Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, book signings, Indie book publishing, self publishing

Confused about how to do book marketing? Here is a simple way to build an effective marketing plan.

Book Marketing sign postIt wasn’t that long ago that the biggest challenge for a writer was getting published. Clearly that has changed because now there are four paths to publishing which I have written about extensively. So getting your book into the hands of readers is not the obstacle it once was. Now what I hear from authors is confusion about how to market their books. They seem overwhelmed or not sure where to start.

Knowing this POEM will help you.

So in this blog post I want to give you a simple framework and acronym for how to think about book marketing that will take some of the mystery out of the process. Any good integrated marketing campaign has four key activities. Publicity. Online. Events. Multi-Media. That forms the acronym POEM, which is an easy way to remember what you need to do.

Publicity is using the traditional media to make sure people know about your book. By traditional media, I mean newspapers, television and radio. To be effective in this activity, you need to be clear on the elevator pitch for your book and the audience you are trying to reach. Tactically, you will likely need a press release and a simple media kit you can use to pitch producers and journalists. The key with publicity as with the other categories is being clear on what you are going to do and what you need to hire someone to do for you.

On-line is perhaps the biggest opportunity for all authors. I believe a key element is having a blog. This is a way to create an ongoing connection with your audience. Use keywords and tags to make your content show up in searches. And be sure to have an email for media who want to reach you.

You should also be selective and strategic about social media platforms. What I have learned is Facebook is good for some books and worthless for others. Same thing with LinkedIn and Twitter and Instagram and Pinterest and whatever the next platform that will appear. Try some things and figure out what works best for your book. Use the analytics available to you to see what creates traffic and engagement. Also, be sure to gather email addresses. That way you are building a list to which you can market future opportunities.

Book signingEvents is the third area where you should focus. The first and most important event is your book launch party. You can do this in very creative ways, but every author should celebrate the publication of the book. Then look for other opportunities for book signings and speaking engagements in your area with groups that would be interested in your topic. Libraries are also a great place to connect with for events.

Multi-media is the fourth area of a solid integrated marketing plan. We are an image driven culture so I believe having a video or book trailer is critical. If you do one, make sure it is produced well. You want it to make a good first impression and you can use it to help you with your other areas. Post it on your blog. Send it as part of your pitch to media. You may also want to consider creating an app for your book depending on what type of book you have.


Putting POEM to work for you.

Marketing is work, but with POEM you have a framework for creating the right type of plan to make sure you are engaged in the right activities and not missing something. However, even with a plan, the biggest challenge for many authors is persistence and consistency. It is easy to get discouraged, but the most successful self-published authors I know just keep at it.

Questions to ask as you get started.

So look at what you are doing right now. Do you have plans or activity in each of the four key categories of an integrated campaign? If so, that is great, but no matter what you are doing now, you should still write down a six or twelve month plan to keep yourself accountable. Then once you do that, you should make an honest assessment of what you can do yourself and where you need help.

Hopefully you find POEM helpful and please use the comment section to let me know what else you are doing to organize your marketing activities.

Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, book selling, book signings, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing

New film about the future of the book debuts at Tribeca film festival.

I suppose it was only a matter of time, but I was still surprised to see an announcement of a documentary film debuting a the Tribeca Film Festival, called Out of Print. Out of Print web siteThis film, directed by Vivienne Roumani, an independent producer/director based in New York City, explores the future of the book. Roumani, a former librarian has assembled an impressive group of interviews, including the late Ray Bradbury to consider the question of what will happen to the book.

On the web site for the film, the following description summarizes what the viewer can expect to see.

Web to Book: Drop Dead,” fun but jarring, was one of the headlines amid the growing barrage of news stories and books about the imminent death of the written word and the inevitable migration of our personal and collective knowledge and memory to machines. Especially as a former librarian, this growing view about the impact of the digital revolution was deeply troubling to me. Is the book as we know it really dead? Is the question even important in an always-on, digital world? I set out on a quest to find out what it really means to us as individuals, and as a society, to have the ability to answer nearly any question at lightning speed, anywhere, and at any time.

 The complexity of the architecture of information became evident from the first interview: the bookseller led to the author, which led to the publisher, to the librarian, the reader, the pirate web site, the educator, the cognitive scientist; issues of copyright, preservation, knowledge, democratization, and diversity of access and sources were all intertwined. “Is the book dead?” was simply the starting point to get to the bottom of a time of transformation that ultimately affects every aspect of our society. The late Ray Bradbury, Authors Guild President Scott Turow, founder Jeff Bezos, New Yorker and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin, are among the participants that helped me unravel the issues that impact the very core of our civilization. I hope that the clarity that Out of Print offers is a starting point around which we can engage in a candid and fruitful discussion that will help direct our future.

What do you think about the future of the book? My position is as long as we long to tell and hear stories that impact our lives, there will always be a place for the book. Use the comment section to let me know your views.

Author Solutions, authors, book marketing, book selling, book signings, Ebooks, Kindle, Publishing, self publishing

Free e-books. Meet the authors. Online booksigning event. Tuesday, October 9th.

Readers and authors both love book signings.  Readers get free books and get to meet the authors who wrote the books. Authors get to connect with potential readers and put faces and voices to those who are interested in their writing.

But how do you do a book signing with authors from all over the countryi who have an e-book . The answer is the Behind the Story online book signing event. It is free to register and attend and gives readers a chance to meet four different authors via a go-to-webinar environment.  During the 45 to 60 minutes allotted for the event, you will learn:

  • what inspired the authors to write their books
  • what they hope readers will gain by reading the books
  • advice they have for  aspiring authors.

You will also get a chance to ask the authors questions via a chat window through a moderator. Best of all,  after the event, you’ll get an email with four free Bookstubs which allow you to download a free e-book version of each of the books to a Kindle or iPad.

The next online book signing is this Tuesday, October 9th at 5:00 pm EST and you can register here The authors and books are very diverse, but even if you are only interested in one of the titles, I think you will enjoy the experience. Also, feel free to share this opportunity with friends who you think might be interested in any of these titles.

The Medicine Wheel for Step Parents
By Mary Jane Grange, R.N.
With The Medicine Wheel for Step Parents, the author hopes to give some understanding and relief to blended families. Step families have common threads of dysfunction due to issues caused by the power structure changing in a home after a divorce or death in a family. Step parents and step children feel that they must protect their territory, ego, and family with secrets, isolation, intimidation, manipulation, and stonewalling behavior. This book helps you analyze and carry the opposition to your efforts for your blended family.
Vibrational Harmony
By Beverly Nadler
This amazing book leads you out of the old paradigm of The Material Model that makes change so difficult, into the revolutionary new paradigm for the 21st century. VIBRATIONAL HARMONY clarifies the little-understood relationship between what you want, the Universal Laws, your mind, your subconscious programming, and what you actually get. Discover tools and techniques, plus step-by-step processes to release your negative beliefs, and “reprogram” yourself to create and attract more success, health, happiness, peace of mind…whatever YOU want!
Canadian Charter Rights and Freedoms
By Joseph W. Jacob B.A., M.P.A.
Canada currently has the most comprehensive charter of rights and freedoms in the world, and it overrides all other Canadian laws. With this charter, truthful, proven and demonstrable harm must occur before punishment may be legally imposed. This is similar to the charter’s guaranteed right of liberty. A law that has the potential of convicting a person who has not really done anything wrong offends the principles of fundamental justice.
Medical Uses of Marijuana
By Joseph W. Jacob B.A., M.P.A.
Throughout history, more than 150 successful medical uses of marijuana plants have been identified, effectively tested, publicly used, and reliably trusted. In Medical Uses of Marijuana, author Joseph W. Jacob provides an extensive chronological history of marijuana and its medical uses throughout the world in the last 10,000 years. Medical Uses of Marijuana seeks to provide the truth about the loss of the legal use of this beneficial plant.
authors, book selling, book signings, Ebooks, Publishing, self publishing, writing

How do you do a book signing when you have an e-book? Answer below.

I saw this Speed Bump comic strip, and while it made me laugh, I also thought it captured the problem many authors have pondered when they think about book signings in an era of growing e-books sales. How exactly do you do a book signing in the days of digital publishing? Well, I think there is an answer and you can see how it works this Thursday, May 10th from 2:30-3:30 EST.

It is called Behind the Story: A Virtual Book Signing. Registration is limited to the first 200 people and you can sign up by clicking on this link.

Registration URL:

If you attend, you will have the opportunity via an online webinar format to meet four authors, learn about their books and inspiration for publishing, plus ask them questions using a chat window.  Best of all, after the session you will receive an email with a card called a BookStub that allows you to download a free copy of each of the author’s e-books. The four authors and their books are:

  • Harvey Gould and his book, A Fierce Local, which is a memoir that offers a vivid picture of what it’s like to travel and live in Ireland.
  • Ted Simon and his book, A Toxic Assault, which draws eerie connections between race relations in the American South and environmental crimes.
  • Harvey Burgess and his mystery novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, which introduces readers to the character Houston Cash, an ex cop turned private investigator.
  • Stuart Maloney and his book, 26, in which he takes readers on an in-depth tour of his life with cerebral palsy.

Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to connect authors with readers. I think you will find it quite enjoyable.

authors, book marketing, book selling, book signings, helpful hints, Indie book publishing, Publishing, self publishing

The three biggest mistakes self published authors make when marketing their book.

Last week I did an interview with a journalist who was writing a white paper on marketing books in the new world of publishing. He called me because he wanted to ask some specific questions about self published authors.  That did not surprise me. I get asked that question quite often when I do a webinar or make a presentation.  However, he did ask me a question I thought was was very interesting. He wanted to know what I thought were the three biggest mistakes self published authors make when marketing their book.  I had to think about them for a moment and I debated in my own mind which were the three biggest, but here was my answer.

  1. They do not have a clear picture of their audience. The longer I work with authors, the more important I think this is because it drives almost every tactic in the marketing plan. If you don’t know who a potential reader is for your book, you won’t know where to find them, what information they are looking for and how to make your marketing message relevant to them.  I tell authors all the time.  Create a picture of who you wrote the book and who might be most interested in the content of the book. Also, think through whether the reader and the buyer are two different people.  For example, lots of children’s books are purchased by parents or grandparents even though they are not the reader. So while you write for a particular aged child, your marketing strategy must include adults.
  2. They don’t give enough attention to the cover as a marketing tool. The old adage says you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the fact is, book buyers do. Self published authors often give great care to the writing of the book, but don’t pay enough attention to how the book is packaged for sale. In other words, they give into personal preference for cover treatments, rather than making an assessment of the competition and taking the advice of professionals.  I always recommend that authors spend some time in a bookstore before they design their cover so they can see what are the common elements of good covers and use that for their book cover.
  3. They don’t have a pitch about their book.  One of the keys to getting publicity and doing well at book signings is having a pitch about your book. What do I mean by a pitch. I mean a few statements about why  someone should be interested in reading your book. One thing I tell authors all the time, is the fact that you published a book is interesting but that is not news. You need to have a few statements  that will hook reporters when you speak with them or draw people as they walk by at a book signing. I have seen too many authors sit at book signings and have nothing to say to those passing by.

I always recommend that authors spend some time in a bookstore before they design their cover so they can see what are the common elements of good covers

So those are the three I settled on. I am sure there are others. What do you think?  Do you agree with the three I have highlighted? Are there others you think are more significant? Use the comment section to let me know what you think.

authors, book signings, Indie book publishing, self publishing

Three Things at LA Times Festival of Books that Surprised Me


Young children, including boys, love printed books

Last weekend, I attended the LA Times Festival of Books, which I think may be the best book fair in the country. I was concerned because after years of being held at on the picturesque campus of  UCLA; this year it moved across town to USC.  I’m happy to report that the folks at USC did a tremendous job of hosting the fair and the change of venue ultimately turned out to be a non-issue.

There were three things at the fair took me by surprise:

The death of the bookstore has been greatly exaggerated: While recent headlines seem only to report about the struggles of national book retail chains, behind the story a revival of sorts is underway with the independents, as a number of them are thriving.
There were constant crowds at the Vroman’s tent; and the Book Soup tent was equally popular. In fact as I travel the country, I’m finding independent stores like Booksandbooks in Miami; and others I’ve visited in Austin, Texas, and St. Louis are succeeding by playing the role of community gathering places. Selling books is certainly an important part of what they do, but the books also serve as a reason for people of like interests to to gather and interact. The independents aren’t going away anytime soon!

 Children may like apps, but they still love printed books: I saw it time and time again. During the dozens of author signings Author Solutions hosted throughout the weekend, the longest lines included kids waiting with their parents to meet an author and get a copy of a book. There is hope for books and reading after all! That said, I think an opportunity exists for more authors to focus on writing books that appeal to young boys. In my opinion, there is a huge need to reach out to these young readers so that the love of reading takes root early.

Indie publishing continues gaining interest

Indie book publishing continues to pick up steam: While most of the people featured on the stages were traditionally-published authors, the interest in Indie book publishing continues to grow. More and more authors realize there is no reason to wait at the mailbox for an acceptance, or rejection letter, when you can get your book to readers now.
The numbers bear it out – indie publishing is now the rule not the exception; but it really hit me how popular it’s become as I spoke with even more authors who are deciding to take control of their works.

As usual the LA Times Festival of Books was a fantastic event. If you are a book lover, I highly recommend a visit to this fair.

authors, book marketing, book signings, self publishing

What I learned at the Indie Author Weekend booksignings

I participated in two booksignings so far this weekend for my children’s book, Eli the Stable Boy.

The key to making a book signing work is having a pitch about your book to people walking by the table

It has been very fun, but also very informative. A few key things I learned so far. First, you have to be willing to ask people if they are interested in a new book. You can’t just sit there and hope people stop at your table. Second, you need to have a tightly worded pitch. In other words, be ready to tell the reader in a few words why they should be interested in the book. Also, offer to sign it and dedicate it. Third, ask them if they have someone who they might be able to give the book to as a gift.  A few people bought the book because they are going to give it as a gift. I have another signing tomorrow and will update after then. Nothing beats talking to the readers.