Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Cookbook Authors Can Do a Great Cooking Segment on TV

This article is courtesy of Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications ...

Authors of cookbooks have an advantage over traditional authors because they can employ a TV appearance to increase book sales. One of the best ways for cookbook authors to get this extra exposure is to demonstrate their capabilities by showcasing recipes and talent on an in-studio cooking segment on television.

A lot of things can go wrong on a live in-studio cooking demo. Here are some tips to insure that your cooking segment is great.

Most importantly, find out how much time you have to work with. There’s a big difference between a 2½ minute segment and 3½ minutes. My advice is to plan on a 2½ minute segment. Ask yourself what can you do in that time period and plan accordingly. Anticipate and have strategies to deal with interruptions. Practice by setting up a camera in your kitchen so you can film and time your process.

Don’t do a lot of talking during the segment. You are there to demonstrate how to prepare a certain dish and that’s what your audience and host expects of you. So keep the words down.

Remember that there are three groups that you need to satisfy – the producer, the audience, and yourself. The producers are looking for interesting/compelling television; your job is to make them look great. The audience wants to learn something. What’s their takeaway? What will you do to make their lives better? Among your goals is to point people to your website. A great way is to offer a free item like a recipe or appetizer in your restaurant. Once they sign up for the free item, use their email address for future marketing.

It’s very important to find out in advance about the capabilities of the studio kitchen. Some studio kitchens look good on TV but the stove may not even be hooked up! Come with a prepared cooked version of your dish that can be displayed ahead of time and have another ready for the demonstration.

It’s always a good idea to bring some extra samples for the crew. I’ve never see them turn down food! Outdoor segments, such as barbecuing, really go well in the summer because that’s what audience members do in the summer. For the fall, a tailgate segment is great.

Here are some practical tips for that great cooking segment:
  • The camera loves food that sizzles, bubbles, and flames. Keep that in mind when selecting the dish you will prepare. Can your dish be prepared and plated in the allotted time? Pre-cook the dish halfway if necessary to meet the time limit.
  • If there are promotional screen graphics provide the producer with the information several days before the shoot.
  • Make a packing list of all the gear you need to cook off premise. Double-check your list and pack efficiently. Arrive at the studio 45 minutes before air time. Bring a cart to transport your gear and ingredients from the car to the studio quickly and efficiently.
  • Digital TV cameras can be unforgiving so bring some make-up to apply in the studio.
  • The camera loves color so bring some colorful ingredients as well as a seasonal table decoration.
  • Upon first arriving at the cooking set, check all burners to make sure they work.
  • Be set up 15 minutes before air time. Walk in front of the cooking table and scan what the camera will record. Is the tablecloth on straight? Are all ingredient labels faced outward?
  • Are the ingredients balanced in uniform fashion?
  • Provide the host with a list of suggested questions. This will help the host stay focused and on track and will help prevent any ringers from being thrown your way.
  • Always refer to the host by name. Make direct eye contact and smile.
  • Go with the flow. Some hosts will ask distracting, non-relevant questions so have a plan to deal with that possibility.
For many of my clients, I suggest they use a professional media trainer to better prepare them for the television or radio appearance. One trainer I frequently recommend is Jess Todtfeld, former FOX News producer and President of Success in Media ( Among the suggestions Todtfeld gives to help deliver a great cooking segment are:
  • Don’t expect the studio to have a stylist for you. You must take the necessary steps beforehand so you look as beautiful as you are and so your segment is great from beginning to end.
  • Bring all the ingredients, tools for preparing, and a finished version of your dish. Don’t expect to really cook it during the segment.
  • Bring extra finished food for the crew. The quickest way to their hearts is through their stomachs. It will be worth every penny in materials when they decide to book you again.
  • Have your entire segment planned out from A to Z to make the producer’s life easy. That, in turn, will make him love you and book you again.
  • It’s not all about the food. Be fun. Show your personality.
  • Give a copy of the recipe and let them know they can place it on the station’s website.
  • Days before the segment ask if they can prepare a “for more information” graphic for the lower third of the screen that will display your website address so people can find you after the show. It’s a pretty standard practice but if you don't ask they might forget.
  • Have something free on your website to plug, such as your five most requested low-cal recipes or a chapter of your book. Be sure you are able to monetize the value of your free gift.
  • Make sure all the vegetables and cuts of meat are fresh and will appear appetizing. Place them in clear glass dishes along with pre-measured spices. There’s only so much you can prep ahead of time; some things need to be done in the studio.
  • With HD cameras viewers can see everything from water spots on your glass ware to fingernails in need of a manicure and a five o’clock shadow. What may be acceptable in your kitchen may not play well on TV so be keenly aware of your appearance.
A great cooking segment will produce hundreds if not thousands of new diners, book sales and recipe downloads. It’s all possible with planning, preparation and effort. Your success will be assured if you engage the services of a professional media trainer and marketing professional and practice your demo again and again.

Just for fun, if you’d like to see how a lack of preparation can lead to disaster then you’ll want to see these videos I’ve uncovered. The first disaster occurs because the chef did not anticipate that the two co-hosts, Kathie Lee and Hoda, would do a lot of distracting talking while he was trying to prepare food and he had no strategy to deal with the distraction. Take a look:

In the second video things go totally awry because Paula Dean does not take charge and gives a free hand to Al Roker and creates a massive time crunch for herself. Get ready to laugh at:

The bottom line: Great food and a great cooking segment on TV is no accident; it’s all in the preparation. Good luck!


Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with individuals and entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz has handled public relations and marketing for numerous authors, doctors, lawyers, inventors and entrepreneurs. Lorenz grew up in a family hotel and restaurant business and has a degree in Hotel Administration from UNLV.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Long Tail in Writing and Marketing of Your Books

The following guest post is by Daniel Hall of

I want to start by telling you about a book I’ve been reading. The name of the book is the New York Times bestseller, The Long Tail by Chris Anderson.

I have scanned and read parts of this book in the past but I have never taken the opportunity to digest the significance of the ideas it describes until now. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the premise of the book, let me briefly describe it.

Mr. Anderson researched the top Internet-based businesses, companies like Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, Netflix and eBay, and learned some rather astonishing things about what happens when consumers are given more choices in the marketplace. He documented what is called in statistical analysis a long tail in just about everything people purchased online from books to coffee beans.

The idea of a long tail is this: When you graph what consumers with choices do when shopping at such places as Amazon or eBay, there is a group of products which make up the highest volume sellers. That is, the hits or the products that sell the most. Graphically, these are the products that make up the biggest bump on the graph. However, when you look past the 8,000 or 9,000 bestsellers at these sites the curve dramatically decreases to near the baseline but never quite going to zero sales, aka the long tail.

Now here’s the interesting thing: Anderson’s research found that the vast majority of products, the non-hits at such sites as Amazon and Netflix, sell at least once a quarter. And needless to say there are many more non-hits than there are bestsellers. This phenomenon is statistically represented by a very long tail when graphed.

Be that as it may, the long tail of the sales--as it turns out--is BIG business and the major online retailers know it. It is the reason why Amazon will actually carry books that may only sell once every other year. Fact is it cost them next to nothing to have the product listed and available for sale--just bandwidth and a copy or two of the book on the shelves. For retailers like iTunes and Rhapsody all that’s required to sell is bandwidth since everything sold is digitally delivered.

In effect, the Internet has transformed the supply chain. It used to be that consumers were mostly restricted to buying whatever local brick and mortar stores were selling. For their part local retailers were forced to stock only those products that would sell to the local market. The Internet now makes it economically feasible to list and sell myriad different products without restriction. The curious thing that has developed is that markets now organize themselves around niches based on personal preferences, tastes and affinities but not usually locality.

So what does all this have to do with YOUR financial freedom?

Well, as I read
The Long Tail it dawned on me that the journey to your financial freedom and mine can be greatly accelerated by employing the business model of sites such as iTunes and Amazon. Or, said another way, we should strive to recognize and cultivate a bevy of long tail products and services in our own businesses.

Here’s what I realized: Using print-on-demand services to write, publish and distribute books such as I teach at and produce and distribute DVD’s such as I show in step-by-step detail at, you too can reap the benefits of the long tail in much the same way as the big online retailers do.

That is, you too can put out books, audio programs, DVD’s and other physical products that are manufactured on demand and drop-shipped to customers without inventory costs and little to no set-up fees.

As you add new products you will naturally start to reap the benefits of the long tail. That is, some of your products will sell better than others and some will be more profitable but the real key is THEY WILL ALL SELL. The idea is to put enough products into the pipe and then you’ll really start feeling the financial impact of income rolling in from multiple sources. In effect, each new product becomes another of YOUR financial assets.

And it gets even better because these products can be literally set-it-and-forget-it propositions.

What do I mean?

Let’s say you wanted to do a short historical book on the battleship "Aurora" which on the firing of its guns signaled the start of the Bolshevik revolution. (I only use this example because as I write these words I am sitting in port in St. Petersburg, Russia near where the battleship is still berthed on the Neva River.) Now with print-on-demand you could easily research, write, publish and internationally distribute through Amazon a short book on the subject.

Now here’s the cool thing: Once you have it listed on Amazon, it is henceforth and evermore FOR SALE. You won’t have to pay any fees to continue to list it and you won’t have to promote it or try to sell it because here’s the cincher: When you put a book or other product up on a major marketplace like Amazon, you put the product in the path of traffic. People interested in Bolshevik, Russian, or naval history find you and your product. Many will buy it, as well.

Once you have one product up, you simply rinse and repeat. That is, you put out other products. You keep stuffing the pipe with new product.

Now, if you really want to turbo-charge your success, you don’t just willy-nilly create products. You first figure out what the market wants or what is selling in the particular niche you’re interested in. Then, only after doing your due diligence and research, do you create your products. If you need help with this, I devote an info-packed lesson on determining what will sell before you write it in my training.

Now to maximize the selling power of your long tail it is also better to create products that are related or at least of interest to the group who purchased your last product. Let me give you an example: I broke into this business with a very unique and useful product called
Speak On Cruise Ships: 8 Easy Steps to a Lifetime of Free Luxury Cruises, a product that continues to sell quite well to this day. By inferential logic I knew a couple things about the group who purchased this product. I knew that they were interested in travel and public speaking. I further knew that there were a good many professional speakers, coaches, consultants, trainers and authors among my buyers. Thus, it was rather easy for me to determine what types of products they want. I simply do my level-best to offer high-quality info products that deliver on the promise of the title, but most of the products are somehow related.

Another big benefit to developing related products is you can cross-promote them within your other products. This will result in more sales. In effect, the more related products you have the larger the net you can cast.

Needless to say the content of all your products should be of the very best quality. That is, they should deliver on the promises of the title. This is the best way to keep your customers coming back for more.

But again I want to stress as you add more products you will see a similar graphical representation of your sales as the major online retailers. That is, some of your products will sell more frequently and some less, but the exceedingly encouraging thing is probabilities are high that they will all sell. That’s the long tail at work--at work for you.

In this way, you build assets for yourself and when you build enough of them you will start seeing a real difference in your bottom line and a quantum leap toward you financial independence. I know, I’ve seen it in my own business.

So the question remains, how does one self-publish lots of high-quality, highly profitable products? Fortunately, I have some solutions for you. If you want to see my number one secret for producing books lickety-split you should check out And, if you know how to produce high-perceived value DVD’s cheap and quickly, you should check out Yes, these are both products in my long-tail. Now go get some in yours!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cool Library Desk - Created Completely with Books

Here's a great photo of a library information desk composed completely of books:


Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Titles: Should You Be Able to Read Them?

Below are the book jackets of some of the books that editors from larger publishers were promoting at BookExpo America in 2005. In fact, these are the titles the editors selected to present during the Editors and Booksellers Buzz Forum.

Now, what I want to know is very simple: Do the titles matter? Look at them. It’s almost as if they were designed to fade into the woodwork in almost every case. It’s true that with a little bit of work I can make out most of the titles. But if you look at the titles, it really looks like the designers of the buzz-worthy books intentionally were trying to hide the titles.

Jonathan Harr’s title is unreadable at this size (the size in most catalogs and websites). I think it says something like The Lost Painting, but I cheated. I made the graphic larger to make out the last word.

Skinner’s Drift is readable with some work, but who is the author? And why is Skinner’s fading out into the background?

The original cover of Maybe a Miracle had a lopsided a in the title, a faded white title against a mottled blue background, an author name fading into nonexistence, and something diving into a fishbowl. Above are a few of the covers that have been used since then (the last is for the audio edition).

The Tender Bar is one of the more readable titles. But, in the original cover showcased at BEA, the title was cast in a faded white against a light background. And the words under the title appeared to read: a novel. Perhaps the publisher was not sure either. [It turned out to say: a memoir and, amazingly, the book became a New York Times bestseller.]

The Trudeau Vector does stand out, but even it is compromised with a small THE and two colors breaking up the rest of the title (in the original cover). In the finished cover, they used only one color but now the title runs off the page. Alas.

In the original cover, the author name was also unreadable against the background of the waves or ice. In the finished cover, they put the name against a plain background.

The True Story title stands out but is written in thin splotchy type, mixes two colors, and has (at this size) a lot of distracting and unreadable type above it.

The paperback edition on the right is also hard to read. In both covers, the author's name is difficult to make out clearly.

The Widow of the South is slightly readable, but again, it’s set with faded type against a splotchy background.

If I were judging these covers, my first impression would have been that the publishers really did not want you to read these books. Every one of these covers would fade away into the background if put face out into a sea of other books. Only The Trudeau Vector might stand out, although there’s nothing in the cover that says: Read me, read me.

My guess, at the time, was that these books were not going to do too well. I felt bad for all the authors whose names were made to fade away, except for Jonathan Harr, who got star treatment with a name bigger than the title by far.

Of course, at the larger size of a cover on a real book, many of these books would have been readable, but none of them, again, said buy me, take me home, read me.


Book Cover Critique: $125. I've watched key book wholesalers, chain store buyers, and producers of major TV shows pick up a book and make an instant decision on the book WITHOUT opening the book. How important is your book cover? Without a good one, your book won't sell. I'll help you to pass that First-Look Test. All for only $125. Each critique includes a 15-minute feedback session via telephone.

Email to set up an appointment.

“As a publisher on a budget, I can confidently say that consulting with John on the cover of The Way of Leading People: Unlocking Your Integral Leadership Skills was the best money I spent promoting my book. John provided me with clear, concise feedback while making several valuable marketing suggestions.” — Tim Warneka, founder, Asogomi Publishing International

“This was the best investment I've made on my book.” — Sandra Lewis, publisher, My Health Record

Book Title Critique: $125. While a book title critique is included in the book cover critique, I've often had to tell people to go back to the drawing board completely because their title was all wrong. If you are looking to brand your book or want to create a bestseller, a book title critique will help you to create a bestselling book before you hire a cover designer (and spend up to $3,000 on a cover with a bad title). Each critique includes a 15-minute feedback session via telephone.

Email to set up an appointment.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Article Writing Template That Gets People Talking About You and Your Topic Right Away

Here is a great article from Eric Gruber of Complete A-Z Article System:

I recently wrote an article entitled Article Marketing Debate: Is Article Marketing Dying as the Use of Video Soars? I then submitted it to top websites like,, and SiteProNews.

One day after it was published, my article was being talked about on forums like The Warrior Forum – a top forum for internet marketers. For example, John Hocking ( wrote: "I was just reading an interesting article on the use of article and video marketing. Read the article here: Then, let me know what you think? Is video marketing replacing article marketing or are they just two tools you can use to get traffic and referrals?"

That forum posting received responses like:
"There are still far too many people that have difficulty with video (dial-up users, for example). Plus there are a lot of people who would rather have something they can print out to read offline. I think they are two tools and I don't see either one replacing the other."

"Well, I don’t think that video can outweigh article marketing. It’s just like saying people should stop reading and only learn by watching videos"

"I truly doubt that article marketing will be dying. Because not everyone prefers the same method of learning. A lot of people learn better if there is a video showing them how to implement a certain task, while others pick up on the material being presented if they where to read it. So with all that being said, no article marketing will not be going anywhere."
You see, this new article template has accomplished the following:
  • Created the buzz I need on the Web
  • Has people talking about my article on popular forums and blogs
  • Generated support for article marketing. I can use their comments as social proof in my marketing activities. And, social proof is an amazing psychological trigger.
  • Increased website traffic, built my list and made me even more money!
So, How Does This New, Instant Article Template Work?

Step 1: Create your article title. First, put in your keywords than add the word debate. Then think about the conflicting viewpoints in your industry. Now, add a provocative question to the title that is related to one of the controversial subjects. For example:
  • Article Marketing Debate: Is Article Marketing Dying as the Use of Video Soars?
  • Article Marketing Debate: Is the Duplicate Content Penalty Just a Myth?
Step 2: Write your introduction. Now explain the controversial topic and why people think opposite of you. Give the reasons for the opposing view.

Step 3: Show real proof that your view is the right view. For example, I show real results that my clients are getting.

Step 4: Give some tips on how they can take the appropriate action you want now. Provide useful, valuable, take-away content that proves you are an expert. This way they’ll want to come to you when they need assistance.

Step 5: Remind them of the results they can get if they stop falling into the trap of believing what others have to say about the topic. This is an important step as you want them to take the action you describe in your bio box. Now, that you have my proven instant article writing template, start writing your articles and submit them to top websites and ezines.

If you need additional help, check out my instant article writing templates at Just for checking the site out, I’m giving you 3 free article templates.


Article marketing expert Eric Gruber created online marketplace opportunities for authors, small business owners, speakers and internet marketers who want more website traffic, prospects and profits. Now you can get started with writing and marketing your business with articles, by getting 3 free article templates that will help you write articles faster. Get it now at:
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