When pitching story ideas to your local paper, you want to make sure your pitch lands into the right hands. The last thing you want to do is the send your idea to the wrong person, who may “round file” it, instead of passing it along to the appropriate colleague. If you have a story that’s time-sensitive in nature, you especially want to see that the right person gets it ASAP.
Here’s the low-down on the more common writing and reporting roles at a daily newspaper:
Journalists/reporters: These individuals are the news writers. They do the research, conduct the interviews and write the stories that you read. A reporter’s job is to provide the facts and represent both sides of a story without any bias. They write from the third person perspective, so you will rarely see the words you, me, I or us in a story written by a journalist.
In larger cities, reporters often have “beats” or are given regular assignments to cover. This means, they’re cover local stories by topic, like city hall/government, neighborhood or crime watch, business, schools, sports, arts, lifestyle, etc.
At mid-to-large-sized dailies, the newsroom could be divided into departments. Think of the sections that come with your newspaper – national news, local news, sports, business, lifestyle, travel, among others. Again, you will have reporters who specialize in many of these topics and have people who manage these roles within these departments.
Columnists: This type of journalist writes on a recurring basis on a specific topic, often providing special commentary or their own opinions. So you will see the use first (I, me) and second (You) person in their columns, or the plural use of we and us. You can usually spot a columnist in a newspaper, as their work is accompanied by their photo and “by line” (who the column is written by).
Topics covered by a columnist run the gamut. You can have a columnist who specializes in advice, careers, business, technology, politics, weather, sports, among others. Columnists can be local, national or syndicated.
Local columnists write about local topics and their respective columns appear only in that one publication.
National columnists are employed by large daily papers – such as USA Today, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, et al. – and write columns that can be sold to and republished in other papers across the country.
Syndicated columnists appear in multiple newspapers, but these writers sell their work syndication services which, in turn, distribute the column throughout the newspaper world.
Bloggers: You can also read your local paper online, so blogs are a regular feature on the paper’s website. The blogging platform gives newspaper industry immediacy, which is something all news outlets (both broadcast and print) strive to provide when reporting the news. The goal is to provide the newest, freshest, most unique angle to any story at any given time. Since newspapers do not have the luxury of interrupting our favorite television programs or songs playing on the radio with breaking news or running multiple newscasts in one day, the blog, as well as its website, allow these news publications to report up-to-the-minute coverage.
The blog can be written by reporters or columnists or by someone hired specifically to write blog posts. Blogs allow reporters or columnists to share a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse at how their story came together. Since newspapers have limited space, news stories are written to fit. So the blog platform allows the story to be expanded, so the writer can provide further analysis on the topic.
Finally, many people who do not buy a printed copy of the paper may opt for an on-line subscription. The blog offers on-line subscribers additional content, while extending the social outreach of the publication.
Photographers/photo journalists: The use of photography in newspapers is also a journalistic role. Photo journalists cover all types of news: accidents, special events, breaking news, weather, sports, etc.
Photograph can be used as a self-contained story – with a cut line appearing beneath it. They also can accompany an article to provide a visual representation of the story being told and helping to draw a connection between the reader and the report.
Just like reporting the news, the images should be timely to work in cadence with the article it accompanies. And the image should be impartial, providing the reader with a fair and accurate account of the event.
In Part 2 of Pitching Story Ideas to the Media, we’ll look at newsroom management at a local newspaper.
© 2013 Stephanie Faiella, http://www.avantimarcom.com
Stephanie Faiella is a virtual marketing consultant and founder of Avanti Marketing+Communications. Stephanie offers a free audio report on “15 Marketing Campaign Strategies Designed to Build and Grow Your Business” – along with two free bonuses – wh
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7529089
10 Mistakes Authors Make that Can Cost them a Fortune (and how to avoid them)
When it comes to books, promotion, and book production I know that it can sometimes feel like a minefield of choices. And while I can’t address each of these in minutia, there are a number of areas that are keenly tied to a books success (or lack thereof). Here are ten for you to consider:
1. Not understanding the importance of a book cover
I always find it interesting that an author will sometimes spend years writing their book and then leave the cover design to someone who either isn’t a designer, doesn’t have a working knowledge of book design or the publishing industry. Or, worse, they create a design without having done the proper market research. Consider these facts for a minute: shoppers in a bookstore spend on average of 8 seconds looking at the front cover of a book and 15 seconds looking at the back before deciding whether to buy it. Further, a survey of booksellers showed that 75% of them found the book cover to be the most important element of the book. Also, sales teams at book distribution often only take the book cover with them when they shop titles into stores. And finally please don’t attempt do design your own book cover. Much like cutting your own hair this is never a good idea.
2. Trusting someone who has limited or no track record
When you hire a team, make sure you ask the service provider for their track record. Often I see an author who successfully marketed their single title now feel they have all the marketing knowledge they need to help you market yours. Unless you are in similar markets I would avoid this at all costs. You want people who have worked in the industry and know the needs of the market beyond just one title. You also want someone who has some history. Ask for referrals, and success stories. I give references all the time to potential new clients but when I am the one interviewing a new service provider I will ask for them but never call them. I mean who’s going to give you a bad referral? I want to see that they have some names they can give me then I’ll go online and Google them to gain some insight into their history and online reputation.
3. Listening to people who aren’t experts
When you ask someone’s opinion about your book, direction, or topic, make sure they are either working in your industry or know your consumer. If, for example, you have written a young adult (YA) book, don’t give it to your co-workers to read and get feedback (yes, I know some YA books have adult market crossover appeal but this is different). If you’ve written a book for teens, then give it to teens to read. Same is true for self-help, diet, romance. Align yourself with your market. You want the book to be right for the reader, in the end that’s all that matters.
4. Trusting Oprah to solve all your problems
Getting on Oprah is an article in and of itself but let me say this: the quickest way to turn off a publicist is to use the “O” word. Why? Because anyone worth their salt knows how tough a road the Oprah pitch can be. Not just that, but sometimes authors will become so myopic and obsessed about this show that they lose sight of other, maybe better opportunities. And trust me on another point: someone (friend, co-worker, family, spouse), somewhere will tell you “You should go on Oprah” and while you might be 100% perfect Oprah material, the only people who can determine if you should be on her show are her producers. Shoot for the stars, dream big, but keep a realism about your campaign otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time and a lot of money chasing a potentially elusive target.
5. Planning for the short term only:
There’s a real fallacy that exists in publishing and it’s this: “instant bestseller.” Anyone who has spent any amount of time in the industry knows there is no such thing as “instant” and certainly the words “overnight success” are generally not reserved for books. Book promotion should be viewed as a long runway. Meaning that you should plan for the long term. Don’t spend all your marketing dollars in the first few months of a campaign. We find this especially true for self-published titles that need a little more TLC than their traditionally published counterparts. We offer campaigns that last 90-days but that’s not because we think 90 days is all it will take to make your book a success, it’s because we find it’s a reasonable time to get started, get a foot hold and start your progress down the runway of success.
6. Not understanding timing
Timing is a funny issue. First, there’s the timing that books follow to get reviewed, so lead times as it were. Then there’s production timing, and if you’re lucky enough to get a distributor there’s the time it will take for a distributor to get your book into the proper channels. A book launch should be planned carefully and then leave wiggle room for slipped dates and late deliveries (which will happen). I recommend that you sit down with someone who can help you strategize timing so you can plan appropriately for your book launch. A missed date is akin to a missed opportunity.
7. Hiring people who aren’t in the book industry
Let’s face it, even to those of us who have been in this industry for a while it still doesn’t always make sense. So hiring someone who has no book or publishing experience isn’t just a mistake, but it could be a costly one. With some vendors like web designers you can get away with that. But someone who has only designed business cards can’t, for example, design a book cover. Make sure you hire the right specialist for the right project. Also, you’ve likely spent years putting together this project, make sure you make choices based on what’s right and not what’s cheapest. If you shop right you can often find vendors who are perfect for your project and who fit your budget. There’s an old saying that goes: You can find a good lawyer and you can find a cheap lawyer but it’s hard or near impossible to find a good, cheap lawyer. The same applies in the book world.
8. Designing your own website
You should never cut your own hair or design your own site. Period. End of story. But ok, let me elaborate. Let’s say you designed your own site which saved you a few thousand dollars paying a web designer. Now you’re off promoting your book and suddenly you’re getting a gazillion hits to your site. The problem is the site is not converting these visitors into a sale. How much money did you lose by punting the web designer and doing it yourself? Hard to know. Scary, isn’t it?
9. Becoming a media diva
Let’s face it you need the media more than they need you. I know. Ouch. But it’s the unfortunate
truth. So here’s the thing: be grateful. Thank the interviewer, send a follow up thank you note after the interview. Don’t expect the interviewer to read your book and don’t get upset if they get some facts wrong. Just gently, but professionally correct them in such a way that they don’t look bad or stupid. Never ask for an interview to be done over. Most media people don’t have the time. I mention this because it actually happened to a producer friend of mine who did an interview with a guy and he decided he didn’t like it and wanted a second shot. Not gonna happen. The thing is, until you get a dressing room with specially designed purple M&M’s, don’t even think about becoming a diva. The best thing you can do is create relationships. Show up on time, show up prepared, and always, always, always be grateful.
10 . Hiring the best and then not trusting their advice.
So, here’s the thing that’s always confused me. You hire me then don’t listen to my advice. And it’s not just me, I hear this all the time from other industry professionals. Look, it’s not an ego thing, it really isn’t. It’s just this: if you’re paying good money to your vendors, asking them for advice and then not taking it you might have a disconnect. Perhaps a breakdown in communication, maybe you don’t trust the person you hired. If you don’t trust them then you should part ways and find someone you have some chemistry with. Otherwise what’s the point? Build your team with people you enjoy working with and respect. Then when they try and guide you or save you some money, take the time to listen.
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. To learn more about Penny’s book Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of ts or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at http://www.amarketingexpert.com.
Copyright © 2009 Penny C. Sansevieri
Media Exposure Is Marketing Gold – If You Know How to Use It
By Marsha J Friedman
At a glance:
- Implicit media endorsements make you stand out from the competition.
- It’s not advertising; it’s building credibility.
- Maximize your exposure by posting it on your Web site and sharing it via social media.
A colleague of mine, who’s a former newspaper reporter, tells a story about a savvy attorney she knew. He’d tip her off whenever he had a particularly juicy case if she promised to include his name alongside that of his client in her story. Whether he won the case or lost it, people remembered his name and associated him with high-profile cases. He’d figured out that having his name in the paper bought him something no amount of advertising could: credibility.
For anyone trying to build a business, sell a product or get their book into the hands of more consumers, the implicit endorsement that comes from being interviewed by the media is what I call “marketing gold.”
Let me explain. Thanks to the Internet, you and every competitor you have, big or small, have the same chance to reach your potential consumers. So, what makes one business, one product or book more appealing than another? It’s endorsements from the media that make you stand out. Let’s face it – if USA Today has chosen to review your book, or refer to it in an article, it gives reason to believe there’s something special about it. If a doctor is quoted in the news about solutions to a particular health issue you’re dealing with – your instinct will be to check out him and his product first, because the media must consider him an authority to have quoted him.
When the media recognizes that you have something important to say, you gain credibility. This is the marketing gold I’m referring to: the endorsements from TV and radio show hosts, the editorial coverage in newspapers and magazines – and now, bloggers, news Web sites and followers on social media too. All these forms of recognition give others confidence you’re as good as you say you are. But, it’s upon you to use this “gold” as a critical part of your marketing to let people know these endorsements exist.
The return on investment usually isn’t immediate, which can be frustrating to people who expect a surge in business or a spike in sales with every media interview. That used to happen more often in the old days – I’m talking way back in the ’90s – when a radio talk show host might chat with you for 30 or 60 minutes and newspapers had twice as many pages to fill. It became apparent that when a client’s message clearly addressed an urgent public problem, along with their expertise and solution-oriented content, they could hit the jackpot.
From January to April, an IRS expert who spoke of resolutions to IRS problems or gave on-air tips on how to prevent IRS abuses would always see a huge jump in book sales. Or, the health expert, who got on the air during flu season and explained why his health program would make them feel better faster would sell a ton of product.
But the old days are gone and here we are in 2012. Today’s talk radio interviews are brief – 7 to 10 minutes in the larger markets – and newspapers have no space for full feature stories on interesting entrepreneurs and writers. There are far fewer opportunities to grab an audience for a significant length of time.
So how do you grow your investment in PR? Marketing your media exposure is a strategy that pays big dividends over time – but requires an effort from you.
- Your Web site should prominently display your endorsements: “As seen on CBS,” “featured in the Louisville Gazette,” “heard on WFLA radio.”
- Don’t forget to mention the media coverage to your Twitter followers and Facebook fans, too. The third-party endorsement will help you build more contacts, because people like knowing who the experts are and following them.
- Use the media you’ve obtained to help you gain more TV, radio and print exposure. It serves as credibility for journalists as well and they will be more likely to want to interview you if you’ve already been vetted by other media professionals.
- Let your personality shine online and respond to journalists and followers alike with interesting commentary and insights – not pleas to buy your book or product.
Yes, it takes work, a strong theme and a message that resonates. But if you invest wisely, you’ll grow rich in marketing gold.
For 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations as CEO of EMSI. Go to www.emsincorporated.com to signup to receive her free weekly PR Tips today! More resources for authors can also be found at www.publicitythatworks.com. Or call at 727-443-7115, ext. 202, or email at email@example.com.
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7 Reasons You’re Not Selling Many Ebooks by Lindsay Buroker
1. Nobody knows your ebook exists.
Obscurity. This is what we all struggle with when we’re getting started, especially if we’re coming into this without an established fan base.
I know there are a lot of you out there like me, who feel the story should sell itself, but the truth is we have to work to be found, especially in the beginning. People can’t buy your ebooks if they don’t know they exist. We have to figure out what marketing tactics we’re comfortable with and pursue them, not just for the first couple of weeks our ebook is out but for the months that follow as well.
Some things I’ve had luck with so far:
* Giving away a free ebook
* Advertising on Goodreads
* Guest blogging
2. The writing needs work
With ebooks, people can download samples before buying, so if your writing is turning the reader off in the opening chapters, that’s going to be an automatic no for folks.
We writers tend to fall into two camps: we’re either tough critics who are never satisfied with our own work, or we’re perhaps more satisfied than we should be, and it’s a shock when we get bad reviews. I’m firmly in the former camp, so I’m not sure what goes through the minds of folks in the latter, but either way we’re not the best judges of our own writing.
For a litmus test, can you answer yes to the following questions?
* If you have multiple ebooks out, does your other work occupy the top slots in Amazon’s “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” section? (Granted, if you write in different genres, this test may not be fair, but if people aren’t going on to purchase your other stories, that can be telling.)
* Are the majority of the reviews positive? (Only those from people you don’t know count.)
* Do readers write to you to say they enjoyed your work? (Bonus points if they ask about sequels.)
If these things aren’t happening, or occurrences are infrequent at best, it may be a sign that the writing isn’t there yet. E-publishing is easy, and it’s thrilling to see all the success stories out there, but rushing to publish isn’t always a good idea.
In Outliers: The Story of Success, Malcolm Gladwell pointed out people usually need 10,000 hours to become a true expert at something, and I’ve seen other writers say your first million words are “practice.” It’s not enough just to write a lot either — we have to seek opportunities to learn and improve. Participating in writers’ workshops, where strangers are critiquing your work (and you’re critiquing their work), is a fantastic educational opportunity. Your fellow writers are probably going to be your toughest critics, so when they start telling you your stuff is ready for publication, that’s a good sign.
3. Your cover art and blurb need work
I’m still waiting for the day when I love all my covers and my blurbs are all scintillating, but I’ll get there eventually! If you’re not sure if you’re there yet, ask for feedback from others. At the least, the blurb is easy to change.
If you don’t have a lot of funds to spend on a cover designer right now, save your pennies. I’m not sure this element is quite as important as some people suggest, but it is the potential buyer’s first impression, and you can often tell a self-published book right away based on the cover alone. If it amateurish, people might assume the writing is too.
4. Your work isn’t easily categorized
My two novels fall into this camp, and it’s a bit of a bummer. They’re fantasy, but they don’t qualify as “epic fantasy” or “steampunk” or “historical fantasy” or any other sub-category people search for. This translates to less visibility, because your ebook isn’t appearing in any Top 100 lists, and it’s not coming up when people type their favorite categories into the Amazon search box.
I don’t have an answer to help you with this one, except to suggest picking the “as close as it’s going to get” categories when you’re going through the publication wizard and then tagging your novel with popular sub-categories that maybe sort of kind of apply.
5. Too much front matter before the story starts
As I mentioned, people can and do download samples before buying ebooks. On Amazon, the sample isn’t always that long, especially on a shorter work. If you have a long dedication, a list of other works, a note to the reader, a long license statement, etc., then you may not be giving your readers enough time to get into the story.
6. Your ebook is priced too high
If you have an established fan base, you can get away with charging more for your work, but if nobody has heard of you, you’re asking the reader to take a risk. The higher the price, the most risk.
You probably don’t have to price your ebook at $0.99 (though we’ve discussed some advantages of the 99-cent price point), but many consider $2.99 fair for an unknown novelist. That lets you take advantage of the 70% royalty at Amazon and make $2 per ebook (more than most traditionally published authors will get per book or ebook).
7. You just published your first ebook.
Patience isn’t one of my personal qualities, so I can understand wanting fast results. You hope you’ll be the exception, and your books will take off right out of the gate. It doesn’t usually happen that way though. With most of the success stories we’ve looked at, the authors didn’t sell many ebooks their first six to twelve months until they reached a tipping point (there’s another Gladwell book you can look up) and sales took off.
Many of the successful ebook authors have a large body of work out there too. The more ebooks you have on the virtual shelf, the more ways there are for folks to find you.
All right, that’s seven! Thanks for reading, and I hope this posts helps those who are new to e-publishing. I still have a lot to learn myself and am crossing my fingers for future success for us all.
Update: JA Konrath (bazillionaire traditionally published author turned indie) wrote up What Works: Promo for Ebooks last week, and it’s the most useful post I’ve seen on his blog. It also makes me feel terribly unoriginal for mentioning Outliers. Ah, well. The post is definitely worth a read!
Top 5 Marketing Mistakes Authors Make
by Shennandoah Diaz
Writers are an enthusiastic and passionate bunch, but when it comes to marketing, we see more confused faces, blank stares, and resistance than in any other industry. It’s easy to be idealistic about writing a book, but when it comes down to it, publishing is a business, and authors who want to sell books need to be on top of marketing. To offer some guidance on the topic, here are the top five mistakes we see authors make in their marketing efforts.
#1 Not Doing Any Marketing at All
The worst thing you can do as an author is nothing. Publishers and bookstores alike are concerned about bottom lines and profit margins. They won’t risk their money on a title with no marketing support. Even if you do manage to get it into bookstores, if you don’t drive people in to buy your book, you may be stuck with hundreds of returns as the books that never sell make their way back to the warehouse (leaving you looking like a dud not worth publishing again). In many cases, you have roughly three months from the date of publication to prove the strength of your title. If it doesn’t move, you can say goodbye bookstore and hello backlist.
#2 Waiting Until They’re Published
Everyone wants a bestseller. Did you know that bestseller status is based on velocity of sales and not on the total amount of sales? That velocity is built largely on preorders from retail stores? Retail stores start making their purchase decisions as many as six months before the date of publication, which means you have to prove you have the followers before you even have a book. You need to start building your author platform now. It takes three months to get traction, six months to see results, and a good year to build up a decent platform. Don’t wait.
#3 Expecting the Publisher to Do It All for Them
Again, publishing is a business. If you go out and start a business, you don’t expect the bank who fronts the loan to do marketing for you. Publishers take on titles based on the assumption that you will actively sell your book, and they are expecting you to deliver. Even though this can be frustrating, it’s your career hanging in the balance if the book doesn’t sell.
#4 Automating Everything
Too many people—not just authors—think that marketing is automated content. It’s not. I’m all for re-purposing content and streamlining processes, but a constant stream of one-way ads and promotional posts is a cop-out. Today’s market demands engagement. They want direct access to the real you in real time. Don’t set your marketing on cruise control.
#5 Not Making It Professional
Last but not least, too many authors plop a DIY website with no content and a few weak profiles on the Internet and attend one writer’s conference and call that being a professional author. You have to dress for success, and your marketing materials have to be up to snuff. You need to invest in professional websites, vibrant materials, and a professional appearance so you always make a great first impression. Any author with the intention of getting into Barnes & Noble should expect to spend at least $5,000 to $10,000 on marketing.
If you are an aspiring author, I implore you to take heed and put some thought and money into your marketing. To succeed in retail, you need great marketing in addition to a great book. Don’t leave it up to chance!
Shennandoah Diaz is president of Brass Knuckles Media, an uncensored PR & Marketing firm catering to creatives and the avant garde. Passionate about education, Diaz empowers creatives by sharing articles and teaching workshops on marketing, social media, and publishing. Learn more at www.brassknucklesmedia.com or at www.shennandoahdiaz.com.
Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
5 Thing to Know about Publicity Before You’re Published
Whether you’re a debut author about to launch a book (congrats!) or a writer trying to get published (good luck! I hope you do!) or a sophomore or seasoned author who’s thinking of biting the publicity bullet (yes, you should!), there are things to know about publicity in advance.
I love the phone calls and emails I get from authors and writers who are thinking about publicity. I love that they are taking initiative and getting answers, they are preparing to give their book the best chance and they are eager and full of questions about publicity – what is a publicist? what do you do? will it sell books? can you make me a bestseller?
Inevitably, there are similar questions that pop up – and I’ve addressed those here – in case these help you understand what publicity is, what it isn’t and what it can and can’t do for you as an author.
5 Things You Should Know About Publicity Before You’re Published or Before You Hire a Publicist
#1 Publicity is Awareness but not Sales & Marketing
Many authors admit they know nothing, or almost nothing, about publicity – except that they know they need to do it. More often than not, publicity is confused with sales and marketing. Publicity is not sales. Publicity is not marketing. Yes, they go hand in hand. Yes, they can (and should) be synergetic. But publicity (also known as PR) does not guarantee sales. Is there a correlation between when a media hit (book reveiw/feature/blog mention) happens and sales? Yes. Usually. Almost always. But, publicity is about creating awareness and chatter about your book. Sales and marketing is about moving that sales needle. Everything from the book cover design, language on the book, colors on the cover, genre, endorsements – and much more – are well researched by sales and marketing teams to motivate people to buy that book. Publicity is about getting the media and audiences talking about a book, creating visibility for a book – and thus will generate awareness of the book and the author, and also traffic to find more out about the book either to bookstores, the author’s website, or booksellers online. And, hopefully, once there, the sales and marketing of the book (the cover, the colors, the language, the endoresements!) and what the consumer sees when they arrive at that site, will make them purchase it. So…. publicity is not sales and marketing. They are completely different animals – but both very necessary.
#2 Publicity doesn’t happen overnight
Publicity doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s a very long-term and strategic process. When you open up the newspaper or pick up your favorite magazine and read an article, or even see a segment on the Today show, chances are that story has been in the works for months and involves a lot of people – including a publicist spearheading it – and a lot of moving pieces and parts that take up time. Even book features and book reviews are the same way – and moreso in some cases because book space is limited and reviewers are getting pitched hundreds of books a day. There are two types of media: short lead (online, broadcast and newspaper) and long lead (print magazines/print media). Yes, short lead media allows for the feature to be published quicker, but both take a lot of back and forth and advance planning. A solid publicity campaign takes six to 12 months to execute. Be patient! Be persistent! Be realistic! In order to give your book the best chance, realize that publicity is a long term strategy.
#3 Publicity is an investment
There’s a terrible catch 22 when it comes to publicity – you gotta spend money to make money, and even then, there’s no guarantee. Often times, authors know they need publicity and they know it’s going to cost money but they need the money from the book sales in order to pay for the publicity. Yet, they need the publicity in order to create awareness of the book so people will be motivated to check it out and consider buying it. It’s a terrible conundrum. Legitimate publicists do not work on commission – I’ve been asked more than once if I would consider working off a model where I make money if and only if the author makes money. Again, see #1. Publicity is not sales. It’s like starting a business – it’s an investment. You’re paying a publicist for the effort and the work done on the publicity campaign, not on sales success. Try and find a budget that’s reasonable for you – and know it’s an investment in your book and in your long-term career.
#4 Relationships matter…and they don’t
Many times authors will ask me what kinds of relationships I have with media. There are lots of people in the industry who will say you need a publicist who has relationships because that’s the only way to get coverage. Is this true? No. Is it important to have media relationships? Yes (it’s a sign of a good publicist for sure). Is it the only way to get coverage? No. You should definitely ask this question when interviewing a prospective publicist, but don’t let people get you down that you can only get coverage if you’re on a first name basis with an editor in chief. What relationships get you is this: when I pitch media that I’ve worked with for a long time and have relationships with, I know they are going to open my emails and thoughtfully read and consider my pitch. Are they going to guarantee me coverage because I have a relationship with them? No. But, because they know me and my work, they will open it and respond and consider my angle because they know I bring them stories that matter, stories that are relevent to their audience and stories that are well thought out and comprehensive. A good publicist has relationships, builds them over time, doesn’t abuse them, and gets coverage for clients in media even when they don’t have an in or a relationship – that’s the sign that they pitched a really good story, so good that the editor bought it whether they have a relatinship or not. So yes, ask a publicist what kind of relationships they have, but more importantly ask them what kind of results they have.
#5 Buyer beware
Last, a word of warning because I have seen this happen more than once – be careful of scams. There are a ton of publicists and publicity firms out there. If it feels like a sham, if your gut is telling you it’s a scam, if it’s too good to be true, it likely is. There’s no guarantee in publicity. If someone is guaranteeing you XXX amount of media hits and interviews and agreeing to reward your money back if you’re not completely satisfied, then that’s not a legitimate or professional publicity route. If they’re promising to blast out your book to thousands of media – that’s a pitch machine and not a personal, professional publicist working to get you the best, most appropriate and targeted opportunities and exposure for your book. If you’re allowed to pay with a credit card or required to pay in full all up front – that’s not legitimate and you could very well lose all that money. I’ve seen it happen. So, interview, ask questions, ask for references and to talk with clients, follow up on those references and talk to real people. Be smart and take your time – you want a PR partner who you feel can passionately stand behind you and your book, don’t get fooled or scammed by shiny promises.
Crystal Patriarche is founder of Sparks PR Agency, a full-service boutique agency that provides strategic public relations to business clients through its BizSparksPR division and book publicity and consulting to authors through its literary BookSparksPR division. She’s also a journalist whose articles on books, entertainment, beauty, health, motherhood and careers have appeared in many national magazines, newspapers and websites. For more, visit Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com
Purchasing Works Of Art
By David Tatham
The public today seem to be very picky about what they have in their homes. A lot of people are in reality starting to invest in various forms of art that will not only be fine decoration, but a talking piece. In reality, this is one of the finest methods to tie a room together and give guests an interesting subject of conversation. People who have not had the opportunity of trying this method of investment will need to examine these excellent tips and get a superb new look.
Before looking for anything, be absolutely certain to think about the amount of money that is required for this type of purchase. Paintings are going to range in price, depending on who the artist is, and where they are living. The prospective purchaser will have to make sure that they study and calculate what they might like to buy the most. Keep in mind, this is not always going to be cheap so be ready to spend a much money for the top paintings.
Afterwards, be sure to research the various types of paintings that are at present most sought after. Naturally the modern designs are going to give the home an modern and sleek appearance that might be unseen to many people. There are brightly coloured designs as well as styles that can be quite contemporary and sleek.
The bottom line is what the collector likes and how they currently have their homes decorated.When doing some research, be sure to learn about some of the most sought after painters as well. David Shepherd is a very well known painter that truly knows how to present nature and wildlife in the most unique ways. Those who are interested in watercolours will need to make sure that they see Russell Flint. His watercolours are very vibrant and will easily be able to catch one’s attention.
Take the time researching the great masters and make sure to see what they have to offer in the way of original paintings and prints. A little patience needs to be employed throughout the art buying process. There is definitely no need to commit to any type of purchase. Browse through various galleries and check out various openings to make sure that all of the right outlets have been tapped into.
Individuals who have not invested in or purchased a work of art or signed, limited edition before will need to look in much greater detail so that they find something they will enjoy looking at whenever they come home. A reputable art dealer needs to be located so that the right paintings are purchased. Galleries are great, but they can be very highly priced. A dealer is going to have a number of different pieces that are difficult to source and incredibly unique.
Speak to these local dealers to see what stock they hold and try to find out about any exhibitions in order to make the right decision. Do not forget to take the overall delivery and installation into consideration. Professional delivery is typically included with the any large works of art, and usually the professionals will also install the painting too. These arrangements will need to be made before purchasing so discuss with the dealer about what they offer when placing the order. Buying art does not always have to be such a complicated process.
Actually, many first time collectors have been able to find the painting they had always wanted very quickly. Talk with various vendors and gallery owners to find out what is available and begin shopping today.
David Tatham, specialist picture dealer for over 25 years, has a detailed knowledge of Lowry’s biography. Signed, limited editions and paintings can be viewed and bought from the website. http://www.lowry.co.uk
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=David_Tatham
5 Ways to Engage Your Facebook Business Page Fans
We’ve all heard that if you are in business, you need to have a Facebook Business page or Fan page. Now that you’ve gone ahead and built your Facebook fan page, what’s the next step? If you build it they will come… or will they?
If you now do nothing with your Facebook page, it will do nothing for you. Congratulations, you have a cyber-slug!
If you don’t have the time to spend keeping your page updated, or you don’t have the cash in your business to pay someone else to keep your page updated, you are wasting your time. It’s that simple.
We’re a fickle crowd. If you are not keeping your page current and populated with new and interesting bits and pieces to read, you won’t be top of mind with those that have liked your page.
Without posting on your wall, your fans are not seeing your page in their newsfeed. Your fans will have to remember to find and revisit your page. They won’t.
When was the last time you actively visited a page on Facebook purely because you thought of it?
Or did you see a post or comment in your newsfeed from a friend that caught your eye and you clicked through to find out more.
My guess is option 2. Most of us operate that way. We see what others are doing or talking about and then go and have a look see.
With that in mind, how can you apply the browsing habits of most online users to your Facebook page strategy to ensure people continue to visit your page?
1. Post 2 to 3 times per week
Yes, per week. Be on your wall posting articles, comments, questions, videos, photos, etc at least 2 to 3 times per week to keep your page fans engaged.
If you are not talking to your page visitors, someone else will be.
2. Post at different times of the day / different days of the week
Unless you know exactly when your page fans are online, make an effort to post at different times of the day and also, post on different days of the week.
By posting at different times of the day, you can make sure you are appearing in the newsfeed of your fans at differing times. People are online at different times of the day. Some like to early morning browse. Some jump online after lunch. Others do a quick catch up on what’s happening at dinner time or when they’ve finally put the kids to bed and have a few moments to themselves.
Likewise, some people are more active on weekdays. Others browse on the weekend when things have slowed down at work.
Know when your target market is online and post specifically to tap into their peak browsing times.
3. Repost your content
It’s perfectly fine to write one single article and post the same article to your wall 2 or 3 times. Just make sure you spread out the time between the posting.
For example, you may post an article at the start of the month and repost it at the end of the month. Why? No one can possibly be on Facebook 24 hours a day. There will be fans that would love to read your content but were not online when you first posted it.
Reposting gives people the chance to catch it on the second time around.
4. Post Content from other Sources
Be seen as in information disseminator. As well as sharing your own information, source material that you know will appeal to your target market.
If you read an article that was helpful to you in business, chances are, it will also benefit others. So share it.
Your Facebook page visitors will appreciate the gesture and may even “on-share” it, citing you as the reference point where they found it.
This is where the ability to tag in Facebook can be really useful. An article you found and posted can easily be shared as a link by someone else, with a tag to your page as a thank you for sharing. Win-win!
5. Respond to Comments or Questions
If someone posts a question or a comment on your page, reply. Sounds simple, but I’m amazed how many people don’t even bother to visit their own page to see what is happening on the wall.
Engaging with your visitors is an ideal way to establish rapport and build up a following of loyal fans who will love to hear from you.
If you do this, chances are next time they have a question in your field of expertise, they’ll ask you. Their friends will also see that they’ve posted on your Facebook business page wall and some will click through to see why.
Why Did you Build a Facebook Business Page?
Your aim when building a Facebook business page should be to generate traffic to your page, as a source of potential leads, clients and customers.
Your challenge is to keep them interested when they get there. Keep them engaged. Keep them coming back.
That way they’ll see you as the expert and seek your advice and opinion when they have an issue to solve or question to ask.
About The Author
Wendy Moore is the founder of www.savvywebwomen.com and creator of the Savvy List Building Blog – the information packed resource that shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to get in front of an audience that wants to buy what they are selling. To receive your FREE Special Report and weekly how-to articles to expand your online List Building toolkit, visit www.wendymoore.net.
Why (some) Authors Fail
Sorry for the buzz kill title of this article, but instead of spreading pixie dust as many marketing articles do, I thought I’d take a hard look at the realities of self-defeating behavior and some of the things authors might buy into that will sabotage their careers. Over the years I’ve written a lot of articles on how to be successful, but to be successful you must first learn how to fail up, meaning that you learn from what you did wrong, take full responsibility for it and move on. Lessons in publishing are often costly, both in time and dollars. I don’t presume to tell you that you should avoid making any mistakes, but many of them are avoidable. Here are a few for you to consider.
Not learning enough about the industry
The first piece of this is simple: get to know the market you are in. This is a bit of a dual message because I’m not just speaking of the market you are promoting to: your area of expertise, but also to the publishing industry at large. Who else is publishing in this area? What are they publishing? Is your area of writing hot or a fading trend? These are all good things to know before you jump headlong into your area. Getting to know your market can help you not only avoid expensive errors but also possibly incorporate trends into your book that could help to leverage its success. How to learn about the industry? Read up on it at sites like Publishersmarketplace.com, subscribe to the free or paid newsletter the site offers. This will give you a good sense of what’s selling, who’s buying, what’s being published. Publishers Weekly is another good resource. If you can’t afford a subscription try their online site at publishersweekly.com, or check out your local library to see if they carry any copies. This is a great industry resource.
Not Accepting Feedback
A couple of weeks ago an author who has sat in on a number of my classes, both online and off, asked me numerous times how she could get onto Huffington Post as a blogger. I told her I would try to pursue a Huffpo blogger for her to get feedback on her work. I did this as a favor because, well, she was relentless in her pursuit of this and I had to admire that. So, I finally got a blogger to review her work and the critique came back not so good. In fact it was terrible. I sat on it for a day, wondering if I should share it with her. I finally decided that if she was so relentless about her career, she would be equally relentless about crafting a perfect message, right? Not so much, actually. When I forwarded her the feedback she shot me off an email saying that many other people loved it and that astrologically this was a terrible time to accept feedback so she would dismiss it. Some moon phase or something. I honestly can’t recall. No, I’m not making this up. OK, listen, full confession time here. I have a friend who calls me whenever Mercury is retrograde, “don’t buy anything electronic” she says, and I listen. Well, sometimes. Anyway, point being that I get that we’re all driven by a different drummer, but if someone takes the time to critique your work why would you not try to learn from that? Look, I know not everyone is going to be spot-on with their feedback, but take from it what you can and move on – better yourself, better your writing.
Feedback is a crucial part to any writer’s career. If someone who is more knowledgeable than you about the industry you are in is willing to give you feedback you should listen. Really. In a room of one hundred authors I can pick out the successful ones. You know who they are? They are the ones who aren’t so wrapped up in their egos that they aren’t willing to listen and learn.
Not Surrounding Yourself with Enough Professionals
Let’s face it, your mother and immediate family will love anything you write. These are not the people who will offer you the kind of guidance that will further your career. Yes, they will (and should) love and support you through this work, but you need professionals you trust by your side giving you advice, wisdom, and direction. You don’t need to keep a group of experts on retainer, but you need to know who they are so you can call on them when you need help.
Not Doing Their Research
What would you think of a store owner who opened a yogurt shop in downtown San Diego only to find that five other stores were opening within months of his, one of them a very successful franchise with a huge following? Wouldn’t this make you sort of wonder why on earth this store owner would do that, I mean open a store without doing the proper research? Then why on earth would you launch head first into publishing without knowing your market – I mean the publishing market? So many authors learn the ropes after their book is out, and by then it’s too late. Well, not too late really because you still have a book, but late in the sense that you can’t really do anything about mistakes made and the money it’s gonna cost you. There are a ton of online resources out there. Get to know them, I’ve listed a number of them in this article and there are more, many more. The Internet is abundant with free content. Use it.
Measuring Their Success in Book Sales
Many of you might be shaking your head wondering how I could possibly say this, but it’s true. Book sales, even in the best of economic climates, are sketchy and planning your success or failure around them is a very bad way to market your book. Here’s the reality: exposure = awareness = sales. The more exposure you get, the more awareness there is for the book, the more sales you may get. But this equation takes time and in the midst of this marketing many other really great non-book-sale-related things may happen. An example of this is an author who didn’t really sell a lot of her books as she was marketing, but found that her speaking gigs started to pick up. Each speaking gig netted her about fifty book sales, and because of the market she was in, many of those book sales turned into individual consulting gigs that brought in much more revenue than a single book sale ever could have.
Get the picture?
The other reason I say this is because book sales can be tough to calculate, many reporting agencies don’t report sales for three to six months. I know this sounds crazy but it’s part of the reason why publishing is such a tricky business. So, if you’re doing a huge push in December and you look at your statement in January and find that you’ve only sold 3 books, it might be because you’re looking at sales figures from September or October when you weren’t doing any marketing at all.
Still not convinced? Then let me share my own story with you. As of today, Red Hot Internet Publicity has been out since July of 2009. I suspect to date it’s sold 5,000 or fewer copies. Not impressive, is it? Does that number bother me? Not at all. Want to know why? Because out of the copies sold I have probably brought twenty to thirty new authors on board who will likely be authors for life. Also, I got a teaching gig at NYU because someone handed someone at NYU this book and all of a sudden – there you have it. So if I measured my success by book sales, you bet I’d be depressed. Thank God I don’t. Book sales aren’t what drive my success. The same should be true for you. Start measuring your success in other ways and book sales will come. I promise.
Seth Godin aka brilliant marketer addressed this in a recent blog post too: http://bit.ly/9n1Y9v
Not Understanding How New York Publishing Works
We may not like how the corporate publishing model works, we may find fault with it, but to understand it is to understand how the industry works. For example, knowing the publishing seasons and why Fall is the biggest time for New York publishers to launch a book and perhaps the worst time for you to send your book to market if you’ve self-published.
Also, know that that corporate publishers don’t publish to niches, or rarely do, so if you’re publishing to a niche, you may have a real leg up.
As for bookstores, the big six in New York pretty much own most of the shelf space in your local Barnes & Noble, so if you’re vying to get in there, you are going to have to do more than show up with a book in hand and a winning smile. You’re going to have to promote yourself to that local market and gain enough interest for your book that people start asking for it in bookstores.
Understanding the corporate publishing model means knowing and researching your industry and again, not just the industry you are writing for, but the market of publishing in general. Knowing what’s selling, what’s not – who’s buying, who’s closing their doors. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with it and you’ll have a much more successful campaign.
Playing the Blame Game
If something goes wrong, own it. Unless it’s really not your fault, unless you were taken for a ride somehow, swindled or whatever. Own it. Take responsibility. Here’s an example. Recently an author came up to me after a class I taught and said she’d pitched 200 bloggers and only 5 of them wanted her book. What was wrong with them? Well, maybe it wasn’t the bloggers at all. Bloggers are busy, busier than they’ve ever been so your pitch has to be strong and your book exactly right for the blogger you are pitching. If you’re not getting a lot of pick up on your pitch you might need a new pitch and/or you might need a new set of bloggers. Don’t assume it’s someone else’s fault. Investigate what happened and take a critical look at the results. If you don’t feel you can be objective, hire someone to sift through the data. Assuming success eluded you because of someone else’s lack of interest or follow through might be undermining your campaign and you could be missing out on important data that could really help turn your campaign around.
Believing in the Unbelievable
There are no guarantees. No one can promise book sales, fame, or Oprah. Period. End of story. If someone is promising you these things, run, or if the offer seems too good to be true it likely is. If all else fails ask someone you trust. I get folks asking me all the time about campaigns, programs, and marketing opportunities. Feel free to do the same. Whether you are working with us or not, now or in the future, I will always give you a fair and honest answer. If you’d rather go to someone else, great – but find someone whose opinion you trust and ask before signing on the dotted line.
Success is not about hard work alone, it’s also about making smart, savvy choices and not being blinded by your own ambition, creativity, or ego such that it undermines your work. To be successful you need to be relentless, believe in your work and your mission but you also need to be objective, realistic, and humble. That is a successful mix for any author and in the end, isn’t really about getting the book out there? Focus on what matters. Good luck!
Some great and helpful books:
Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (ParaPublishing, 2009) Dan Poynter
The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book (Writer’s Digest, 2009 or 2010) Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier
Doing Business by the Book: How to Craft a Crowd-Pleasing Book and Attract More Clients and Speaking Engagements Than You Ever Thought Possible – Sophfronia Scott (Advantage Media Group, 2008)
1001 Ways to Market Your Book – John Kremer (Open Horizons, 2009)
Red Hot Internet Publicity – Penny Sansevieri (Cosimo, 2009)
Get Published Today – Penny Sansevieri (Lulu Publishing, 2010)
Great Publishing Blogs
The Self Publishing Review http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/ POD People http://podpeep.blogspot.com/ Nathan Bransford http://blog.nathanbransford.com/ Moby Lives http://mhpbooks.com/mobylives/ Holt Uncensored http://www.holtuncensored.com/hu/ The Book Deal http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/ Galleycat http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/?c=rss
Ten Ways to Know if Your (Internet) Marketing is Paying Off
So you’re out there marketing. You’re doing all the right things (or so you think). You’re following the book marketing advice of some leaders in the industry. You’ve got a checklist and you’re methodically checking off your goals. But how do you know you’re doing everything right? The fact is, most of us don’t. Yet we forge ahead, keeping pace with our marketing plan, without ever knowing if it’s paying off. We don’t see it in sales. Does that mean it’s not working?
Not at all. You could be seeing the effects in other places but just aren’t keeping track of it.
I find that especially in social media you need to keep a close eye on what’s working and what’s not. If you’ve spent *any* kind of time online you know that you can be in front of your computer for what seems like 20 minutes and yet three hours have gone by. If the three hours of marketing is paying off, then it’s fine to spend the time. But you need to know the difference. Here are a few things you can review to measure the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of your marketing.
Jumping in without a plan: Set clear, measureable goals because most marketing is invisible. Let’s face it, you send an email and wonder half the time if the intended recipient got it or if it ended up in a spam filter, never to be seen again. That’s the power behind goals. You need them and you need to run your campaign by them. So what are your goals? And no, you may not say sell books. Yes, that factors in – but there are a million small steps along the way before you even get to sales. Consider these goals and see if any of them fit your book, topic, and future:
Establish yourself as an expert or get known in your particular field. Hey, maybe you just want to be known as the go-to person for everything related to paranormal romance. That’s great and it’s a realistic, attainable goal.
Increase the visibility of your brand. OK, sort of the same as the bullet before this one but more geared to the non-fiction author.
Increase traffic and incoming links to your website. This is a great goal. Whether you are fiction or non-fiction it’s a great focus.
Do what makes sense for your book: if your followers aren’t on Twitter then why have you spent the last month or so promoting yourself on there? Mind you, Twitter works for most of the books we manage, but there are a few that don’t make sense. Twitter skews older than most people think so don’t be surprised if your YA reader isn’t on there. Before you launch head first into a campaign, make sure it fits your demographic.
Neglecting other marketing: I know it’s easy to get all a-twitter about Twitter but what else are you doing to promote yourself and your book? If you’re good at events and speaking are you still focused on that? Don’t get too myopic on doing just one thing for your marketing. The truth is, you need to do a lot of different things, balanced out over a week or a month for your marketing to really make sense.
Set goals – be clear on what you hope to achieve in social media: What are your goals for Twitter? If it’s just about gathering followers then you are missing a big piece of this social networking tool. For many marketing people it’s all about the number, but numbers don’t make as much sense unless they are driving interest to you and your book. If the numbers keep growing along with traffic to your website then you’re on the right track. But if you’re just growing numbers for the sake of being able to say that you have 10,000 followers then it makes no sense. That’s like buying a fancy car you can’t really afford. Eventually the debt of it will drag you down. It’s the same with Twitter and Facebook and any other social media site. It’s not about the numbers. It’s about the activity.
Be clear on who you are trying to reach: many of you say you’re trying to reach readers but is that really true? We all want to sell books, but who are you really going after? In all likelihood you will have a variety of different targets you are going after. Consider these: booksellers, speaking opportunities, interviews, bulk sale targets, reviewers, and readers to name a few.
Measure effectively: in order to know if stuff is working you’ll need to measure effectively. As I pointed out earlier on in this article you may not want to do that by fans or followers – instead consider these ideas as ways to measure your success:
Retweets on Twitter: the best sign of success on Twitter is the amount of retweets. Are you getting them and if so, how often? If your tweets are good and your followers are active, you should see a few a week at least (depending on the amount of followers you have). If you’re curious about the amount of Tweets that get RT’d – check out retweetrank.com. Twitter Analyzer (twitteranalyzer.com) is another great tool for determining how far tweets have traveled.
Site hits: are the hits to your site increasing? Are you watching your analytics to be sure? If you’re not, you should be. Watch your site stats closely and monitor the increase in traffic and where it’s coming from.
Inbound links: how many new ones are you getting? Did you do a vanity search before you started this campaign? If not, do that now. Make sure you know how many new incoming links you’re getting as a result of your efforts.
Sign-ups to your mailing list: are they increasing? If you’re doing the right stuff in your social media they should be increasing weekly.
Increasing the contacts in your industry: remember that social media marketing is just like going to a networking meeting. You want to expand your reach and get to know others in your industry. If you’re not increasing your reach and contact base then you need to be. This is another great way to gauge how effective your marketing is.
We always want to make progress in our marketing but we’re not always sure how to do it or if what we’re doing is making a difference. Follow these steps and see if it doesn’t help your marketing momentum. If it’s paying off, you’ll know sooner rather than later and you can keep doing the good stuff, and punt the bad.
Bonus: additional tools for tracking marketing
Bit.ly: this site serves as both a URL shortener and also as a measurement tool. Bit.ly can help get you real time results on clicks to links you are posting to Facebook and Twitter.
Google Analytics: if you don’t have any back end web analytics (and even if you do) Google gives you a lot of valuable data.
Trackur: this is a great monitoring site to see what’s being featured on you online and off. It’s not free like Google Alerts but much more comprehensive. Their basic package is $18 a month.
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert and an Adjunct Instructor with NYU. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her website at http://www.amarketingexpert.com. To subscribe to her free ezine, send a blank email to: firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright © 2010 Penny C. Sansevieri