Friday, September 30, 2005

Book Publicity Notes from Irwin Zucker

The following are a few pieces of advice from my friend, book publicist Irwin Zucker:

“Radio is a very good medium for steady, progressive publicity. But for massive exposure, nothing beats a national TV show like Oprah's. We all want that and other hot TV shows. Good local TV shows are needed as well and the news segments of TV stations mean a lot to gain sales.”

What then is the value of radio? “Radio is very, very important because you get more time with this medium and you can rise to the occasion with your viewpoints. Interviews in daily papers are also essential as well as book reviews. I think a good balance of radio, TV and print can generate sales on a book that really has it between the covers.”

The caveat is: “You can't make a lousy book a bestseller no matter how intensive the PR might be. In the end the public tells us whether a book is good or not--based on sales. That’s the reality. You’ve got to have the product to win this type of ballgame.”

For information on Irwin's services, contact him at Promotions in Motion: 323-461-3921.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Media Love People Stories

Just a tidbit of advice from a senior producer at the Entertainment Tonight TV show:

“Show us how your item works. Show us where our viewers can get it. If it’s a book, a show or a drug — put it up there. Also, show us real people — not just product. We have an enormous appetite for people over product.”

All TV programs have an enormous appetite for people over product. In fact, all media have such an appetite. Give them people. Give them stories they can use. Focus on benefits to people not features of a product.

Entertainment Tonight, Sharlette Hambrick, Senior Producer, Paramount Pictures TV, 5670 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90036; 213-954-2597; Fax: 213-954-2661. Web:

Excerpted from Bulldog Reporter's Journalists Speak Out on PR ezine. Web:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Promoting Your Books: Just Do It

I don't have much to say today, but I do know that one of the most important things about marketing books is very simple. You have to act. You can't sit on your butt and expect people to come to you. You have to create the word of mouth by doing publicity, giving talks, creating links on the Internet, creating relationships everywhere, and more. Then, and only then, will people come to you to buy your book.

Just do it! A great slogan for a shoe company. Practical advice for any book author or publisher.

Do it today.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Books for Donation . . . Korea

A recent email that might interest some of you:

"My name is Kenneth Harley and I am an American teaching English at Hwawon Middle School in Seoul, South Korea. We are currently working on an English Literacy book drive campaign to acquire books (from children to adult levels) to be a regional resource for educators and librarians in an area where the average student or parent cannot afford to buy English books or English literacy materials."

For more information please see our website:

Send your book donations to my attention at Hwawon Middle School. Here is my address:
Kenneth Harley, English Department
Hwawon Middle School
San 144-4, Hwagok 7 dong, Gangseo-gu
Seoul, Korea

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Book Gifting in Your Book Marketing Campaign

A Guest Article

Who really knows who coined the term gifting and what does it really matter? What I can tell you is this action of gifting books is transforming the literary world as we know it.

Authors are normally writers and not always experienced marketers. And yet, if the author is a true giver, that author is a marketer.

Eight years ago, I published my first children’s book. With love, passion and joy in my heart, I gave books to children and parents all over the country. I saw them beam with energy from this transaction of a true gift. There was nothing behind this except that I wanted to give my gift to them and the world. Many people told me they have never met an author before, let alone be given an autographed book by one.

What book gifting has taught me is that the world responds to sincere generosity and a heart with good intentions. From the day I gifted my first children’s book in 1996 until now, The I AM Foundation has gifted and distributed over 275,000 books and products to the world. This is proof enough for me that the magic of marketing and book gifting go hand in hand.

What better way to spread the news of your book than with someone who has first read it, and is so excited about it they tell everyone they know?

The idea of book gifting is not new. James Redfield, who wrote The Celestine Prophecy, drove around the country giving books to people he talked with, bookstores, and everyone he deemed it was appropriate for. The result was a book deal with Time Warner whose sales people watched in awe as these books flew off the shelves.

My gift to you today is this idea: take ten percent of your print run and donate these copies to people and organizations that will benefit from your book. Think about taking your overruns, remainders and misprints and having them serve you as marketing pieces to your target markets.

If you need help, The I AM Foundation exists to serve you in this area. We gift books to the world. I invite you to watch the magic behind a book gifting campaign. The publisher of Nonviolent Communication (Puddle Dancer Press) watched their title go from being ranked #3000 on Amazon to #300 within six months of working with The I Am Foundation.

Whether you would like a partnership with us or otherwise, please see the value in how gifting your title will help you overall. I stand by eager and optimistically waiting to hear your results.

— Steve Viglione is the author of three children’s books and products with over 100,000 copies in print. He is the founder and CEO of The I AM Foundation, a 501c3 educational non-profit whose mission is gifting educational books and music to children and adults worldwide. Please visit I Am Foundation, email him at, or call him at 619-296-2400.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Book Titles: The World's Worst

In their book The World's Worst, Les Krantz and Sue Sveum noted the following book titles. They seem to be real titles. features all of these very odd books. Do titles help sell books? Yes, they do. Did these titles help to sell the books? I really don't know. But I do know that I would have taken the books off the book shelf if I had seen them when I was browsing in a bookstore. What would you have done?

Entertaining with Insects: The Original Guide to Insect Cookery

New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers

Do It Yourself Brain Surgery and Other Home Skills

Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice

The two covers that are available on are rather horrible covers. Don't copy them. Don't even think about copying them. I'm just showing them so you know the books are real. The covers are terrible.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Book Marketing: Distributor Discounts

Question: Thank you for the fabulous online resources, such as your Top Independent Book Distributors page. I have a question related to some of the data on that page. You use the term discount. I am not clear on how it is being used. For example, you say that one distributor has a "25% to 30% of net sales" discount. Does this mean the publisher receives that amount (25 to 30% of list price)?

John's Answer: Many people get confused by discounts. Let's use an example of a book priced to sell for $10.00 in a bookstore.

List price: $10
Net price (sales): $5 (that's probably a good average for distributors since they sell many books to wholesalers and bookstore chains).
Their 25 to 30% discount comes out of the net price of $5.00.
So the distributor ends up with $1.25 (25% of $5.00)
And you the publisher end up with $3.75.

The numbers would be a bit different at 30% of net:
Distributor gets $1.50.
Publisher gets $3.50.

So, on a book selling for $10, the publisher ends up with about $3.50 or $3.75 when using a distributor. Given a print cost of $1 or a bit more (if the book is priced correctly), the publisher ends up with about $2.50 for profit and other expenses (advertising, office, design, etc.).

Given those kinds of numbers, you can see how you'd like to be able to price the book higher, get the cost of printing down lower, and/or sell more books direct to consumers via through bookstores (and distributors).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Make Money with Google

I've been reading Eric Giguere's new book Make Easy Money with Google. It's a great how-to book, step by step, on how to use Google to make more money via your web site. If you'd like to read a sample chapter from his book, go to: Make Easy Money with Google.

That chapter is free for you to read. You have nothing to lose. And lots to gain.

And if you like the sample chapter, you can buy the book at

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Create Better Online Testimonials

Would you like to increase the believability and effectiveness of your online testimonnials? Here are a few tips from Martin Boyd, editor of HBT News, a biweekly newsletter about online home businesses.

1. Ask people who give you testimonials if they can send you a photo to put up with their testimonial.

2. Feature a scan of their actual signature.

3. Record their testimonial and feature it in an online audio. You can tape their testimonial by phone or in person.

4. If they send you a postcard or hand-written letter testimonial, scan in the postcard or letter and post that on your web site.

5. Ask people who send you testimonials to send you a short profile as well to give them a human face.

6. Videotape the testimonial if you meet them in person.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Book Marketing by Telling Stories

Here’s some copy from the Territory Ahead catalog that sells their crisscross cord shirt. It combines a great description with a user’s story, imagination, romance, and humor. A nice combination for any sales copy. Can you do the same for your news releases — in as few words?

If you’re shy, this isn’t the shirt for you. The fabric — a richly colored, cross-hatched cotton corduroy — is so supremely soft and texturey it has a tendency to attract unsolicited attention from complete strangers.

In fact, when our Director of Human Resources wore it on a recent trip to Denver, an otherwise well-mannered young woman with a French accent had to be gently dissuaded from stroking his sleeve long enough for him to board his plane home. The aforementioned gentleman, who is not shy, has requested we carry it in additional colors next season.

Now, why is it that so many authors and publishers require two pages or more for their news releases when the Territory Ahead can sell a shirt in only four sentences?

Not only did the copywriters describe the shirt in good enough detail for you to picture it, but they set a qualifier: If you're shy, this isn't the shirt for you. And then they told a short story — in two sentences! — that closed the deal. What man wouldn't want a young woman with a French accent to stroke his arm? And have to be pulled off him so he could make a plane? I know I'd want at least five of those shirts, in a rainbow of colors. I'd wear them just around the house so my wife wouldn't get jealous.

It still amazes me how many authors have no idea how to sell their books with words. So many don't know how to tell a succinct story that hones in on the benefit to the reader.

Your assignment for today: Read that Territory Ahead shirt description at least ten times. No, let's make it even more involving. I want you to copy that description by hand (remember pens and pencils?) ten times. If you no longer have any pens or pencils, you can write it on the blackboard. Just ten times.

That's not much. My teachers used to make me write things 50 times or more whenever I was bad. And you've been bad. So get to work.

Why write it by hand? Because it involves more of you in reading and writing the description again and again. By writing it, you incorporate the ideas and storytelling skill into your very bones. That's good.

If you'd like to get some bonus points, read the description aloud to at least five friends. Or strangers. On the bus ride home from work. Or stand up during lunch at a busy restaurant and do a dramatic reading. Call your mother and read it to her. You will be amazed how much you'd learn by doing this little exercise.

It's your choice: Do this homework exercise and sell more books, or continue to write long boring news releases and sell no books.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Beyond the Bestseller: Finding Literary Gems

"We all know that variety is the spice of life," says Don Linn, whose eclectic, fast-growing Consortium Book Distribution company distributes books for almost 100 independent publishers, many of them award-winning. "It's also the spice of reading. And if you never look further than the stack of new releases on the strategically placed table near the entrance to the megabookstore--well, you're missing out on some great, thought-provoking literature."

It's ironic that this problem--call it literary complacency--even exists. After all, people who love to read are, by nature, dissatisfied with being force-fed the fruit of popular culture in any of its forms. But Linn says it's perfectly understandable. When you live in a world characterized by too much information and too little time, it's just easier to reach for what's helpfully placed in front of you by big publishers and the media.

Linn wants to jolt us out of our mindless acceptance of the blandly familiar. He hopes to spark a grassroots revival aimed at getting book lovers to look beyond the mainstream titles and seek out the rich bounty of brilliant non-traditional offerings that flow from the presses of independent publishers.

To that end, he offers the following tips for bibliophiles who want to break out of their reading rut.

· Visit an indie bookstore. Admittedly, this may be easier said than done, what with so many independents closing down. But they do still exist, and even if you have to drive an hour or so, they are worth the journey. "Devote an afternoon to it," urges Linn. "Make it a fun road trip. Spend a couple of hours browsing. There's something you get from independent bookstores--the slightly dusty fragrance, the glorious clutter, the thrill of finding something completely unexpected--that simply can't be replicated by a national chain. Plus, the mom & pops need your business, so do your duty as a conscientious reader."

· Conduct a treasure hunt in Barnes & Noble or Borders. Sometimes you just crave wide aisles, stacks of bestsellers, and the hint of cappuccino wafting through the air. No need to feel guilty, says Linn. The big national chains do carry independent titles. It's just a matter of seeking them out. "Don't get stuck at the end-of-aisle displays. Get inside and comb the darkest reaches of the shelves," he advises. "Look for titles you've never seen reviewed and unfamiliar publisher names. Most clerks in these stores are voracious readers, so ask one to recommend a book he or she loves that no one ever buys."

· Meander through the wilds of the Internet. The virtual world is dazzlingly unlimited by physical constraints like shelf space and square footage. That means that if a book exists at all, someone in cyberspace is selling it, discussing it on message boards, or writing about it on blogs. That means access to a trove of non-traditional titles is merely a mouseclick away. "Consortium's website,, is a great place to go exploring," says Linn. "Besides making it easy to search--by title, category, or publisher--we feature a different book on our home page every week. But I recommend free-association surfing, just stopping in at book blogs, poetry sites, literary e-zines, and online booksellers. Go where the spirit moves you and have fun."

· Start an indie book discussion group. This is a great way to socialize with other book lovers, and, simultaneously, to spread the word about worthy non-bestsellers. The concept is simple: the group meets once or twice a month to discuss a book that's been recommended by a member. (These meetings can be face-to-face gatherings or virtual chats. No matter.) The only rule? The assigned books must be non-mainstream works written by less well-known authors and published by independent presses. "These meetings provide an impetus to explore regularly the vast world of underexposed books," says Linn. "And it's a great way to share your discoveries with others. If you've never been part of a reading group, you'll find it's a refreshing and mentally stimulating experience."

· Test the waters with the every-other-book rule. Don't worry. There is no need to go cold-turkey on your bestseller habit. Simply alternate your reading list: for every mainstream book you read, commit to reading one non-mainstream book. This is a good way to enjoy the best of both worlds. "Some people are a little bit scared to venture outside the familiar, mass-media-approved reading world," says Linn. "They figure bestsellers are bestsellers for a reason. And you know, there's nothing wrong with mashed potatoes, but you don't want them for every meal. Sometimes you need some spicy Thai noodles, too. Once you see the richness of what's out there just under the radar, you might find that the bestseller table no longer holds as much appeal for you."

"There is such a deep well of raw, undiscovered literary talent out there that even if you read non-stop, 24/7, for the rest of your life, you'd barely scratch the surface," says Linn. "It's mind-boggling, truly. When you make it a priority to seek out independent books, you're certain to be amazed at the compelling, exciting, brilliant material you'll find. All it takes is a little effort and a little open-mindedness to see that there are a lot of writers out there with a lot to say. They just need someone who's willing to listen."

Consortium Book Sales & Distribution is the exclusive distributor for nearly 100 independent publishers from the United States, Canada, Europe, India, and Australia. Books are currently distributed in the United States and Canada. In addition to sales and distribution services, Consortium provides marketing, promotional, and product development support.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Becoming a Columnist Is Easier Than Ever

Marketing with Fran column by Francine Silverman

Before the Internet, columns were largely the purview of newspapers and news magazines. Anyone who yearned to be a columnist had to send clips to syndicates and the competition was fierce. Today, there are websites that are actually seeking columnists.

Okay, so there’s generally no pay, but what better way to gain recognition? I got my column by emailing John Kremer. He was familiar with my newsletter and had a copy of my book so my credentials were already spoken for.

Here are some examples of how other authors became columnists:

Guidebook writer Tim Leffel, author of The World’s Cheapest Destinations (Booklocker, 2002), had written a few articles for Transitions Abroad magazine. So when his book was released and he got the editor to write an advance review and cover blurb, Tim “pitched him an article related to the theme of the book. Since he liked it and also liked what I had done previously he asked if I’d like to be a regular columnist. Doesn’t pay much, but a great pipeline to the people I’m trying to reach.” Web:

Meta Newell West is author of The Kirby House Cookbook (Kirby House Publishing, 2001), containing more than 200 recipes in use at the historic Kirby House restaurant in Abilene, Kansas. The book includes the history of the building from 1885 to the present day and offers a glimpse of life and dining during the Victorian era. “The Kirby House Cookbook was my first published book,” says Meta. “I now write a monthly column in my local paper and give those articles with recipes to the Historical Society – they are reprinted and sold in booklet form as a money maker for the historical society.” Web:

Patricia Paris is a columnist and author from Tennessee who delivers her unique, tongue-in-cheek style of writing in her newspaper column, currently running in six newspapers: The Tylertime Times (MS), Bristol Bugle (IN), The Knoxville Independent (TN), The Seymour Herald (RN), Smoky Mountain Herald (TN), and The Post (AL), as well as online newspapers:, North Texas e-News, and The articles are reprinted weekly on three online magazines:, and ZIK Magazine.

The column, Patricia’s Porch Talk, covers many topics. “Sometimes I talk about a memory, or perhaps a holiday,” Patricia explains. “Sometimes the topic covers a current issue and for this I have visitors to my porch, Aunt Mildred and Sam.” (These two are semi-real explains Patricia, but the column reflects her elderly aunt’s “true, peppery personality and is a way of keeping her strong forever.” Sam is a compilation of all the Sams in her family).

It all started when one of the newspapers, which had done a favorable review of Patricia’s second novel, The Spiritual Side of Sarah (1st World Library, 2003), talked with her about doing a column. “They had space opening up due to a retiring columnist,” she recalls. “We talked about doing an everyday life-southern style column and the idea appealed to me. Then I contacted several other newspapers who had done favorable book reviews and two of them agreed to take the column also. So Patricia’s Porch Talk started out in three newspapers strong.”

Patricia is also author of Connections (1st Books Library, 2003), a poignant novel about relationships and memories of being raised alone by an emotionally disturbed mother, laced with humor and heartwarming chuckles, all woven into a fictional storyline. Web:

Susie Hawes, a dark-fantasy/horror author who actively promotes on the Internet, has a column at EpicSFF called Spook Central. “I got the column by getting to know the site,” she says. “Then when they posted that they were looking for a column writer, I applied. They knew me and had seen my posts in other forums so they went for it.” Susie is author of Eva's Son (Ore Mountain Publishing House, 2005). Web:

Kathi Kamen Goldmark has a column with Sam Barry called The Author Enablers in BookPage, a print publication that I found in the library ( In 1992, Kathi founded the Rock Bottom Remainders, an all-author band. Mid-Life Confidential (Plume Books 1995), edited by Dave Marsh, is about the band.

“We've had our BookPage column for six months and it's great fun to do,” she says. “We have good publishing connections and some name recognition because of my novel and the Rock Bottom Remainders. Even so, we knocked on a few doors and got a lot of 'love it but we have no space and no budget'-type answer before connecting with BookPage.” Kathi is author of the novel, And My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You (Chronicle Books, 2002). Web:

Aaron Lazar says that most of his networking connections “have come from befriending authors (editors) in a natural, genuine fashion and keeping them abreast of my activities via emails.” Among his e-friends is Bob Burdick at “Bob offered up his Library, where authors could submit samples of their work for inclusion,” says Aaron. “I sent him a chapter of Double Forte.” While browsing the site, Aaron noticed that Bob had just published a mystery novel and Aaron was hooked after reading the first chapter. “I ordered it, loved it and reviewed it.”

This began a “nice correspondence with Bob, discussing his book and mine,” recalls Aaron. “He invited me to write a feature, A Writer's Life, for the June issue [of Burdick's newsletter]. After that was written, he asked me to be a regular columnist for the newsletter.” Web:

By keying in “How to Become a Columnist” at Google, I found several sites looking for columnists. Among them are (topics needed are wedding preparation, event planning, entertaining, food/recipes, health/nutrition, gardening, senior issues, Virginia destinations, education, music, and outdoors). Send sample column along with your name, address and phone number to

Another is, which claims to be the “world’s largest platform dedicated to the Textile/Apparel/Fashion industry,” attracting more than 390,000 visitors from the industry. Fill out the form on site.

Finally, visit if you have fresh business perspectives, or can offer views on trend-spotting, family issues and solutions, lifestyles, or balancing work and leisure. Write to

The list goes on and on. Good luck!

Francine Silverman is editor/publisher of Book Promotion Newsletter, a bi-weekly ezine for authors of all genres, and author of Book Marketing from A-Z (Infinity Publishing, 2005), a compilation of the best marketing strategies of 325 authors from all over the English-speaking world. Please visit

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Getting More Reviews on

Note from Nathan Schock:

"I came across your blog and enjoyed what I read. I thought you might be interested in a recent post on my blog: It discusses a book author contacting me to post an Amazon review, simply because I had previously done reviews on Amazon."

In his post, he writes about receiving an email from Jerry Weissman, author of In the Line of Fire: How to Handle Tough Questions...When It Counts, where Jerry offered to send him a review copy of his book because Nathan was a volunteer book reviewer. Nathan wrote:

"My first thought is that this is an extremely effective promotional technique. Although nothing in either the email or the package sought to influence my review, the fact that he's mailing these for free to Amazon reviewers can't hurt the reviewer's perception of the author. If you send it to enough, odds are such that more of your reviews will be positive than negative. In fact, most of Weissman's reviews at Amazon are five out of five stars, so it appears to be working."

Here is an author who is reaching a significant audience simply by asking people to accept a free copy of his book for possible review.

As Nathan points out in his post: "Although a review in the New York Times, may be read by millions, it won't be staring in the face of someone contemplating an online purchase. Be honest. Have you ever purchased a book on Amazon without reading at least one review?"

Have you sent an email to some of the active book reviewers on who have reviewed books similar to yours? If not, you should. It's one of the most effective ways you can use to sell more books.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Blogging and Book Reviews

Here's a note I received from Mike Vogel, author of Isn't That Bigamy. For more information about his book, see:

"If you can get one blogger with a readership of 50 to mention your book and another blogger with a readership of 500 links to that story, you just marketed to 550 people. Now, if any of those 550 link to it, you can have exponential growth in awareness."

Within the blogging community, it is common to cite other blogs. If you get mentioned in one blog, there's a good chance other blogs will notice and link to that post. As more blogs post to each other, you reach a larger and larger audience. Zoom. You get noticed.

Blogs might well become one of the key book reviewing and publicity media. Indeed, they have already created many sales for some books, especially the off-beat novel and the unusual nonfiction book that can inspire specific fan intest.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Telling Lies

Something to think about . . . Because it's true . . .

If you tell lies about a product, you will be found out. — David Ogilvy, advertising executive

Saturday, September 03, 2005

How to Change the World

Here's a great quote from Hugh Elliott, blogger at Standing Room Only:

Miracles: You do not have to look for them. They are there, 24/7, beaming like radio waves all around you. Put up the antenna, turn up the volume - snap... crackle... this just in, every person you talk to is a chance to change the world. — Hugh Elliott, blogger, Standing Room Only

Remember that when you need to make that one more phone call, or write that one more email, or make one more effort to send out a news release or book proposal. Every person you talk to is a chance to change the world. What are you waiting for?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Spam Is a Big Deal

The following post is excerpted from Paul Myer's Talkbiz News ezine. To subscribe to his newsletter, go to


A recent case resulted in a spammer getting nine years in jail for various felonious activities that were part of his spamming operation. A gentleman [cough] on one of the boards asked the question: "Is it just me, or is the war on spam getting a little ridiculous and out of hand?"

He seems to think that 9 years for fraud is too much. After all, it's just email, right? Can you believe there are people out there with enough brains to type whole sentences, with verbs and nouns and everything, who still don't get it?

For those of you who might feel tempted to ask the same question, here's what I had to say to him:

It's just you. You're not paying attention.

If someone were to do to any other medium what spammers have done to email, they'd be jailed much more quickly.

--> Try tying up the phone lines of every single person in the world with a listed number, and then flooding the system with guesses to get to the unlisted ones.

--> Leave long messages, so that people can't get voicemail from folks they want to hear from.

--> Build an autodialing set-up so powerful that it overwhelms the global phone system. Autodial emergency service numbers, government and business offices, hospitals, airports, cell phones...

--> Get every telephone in the world ringing all day, every day, non-stop.

--> Oh yeah... Then develop hacks that get innocent people's telephones to do your autodialing for you. (Probably 25% to 50% of the subscribers to this newsletter are sending spam right now and don't know it. A lot of it p**n spam.)

--> When someone answers, pitch them on fake jewelry, patent medicines and illegally delivered prescriptions. Trick them with con games to get their banking and credit information so you can steal their identities.

--> Or just breathe heavy. To 100 million people. At once.

See if you don't get tossed in prison.

Spammers cost the global economy billions of dollars annually in direct monetary costs. There's no way to estimate the cost in terms of damaged or destroyed data resulting from the viruses/trojans they plant on people's systems. And the cost in plain old human time lost forever.

I have an acquaintance who runs a small midwestern ISP. He has over 100X the machine power in place that's needed to deliver all of his customers' legitimate email. It's not enough. He's currently planning to go to 500X the necessary capacity. A large part of that is needed to handle filtering. If he doesn't stop the majority of the spam, his customers will go somewhere else, thinking they're going to get less spam. They won't, unless they're also willing to accept a lot of legitimate email getting dumped by the filters. He estimates that when the necessary hardware required hits 1000X legit needs, it will no longer be POSSIBLE for him to offer email. It's already losing him money.

The estimates of the cost of keeping up with spam (just on the ISPs' part) range between $2 and $5 per customer, per month. There are at least 600 million people online globally. Say it's $3/month, and that's $1.8 BILLION dollars that ISPs spend every month just trying to reduce the flow.

Yeah. Throw them in jail, and lose the key.

And while we're at it, let's boot every ... person ... who says spam isn't that big a deal off the net. You're dangerous to the rest of us.

The problem is much bigger than that description, but it makes the point. Next time someone says something stupid like, "Spam is no big deal," and you don't want to waste a lot of time arguing with them, send them a copy of that.

Then suggest that they go back to the prescribed dosage.


John's Comments: It still boggles my mind that the software and hardware people who make so much money because of the Internet haven't figured out a way to abolish spam. There certainly are some workable solutions, but any filtering system still filters out wanted mail along with the spam. No system is perfect.

I certainly don't know what to do about the spam problem because I'm not a software programmer and I don't understand all the details on how email works. But I do know that spam hurts me in two ways:

1. It costs me time to filter out spam email and to go through the automatically filtered email that might contain important communications I want. I currently have three filtering systems for incoming spam, and I still get 20 to 30 spam messages a day, many of them obvious spam. If I were writing the filtering software, I would catch more of that obvious spam.

2. It costs me readers. I know that my Book Marketing Tip of the Week, which has 8,000 subscribers, doesn't get through to all of them. That means that people who really want my tips and resource listings don't always get them. That's one reason I've put more attention on this blog where people can come to visit when they get time -- and nothing filters out my messages. But this solution has a great flaw: It relies on users to actively seek out my blog (even with RSS, blog readers still have to take an active step to read my new blog posts).

If you're not always getting my email tip of the week, be sure to put my email ( on your white list, acceptable list, approved list, or whatever it's called in your email program or spam scanning service.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Blog for Relief Day

If you are motivated to donate to the millions of victims of Hurricane Katrina, check out That's the home page for Blog for Relief Day (09/01/05). That page features 82 charities you can contact for donations and offers of help.

The devastation has to be the most widespread and tragic of any natural disaster that has ever occurred in the United States. Please help.

Some Favorite Quotes

Great hearts steadily send forth the secret forces that incessantly draw great events. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, essayist

You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. — Richard Bach, author

Follow your bliss. Go with the thing that really talks to you. — Joseph Campbell, mythologist

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. — Maya Angelou, poet

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, essayist

If everyone lived with a sense of wonder, their lives would be filled with joy. — Doug Henning, magician

The smallest fact is a window through which we can see the infinite. — Aldous Huxley, novelist

Dance as if no one were watching. Sing as if no one were listening. And live every day as if it were your last. — Irish proverb

Whatever God may lead us to do, He will always give us the power to do. — Christian Larson, author

If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes. — Charles Lindbergh, aviator

How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar. — Trina Paulus

Comment on John Johnson Post

For those of you who read my post on John Johnson, here is another blog commenting on that post: Yarshar Books. In this post, Rabbi Aaron Levine, author of the forthcoming Moral Issues of the Marketplace in Jewish Law, makes some interesting comments.

Here is the link to my original post: John Johnson post.

Also check out John Johnson's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame entry:
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