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Monday, April 23, 2018

Authors Must Embrace An Expanding Media Landscape...

... , Even As Its Influence Shrinks

The news media’s growing in size and yet shrinking in its influence.  Allow me to explain why this is so – and how it impacts coverage of your book.

First off, let me just say that I believe the best way to market or promote a book is to secure media exposure.  You don’t necessarily ignore all other avenues, from speaking and direct sales to advertising and affiliate marketing, but you do need to make media exposure a priority and a central part of your plan.

Second, let’s define what the news media is.  It is traditional media, such as newspapers, newswires, magazines, television, radio, and newsletters.  It’s also digital media – web sites, dot.com side of traditional media, online book reviewers, bloggers, and podcasters.  Author generated blog posts, videos, or podcasts – and Tweets, Facebook posts, and sharing on Instagram or Pinterest -- fall under social media.

So the news media has grown, mainly online, with the number of outlets available to promote or market a book.  Traditional media is shrinking in its influence simply because it’s diluted by the billions of sites one can be visiting.  Sure, The New York Times is very important, but not like what it used to be.  It may even have more readers of its content than ever between print and online – but it no longer dictates the news the way it and just a handful of media outlets used to.  Stories can break anytime, anywhere – and be shared by anyone, anytime, anywhere.

Book publicity has simply gotten harder.  You must cast a wide net and hope for a tiny percentage of those you contact to give coverage to you and your book.  Then you need to keep the momentum up by sharing your earned media via social media or paid media.  It’s a never-ending cycle, a process that requires intelligence, patience, persistence, luck, connections, and savvy.

The other factor in getting news media coverage is your competition for it has grown greatly.  A million new books are released each year.  Plus movies, plays, songs, sporting events, tech products, professional services, politicians, and a zillion other local, national, and international experts, organizations and opportunists are soliciting the media for attention.

So what’s an author to do?

You need to put blinders on and crowd out the obstacles, challenges, and competitors.  Believe in your book message, and self -- but don’t rest on your laurels – go out there and fight for what’s yours.  Act with confidence and vision.  Communicate sincerely, optimistically and with conviction.

The media, no matter its format, size or location still has certain needs and standards that only an authoritative author can fulfill.  Get out there and convince them you deserve coverage and that your book warrants ink, screen time, or air time.  You are as unique as anyone – and your book deserves to stand out from the crowd.  It’s your job to not only write a book, but to promote and sell it.

Do you really believe your book is special?  Go out there and persuade the media, ever-expanding but diluting simultaneously, that you deserve a piece of the pie!

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The keys to great book marketing

How Authors Can Capture The Media’s Attention

Big Marketing Lessons From My All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts

Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released


Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Are Books Better than Life -- Or Do They Make Life Better?




I’ve always been told that one can be optimistic or pessimistic.  But sometimes you can be both or at least what I call a realist with optimism.  You can be hopeful, dream big, and choose to see the good in life and others BUT you must also acknowledge certain realities:

·         We all die.

·         Most of life is filled with taxes, chores, obligations, errands.
·         The odds usually are not in your favor – not at the casino, nor the lottery, nor the big things in life.
·         We live too often in fear, anger and loneliness – and not more in happiness, laughter, and love.
·         Life just doesn’t seem fair or make sense all of the time.

The pessimist assumes the worst – and often finds it.  The optimist blacks out the negatives and pursues the positives, often falling short but feeling better about things than others.  So where does the reality of it really fall into place?

We each operate under our own standards – of what we value, like, and find worth pursuing.  At some point we reflect back and wonder why we didn’t get all that we wanted, why others disappointed us, and why life’s cruelties crept into our world.  Even those who are considered successful by one measure, may fall short by others.  Sometimes it seems the trick to living life is to do so with no expectations, minimal obligations, and to demand little of others.

But we want more from life than to just get by, to merely avoid pain or avoid a problem.  We want to experience joy, perhaps travel, accumulate things, have new experiences, and to expose ourselves to amazing ideas.

Perhaps this is where books come in.  They can self-medicate us.

Writing books is an unbridled pleasure and the act of creating one is addictive and contagious.  As writers, we give a gift to others while we get to experience pure ecstasy.

Reading books is also a wonderful pleasure.  We can experience life safely and get exposed to the harsh realities of life without paying a price, taking a risk, or experiencing pain.  We can also see worlds of possibility, ones that don’t yet exist but in the imagination of other writers. We can live in their world without losing the one we really live in.

Can books, collectively or even singularly, help us understand the true meaning of life?  Can any book provide the wisdom, information and theories that we need in order to straddle a life that’s worth living?

Books allow us a convenient escape but can they lead us to take action and build a real world out of the imagined one? Let’s dream together – and wake up together.

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
--Mark Twain

“I don’t think writers are comfortable in each other’s presence.  We can talk, of course, for five minutes or so, but I don’t think we want to socialize.”
--Joseph Heller

“The good writing of any age has always been the product of someone’s neurosis.”
--William Styron

“This is what I find most encouraging about the writing trades:  They allow lunatics to seem saner than some.”

--Kurt Vonnegut

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Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released



Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Discovering The Antiquarian Within You



Last year I attended the Antiquarian Book show in NYC. There were over 100 exhibitors, some from as far away as Japan and Germany, displaying some of their best wares. These prized possessions were selling for thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands. 

What I didn't quite understand was why a book from the 13th century that was selling for around $25,000 was standing up and left in an unsupported position. This seemed to repeat itself from display to display. Though these books are solidly made and have lasted centuries, I couldn't figure out why they weren't boxed up or firmly encased on their flat side. These books seemingly would benefit from a protective casing.  It is the equivalent of parents who hold their infants in awkward positions, not fully supporting their head and neck. The site of it makes you cringe.

There were many single sheets of book pages for sale. By selling 700-year-old pages as if they were pieces of art it makes the total sum of the book's pages worth more than what the book itself would sell for. But even there, I saw $12,000 pages for sale and they were in what looked like a cardboard holder with plastic around it. Put that in a nice frame. They sold ten-thousand-dollar items as if a ten-dollar comic book was retailing at a comic book show. I take care of my 35-year-old baseball cards better than some of these expensive items.

Of course if anyone knows how to tenderly care for our rich collection of old or classic first editions it is these exhibitors who make a living trading in our rich cultural history. If you think about it, it is these dealers that help society determine what is to be valued and preserved. They are the curators of our publishing past.

They preserve and promote books but  do not do much to inspire the reading of them. Books become collector's items, taking intellect and creativity and commoditizing then as if untouchable jewelry or  pieces of unbuilt real estate.

Like with any hobby or industry, the pricing of these items can be highly subjective, but are based on a number of factors, from rarity, age and condition to the significance of the book or writer. In the digital age, the contents of any book can be made available but these books represent pieces of publishing and world history.

Collecting books also promotes the existence of physical books. Fifty years from now people will not be collecting ebooks. So by preserving the past, we help promulgate a future that values physical books.

There easily had to be more than fifty million dollars worth of books on display at the local armory, and yet, it sometimes had the feel of being at a swap shop on a Sunday where used watches and T-shirts are typically sold by the bundle.

As a novice to book collecting I believe the show would have benefited from a section where speakers can be heard discussing trends and issues confronting the antiquarian book industry. I also think the exhibitors could have done a better job, perhaps through signage or fliers, highlighting what they are known for. Their specialties were not always obvious to me.


But I  thoroughly enjoyed attending the show and recommend you visit one in your neighborhood.


“To buy books would be a good thing if we could also buy the time to read them; as it is, the mere act of purchasing them is often mistaken for the assimilation and mastering of their contents.”
--Arthur Schopenhauer, ‘On Reading and Books’, Parerga and Paralipomena (1851)

“We all know that books burn – yet we have the greater knowledge that books cannot be killed by fire.  People die, but books never die.”
--Franklin D. Roosevelt, to American Booksellers Association (23 April 1942)

“If the book be false in its facts, disprove them; if false in its reasoning, refute it.  But for God’s sake, let us hear freely from both sides.
--Thomas Jefferson, quoted in A Bookman’s Weekly (25 Jan. 1971)

“Never lead hooks, for no one ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are books that other folk have lent me.”

--Anatole France, La Vie Litteraire (1888-92)

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Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released



Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Give Authors A Shot At Congress!



With Paul Ryan announcing he is not running for re-election and that he’ll step down from being Speaker of the House, a wave of change is in the air on Capitol Hill and across the nation.  There’s a real possibility The Republicans will lose one or both chambers of Congress.  What if we had more authors run for Congress?

There are authors in Congress today.  Many of them wrote books as a tool to market themselves for an election, part memoir and part political policy.  But what if we had all kinds of people, who are primarily authors, seek to serve in our legislative branch?

We couldn’t do worse than with what we have now, a Congress filled with rich, selfish, and in some cases, unqualified, individuals, who care about an agenda that serves only the few at the expense of all.  Authors, however, would be great to have in Congress.

They are good communicators, researchers, and thinkers.  They can analyze, empathize, and balance two opposing sides.  They can craft a narrative that leads us to happier endings.  If they can’t enact change, they can at least change the way we view things.

What types of authors would serve us best?

The self-published author is a risk-taking, do-it-yourself entrepreneur with a vision.  We need a few of them.

The best-selling author knows how to take a good idea and sell it, building a loyal following.  We need a few of them as well.

The academic writer from a university press knows how to dive into an important issue and seek out credible sources to draw important conclusions to act upon.  We, too, need a few of them to serve us.

The children’s book author approaches big issues in a simple but loving way, using colorful images and good ethics to help us see certain truths and encourage us to take action.  Like Noah’s Ark, we need a few of these too.

The thriller writer warns us of societal dangers, of the problem with powerful entities or individuals who are out of control. They entertain us while seeking to restore normalcy to our lives.  A few of them should run for office as well.

We’ll need business authors, civics authors, poets, and motivational authors as well.  Heck, every author brings some kind of expertise and unique voice to the table.  They are intelligent, caring, and feeling individuals.  How great would Congress be if it was filled entirely with authors?

Then again, many authors have shortcomings.  They can prescribe what should be done but don’t always lift a finger to get it done.  They are great with words, short on deeds.  They have great imaginations, but can they deal with reality?  They are idealistic, but can’t they be practical?  They write a great deal but do they spend time actually living, doing, and experiencing?

Many authors are individualistic and not team players.  They are loners.  They write well but may shun public appearances or speaking before large crowds.  They have a moral compass – can they adjust to being deal-makers with scoundrels?

Maybe what we need is more authors on the staffs of those in Congress.  Writers write, politicians legislate.  They may be two different animals for which no reconciliation can exist.

But if an author ran for office, he or she would have my vote.  It beats the losers vying for office these days.   Our president was a reality television star (and author) and others have served Congress with credentials of actor, athlete, and businessman and no prior political experience at all. If we are taking in political novices and na├»ve candidates, we might as well try authors.  Perhaps we should get some erotica authors in office. They know all about fucking others over.  Literally.


“The art of reading is to skip judiciously.  Whole libraries may be skipped these days, when we have the results of them in our modern culture without going over the ground again.  And even of the books we decide to read, there are almost always large portions which do not concern us, and which we are sure to forget the day after we have read them.  The art is to skip all that does not concern us, while missing nothing that we really need.  No external guidance can teach us this; for nobody but ourselves can guess what the needs of our intellect may be.”
--P.G. Hamerton, The Intellectual Life (1882)

“I have decided that there is no excuse for poetry.  Poetry gives no adequate return in money, is expensive to print by reason of the waste of space occasioned by its form, and nearly always promulgates illusory concepts of life.  But a better case for the banning of all poetry is the simple fact that most of it is bad.  Nobody is going to manufacturer a thousand tons of jam in the expectation that five tons may be eatable.”
--Myles na Gopaleen, The Best of Myles (1968)

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The keys to great book marketing

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Big Marketing Lessons From My All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts

Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released


Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Should You Build, Borrow Or Buy Your Book Publicity?




When it comes to your approach to book publicity are you a buyer, borrower, or a builder?

A buyer hires someone to promote their book for them.
A borrower is someone who gets some publicity as a result of his or her publisher’s efforts.
A builder is someone who builds their brand and takes an active role in securing his or her media exposure.

Sometimes an author can be pieces of all three simultaneously.  Which one are you?  Why?

Most authors, if their book is published by a reputable book publisher, will expect or hope for the publisher to provide some marketing muscle for their own product.  Often, authors are disappointed by the quality and duration of such efforts, if any activity was actually initiated at all.

They need to have a Plan B to supplement where the publisher, even under the best intentions, falls short.  An author has too much at stake with his book and brand to leave it all in the hands of a publisher that may lack the resources or the desire to do a full-court media press on your behalf.

Authors who self-publish or whose publisher clearly indicates little or nothing will be done to promote his or her book, the choice becomes clear:  buy or build?

Buying is not as easy as it sounds.  Buy what?  For how long?  From whom?  For how much? Authors may not know who is good or bad, for many promoters have the illusionist’s ability to talk a good talk and seek to take advantage of an author’s dreams, fears, ignorance, ego, and operating beliefs.

But leaving the details aside, let’s explore the concept of buying publicity.  The idea here is that you lock in a professional who can contact the right media, in the way media wants to be approached, with a great pitch, at the right time.  You look for experienced guidance, strategy, connections, and media coaching from this person.  The publicist can improve your website, guide you on social media, and offer ideas, creativity, and connect you to those who can be of assistance.  It’s like hiring a contractor, a lawyer or even a surgeon – you are getting someone who advocates for you and can quarterback the big picture.

Your publicist is not a brick-layer, a  lawn guy who merely cuts grass, or a person who changes the oil in your car.  Those jobs can be performed by the unskilled.  Book publicity is not brain surgery, but it does require knowledge, media contacts, passion, good writing skills, excellent research skills, media savvy, an assertive personality, and a competitive mindset.  A good publicist can take you far.

Building your publicity makes sense if you have no choice, as in no budget to hire a pro and no publisher to rely on, but it’s a time-consuming process with a huge learning curve.  I champion those who play an active role in their publicity, but I always caution against doing it solo.  By the time you figure out how to do this efficiently and successfully, it’ll be too late.

Be a builder, but don’t go it alone.  Borrow what’s available to you and always look to be a buyer because only then do you take ownership of your fate and seize control of your book marketing.


DON”T MISS THESE!!!

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What is the payoff for authors to getting a million clicks?



How should authors sell themselves?



Do you think like a book marketer?



The keys to great book marketing



How Authors Can Capture The Media’s Attention



Big Marketing Lessons From My All-Time Top 10 Blog Posts



Enjoy New 2018 Author Book Marketing & PR Toolkit -- 7th annual edition just released



Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”