Archive for the ‘John Kremer’ Category

Why Social Network?

June 29, 2007

The majority of writers are introverts. It’s something that I’ve read as well as personally observed over and over. Yes, we dig down deep inside to write words and get them out to others. A few writers are extrovert in personality but the majority are not. An editor from a well-known Chicago-based company told me their entire office took the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory Test a few years ago. This company has many different print and online publications. Of the group of editors something like two of them were extrovert and the rest were introvert.

Even someone who is basically an introvert can rise to the occasion. It’s what I do when I teach at writers conferences and in other situations. Yet selling books is about creating relationships. You have to reach outside of yourself to create those relationships. The more relationships, the more people who know about your writing and you as a person.

John Kremer at BookMarket.com included a tip about the Book Marketing Network in this week’s Book Market Tips. I’ll admit when I read it my curiosity got the best of me—so I went to it and joined. John is the creator of this social network which is a growing network of people interested in the topic of book marketing. If you get real fascinated with social networks, you can even create your own social network. It’s another free networking spot. I’ve not spent a lot of time on my particular page but I have added a few links to some of my resources. There are several hundred people on this spot–and it is growing all the time. I exchanged greetings with a few old friends and have been meeting some new ones. It’s another resource to check out and become a bit more social.

The Forgotten Story Continued

May 23, 2007

In yesterday’s entry, I wrote about the forgotten story of Dan Brown, the author of The Da Vinci Code and some of his not-too-long ago days in the publishing business. I included a short quotation from a court document. Just ahead of the quotation is another element in the story and points to a common situation within book publishing–change.

Authors are trusting of their publisher that they will carry out all of their promises for promotion. These marketing plans are nonbinding since they are normally not included in the actual book contract yet are used to show the publisher’s intentions for your book. These plans are offered in good faith but many things change within a publisher between the signed contract and when the book is actually released into the marketplace. Editors leave. Marketing people change houses and financial priorities shift. Many years ago I signed a contract with one of my books and the editor told us about plans to market the books in airports around the country with distinct displays and other such ideas. In between signing the contract and the release of the book (often separated by as much as 18 months), my editor left and none of those plans occurred. Yes the book was published but in a much more modest fashion.

For Brown’s earlier novel, Angels & Demons, he changed publishers from St. Martin’s Press to Simon and Schuster. Here’s the promised plans from his publisher, “Simon & Schuster said they were extremely excited by Angels & Demons. They promised to give the book considerably more publicity and support than my previous publishers. Their proposed publicity included a much larger print run (60,000), advertising in major newspapers, web advertising, a 12 city tour, an e-book release, and other exciting prospects.”

For a writer like Brown who was financially struggling, such a promise was a major encouragement. Yet the court document continues and reveals what happened: “Unfortunately, when the book came out, my print run was slashed down to 12,000 copies with virtually no publicity at all. I was once again on my own and despite enthusiastic reviews, the novel sold poorly. Blythe and I were heartbroken as we had put so much work into this book. Once again, we took matters into our own hands, booking our own signings, booking our own radio shows, and selling books out of our car at local events.”

You have to understand this incident took place in 1999 or 2000. Angels & Demons has gone on to become a bestseller. After the success of The Da Vinci Code, readers purchase Brown’s other books.

OK, what do you gain from this little historical trip? First, it’s a reminder of the ever changing nature of publishing. Also it’s encouragement for every author to take a pro-active stance with their own marketing and reaching their own grassroots audience. It’s not easy for anyone but if you are consistent (and have a book which is compelling and excellent), then you can eventually find your audience and success. Hold on to the dream yet realize it may take years of consistent work and effort to reach it. Everyone is looking for the quick way and more often than not, there is no quick way. If publishers understood it, then they would use it on the next book and the next book (which so often doesn’t work on a regular basis).

Authors need to keep working on building the audience for their books through forming relationships and the dozens of tools out there. If you need any inspiration in this area, pick up a copy of John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Books and start something that you haven’t been doing. In this area, I’ve been learning about virtual book tours and teleseminars. Last night my first teleseminar was successful. After the teleseminar, I edited the tape some at the beginning and the end using Sound Forge which is a terrific piece of software. You can get it from Mike Stewart, the Internet Audio Guy. Then I uploaded the file to the replay page using audio generator. I selected the “snazzy player” which allows you to fast forward or rewind the teleseminar. It was not complicated and I believe I created a great result–and learned a bit more about marketing books through teleseminars. Also I helped people learn about a great resource for authors, Author Law.

My encouragement to each of you is to continue forward–learning the craft of writing, forming new relationships and crafting better submissions for the editor.

Take Marketing Responsibility

May 15, 2007

Communication snafus are everywhere. It happens for many reasons and most often it’s a lack of communication or the assumption that something is happening when it is not happening. For example, in the book publishing world, it takes a lot of work for a writer to get a publisher interested in their idea and concept. The writer has to learn the craft of writing and build credibility through writing magazine articles or ebooks or other media to build their credentials and abilities. Finally they craft a book proposal and get a publisher to issue a book contract. Their book is released into the marketplace. Because the publisher has invested a large amount of money and energy (and the writer has as well), the writer assumes the publisher will market the daylights out of their book and sell many copies. Now my last sentence is full of wrong assumptions. Publishers do want their books to sell and be successful but they count on a partnership with the author to get the word out about the book, build buzz and sales for each book. Some times it happens in the early stages and other times it builds to a loud clamor in the marketplace.

My encouragement for every author is to take responsibility for their own marketing. Let’s assume the traditional publisher will have good distribution (which in some cases is an assumption). Your book has entered the market and is widely available through distributors, sometimes in the bookstores and can easily be purchased at the major online places. It is not a time for the author to sit back and work on their next book (well maybe some of the time but not all of it). The author needs to continually take responsibility for their own marketing–even if they have had measures of success in the past. The public quickly forgets.

Last week I received a book proposal from an author who is eager for me to represent the project. The marketing section is two paragraphs and all fluff with the major responsibility on the publisher. I groaned the minute I looked at it because this author will need a huge amount of education on my part before this person can put together an attention-getting marketing effort. Yes, this person has had mega sales in the past but it will not necessarily transfer to this new direction and this new proposal. To believe it will transfer, the author is operating on a false assumption which may fall completely flat.

I’m personally limited about what I can put in these entries about the writing life. I have the same 24 hour constraints that you operate under. I’m going to give you some resources and places to turn. First, make plans to attend a Mega Book Marketing Event. They are coming to many different places around the country and the next one will be in New York City later this month. Unfortunately I am not going to be able to attend this event but it looks great. If you can’t go, then make sure you listen to the free preview calls and gain the insight of the speakers. Either listen to them live when they happen or listen to them after the fact through the replay buttons. This training is absolutely free and valuable to any writer no matter where you are in the journey. You can learn from these experts.

Also John Kremer, the Book Marketing expert, is having a free teleseminar this week. It’s another free and valuable resource.

In other entries, I’ve written about Debbie Macomber, one of the leading romance novelist and someone that I know personally. There is a fascinating article about Debbie in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Here’s a writer who has over 70 million books in print and is on the current New York Times bestseller list. She has not assumed her publisher will market her books and is taking a continual active role in this process. Notice the article points out that Debbie has a mailing list with 75,000 readers–and not a list she has purchased but people who have contacted her personally. I’m one of these readers and I get emails from time to time from Debbie. Every writer should be working on developing their list of readers. I’ve got my free Right-Writing News. Several times a month, I will email this list with single letters around a particular product that I am recommending. Then once a month, I will send a regular newsletter which is full of how-to-write articles. In the back issues (which are only available to subscribers—and free), readers have access to over 400 pages of information. I am continuing to work at growing my list and expanding it. If you have no idea how to write a newsletter or what to say, I’d encourage you to follow the links and learn about it, make a choice and get started. It’s another way for you to take responsibility for the marketing of your own books.

Break The Ice

May 12, 2007

Have you ever entered a new group of people and wondered, “How in the world will I begin a conversation? What’s a good question to ask?” There is an old proverb that goes something like: The man with many friends must consider himself friendly. At least you’ve got the Terry Whalin spin on this saying since I don’t recall where I picked it up.

A week or so ago, John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, wrote on his blog about Scott Ginsberg, who is known as the name tag guy. He pointed out several free ebooks on Ginsberg’s website. I downloaded the PDF files to my desktop and promptly did not read them. Today I got around to reading them. One or two of them, I didn’t find valuable but several of them I’ve actually printed and read. I don’t agree with everything but they have some good ideas and are worth your attention in my view. Let Me Ask Ya This has some good ideas for breaking the ice and starting a fascinating conversation with a new person. It’s a good resource to help you build some relationships.

Over the last few days, I’ve been listening to a recorded message from John Kremer, author of 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. John says that one of the keys to selling your book–at any stage of the process is to continue to build and foster relationships. Each of us need all of the tools we can get in this process so if reading Scott Ginsberg’s ebook of conversation starters helps you to build relationships, then you need to use it.