Tuesday, March 29, 2016

How to Make Sense of the Ever-Changing Media World

The world around us is always changing.  Magazines and newspapers which existed several years ago are gone. New social networks for authors spring up often.  As a writer, you want to make sense of these changes and understand them—but more important than awareness, you want to select the ones which are going to be the most effective for you and your writing.

The advice you find is often conflicting. Some people would say blogging is your path while others will proclaim the key is Pinterest or Twitter or radio. As a writer in the publishing community, you feel pushed and pulled in many different directions so you spin around and around and are unsure which way to go. When I discover this conflicting information, I seek information from long-term experts in the area. 

Earlier this month, two PR experts released Mastering the New Media Landscape. I read this book cover to cover and learned a great deal. Some of what I learned is captured in this article.In straight-forward language, Barbara Cave Henricks and Rusty Shelton explain how successful marketing has changed in recent years.

 Today’s marketing landscape includes three categories which matter for your focus: rented, earned and owned media. Like a three-legged stool, promotion needs to encompass each area. For years, earned media was the only game in town like television, radio, or a review in the New York Times. As they explain on page 14, “The challenge with earned media is that it is extremely difficult to get.” Rented media is “a presence and content that you control but that lives on someone else’s platform or stage.” (also page 14). Examples of rented media are Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. They are rented because as a user you do not control the platform and for any reason, they could disappear. Owned media is something you control like your blog or website (assuming it is on your own domain) and your email list. Because you own the media, you can make a direct connection to your target audience.
Mastering the New Media Landscape page 15

Mastering the New Media Landscape is packed with current examples and specific how-to information. You will want to use your highlighter with this book and consume every detail, then take action to apply it to the successful marketing of your own products, services and brand.

As they explain in the opening chapter, “The key change we want to encourage you to make is to think of reaching an audience via earned or rented media, not just as the end goal but rather as crucial components of driving people to your owned media space, be it your website or email list, where you can extend that interaction for a much longer period of time.” (page 20)

Many authors and even some publishers and “PR experts” have a haphazard plan to embrace the changing media landscape.  I highly recommend a careful and thorough reading then application of Mastering the New Media Landscape.

To summarize, here's two key points for every writer:

1. When you need advice, turn to experts—not just the first person who crosses your path but someone with years of experience.

2. Try their advice and if it works follow it. If it does not work for you, stop. Your path to find your audience is different from my path. Each of us need to take action and be working at it. Doing nothing is the sure path to failure. Take action today.


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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sell More Books Through Social Media

I’ve lost track of the number of authors who have told me that they’ve heard that social media is great for book sales, but the time they spend on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest feels like a complete and total waste.

“I put in lots of hours but it makes no difference with my sales,” they complain to me.

Using social media for book sales is tricky, for sure. Do it the wrong way, and you’re wasting precious time you could be spending writing your next book.

But do it the right way, and you can see those sales start rolling.

Still . . . what’s the wrong way to use social media for book marketing and what’s the right way?

You could spend hours researching that subject on the Internet and get so many conflicting – and wrong – opinions that you’re even more confused (and have wasted even more time).

But help is finally here.

My friend and colleague Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz has talked an expert in social media marketing for authors into spilling the beans and sharing the trade secrets she uses when working with her author clients. They’re collaborating on a training webinar for authors that will teach you “How to Sell More Books With Social Media.”

Date:  This Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Time: 7 pm ET/6 pm CT/5 pm MT/4 pm PT (calculate for your time zone)
Place: Webinar – 1 hour includes participant Q & A
Replay: Everyone who registers will get a replay link

Use this affiliate link to learn more detail.

By the end of the webinar, you will know (among other things):

• The secret behind successful Facebook ads
• How to evaluate online book promotion opportunities
• How to identify and find your best readers online
• Popular social media activities that are a waste of time
• How to use your time online to get sales results

Sandra tells me there’s a limited number of seats available, so register now so you don’t miss out. Here’s my affiliate link to register.

I know it will be a great session – Sandra’s training events never disappoint! I’ll watch for you on the webinar on Wednesday!


Attend this March 30th event to sell more books through social media. (ClickToTweet)

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Every Writer Needs This Critical Skill

These days almost everyone writes with a computer. Because producing words is so easy, you can be lulled into the idea that anyone can be a writer. Yet the specific words you write are important. Which words are you selecting when you write and are you using the right combination?

Whether you are writing a children's book or a novel or nonfiction or a personal experience magazine article, your word choice is critical. How do you learn this skill? You will use it in many aspects of the work—from the title for your book or the headline for your article. Or the words on the back cover of your book which helps a reader know if they should purchase your book or press on to the next one.

In the writing business, creating words which sell is called copy and the specific skill is called copywriting. The good news is you can learn this skill as a writer. 

First, you need to be aware your word choice is important and can drive sales. Years ago as a young journalist, I learned the power of writing great headlines to draw readers. When you write a headline or the words on a website, what is drawing readers? Be aware of the response. Do people click your button and buy your material or do they breeze past it? Awareness is a critical step.

Second, practice. When you write a blog post or a magazine article or a book proposal or a book manuscript. Think carefully about the title or headline. Are you telling a story that pulls the reader into your writing? What are the words doing and are they achieving what you want? This type of internal analysis will help you be more deliberate about your word selection.

Third, there are skilled teachers who teach copywriting. One of the best in this area is Ray Edwards. Recently Edwards has published a new book, How to Write Copy That Sells. The book is less than 160 pages and covers key topics like headlines, emails, bullet points, irresistable offers, secrets of product launches and much more. Each chapter begins with an inspirational quote like the one for chapter four, “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” — Leo Burnett

As an acquisitions editor, I read a great deal of unpublished pitches and manuscripts. Some writers have learned their words have power and they pull me into their manuscripts. Others lack this critical storytelling skill. If you learn this skill, it will increase your sales potential. It doesn't matter what you are writing at the end of the day you are selling something. The sooner you can learn this skill, the sooner your writing will be published and sell.


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Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Details of Your Writing Life Are Important

Let me begin with this good news. Every writer can learn the skill of handling the details. Some of us are only focused on the big picture with our writing. We are determined to complete a particular book or magazine article and writing on it every day to meet this goal. Yet the craft of your words and storytelling is important. Are you sending it to the right editor? Are you using the correct spelling of that editor's name? The details matter.

Every Writer Needs This Info
In the last few weeks, I purchased all of the remaining copies of Book Proposals That Sell. With over 130 Five Star reviews and great feedback about this book over the years, I know it has helped many writers to succeed in the world of publishing—no matter what type of book you write. I wrote this book from my passion as a frustrated acquisitions editor to help writers send better submissions. If you don't have a copy, it has never been so inexpensive and available only from me. Follow the link to learn more details.

As a part of this effort, I purchased a website, wrote the words for that website, created special bonuses and have been telling others about this effort through emails, articles and twitter. In the process of setting up this launch, I created five emails on autoresponders. These autoresponders contained the bonus items for those who purchased the book.

Today I received an email from one of these people who purchased Book Proposals That Sell. He had not received these bonus item emails. The email clued me that something was wrong some place in the process. I investigated my shopping cart and learned that I neglected to click one button in one place. From working with computers for years, I've learned one simple truth: the computer only does what you tell it to do.  I had skipped one important detail and no one got their bonus items. Talk about embarrassing!

One by one, I will be sending all five bonus items via email today to each individual.  For anyone who buys the book in the future, I will be watching my shopping cart closely to make sure they are getting these extra messages.

There are several lessons for you from my experience:

1. The details are essential. As writers, you ignore them at your own peril. Your submissions will not hit the target nor get results if you do not work at the details.

2. Listen to your audience. When they tell you something, spring into action or make adjustments.

3. Deliver on your promises. Your word and integrity are important. And if something goes wrong, apologize (everyone is human) and then fix it as soon as possible.

4. Work hard to maintain and keep your relationships. Years ago, I heard John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book say, “Selling books is all about building relationships.” See the truth in this statement?
Whatever you are writing or promoting, the relationship is critical and the details of your writing life are important.


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Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Constant Wish of Every Author

Are you making wishes as an author?

Several weeks ago I was skimming on Facebook and noticed one of my author friends was talking about a new book. I wrote this friend and offered to review her book. She was going to ask her publisher to send me a book. I promptly pressed on to something else and almost forgot about it. Then the review copy arrived this week. I'm eager to write a few words of review to help my friend.

The publisher launched this book on March 1st. As a part of my process of getting ready to review this book, I checked the book page on Amazon. Nine days after the launch, it looked like my review was going to be the first one. There were no reviews for this book. Reviews are important to every author because they are social proof that readers love your book. It's why I work as an author to ask others to review my book and also review books for others on Amazon and Goodreads.

I emailed my author friend about her lack of reviews. Now this author has sold thousands of copies of some of her other books. She has a full-time job—not as an author. Despite her years in publishing, I found her response interesting. Her email blamed the lack of effort on the marketing department of her publisher.

It is the constant wish of every author to have someone else market and sell their book. Each of us want a marketing department who has the same passion for our book and subject that we have. The majority of authors are introverts and don't enjoy marketing or even want to think about telling others about their book. Recently I heard bestselling author Brene Brown's book, Rising Strong. In this book, Brene describes herself as an extreme introvert. Her view is common among authors from my experience.

One of my favorite books is The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. I've read the book and also heard the audio on this book. Why? Jack studied the principles that people follow to be successful and I want to be successful as an author. The first principle in the book says, “Take 100% Responsibility for Your Life.”

This principle applies to the constant wish for every author to have someone else market your book. Are you reaching out to your target audience? Have you identified your target audience for your book? Where are they and how are you reaching out to touch them on a consistent basis? It does not have to be daily but it does have to be regular. Give them great content on your topic and in that process point them to more information inside your book.

One of the best ways for you to take responsibility is to create your own marketing plans. Whether you self-publish or have a traditional publisher to get your book into the bookstore, these plans are important. Whether your book is launching soon or has been out for a while, you need to be creating and executing your own marketing plans.

A marketing plan from the author is a key element in every book proposal. The proposal is your business plan. If you have such a plan, are you taking action to execute it? Does your plan need adjustment and updating? I give much more detail about these elements in Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. If you don't have this book, it has never been so affordable at only $8. I have all of the remaining copies so don't try and get it from Amazon (despite the over 130 Five Star reviews). Get it directly from me (use the link).

Whether you have a traditional book or self-publish, you can do it—but you have to take daily action. If I can help you, my personal email is in my twitter profile. In the comments, let me know what actions you are taking to market your book.


What is the constant wish of every author? What can you do about it? (Click to Tweet)

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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Why Every Author Needs to Understand Your Competition

Consider the competition for your book. When I have asked authors about the competition, some authors say, “I don't have any competition. My book is unique.”

Another author thinks about it and says, “Everyone. My book competes with every other book.”

From my years in publishing, the answer is neither one and important for every author to understand. Take a few minutes and imagine your book concept as a real book. If you have one it's easy but if you just have an idea, think about the cover, title and your name on it. Got that image? What section of the bookstore will your book appear? With this information, think about the current titles in this section? what books are facing out on the shelf? These books are your competition. The reader could reach for your book to take to the cash register (purchase) or they could reach for the bestselling title.

Next write down these titles and investigate them using tools like Google. Can you get any sales numbers or information about them? This information is important for your pitch to literary agents and editors. You also need to include these insights about your competition in your proposal. Your careful consideration here will differentiate your pitch from others—and increase the chances of a traditional publisher contracting your book.

Even if you self-publish, you need to have this ammunition for your approach to the marketplace. If your book has been in print, you still need this information about the competition. Your literary agent and editor need this information to target your book. Needed it to get even issue a contract when I worked at another publishing house.
Now with this understanding about your book and target market. 

What steps can you take to reach out and befriend that author and do something for that book?  Take for example, my Book Proposals That $ell. While this book has helped many people, I've also reviewed other competitive books which are similar to mine. Just check out this article for more detail. 


A key concept to understand your competition is a matter of attitude and perspective. Instead of the scarcity mentality where you have to protect your turf, I encourage you have the opposite attitude of abundance and cooperation. There are many potential readers and buyers for every book and every author. You can build bridges instead of competition. You can work with these other authors to cross-promote and much more if you have the right perspective.

Do you need more ideas about how to understand and take advantage of your competition? Whether you self-publish or work with a traditional publisher, every author needs to understand this critical concept. I have more information in Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. This bestselling book has over 130 five Star reviews but don't get it from Amazon. I've reduced the price from $15 to $8 and included unique bonuses if you get it directly from me. This book is a tested product which has never been this affordable or accessible.

What steps are you taking with your competitors? Are you thinking about this critical element and adding it to your proposals? Tell me your action steps in the comments below.


Every author needs to understand their competition. An editor gives you ideas. (Click to Tweet)

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Saturday, March 05, 2016

Shocking News For Authors

The Book Business Is A Business First

Before I began working inside a book publishing house, I had written more than 50 nonfiction books, ranging from children's to adult books. I have never self-published a book and always worked through traditional publishers. 

However, I was unaware of the financial production numbers for nonfiction books and I found it shocking--and something critical for potential authors to understand. The author never sees these figures for their books as the publisher doesn't reveal them throughout the contract negotiation process. A publisher will produce these financial calculations as simply a part of good business practices. As an author, understanding this helped me see publishing as a business. Authors have huge amounts of time and emotional investment in their words. When I saw these production numbers, I understood that the publisher, not the author, has the largest out-of-pocket cash investment in a book.

Inside the publisher, the editor will gather a sales projection about how many copies the sales department believes they can sell of your title the first year. That sales figure will be used to calculate the production costs of ink, paper and binding for various amounts of printing (5,000, 10,000 or 15,000 copies). As the initial print number is raised, the cost per book decreases. 

You may ask, So why not print a large volume each time? The answer is, if the publisher prints a large number of copies, then he has to store those copies in their warehouse (read cost and expense), plus make sure they actually sell those copies within a year's time frame. The cost of tying up financial resources in storing and warehousing books that aren't selling is large. Also the federal government taxes publishers on each copy in storage. These tax rules have forced publishers to think long and hard about how many copies of each book to print.

Inside my former publisher, we calculated the overall printing details of the book (paperback with general publishing look or hardcover with jacket) and the number of books to print before offering a book contract. In short, publishers pour a great deal of work into their books and financial projections before they call you and offer a nonfiction book contract. Understanding this process helps you see some of the reasons it takes such a long time for an author to receive a publishing contract.

Often the publisher returns to an author with whom they have already published a book. If the publisher takes a second or third book from the same author, they are investing in that author's career and trying to build that author's audience and market. If the author's books are selling well, then the publisher will be eager for another project. Each week, publishers monitor sales numbers on their books to see if particular authors merit another book contract.

Many writers focus only on the creative aspects of writing a book and getting it published, but the executives inside a publishing house are business people who want to sell books and turn a profit at the end of the day. It's a delicate balance between creating the best possible product and assuring that each product has the best opportunity to sell into the market and reach the target audience.

Editor note: This article is an excerpt from my bestselling book, Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. It has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews but don't get it from Amazon. Recently I've purchased the remaining copies and cut the retail price from $15 to $8. I've added bonuses and much more. Get it direct from me at: http://BookProposalsThatSell.com Take action today because supplies are limited.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2016

How Do You Respond When You Find a Low Number?

I stared at the number of views on YouTube in disbelief. How could it be that small? Only 80 views? I recorded the interview a year ago with my friend Al Gansky talking about my work with Billy Graham and my book, Billy Graham, A Biography of America's Greatest Evangelist

After the interview, I blogged about the interview. All of my people on my blog list received a copy of the interview through their email and also others saw it directly on the site. Why so few views? I looked at some of the other people Al had interviewed and they had many more views.

Then reality hit. I had only promoted the interview at the actual time of the event. I had put no on-going promotion in place with my social media or other ways. Immediately I made a decision to pour more promotion into this interview—and hopefully the numbers will increase. I'm embedding the YouTube interview here to make it easy for you to watch:

Al and I were talking about my unique background to write this particular book. I hope you will enjoy this interview and I want more people to know about it.

For every writer, it's part of the process to receive low numbers. Sometimes it is a report on the book sales of your latest book. Other times only a few people have registered for one of your teleseminars or even a live event. I've taught workshops at large conferences where I have two or three people attending my continuing class.  Other times I've taught at the same large conference and had a packed room. Each time I decided to teach those couple of people as though I had a room full of people. My teaching was recorded and I determined to take advantage of this recording and continue to promote the results. Please check my speaking schedule to see where our paths will cross in the months ahead.

Back to my original question in the title of this article, how to you respond when you discover a low number? Do you blame others? Maybe your publisher isn't working hard enough to tell people about your book? Instead of trying to put the blame on others, I encourage you to look inside first. Ask yourself, if you poured the right energy into producing a great product. Is the cover well-done? Is the book broadly distributed? Did you hire an editor and make an excellent book?

If the product or event is well-done, then the next question is about the marketing and sales. If the numbers are low, take your own responsibility and be telling more people about your work. Make some calls to schedule more local events. Pitch some magazines with excerpts of your book or write articles on similar topics and promote your book in your bio at the end of the article. You can reach thousands of people using such a strategy. Or step up your social media and get more people viewing your work.

Several weeks ago I received the royalty statement for one of my continual bestselling books. Whenever I speak at conference, for years I sell more of this book than any other.  My royalty statement was dismal with low numbers. 

I took action to see what could be done. Would my publisher return the rights to the book? Yes if I purchased all of the remaining copies. It was not a small investment on my part to take this action—but a strategic one.  As the author, I have the most passion about this topic (more than my publisher). If I own all of the printed copies, then I can reduce the price to sell more books. Also I can create marketing campaigns to sell the book—one by one and also in volume. I'm actively working on these details and you will be hearing more about it in the days ahead. I did not let this important book remain at low sales. I have over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews for this book and it continues to help people. The decision will involve hard work but is worth my efforts.

The book is Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success. If you haven't got a copy, now is the time because of the reduced price. Just follow the link. Also you will receive a series of unique bonuses that I've created for anyone who buys the book.

If you have the book and haven't reviewed it, then I encourage you to take a few minutes, write a few sentences of review on Amazon and Goodreads. Please do not purchase the book from Amazon since I have all the remaining copies and you will get it cheaper from me (and if you ask, I'll sign it to you. Just let me know the details in the special instructions section of my shopping cart).

Just like I took action, your actions make a difference. If you do nothing, then nothing will continue to happen. If I can help you, let me know. My email is in my Twitter profile.

What to do when you find a low number? #marketing (Click to tweet)

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