Friday, January 20, 2017

"E-Book Killed the Print Book Star"

Driving Uber in San Francisco has been educational from a marketing standpoint about how to reach the younger audience. Understanding your audience is very important when trying to sell to them. If you don’t know how they do things and what they want to read about or know about then you’re missing out on a substantial portion of potential sales.

In the publishing world, the key is to know that Millennials aren’t quite as in love with paper as their parents and grandparents. Not to suggest that Gen X and Boomers aren’t into eBooks (because they are), but the younger generation is all about the Smart Phone. To a greater or lesser degree, visit a major metropolis and look around at today’s city dwellers. You will be astonished to count 1 out of every 3 people has his or her head down reading or texting on their Smart Phones.

One of the “security” gateways for Uber is the service requires a credit card and Smart Phone to work. I was talking the other day with passengers who were astonished to find a “girl” driver. I’ve had that comment several times, and in the city where you might assume more women would drive. When it came to a point about security I said, “The credit card and Smart Phone tended to weed out those segments of the population that might cause more harm.” Then I joked, “If a homeless person has a Smart Phone and nowhere to live they might want to reassess their priorities.” We laughed at the irony, but you would be surprised…

The point in all of this is the Smart Phone and its proliferation and affect on consumer behavior. In the publishing world to release a book and fail to provide the eBook version leaves out a large number of buyers who no longer buy print. I no longer recommend that authors only do a print version. The other interesting trend related to the Smart Phone is the use of Audibles. One should look no further than the tremendous success of the audio show Serial. Interestingly enough, two female entrepreneurs created the program.

Yet as was the case when online content became popular and I was the publisher of a magazine, many readers still hold dear the print version. Many people still want the feel of newsprint on their hands. I understand. And when asked what will be the long-term outcome of eBooks, my answer is based solely on my understanding of the Millennials and Gen Z, and it’s so plainly obvious. Once the Boomers and Gen X age out, you’re going to see a lot more trees being preserved. Remember the song “video killed the radio star” … well “digital killed the print book” will be a famed phrase I am certain.

And that’s my prediction … based on all those “youngin’s” wandering the streets of San Francisco, heads down, not paying attention.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Target audience + targeted message = SUCCESS

Did you know that you can waste a lot of time by doing one thing. Do you know what that thing is?

Not marketing to your target audience.

YES! Many professionals fail to target their audience. When you’re doing marketing and promotion, failure to identify who you are trying to reach will fail to find your customers. When you’ve successfully found your target believe me you’ll know it. Your sales will immediately increase. And it’s not just a matter of targeting the right audience, it involves another key to success:

Target audience + targeted message = SUCCESS.

See, you could find your right target audience, but the message you’re sending might not be the right one. So when you’re doing marketing and promotion, you need to check. First, the obvious barometer of success is sales. Your audience is not responding to your message(s). Don’t be complacent. Sometimes you need to reach for a new message. Just because your audience doesn’t respond to the first message, try another one. Don’t give up. You have to be open and willing to figure out the “marketing puzzle”.

When it comes to book promotion look at what your audience is already reading. If your book is a self-help book, check out the best sellers. A market clearly exists for self-help books, but the topics change from year to year. Sometimes people are focused on mindset other times they’re focused on manifestation. Regardless, find out what people want to know now and then refine your message to reach those people. For example, we’re promoting Habits & Attitudes and Thank God for Layovers by Lance A. Casazza. Each book has a variety of potential topics. The media kit I am writing for those books will be aiming to reach 1) editors and media producers who can present my messages and 2) consumers and readers who are interested in that subject material.

It’s very tricky. Editors and media producers aren’t necessarily interested in my subject matter. So, targeting takes 1) identifying the right media and 2) identifying what that media is looking for and 3) making sure I deliver the right message to attract their interest. The editors and media to some extent have already identified what their respective audiences want to read and see. So, my messages need to be catered to their audiences and demographics.

An effective marketer or publicist knows these areas and understand how to reach the different layers of audience members. It’s a balancing act. You have to be open and willing to sometimes let go of preconceived ideas. You cannot force a message – either it works or it doesn’t work.

One of the biggest challenges is to make your messages work for both the media and the mass consumer market. It’s no easy feat. Sometimes you will hit it right on the spot the very first time you send something to an editor or producer. Other times you will not come close. Just be willing to try new things and don’t lock yourself down to any one concept. Try and try until it works.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sexy, Good Fun: California Girl Chronicles

I had a dream last night. I was walking through a local library and spotted California Girl Chronicles, book 1 and 2 on the shelves. They had been well worn and read. I also noticed that they had a hard copy of book 2, Brea’s Big Break. I wondered, “Who got this printed?” What a strange dream. I felt proud the books had been obviously read a lot since they were tattered up.

I’ve always called California Girl Chronicles like chewing bubble gum – it’s sweet, fun and a way to pass time, especially on the beach. Both books are sexy, funny and frivolous in many ways. I was in a different frame of mind when I wrote these books. Today five years later after so much in my life has changed, I’ve considered whether or not I need to get a little more frivolous again.

I was driving UBER and put the books behind the seats in the little pocket. A passenger picked up the second book, which says “It’s Sex in the City meets Entourage.” The girl says, “Oh cool!” Now that is an interesting way to gage reader reactions – put your book in the seat pocket and let people see it. Then listen to their reactions.

Here’s an even better situation. Now both books 1 and 2 are available as eBooks/Kindle. Get this: the first book “Brea and the City of Plastic” cost .99© … score. The second book “Brea’s Big Break” is $2.99. You can have both books for $3.99. Pretty, pretty good!

Copies are available in print, too.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fresh Book Marketing Ideas

It’s a new year and I’ll be if you’re an author your goal is to increase your book’s sales. I am constantly trying new things and reading other people’s ideas too. Every time I find some fresh tips I like to pass them on.

Exclusive Reader’s Group on Facebook – Why not create your own Reader’s Group? Invite people to the group and do special giveaways and promo that can only be obtained in the group. Make people feel special. You will create not just “readers” but fans! Fans are loyal and loyalty buys more books.

Wattpad ( – This is a new one for me. Apparently there is a large community of readers where authors can share information about their books. You can release free excerpts from the book and attract and build readership. I’m going to check it out and share more with you down the road, but it looks perfect for authors to use as a marketing tool.

Letter from the Author in the back of your book – Many authors lose the opportunity to share links and social media information by not including this information at the end of their books. Make sure that your bio and/or letter invites and encourages readers to follow you and gives them links.

Videos are all the rage right now so make a book trailer and videos – If you are going to do videos make them professional. Nothing is worse than watching a bad video. Post VLOGs on your social media site and blog. Read from the book or make videos when you’re at signings and events.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Habits and Attitudes Will Inspire You

Here comes the launch of Habits and Attitudes by Lance Casazza. It will go on sale January 21st on Amazon. I LOVE THIS BOOK (did the all caps emphasize enough: I LOVE THIS BOOK?). Why did I fall in love with the book? It inspired me right when I needed it the most. You see I read 52 stories about people just like me and their journeys and realized: I am not alone! YES!

I’ll be honest (and some of you know) 2016 was no cakewalk. The departure of my business partner in such messy way started my year off just wrong. The financial crumbling created from the situation and the behavior that led up to it. To make matters worse, it was a personal loss as well. Stuck and facing some ugly realities left behind, I was beginning to wonder what was going to happen. Then …

I worked on Habits and Attitudes and here is what I learned:

Many, many, many successful people have faced the very same challenges and overcome them.

I was feeling like a failure. How could I have fallen so far into so many financial problems I just couldn’t get ahead? I am an educated, experienced and seasoned publisher and marketing and PR expert. How could this have happened? Yet reading these stories really encouraged me. I realized something important: this moment of struggle didn’t define who I am or my future success.

As I read the habits and attitudes used by these amazing individuals to achieve their dreams, I was inspired. I decided to put my mind only on those things that were about positive, forward motion and growth. I set up some new goals to achieve. I began ensuring that every morning I meditated and faced each day with a positive outlook. I focused on positive self-talk and inspiring mantras.

I already did some of those things, but what Habits and Attitudes reinforced is that successful people do those things, too. I decided with the new year I would get up every day and contact at least 5 people in my network to let them know I can help them prosper in some way. In my goal to help them do well then it would help my business get back on track, too. And Chris taught me this one:

Don’t forget to just breathe and take a deep breath.

Now I don’t have to endorse books I publish. In this book’s case I highly endorse it. Just reading each person’s list of habits and their attitudes is very enlightening. If you don’t do the things these people do, then you will be inspired to try them. If you do some of things already you will get fresh ideas. My favorite section is the called “The Parting Shot” where each person leaves the reader with their overall ideas about life and inspired thinking.

Habits and Attitudes releases on Amazon and in eBook on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and iBook on January 21st. You will thank me for recommending it when you pick it up.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sticks and Stones: The Power of Words

Funny thing happened when I posted this simple sentence on Facebook: I need to be inspired! Apparently, I should have been more specific. I need to be inspired to write my next book. The responses to that phrase ranged from generous thoughts to some outright and strange nastiness. One guy said: Look in the mirror and count your blessings??? Another guy responded with “clown ass, I don’t think she needs to hear that…” About this time, I’m laughing over the word “clown ass” … okay, new phrase. Not entirely sure why anyone would get all “pissy” over the request for inspiration, though.

The interesting point is the power of words and interpretation. A general statement turned into something that people were either telling me nice things are being jerks about. A broad range of reactions to something so innocuous and simple. Makes you think about it, doesn’t it?

In Lance Casazza’s forthcoming book Thank God for Layovers: Take your life from coach to first class, he identified the power of HOW we say something and its impact on the receiver of that communication. He gave a great story about how a blind man had a sign that read: I’m blind. Need help. A woman comes up and rewrites the sign and he starts getting immediate assistance. The woman changed the message to: It’s a beautiful day but I can’t see it.

Think about how that applies to your sales and lead generation. What words are you using to get people to work with you or buy your product? I started thinking about it. Writing and communicating from a position of LACK vs. positive ideas and beneficial outcomes. Words can impact emotions. Words can influence people. Words can change lives. The reason you should never say something mean to anyone is you can’t take it back. Once you’ve said it, it’s out there.

I recently read some great pitch Subject lines designed to get an editor’s attention. A fabulous tip the author suggested was never to use phrases like: Book Pitch. Let me be specific. I am working on the public relations campaign for the Habits and Attitudes book. A great pitch line might be for a Valentine’s subject:
Make someone fall in love with just the right attitude

I booked Lance on the radio show Get Real with Bob & Stacey that airs out of Boston based on this pitch. They posted a query looking for entrepreneurs and authors. My subject line read:

Two Birds with One Stone – An Author AND Entrepreneur

Notice I didn’t use or reference anything to do with “pitch”. I addressed what the query was asking for in the description. They were looking for either an author or entrepreneur. My client is both – win! My bet that paid off was to immediately communicate that my proposed guest for their show met ALL of their needs.

When you’re pitching your book to various media and book reviewers, here is an important tip:

Don’t pitch from the viewpoint of here is my book for you. Pitch from the perspective of how can I serve or meet a need for you.

The latter idea aims to meet their needs. Reality is that journalists and editors NEED your content. You can help them meet their professional goals by giving them something they’re looking for in the first place. Sometimes you forget that the media NEEDS sources and content. Notice the name Help a Reporter Out (HARO). They’re asking for content. Your job is to show them HOW your content meets their NEED NOT the other way around.

For all of my many Friend-Os I am here as an excellent publicist, too. Are you not getting the proper responses to your pitches? Are your book sales flat? Then it’s time to start a strong public relations campaign to increase your book or product’s visibility. People can’t buy a book they’ve never heard about. I’ve got a leg up on many other publicists because I was a magazine editor and publisher for 15 years. I’ve been on both sides of the desk and I know how the media thinks.

Contact me at if you want to increase your visibility and therefore sales.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Editor vs. Writer: What is the difference?

The professional editor conundrum. I discovered that many people mistake “editing” vs. “rewriting”. Perfect example is a lovely client who wanted me to “edit” his travel book. He mentioned that the previous editors had not done the book justice. When I reviewed his material, I realized “editing” wouldn’t fix the problem, but rather rewriting was in order. I explained to him that the reason he loved my work vs. the other editors’ work was because I wasn’t editing I was rewriting.

Why did I need to rewrite him? He’s not a native English speaker. Since English was not his first language, he used many words and phrases either awkwardly or just wrongly. When you hire an editor, it’s his/her job to make grammar corrections, tighten sentences, and make overall content comments or rearrange organization. Editors are not writers. So, if you want your document to perhaps flow better or present a professional approach to its content, do not hire an editor. You need a writer to fix the writing. Two equally different jobs.

In fact, I know some editors who don’t consider themselves gifted writers but rather excellent grammarians. They know the rules and style. They may or may not be creative and talented writers. Grammar, punctuation and style are more like math. 1 + 1 always equals 2. Also, true is that nouns + verbs + subject matter = writing. I’m being a little tongue and cheek in what I’m saying, but the real message is that grammar isn’t as subjective as you might believe. Rules are rules. Math is math. Grammar has rules and those rules apply in their own perfect state.

Rewriting is writing based on someone’s thoughts and research. You don’t necessarily use their word or phrase choices. You rewrite the sentences and make the flow of the work read smoothly. This client loved my writing NOT my editing. I was completely revising the entire sentence and smoothing it out. I wasn’t using his words anymore, but rather his concepts to convey new words.

Editing doesn’t take as long as rewriting. So the value of the service is different. If you’re paying for an editor but you’re really getting a writer, it doesn’t cost the same price. Rewriting takes twice as long and requires completely different talents. Any truly honest editor who receives a document that is poorly written will waste the person’s time by trying to edit what really needs a rewrite. The client won’t be happy. He/she will be like my client and mistakenly believe the editor failed at his/her job. So, the best approach in this situation is to be honest:

“Your document won’t do what you want it to do with an editor’s touch. You really need it rewritten.”

As an editor if you want to make a client happy, sharing this information will be far better than trying to truly do an “edit”. At that point, you can adjust your price and do revisions NOT edits or just refer your client to an actual writer.

Michelle Gamble, CEO of 3L Publishing, provides editorial and writing services to both B2B and B2C organizations as well as fiction and nonfiction book coaching. She can be reached at