"I can help you!"


I've worked for over 25 years in advertising, promotions and sales, and spent nearly 2 years as a motivational speaker for a major international company. Currently a bestselling novelist and 'shameless' promoter, I've shared my experiences and techniques as a Book Marketing Coach for nearly a decade.

Whether you're published or unpublished, I can help. My last publisher called me a "marketing guru" and "whiz", although I prefer to think of what I do as teaching, or coaching.

"Dare to Dream...and Dream BIG!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Top 10 Tips to Help Authors Successfully Promote Their Books

Most authors should know that it's really up to them to promote their books, not the publisher. The publisher will do what they can do, of course, but the author is the one who can really get the word out there to the masses. So here is my Top 10 list of things authors can do to successfully promote their own books.

  1. Promote your book BEFORE it's even published. Think of this like movie trailers. Film companies are super intelligent; they give people a sneak peek to get them interested, then hook them with anticipation by announcing a release date. Authors can do the same. Give your readers a sneak peek--a free sample, a book trailer. Then as soon as you know the release date (and about 1-3 months in advance) start promoting this new release.

  2. Have your book PROFESSIONALLY edited. If you want longevity as a writer, you must treat this like a career. This means that even self-published, author-originated works must be edited professionally by someone who knows HOW to edit. NEVER be the only editor for your book. If you put out an inferior product you will lose fans and sales, and bookstores will not promote you. If you're going to do this, do it right! You're competing with every other book out there, and there are millions, so find a good editor.

  3. Once your book is published, promote the heck out of it! Too many authors leave marketing up to their publisher. This is your baby, no one else's. As soon as your book is released, you have a window of about 3 months to get it off the ground, and another 3 months to keep things rolling. Not even a publisher can market your book as well as you can, and if you don't know how, LEARN. If you don't know where to start, I'm a book marketing coach; I can teach you.

  4. Create a solid internet identity. What will we find if we Google your name right now? Will we find someone else with the same name who sells lawn ornaments? Are there 10 hits? 1000? 100,000? Are the first 3 pages of any search engine all about you or at least 90% you? If not, you've got work to do. Make sure you have a professional looking website and blog. Don't use a free host with ads for your site. Invest in a domain name (your name preferably) and pay for hosting.

  5. Blog at least 2-3 times a week. On numerous blogs. Blogging about anything sells books. Readers like to see the human side of their favorite authors, so blogging should not be a hardcore sales pitch every post. Find a controversial or thematic angle within your book and blog about that. My novel Whale Song dealt with assisted suicide. I not only researched the topic, but I blogged about it and was then contacted by a radio station because of my blog post and then was interviewed. Blog about the journey you took to get where you are in your writing career. Blog about editing, rejections, writer's block, courses, anything that might be helpful to other writers.

  6. Hold a virtual book tour. VBTs are an excellent and inexpensive way to get the word out about your book. Other bloggers are now promoting YOU. There is, however, an effective way to do this and an ineffective way. Successful blog tours have the following main elements: thoughtful planning, research, themed articles/posts, calls to action, proper scheduling, advertising and high sales. Your book should reach the bestsellers lists on Amazon, at the very least.

  7. Sell your book on a specific day by holding a contest. If you ask people to order from one major retailer, like Amazon for instance, on a specific day and offer them some kind of incentive, you will have the opportunity to make Amazon's bestsellers list. Pick a day, offer a prize they can't turn down (remember: never make your book your prize-at least, not the book you are trying to promote) and have a proof of purchase to ensure sales are submitted on one day. Once you make Amazon's list (and don't forget, books are broken into categories), you're a "bestselling author" with a "bestselling novel". That statement alone attracts more success.

  8. Find out where your readers are. The goal is not to have your book in every bookstore. First, very few books achieve that. Second, having them in a store is no good if no one is buying them. So find out where your readers are. If you write mysteries, find out where mystery readers meet in your town. Become a guest author at a book club. Look for online reading groups or sites like GoodReads and start schmoozing with readers.

  9. Cultivate personal relationships with bookstore staff. Most authors underestimate the power of signing books in a store. Too many authors focus entirely on sales, or lack of sales. Forget sales! Think about relationships instead--with store staff, customers and potential fans. That is what is important. When you build these relationships you will have store staff who will hand sell your book and go out of their way to promote you, invite you to special events and feature you on special front-end shelves that publishers have to pay for. Customers can turn into media contacts and interviews. Potential fans can turn into lifelong fans who will buy everything you write and recommend you to their family and friends.

  10. Contact media for every event or set of events. If holding a bunch of signings during October, call it your "fall tour" and promote it. Send out press releases to local TV, radio, newspapers and magazines. Send out online releases to services like 24-7pressrelease and free online services. Just Google 'press distribution services'. Many authors consider interviews a form of success, and the more you create a need for your area of expertise (whether writing, getting published, or a particular theme from your book), the more media will want to interview you.

It takes a combined effort and partnership between author, publisher and retailers to make a book successful. A partnership. That's how you must think of it. So don't just throw your "baby" out in the world and expect someone else to baby sit it or expect it to fend for itself.

Take control and responsibility seriously. Being a writer is the emotional, creative side; being a successful author of a published book means you have to recognize the business side. It comes with the territory. Accept it. Embrace it. And be the most successful author you can be.

~Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
bestselling author and book marketing coach

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Making the Right Editing Match

Here's another great article, printed here with permission and recently featured in my good friend and publishing expert Jerry D. Simmons' newsletter, which you can subscribe to at www.writersreaders.com.

Making the Right Editing Match - By Barbara McNichol

Setting out to find the right editor for your manuscript puts you on the road to feeling confident you’ve got a good match. You want to feel comfortable that your editor understands what you’ve set out to accomplish so you can “polish” it together.

Look for a reputable editor who understands the type of book you have written. For example, if your book is business or self-help, choose an editor experienced in editing these genres. Ensure that the editor you chose has worked with both traditional and self-published books over a number of years. That person’s website should reveal that information and project a professional image. After all, you want your writing to reflect a professionalism that comes from expert editing.

To help in your search for find the right match, use this checklist of questions to prepare you for questions a good editor could ask in the qualifying process.

Checklist of Questions to Ask

Your answers to these questions give a professional editor a better understanding of your project and help you both make a match in heaven. How would you answer these?

· Who is in your book’s target audience (demographics, age group, position, industry, region, etc.)?

· What genre or market niche does your book fall in? What section would it be found in a bookstore?

· What is your expected editorial timeline (e.g., when did you promise to give it to an agent or designer, or have it ready for a conference, etc.) allowing time for your review, peer reviews, and a professional editor’s review?

· How much of your book is written? Have you finished all the content you want including front and back matter (e.g., foreword, testimonials, acknowledgments, dedication, footnotes, resource list, glossary, appendix, etc.)? If your answer is not 100%, what is missing? When would you be ready to send your complete content?

· What is the current length of your book before editing? (number of pages and/or number of words in an MS Word document)

· What is the anticipated total length, including front and back matter?

· If you want to have a foreword, have you asked someone to write it and provided a deadline for delivering it?

· How much are you expecting to spend on having your book professionally edited (excluding proofreading after the design)?

· What else do should the editor know about your expectations so he or she can do a really good job for you?

An editor who asks these types of questions shows eagerness to understand your project and set up a discussion that gives you a sense of how you’d work together.

Here’s a key question: “Is the manuscript 100% content-complete?” If you answer “yes,” you can expect a project price and an estimated timeline from an experienced editor. If it’s “no,” your manuscript is likely a candidate for a Manuscript Review. This analysis evaluates the ideas and wording to provide direction for changes you’d make before it’s deemed content-complete.

The All-Important Sample Edit

How do you start to find the right editor for your manuscript? First, ask your writer and designer friends for recommendations, check acknowledgments in books you like and contact the editor listed, and search the Internet for editors in your genre. Then request a Sample Edit of your own work—especially if more than one editor is in the running for your business.

If an editor works magic on your writing but you don’t agree with the approach or the kinds of changes made, it’s good to discuss them up front so you both can adjust. Some authors (mostly new ones) fall in love with every word and find it painful to see their prose change. That’s why discussions help a lot.

Here’s a rule of thumb when reviewing the Sample Edit: If you, the writer, can clearly see an improvement from the editor’s work, if you recognize that the words flow better and your writing has more clarity and pizzazz, that’s a green light. If you don’t agree with the changes or find yourself arguing with them, that’s an amber light. Time to talk.

Yes, locating an editor who’s the right match for you requires effort to make sure you’re comfortable with the editor’s approach. Ultimately, you want your editor to be the advocate of those you want to reach—the pro who makes it easier for your readers to connect with you and your message.

Barbara McNichol edits articles, book proposals, and manuscripts. Request a free questionnaire “Getting to the Results You Want” based on the ideas in this article via email at editor@barbaramcnichol.com or contact Barbara at 887-696-4899 (toll free). To help you perfect your writing, sign up for Word Tripper of the Week, a free ezine at http://www.barbaramcnichol.com/.

To subscribe to Jerry D. Simmons' Tips for Writers from the Publishing Insider newsletter, visit http://www.writersreaders.com/.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif interviews Vikram Narayan from BookBuzzr.com

This interview was recently featured on The Write Type.

Hello Vikram, and welcome to The Write Type ~ Multi-Author Musings. We are so happy to have you visit us. Since I’ve used BookBuzzr and fReado.com myself, I can say that you offer a terrific service for authors and their readers. And it’s free!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Are you a writer? Reader?

I’m a serial entrepreneur who’s obsessed about building the next big thing on the Internet. I earned an MS in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University some years ago. I’m also a keen martial artist and practitioner of Aikido. I’m an avid reader of books and listener of audio books. I do have a book inside me that is waiting to come out some day soon.

Where did the idea for BookBuzzr come from? Why did you decide to create it?

A few months ago, an author friend of mine – Chetan Dhruve – was describing the pain that authors face in marketing their books online. There are two problems with traditional author sites:

1. Most of the traffic goes to 'destination sites' such as Facebook, MySpace, Yahoo or the New York Times. So your author site may not receive the kind of traffic that you would want.
2. Even if a fan of your book comes to your site, it's not easy for her to easily share information about your book with her friends.

So how do you market your book in an era where the attention-spans of consumers measure a few micro-seconds? How do you tempt your potential readers to flip-through the pages of your book? How do you allow easy sharing of your book on networks such as Facebook, MySpace and other social networks?

So I asked him what would be a dream online marketing tool. Chetan, in a few moments of inspiration, described what he’d want and we sketched out the screens of the ultimate online book-marketing tool. I got the product developed in a few months using developer resources at another software business that I own.

What exactly is BookBuzzr and how does it work?

BookBuzzr is a free, online book-marketing technology that can be placed instead of your book-cover image on your author website, Facebook profile and blog. BookBuzzr is more than just a replacement for your book-cover image. It's a portable author website that allows your book information and extract to be shared on Facebook, Blogs, MySpace and more. So every time a fan of yours decides to post your book-widget on his or her blog, your entire information (including where to buy and buzz about your book) becomes available there. It’s like your business card on the Internet!

Apart from the easy share-ability, we've worked hard at making the pages of your book look and act like a real book. So when a reader clicks on the edge of the book, the page turns like a real book. Somehow, this seems to elicit a "wow!" from most people who try BookBuzzr.

fReado.com is the site which carries all the books that are available in BookBuzzr format.

Is it difficult for an author to set up a BookBuzzr widget?

Putting up your book into BookBuzzr format is quite simple. If you know how to share your videos and photos on Facebook or MySpace you know how to use BookBuzzr.

How many authors are using fReado?

We expect to have over a 1,500 authors & books on fReado by the end of this month.

Are there any recognizable names using BookBuzzr? Any “big” authors”?

We have quite a few big name authors using BookBuzzr. Chetan Dhruve whose inspired vision gave us the start for BookBuzzr is a pretty well-known name and his book has become an international sleeper-hit that’s been translated into 5 languages. Author Tony Eldridge whose book “The Samson Effect”, acquired by a Hollywood studio, is also using BookBuzzr.

Are publishers using your service to promote their authors’ books?

Yes. We’re making it easier for publishers to mass upload their books and author information with just a few clicks. We’ve got about 60 Publishers who have begun using fReado and BookBuzzr.

Can you give us an example of a BookBuzzr book widget?

Where do you see BookBuzzr in 3 years?

The other day, we got a testimonial from the author Lee Murphy and he said, “I think you have a terrific service and I know I have already sold one copy on Amazon as a direct result of it.”

So we know that we have a unique little book-marketing technology that every author needs. Our challenge is to let authors know about this free resource that can help every author in building and extending their platform. So in terms of where we see BookBuzzr in 3 years … we want to be the first place where every author goes when he or she begins to think about marketing books online. If every book-cover image on every author, publisher and book-seller’s website is replaced with the BookBuzzr book-widget, then I would say that most of our mission has been accomplished.

Towards this end, we’re making several improvements to BookBuzzr in the coming months to make it easier for fans to distribute a book-widget on their Facebook profiles, Twitter, blogs, social networks and cell-phones.

Thank you, Vikram!! I am sure that authors will be very excited about your service/product, especially after they've tried it once.

For more information on BookBuzzr and fReado, please check out http://www.bookbuzzr.com/ and http://www.freado.com/.