Beyond the Radio Interview
Last week I was in Nashville with some of our Morgan James authors for another great event. It was similar to the event I detailed in March (follow the link if you didn’t read it). It was another distinct event to help and train our authors (a scarce activity across publishing from my experience).
I met a number of authors that I’ve brought to Morgan James for the first time which was fun after speaking with them on the phone and email for months.
This author was saying the interviews barely made any impact with his book sales. I asked if he had saved the audio recording of his interview for on-going promotion. He looked at me with a blank stare and said no. It showed me that I’m taking an additional step with my radio interviews that some authors are missing. In this article, I want to show you how to preserve the interview for on-going promotion. You've invested your time and energy into the radio interview. How can you maximize and repurpose the interview for even more use than the single station?
The first step is to book an interview and give a solid interview. When you speak to the radio host, you need to pour a lot of effort into the interview. Stand up and walk around your office if this helps you have more energy. Answer every question with enthusiasm as though you are hearing it for the first time.
Radio hosts are busy and often work from a list of questions that the author or the publicist provide them. I’ve answered the same questions over and over yet each time I act as though it is the first time I’m hearing the question. It is a basic that you need to provide a great interview.
To move beyond the interview, ask for a recording of the interview. Sometimes the radio station will put it on their site after the interview. Other times if you ask, they will email the audio file to you. You have to ask for it or search for it and preserve this audio file.
With this audio file in your possession the next step is to listen to it. Is it a solid recording? Do you need to cut out local commercials or anything to make it universal and just your interview?
I use an audio program called SoundForge for this editing process. Just like Microsoft Word edits words, you can use SoundForge to edit audio files.
I create or check to make sure I have a solid recording of my interview. Next I upload the audio file to my own hosting site. If I just link to the interview from someone else's site, they are in control and I've had these links disappear. When I put it on my own site, I know the interview is always going to be available online and never disappear. You have to make sure you preserve the interview on a site that you control.
The final step is to incorporate this interview into your on-going social media efforts (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn). Here’s an example from one of my radio interviews about my Billy Graham book (click on the photo to see the real links in this tweet and try out the interview):
The interview was recorded months ago, yet because it was a morning radio show, it sounds like it happened yesterday. The listener doesn’t need to know the real date.
Because I reuse these interviews, people will regularly email me saying they heard my interview and compliment me. I respond with gratitude and never say when it actually happened (not relevant information for that listener). These recordings continue to promote and drive book sales and exposure for my book—long after the interview.
It does not happen without the author taking control and action. Are you preserving your radio interviews for on-going promotion?
Labels: author, interviews, marketing, promotion, radio, repurpose, social media
Steal This Book Marketing Idea
Imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery. I've been observing different book marketing ideas for years and never seen this idea. I wanted to write about it and give you the details so you can use it (or improve it and use a variation) with launch your book.
Evan Carmichael is a brilliant entrepreneur and marketer. His first book is called Your One Word. It includes an interesting subtitle which stresses a benefit to the reader: “The Powerful Secret to Creating a Business and Life That Matter.” Notice several actions with this bookmark:
First, he asks, “Did you get your free bonuses?” The answer is “no” and you keep reading. Every author needs to offer some sort of bonus that ties to your book. Then Carmichael explains how to get the bonuses: “Email a picture of you and the book to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send them to you!” He has set up a special email address for receiving these photos.
Many people are using a smartphone so taking a self-photo with the book is easy then emailing it to this address. In this process, Carmichael captures the email addresses of his readers—which is something every author should be doing—and adding to his email list in this process. I'm unsure what he is going to be doing with the photos, but I guess I will learn because I emailed my photo.
Second, he includes a little Amazon logo with five stars (clearly suggesting readers to give him a five star review). Then he asks for the review saying, “If you're enjoying this book it would mean a lot to me if you could review it on Amazon so others can discover it too!” Evan is following a key principle: if you don't ask, you don't get. Also with a color, he emphasized the words “a lot.” Followed with gratitude of “Thank you!” and his signature.
The overall effect is to touch his readers, get an email address and encourage them to write a book review. This little bookmark certainly caught my attention and I suspect will be effective for other readers. Carmichael's book released on December 6, 2016 and as of this writing has 76 Amazon reviews (way more than your typical nonfiction book). It looks like this strategy is effective.
One other key if you use this idea: write an excellent book. Carmichael has a well-crafted book with solid insights, stories and great interior design (use of bold and sub-heads for example). The foundation of every book is exceptional writing. The book is a hardcover business book with an attractive cover design—and published by Tarcher (an imprint of Penguin Random House). The publisher tells me that lots of energy has been poured into the creation of this book with excellent endorsements and broad bookstore distribution. Your One Word is a well-made book.
In my years in publishing, I've never seen such a bookmark but believe many others can replicate this idea with success. It's why I wanted to show it to you.
What do you think about this bookmark and idea? Is it something you could use? Tell me in the comment section.
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Labels: Amazon, author, book mark, Book Marketing, Evan Carmichael, strategy, writer
What Writers Can Do With Bestseller Lists
There are many different types of bestseller
lists—New York Times, USA
Today, Publishers Weekly then every major newspaper has a
bestseller list. Also the bestseller lists are often broken into different
categories like nonfiction (hardcover and paperback), fiction (hardcover and
paperback), children's books (hardcover and paperback), etc.
Book authors need to be reading these bestseller
lists and keeping mental track of the books on them. Some authors are put off
with bestsellers. When they read them, they don't resonate with the writing and
wonder how it got on the list. There are many different ways that books get on
the list. Whether you "like" the book or not, I believe authors need to be aware of what is on the list for several
First, these list show you what
the reading public is buying and reading. It also shows what publishers are
creating and launching into the world.
Second, I encourage you to read or
listen to these bestselling books. You can learn from them. You don't have to
purchase these books but can often get them from your public library. If the
book is not available, then learn how to get on the hold list for the book. Even
if the book is very popular, eventually you will get the book.
Third, every writer needs to be
aware of their competition and what is going on in your area of publishing. As
an editor, I will speak with many authors. Some of these authors want to publish
a romance novel while others are working on nonfiction and yet others are writing a children's
book. Often during the conversation I will ask if they read in their genre
or area of the market. Their response is revealing whether they are in tune with
their market or not. Some authors don't want to be “tainted” by the work of
others so they are not reading. My contention is that you can learn a great deal
about the reading public as you read and study your competition. This
information will also feed into the competition section of your book proposal ,
your marketing plans and much more.
One of my bestselling author friends reads other
books on the bestseller lists. It has been a part of his reading habit for many
Do you read bestseller lists and track on this
information? Why or why not? How do you use them in your writing life? Tell us
in the comment section.
What can writers do with a bestseller list? Get some ideas here. (ClickToTweet)
Labels: author, bestseller, book proposal, children's books, competition, fiction, nonfiction, reader, writer
Understand the Role of a Book Publicist
Whether a traditional and recognized publisher launches your book or a self-publisher, the author has to be engaged in the promotion and marketing of their book. One of the key players in this process is the book publicist. Many of these publicists have valuable connections and relationships with media and others to help you promote your book.
This past weekend, I finished reading a new book from publicist Claire McKinney, who has worked in publicity for major publishers for over 20 years and is a recognized expert in self-publishing appearing on The Today Show for example. DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BOOK PUBLICIST DOES? is the name of McKinney's book with the subtitle, “A Guide for Creating Your Own Campaigns.” As the number of new books entering the market increases every day, authors need to understand the role of a book publicist and how to work with them in the process of book promotion. Managing expectations about what a publicist can do for a writer is great information and woven into the fiber of this book.
The promotion or sale of any book is tied to key connections and relationships—for example to the media. Book publicists like Claire McKinney have been building these relationships for years. Every author needs to understand their role in publishing. DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BOOK PUBLICIST DOES? fills a critical role in this process with pointed insights throughout.
McKinney answers common author questions like what is a press release and what is a book launch and the best time to launch a book? The answers are packed with her years of experience in such tasks.
In the section on Reaching the Media, McKinney writes, “I’ve found that “fear” is the one thing that holds most people back from reaching out and from developing good pitches. Of course, you don’t want to be insulting, use the words “extraordinary” or “dynamic” just to create hype doesn’t help either. If you are honest about your intentions and what you are looking for, you are more likely to get a response. It takes extra effort, but that is also how you will build a relationship with the contact that could benefit another book, or could enrich your experience in another way. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I’m sure you know that expression. If you get a snappy response, chalk it up to a bad day. What is the worst that can happen?” (Page 100-101)
Every book author can profit from the details in DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BOOK PUBLICIST DOES?—whether it is your first book or many books. I highly recommend this book. Also I recommend you follow this link to McKinney's website and download her Guide to Social Media 101. Each of us can learn something and get some new ideas from this free resource.
With increased understanding from reading DO YOU KNOW WHAT A BOOK PUBLICIST DOES?, you can apply this information to your own writing life. One of my reasons for occasionally including reviews of books for authors in these articles about the writing life is to showcase the importance of reading and applying books to your life. While I've been in publishing many years, I learn new insights and tools from these resources. I hope you are taking action for your own writing life.
Have you used a book publicist like Claire McKinney in the promotion of your books? Tell me about in the comments section.
Writers need to understand the role of a Book Publicist. (ClickToTweet)
Labels: author, book publicist, books, Claire McKinney, promotion, social media, writer
Writers and AudioBooks
June is AudioBook Month. This area of publishing continues to expand and explode from everything that I read in the trades.
Check out this article from the recent Book Expo America and mega-bestselling author, James Patterson. “Patterson (Crazy House, Hachette Audio) opened his presentation with a declaration: “Listening to an audio is reading. A lot of gatekeepers don't buy into that, but I do.” Noting the audiobook “is only scratching the surface of its potential importance and its audience,” he offered a pair of recommendations. “The first suggestion is that some audiobook people have to go out to Silicon Valley. We need to redesign audiobooks so they can be sold at a better price.” He also advocated for offering an irresistible audiobook package, which “could include, just for example, a John Grisham, a Patterson, Hillbilly Elegy, a Wimpy Kid novel, Alan's new book,” to automobile makers at close to cost if they would agree to put it in every new car they sell.” I found this idea interesting and will be watching the publishing world to see if someone takes James Patterson up on such an idea.
If you are wondering about the viability of audiobooks, just look at these recent statistics “In 2016, Audiobook Sales Up 18.2%, Unit Sales Jump 33.9% Audiobook sales in 2016 rose 18.2%, to $2.1 billion, and unit sales jumped 33.9%, according to the Audio Publishers Association's annual sales and consumer studies, conducted respectively by Management Practice and Edison Research. This marks the third year in a row that audiobooks sales have grown by nearly 20%. The APA attributed audio growth to an expanding listening audience: 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) have completed at least one audiobook in the last year, a 22% increase over the 2015.”
“Among other findings:
I hope some of these statistics caught your attention about the importance of audiobooks. Here's several ways you can get involved with audiobooks:
- More listeners use smartphones most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before (29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015).
- Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
- Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year.
- More than a quarter (27% of respondents) said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
- A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), followed by in the car (32%).
- 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks, followed by baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
- The top three reasons people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) they can do other things while listening; 2) audiobooks are portable so people can listen wherever they are; and 3) they enjoy being read to.
- The most popular genres last year were mysteries/thrillers/suspense, science fiction/fantasy and romance.
- 19% of all listeners used voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) to listen to an audiobook in the last year, and for frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.”
1. Listen to audiobooks on a regular basis. The first way for any of us to get active in an area is as a participant. I have written about audio books in past articles.
2. Use your activity to promote and encourage others to listen to audiobooks. As you complete an audio, book, write a review. If you look at my Goodreads book list, you will see many of these books are audio books.
3. Get active creating audiobooks. If you have no idea where to begin, I encourage you to pick up a copy of Richard Rieman's book, The Author's Guide to AudioBook Creation. This little book will help you learn more about the audio book industry and give you resources for launching your own audio products. If you live in the Denver area, I encourage you to come to the South Denver Chapter meeting of the Nonfiction Authors Association on Wednesday, June 21st. Richard is speaking about audio books. The first meeting is free and you can hear Richard and ask questions.
Are you using and creating audio books? Let me know in the comment section.
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Labels: audiobooks, James Patterson, Richard Rieman
Daily Word Count: A Key to Consistent Writing
It’s not profound but true: writers
write. A common bit of writing advice is to write every day.
Some people fill this daily need with a journal
practice. They consistently write every day about their activities. I understand
such a practice but I’ve never created or written such a journal.
I’ve interviewed over 150 bestselling authors about
how they practice their craft of writing. It is rare but I found one writer who
used a timer in his writing process. He set a timer and sat at his computer
until the timer sounded. To me, this process did not make sense. Anyone can
spend time staring a screen but that does not mean you are creating words or
telling stories during that time. You could be simply staring off into
A much more productive and common practice among
writers is to have a daily word count. The amount of this word count will be
different for each writer. Some writers are on deadline and to meet their
deadline, they have to produce a certain amount of words each day. Other writers
have created a personal goal and the word count keeps them on track. If the
writing comes quickly, then they achieve the goal in short amount of time. If
the words do not come, then they spent much more time and energy at their
keyboard or computer.
novelist Bodie Thoene told me, “No little elves come out of my closet to
write 650 pages. Some mornings I don't feel like writing but I do it out
of obedience to God.” Severely dyslexic, Bodie could not read her own name in
the Third Grade yet she writes riveting 500 page historical novels. Her talent
and importantly her discipline as a writer are an example to each of
A daily word count goal is a way for you as a
writer to move your project forward. For example, I have a book manuscript under
contract that I need to finalize and get off to my editor (yes every writer has
an editor—even one as experienced as I am). Currently this manuscript has not
been happening but I’m committed to working on it little by little and moving it
forward. Without consistent effort, it will not happen.
You have to do the same sort of effort for your own
writing. I have busy authors who struggle to complete their manuscripts. I
encourage them to set even small daily word count goals and keep moving forward.
Even if they commit to writing 500 words or two double-spaced pages, with
consistent effort, a month will yield pages of results. Notice the word
consistent and regular. That constant effort is what helps you complete the
work. Thinking about it without action doesn’t do it.
Where are you stalled in your writing? Would
a daily word count writing goal help you move forward? Let me know in the
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Labels: bestselling authors, Bodie Thoene, discipline, goals, word count, writing
5 Ways Writers Profit from a Conference
|I know it is June. I took this photo on May 19, 2017 in Estes Park, Colorado at a conference.|
For many years I’ve been attending conferences. My time at the recent
Colorado Christian Writers Conference
was unusual because in mid-May, we had over three feet of snow. It snowed for
almost two solid days after we arrived at the event. Some faculty members who
arrived late were stuck at the Denver airport. The snow made for an unusual and
Some people wonder how I’ve published such a range
of magazine articles and books. I’m not the best writer in the room but I am one
of the most consistent. If I pitch an idea and an editor says, sounds good, send
it to me. I make a little note, then go home, write the article or book and send
it. Yes you have to write what the editor wants but overall I’ve found such a
simple strategy works.
Just attending conferences is a financial
investment of money, time and energy. In this article, I want to highlight five
ways to profit from a conference.
First, listen for opportunities then
take action. For example, one editor I met told me about a forthcoming
series of Bible studies that his publisher will be doing. I’ve written Bible
studies in the past and enjoy this type of writing. I noticed the opportunity so
I made a point to email this editor and affirm in writing my interest in the
project. The editor was grateful for my interest and said at the right time he
would be in touch. This type of follow-up work leads to additional writing
opportunities. You have to be listening for them.
Another editor at the conference has worked on a
publication that I’ve never written for. It has a large circulation and I wanted
to write for this publication for the exposure as much as a new writing credit.
I’ve emailed the editor and we are corresponding about some ideas which I
believe will lead to an assignment and eventually publication. You have to
listen for the opportunities, then take action.
Advanced preparation before the event
is a second way to profit from the conference. Study the faculty and
see what they publish and then write pitches and book proposals. Most
publications have writer’s guidelines and other information easily available
online. Several writers at the recent conference brought flash drives with the
electronic copy of their material. I appreciated the effort of these writers and
it moved their submission to the top of my stack. I put their material into our
internal system and moved it forward through the consideration process. In one
case I’ve already turned in a writer’s project to my publication board and I’m
hoping to get a contract for this author in a few weeks. The germ of this
activity was her arrival at the conference prepared for her meetings. You can
learn and mirror such actions when you attend an event.
Most conferences have a freebie table with
magazines and writers guidelines. These publications are looking for freelance
writers. You have to pick up the publications, read the guidelines then
make your pitch or query or follow-through. This consistent
action of follow-up is the third way to profit from a conference. When
someone mentions an interest in your material, make sure you exchange business
cards with them. Then when you get home, send them an email and
At the conference, I met many people and came
home with a large stack of business cards. I’ve been following up with writers
and encouraging them to send me their proposal and/or manuscript. Yet few
of them have reached out to me—and this type of situation is typical from my
experience. If you reach out to the editor and take action, your actions
will receive positive attention and you will get publishing opportunities. This
is the fourth way to profit from a conference.
One of the reasons to attend a conference is
to learn a new skill or a new area of the writing world. The fifth
method to profit from a conference is to take action on these new
skills. Are you learning how to write fiction or a magazine article or tap a new social
network? A variety of skills are taught at conferences.
It’s easy to put away the notes and never look at
them again. The writers who get published take a different course of action.
They review the notes and apply it to their writing life. At the Colorado event, I taught an early bird
workshop about Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams (my
book). I worked hard on my handout which had many additional resources and links
for those who used it. Here’s my handout for your reference: http://terrylinks.com/js I encourage
you to download the handout, print it and follow the extra material to profit
for your own writing life. I'll be at the Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference next month and other events this year. Check my speaking schedule link to connect and
I hope our paths cross later this year and I can help you one on
As writers we are continually learning and growing
in our craft. A conference can be a huge growth area if you take action and
Have I given you some ideas? If so, let me know in
the comments below.
Here’s Five Ways to Profit from a Writers' Conference. (Click to Tweet)
Labels: . writer's conference, Colorado Christian Writers Conference, follow-up, magazines, Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference, profit, speaking schedule