Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blog Challenges: A Way to Connect with More People Online

Here is a recent post by D'vorah Lansky, a new member of The Book Marketing Network, where she describes what's working for her:

What is working really well for me is participating in blog challenges. Typically they are 30-days long and require that you blog at least 30 times during the 30 days.

Participants of the blog challenge help one another by tweeting and retweeting with a link to your blog post.

I'm currently participating in my fourth blog challenge in six months. My twitter followers have doubled (current at 2324), my subscribers have quintupled and the number of people who retweet my comments seems to grow weekly.

My connections and friendships have grown through my participation and my business is growing due to being seen on the social networks by more people and being introduced to movers and shakers in my industry.

D'vorah Lansky -

Visit The Book Marketing Network

Friday, October 15, 2010

8 Websites to Promote Your Next Booksigning or Author Event

The following guest post is from Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound:

The next time you're promoting a booksigning, teleseminar, book club, meet-the-author reception, or any other live or virtual event, don't promote it only on your Facebook fan page and write a few tweets, and then expect crowds to beat down the doors.

Authors and publishers should be using high-traffic sites that accept calendar listings, articles and photos, in addition to much smaller niche sites that can help you target people who are passionate about a particular topic.

Mix in social media sites where news about your event can really go viral, and you have a great chance to draw huge crowds.

Consider using these eight websites the next time you need to promote: - This fee-based site provides a way for members of the media or organizations interested in your area of expertise to find you. But anyone can post free listings to the event calendar. - This is one of the top business event calendars in the world. It covers technology, media, finance, healthcare, legal, biotech, cleantech and other events like conferences, un-conferences, forums, workshops, seminars, Meetups, Tweetups, mixers, parties and more in 40 cities in the U.S. and more than 35 cities internationally.

The audience is a highly targeted mix of influencers and connectors including C-level executives, managers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, investors, marketing/PR pros, technologists, analysts, bloggers and others.

The Chicago Council on Science and Technology listed a members-only reception, presentation and booksigning with Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Lacks was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells — taken without her knowledge — became one of the most important tools in medicine. - Use this online social networking portal to draw people to a wide variety of offline events such as booksignings, readings, author receptions, book clubs, writing classes, or anything else you’re hosting.

It’s also a great place to find people in niche markets. Let’s say you’ve written a book about Chihuahuas and you want to meet owners of that breed. I used the search box and found three MeetUp groups for Chihuahua owners. If they’re in your city, you can join them. Or start your own Meetup group for people who care passionately about the topic of your book:

TweetUps - Host a Tweetup for your next book signing like hundreds of other authors do. A Tweetup is a chance for Twitter fans to meet offline to share information with each other about a particular hobby, interest or activity. Tweetups don’t even have to be well-organized events. You can host a Tweetup at a local coffee shop, for example, to discuss your book.

Use to promote it. Learn more about how to host Tweetups here:

Craigslist - This high-traffic site has more than 20 billion page views per month. The Community category includes four sub-categories authors might consider: activities, events, classes and politics. It also has more than 100 discussion forums devoted to niche topics. You can post only to the city closest to you, and only to only one category or sub-category.

Craigslist has sparked controversy many times over the last several years. But it's still one of the best websites where you'll find millions of people who are looking for something to do in their own cities and neighborhoods. - Flickr makes it easy to share photos or videos. Authors can use this several ways. If you own all the rights to your book’s content, you can upload photos from your book to Flickr and include information about an upcoming event, like a booksigning. You can also share photos or videos of the booksigning afterward. - Yelp is an online urban guide that helps people find cool places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play, based on the informed opinions of a vibrant and active community of locals in the know. It lets you talk about what’s great and not so great in your world. Started in San Francisco, Yelp is now throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France.

You can search by topic, location, city, zip and neighborhood. Post your event, and encourage people who attend it to review it on Yelp. - This site is for people who love to go out. It’s great for nightlife events and also includes categories for culture, activities, neighborhoods, and networking. Be sure to upload a photo. You can even track and print guest lists, sell tickets, and email your list. There’s a Recession Busters designation for events that are cheap or free.

I’ll share 40 more websites during the webinar on October 19 on 50+ Places Online to Promote Your Live & Virtual Events to Reach Your Target Market & Pull Sell-out Crowds. Register here:

What other websites do you use as a tool for promoting events or attractions?

-- Publicity expert Joan Stewart, a speaker, trainer, and consultant, specializes in how to dovetail traditional and social media to promote any product, service, cause, or issue. She lives (and tries to stay warm) in Port Washington, Wis. She blogs at

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How to Write a Query Letter That Genre Agents Want Now

This is a guest post form Jeff Rivera . . .

Everyday I'm on the phone with top agencies and literary agents that would have most writers salivating. They tell me on the down-low exactly what they're looking for in a writer and some of the inside secrets in getting them, to sign you. I thought I might share with you a few of the genres that they are dying for right now:

1) Middle Grade - If you write middle grade fiction and have a unique funny voice, agents will be ringing down your phone. Especially, if you write books for boys 9 -11 that are funny, funny, funny. "Stay away from bathroom humor," one agent who just sold a 3-book deal for her client said, "but let's face it, some of the biggest selling boy books are full of farts, snot, and talking butts" (literally).

2) YA (Young Adult fiction) - Beyond just the Twlight books, YA fiction is one of the biggest selling genres right now in books. In fact, although most book sales have gone down, this genre has gone up. If you have a background in education, or are a camp counselor, babysitter, parent, aunt, or uncle of a teen, definitely mention this in your query letter. Edgy, edgy, edgy - that's what they're looking for. Don't be afraid to have sex scenes or violence or curse words. And if you write clean cut Christian fiction, don't be afraid to mention that too. There's definitely a call for that as well. Don't talk down to teens talk up and keep your protagonist between 15 -21 years old if you can.

3) Graphic Novels
 - Oh, my God. If you want to light a fire and get a huge reaction from agents then tell them you have a graphic novel or better yet a graphic memoir. They're dying for them. You only need a 5-page sample of your art work and a full summary. So, even if you can't draw, you can team up with an artist. We can help you with that by the way at: One tip: Try to stay away from comic book style art and do more of a style in the vein of Stitches by David Small or the Pulitzer Prize-winning Mause if you can.

4) High Platform Nonfiction Books - Platform is king, not content. One agent who just sold a book deal last week for over a half million dollars told me that editors are looking for one thing only, platform. Who cares if you can write? They can always hire a co-writer or ghostwriter to write with or for you.

If you have a huge platform, mention it in your first paragraph. I would say in your first sentence, literally. I did this for one client a week ago and he had over 30 agents that responded to his query letter in less than 24 hours. As you know, a platform is a built-in fan base. It's guaranteed buyers (not potential ones) that are poised and ready to by it. One big wig publisher at a Harper Collins imprint told me a few days ago that saying you can get a lot media coverage isn't going to cut it nowadays. It helps to have pre-buys and bring those to the table. Exactly how many? And what can you do if you think you don't have a platform? Well, if you want to know more about how to do that, stay tuned and we'll go into more of that next time.

For more tips visit my new site:

And by the way, we're having a special for our query letter service from today to Monday, October 18th. 1/2 off, yes that's 50% off our normal price but only until this Monday then it goes up to its normal price. We guarantee we'll get at least 10 top agents to request to read your manuscript or proposal or double your money back.

- Jeff Rivera of

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Writing Articles to Sell More Books

Below is another success story, as told by Stefania Lucchetti, on how she gets more attention for herself and her books:

One of the most successful techniques I have used to market my book has been to write and submit articles for various blogs and websites. I have used Steve Harrison's Reporter Connection (free service) and PR Newswire (paid service) to receive requests from bloggers and website owners requesting content for their website and regularly submitted article proposals.

I also regularly write for Technorati. The articles never need to be particularly long, though they do need to be interesting. All my articles have been published and they have helped me gain a lot of exposure and regular new subscribers to my newsletter. Also, writing articles has helped me expand and develop content which I have then used in my speaking engagements.

- Stefania Lucchetti ( is the author of The Principle of Relevance (how many emails do you receive on any day? Are you overwhelmed by information overload? My book teaches you how to train yourself to process digital information more effectively so that it becomes a tool of empowerment rather than a form of distraction). Stefania also regularly speaks for Fortune 500 companies on time management, leadership, and making ideas happen.

Partner with Associations to Sell Your Books

Here is another success story from a small publisher on how they sell more books:

Fehrman Books is a new independent publisher of design, fiction, and animal welfare titles. We just published our first book for children, ages 8-12: The Corpse that Wasn’t There by Gayle Nastasi. It's a mystery involving a young girl and her psychic Saluki hound who solve crimes. The Corpse that Wasn’t There takes place at a dog show and while the girl, her dog and friends are solving the crime, young readers are also learning about the sport of dog showing with an extensive glossary of terms provided.

To publicize this book, we have a web page at as well as a Facebook and Twitter page under the name of Fehrman Books, but we have also established some unique promotion lines for the novel.

Since The Corpse that Wasn’t There is the first in the Junior Handler Mystery Series which will continue to be involved with dogs and dog shows. We partnered with STOLA, Saluki Tree of Life Alliance, the national Saluki hound rescue charity. We will be donating a portion of profits to STOLA for their rescue programs. In turn, they will help us promote the book to the Saluki community. We are also negotiating with the American Kennel Club and a number of dog magazines to make their populations aware of the book. Also, because the book has an educational component, it is being well received by the schools and libraries we are contacting.

The Corpse that Wasn’t There is available as an e-book at and as print and Kindle books at and - Cherie Fehrman, publisher. Email:

Word of Mouth Sells Books

Here is another story, told by Michael John McCann, on how he sells his PurpleUmpkin children's book:

The best way that I have sold books so far is really word of mouth, readers recommending my book to other readers.

PurpleUmpkin is a children's book about kindness, tolerance, love, and understanding. A book that gets children and parents to interact with each other, PurpleUmpkin is about having fun with words. Lots of fun. What works is that the book gets people to interact with each other. For more about the book, see

Early childhood educators think the book is great especially with its colors and rhyming words. All reviews have been 5 stars.

I am known as the Mayor of PurpleUmpkin. - Michael John McCann, author. Email:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Creating a Series of Short Videos to Promote a Book

Below is a story from Andrew Cort telling how he has had some success selling his books. His books sound interesting, as does his story about the videos he created. Check them out.

My books are about the inner meaning of the symbols, images and metaphors that are found within mythology and scripture. One of the most misunderstood features of the Bible is the position of the Feminine. It is generally believed that the Bible is sexist and women are treated as second-rate. This is apparently true when the stories are taken literally, as if they were merely accounts of history or lessons about morality. But when the symbology is understood it turns out that the stories are saying something quite different and quite wonderful.

This past summer, I produced a series of short (about 3 minutes apiece) videos in which I discuss the inner meaning of the stories of Eve, Sarah, Rachel, Rahab, the Samaritan woman, the Virgin, Mary Magdalene, and other fascinating women in the Bible. The videos are available on Youtube and on my website ( They have been watched by quite a few people so far, which has brought traffic to my website and sold a few books. I of course hope that many more people will watch them in the future.

My current books include Love, Wisdom, and God: The Longing of the Western Soul and The American Psyche in Search of its Soul. In early 2011, my major work will be published: The Purpose of Religion: Enlightenment, Meaning and Love in Jewish, Christian and Islamic Symbology. (One of the things my books make clear is that the real underlying purpose of all our great traditions is always the same: the enlightenment of the human soul. When this is understood, the justification for religious hatred and war disappears.) - Andrew Cort; Email:

Author Success Story: An author's persistence despite obstables

Here's another author success story based on her persistence despite some key obstacles:

Struggling to fund the printing and publishing of my book left little to nothing to market it and regardless of what people tell you, you need money to make money. If these factors were not disadvantageous enough, I was non-ambulatory, bed bound and homeless. I had a great and marketable book, so I turned to the Internet and set up shop with a website and the whole nine yards (without the bells and whistles).

The website ( appeared to and did work when I tested it, but I begin getting calls from people whom I had called about my book, Slinging Stones when United States Congress has lost control and American Courts are out of control. Unfortunately, these individuals had tried but could not purchase the book from my website order page.

Even though physically limited, I began calling practically everyone I knew and whose phone numbers I could get my hands on. It became dangerous for anyone to come within my sphere, be it friend or stranger, because they did not leave until they had purchased a book.

You see, I gave everyone at least one valid reason to read my book. I may not have had a functioning website, but interested individuals could go there and at least view a picture of the book after I had given them a verbal introduction. The most effective and successful way of marketing and selling my book was through word of mouth - from me. - Dorothy Barron, author. Email:
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