How to Use the Power Of Goodreads Giveaways

When it comes to marketing a book, never underestimate the power of a book giveaway. Perhaps one of the best ways to kick start book discovery is by offering your book for free. I recommend doing multiple giveaways for a book and, in fact, I have done pre-publication giveaways that have really helped to spike success and reviews on the site.

I recommend that you run your giveaways for 30 days. You can run them for a smaller amount of time, but the longer you have to promote the better, right? Be sure to post an update about this on your Goodreads page and you can also post it to your blog (for your blog readers) especially if your blog is connected to your Goodreads page. So how many books should you give away? I’ve done anywhere from ten to fifty. Keep in mind that while the higher number is great, at some point you will have to fulfill this order and Goodreads only allows printed books, so you can’t give an eBook version or PDF, they have to be print books and they are all mailed (or you can also ship them from Amazon if you want to).

If you are a member of a few groups, it’s likely that there is a thread to promote a giveaway. Find that thread and promote your giveaway. If you’re running it for a month, you should feel free to post it once at the beginning and again as you’re nearing the end of the giveaway. I’m not a fan of blasting groups with “all about me” posts so twice is my limit. You may find groups that encourage more frequent giveaway reminders but I doubt it. Remember that other authors are on there trying to get attention, too.

If you’re reading this post and thinking, “Well, my book is too old for this,” take heart. There aren’t any rules on Goodreads preventing older books from getting promoted on the site. If you have a great book and are just discovering this site, by all means do a giveaway and see what happens. Especially if it’s not your only book and you continue to write new material. I’ve known authors who have multiple titles that start with the oldest and work their way forward.

One more point on the giveaways. If you want to really max out your exposure on the site, I recommend letting the contest run worldwide. You’ll get much better participation that way and in the big picture global shipping isn’t really that expensive.

Ready to sign up for your own giveaway? Then head over here: Once you’re there be ready to list the start and end dates as well as all of the pertinent book information such as ISBN, book description, publisher and number of copies you’re willing to give away. Once you have that information, you’re ready to go with your first Goodreads giveaway!

When the campaign is over, you’ll get notified and the system will send you a spreadsheet with the winners, their Goodreads ID’s and their addresses. It’s a great idea to congratulate them on Goodreads and let them know you’re shipping the book out. Why is this good? Because it’s another great way to connect with the person on the receiving end of your book. And it helps encourage a review from the reader. You’re no longer an anonymous writer; you are now connected on Goodreads and following each other’s reviews, etc.

Whenever I’ve done a Goodreads giveaway I am always sure to include a short, hand-written note thanking them for participating and congratulating the person on winning. I never ask for a review in the note, but that’s just me. Instead, I encourage their feedback because I really do want to know what the reader thinks of the book. Then I give them my email address if they wish to make direct contact. I think the added step of a personal note is key. Why? Because it’s a great opportunity to connect with a reader and encourage them to connect with you. I also sign each of the books I give away. Why? Readers love signed books!

So how many reviews can you expect, really? Well Goodreads estimates that 60% of the books that are given away get reviewed. I think that’s probably a really good average. I’ve seen numbers higher than 60% and also lower. A lot of it depends on the book of course. Good books get reviewed more frequently, also it would seem that fiction gets a lot more reviews than non-fiction, but I’m not always clear that that’s true.

Another way to boost exposure is to run an ad to help push your giveaway. Ads are really simple on Goodreads. They operate on a pay-per-click system, which means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You also buy credit, so I suggest starting with $10, you can always add more, but you may never use $100. Get started by going here:

It’s important to keep in mind that Goodreads openly admits that new ads that generate a lot of clicks in the first few days will be shown more frequently throughout the day – essentially Goodreads gives its users what they want. So make your ad content compelling, and don’t go the super cheap route when it comes to bidding on your per click cost. The minimum is $.10, the max is $.50. Some people say go big or go home, I say do what you’re comfortable with, but remember, higher per click ads are also given priority. Some additional insight into how Goodreads ads work can be found here:

I usually suggest creating two ads, try different tactics. One should say something like “Enter to Win” and the other should say something like “Get your FREE book.” The words “win” and “free” are always hot. In the main content include a short, irresistible description of your book, something that will make it stand out and close with “giveaway ends [insert date]” to help push people to act. The link you include with your ad should be the link to your giveaway page. Don’t know how to find the link? Go here: and on the right hand side of the page you’ll see a section for “Giveaways You’ve Created.”

A few more giveaway tips:

* Let readers know if you plan on providing signed copies.
* End your giveaway on a non-popular date, like the middle of the week, definitely not a holiday.
* Again, more countries = more exposure.
* Mail your copies promptly.
* Reach out to winners with a short, respectful follow up. Friend them, let them know you’d love their input when they’re ready.

Bonus! When you’re done creating your ad you’ll be given the HTML code for a giveaway widget that you can add to your blog or website!

While authors often tell me that they don’t want to give copies of their book away, I always caution against that way of thinking. You have to give something to get something. Will every person who got your book review it? No. Do some people just want free books? Sure. But I’ve found that most of the readers on this site are genuinely interested in books and love it when their opinion matters. I mean, who doesn’t?

Using the power of free to help boost your book is always a good idea, especially on a site like Goodreads. Just keep in mind that using a giveaway like this can help push other opportunities like connections to new readers and a dialog about your book in general. Maximize this opportunity; you’ll be glad you did!

And one final note on this Goodreads piece. This was tested with anonymous, first time (fiction) authors. Why did I do that? Because I wanted to make sure the playing field was even and the test was authentic.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

How to Toss Pitches That Hit the Target

How to Toss Pitches That Hit the Target

How to Toss Pitches That Hit the Target
By Marsha J Friedman

I’ve been saying it for 22 years: Getting mentioned in news stories and being interviewed on radio and TV is the best, most cost-effective marketing strategy.

By positioning yourself as an expert on topics relevant to your product or book, you also gain credibility. This is what I call “Celebritize Yourself.” It’s the boost you need to rise above the competition.

But, how do you get journalists interested in what you have to say? You might offer to write an article or blog post, or provide interesting TV or radio commentary on a topic in the news. Come up with a fresh angle that will add to a news story everyone’s talking about. For example, last year a client wrote a memoir about his years in the Secret Service. Imagine the placements he could get now with all the attention on the carousing agents in Colombia. He even got a placement on my radio show!

Now that you’ve identified a news story or trend that dovetails nicely with your message and an angle no one else has thought of, all you have to do is get someone in the media to pay attention. That first step can be the hardest – if you don’t know what you’re doing.

A few weeks ago, I asked three professionals fresh from jobs in traditional media what made them pay attention – or not! – to telephone and email pitches. They came up with so many good suggestions, I shared half last week, and promised more this week.

Never one to break a promise, I now give you – as the late great journalist Paul Harvey would say – the rest of the story:

  • Print journalists tend to like print, so send an email. Everyone’s different, of course, but journalists who choose print over broadcast tend to do so because they’re more comfortable with that medium. Some prefer time to think over a proposal rather than respond immediately to a cold call. Having a written pitch in an email folder may be handier than searching for handwritten notes scrawled during a phone call.
  • Keep it short – the more you write, the less they read. No one, journalist or otherwise, wants to read through two pages of text to figure out what you’re asking or offering. Boil down your pitch to a succinct length, three or four paragraphs is good, with the basics. Even better – use bullets to make your points. That’s an easy-to-read format that’s much more visually inviting than blocks of dense text.
  • Don’t make them work for it. Providing a link to your website, and little more, is a sure way to get deleted. I know you think you’re saving yourself time, but you’re doing it at the expense of the journalist’s time. It’s the quickest way to lose their attention. Your website may tell your story beautifully, but unless you provide a compelling reason to click through to it, no one will bother. Your pitch should include a brief reference to the issue or trend you’re plugging into; the content you can provide to give the journalist a great story or show; and a phone number where you can easily be reached. Then add that website link.
  • Make sure you have an easy-to-remember website address. You should always provide a link to the site in your email, but that’s not necessarily how journalists will always access it. If they want to browse it when they have more time in the morning, or show it to a colleague, they shouldn’t have to go back to your mail for the URL. If they’re interested enough to want to check out the site, they’ll remember key words that should pop it up in a search. Having a site with an easy-to-remember name will help, as will regularly adding fresh content, which pushes it higher in the search results.

Between last week’s tips and this week’s, you should be all set to connect with the media.

But, I won’t lie; it can be frustrating. If you’re a DIY’er, remember persistence pays. However, if you prefer the help of professionals who know how to craft a pitch and have media contacts coast to coast, keep us in mind. What can be discouraging to you is a lot of fun for us.

Keepin’ it succinct,


For 20 years Marsha Friedman has been a leading authority on public relations as CEO of EMSI. Go to to signup to receive her free weekly PR Tips today! More resources for authors can also be found at Or call at 727-443-7115, ext. 202, or email at

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How to Maximize Media Leads

Maximizing Media Leads

Thanks to HARO ( and similar media leads services, there are media leads out there for everyone, all the time. Media, media, everywhere! The key, however, is to maximize these leads. Often, we think that as long as we respond to them, and give them our information, the hard part is done. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact it’s really just the beginning. How can you get better exposure for your pitches? Here is a quick guide to pitching these media leads services that will provide you with insight and guidance for better placement and better stickiness to the stories you pitch.

Pitching the right lead: First and foremost, you need to define the right lead to pitch. But really, it’s more than that. Keep in mind that for a variety of topics such as finance, dieting and parenting you might find a lot of leads but not all of them are appropriate to your topic. Some people think that you shouldn’t pitch anything that isn’t 100% spot on. If I followed this way of thinking, I wouldn’t have gotten myself into a variety of publications, including Entrepreneur Magazine (issue forthcoming).

So what’s the goal? The goal is to go after as many leads as you can within the appropriate market. For example, if you have a diet book that is focused on a soy based program and you see a lead about getting ready for summer, you might think it seems off, but the idea here might be to pitch them your topic, to help people get ready for summer. The same is true for an article on the high divorce rate and you have a book on making divorce a smoother transition. This could be a great opportunity for you to pitch a sidebar idea on creating a gentler transition for families of divorce.

The idea really is that, to the degree it’s appropriate, pitch yourself to as many on-point topics as you can. When I do this, however, I will always address the issue of the topic they pitched and then ask if they are interested in perhaps taking a sidebar angle to the piece or offering an extended insight into their topic. You’d be amazed at how often this gets a response.

Response time: Basically, as fast as you can. You should never, ever, ever sit on a lead unless you need to gather additional data before responding. Don’t wait. Period. Remember that you aren’t the only person seeing that lead, many of these reporters and journalists get hundreds of responses per lead they send and generally, the first who respond get the most attention. Ignore the deadline and send it right away, if you wait until minutes before the deadline you might get buried in the hundreds of other leads that have flooded the recipient’s inbox.

Responding: Short, sweet, and to the point. While I suggested in the above tip that you take some liberty with some of your leads and responses, I still recommend keeping it on point and short. In fact I’ll often highlight some key points, send the response off and indicate that I’m aware they might be sitting with a flooded inbox and if my response has piqued their interest, I am happy send as much additional data as they need. Also, if appropriate, cite or link to any current articles that you’ve been featured in online so the media person can see the breadth of your knowledge. Oh and one final note, please, please, please spell check your emails. You’d never send a resume to a potential employer with typos in it, right? So it baffles me that anyone would send an email that wasn’t spell checked.

The media are your customers: Remember to always treat media like your customer and like a consumer, they probably have a lot of choices. Serve them as you would a new client. Give them what they need in a timely fashion and don’t under deliver. Ever. Don’t embellish, don’t alter the facts and be ready to prove every single point you are making in your pitch.

Managing the responses: As you get responses you should be ready to act immediately. In fact if you are pitching yourself to *any* media you should be checking your email regularly – several times a day in fact. Depending on the story you are pushing for, you should really be on top of your email, all the time so you can be prepared to respond immediately.

Follow up: Unless you’ve been tapped by the media person to be in the article don’t follow up on a lead you sent, ever. Why? Because if they need you they’ll let you know; if they don’t, a follow-up email is just annoying. Keep in mind that even if the media person doesn’t respond, you might still see some activity from them down the road. This happened to me with an INC online piece. They didn’t need me for the original story I had responded to but kept my information on file and used it later. Had I followed up a few times this might not have happened if I had gotten labeled as a “pest” – be careful the impression you make in email!

You’ve got placement! Great! Congratulations! So, what now? Well now it’s time to promote, promote, promote the lead you were just featured in. Post it to Twitter, list it on your blog and Facebook Fan Page and oh, don’t forget to thank the media person too!

How to find great leads: There are a number of great resources out there for finding leads. Here are just a few of them!

Help A Reporter Out:
Reporter Connection:
Blogger Link Up:
Pitch Rate:

Media leads are a great way to get yourself in front of media who need your expertise. I have found media lead responding to be a fantastic way to gain media attention for our authors. Get on the media leads bandwagon and start responding. You never know where you could land a story!
Good luck!

How to Build an Online Presence Google will Love!

The Death of SEO? How to Build an Online Presence Google will Love!

With all the changes to Google many Internet gurus have predicted the end of SEO. Well, it’s not the end per se, but rather a change from the way we used to market online. The reason Google is making these changes (also known as Penguin and Panda) is to help with authentic search. For years, many of us struggled to battle the black hat Internet marketing people who always seemed to find a way to push their project up in the ranking by using tricks to game the system in their favor. Now this time has passed. It doesn’t mean that these marketing people aren’t still up to their dirty tricks, but it does mean that the playing field has been leveled and it’s becoming harder and harder to “rig” Google in your favor.

Why does this matter to you? Because you want to know how to prevent your site from getting hit by a Google update. If it does it could mean that you rarely, if ever, come up high in search results. Or, you could be banished to page 54 on a Google search and I can almost guarantee you, few people will ever dig through search results past page 3. If you’re that far back you’ll never get noticed or, for that matter, get traffic.

Keywords Still Matter

The things that haven’t changed with Google are keywords and backlinks. Both of these are still important though Google is becoming more intuitive, so if you’re searching for keywords you may also want to search on a variety of terms for one keyword. As an example, the term “mobile phone” is also cell phone, iPhone, Droid, etc. Google is using a much more human touch to searches and they know that users don’t always pop the exact keywords into a Google search. They’ll pop in the keywords they are accustomed to using. When you’re creating your keyword list, it’s not a bad idea to expand the list to include this user terminology.

Content, Content, Content

The next piece of this new SEO world is content. You hear it all the time, in fact some may think that this piece of website optimization has been a bit belabored. We know that we need to create helpful, unique, insightful content but more often than not, we just don’t know how. Or we create a few posts and think, “This is great!” then the idea well runs dry.

Let’s face it, when you have to generate content it’s often not an easy process. Additionally, we all have other things to do like run a business, write the next book, or just have a life. The payoff, however, is huge. Consider this: you wouldn’t want to share anything that wasn’t helpful, right? Why would you expect your readers to be any different? So incentivize your readers by offering them content they can’t wait to share. This will really help to beef up the backlinks to your website. Here are a few ideas to help you generate content:

* This site is great. Just plug in your keyword and it’ll come up with all sorts of topics you can write about. When I plugged in book and marketing, I got about fifty new ideas for article titles, blog topics, or tweets. Often we just need the idea to spark us and this site will really help you do that. Additionally, the whole concept behind Ubersuggest is to give you insight into searches so if you’re writing blog posts that key into things that are getting high searches, you’ll end up increasing your traffic dramatically. When you see the topic suggestion on Ubersuggest, you don’t have to copy it verbatim but you should have the keywords in the title of your blog post and use them (sparingly) throughout the post, too.

* Google Alerts: Perhaps an oldie but goodie. Keep track of trends in your market and write about them. For example when Google Alerts popped up an alert about Penny Marshall’s book only selling 7,000 copies (she was paid an advance of $800,000), I decided to write about it.

* Twitter: Here’s a great tool I have used to generate content ideas. Go to Twitter’s search bar and type in How + your keyword, or question and keyword, or why and your keyword. Any of these terms will generate a list of tweets that may help spark some ideas.

* FAQ’s: If you get any kind of reader or client feedback, listen to what they are asking. This is a great way to generate ideas that will matter to your end-user. Client feedback, questions asked at the end of a presentation, or emails you get from buyers or potential buyers offer great insights into what their needs are and what you should consider writing about.

Social Media as a Defense Against Google Updates

Another great way to prevent your site from getting hit with a Google update is by pushing your content on social networks. This is a great place to build natural backlinks to your website and “social search” is getting to be a big topic these days. Google tracks links shared on Facebook, Twitter and others. So, in order to gain the benefits from these links be sure and push your marketing to the two top social media sites, meaning Twitter and Facebook. Next, you’ll want to be sure and tie your blog into these accounts so that each time you update your blog, you’ll be sharing this via social media.

The next piece is the elephant in the room, namely Google+. Though it’s seen most of its users from the technology sector, I’ve seen numerous articles that cite that a solid presence on Google+ helps with search so keep that page updated. Generally I’ll get on there once a day on my personal page; our company page is updated more frequently. Also adding a +1 to your website is getting to be a pretty big deal. Having someone +1 your post or blog entry can help increase its visibility in search.

Ideally the traffic to your site should come from both Google searches and social media, though a good balance would be an equal 50/50 split between the two. While getting search traffic is great, you don’t want that to be your sole traffic generator. In an age of Google updates (a la Penguin and Panda) you want to reduce your dependence on search-only traffic. Don’t believe me? When Google did their Panda update some sites, like quotes and song lyrics sites, lost 94% of their traffic because they were solely dependent on search traffic for their exposure.

SEO Tips for your Website

Finally, there are a few things you can do to your site to help beef up the searchability.

1) Title tags are always a great bet and often overlooked. Considering they carry some key SEO value, it’s amazing how often title tags are forgotten. Title tags tell search engines what your site is about. I recommend using keywords here or relevant phrases. Not sure where your title tags are? If you’re looking at a website, it’s the top line, above the search bar. That’s where title tags come in. Most websites say “home” or something which isn’t helpful at all when it comes to search. Also, each page on your site should have a different title tag that represents that page. Title tags should be kept to 66 characters or less. To separate out multiple keyword phrases, use a – dash.

2) Though I always encourage people to use keywords on their site, keep in mind that Google is now really cracking down on things like keyword-stuffing (where a keyword or phrase is used over and over again to rig ranking). So write for your user, not for Google.

3) Duplicate content: It’s always been frowned upon, but now it can kill your search ranking, too. What this means is that you’ll want to avoid duplicating content on your website, meaning using an About You page in different places, or replicating blog posts on other pages of your site, reusing content from a press release that’s elsewhere on your website, etc.

4) Anchor text: When linking to other internal pages on your website, use anchor text (keywords) instead of just “Click here” or something like that, it’ll help you get more keyword buzz.

5) When linking into your site, try to not always link to the home page. It’s helpful to link to internal pages on your website. For example, when you’re linking to blog posts, or items in your media room, etc. you should use internal pages. When you link to these internal pages, try hyperlinking using keywords, again this is called anchor text because you’re essentially anchoring your URL via keywords and sending folks back to your website.

6) Images on your blog: These days we rarely put up a blog post without images. Just be sure that you name the image using keywords.

7) Images on your website: Each of the images on your website should be named. This is called Alt text. Using terms like 00006YT.jpg which is often how images are named by your computer (just a string of random numbers) will not help you in search. If you’re not sure if the images on your site have Alt text call it up in Firefox or Chrome. Right click over the image and go to “Inspect Element” generally if there’s ALT text it will say ALT= and this indicates ALT text. If you don’t have it, make sure to take note of all images on your website and ask your web designer to add these.

It’s a new age of SEO and what Google is doing is a really good thing. We all want to be able to find the things we need in search. The rules have changed, and knowing how to play by them will get you a site that’s not only ranking, but is Panda and Penguin-proof.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

How to Maximize Google+

Recently Google announced that Google+, its new social networking site, reached 250 million users. Though that number is staggering, keep in mind that these aren’t all active users, just folks who have registered for an account. Therein lies one of the biggest challenges with Google+, because the accounts are easy to register for. If you have any access to Google at all (and who doesn’t these days) via their applications such as Gmail, Google Docs, and others, you’re going to get into Google+ almost by necessity. The problem is that most of us, once we’re there, have no idea what to do with this new social networking platform.

Many SEO people tout this social networking site as a “must” for search engine ranking and we pay attention because it’s Google. Of the 250 million users that Google cited, there are only about 75 million that are active, far less than Facebook. But here’s the kicker, when you’re in Google, so using Google products, etc. you’ll always be “in” Google+ because of the way Google has set up the notifications. Have you seen that red box in the upper right hand corner of your screen when you’re in Gmail? That’s your Google+ notification letting you know there are new updates for you to look at. And while Google+ is still relatively new in the market, users spend an average of twelve minutes each on the site which is only down by eight minutes from Facebook.

Google’s objective with Google+ and its other applications is not to become “just another social network” but rather a core ecosystem because its systems and services are vital to doing business (think Gmail and Google Docs) and Google also has plans to roll out a new tablet which will have an Android operating system, much like the smart phones.

How Google+ Works

With Google+ you can isolate who you want your news to go to using Circles. You can have friends and family circles, work circles for work friends and so on. What this allows you to do is isolate the information everyone sees. Google+ was designed to do this, realizing that this was a flaw in the social networking system.

If you have a Gmail account, you can gain easy access to Google+, once you’re in there you’ll see the +You in the upper left hand corner, click on that and you’re in! Then you’ll be able to upload your picture and a banner (similar to the Timeline feature in Facebook). Now, let’s take a look at the individual features of Google+:


One of the first things to get a lot of buzz was the Hangouts. Literally you can “hang out” with two, three or ten people with these remote online video chats. You can also stream live to YouTube (via Hangouts on the Air) and record these sessions. There are hundreds of great applications for Google Hangouts, consider a few of them:

* Customer interaction: Invite your customers to “visit” with your team during these planned sessions. Folks can pop on and off, ask questions and engage with you and/or your team. You can also showcase products, or even do live demos. We do these monthly, sort of a meet-the-publicist, it’s fantastic and always well attended. To get on the list email us at

* Behind the Scenes: Consumers love to see the inner workings of companies they buy from. Why not take them on a tour via hangouts, it’s easy enough to do with a wireless connection.

* Live Expert Interviews: Bringing in an expert is often a great way to build content and give valuable content to your clients. Bring in an expert, invite your customer base and start streaming!

* Meetings: We are an entirely virtual company, meaning everyone is everywhere. Using Skype became prohibitive because of connection issues and they charge if you have more than two people on a video chat. Enter Hangouts, it’s a great way to stay visually connected. Sometimes we’ll even do client calls this way. We work with people all over the country and it’s great to be able to meet them, albeit virtually.

There are quite a number of applications being rolled out for Hangouts, too including Slideshare, Scoot & Doodle, and Google Effects. Did you create an awesome hangout? Submit it to Google; if they decide to use it and promote it, it could be some great exposure for your business, book or service!

Using Circles

As I mentioned earlier, Google+ has really allowed you to segment out your contacts. When you sign in, Google+ will give you some pre-named circles to choose from, but I recommend having some fun with these. Rename them, add new ones.

Tips for Using Google+

* Tagging: You can tag people in your circles by using the + sign before their name. Similar to the @ symbol on Facebook, they’ll be notified of your posting.

* +1 Button: This is Google’s version of “liking” a post. So the more +1’s you get, the more popular your post. You can also +1 someone else’s posts by simply clicking that button.

* Pages on Google+ are directly connected to search so along with a profile, you should also have a company page which is simple to set up once you’re logged in. Keep in mind that searches for keywords can turn up your pages in Google+, so be sensitive to keywords in your About descriptions.

* Be Unique: One of the things that sets Google+ apart is the benefit of unique content. In many cases I will cross-post things to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter but generally not to Google+.

Content: Marc Pitman of the Fundraising Coach Website suggests that you post entire blog posts to Google+, rather than just their links. He asserts that entire postings get more attention than just links.

There’s still a lot to learn about Google+ and new features are being added every day. One thing is for sure, Google is serious about its social networking site and is investing a lot of time and energy into this platform.

I spent some time with Matt Beswick of Quirkle and he offered the following insight as an SEO expert about Google+:

1. Why should we care about Google Plus? What makes it different from any other social network out there?

We should care because Google cares. They’ve been ‘playing’ with their own social network for what feels like forever but Google+ seems to me like the real deal. There are rumors of a Facebook search engine, whisperings that users are slowly but surely going to move away from traditional search mechanisms and a feel from pretty much everyone that social is ‘the future.’ Google needs to be there and getting left behind just isn’t an option for them.

2. Is there a real SEO benefit to Google Plus?
If we think of SEO as generating targeted traffic to your site, then yes. As it stands there’s no ranking benefit to using Google+ but with ‘Search Plus Your World,’ the combining of Google Places with Google+, and the addition of people you have in your Circles below URLs that they’ve given a +1 there’s loads of reasons that Plus will help with search traffic. This is only going to increase as time goes on too – social signals are going to become far more important to rankings so you really need to get ahead of the curve.

3. Is there a particular type of person that could benefit more from this site?
The joke at the moment is that the only people who use Google+ are Google employees and SEOs. A tad harsh maybe, but it’s not that far from the truth. Having said that a good friend of mine runs a travel site in South Africa and has had great success by posting images and local travel advice (although he admits that he’s not quite sure how or why!).

4. How often does it need to be updated and what type of content works well there? I read somewhere that people on Google Plus don’t want to click off the site like they do on Facebook, they want all the content there which suggested that posting entire articles in Google Plus is acceptable, is that true?

It’s like anything ‘social’ – you need to be consistent, pick your niche, interact with the right people, and post as often as you can (without being annoying). I’ve never heard the comment about posting entire articles to G+ and, to be honest, it sounds like a pile of rubbish! As long as you’re posting great content to your profile people will be more than happy to click through to it.

5. What are some tips for getting started on Google Plus?
Don’t have expectations that are too high. Sign up, start posting regularly, and use the search function to find relevant people in your niche. ‘Circles’ (friend lists) are really handy as you can segment who sees what you post – so for example you could have a Circle full of Pet Bloggers and one of SEO Professionals. All you need to do then is remember to tick the right box whenever you post something.

6. If you had a crystal ball, what would you predict for the future of Google Plus and all its partners, YouTube, etc.?

I expect Google+ to succeed, but there’s a long road ahead. The important thing to remember is that Google as a whole isn’t going to go away and they’re going to continue pioneering how things are done online no matter how much the likes of Facebook wish it weren’t so. The advantage they have is the range of products and offerings; it’s nearly impossible for anyone to catch up with them. I can see everything becoming more integrated though and it wouldn’t surprise me if, at some point, Google looks to tie YouTube and Google+ together somehow as it would be the perfect way to give a quick (massive) boost to mainstream traffic.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

How to Get your Book Reviewed – by Avoiding Book Reviewers

How to Get Your Book Reviewed – by Avoiding Book Reviewers

To have a chance at selling your book on amazon or online, you need reviews. Lots of them. And if you’re like me, you hate pushing all your friends and family to review your work (is it really fair to ask them?) and leave comments. So most authors do this:

1) Search online for book reviews, indie book reviewers, self-published book reviews, how to get book reviews, etc.

2) Email or contact those reviewers asking them to take a look at their books and comment.

Here’s why that doesn’t work. First of all – those few sites that offer reviews are probably swamped with hundreds, or thousands of book review requests. They may not get to yours. If they do – most of those sites are PR1 or maybe PR2 (I’ve checked) and I’m willing to bet that the majority of people who found those sites were looking for someone to review their book, rather than searching for recommendations of books to buy and read. Does the review do you any good? (Yes…if you convince them to post on amazon. More on that later).

Here’s a better way to get reviews – while avoiding “book review websites”.

1) Find bloggers (or websites, but blogs are easier) who are in some way related to your book, or who may like your book, or who have reviewed other books in a similar genre, with a Page Rank of three or more. You can use “google blogs” to search for them. Be creative! If your book is set in LA, write to bloggers in LA or LA tourism sites. If your main character is a lawyer, contact lawyer blogs. If your character is a witch, write to wicca blogs, etc. Find some basis of connection.

Why PR3? Once a blog hits PR4 they receive a lot of advertising requests, free books, etc. PR3 is low enough that they won’t be totally swamped, and might actually respond favorably. But if they do post, their link to your site will be more valuable (and their review will rank higher).

2) How to ask for the review: Tell them who you are, that you’re looking for creative ways to promote your book, and ask politely if they’d be interested in receiving a free copy. If they like it – no strings attached – you’d appreciate a review or comment on amazon.

What NOT to do: A few months ago I sent out about 1000 emails – the emails were long, had lengthy descriptions of my book reviews, and several links. I got very few responses – because it seemed a lot like spam. So don’t do that! Make your emails short and punchy. Make them personal. By the way, I like the term “Indie author” more than “self-published.” You can even use it to your advantage. Here’s a sample:

Dear _____, I found your site searching for blogs about _____. I’ve recently written a book about (very short description – your one sentence book plug) and (reason your book is related somehow to this blog). I’m an indie author and am looking for creative ways to promote my book. I noticed you (like, do, support, etc…show them that you’ve looked over their blog and actually know something about them). I think you might enjoy reading it, so I’d like to send you a copy. You can check out the details on this page: (link to your page….with lots of details, description). If you give me your mailing address I can ship one to you. There’s also a PDF review copy here (another link).

There’s no obligation of course, but if you like it I’d appreciate a short review or post on your blog, or an amazon comment.


(author name)

Don’t make it too formal. Make it casual and personal, like you’re writing to a friend, not a stranger. If you only have kindle and no print file, you can send them to a link that has several ebook options available, including PDF … however, you should have a print copy. I print and ship mine directly from createspace… it’s pretty cheap and very easy. Most people prefer a book and if you actually send them one, they are much more likely to comment or do a writeup. (If you find a site you really want to be on – dig around and try to find their mailing address. Send them a copy first and say “I’ve already sent you a copy, hope you like it!”) In general, you don’t want to ask them to do you any favors. You want to do THEM a favor first, without expecting anything back. Send them a book because they might enjoy it, not so that they can promote you (why should they?)

Getting reviews is a numbers game. Big publishers send out a minimum of about 500 review copies. While most self-pubbed authors can’t afford that, what we can do is send out 10 or 20 book to perfectly chosen niche-blogs, while at the same time directing hundreds of other blogs (by email) towards our online digital copy (yes, you should have copies of your book available for free in different formats on your website, and you should let people know they can read them for free and that you’d appreciate a review).

In the beginning of the game, it isn’t about profit – so don’t worry about it. In the beginning, it’s about getting buzz. You need comments. You need support. After you have that – THEN you can worry about selling. But without it, why should anyone buy from you?

PS) If your book is not professionally edited, if your spelling and grammar stinks, if you have a homemade cover that looks like crap, then your campaign to get reviews won’t work. You are asking people to put their own integrity and reputation on the line – it doesn’t matter if your writing is amazing; they will feel embarrassed if they recommend a poor quality product, and you shouldn’t ask them to.

Derek Murphy is the author of Jesus Potter Harry Christ.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

How to Polish Your Book Pitch

How to Polish Your Book Pitch

So you’ve developed your nonfiction book idea into a winning proposal and now you’re ready to send off your pitch to a literary agent and land a book deal! Before you press ‘send’ or drop your query letter in the mailbox, here are a few tips to ensure your initial sales pitch will grab the agent’s attention and motivate him or her to ask for the complete book proposal.

1. Have you established a connection with the agent?

The first sentence of the query letter should explain why you are contacting the particular agent. Possible connections might be:

* You read a book the agent wrote or an interview in a magazine

* You met the agent at a conference or literary event

* The agent represents a similar author and genre

* You discovered the agent’s listing in a directory

* An associate, friend, or client referred you to the agent by

2. Have you clearly established the project in the first paragraph?

In one sentence, briefly introduce the topic or genre, the title, and the length of the book, so the agent understands what the project is.

“HOW TO STAGE YOUR HOME TO SELL is a how-to book.”

3. Have you presented a tightly focused proposal?

The tighter the focus of the book idea, the wider the potential audience. Agents do not want authors who try to be all things to everyone.

4. Have you included a “call to action” in your final wrap-up?

The final sentence or two are used to thank the agent for reading your query and request permission to submit additional material.

“Thank you for considering my book idea. May I send you my completed book proposal and two sample chapters?”


1. Review your query letter using the four strategies above

2. Polish your pitch until it shines

About The Author

Laura Cross is a business strategist, author, and professional ghostwriter. She provides business, publishing, and platform strategies to help entrepreneurs get known as the go-to experts in their field, become published authors, attract high-paying clients, garner major media, and earn more money with less effort by packaging their expertise. Grab a copy of the Free Audio CD “How to Establish Your Expertise, Become a Published Author, and Leverage Your Knowledge for More Profits, More Prospects, and Major Media” at

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved

How to Create the Perfect Business Card

How to Create the Perfect Business Card

How to Create the Perfect Business Card
By Dave Pannell

Take a while to think about what your business card says about you. After yourself, this will be the first impression of your company to many people you meet. If it’s badly produced and amateurish then people will assume the same about your business, but it’s easy to make your business card work better for you.

Here are The Design Mechanics top 10 tips for creating the perfect business card:

1. Say what you do!

Let’s start with the obvious. So many business cards simply don’t state what a company does. If you have a non-descriptive company name such as “A & J Associates” then make sure your company card actually tells people what you do.

People retain business cards for a long time and will forget your name and company name soon after meeting you. Therefore your card needs to remind them you are the people who print company logos on USB sticks.

2. Don’t lose sight of what your card is for

Remember that the main reason for a business card is for people to get your contact details. As such make sure that your phone number, email address and website are all clearly legible. Make sure that phone numbers especially are in easy to read fonts. Many creative typefaces have poor numerals meaning numbers such as 1 and 7 can be mixed up.

If you have a long website address, then make it more legible by using different weights to break up the words, eg:

Also consider a QR code, where people can scan your card with a mobile phone and it gives them all your contact details in a digital format.

3. Don’t use a non-business email address

Business email addresses are cheap to set up. Make sure the first thing you do is buy a domain name and hosting facility so that you can operate from a commercial email address from day one – nothing says you have only just set up or that you might not be here tomorrow than displaying a Hotmail, Gmail, BT Internet etc email address on your business card.

4. Don’t print your cards yourself

No matter how tight your budget, don’t be tempted to home-produce your company cards. Even if you have a colour-printer that can print on card, once they are in a card holder with your competitors’ cards you will regret trying to save money on them.

Home-produced cards just don’t wear well. The ink isn’t fixed (so it will fade, or even worse run!) and the card will become tatty very quickly. The cost of commercial printing has really come down over the past few years, and with digital printing you can get anywhere from a couple of hundred to several thousand cards printed at really affordable cost, usually in a couple of days.

5. Get new cards if your details change

The last thing you want to do is apologise when you hand your company card over. If your details change, don’t scribble them out and write your new number on just because you have a box of them left. Put them in the recycle bin and get some more. Do you want people to think you are doing so badly in business that you can’t afford to buy new cards? If your details are likely to change, just buy a couple of hundred at a time.

6. Resist “free” card offers

We’ve all seen the adverts for free business cards from Internet-based printers. These offers seem too good to be true, and often they are.

Although the business cards are free (plus postage), they are not be printed on premium card stock and also have an advert on the back from the printing company who provided them – why would you promote someone else’s company at no benefit to yourself, and why scream out that you are just starting up or not successful enough to be able to afford to buy business cards for your company?

Some companies also offer pre-templated designs for you to choose from. These can seem like a good idea until you turn up at a networking event and meet the 5 other people who chose the same design as you…!

7. Keep your business card “on-brand”

Your business card should carry the same visual look and feel as the rest of your marketing material. Make sure that if you lay out all your corporate material together it looks like it all belongs to the same company.

If you already have a “brand” in place, make sure that your designer is aware of what your other literature looks like and what your consistent marketing messages are. When someone visits your website after viewing your business card they should see the same logo, colours and visual elements. This is called “visual synergy”, and the repetition will help clients remember your brand.

8. Make your card much more than a business card

Think about making your business card into a flyer for your company. Consider a fold-out card to show a portfolio or list client testimonials, or use a stand-up (tent) business card that can be some kind of quick-reference guide.

If you take appointments, make sure you use your business card as an appointment card, or use the back of your card to give instant written quotes or provide receipts.

9. Include a photo if people are buying “you”

If you are a consultant or in a business where people will be buying “you” rather than a product, then put your photo on your business card. Don’t just take a photo on your phone; find a local photographer who will do a head-shot at a reasonable set price.

Think about how you want to present yourself, do you need to be in a shirt and tie with a plain studio backdrop, or do you want to portray a more casual appearance by having your portrait taken in a park for example?

10. Never accept a business card from someone without giving them yours in return!

Finally, never let anyone give you their business card without taking one of yours. A good way to give someone one of your business cards is to ask for one of theirs and make sure your hand extends at the same time with yours.

It would be a very rude person who wouldn’t accept your card whilst expecting you to take theirs!

If you want to learn more about branding your business then come and take a look at for more information regarding business cards and other related topics.

Article Source:

Five Top Ebookstores to Sell Your Ebook

Five Top Ebookstores to Sell Your Ebook

by Q.B. Wells

Publishers and self-published authors can generate a larger percentage of revenue by setting up direct accounts with the top ebookstores online. Ebookstores provide the readers books and charge the publisher a percentage of the retail price. Depending on the platform, publishers receive between 35-70% of a set retail price.

The top ebookstores have established a market base through their reading devices and provide publishers accounting data and payments within 30-60 days of sale. Most websites will have a place for customer reviews and additional information about the author to sell the book.

Like a paperback book, publishers can increase sales by marketing and promoting the ebook on a consistent basis. However, each of the ebookstores have an established base and continue to sell more devices fueling more readers.

If you have professional files ready with artwork for uploading, apply for a top ebookstore retailer below.

1. Amazon Kindle – The Kindle is the ereading device from Amazon. It comes in several types and has the largest amount of ebooks.

2. Apple Ipad – The IPad is the device from Apple that can be used for reading. With thousands of apps including the Ibookstore, thousands of ebooks are available in many countries. Also available on the ipod Touch and Iphone.

3. Barnes and Noble Nook – The Nook by Barnes and Noble is the device that comes in color and without color. The Nook has thousand of titles available.

4. Google Ebooks – Google has several free programs to market books. Through the Google Book Partner program, authors and publishers can sign up for free book search and opt into the Google ebookstore.

5. Kobo – Kobo is one of the leaders of the ereading revolution. Kobo recently partnered with ebookstore and has an extensive inventory on their website.

If you don’t have ready files, your account is not approved or you want to save time, locate a ebook distributor to help with the process. Otherwise, upload your edited files to the platforms to grow you readership.

How to Publish Your Ebook on the Kobo Reader

How to Publish Your Ebook on the Kobo Reader

by Q.B. Wells

The Kobo is one of the largest players in the ebook revolution. With the Borders books partnership, the Kobo is bound to generate additional revenue for self-published authors and independent publishers. Learn the simple process to get your content on Kobo and inevitably the Borders ebookstore.

1. Prepare Content Files – Prepare the correct format book cover (jpg.) and content files (epub) for easy uploading. If not in the latter formats, convert them or find a ebook formatting service.

2. Sign up for the Kobo – Send an email to In the email indicate that who you are and the type of content you would like to have on the device. Below is a short template.

Dear Kobobooks,

My name is abc from publisher xyz. Please send the information about the process to have my company added as a vendor of the Kobo device. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Your Name

3. Complete the survey – Within days you should receive a short survey to determine the type of content you offer and a list of vendor guidelines. Complete the survey and return to the person or department.

4. Use Account Information – If accepted, Kobo will send information to create a login and account information to upload content on excel form.

5. Upload Content – Use the form to complete metadata information. Follow the vendor guidelines and upload the content in the correct formats. Excel is used to organize and transfer information.

6. View Content – Go to and to check if the ebooks are for sale and the correct product descriptions are displayed for available purchase.

The Kobo is on of the largest e reading platforms. While not as essential as the top three, the Kobo E Reader can provide additional audience exposure and revenue for publishers.

Note: Borders is no longer a partner / investor of the Kobo Reader. Therefore the books will no longer be available to Borders customers through there ebookstore.

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