Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How to Keep Your Website Running Smoothly and Profitably

If you missed the Paul Hartunian, Pamela Yellen, Bob Serling, and Steve MacLellan teleconference How to Keep Your Website Running Smoothly and Profitably on Wednesday, you missed a dazzler. But you can hear a replay of the call at:

Monday, November 28, 2005

Paul Myers's Toolbox

My friend Paul Myers is giving away an 18-page report of great resources for small businesses. I think you'll like the report. It's easy to get. Just go here: Paul's ToolBox.

Paul is also giving away this handy -- and very simple to use -- tool that makes it very easy to create a redirect page. It's even easier than doing it yourself in HTML. Very simple. It's what I used to create this redirect page: It's a small program and, again, very easy to use. But I would guess that it only works with IBM-PC compatibles and not Macs.

Have fun with it.

Whoops. I forgot to tell you what a redirect page is and why you might want to use it. Here goes: A redirect page is a simple HTML page that you put on your web site that automatically sends the user to another web page (generally a page on another web site). Here are three reasons why you might want to use a redirect page:

1. To send users to a web site with a very long URL. For example, instead of sending people to ThisIsNotARealPage/00045xx/useless.html, you could send them to Shorter, simpler, and cleaner. Especially useful for inserting into newsletters or blogs like this where you otherwise have to break the URL into two lines (like I did here).

2. To send users to an affiliate link. Let's say that you don't want to reveal to other people what your affiliate link is, or even that the page you are sending them to is an affiliate page (where you make money if people buy the product you are recommending), then you can send people to a page on your web site that automatically forwards them to the affiliate page. This technique is used by a lot of affiliate program participants because affiliate links can be very long.

3. It allows you to have more links showing links to your web site rather than other web sites. This might help your web site in search engine rankings.

If you like the information and tools that Paul Myers provides, buy him a beer at Now, this page is a clever idea. I may have to set up such a page for myself.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Newspaper Book Review Editors

Question: Is the list of newspaper book reviewers posted on your site ( recent? It seems like a very small list, compared to the number of newspapers out there.

John's Answer: I note in the newspaper listings when I updated each listing (see the dates in parentheses). The list is small (only 65 newspapers), but it does include most of the major newspapers that actually do their own book reviews.

There are certainly many other newspapers, but if you want to get noticed in them, you'll probably have to reach their special interest editors (sports, food, business, religion, or whatever fits your book).

The reality is that, for most books, newspaper reviews have little impact. You will get the most impact from reviews, interviews, or notices in magazines.

The time when you most want to appear in a newspaper is when you are doing a bookstore appearance or other speaking engagement in the local area. Then you want the interview to occur before or on the day of your appearance.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Distributor Discounts

Question: I'm interested in working with a distributor but I want to make sure what the discounts mean. For example, you say "Discount: 25% of net sales for mid-sized publishers." If my book retails for $10.00, does that mean they will pay me $2.50 per book or $7.50 per book? Any help would be appreciated.

I already sell a lot of books through Ingrams and B & T and I give them a 55% discount so I'm trying to compare the two.

John's Answer: If your book sells for $10.00, then they will pay you 75% of the price they sell the book for (they keep the other 25%). For example, if they sell your $10.00 book to a bookstore at 40% discount, the bookstore would pay them $6.00. You would get 75% of that $6.00, or $4.50. The distributor gets the other $1.50 (25%).

If they sell your $10.00 book to Ingram or B&T (wholesaler accounts they would take over), then they would receive $4.50 (if they sell at 55% discount to these wholesalers). You would receive 75% or $3.37 of that amount. The distributor would keep the other $1.13.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Write-Brain Workbook

Writers Alert:

If you ever trouble coming up with ideas for your books, short stories, novels, poems, articles, etc., then you need to check out Bonnie Newbauer's new book, The Write-Brain Workbook, just published by Writer's Digest Books.

It provides a colorful exercise to do every day to help spark your creativity and exercise your writing prowess. Check it out at I think you'll enjoy it. I have.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Becoming an Editor or Author

Question: I am an English major and was interested in becoming a full-time author and editor. Do you have any suggestions as to how I get started or what books I should read?

Answer: The books you should read would be different depending on whether you wanted to be an author or an editor. Some would be the same: The classics, good novels, Walden, Leaves of Grass, Ulysses, Mark Twain, Hemingway, Faulkner, etc.

To become an editor (again, what kind?), but I presume you want to acquire and edit great books (not copy edit or proofread). If so, you should work at a publisher as an intern, or after graduating, as a secretary, packer and shipper, whatever, just get in the door. Then show them what you can do as a reader and editor.

As for being an author, there are three rules for a professional author:

1. Never write anything until you've sold it.

2. Always sell things more than once.

3. Write every day.

Pretty simple, but the effectiveness of those three points is in the details.

Also, make friends with other authors, especially professionals. Befriend them.

There is so much more that I could say, but then it'd become a book -- one that I have no intention of writing. At least not now when I am still working on completing the 6th edition of 1001 Ways to Market Your Books.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Public Speaking for Authors

Public Speaking: What Are We Afraid of? by Francine Silverman

Why is public speaking so stressful for most of us? We’ve all heard that the fear of speaking is greater than the fear of death. As Jerry Seinfeld quipped, “That means most people at a funeral would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy.”

As authors, we need to speak. It’s one of the best ways to sell our books. When you speak, they think you know. You’re viewed as the authority, the teacher, the expert. As Dr. Morton Orman states in his article, How to Conquer Public Speaking Fear, if you give an audience something of value they will consider you a success. He goes on to say that people remember few of the facts speakers convey and that it’s best to stick with two or three main points.

I recently served on a two-person panel at the Learning Annex in New York City. There were about 60 people in the audience and the subject was nearest and dearest to my heart – how to promote your book. I was prepared and yet a bit nervous. I truly didn’t know how I was received until the end, when students came up to both of us, thanking us for giving them good information. One even said my talk energized her!!

Why are we afraid to speak? Does it hark back to high school when we were ridiculed? Do we worry that we’re not as smart as others or will be embarrassed by the attention?

Hildy Gottlieb began to relax when she began teaching. She realized that as a public speaker she had been too worried about herself rather than focusing thoughts on her audience. “When I was afraid to do public speaking, the fear was all about ME,” she said. “What if I choke, what if I mess up, what if I don’t remember. Me me me.”

But as she began concentrating on the content and the audience, the better she felt. “That’s what teachers do: They know they have a lesson to give their students, and they know that if the students don’t get it from them, they likely won’t get it at all. They aren’t there for themselves; they are there for their students. They are there out of love of the subject they want to convey.

“Teachers refer often to their notes; they don’t perform. Teachers make certain the group understands one concept before moving on to the next one. They ask for feedback as they’re going along. Teachers answer questions to be sure the group is following the subject matter. So go ahead - become a teacher.”

If you view a speech as a performance, you’re in trouble. This is anxiety provoking since you have to guess the kind of performance the audience wants. It’s much more comfortable to view your talk as a communication encounter and share your ideas with the audience.

I have read two suggestions for preparing a speech that are worth a try:

Use a mirror. Then say the speech, looking to the mirror. This helps with concentration and if you use notes it allows you to practice eye contact with the audience.

Stand in the corner. The sound reflects back to you, and you can get a good idea how you sound when you speak.

About 85% of the population experiences stage fright when they give a speech, but 90% of nervousness doesn’t show. If you're still not convinced that there is nothing to fear, read the articles on the Internet about the fear of public speaking. You’ll realize one thing for sure – you’ve got lots of company!!

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 marketing strategies of 325 authors. Visit and click Ask the Experts for answers to your book marketing questions.

Friday, November 18, 2005 Makes the News

My web site,, made the web news today. Even Google picked up the news.

What did I do? Not much. Just added another useful web site to my Top 101 Book Marketing sites.

Here's the news:

The Freelance Writing Organization International ( now has the distinction of being named on's Best Book Marketing Sites of the Year List (

Giving awards. Highlighting good web sites. Creating halls of fame. These are just a few of the things any web site can and should do if it wants to attract attention and visitors. These are some of the best ways to create link exchanges with other relevant web sites.

We offer the Independent Publishers Hall of Fame, the Self-Publishers Hall of Fame, and the Independent Book Publishers Best-selling Books Hall of Fame as well as our Top 101 web sites for book marketing, book printing, editorial and design, etc. Check them out at

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Coffee Sleeve Advertising

If you have a book that might appeal to coffee drinkers, you might think about advertising on coffee sleeves. One company that offers such advertising is BriteVision Media. If you'd like to know more about their services, call 877-479-7777 or check out their web site at

* They circulate 200 million coffee sleeves every year via 6,000 coffeehouses nationwide.

* Customers spent 49.2 minutes on average with their coffee cup.

* Heat activated color changing ink allows for special effects.

* Can be combined with coupon sampling, in-store signage, or other events.

As you might have noted above, I think this advertising opportunity is marginal at best for most books. That's why I put two "mights" in the first sentence. But I still like the idea for the right book.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Phone Service Returns: Hip, Hip, Hurrah!

Well, I'm finally back online after a long wait to have my phone/DSL situation fixed. Ten days without phone service is intolerable when you are running a business. And most of that time without email as well.

My advice: Never switch phone service providers when you are making a move. You are then at the mercy of your previous phone service provider, who can hold up transferring your line for days, if not weeks. That's what Iowa Telecom did to me. They'll have all sorts of technical reasons why they can't move faster. And, the deal is, if you have phone service with them, that is normally sufficient until the other service picks up. BUT, when you move like I did, I no longer had Iowa Telecom and could not hook up with my new provider until Iowa Telecom did their thing.

So I learned a lesson. Only switch telecom providers when you are in a stable situation. Don't switch during a move unless, of course, you are moving to a new city and will be getting new phone numbers anyway. Since I needed to retain my current numbers (they are listed everywhere on my web site, in my books, etc.), I was at the mercy of Iowa Telecom.

My phone number is now active at 641-472-6130.

In one way, of course, it's been nice not having lots of phone calls to answer and/or return. But it also means lost business, unhappy customers, etc.

This has been one of the toughest moves I've made. I'm still waiting for complete electric service. I need more outlets in my office before I can go back to multitasking at high efficiency.

The good thing is that now we live in a smoke-free area where the neighbors are not burning wood and smoking us out of our home. The dogs love the fresh air as much as Gail and I do.
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