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Saturday, November 30, 2013

25 Websites To Click If You Are In Publishing



Need a literary agent?


Raising funds for a book?


Want to know what’s going on?


Looking to connect with others?


Places to promote your book?


Do you love words?



A few others worth checking out include:


Of course, bookmark, read, and share this one:

DON’T MISS THIS!!!

Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Friday, November 29, 2013

Train To Nowhere, But Plenty Of Excuses



“The train to Grand Central Station is operating five to ten minutes late,” said the announcement over a surprisingly clear public address system.

I knew what that meant.

Not only would the train be late, it would be extra crowded. Metro North is quite predictable, unfortunately not because it honors its schedule so methodically but for quite the opposite reason. It’s consistently inconsistent.

Though the excuse doesn’t really matter, I asked the conductor of the late, overcrowded train, what the reason was for today’s transgression, the latest in a line of setbacks for a train system that finally replaced most of its old trains with new ones.

“Mechanical failure,” he assured me.

He saw doubt and incredulity when scanning my face.

“Brakes. A train in Greenwich had bad brakes," he followed up, as if I had asked another question.

“Ah, the all-inclusive mechanical failure,” I mumbled, and went back to reading my book.

It’s all lies.

I’ve been taking this train line for a decade and every time there is a delay, they say “due to mechanical failure,” but the truth goes beyond that. For once, I’d like to hear the following scenarios that may have caused a delay:

“The motorman overslept and screwed up our schedule.”

“The train was not properly maintained and because of our incompetence, it doesn’t work today."

“We’re purposely screwing with the trains today as the union’s way to protest a proposed new contract from management.”

“These new trains are overly sensitive to perfect weather and malfunction in the most inopportune time.”

“Even though we jack up the fare almost every year, we didn’t budget to actually fix the broken trains.”

“The motorman had to run to the bathroom because he ate and drank too much the night before, flushing rush-hour down the drain.”

“The train couldn’t leave without the motorman, who was delayed after a quickie with a passenger.”

Maybe none of the above are true, but I know it’s not just random bad luck that there’s mechanical failure paralyzing new trains. Either mechanical failure strikes so often due to poor maintenance and inspection or because the newly purchased trains are inherently defective. Neither scenarios pleases me. But I think half the time it’s not mechanical failure, but rather human error. The train system runs, not on tracks, but on people. And people mess up all the time.

It would be nice to see someone take accountability for the system’s shortcomings. I’d love to see a press conference held where the Mass Transit Authority admits someone fell asleep at the switch -- perhaps literally -- and at least humanizes the situation.

But in the end, all we want is better service. I just hope the fare doesn’t need to rise again just to achieve mere competence and mediocrity. 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

So Many Ways To Say Something



I recently skimmed a book, 50 Literature Ideas, by John Sutherland. It lists, with examples, dozens of writing approaches one can take. I think many of them could be used in your press release writing, such as the following:

Irony- saying one thing, but meaning another. (a bit of hypocrisy or coincidence is involved).

Allegory- saying one thing by means of saying something totally different.

Critical Authority- say something with command and judgment.

Paradigm Shift- unleash a game-changer and shake things up.

Closure- helps us conclude or wrap up unresolved or unsolved matters.

Narrative- tells a story to tell a story.

Ambiguity- doesn’t confuse, but shows conflict by failing to commit to a side.

It also covered things like libel, obscenity, blasphemy, sexual politics, and postmodernism. The book made me realize there are so many methods one can employ in his or her arsenal to get a point across. Couple that with a dictionary that exceeds 1.5 million words and you have endless combinations of ways to sway another.

People may think of PR as hype, bullshit, style over substance, images over words, and headlines over details- and there is some truth to that perception --but PR is like any other form of writing or communication. You need to get one’s attention, be convincing, and able to close the deal.

The next time you’re not sure how to write a headline or present your book to the media, consider calling upon the writing devices shared in 50 Literature Ideas. The best story is yet to come -- your own.


DON’T MISS THIS!!!

Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

From I Love You To F___k You!



“Man erects giant middle finger next door to ex-wife.”

That’s the headline of a New York Post online story about a man named Alan Markovitz who got back at his ex-wife by moving into a house next to hers and putting a $7,000 statue of a hand with its middle finger raised in the backyard so she can be greeted by it every day.

It is a sad and funny story about love gone wrong and one’s inability to forgive. That man used to be my client.

Several years ago I had the pleasure of representing this unique character. He wrote a book a few years ago about how he rose to success owning and managing several popular strip clubs in Detroit, including the Penthouse Club. His book, Topless Prophet, revealed stories of how he was shot on two occasions and once targeted for a murder by a contract killer.

I met his ex-wife, who at the time was his fiancée. I knew they were in trouble because they couldn’t set a date for the wedding after years of being together. Interestingly, they broke their marriage apart not over him sleeping with one of his dancers but over her allegedly cheating on him.

Markovitz was one of the most interesting clients I have ever represented. We got him some good stuff, like Fox-TV, New York Post, and dozens of radio interviews. HBO supposedly is developing a TV series that he’s consulting on, but I’ve heard about it for three or four years, so not sure where that’s going.

His creative use of art to uncover a modern-day Scarlett letter is interesting. Hopefully he was able to drown his sorrows in the laps of beautiful dancers after the heartbreak. I guess he can always sell the statue to others in need of making a statement. Politicians, scorned lovers, failed business partners, angry consumers, nasty neighbors, and many employees of lousy bosses could bid for it on eBay.

Maybe he’ll write a book about it.


DON’T MISS THIS!!!

Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving Day!


What would Thanksgiving Day be like without turkey, football and shopping? We may never know, for we have managed to fill a special day of thanks and peace with messages of entertainment, consumption of goods, and distraction from events that have nothing to do with what this day was meant for.

Thanksgiving Day should be a day that we reflect on who and what we are thankful for. It’s a day we should contemplate what the world could look like if we lived in harmony and peace. It’s not a day to do a book signing.

America has run out of off-days or moments where we can escape from the hustle and bustle, from the ordinary, from the routine challenges, hassles, disappointments, and frustrations.

Thanksgiving Day used to be a welcome respite from the insanity of life. Families and friends gathered to do nothing but enjoy one another, to sit and talk, and to eat until one couldn’t move -- not even to unbutton their pants.

Now it’s just a Super Bowl for shopping. It’s a day for distractions. For many employees of retailers, it’s a day of work. So much for slowing down, reflecting, and just sharing a free moment with loved ones.

I am thankful for so many things and I want to feel a little bit of Thanksgiving is with me every day, rather than feeling a little bit of every day on Thanksgiving.

This Thanksgiving, for Jews, is even more distracting and busy, as it also marks the beginning of Chanukah, a weird scheduling that is not supposed to repeat for another 70,000 years.

What should authors and publishers be thankful for?
·         That more books were purchased last year than in the history of America
·         That bookstores still exist
·         That so many platforms exist to sell and promote our books
·         That people still buy books even though free content litters the Internet
·         That Jon Stewart, Today Show, and so many media outlets love books and authors
·         That, thanks to digital, our words may live forever and be sold long after we die
·         That stupid politicians, greed, Wall Street executives, scandal-riddled celebrities, and sexy models still say, do, and show things worthy of being the subject of a best-selling book

I am thankful for my family, chocolate, books, dogs, beauty, travel, baseball, and humor.

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

DON’T MISS THIS!!!

Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Author Brand Elevation



What should an author’s brand be? It should be authentic – be the best you and hopefully that gets you somewhere. Your brand is not just your image and who you project yourself to be; it is also who you are as a human being, deep in your core.

You can be a great author and have an inspiring or entertaining, or leader-type personality. You can help others improve their lives or lead them to their dreams. You can help people lose weight, find love, make money, or reach a significant goal. But are you a good person?

Eventually your brand suffers when you are exposed as a liar, a cheater, a nasty individual, and a lousy parent, lover, child, friend, or neighbor. So consider doing the right thing, in private and in public. Be who you want to be and then strive to be seen as others want to see you.

So what are the keys to developing your brand?

First, assess who you are and how people view you. Is there a consistency between the two? Identify the areas that need improvement.

Determine who your target market is and figure out how you need to be seen by them in order to gain their trust and admiration. You can’t influence those who don’t respect, like, or understand you.

Three, answer the question: Why do people need you and why do they need you now? What can you give them that is in demand?

Fourth, you need to be able to articulate your story and to quickly summarize your area of expertise in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re reading a resume.

Fifth, follow your passion and let that lead the way.

Sixth, look to define your uniqueness. What do you do better, say better, know better than others? Who needs and wants what you can offer? Who is willing to pay for what you can give? Who can afford you?

Once you’ve determined what your brand is, you’ll want to consistently present this brand in everything you do, from your Web site and blog to your social media, email, voicemail, letterhead, and business cards. Your brand is in everything you say and do, from your clothes and energy level to your voice and friendliness. You literally wear your brand and showcase it in every action that you take.

Once you know who you are, you’ll be ready to become who you want to be.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

Twitter Linked To Suicides


USA Today reported on a study that examines high-suicide states and their use of Twitter. The conclusion so far is that Midwestern and Western states – and Alaska – had a higher proportion of suicide-related tweeters than expected. Southern and Eastern states experienced the opposite trend.

So which states have the highest proportion of Twitter users suggesting greater suicide risk?

1.      Alaska
2.      New Mexico
3.      Idaho
4.      South Dakota
5.      Montana
6.      Utah
7.      Texas
8.      Kansas
9.      Arizona
10.  Oklahoma

Suicide talk on Twitter closely resembles actual suicide rates in many states, so the question is : Can we prevent suicides by reacting to certain tweets that we come across?

Maybe Twitter doesn’t cause suicide, nor can it necessarily prevent suicide, but it’s interesting to hear how researchers analyzed over 1.7 million tweets to draw their conclusions. I can’t imagine sifting through that many tweets.

Perhaps we should analyze a day of tweets from authors and publishers. I suspect we’d see a lot of tweets begging for attention, asking for people to buy a book. But in the process of reading these tweets, we may come up with a better way to use Twitter when hawking a book.

Twitter, like anything else, is a communications tool that has pros and cons, but if it can save a life, that would make it seem all the more valuable.


Book Excerpt: The Story of Your Life: Writing a Spiritual Autobiography- A step-by-Step Approach to Exploring Your Past and Understanding Your Present

“If we must fight, then let us fight poverty, disease, oppression, and natural disasters.
If we must hate, then let us hate war, violence, injustice, and persecution.
If we must kill, then let us kill bigotry, famine, pollution, and ignorance.”

Book Excerpt: Heaven on Earth: 15-Minute Miracles to Change The World
by: Danny Seo

“When you give a few minutes of your life each day to changing the world, your heart and soul open up. You find personal fulfillment. You gain self-worth. You learn valuable lesions that will help you succed in the workplace, with your family, and in your personal life. You become a compassionate person not because you aspire to be one, but because your natural capacity to be kind shines through. And you inspire those around you to make a difference, too.”

Book Excerpt: Ethics for the New Millennium
by: The Dala: Lama

“We have to live in the world we are helping to create. If we choose not to modify our behavior out of respect for others’ equal right to happiness and not to suffer, it will not be long before we begin to notice the negative consequences. Imagine the pollution of an extra two billion cars, for example.”

“What we find is that the more we develop concern for others’ well-being, the easier it becomes to act in others’ interests. As we become habituated to the effort required, so the struggle to
sustain it lessens. Eventually, it will become so second nature. But there are no shortcuts.”

“We find that when we look at a particular problem from close up, it tends to fill our whole field of vision and look enormous. If, however, we look at the same problem from a distance, automatically we will start to see it in relation to other things. This simple act makes a tremendous difference.”

“Our own heart, our own mind, is the temple. The doctrine is compassion. Love for others and respect for their rights and dignity, not matter who or what they are: ultimately these are all we need. So long as we practice these in our daily lives, then no matter if we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in Buddah or God, or follow some other religion, or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy.”

“It is also worth remembering that the time of greatest gain in terms of wisdom and inner strength is often that of greatest difficulty. It is helpful to remember that nothing within the realm of what we commonly experience is permanent. All phenomena are subject to change and decay. But what is conceivable that a given act is ethically sound under one particular set of circumstances the same act at another time and place and under a different set of circumstances may not be.”

“What, though, are we to do when it comes to others? What are we to do when they seem clearly to be engaging in actions which we consider wrong? The first thing is to remember that unless we know down to the last detail the full range of circumstances, both internal and external, we can never be sufficiently clear enough about individual situations to be able to judge with complete certainty the moral content of others’ actions. Of course, there will be extreme situations when the negative character of others’ acts will be self-evident. But mostly this is not the case. This is why it is far more useful to be aware of a single shortcoming in ourselves than it is to be aware of a thousand in somebody else. For when the fault is our own, we are in a position to correct it. It also becomes apparent that our every action, our every deed, word, and thought, no matter how slight or inconsequential it may seem, has an implication not only for ourselves but for all others, too.”

“It is in everybody’s interest to do what leads to happiness and avoid that which leads to suffering. But because, as we have seen, our interests are inextricably linked, we are compelled to accept ethics as the indispensable interface between my desire to be happy and yours.”

“Because our negative thoughts and emotions do not exist independently of other phenomena, the very objects and events we come into contact with play a role in shaping our responses. There is thus nothing which does not have the potential to trigger them. The fact that the population of the rest of the world has an equal right to improve their standard of living is in some ways more important than the affluent being able to continue their lifestyle. If this is to be fulfilled without causing irredeemable violence to the natural world-with all the negative consequences for happiness that his would entail- the richer countries must set an example. The cost to the planet, and thus the cost to humanity, of ever-increasing standards of living is simply too great.”
           

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Amazon Needs Your Help To Own The Industry


Would you ask your competition to give you business? That’s what Amazon is asking of independent bookstores.

The New York Times reported a week ago how Amazon was encouraging independent bookstores to sell its Kindle reading device. The stores would make a small profit on the sale of each unit and then earn a commission on the e-books the customer buys for its Kindle over the next two years.

Let me get this right. Would Ford tell its customers to buy a Toyota? Would one restaurant tell its patrons to eat elsewhere? Would a furniture store refer its customers to go to Ikea. I think not.

But Amazon thinks it's okay to ask for permission to steal a customer. It’s not too far off from a woman asking her boyfriend to refer her to another guy to sleep with.

Once Amazon gets a hold of a customer, that’s it for the independent bookstore. You’ve just given your blessing for them to buy e-books and to buy them elsewhere. The short-term profit gain is negated by the long-term drying up of one’s customer base.

The NY Times article rightfully surmised the latest Amazon gambit when it wrote:
“Many booksellers are distrustful of Amazon, a company of boundless ambition and some aggressive ways. Stores dismissed the new program as a Trojan horse aimed at further undermining their business. Independents make up about 10 percent of book sales, down from as much as 25 percent before Amazon.”

It ceases to amaze me the lengths at which Amazon will go to take ownership of the book industry -- and the entire retail world. Soon, we’ll all be working for Amazon -- to buy everything from them.

Why is Amazon so aggressive and seemingly savvy -- and yet it can’t turn a profit? If independent stores don’t get their act together, Amazon will be eating their lunch -- and dinner, breakfast and dessert.

DON’T MISS THIS!!!

Here is my 2014 Book Marketing & Publicity Toolkit: Based on 20+ years in publishing --

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Do Writers Accept Responsibility For Their Books?


Every day that I spend with my two kids I stumble upon clues of how I might have learned as a child. Some of what they do seems so familiar to me and other times I assume whatever they are doing is unique to their era or personality. Maybe I’ve just forgotten how I’ve come to know what I know. Truth is, learning is a lifelong process, and as writers we are the teachers -- even if we are learning along the way.

Do you recognize the responsibility you have as a writer? Too often, writers think about their ego -- they want their words published, consumed, and immortalized. They dream of wealth and becoming a best-selling author. They think of impacting society through their words. But do they accept that their writings can truly make a difference in the lives of others?

It doesn’t matter what you write about, or whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Every book does something to the reader. It informs or enlightens or inspires or entertains -- or some combination of these things. Books, if they are well done, can open a reader to new ways of seeing themselves and viewing the world with fresh eyes. A great book can turn one on to reading and exploring.

Books can make a difference not only in the quality of our life, but whether we choose to live at all.

If you made a list of the most important people, you would probably first think of safety, such as police, firemen, doctors. You may think of celebrities and athletes, because you equate fame and entertainment with importance. Perhaps you think of clergy, charitable people, and volunteers as those who actively shape our communities. Maybe you think of government officials and the role they play in running our lives. But what about the writer, the loner who pieces words together in a way that can make everything seem possible, amazing, and awe-inspiring?

Writers may be jealous of movies. Films have an advantage over books. They not only have the power of moving visuals and sounds to convey a point, they also have words. Books, instead, appear flat by comparison. But books benefit from having to rely solely on words and descriptions to get an idea across. There’s a greater challenge to work with fewer resources or materials, and most writers relish the challenge.

Our writers deserve more compensation for their works and their efforts. But writers also deserve more pressure to appreciate their responsibility when it comes to what they write and how they say it.

Writers shape our lives. For some, their books are, the ER for our minds.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013