follow!

How long should you continue working at this pace? As long as possible. Work consistently over the long term. Most authors don’t become successful overnight. Only after months and even years of hard work do many titles get noticed. Look inside the cover of a bestseller—notice the copyright date? You might be surprised to find how long some books took to really sell. So decide now to dedicate yourself to the task. Don’t give up. Keep on going.

And who knows? Maybe someday being a full-time author could be your day job.

*Reposted from the American Book Publishing Blog

 

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5 Tips for Writing Great Book Marketing Copy

Sometimes I over-explain. When I work on a project, I usually think of plan A, plan B, plan C,… Often, this serves me well. I’m able to catch potential problems or can evaluate which solution would be best. Other times I just confuse people.

Do you struggle with this? Does it trickle into your marketing efforts? Because it is a problem that I often hear authors complain about or see in their marketing materials.

Here is a recent example. I follow a marketing thread on LinkedIn and one of the authors that regularly contributes recently went to a community event to promote her book. After the event, she referred to the whole thing as a “failed” event. The reason? Her marketing display was not effective in promoting her book.

In addition to other factors, the group pointed out that she had way too much text so that her main messages were lost. What she found from the experience was that a cover and just three words hooked her audience more than all her explaining and graphics.

In one of her comments regarding the event, she shared a sentiment that I imagine a lot of authors feel,  “I’m a lot better at the writing than I am the marketing needed to communicate it.”

Isn’t it funny that those with the gift for words suddenly find that gift diminished when it comes to trying to effectively tell consumers about the book?

Marketing language can be very different than the writing style most long-form authors use.  You must keep in mind that when a customer is looking for a book to pick up, her goals are much different than when she is actually reading the book. Thus, the goals of the writing should be different. Here are a few tips to keep your promotional writing under control:

  • 1. Give the reader just a taste. You are trying to convey a feeling or a promise of an answer to a problem, not details. Leave that to the book.
  • 2. Give a pay-off by focusing on one clear benefit. You may be able to think of a bunch of benefits, but don’t overwhelm your customer. Give them one hook. Whether this is a solution to a problem or a short explanation of why this book will entertain, the reader wants to know what is in it for them. Which goes nicely with the next point…
  • 3. Write to your reader. Consumers don’t care why you wrote the book. They want to know what’s in it for them. What do they want to hear? How does your copy address them?
  • 4. Use short sentences. Yes, this person wants to read. He is picking up a book after all. But he doesn’t want to read right now. He wants to put down money for a book. Let him! He’ll get on with all your fantastic writing later. For now, short sentences that read more like bullet points will help him make that decision.
  • 5. Simplify to Maximize. This is the over-arching theme I want to leave with you. Your natural reaction will be to add more, tell more, and show more. Resist the urge and try cutting instead. What can you get rid of while still conveying your point? If it doesn’t absolutely have to be there, cut it to make better use of consumers’ very short attention spans.

Best of luck to you!

 
 

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7 Things Every Author Should Do Before Their Book Release

by Guest Blogger Lynn Baber

Launching a book is like planning a wedding; you begin with the event date and work your way backwards. Authors who achieve success within their own lifetime get their books into the hands of readers, obtain feedback, and use reader comments to fine tune promotional plans.

The first step toward your book release is high quality photography.

1. Photography

Invest in a flattering head shot, a great book cover, and a variety of action shots designed to either promote you as an authority or showcase the content of your book.  Assemble an album of high-resolution .jpeg images to use online and for printed materials.

Each published element on your road to launch day and every promotion must include the book cover and author photo or attention-grabbing content shot.

2. Analyze the Competition

What three books offer the most competition or greatest appeal to your readers? Study them. Consider writing a series of comparative articles that contrast your new book with those titles. Potential readers will ask if you’ve read your competitor’s work and will ask how your book differs. Have an intriguing and intelligent answer prepared.

Use these articles as a topic for speaking engagements and online posting. Where do readers find references to your competition? Are you planning to be in these same places?

If competing authors have already cleared a path why spend time and money blazing a new one? Readers can’t choose your book over the others if it isn’t listed, promoted, or mentioned in the same places.

3. Coordinate Book Formats

If your book will have multiple formats (Kindle, print, audio, downloadable file) maximize your marketing response by scheduling your launch when all versions are ready, not when the first one is ready.

4. Prepare a Niche Marketing Plan and Reader Profile

Don’t just give lip service to niche marketing. BELIEVE IT. OWN IT. Ignore it at your own peril. The direct path to failure is marketing your book to everyone you think should read it.

Promotional materials must showcase you or your book and not the publisher. Bookmarks, one-sheets, push cards, websites, videos, and press kit elements must be targeted, have a specific purpose, share a common message and include your contact information.

Be prepared to give away a number of books in order to kick-start the feedback loop. People read the same books their friends, colleagues, and rivals read.

If you’re not sure what your niche is, define and describe the characteristics, attributes, challenges, needs, location, and lifestyle of the person most likely to benefit from reading your book. Ask the folks who have already read your book for their thoughts.

5. Gather Reviews and Testimonials

Plan a soft launch well ahead of your release date to gather reader response, reviews, critiques, and accolades so you can set the proper tone for the formal launch and target the proper audience for your book. What you gather in this step provides the foundation for your promotional materials.

Your most valuable marketing research tools are people who have already read your book. Readers will tell you what it’s about, why they read it, which parts are the best and which ones to rewrite if you ever do a second edition.

6. Honestly Inventory Your Weaknesses and Strengths

Do you have an extensive client list of people or organizations that are waiting breathlessly for your book? Are you a good schmoozer in a crowd? Can you sell your message to an audience? Are you prepared to ad lib a radio interview?

Search for opportunities where you will shine! Weight your promotional calendar more heavily with virtual interviews and online seminars if you are a brilliant writer who needs to polish rusty speaking skills.

Load your calendar with events, interviews, speaking engagements, and appearances. Many authors sell more books to people who attend their events than all other avenues combined. Book events to coincide with your release date. In other words, get the bride and groom to the wedding at the same time.

7. Produce Coordinating Marketing Materials

Every printed piece, photo, video, website, and online post must have a call to action, a purpose, and fit into your marketing mix as a whole. Each promotional piece should coordinate and complement every other piece to produce a clear and cumulative call to respond.

Small intimate weddings don’t require as much preparation as elaborate affairs. If you plan a huge launch, begin preparing and executing your plan well in advance of the actual release date.

Your book only has one opportunity to make a first impression. Make it great!

 

Author of four books, Lynn Baber, is a retired World and National Champion horse breeder and trainer who shares messages of worthy leadership and right relationship online, in print, and in person – often in the company of horses.

Visit Lynn at http://www.LynnBaber.net or http://www.AmazingGraysMinistry.com

 

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Five Critical Elements for Your Christian Book Marketing Plan

While some Christian authors plan to give their book to only friends and family, we know that many Christian authors hope to share their book and message with the masses. To make this dream a reality, you’ll need a plan of action – a marketing plan.

Without an effective marketing plan, you might end up wasting a lot of time, money and effort in a frenzied, unorganized attempt to sell books.

Now, that’s not what you want to happen at all, is it? And we want to help you avoid that. So, sharpen your pencils and open your notebook because here comes your crash course in book marketing 101: how to create a marketing plan to successfully launch your Christian book.

What is a Book Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan spells out the actions needed to achieve your marketing goals. Before you start planning how to get somewhere, you should first know where you’re trying to go. So, let’s start with your goals.

Now, you may have lofty dreams and aspirations about your book, such as appearing on Oprah or hitting the top of the bestseller’s list. These aspirations are yours to have – we’re not suggesting that you give up your dreams.

But it’s time to think about a realistic, attainable and definable goal, such as selling X number of copies, or making X amount of money – it’s fine to set the bar high, just make sure that they are goals you can realistically achieve.

Once you know what goals you’re shooting for, you then know where you’re headed, but now you’ll need a plan if you want to get there. The marketing plan encompasses all aspects in the life of your book, from the first inspirational idea for your book to the last promotional effort you’ll make. A marketing plan is all encompassing, so it’s best to start with the basics, including defining your market, identifying your customers or target audience, identifying your competitors and outlining a strategy to attract customers. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? Starting with the basics will not only help define these traits for you personally, but they will help define your book for your audience as well as focus your marketing efforts later.

Get Started Early: Research the Christian Book Market

It’s never too early to begin thinking about your marketing plan. Before you even type the first sentence of your book, you can begin the first step to developing a marketing plan, which is to conduct market research. This research will help you become familiarized with the condition of the market and plan your approach. Check out the types of Christian books that are currently selling well. Visit bookstores to see which books receive the best shelf space and decide into what markets your book fits. Start networking and making connections with other authors to gain knowledge and advice. Connect with media members and begin compiling a list of contacts for future promotional opportunities.

If you’ve already written your book, don’t worry; EverFaith Press has a slew of marketing resources to help you jump into the game prepared. Plus, even though you’ve already written your manuscript, you can still conduct research as well as analyze and define your manuscript from a marketing perspective. Start by making a few basic decisions regarding your book regardless of the stage of writing.

Five Crucial Elements to Your Book Marketing Plan

1. First, clearly identify your target audience. If your first thought is, “Well, that’s easy: Christians!” then you might need to reevaluate your approach. Really get specific: Christian mothers? Grieving Christians? Disabled Christians? Christians who love healthy cooking? Christians who are teachers? Perhaps there are multiple groups of people that would be interested in your book, but it’s best to narrow your focus from the start so you have a clear target.

Consider characteristics such as age, gender, career, income, residence/location and education. By clarifying your targeted audience, you’re finding a niche audience, which will make marketing much easier and effective later down the line.

No matter your writing style, there’s undoubtedly an audience for your work, an audience just waiting for your new, rich and inspirational material. All in all, once you have your target audience(s) defined, you can then search out the means of reaching them and begin your marketing endeavors.

2. Second, identify the competition. The Christian book market is large and thus, highly competitive; but you can use this to your advantage. Find out what kinds of Christian books are selling the best. Identify experts or leaders in the field. Scrutinize your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. Record the selling price of other books based on the subject, binding type, book size and page count. Determine the market demand for specific types of books within your genre.

Take some time to browse through bookstores and note how Christian books are marketed on secular bookstores. Now, how are different styles of Christian books marketed within the Christian genre? For example, what is the topic of top selling Christian book? Are they fiction? Non-fiction? Christian lifestyle? This research will help you better understand the current trends in the book selling marketplace and how your book can fit within it.

3. Third, research how best to reach your targeted audience(s), whether it is through a particular magazine, Web site or geographic location. Search online for blogs, forums and other social networks through which you can reach your audience. Does your audience listen to a particular radio station? Attend particular events? Does your book have a direct connection to a particular city or region? Are there cultural ties that map directly with a certain cultural areas? Do members of your targeted audience represent a higher percentage of the demographic in particular cities?

For example, if you’re targeting young-adult Christians, you could research the location of the largest Christian colleges in the United States. Or, perhaps your book relates more specifically to Catholic teachings, in which case you can narrow your search to Catholic schools. If your book is more general in location, not tied to a specific region, then it’s best to start locally, and then expand outward as you saturate the market.

4. Fourth, develop a statement to position your book within your targeted audience. This statement should highlight your book’s unique selling position, or what separates your book from the crowd in a bustling book market. If you’re not sure exactly how to answer, consider this situation: a reader is browsing a shelf of Christian books and has the chance to ask you directly, “Why should I buy your book? Why should I take the time and spend the money to read your book in particular over all of these other books on the shelf?” Try to answer thoroughly yet briefly. Be persuasive and engaging.

5. Fifth, develop a budget for your marketing plan. How much can you realistically spend on marketing over the next year? Over the next two years? Consider the type of media you will use, promotional services and all other costs associated with marketing. Some marketing efforts are extremely affordable, while others are outrageously expensive. Your budget will ultimately affect which promotional strategies you can afford, but remember: a higher price tagged promotional strategy does not always produce a better result.

Once you have examined these important broad-based fundamental distinctions, the next step is to really narrow in and develop your marketing strategy. Using the “Four P’s of Marketing” you can create a detailed marketing plan along with the specific steps needed to meet your particular marketing goals. Just remember to always keep these five essential aspects in mind, and you’ll be sure to reach your readers with success.

Check back next week for the next installment on Christian Book Marketing, The Four P’s of Marketing!

 
 
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