Top 10 Things Publicists want Authors to Know

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You’ve handed in your manuscript, completed all the edits and now your job is done. You’re thinking that now it’s up to your publisher’s publicity machine to make your book a success. Wrong.

In most houses that publicity machine has been downsized while the number of books needing publicity and promotion has stayed the same. What’s left is a hard-working group of thoughtful people who truly love books; who would spend all the time in the world to get the word out if it was humanly possible; and who need an author’s cooperation, participation and good-cheer now more than ever before. Remember that these overworked people want your book to succeed.

How does one get to be the author whose publicist tells others: “this author was great to work with,” “the author knew the right people and really helped me get the book into important hands” and I would walk through hot coals for my author?”

It’s essential that authors view themselves as a partner in the publishing process and that includes the marketing and publicity portions of the book publishing cycle. To that end, I’ve enlisted veteran book publicist John G. Ekizian to join me in creating this list of

The Top Ten Things Book Publicists Want Authors to Know.

Before you turn over the responsibility for communicating your book’s message to the world, remember.

1. You are a brand.

2. Your book is your first product.

3. Your reputation is on the line and if your first product doesn’t succeed, launching new products or books will be much harder.

4. Therefore, you must be a full partner in promoting your book, finding and alerting potential readers and in general, creating conversations about YOU.

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Here’s what can you do?

1. Mobilize your friends, family and fans. They really do want to help—but you have to tell them how they can be most helpful. Start with your immediate fan base, however small. Give them early copies of your book or galleys—or even a PDF of your manuscript. Ask them to read it and give you their feedback. Ask them to write a short review and to post it on Amazon.com, BN.com and Borders.com. Tell them not to gush, but to relate why the book moved or informed them. Ask them if you can post their review to your website. Ask them to give their opinion on your Facebook Fan Page, on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Start close to home and create buzz that can build.

2. Influence the influencers: Create a list of the top 25 people in your area of expertise or who write in the same field or genre as you do. Find, read and subscribe to their blogs. Comment whenever they write something that interests you. Become visible, let them know you’re a fan, offer them new content from you whenever appropriate, such as being a guest blogger. You should also consider finding and following them on Twitter and Facebook. Again, interact with them. Pass their blogs, tweets and posts on to others. In other words, hang out on line with people you admire and who you would love to have read your work. After establishing an online relationship, you may have an opportunity to offer them an early galley or ask them to give you a quote. But first you need to be a part of their community and genuinely engaged with them.

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3. Find your natural audience: The biggest marketing mistake most people make in book promotion is to assume that everyone will be interested in their book. Books that sell usually begin selling to people who are really interested in the topic. Want to sell a cookbook? Go after the person who has a shelf full of them. Who really cares about your topic? Think about it this way. You were attracted enough to this topic to write a book. Where would you go to learn about you? Would you find the kind of information in your book on CNN? Then that’s your natural audience and you and your publicist should target CNN. Are you writing about romance and mystery? Then maybe CNN may not for you. Every author we’ve ever worked with believes their book is right for Oprah. Not all books are right for Oprah. Watch the shows, see what kinds of guests they book and then make sure your publicist knows which shows most often present the subject matter most similar to your book.

4. Facebook Fan Page: Please create a Facebook Fan Page for yourself. Every author needs one. Name it for yourself, the author. You might call it John G. Ekizian | Author, Speaker. Use your name, then the upward slash and a two to three word qualifier. Those keywords will be useful in identifying you to potential friends and fans and will be Google searchable. Then create a tab with the name of your book. You can add video interviews or author chats that you create yourself. You can use the Events application to invite fans to your personal appearances. You can post news and information about reviews as they come in. This is a wonderfully rich and free tool. Please don’t overlook it.

5. Advertising versus publicizing: Every author wishes that their publisher would place full page ads in the New York Times Book Review for their book. Realistically the more that $75,000 (conservatively) that these types of ads cost isn’t a good investment for your publisher in terms of return on investment. In other words, they’re not recoup $75,000 in books sales from that ad. Publicity is a better investment of marketing dollars because a television appearance, a national publication, a radio tour or other major media can reach far more people than a one-time advertisement in one publication.

6. Webinars and teleseminars: These are the new virtual author tour and can help you reach hundreds and perhaps thousands of potential readers without ever leaving home. A webinar allows participants to view your computer screen and hear you talk as you show either a slide presentation or demonstrate something online. Many webinar hosts also allow for the audience to see you at times during the presentation. Teleseminars are via phone and are audio only but listeners can ask questions via a type-in pod. Both can be very interactive and allow people who might otherwise have not been able to “meet” you, come and hear you talk about your book.

7. Your 30 second pitch: When your publicist meets with national television producers and editors at major publications, he or she has 30 seconds to sell you and your book as a potential story or segment. Help your publicist hone your message down to a short, potent sound byte. Does your book “save lives through new research that proves sound waves are harming children,” or does your book show us “a brand new way to lose weight while you sleep.” These are silly but you get the idea. Think in headlines.

8. Op-Eds: Writing original opinion page articles can be a very effective way to increase an author’s visibility and by association help promote your book. The piece cannot be about your book but must be an opinion about some current affairs topic in which you might be considered a thought leader. For example, if you’ve written a book on World War II, you might write an opinion page article on the lessons learned or overlooked from World War II as we escalate troops in Afghanistan. You’re by-line would include Author of, the title your book. You may not mention your book in the article but positioning yourself as an expert will help you publicist book more media for you. You are sharing your ideas and information because you’re an expert. This part of a visibility strategy.

9. Create Your A List: Pick 10 media targets that you feel are right for your book and learn everything you can about them. Watch the shows, read the magazines and newspapers. Write down the name of the reporter or host who most often seems to be reporting on topics that are similar to your book topic. Share this list with your publicist who rarely has time to watch this much TV. He or she can really use your research skills. This is an excellent way for you to partner with your publicist.

10. Radio: Please don’t forget radio. Both broadcast and internet radio are great ways to reach people who might like your book. Blog Talk Radio and other internet radio platforms are reaching large numbers of people, are archived and accessible on demand and live forever on the internet. Please do not turn down internet radio interview opportunities because you don’t think they are worthy of your time. In fact, while your publicist is working hard on connecting with traditional media, why not reach out via Twitter and Facebook and put together your own Blog Talk Radio tour. Just start talking about your book, offering yourself for interviews, searching and following anyone with a Blog Talk Radio show and engaging with them on your topic.

BONUS TIP: All placements are not equal. You need to get your idea across or the placement is pointless. Working with a talented publicist can help you hone your marketing message into several succinct sound bytes that will be picked up and repeated both online and off to increase your outreach and brand visibility.

Publicity creates conversations about YOU. Be a full partner in making that happen to give your book the best possible opportunity to reach an enthusiastic reading audience.

Happy Publicity Ya’ll!

Literary Agent vs Publicist

So, I told you I would dive a little deeper into what exactly a publicist does versus a literary agent so there’s no confusion. Because, as I said before, I was confused. LOL!

Whether you are self-published or traditionally published, you can hire a Publicist. And their main purpose is to get you, and your book, mass exposure. So a Publicist typically comes into the picture when your book is close to being published (or after it is) and assists with the book marketing.


What exactly is a Publicist and what do they do?

Basically, a good Publicist comes up with strategic ideas for event promotions, tries to get book reviews, finds opportunities where you and/or you book would fit nicely (like speaking at an event or coordinating a virtual book tour), contacts the media on your behalf to land interviews, and also “cooks up” interesting story angles to grab the media’s attention. Plus, if you’re “famous” and run into trouble that becomes public, your Publicist is there to protect you from bad press OR (try to) address the issue with a positive spin…think Lindsay Lohan, Kristen Stewart and Tiger Woods!

How do they charge?

Unlike Literary Agents, Publicists do not work on commission. Most of them have an hourly rate or monthly retainer fee. However, there are some who charge based on “pay for placement” (i.e. charging $3000 if they secure you 10 radio interviews), but under those placement arrangements they are not helping with all the other services I mentioned above. And you typically have to come up with the “story angle” yourself to pitch the media and then they contact the media they think will be interested.

But, most authors I work with need help with more than just landing a few media interviews. They need help with Marketing, PR, Branding, and Social Media strategies, too. So I assess and strategize all of the elements needed to market the book and the author – and I consider “publicity” just one piece of the big puzzle. Therefore, I don’t just limit my services to being a “Publicist”.

I bring this up so you know what to ask a Publicist before hiring one! I know one author who was pitched by a Publicist and for $2500 a month all she was going to do was contact the media. This so-called “Publicist” had no experience with all of the other puzzle pieces needed to successfully market the author or their book, and my (now) client, who was new to the “publicity” world, came close to signing a contract with her. That could have been a very expensive lesson with very little return!

Bottom line? If you contact a Publicist and they don’t mention strategies beyond contacting the media (such as conducting a Virtual Book Tour, or assessing your marketing materials, website and positioning), don’t waste your money on their services.

In terms of retainer fees, they vary greatly. You’ll see some Publicists who charge $1,000 per month (for a limited amount of hours), and others who charge $25,000+ per month. Most of the “bigger” well-known Publicists I’m aware of won’t take on clients for less than $10,000 per month, and they require 6-month contracts – a pretty hefty price tag for most authors I know.

So, there you have it. I hope this snapshot of differences between Literary Agents and Publicists has given you some clarity. They each play very different roles in the publishing world, and (the good ones) can often make a big difference in your quest for publishing greatness!

Happy Writing Ya’ll!

Agent Do’s & Dont’s

Literary agents play an important role in your writing journey. They’re a vital asset in helping you achieve your goals.

However, a lot of first time writers have a misconception on exactly what a literary agent does and doesn’t do. They obviously know it’s good to have one and there are certain steps to acquire an agent, but that’s about the extent of their knowledge without research.

Again, I will sing the Writer’s Digest Conference praises. That conference was a priceless experience to me. Who knew that I was the one responsible for my PR unless I hired a Publicist, and that my agent was NOT responsible for any part of that? Not me, I didn’t know. I thought an agent was all-in-one. Sort of. I mean, adding an editor and publisher of course, too. Then I had the whole package! Uh…maybe not.

In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll dive a little deeper in the differences between a literary agent and a publicist. But for now, here’s an article I found in Writer’s Digest, explaining some of the things an agent does and does not do:

You’ve landed an agent. Now what? You’re probably wondering what a literary agent does and does not do and how they can help you. Discover the truth about what literary agents actually do for authors from today’s writing tip. This excerpt from Your First Novel discusses the author-agent relationship.

What Does a Literary Agent Do?

The author-agent relationship has often been likened to a marriage–but so have business partnerships. There’s the glowy honeymoon period where you both believe that only good things lie ahead. Then reality sets in, when you come to know the other person’s strengthens and weaknesses, the things s/he can be relied upon to do and the things you’re going to have to get on his/her back about. As long as you both accept that you’re each going to have to row to stay afloat and to get somewhere, you’ll probably be okay.

Communication is a key to this partnership as it is to any other. It’s important to remember that while you have only this book, this contract, this editor, this publication, an agent has many of the same. I don’t want to imply that your agent will or should be too busy to talk to you. But given the many demands on his/her attention, it’s no good sitting around waiting to hear from him/her and hoping s/he’ll read your mind. You’ve got to ask, and you’ve got to learn how to ask in a way that makes him/her, and eventually your editor and publicist, want to return your calls.

Unlike a marriage, where the roles of the two partners grow and change, merge, and divide over time, the agent in this partnership has a certain number of clear-cut duties. Yet there are also things you shouldn’t expect. Here are some things a literary agent does and doesn’t do:

What an agent does

  • attempts to sell your book to a reputable publishing house
  • keeps up-to-date with editors’ interests as well as their contact information
  • negotiates the terms of your contracts with publishers
  • works on commission

What an agent does not do

  • guarantee fame and riches
  • sell every manuscript s/he agrees to represent
  • write the publishers’ contracts for them

What an agent can do

  • offer guidance or suggestions for improving your book
  • get it into the hands of editors
  • secure an advance or sell your book at an auction

What an agent cannot do

  • rewrite it or make it perfect for you
  • guarantee those editors will read every word
  • guarantee anyone will come to an auction even when they’ve told the interested editors they’re holding one

What an agent should do

  • return your calls and e-mails within a reasonable period of time once you’ve signed on together
  • give you realistic expectations
  • be as interested as you are in getting a good advance–the better you do, the better s/he will do

What an agent should not do

  • refuse to tell you anything s/he has done (Even if s/he has taken no actions at all, s/he should tell you that.)
  • promise you a fortune
  • accept or turn down advances without consulting with you

And if you need another great article to read check out this one from bookbaby: http://blog.bookbaby.com/2012/08/10-things-literary-agents-dont-do-for-authors/

Hope this helps! Thanks again for reading! See ya’ll tomorrow!! Happy Writing Ya’ll!!

The TRUTH about Copyrights

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Do I need to copyright my novel, nonfiction book, short story, essay, or poems by registering them with the Copyright Office (Library of Congress) before submitting to literary agents or literary journals and magazines for publication?

Whew! That was a mouthful—a question that’s as unruly as its answer. Copyright law can be about as simple as doing a jigsaw puzzle with your toes.

Whether you’re writing books or novels, poems or short stories, you’re bound to tango with copyright conundrums at some point in your career.

While I’m not a lawyer, I can tell you about the general practices within the publishing industry (specifically, for creative writers who are submitting books and novels to literary agents, or those submitting poems, short stories, and essays to editors at literary journals and magazines).

If you need more details, seek a lawyer who knows intellectual property law, or check out one of the many books out there about copyright.

Should I put the copyright symbol on my novel or other book manuscript?copyright registration for writers

In general, the answer is no. Here’s why: United States law holds that a work belongs to the book author the moment it’s set down in a fixed medium (i.e. paper, or your word-processing program). Makes sense, right? You wrote it; it’s yours.

Agents and editors know that this is the law. And as long as you’re querying and submitting to reputable industry professionals, you don’t have to worry that they’ll steal your work and try to pass it off as their own.

In a certain sense, adding the copyright symbol could make a writer seem mistrustful and also ill-informed about the law. The symbol itself is just an expression of what industry professionals already know—that your book or story or poem belongs to you. So while adding it isn’t a deal breaker, it can give the wrong impression.

One more point before I move on: Here’s what you should know about copyright and mailing your writing to yourself. I found this article on http://writersrelief.com/. Great info on this website!

Do I need to register my book with the US Copyright Office before submitting to literary agents?

Again, I’m offering a generalization. And again, it’s “no.” If you do get an agent for your memoir or novel (or any book!), the work is probably going to change a lot before it actually hits the shelves. That’s why it’s usually the publisher’s responsibility to copyright a work once it’s in its final form.

If you’re self-publishing or publishing with a small press, be sure that both you and your publisher are clear about who is responsible for the copyright registration.

A final note: One of the particular benefits to having registered with the Library of Congress is that if you are ever sued because of your book and you win, you will be entitled to recoup court fees. Also, copyright registration offers a formally copyrighted date, kinda of like those “packaged on” stamps at the grocery store. Both can be equally important if you’re the kind of person who despises both plagiarism and food poisoning.

What about copyright and literary journals? Will a literary journal copyright my poem, story, or essay on my behalf?

In general, literary journals that do register for copyright protection protect the journal or magazine as a whole, not your specific piece in it. This way, the collection is protected (if someone were to, say, copy the whole thing and sell it under a new title out of the back of a car at stoplights).

If you’ve been offered a contract for publication and you’re concerned about copyright, ask the editor who acquired the piece about the magazine’s individual policies.

Will copyrighting my book or story protect my ideas?

Whether you’re writing a novel or a poem, the law says that you can’t copyright ideas (or titles, for that matter). Check out this Writer’s Relief copyright article about protecting your characters, stories, and themes.

More questions about copyright? Here is a book that explores copyright law.

Also, I’m attaching a website, http://agentqueryconnect.com, which is an online social networking community that shares information about the publishing industry. I found a particular thread on copyrights – http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/5217-should-i-get-a-copyright-on-my-story-before-i-send-in-my-query/

If you need a list of agents or editors check out http://agentquery.com, http://querytracker.com, or followed by this website, http://pred-ed.com/, to assist you in searching for that reputable agent, editor, or publisher. Would you rather a book? Go by and pick up this book at your local bookstore, 2015 Writer’s Market. You can even order it here: http://www.writersdigestshop.com/browse-by-product/market-books/current-market-books

There are many different opinions on the advantages vs. disadvantages of copywriting. It all boils down to what you’re more comfortable with. There’s enough information both ways that can help you with your decision. In the end, it’s your manuscript and you need to decide what’s best for you.

Happy Writing Ya’ll!

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, an author’s submission service that has been helping creative writers make submissions since 1994. Their work is highly recommended in the writing community, and there are TONS of freebies, publishing leads, and writers resources on their website. Check it out!

 

The 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2015! Part 2

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Sadly, I had to take this blog post down. I received an email from the editor of The Write Life asking for me to remove this list from my blog. If you are still interested in this list, please check out their website: http://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2015/#.crfkog:PJ3M

Happy Website Hunting Ya’ll!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Best Websites for Writers in 2015! Part 1

website 1

Sadly, I had to take this blog post down. I received an email from the editor of The Write Life asking for me to remove this list from my blog. If you are still interested in this list, please check out their website: http://thewritelife.com/100-best-websites-for-writers-2015/#.crfkog:PJ3M

Happy Website Hunting Ya’ll!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Tools to help you along the way…

As I’ve said before, I’m still learning my way around the writing/publishing industry. One thing I’ve learned though, is that if you seek knowledge about the industry you will, no doubt, find it.

From finding writing techniques that Stephen King used, to quotes from C.S. Lewis, to how to write your book in 30 days, there is a wealth of knowledge right at your fingertips. So much, that one person could probably spend 30 years searching for information and still not finish it.

Veteran authors’ experiences alone can be a huge tool for any aspiring writer. Websites like Writer’s Digest and the Writer’s Market are also fantastic places for a new writer to start. The beauty of it, although, not every technique or idea will work for you, is that there is such a vast spectrum of information, that your writing will grow nonetheless. You will learn what to do and what not to do. What works for you and what doesn’t.

Today, I will show you writing tools that may help you along the way. Tomorrow, stay tuned, as I unveil the 100 Best Websites for writer’s in 2015.

Writing Tools

  • Google Docs: Google Docs is a free Web-based word processor and spreadsheet. Read more about Google Docs.
  • Writeboard: Writeboard is a Web-based application that allows you to write solo or collaborate with others instantly. It is now officially called Basecamp.
  • Zoho: A Web-based office suite; includes spreadsheets, presentation tools, planners, and more.
  • Copyscape: Searches for your content on the Web; this is a great way to find out if someone is lifting your work without crediting you.
  • AjaxWrite: A Microsoft Word clone that works from within your browser; free download.
  • AbiWord: A free word processing program similar to MS Word; free download.
  • Writer: Instant in-your-browser typewriter. Saves and files your documents automatically.
  • TextEdit: for Mac users; a highly versatile free word processing application.
  • RoughDraft: A freeware word processing program specifically designed for the creative writing process.

Happy Writing Ya’ll!!