Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, Editing, helpful hints, Publishing, self publishing

Best-selling author Robert Dugoni shares how rejection can actually help you become a better writer.

I have written many times about how much I respect the way the San Francisco Writers Conference runs their event. The sessions are always quite diverse and the keynote addresses are always top-notch. The other thing I really enjoy is meeting and hearing from authors who have been commercially successful. There are some exceptions, but for the most part, I have found these authors to be humble and encouraging to writers.

Take for example this interview with Robert Dugoni. He is the author of a number of best-sellers, including Bodily Harm, Murder One and The Cyanide Canary. He shares how to turn rejection into motivation to be a better writer.

Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, self publishing, writing

Will shorter attention spans and smaller screens impact the books we write?

Photo Illustration by C. J. Burton for The Wall Street Journal

Photo Illustration by C. J. Burton for The Wall Street Journal

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal, ran an interesting article titled, The Age of Bite-Size Entertainment, with the subtitle, As the world goes mobile, get ready for more movies, books and music that can be snacked on in a single sitting.

In the opening paragraphs, the writer made these observations.

When soap operas “All My Children” and “One Life to Live” come back to life online later this month, episodes will run for 30 minutes, about half as long as the hourlong blocks that ran on broadcast television for most of the shows’ 40-year run. Why? Because they’re likely to be watched on the go.

Everyone is talking about the binge-viewing craze, but as people increasingly consume TV, movies, books and music on mobile devices, briefer is better. Shorter formats “are in-betweeners, the cream in the middle of the Oreo,” says Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation.

Some of the biggest forces in entertainment are rushing out bite-size portions, not just to adapt to mobile technology but to test the appetite for heartier versions. If a serialized e-book catches fire, publishers will print the novel. A short film that goes viral on YouTube can lead to a feature film or television series. A well-received EP might prompt an album.

I have to admit before this article I had not given much consideration to whether this trend would impact the way we write books. Will we have to develop characters and plots more quickly?  Will the best writers be those who can write the best chapters and then string those together into a book, rather than outline a great book and then write the chapters to fit the outline? In a media and image driven culture, will dialogue become even more important when writing a book?

These are just some of the questions I have been thinking about in light of this article.  At this point, I don’t have any answers, but I wanted to know what you think. Use the comment section to offer your opinions and let me know if you have started writing differently to fit a shorter format.

Some of the biggest forces in entertainment are rushing out bite-size portions, not just to adapt to mobile technology but to test the appetite for heartier versions

authors, book selling, helpful hints, self publishing

Bestselling and prolific Goosebumps author, R.L. Stine shares how he comes up with ideas.

At the San Francisco Writer’s conference this past year, R.L. Stine, bestselling author of the Goosebumps series gave an amazing keynote address. He had some great insights for all authors, but the thing I was most interested in was his discussion of how he comes up with ideas.  What I have said for quite some time is that authors have to find their own way and  method for writing. In this interview, which is featured on the Author Learning Center, Stine informs and inspires and affirms the idea that there is no formula for every writer to use. Enjoy.

Author Solutions, book marketing, helpful hints, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing

Phase 3 of a successful book marketing campaign: After your book is available for sale.

This is the third and final installment of the series I have posted on the phases of a successful book marketing campaign.  The final phase “post-publication,” might also be known as liftoff, because your book is now officially launched
and ready to soar. Potential activities during this exciting stage could include the following:

National coverage may be one of your goals, but the best place to start is locally; then expand from there.

Congratulations! You are a published author. Time to celebrate. If fact, this is one of the most important things to do once your book is live. It is a great way to recognize your hard work and share the joy of becoming a published author with others.  Also, don’t think you only need to hold your event at a book store. That is always an option, but you can be creative. I know authors who have held their launch events at a restaurant or a church. Have fun with it.

With a solid marketing plan, you can make your book stand out from the crowd.

With a solid marketing plan, you can make your book stand out from the crowd.

You laid the groundwork in Phase Two. Now follow through using your press materials to finalize a calendar of events where you can promote your book and signings. Don’t just think locally. As you travel, plan ahead and look for bookstores or venues that might be interested in having you sign your book. Also, if you are part of church, synagogue or organization consider asking the leadership if there are any other potential speaking opportunities.

Using the hook you developed in Phase Two, contact local reporters at newspapers and broadcast media (radio, TV) to try to secure stories about your book. Identify websites and bloggers that might be interested in your topic, and make a pitch to them as well. National coverage may be one of your goals, but the best place to start is locally; then expand from there.

One of the keys to social media is being clear on your audience and message, but it is also important to be consistent. You are trying to build a relationship with potential readers so as in any relationship, sporadic or infrequent contact is not a good thing. . Also the more you give them, the more they will have to promote out to their audience about you.

If you have a blog, encourage reader interaction with your posts. Comments allow for feedback from readers, offering you the chance to learn what they liked and disliked about a certain post or even a certain section of your book. Paying close attention to the words of your followers can help you define your target audience.

Even the best-laid plans will not go exactly as you thought. Be willing to evaluate results and make adjustments. If something is working, try to find a way to expand your efforts in that area. If something didn’t work, adapt or try something entirely new. Make changes learned from experience to accomplish your goals.

Starting your marketing efforts locally is always a good idea. As you learn what works best, you can adapt and improve your plan appropriately as you gradually expand your efforts into larger markets and non-traditional venues.

Author Solutions, authors, Ebooks, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing, writing

Phase 2 of a successful book marketing campaign: Once you submit your manuscript.

In an earlier post, I introduced the idea that there are three phases of a successful marketing campaign. The first phase is Before You Submit Your Manuscript. Phase 2 is Once You Submit Your Manuscript. This is when you truly begin to prepare the groundwork for the launch of your book.

marketing-381x300Here are the key things to focus on during this critical phase.

Sometimes called the “elevator pitch,” this is the two-minute speech you would give to get media outlets
interested in featuring your book. Above all, make sure your pitch is brief, clear and unique. Don’t just talk about your book, but make sure you talk about the topic of your book in your pitch.

One of the key elements of your marketing plan should be a book launch party. This is a way to generate
interest and start the grassroots promotion of your book. In addition, if done correctly, it may be a way to gain important media attention. Be creative in your planning and location. Tie it in to the theme or subject of your book. And don’t forget to have fun. Publishing a book is an accomplishment. Take pride in your achievement.

Marketing your book takes work, but if you prepare appropriately, it can be a lot of fun.

Most local churches, bookstores and libraries welcome authors who are interested in speaking or holding
book signings, but they want to plan for them in advance. So even before your book is available, make
contact with locations that you think would host a book signing. However, do not set a date until your book is available for purchase.

When it comes time to invite people to your events, you want to have a quick and easy list you can use to distribute announcements. Prepare that list now, and be sure to accommodate for both email and regular mail.

When you approve your author copy at the end of the publishing production process, send out your
invitations to your book launch, and include local members of the media in your list.

A sustained effort is another key to an effective book marketing campaign. Establish the discipline of setting a
calendar of your activities for the coming year and planning the investment needed to accomplish those tasks. It will keep you accountable and help you reach your goal of connecting with as many readers as possible.

Marketing your book takes work, but if you prepare appropriately, it can be a lot of fun. This is when you get to take the manuscript that you have worked on for so long and put it into the hands of readers. There is not many things more thrilling for an author than that.

Author Solutions, AuthorHouse, authors, book marketing, Ebooks, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing

Carl Reiner releases enhanced e-book version of I Remember Me

In an earlier post, I talked about the release of a new book by comic genius, Carl Reiner, titled I Remember Me. In this book, which he published through AuthorHouse, has been praised by comics such as Jerry Seinfield and Jay Leno. 

Now Reiner has released an enhanced e-book that includes video and other images that helps bring the words on the page to life in a new and exciting way.  Here’s a video that provides a preview of the book. It is a great example of how the book is evolving.

Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, Publishing, self publishing

The 3 phases of a successful book marketing campaign

Marketing your book can be as fun and creative as the actual process of writing a book — if you have the right
plan. In fact, developing a marketing plan is one of the most important tasks you need to complete in order to promote
your book successfully.

As with any good book, a good marketing plan has an effective beginning, an engaging middle and a powerful end. Think about it in three phases:

PHASE ONE: Before You Submit Your Manuscript

PHASE TWO: Once You Submit Your Manuscript

PHASE THREE: After Your Book Is Available for Sale

Marketing planOver the course of the next three posts I am going to address some key things to think about during each of these phases to help you create the most successful marketing plan you can.

PHASE ONE: Before You Submit Your Manuscript

The time to start thinking about your marketing plan is before you even submit your manuscript for publication. Having clear answers to these questions is the key to building an effective marketing plan. Here are some essential questions for you to consider:

WHAT ARE YOUR BOOK MARKETING GOALS?  Identifying some goals that are observable, measurable and attainable is the foundation of a solid marketing plan. Selling a million copies may be an aspiration but perhaps not a realistic goal. Set some targets you can hit, so that you can measure progress and celebrate successes.

WHO ARE YOUR IDEAL READERS?  A good marketing plan has clear goals and a clear picture of who your potential readers will be. A book for the whole world” is ambitious but not realistic. Create a prototype of your ideal reader by considering age, gender and other demographics. Getting a picture of who you are targeting will help you develop your marketing strategy.

WHAT ARE OTHER COMPETING TITLES FOR YOUR BOOK?  Go to a bookstore or search online, and look for books that might focus on a similar topic or have a similar title to your proposed book. Your list of potential titles for your book should appeal to readers who are drawn to these topics, but with a unique spin that helps differentiate your special vision as it relates to the subject.

WHAT’S YOUR TITLE?  Short and memorable is always best. Also, consider adding a subtitle if it helps add important detail about your book’s topic.

As with any good book, a good marketing plan has an effective beginning, an engaging middle and a powerful end.

WHAT WILL YOUR COVER DESIGN LOOK LIKE?  The saying goes, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but readers do. That’s why it’s important to give serious consideration to your cover design. Go to your local bookstore or library and look for book covers that jump out at you. Notice the color, layout, image and typography. These are all elements that contribute to an effective cover.

.• WHAT CAN YOU DO TO POSITION YOURSELF AS AN AUTHOR?  Think about how you can give yourself credibility as an author. Depending on the book, you may be able to cite particular experiences, professional accreditations or other compelling factors that lend authority to your status as a writer. You will also need this information when it comes time to pitch your story to the media.

WHAT ARE YOUR KEY SELLING POINTS?  When you speak to book buyers, potential readers or media representatives, you want to have a short, crisp and compelling reason why someone should buy your book. This selling sound bite is key to gaining the initial attention of your target audiences.

ARE THERE ANY ENDORSEMENTS YOU CAN SECURE?  Having quotes from well-known or respected people can give your book added credibility in the eyes of potential book buyers. Think about who might be willing to endorse your book, and then use their quotes on your back cover as well as in other sales materials.

WHAT WILL YOUR BACK COVER COPY SAY?  Watch people at a bookstore. If a cover attracts their attention, they will pick up the book, flip it over and read the back cover. You’ll want to give careful attention to the messages on your book’s back cover. It could mean the difference between a “pass” and a purchase.

If you think about these questions even before you submit your manuscript, you will be on your way to putting together an effective marketing plan for you book. In my next post, I am going to suggest some key questions to ask in Phase 2: Once you submit your manuscript.