Thursday, October 27, 2005

Toll-Free Phone Numbers: Still Needed?

As part of our moving into a new home, I've been making all the utility phone calls. In the process of changing phone service, I decided to cancel our toll-free phone service.

It just didn't make sense to me to continue the toll-free service when such a large percentage of our orders is coming via email and our web site.

Plus, with so many people now using cell phones, long distance charges have little impact on people choosing to make an order via regular phone lines.

I think toll-free numbers have seen their prime and will only decrease in impact and utility in the coming years. That doesn't mean they will go away, but many smaller businesses will choose to do without.

Toll-free numbers still make sense for catalogers, Fortune 500 consumer marketers, some information services, and business-to-business marketers (for example, publishers selling to and servicing book wholesalers and individual bookstores).

But our toll-free number was no longer generating enough orders to justify its cost. The cost of the toll-free number wasn't a lot, but the cost of handling phone orders versus web orders is significant.

Now I've just got to make sure that I haven't mentioned the toll-free number in the new edition of 1001 Ways as well as deleting all reference to it on my web site. That might take a few weeks to clean the site of every mention since I can't use search and replace to change every mention on more than 200 pages.

You, too, should reconsider whether or not you should continue offering toll-free service (if you do offer it now) or adding it (if you don't offer it now).

That's my key tip this week: Reconsider the expense of a toll-free number. My recommendation: Drop the service if you now offer it primarily for the convenience of a few consumers. On the other hand, keep it if your main customers are retail outlets.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Making the Most of Blurbs and Endorsements

Marketing with Fran by Francine Silverman

There are varying opinions on the value of blurbs on book covers. The detractors claim that endorsers will often provide blurbs without reading the book or as a favor to others. Joseph Finder, an author and blogger, believes people are persuaded by blurbs; it’s only writers who are cynical of author endorsements. Web: Blurbs.

There are various uses to blurbs. I use a review quote in my release to small publishers: “While Silverman’s book is geared towards individual authors and their book promotion efforts, I think small publishers would also be well-advised to read it,” says Bernadette Geyer, one of 30 reviewers to give the book a glowing review.

For Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, Shel Horowitz took the endorsements from book marketing gurus to create a composite headline in his release: “Principled Profit is HOT, Say Canfield, Levinson, and Others.” Then he listed all the endorsers with links to their blurbs. More details at:

Peter Bowerman feels that Bob Bly’s blurb on The Well-Fed Writer helped sales tremendously. When he self-published it in 2000, Peter was a first-time writer and having praise from perhaps the most recognized expert in Peter’s industry (copywriting) helped assure potential readers that Peter knew his stuff. On his second book, The Well-Fed Writer: Back for Seconds, Bly’s quote is on the front cover. In fact, the first four pages of his latest book are filled with blurbs). Details at:

How to get endorsements? Ask. People are flattered by the inquiry. Or use your connections. Kathi Kamen Goldmark is a former media escort and founder of an all-author rock band with Amy Tan, Dave Barry, and Stephen King. So when it came time for endorsements for And My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You, she was able to “get some impressive endorsements from well-known authors.” Chronicle Books “ran with the ball” by running a full-page ad for the book in the New York Times Book Review. Details at: And My Shoes.

Shoshanna Katzman also snagged a celebrity endorsement through connections. An acupuncturist, herbalist and Tai Chi and Qigong professional, Shoshanna’s first book, Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness, was endorsed by Courtney Cox, the star of “Friends.” Shoshanna had made contact through her co-author, an old friend of the show’s clothes designer. Shoshanna sent Courtney a galley of the book and Courtney faxed back the endorsement. This was when “Friends” was still new to TV, and Shoshanna never quite realized how incredible it was to receive this celebrity endorsement. Details at: qigong4everyone.

Your endorsers don’t have to be celebrities. Writers in your own genre are often more valuable. When William R. Benedetto wrote Sailing Into the Abyss: A True Story of Extreme Heroism on the High Seas, he garnered 12 pre-pub endorsements from two bestselling authors, high-ranking USCG and USN officers, and members of the Merchant Marine. How? “Through somebody who knew somebody who knew somebody.” Details at William Benedetto.

Finally, always thank the endorser. As Joe Finder relates, an almost-bestselling author had begged him for a quote, so he read the book. Though lukewarm about it, he managed to “scrape together some nice, honest thing to say.” But, bemoans Joe, “the writer didn’t even thank me – not a note, not a book, nothing. Pissed me off.”

A few weeks later, Joe noticed a blurb on that book by a friend. When asked why he’d contributed the blurb, the friend replied: “A favor to their mutual agent. And you know, that bastard writer never even thanked me.”

-- Francine Silverman is editor/publisher of Book Promotion Newsletter, a biweekly ezine for authors of all genres, and author of Book Marketing from A-Z, a compilation of the best marketing strategies of 325 authors from all over the English-speaking world. Visit

Monday, October 17, 2005

More on Children's Books

Question: I think I have a rather good idea why I wouldn't self-publish children's books, but I'm curious as to your reasoning for suggesting she go with a traditional publisher.

Answer: The basic reason, especially for someone who is coming at the field from an amateur author viewpoint, is very simple: Publishing children's books is much more costly that publishing other books. It is almost impossible to sell children's books through bookstores unless they are printed in full color. The cost of artwork, design and preparation, separations, and color printing puts self-publishing out of the range of most children's authors.

I look at it at a very basic level: Can a children's book author who has no experience in art or printing get a return on his or her investment? The answer is almost always NO. Besides the education and investment of time/money in art, design, and printing, there are also the costs of promotion. Few children's book authors I know are ready to make that kind of investment in time or money.

There are certainly some people who I would recommend self-publish a children's book, but not many. It's a very tough market, especially given the high cost of the first print run.

There have been a number of self-publishers who have been very successful at publishing children's books, so I can't rule it out. But for most people, it's just not a practical way to go unless they have the time and money to burn. And I do mean burn. Like up in smoke in probably 8 out of 10 cases.

-- John Kremer, author, John Kremer's Self-Publishing Hall of Fame. Check out the web site today: Self-Publishing Hall of Fame. Read the book at your leisure. Note: The book offers much more detailed and useful self-publishing and book marketing information while the web site primarily features a listing of most of the people in the hall of fame.

The POD book is a great deal at only $20.00 postpaid during October and November. The eBook version is an even greater deal at only $10.00 until Halloween. Again, no charge for shipping. Order at Hall of Fame Books.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Children's Book Publishers

Question: I worked with children for 7 years where I told them stories to entertain them. After I told them all the stories I knew, I started to imagine new stories and tell them. The kids loved them and I got the idea to write them down. My question is: How could I publish them?

Answer: You should not try to publish them yourself. Instead, sell them to a good children's book publisher. I list many such publishers at: Children's Book Publishers.

Before submitting your stories to a publisher, be sure to go to a good local bookstore and see which children's publishers are publishing stories like the ones you've been creating. Those are the publishers you want to approach. When you submit your story (send one at a time) to a publisher, tell them why you are sending your story to them. Why? Because they've published books similar to the story you are telling.

-- John Kremer, author, 1001 Ways to Market Your Books

Friday, October 14, 2005

$50 Discount on eBook Pro

Do you need a new source of revenue for your publishing company? How would you like to learn how to create instant Ebooks that will enable you to promote and sell your book all over the Internet?

I've just finished reviewing a brand-new software that regular people like you have already used to create automated Internet businesses that are generating $151,000... $360,000... $1.2 million per year... often working less than 10 hours per week.

The software I'm talking about actually gives you the ability to start 10... 50... 100 original mini Internet businesses selling something 1,000s of people already want.

I can't give away all the details in this e-mail; there's too much to share.

So visit eBook Pro to get all the details.

But please note, the $50.00 discount and the $1,085.92 worth of free bonuses will only be available to the first 250 people who check out this new system, so I'd advise you to move quickly!

By the way, you can also learn a few key promotion secrets on this page... Like an easy way to generate over $7,000,000... And two other promotion techniques that have been worth thousands of dollars in sales.

This page also features three case studies of people making $151,000 to $1.2 million per year using these techniques. To read their stories, visit: eBook Pro.

I've toned down the promotional language, LARGE CAPS, and exclamation points of this note to let you know that there is something seriously useful here for those of you who can figure out how to incorporate it into your book marketing plans.

-- John Kremer

Thursday, October 13, 2005

First Time Novelists: How to Get Attention

I just read a great post on the Media Bistro blog about how one first-time novelist sold her book. I think she offers good advice, especially her first point:
I submitted my short story "Adults At Home" to twenty-eight literary journals before it was accepted by the Indiana Review. I couldn't believe what happened next. Three agents contacted me -- proving the fact that agents actively seek clients, and they really do read literary journals. I had only just started writing TWINS, but I responded to the agents' queries, thanking them for their interest. Over the course of the next two years, one persistent young agent (Alex Glass of Trident Media Group) stayed in regular contact with me. When I finished TWINS, I sent the manuscript directly to him.

I know too many talented writers who don't submit their work. This drives me crazy. It's a simple fact: you can't get published if you don't put yourself out into the world. Buy manila envelopes, print labels, make copies, get busy. Amazing things can happen as a result.

To read her entire post, check out: Media Bistro.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

John Kremer Apologizes: A Rant of Sorts

My apologies to anyone who has placed book or data file orders during the past two months. I know some of you don't appreciate excuses, and I really don't have any. Even with all that has been going on, I should have been able to maintain the sending out of orders on time. But I haven't. For that, I apologize.

Two major personal things have been occupying a lot of my time.

First, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes two months ago. For those of you in a high risk category as I was (family history, overweight, too many late night snacks), I encourage you to check your blood sugar levels regularly. You can buy an inexpensive kit at any drugstore. I may do a blog on all the things I've learned about diabetes since being diagnosed. While diabetes can be controlled, it's not something you want to have. Trust me on this. Out of control blood sugar affects every system of the body — and, in at least two instances, knocked me out of working order for half a day each when I ended up with too low blood sugar.

Second, my wife and I have been seeking and (we hope) finding a new home because we are being smoked out of our current house by neighbors on both sides who insist on burning wood fires. Now, they insist that they are being environmentally conscious by using a renewable resource, but they are not.

If everyone in our neighborhood burned wood, the air outside would be nauseous. That's why most cities ban wood stoves. Wood burning, for those of you who are naive, is incredibly toxic, certainly more toxic than second-hand cigarette smoke. Amazingly, the people who designed wood stoves and chimneys created a wonderful ecological nightmare: They designed the systems to take the smoke away from the offender and deposit it next door. A neat trick. We've tried to seal up our house to keep the smoke out of our house, but it seeps in everywhere. With my wife's chemical sensitivity, she can't sleep at night because of the smoke and often has to leave our home to get fresh air out in the country.

We'd move out to the country, but the farmers in this neck of the woods spray all sorts of chemicals on their fields — all of which migrate to people living next door.
Some day, I hope, people will actually learn how their actions affect others. Right now, everyone is in denial. The farmers insist that using chemicals is the only way to make a living (they are being sold a bill of goods by the seed manufacturers and chemical companies). My neighbors insist on burning wood. Etc. Eyes closed. Denial full bore. And yet both of my neighbors are ardent Democrats and environmentalists. They know how the smoke affects us. We've tried to work with them. No sale. They want to burn. By the way, wood smoke contributes heavily to air pollution, atmospheric warming, and deforestation.

So, we're moving to a new home, but that's taking up a lot of my time. Doing due diligence, inspections, etc. Plus, now packing, etc.

Sorry for the rant, but I really don't understand people who know they are hurting their neighbors but will not do anything to change. It makes me sad. Our new neighbors don't burn, and don't plan to burn anytime soon.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Do You Know How to Write?

Do you agree with the following quote? Please add comments to this post.

"The reason why so few good books are written is that so few people who can write know anything." -- Walter Bagehot, economist and journalist

Personally, I think anyone who knows how to write well will always write something interesting, something worth reading.

I think the reason so few good books are written is that so many good books never get the notice they should. The good books are being written, but so many have not yet reached their audience.

There are clearly a lot of bad books being written, more now than ever, especially with the growth of self-publishing and POD printing where many books get published without any editing or selection. That doesn't make self-publishing or POD printing bad. But it does mean that anyone, no matter how bad a writer or how lacking in anything to say, can still get a book published.

Of course, it also means that some great stuff gets written and published that never would have reached the light of day. So I'll take all the bad stuff as long as the good stuff gets through.

My job is to help the good stuff get through.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

The Biggest Mistake in Writing News Releases

In the last issue of his Million Dollar Publicity Strategies newsletter, my good friend Paul Hartunian wrote about a press release he received. Here is the lesson he teaches. It is something many of you need to read more than once. I know, because I still see so many of you making this same mistake over and over again.

Their press release started with the words:

"SoBiz! Network's slogan, 'Get business, not just business cards!' sums up their networking philosophy. The organization, founded in 2003, is an extremely productive and high energy networking organization."

Now, what's my first publicity lesson to you?

If you said, "Nobody gives a rat's rear end about SoBiz Network," you win a gold star. You've been reading my lessons over the past months and years.

The release goes on to yap about how wonderful SoBiz is. And more yap, and more yap and more yap.

Then they make a sales pitch to join their network marketing company.

How many times have I taught you that no one - absolutely no one - cares about you. People only care about what you can do for them.

The #1 mistake people make when they write press releases is that they fill the release with information about themselves, their business, their product, etc.

I've said it over and over again in these lessons - absolutely no one cares about you, your product, your business, or whatever.

No one.

Even your mother lies to you.

Did you understand his message? It's really very simple: No one cares about your book, your publishing company, or you. What they want to know is very simple: What's in it for me?

Even those of us who are unselfish, caring, and giving people -- even we still want to know what benefits you have to offer to us. You can tell me everything you can think of about your product, but if you never tell me how I can use it to make my life better, or save money, or lose weight, or take better care of my family, well, then your product means nothing to me. I don't need it. I don't want it. I couldn't care less.

The sad thing is that your book might be just what I'm looking for, something I really need, but if your news release is focused solely on the book, I will never hear about it.

Make me care. Tell me why I should be interested. Move me to act. Break my heart. And heal it again.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Comments: Anonymous Spam

Update: A reader of this blog has told me that I can avoid the comment spam by enabling a BlogSpot feature called word verification which I have now done. So now legitimate readers should be able to comment without any problem -- even anonymously -- since some of you like that feature.

Please note that this blog has been getting a lot of automatic comments spam so I had to change the setting for comments from anonymous to registered user. I hope this stops the automatic comments spam.

Up until now, I've been deleting the spam, but it takes a lot of work to monitor this spam -- which always links to other sites, mostly undesirable ones. I don't want any blog users to be exposed to this spam.

I also changed the settings so new posts could not accept comments. If you would like to comment, please email comments to me and I will post them. If you want to remain anonymous, you can send the post via one of the anonymous services or a temporary address.

I really hate to do this but I don't want you or others to be exposed to web sites from people who operate in this absolutely unnetworthy way. If I can figure out another way to do it, I will.

SPAN Book Marketing Conference: See You There!

I hope you can be with me, Rick Frishman, Marilyn Ross, Penny Sansevieri, and many other good people when we speak at the upcoming SPAN Marketing Conference and Trade Show, October 21-23, in Denver, Colorado. To learn more about the conference go to

Here's part of their promotional brochure on the conference:

Publishing is a journey and all publishers want theirs to be perfect. Publishers have an opportunity to improve their chances for a smooth trip by attending SPAN’s 10th Annual Marketing Conference and Trade Show. Held at the Denver Marriott South, October 21-23, publishers will learn how to sell more books, make greater profits, and increase their professional standing.

Please come if you can. I'd love to meet you there.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Some Really Good Additions to Make Your Web Site Great

How would you like an instant Internet business? How about 10 for a fraction of the price of just one of them? Even if you don't care about having an Internet business, these ebooks and web site software enhancements will make your web site really work!


Well, if you act quickly, then you're in luck.

This is your chance to snatch up the Full Master Resale Rights to 10 incredible products. I love this product. I bought in to it on Friday and the stuff included is just too useful to ignore.

You'll get the full source code to eBooks, software, and multi-media products that have never sold before. You'll own them. So you can do just about anything you like with them. And they're all 100% original, fresh and good products.

You also get the following for each of your 10 new products:

* Complete source code and/or source files,
* Exclusive Master Resale Rights,
* Full web site templates with custom header, footer & background graphics,
* Multiple software box and e-Book cover graphics, and
* Web site sales letters.

This package has a value of many thousands of dollars but for the next few days you get to pick it up for a lot less.

Best Regards,
John Kremer

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Promote Your Book: Do It Every Day

If you want to sell more books, there is one basic principle that is essential: Do something every day for every book you love. Call someone. Write a letter. Create Internet links. Update your web site. Write a related blog. Give a talk. Dance a jig.

Okay, maybe the last action won't do much for your book, but it will help you get into action. So, perhaps start by dancing a jig. Then do three to five things every day to market your book. Be consistent. Don't take a day off. If you make three contacts a day, real living breathing contacts, you'll make more than a 1,000 contacts in a year. If you sell your books to those contacts, if your pitch is right and strong, you will get noticed. You will sell books.

The mistake most authors and publishers make is that they spend two to six weeks marketing a book and then wait to see what happens. Well, I can tell you what will happen. Not much. Not if you don't continue taking action every day.

Do it today. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
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