Monday, April 21, 2008

Why Someone Should Buy Your Book: Pros and Cons

During a recent teleconference, I suggested to listeners that they might share the ten best reasons to buy their book as a text listing or a video on their website. And then also share the ten reasons why someone shouldn't buy their book. Website visitors are more likely to become buyers if you give them an objective view of your book -- both the pros and cons, why they should buy and why they might choose not to buy your book.

Sister Patricia Proctor made a video giving the two best reasons to buy or not to buy her book 101 Inspirational Stories of the Power of Prayer. You can check out her video above.

I think she does a wonderful job of selling her book even as she tries to give reasons not to buy her book. It's a good exercise for any author to do. It will help you understand why some people choose not to buy your book.

Check out my own list on why you should take my 10 Million Eyeballs Event -- or why you should not at

Thursday, April 17, 2008

From 10 People to 3 Million in Six Months

Kate Nowak, the creator of the May You Be Blessed video, kicked off her movie by emailing it to 10 people. The movie, forwarded on to many, many friends of friends, was seen by 3 million people in the first six months. Her Better to Bless website is now a community of blessers as well as a thriving gift shop.

A $20 Million Blog

The January 2008 issue of Conde Nast Portfolio magazine valued Matt Drudge's Drudge Report one-page website at $10 to $20 million based on ad sales generated from the blog's 1.33 million unique monthly visitors.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

MTV's Half-Billion Dollar Online Presence

MTV's 300 websites attracted 90 million unique visitors in December 2007. Their income from the websites exceeded half a billion dollars in 2007.

One of the keys to their success has been to free the content so it is accessible from more than just their own sites. As their president noted, “We need to make sure our content is everywhere our audiences are ... to keep our brands relevant.”

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Online Promotion Can Make a Difference

Using text messages, Facebook groups, and YouTube videos, student activists in Venezuela organized protest marches against the increasingly autocratic rule of president Hugo Chávez. One protest march featured more than 200,000 union laborers, students, housewives, and business executives. The marches helped to defeat a reform package that would have enabled Chávez to be president indefinitely. As the leader of the movement noted, “Youths in any nation, I believe, can do the same. They can make history.”

Monday, April 14, 2008

Blogger Gets $350,000 Book Deal

Since its January 2008 debut, the Stuff White People Like blog founded by Christian Lander and Myles Valentin has racked up 22.5 million hits. Lander, the main author of the blog, has just been offered a $350,000 book deal by Random House.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

40 Million Views for One Poem-Related Video

The Dash Poem Movie written by Linda Ellis and produced by Mac Anderson, has been viewed 40 million times. Linda has received over one million emails thanking her for writing The Dash. Their Simple Truths website sells a ton of books and movies.

For more such success stories for online marketing and Internet marketing, see

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Viral Videos Lead to 3 Printings

After uploading three viral videos to YouTube, the publisher of Chad Kultgen's novel The Average American Male had to go back to press three times in the first month.

Here are links to the other two videos:

For more such success stories, see

Friday, April 11, 2008

10 Million Eyeballs Event

I just finished writing a great sales letter for the 10 Million Eyeballs Events I'll be doing in late April in West Palm Beach, Florida, and in late May in Los Angeles, California (right before BEA). It's a great letter. I think you'll like it.

Read it here:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Create an Impact

Ken McArthur is creating an interesting variation on the Amazon Bestseller campaign to promote his new book, Impact: How to Get Noticed, Motivate Millions and Make a Difference in a Noisy World.

At the very least, you can check out his promotion and download a free audio on Creating Massive Impact. Check it out here (Note the widget is no longer available).

I think you'll find his approach interesting and instructive.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Amazon POD Conundrum is apparently now requiring POD authors and publishers (that is, those who are using print-on-demand technologies to produce their books) to work with Amazon's sister company BookSurge to provide books to Amazon's site.

Now, a lot of people and organizations are making a lot of hub-bub and fuss about this change in Amazon's policy, but personally I understand it. Amazon made a good argument for making the change. It really makes sense for them to print the books at their warehouses and to send them out from there rather than wait to get books from Lightning Source or other POD printers. By printing in-house, they can ship orders around the world more quickly and also make sure that the entire order goes out right away rather than being held up by waiting for the POD book to be produced.

Now, the one nasty in this equation is that BookSurge has a hefty set-up cost which really isn't justified. If Amazon really wants to make their argument fairly, they should be providing much lower fees to authors and publishers who have already set up their books for POD (via Lightning Source or another provider). I think a $20 to $30 set-up fee per book would be fair.

If Amazon had offered such a low fee for set-up, I expect they would have avoided all the charges of piracy, monopoly, scuzzy dealing, etc. being launched their way by various associations, bloggers, writers, etc. Perhaps they will still make that change.

But all the fuss, hub-bub, ado, to-do, noise is way beyond what's going on here. The people who say "Give Amazon an inch and they will take a mile next week." are really pushing the noise level too far. Just my opinion.

Much too fussy. Get some dogs. Walk them. Learn from them. I do that every day, and their wonder at life and joy for little things just make these Amazon hijinks seem so unimportant and the fuss about the hijinks even less important.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Blogging Interviews

To promote Personality Not Included, Rohit Bhargava invited fellow bloggers to send him five questions about the book. As part of the offer, he promised that the best interview would win a signed copy of the book and a $100 gift certificate from Amazon. 55 bloggers took him up on his offer.

One blogger, for example, asked for Bhargava's elevator pitch. His response: "Faceless companies don't work anymore. In the social media era, personality matters."

Another asked him if he considered himself a Simon, a Randy, or a Paula (the American Idol judges). He responded, "Definitely Simon, because he's authentic. Authenticity to me means not blowing smoke up people's behind when you think they are stupid."

Still another asked him if the weird little wind-up chickens on the book cover had any significance. Nope. They were simply used to help the book stand out in the business section of bookstores. As Bhargava noted, "Have you seen chickens on any other marketing books?"

In his summary of this effort ( weblog/2008/04/pni-virtual-int.html), Bhargava hinted that next time he did something like this, he'd probably make it easier for the bloggers (and him) by having them ask only 3 questions.

Now, the one thing he did not report was the effect on sales. Yes, he got featured in 55 blogs. Neat. But did he sell any books? I just checked his Amazon rank (17,329 as I write this blog post). For a comparison, here's the Amazon rank for 1001 Ways to Market Your Books (with no blog campaign going on recently): 6,599.

So, while some of the bloggers praised his book marketing campaign, he never reported the key stat: how many books did he sell. Alas.

Now, I liked what he did. You might try it yourself to promote your book. But if you do, please tell me how it affected your book sales. That's the key to marketing books. You must sell books.

Monday, April 07, 2008

5 Ways Authors Can Profit from Linked In

Here's a great article from Mahesh Grossman:

LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, just changed my life.

To be honest, until a few weeks ago, I never took it seriously. From time to time a friend or an acquaintance would ask me to link with them, and I would, but I didn't understand what to do with my network. In fact, I'm not sure I ever invited anyone to link with me.

Now I understand some of the power of this tool -- and it's especially useful for authors. So here are five ways you can use LinkedIn to help you write, publish, and promote your book:

1) Ask for help with your content, including websites and people to interview.

LinkedIn has a feature where you get to ask questions, either of your network or of people in a particular industry. I am working on an ebook that will be a list of a particular group of sites. I asked the network where to find more of these sites and I got an amazing response that made this ebook my top priority. But you could also ask a question like "Do you know how I could find people to interview for my book who have a successful arranged marriage?". Not only would you get suggestions on where to find people to interview, anyone with a successful arranged marriage would be likely to offer to be interviewed.

It's also possible that people have already asked questions on your topic, so if you search the Answers section using appropriate keywords, you are likely to find some usable information as well.

2) Get introduced to famous authors and ask for testimonials.

I am shocked at how many famous authors are on LinkedIn. I have a few bestelling authors as direct links myself -- and I am only one introduction away, meaning someone in my network can introduce me -- from several authors who have sold more than ten million books -- and there aren't that many authors who have done that. So if you were to join LinkedIn and link to me, you would be one level away from the bestselling authors I know, and two people away from these authors who have sold massive quantities of books. That's pretty amazing. So if you have high quality work that has been vetted by a professional coach (one that has been published by traditional publishers!), you could approach a very big name author through LinkedIn.

3) Have a particular agent you want to be introduced to? There are 326 agents on LinkedIn.

I did a search on the term "literary agent" and found 326. I wouldn't try to get introduced to all of them, but you do your homework and find a particular agent that is the most likely to be interested in your work, it could be a good way to make a connection. Once again, you have to really have studied the publishing business and know what you are doing to make this work. But it is an interesting strategy. (And I know of a number of editors from major publishing houses who are also on LinkedIn.)

4) Want publicity? There are lots of periodical editors and TV producers you can network with.

I know several publicists on LinkedIn, and some are connected to top editors and producers. Want to get in Time magazine or Sports Illustrated? There are writers and editors from those publications. Want to get on national television? Once again, you can reach out and try to connect with these folks, who are also on LinkedIn.

5) Want to connect to people who might help market your book? Ask the right question.

Once again, LinkedIn Answers gives you the opportunity to ask how to do something, and let people volunteer to help you. Ask a question like "I'm the author of a book about living a balanced life. I would like to be interviewed on 50 teleseminars this year. How do I find people who might want to host me on a teleseminar?" Whatever your goal is, ask how you can do it, or find people to help you. Some good Samaritans will come forward and say, "I'd be happy to have you on a teleseminar."

So those are five ways to work with The bigger your network, easier it is to get help.


Mahesh Grossman is the author of Write a Book Without Lifting a Finger ( and president of The Authors Team (, a company that helps credible business experts become incredible business authors, through ghostwriting, editing, coaching, publishing, publicity and marketing. For a free list of more than 400 agents as well as a newsletter with tips on planning, writing, publishing and marketing your book, go to

Meanwhile, check out John Kremer's LinkedIn page and become a friend:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

HarperCollins New Venture: Good for Authors?

Bob Miller, founder of Hyperion, is moving to HarperCollins to start up a new program that will publish about 25 books per year, pay no advances to authors, and sell to bookstores only on a nonreturnable basis. They plan some sort of profit-sharing model instead of a traditional royalty. They also intend to focus on online publicity, advertising, and marketing.

Will this be good for authors? Not really. Here's why:

1. The books will get very little bookstore distribution, the one true strength of the major publishers, because they won't be offering returnable terms.

2. No advances mean the authors will have to write their books totally on spec with nothing to finance their efforts until well after the book is published.

3. A profit-sharing plan can mean anything. Since publishers currently make no money on three out of four books they publish, a profit-sharing plan is meaningless. So it all depends on what this plan really means.

4. While HarperCollins is probably the most innovative online marketer of the larger publishers, the emphasis on online marketing only leaves authors with very little to measure to tell whether or not the publisher is actually doing anything substantial for their books.

5. I believe authors would be better off self-publishing. They could offer better terms to bookstores than HarperCollins will be offering. They will have to pay some money upfront. Their profit-sharing plan will be very clear since they will be sharing the profit only with themselves. I know many authors who are doing more effective jobs marketing online than any major publisher.

I do think new authors would be ill-served to sign a contract with this new division of HarperCollins. At least according to the terms reported in Publishers Weekly. Authors should watch to see how this new division develops before committing the life of their books to an uncertain future.
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