Posts Tagged ‘book marketing’

Books at Holiday Time

December 14, 2017


Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.

It’s that time of year again. In my neighborhood, holiday decorations are up, houses glow with lights, and the stores are crowded (which I take as a good sign). It’s also a time when we all think again about songs and stories based on the holidays.

Maybe it’s just the writer in me, but I also think about books.

One of my favorites is A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. It’s undoubtedly one of the best-loved (and best-selling) tales in English literature. It’s been a holiday classic since its original publication almost exactly one-hundred-seventy-four years ago.

The story explored not only Scrooge’s redemptive journey, but the lives of the poor majority surrounding him. Inspired by his own rocky childhood, historians say Dickens was writing an indictment of 19th century industrial capitalism, and the disparity between the poor and the wealthy in early Victorian-era Britain.

He used the stingy-old-man character named Scrooge as a means of highlighting the need to return to traditional Christmas values, family togetherness and charity.

It’s a message we could all stand to hear again.

I was surprised to learn the classic only took Dickens six weeks to write. Published in London by Chapman and Hall on December 19, 1843, it was an immediate success with the public. The initial print run of 6,000 copies sold out by Christmas Eve.

However, for its author, it was a grave financial disappointment.

Dickens insisted on a lavish format for what was to become the most famous of his holiday books.

He wanted A Christmas Carol to be a beautiful little gift book, and as such he stipulated a fancy binding stamped with gold lettering on the spine and front cover; gilded edges on the paper all around; four full-page, hand-colored etchings and four woodcuts.

Examining preliminary copies, Dickens decided he disliked the color of the title pages, and found the end papers smudged when touched.

He called for immediate changes and by December 17, two days before the book’s official release, the publisher had produced new copies, coupled with a number of significant textual corrections, which pleased the young author.

Dickens, who was still optimistic about sales, set the price of the book reasonably to encourage the largest possible number of purchasers. He hoped more sales would bring in larger profits, relieving some of his financial obligations.

You see, in order to get the story published fast, Dickens had agreed to an unprecedented publishing arrangement: he would assume all of the costs of the initial publication but, in doing so, would also gain all of the profits.

Dickens was initially elated with the public’s overwhelming response. But the cost of producing the book was so high that once expenses were tabulated, there was very little left over for the author himself.

When Dickens received the production receipts from Chapman and Hall, he found after the deductions for printing, paper, drawing, steel plates, engraving, coloring, binding, advertising and a commission to the publishers, the balance to his credit was only one-tenth of what he imagined, and far too little to live on.

“The truth,” wrote Dickens friend and literary adviser, John Forster, “was that the price charged was far too little.”

It’s interesting to note, despite the profitability shortfall, by February of 1844, less than two months after the book’s appearance, at least eight theatrical versions of A Christmas Carol were already in production. Since then, there have been literally hundreds more adaptations for stage, radio, television, and film.

The public loved it. The tale of one man’s redemption interwoven with Victorian Christmas traditions morphed into every publisher’s dream. The book has never been “out of print.”

I find it to be no small irony that for this instantly classic Christmas tale of greed and beneficence, Dickens received none of the millions Tiny Tim and Ebenezer Scrooge continue to generate every year.

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews, and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now;

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You’re invited to visit my website, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

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Visit my web site to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

How to Avoid Promotional Black Holes

August 1, 2017

Photo Courtesy Pixabay.

There are so many potential pitfalls that writers must navigate, even seasoned authors can make mistakes marketing a book today.

With hundreds of errors to choose from, here are my choices for seven of the worst ones …

Don’t Have a Web Site
This is a biggie. Authors absolutely need a web site. Traditional publishers expect their clients to have one, and it’s just as necessary … maybe more so … for an independent.

Aesthetics matter, too … and whatever you do, don’t let it get outdated. Updating your site regularly will help with search engine optimization (SEO), which is important to establishing your brand and getting your work out there.

Don’t Play Nice With Others
Another biggie. Other writers are not competitors or enemies. You should be reaching out to collaborate with them. As a community, you’re stronger when you share ideas and support one another (I’ve interviewed other authors on this blog, to help them promote their work … and I’ll do it again, because it all helps).

Don’t Have an Elevator Speech
I’ve said this often, and I’m always surprised when I discover the number of author wannabes who don’t have one ready. You never know when you will be chatting with someone and have an opportunity to mention your book(s). Have a 15-20-second soundbite ready, and share it as often as possible.

Ignore the Power of Reviews
Secure reviews with Kirkus Reviews, Foreword Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Readers’ Favorite, Blue Ink, TopBookReviewers, and others. Some you will have to pay for … but if your work is strong you will find they are like gold. You can never have enough.

Ignore Resources at Your Disposal
Writers fall short when they don’t join useful groups. For instance, I’m a member of the National Writers Association, the Association of Independent Authors, Michigan Writers and the American Academy of Poets. Other fabulous group resources are Independent Book Publishers, the Writers Guild (East and West), and PEN America. Get an author listing on Goodreads, too.

Your Head Isn’t in the Game
Lazy authors are not successful ones. Neither are authors whose ego is so huge they simply fail to hustle. Don’t get blinded by an inflated sense of self-worth. Tone it down, get off your high horse, and be ready to do whatever it takes to get your book out there.

You Don’t Go All In
Don’t say you already have a Facebook presence, when all you did is put up a profile. You need to engage and interact. Think about relevant visuals, personal stories, provocative statements. Be flexible, but don’t scream BUY MY BOOK! Be a friend, not a salesman.

I’ve found the book industry to more social than others in many ways. So, do the socially expected things following a book signing, classroom visit, or speaking engagement. Give the organizers a thank you card … maybe even a shareable goodie of some sort.

It not only makes your host feel good, it gives you a personal energy boost you can tap for weeks. Think of book marketing as doing honor to your work, and the work of others.

Try it. It works.

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My books have all garnered some terrific reviews, and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Visit my web site to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show.

**********

Check out my DEAD END STREET review

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I plan to attend the next Rochester Writers’ Fall Conference at Oakland University on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

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Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.

Why Do You Pick Up a Book in the First Place?

May 30, 2017


If you’re like most people, you pick up a book because the cover or title looks interesting. The next thing you do is read the back blurb, or if you’re online, the excerpt.

What is it? Or, better yet, what should it be?

Basically, the back blurb is a sales pitch. There are a lot of tools in the publishing tool belt, and each has its own unique purpose and strength. Few, though, have more sway over a would-be reader than the book description.

It should be the summation of your story, enticing the reader to buy.

How do you write good back blurb?
The principles hold true for any genre, although the details may change a bit for each. This is a list of things featured most often from a number of bestsellers …

A hint of the plot.

Use of words that evoke images and resonate with readers.

Main characters are named and characterized.

Idea of setting.

A question to be answered, or a hint of mystery to be solved that draws the reader in.

Quotes about the book or previous books by the author.

TAKE THE READER ON A JOURNEY
Most good book descriptions have less to do with the story of the book, and more to do with the story of the reader. Tell the reader about the journey they’re going to take, rather than try to create a shorthand or synopsis of your book.

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Take the back cover blurb for my newest novel, DEAD END STREET, coming out on Amazon this week:

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE TIME TO BE MOST AFRAID
IS WHEN THINGS START GOING WELL.

Paul Barrett is a successful author. So are Randy and Donnie Camron. Along with the rest of the gang from Reichold Street, they all think their lives have finally settled down. In this provocative thriller, however, they learn there are new disasters waiting, determined to find them, wherever they go.

REICHOLD STREET, the lead novel in the series, was selected a 2012 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal Winner.
“Skillfully written and emotionally charged.”
~ Kirkus Reviews for “Reichold Street”

ONE WAY STREET and STREET LIGHT, the second and third books in the series, were also reviewed as intense, 5-Star thrillers…

“A mesmerizing thriller that can haunt you long after you put the book down…”
~ Maria Beltran, of Readers’ Favorite, for “One Way Street”

“R.L. Herron is a master craftsman…grabbing the reader and transporting them into the story…”
~ Brian MacLearn, award-winning author, for “Street Light”

In DEAD END STREET, the characters already know very well that life is not perfect, but discover the past is not always as far behind them as they think.

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DON’T IGNORE IT
You may call it a ‘blurb’ or ‘back cover copy’ or lament it simply as ‘all that text I have to paste into my book page.’

Whatever your name for it, you can’t afford to ignore it. After your cover, the product description of your book is the first experience the reader has with you as an author.

The book blurb is one of your most important communication aids when promoting your book, so invest plenty of time and dedication to ensure you get it right.

Getting it right is the proverbial ‘big deal.’

Do you think I succeeded?

**********

My books have all garnered some terrific reviews and you can see the ones I have available by using the Amazon link below. Look for them. Better yet, buy one and read it. You just might like it.

buy now amazon

You’re invited to visit my web site, BROKEN GLASS, or
like my Book of Face page. You can find me on Goodreads, or follow some of my shorter ramblings on The Twitter.

**********

Visit my web site to hear the remarkable radio interview about my novel “Blood Lake” by The Authors Show.

**********

I plan to attend the next Rochester Writers’ Fall Conference at Oakland University on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

**********

Comments posted below will be read, greatly appreciated and perhaps even answered.


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