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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Can We Agree On The Best Books Ever?



How many different books can be the best book of all time?

Readers of books surely have more than one favorite book. There are different genres and sub-genres that one can break down into a list of personal classics.  One could also devise a list of books based on time – not just of the period or era a book was published, but the year or stage of life that the reader consumed the book.

In any given month there are far more books published than used to be released in a year just a generation ago.  And in one year there are far more books published than used to exist in all of the book world of all time up until the 1950s.  The market is flooding us with books at a time when we have an explosion of content online and more TV available than ever before and more music than in the history of the industry.  To make a list of best books seems harder and harder when we can’t even get to a tiny fraction of those available to us.

It seems like up until the past decade or two, making a list of best books was not so difficult.  In the 500+ year history of printing books, certain authors and titles hit a classic status and remained there for generations – even for centuries.

We all read Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Twain, and the like, whether we enjoy, understand or value their work.  Schools, libraries, museums, and bibliophiles and bookstores push their works onto us.  But what books, especially from the last 40-50 years are truly great, significant, and enjoyable?

Plenty, and that’s what makes putting a list together so hard.  More often than not, lists will vary from person to person, and over time the variance will increase because as the market provides more choices, more people will read and celebrate different books.  We will become a fractured reading public, with no unanimity on what the great books are.  Even our definition of greatness will not match-up with one another.

At best, we will have to create more narrowly defined best book lists. There will be many of them.  For instance, look at gender.  What are the best books by men – or for men?  By women or for women?  By gays or for them?  By transgender – or for them?

We can do it by era, race, region, and other demographics.  Who are the best Catholic, Muslim or Jewish writers?  Which books are best by a genre, such as romance, sci-fi, or fantasy?  Which are the best subs-genres, like erotica, space travel, or lesbian vampire thrillers?

So many books can speak differently to us at different times. Some books have lasting power transcending the tastes of society long after the author has died, and those books ring true because they examine human nature – ethics, love, life-death struggles, power, family, and faith.

I must confess that I’ve not read some of the great books but consumed them as plays or movies.  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo would be a good example.  Is that a category unto itself – best movie-adaptation of a book?

Books hit best-seller lists, get reviewed, win awards, get ranked in polls, and are placed on a variety of recommended reading lists.  But none of this makes a book great.  And no book may be able to remain great forever, for times change and even being human gets redefined by technology, medicine, and science.  Perhaps one day we are more cyborg-like, filled with gene-altering drugs and computer chips implanted in our brains, mixed in with foods from a lab, and when we attempt to read a book from 1997 or 1697 it will seem so foreign from our world that we won’t even be able to relate to the work that some now refer to as great or best.

A book is great if it makes an impression on you and helps you understand or live your life.  Read a book and seek out what you believe to be great.

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Can we turn children’s classics into good adult fare?

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Put up a big statue for books!

Some of the best lines and greatest quotes from books

You are never too old to write a book!

What is the true future of literature?

Are children’s books simply too white?

Who will make the strong case for books?

A 9-year-old girl loses mom; teaches me about life



Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Can A Home Decorator Serve As Your Book Consultant?



My wife and I just closed on a house.  After 14 years in one house, we upgraded to another one in the neighborhood.  In the process of choosing lighting, paints, carpeting, flooring, and other cosmetic changes to the 70-year-old house, she decided to hire a decorating consultant.

My fear was this woman would be like Nancy Reagan’s astrologer, Jeanne Dixon, who would be consulted on every move the First Lady contemplated taking.  I didn’t want us to feel crippled, as, if we couldn’t make a decision without her input or blessing, but I did recognize the need for a trained eye and a sounding board when it came to things I gave very little thought to.

She turned out to be helpful with ideas but it ended up clouding us with too many options and choices.  In the end, I’m not sure that we followed much of what she said.  But the idea is a good one and it made me think about having reading or book consultants.

What if someone spoke to you about your reading habits and preferences – and about your life, needs, desires, hobbies, abilities, and lifestyle – and came up with suggestions on books to read?

Think about it.

When you are younger teachers, librarians, and parents will suggest certain books to read.  Many are classics or part of a recommended curriculum, but there was some guidance provided.  Once you are out of school, you are on your own.

Some may look at reviews, others what’s on a bestseller list, and others just go by what a friend recommends.  Many browse and stumble upon the books they read.  But wouldn’t it be great to have a home decorator-type professional who can customize book picks for you?

The hardest thing about recommending anything – whether a paint color, clothing design, or a book – is it becomes a deeply personal thing. How can you avoid – as a consultant – injecting your own bias, preferences, and psychological flaws into whatever you offer another?  How do you support the decisions of others when you’d never be caught dead making such choices for yourself?

On the other hand, there’s no one way to do anything.  You can wear striped pants and a ripped t-shirt, and funny-looking glasses if you want to. You can paint your home exterior black or purple and you can read any book that you desire, no matter the genre or the quality of the book.  So who’s to say what’s right or wrong or even better/worse than something else?  Sometimes bucking trends may look ridiculous or have you feeling isolated but you may be onto something, sparking a new trend that someone can then buck in a few years.

A book consultant can be found in a good indie bookstore, library, or quality, book review outlet. You can be your best book consultant by researching, exploring, and experimenting.  Read a wide variety of books – various genres from a variety of eras by a diverse group of authors.  What you thought you wouldn’t like, you may end up loving, and what you think you want more of may just leave you feeling tired and bored.

My house may not make it into a magazine shoot for I’m sure we broke certain rules or patterns of decorating behavior, but it’ll be our very own canvas from which to keep painting. No expert can really tell me what I want unless I tell them.

Book consultants could be helpful to new readers and those who haven’t yet developed a permanent pattern that they want to oblige themselves to.  But even the best-intentioned book consultant, like the home decorator, will need to allow the client or reader to make his or her own decisions.

Do you know what you’d like to read next?  Don’t ask me!

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What is the true future of literature?

Are children’s books simply too white?

Who will make the strong case for books?

A 9-year-old girl loses mom; teaches me about life

How do authors get on TV?

Here’s the 2017 Author Book PR & Marketing Toolkit

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Is Your Book Very Marketable?



This may seem like a simple question. But often people don’t know how to answer it.

Let me help you really figure out if your book is truly marketable, and if so, just how promotable.

The first thing to examine is who your reader is likely to be.  Who will buy the book? What demographic traits do they have and how big is that group?  Is it whites or blacks or Hispanics or others?  Is it men and women, teens, or children?  Is it regional in appeal?  Does it ‘target’ a certain age bracket, level of education or household income?

Second, who or what competes with you for the purse of your targeted reader?  Are there other books, products, or services that can be purchased instead of – or in conjunction with – your book?

Third, what’s your marketing plan? How will you reach your intended readership in a cost-effective, timely manner?

Fourth, what will you do to promote your book to the news media?

Lastly, how price-competitive are you and how widespread is your distribution?

Your book is promotable or marketable if:

(a)    You have something that is promotable or marketable.

(b)   You make the effort to promote or market it.

Think about it.

If you have a dud of a book – or a great book but no real hook for fans or media – you won’t get far, no matter how much time and resources you pour into marketing.  Further, if you have a book with lots of interesting angles for the news media and social media but you fail to make a comprehensive, assertive effort to push your book, it will just die.

So if you have a marketable book, be prepared to invest in it.  How do you know if it’s marketable?.  Ask yourself:

1.      Who will buy the book – how many people potentially?  Is it a lot?

2.      How will you reach those people?  Do methods exist to reach them?

3.      Is there something unique, new, different, or unusual about your book?

4.      Is your story, as an author, interesting and worthy of attention?

5.      Does the message of your book spark controversy, solve a problem, comment on history, or actually make news?

6.      Is your book widely available, affordable, packaged nicely, containing good testimonials, showing nicely as a cover, and completed with a catchy title?

Your book will not simply sell itself. Nor can you say you can’t afford to promote it.  If you believe these things to be true, don’t bother publishing your book.  Really.

Word-of-mouth can help a book sell, but you need to create some initial interest to get enough word-of-mouthers reading the book.

No mater your financial situation, you can do something to promote and market your book.  And you should.

Not all books are marketable or promotable and not all books need to be.  Some books exist because they serve purpose and it may only appeal to a small group of people.  That’s fine.  But if you have bigger expectations, your book needs to be both marketable and marketed.

DON’T MISS THESE:
Digital Media Kit For Authors & Book Publishers

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Here’s the 2017 Author Book PR & Marketing Toolkit

Can we turn children’s classics into good adult fare?

Is Barnes & Noble really the largest book banner in America?

Put up a big statue for books!

Some of the best lines and greatest quotes from books

You are never too old to write a book!

What is the true future of literature?

Are children’s books simply too white?

Who will make the strong case for books?


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Why The Indie Bookstore Deserves Support



I recall in the early 90’s when Barnes & Noble was living high and opening superstores all across the country and Borders was sprouting up everywhere to compete with the giant bookstore chain, people complained the independent bookstores needed support.  I used to think if the indies needed our support they should support us with lower prices and bigger stores.  But that attitude has evolved a full 180 degrees and I now understand why indie bookstores are special and need our support.

I make it a point to shop at a town’s local bookstore whenever I’m visiting somewhere.  The indie bookstore may have a smaller book selection but they are better at delivering service, recommendations, and knowledgeable feedback.  They treat you like a person, not a consumer.  Their stores smell of wood and paper and history.  They house a community’s curiosity and dreams and they supply nutrition to the minds and souls of readers.

Indie stores may have had the formula right all of this time.  Offer a smaller but curated selection of books. Service with a smile.  Every purchase seems like a down payment on the town’s future, and contributing to a charity where the mission is to enlighten, educate, inspire and even entertain all of those who enter to worship words, ideas, thoughts, facts, history and fantasies.

The news for indie bookstores seems to be positive.  There’s been growth every year in the number of store openings, net the closings, since the Great Recession concluded.  In fact, the indies are growing while Borders closed, Barnes & Noble keeps shrinking, and e-books slump.  This is great news.

But it needs to continue.

Indie bookstores grow when they grow their towns, when they meet the needs and desires of their patrons, when they prove their case that paying more to visit a store is more rewarding than ordering for less online or elsewhere.

Bookstores grow when they don’t take their customer for granted, when they act thankfully, and contribute to the lives that pass through their doors.  They flourish with author events, areas for kids to wander and explore, a place to sip coffee and read a good book, and when they have staff that’s helpful, feeling, and friendly and above all, aware of the world’s events and books.

If 1992 Brian Feinblum could go back in time, he would have visited more indie bookstores and opened his wallet to them.  Luckily, it’s not too late for me -- or you -- to do this in 2017 and beyond.

Long live the independent bookstore.  Their success is ours.

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Put up a big statue for books!

Some of the best lines and greatest quotes from books

You are never too old to write a book!

What is the true future of literature?

Are children’s books simply too white?

Who will make the strong case for books?

A 9-year-old girl loses mom; teaches me about life

How do authors get on TV?

Here’s the 2017 Author Book PR & Marketing Toolkit

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 




Sunday, September 17, 2017

How Do Authors Develop A Tagline That Sells Books?



Authors may not see themselves as a company brand, but they do have a brand.  They even could benefit from a tagline, even if it doesn’t rival corporate slogans that we’ve become familiar with (Coke is it, Just do it, A diamond is forever, Americans run on Dunkin’).  So how does an author come up with his or her tagline?

Writers can have several taglines.  One may summarize or come to represent the essence of your writing voice and give shape to your persona. This is the one that may stay with you for your whole life and even live beyond the grave.

The other taglines you may call upon will be book-specific, the way a movie trailer tries to leave you with a lasting line, image, or phrase that compels one to watch a movie or read a book.  This is similar to how a company has its brand slogan but it also has a specific slogan to sell a new product or service.

So what process should an author follow in order to figure out a branding message that is effective and something he or she envisions living with for a very long time?  

It’s like getting to pick your own nickname in grade school – but it will stay with you forever. Pick wisely and choose something that you anticipate will reflect the quality, style, and feel for your future writings.

Here are some things to consider when establishing your motto:

1. Compare against fellow writers. What do your competitors say about themselves, whether in your genre or another?  How will you differentiate yourself?

2. Look at corporate models to see how they position themselves and see what ideas you can extract that can be applied to someone at our level.

3. Think about specific words that you want to use vs. ones you absolutely want to avoid.

4. Give thought as to the lasting image your statement will provide the consumer.  Is it one of humor?  Is it one of power?  Does it play on people’s passions and dreams?  Does it use fear or anger?  What emotional state or state of mind do you want to leave people in?

5. What really makes our writing unique, different, or better than others? Is there one thing that you can single out and build up? Like a DNA marker or a finger print, where each of us has a unique code for life, can you identify your writing DNA that helps others recognize your writing over someone else’s?

6. Is your slogan understandable or easily misunderstood?  Test it on others. Ask them if they understand the meaning behind your phrase or do they misinterpret your intention?

7. Does your catch – all phrase imply a clear benefit?

8. Is it catchy and memorable?

9. Does it impart positive feelings about your brand?

10. Does it sound contrived or dispassionate?

Your tagline is something that can be used for many things, from business cards, email signatures, and advertisements, to press releases, book jacket copy and website content. From social media to seminars, your tagline will come to define and hopefully promote you.  The words may not come so easily initially, but over time you will likely come to self-define what you truly offer others.  But your tagline will come to define (and hopefully promote) you.  The words may not come so easily initially, but over time you will likely come to self-define what you truly offer others. 

Taglines are really about perceptions.

Taglines aren’t intended to make you feel good, though you could use them as a rallying mantra during dryspells or writers block to remind you of exactly what you are all about.  Taglines are created for the sole purpose of inviting others to explore your writings.  So don’t be married to any words or phrases except the ones that others tell you they buy into.

You may find writing a 70,000-word book is far easier to pen than a nine-word tagline, but this is your chance to craft an image that could help you sell lots of books.  

What would you like people to think and say about you?  Now say it!

DON’T MISS THESE:
Digital Media Kit For Authors & Book Publishers

How do authors get on TV?

Here’s the 2017 Author Book PR & Marketing Toolkit

Can we turn children’s classics into good adult fare?

Is Barnes & Noble really the largest book banner in America?

Put up a big statue for books!

Some of the best lines and greatest quotes from books

You are never too old to write a book!

What is the true future of literature?

Are children’s books simply too white?

Who will make the strong case for books?


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Global Book Publishing Declines



Seven of the top 10 publishers worldwide suffered a drop in revenue, with the biggest decline coming from the world’s largest publisher, Pearson.

The UK publisher saw a drop in revenue of over one billion dollars – about the total revenue for the 16th largest publisher, Shveisha, in Japan.

The United States only featured two companies in the top 10 – McGraw-Hill and Wiley.  Reed Elsevier of RELX Group, is partially American owned and would represent a third U.S. company in the top 10. The U.S. is also home to the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th, in part or whole.

Japan, Germany, U.K. and the U.S. dominate the top 25.

The biggest university press is Oxford University.  With 2016 revenue of 939 million dollars, it is the 20th largest publisher in the world.  It’s larger than Simon Schuster.  Cambridge University Press, in the U.K. is the second largest university press, ranking 36th overall.

German-owned Penguin Random House (Bertelsmann) ranked 4th, with revenue of $3.697 billion.

The publisher to make the biggest leap of the Top 50 in the world is Mondador; of Italy.  It went from 39th to 28th in one year, jumping 11 spots and seeing its revenue exploded by nearly 50% to 501 million dollars.  Other big gainers include Brazil’s Somos, which almost doubled its revenue, South Korea’s Kyouon, and Russia’s Eksmo – AST.

29 of 50 earned less revenue than a year ago.

Just because revenue may have declined for many, doesn’t mean profits sagged.  Further, many of these companies are huge conglomerates and sometimes money on the books looks different than actual transactions that pertain specifically to publishing.  Lastly, there are many more companies not ranked on the list and collectively, they could prove to be profitable, so it’s hard to say with certainty if publishing had a good year, but judging by the big boys, revenue appears to be down.

So what might this mean for the book industry as it seeks growth?

Authors and book publishers continue to chase what sells and will no doubt win big on occasion and then lose on its other bets.  That’s how it’s always been.  

Most books don’t do well but as an industry, the book world can be profitable.

But profits and publishing often don’t get spoken of.  You’re in publishing because you love books.  The key’s not to print them in red ink.

DON’T MISS THESE:
How do authors get on TV?

Here’s the 2017 Author Book PR & Marketing Toolkit

The #Trump #Book #Publishing #Tweets

Can we turn children’s classics into good adult fare?

Is Barnes & Noble really the largest book banner in America?

Put up a big statue for books!

Some of the best lines and greatest quotes from books

You are never too old to write a book!

What is the true future of literature?

Are children’s books simply too white?

Who will make the strong case for books?

A 9-year-old girl loses mom; teaches me about life


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs