Monday, March 31, 2014

50 Tips to Market Your Book

For the next few months, I'm going to do a series of blogs titled "50 Tips to Market Your Book" ... so let's start.

Tip 1: A critic's one-sheet flyer
Take all of your one-liners (great lines only, please) and create a single sheet flyer (AKA one sheet) and add all of those positive comments. Insert your book's cover as an image. I always encourage people to hire a graphic designer so I will hold to that policy. And that will be another tip for another day.

Always remember: you should hire a professional to do your book marketing and PR. You don't know what you don't know, right? For more information, visit my website at www.3LPublishing.com.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Writer's Book of Cliches

Last night's joke was about how so many writers say, "I'm writing a book," and then nothing is produced. Do you know any writers whose books have never been published or finished? I often get asked if I'm a serious writer, too. I think it's because so many would-be writers never write or finish what they write. The other common cliché about writing in general is: don't we ALL have a book we want to write? The part about that comment devalues my profession. Truth is we cannot ALL write a book. Another woman walked up to me (she was an English teacher) and said, "I bet you've seen some of the worst writing." Funny thing is I typically don't see horrible writing too often. Why? you ask. (And I told her this answer.) By the time a book comes to my desk it generally isn't written by a high school student trying to pass an English paper. The English professor was quickly enlightened and acknowledged that seemed like it would be true ... and it is (thank goodness for me). 

So for your entertainment, here are some of the most ridiculous statements I hear about my profession:

Are you a real writer? What as opposed to an "artificially flavored" one? :) I can be sarcastic, but I can bite my forked tongue, too.

Are you a real publisher? I really, really like it when they ask me that and I'm standing in my "unreal" 10 x 10 trade show booth with signage and books on the table. "No Alice I went to the bookstore and bought all this "stuff" just to fake you out."

"I got published! You know ... by a real publisher!" that statement is my all-time favorite. A traditionally published author who thought a little too highly of herself said that to me; of course, she said it while I was once again standing in my 10 x 10 trade show booth. I'll have to ask some of my traditionally published authors (which I have some in the catalog) if they think I'm a "fake" publisher.

And just to make you smile: yesterday I drove behind a car with a chicken coop in the trunk. Hmm ... a chicken coop in the trunk of someone's car. Maybe I should have named my forthcoming book Body in the Trunk, Chicken Cooper in the Trunk ... and that's a little humor to start your day.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Keep Your Mindset Positive

I am being tested, and I decided to take the challenge. Mindset and belief in one's self are important. Keep a positive mindset every day. Believe in your own ability to be responsible for your life. Be a beacon of positivity to attract everything you need for your highest good. I have several mantras I use when I meditate to help point my life in a positive direction.

I make a lot of money easily and frequently and I am grateful for everything I have.

I am attracting everything I need now, and I am grateful for my abundant life.

The flow of life brings me everything I need to achieve success.

Today I surrender to the Universe and trust it to bring me whatever will serve my highest good.

And I wrote these for the blog to share with you. For everything that happens you can see a reaction as either positive or negative. I choose to see it all as positive. My life is opening to serving my highest good. Today I surrender and believe all that is amazing, wonderful and positive come to me, and joy and happiness is mine. It's our birthrights! Believe in the power within. Trust the process. All will be given, shown and shared.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Just Dive in the Water's Warm

This morning is my own self-pep talk. I am almost finished with my new book Body in the Trunk, but I have procrastinated on getting it finalized. I don't know why I have been so reticent about releasing my own book. I give other writers the positive talk and the push -- and yet I can't seem to push myself? What is up with that? I'm the CEO of a publishing company. And what is the lesson for other writers? Even the power behind the publishing gets insecure! ;) Do you know I have never met a single writer who doesn't get insecure? Not a single one. Why is it writers have "insecure-syndrome"? Crazy I know. So if it makes any of you feel any better even the publisher on her 6th book gets insecure.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Tips to Stay Focused

As an entrepreneur and business owner, I have a lot of freedom. With great freedom though requires discipline. Some people need accountability to get their work done. People like myself do not need anyone ruling their schedules. My own drive and ambition rules my schedule. So how do you keep yourself on tasked and focused when there is no force behind you?

Keep a routine. Routines help you define your activities for the day. For example, I get up and blog every morning. Then I do public relations activities, promotion and marketing. I like to edit and project manage in the afternoons. If I have a meeting this, of course breaks up the schedule and gives me some variety.

Discipline. A routine actually helps maintain discipline since you know your schedule. You'll find many distractions and temptations, but maintain your discipline. Don't let the distractions, well distract. For me I go directly and get a cup of coffee and then go right to my desk and start my routines.

Persist. Many business owners who don't get instant gratification will lose their confidence. When it comes to marketing and promoting your business, persistence in your activities combined with flexibility in strategies and tactics will pay off. You have to stay in the game. Believe in your business (AKA believe in yourself) and keep doing what you're doing.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three Marketing Tools Authors Can't Do Without

I've watched many authors and recognize their fail points when it comes to marketing and promoting their books. Most authors are not businesspeople. So I can't fault them for not knowing what to do to spread the word about their books. First and foremost, authors need to recognize that in being an author it's one part writer one part businessperson. Authors who believe their "craft" should be enough to sell a book typically don't sell any books. Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, please know the rule remains the same: one part art one part business. As an author/businessperson what do you need at your basic foundation to the promote and sell your book?

Publicist: do you know book promotion? I doubt you understand it. It's an entire profession. Seek a book publicist. It's the best investment you can make in your book. Your publicist will use media contacts and lists to promote your book to the book reviewer media.

Marketing tools: your publicist will need to either have created for you certain marketing and promotional tools. These tools are integral to success of your book. What basic tools do you need?
  • Media kit but not just any media kit. Book media kits have certain materials contained within them. Your publicist should know what those materials should be.
  • Website ... preferably a dynamic website that can be easily updated with news and events. No one can function in business anymore without a website. And that website should feature a blog. Many free blog sites exists including Blogger. 
  • Media relations strategy: each genre requires a specific media relations strategy for either national or regional media.
  • Social media strategy: leverage free social media services, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Linked-In.
  • Tie it all together: make sure whatever tools and strategies you use hook together and support and leverage each others' audiences.
Do you need marketing or PR services for your book or even product or services. We provide marketing and PR services. For more information contact info@3LPublishing.com or call 916-300-8012. Visit our website at www.3LPublishing.com.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why do a book launch?

We just launched Fates Thread: A Memory of Jesus at the Metropolitan Club in San Francisco (check out that dining room). Why should ALL authors do a book launch? Here are the top reasons:

Enjoy the support of friends and family who are proud of you. Early sales from friends and family give your book that quick cash infusion. Of course your friends and family want to support your endeavor, so it's a great way to push the book forward and get readers.

Spread the word. You can promote the book launch to the regional media in the area. You may be fortunate and get some early coverage.

Promote reviews posted on Good Reads for those who buy the book early. Get those who purchase copies at the event to post reviews on Good Reads to get wider promotion. This early exposure to readers could propel the book forward to go viral.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Grassroots Book Marketing from the Ground Level

Are you an author? Are you trying to sell your books. I have some unconventional, hands-on tips for you today that come directly from our success at the Tucson Festival of Books. Author Scott D. Roberts whose book Vengeance is Now was being sold from the Author Pavilion - West joined me. We worked as a team to sell his book. All of the authors, who sold virtually nothing that day, all looked at Scott in amazement as he had lines of readers buying his book. Now you want to know what we did that the others didn't do? Here you go...

One-Sheet Flyers: We made up one-sheets with reviewer quotes and Pavilion-signing information. Then we did two critical things with those one-sheets: 1) Scott and I got in line for the Scott Turreau signing (author of books like Presumed Innocent, which is also a thriller and in the same genre as Vengeance). Two important points: 1. the people in that particular line like thrillers (obviously) and 2. we had a captive audience of readers who were bored standing in line. Of course it was interesting talking to the author. Several of them did indeed show up at the booth to get signed copies of Vengeance.

Passed out flyers right before and during the signing. Right before Scott went to sign I began asking people if they liked thrillers. If they said "yes" I gave them a flyer and talked about the book and where to find Scott. Next when Scott began signing at his table I went out in front in the aisle and began passing out flyers to readers. I did two important things: 1. asked if they liked thrillers and 2. found the hook to reel them into the booth to get the book.

How do you find "the hook"? The hook is that "line" or "tagline" that gets people excited. In Scott's case the hook was: You'll never guess the killer. Watch the readers' responses. Do they get excited and intrigued? If so, that is the hook. Once I started pulling people in, the lines formed, and guess what that did? It created more intrigue: why is there a line for that author? And more people got intrigued.

Gross results? Major sales while other authors looked on and wondered why their books weren't selling. We had a lot of comments and questions about what we did. So if you're an author, those are the answers. Use these tips for your next sales activity.

Want to hire 3L Publishing to get you these kinds of sales results? Give us a call at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com. We are running a marketing special in the month of March, ask us about it. For more information, visit www.3LPublishing.com.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Off to the Tucson Book Festival: Why Festivals Rock as Book Marketing Tools

One of the best ways to invest your marketing dollars is in book festivals. You can't look at a festival as a singular marketing strategy. Festivals return on investment (ROI) comes from the outreach and networking done to promote your book and get copies right in the hands of readers.

When attending a festival as an author, here are some activities that will deliver precious ROI:
  • Reviewers--hand the book and pitch it right to book reviewers. Meeting and talking about your book directly to a reviewer is much different than an email pitch. Make it memorable. Have you elevator speech prepared and deliver it effectively in 30 seconds or less. Make sure you collect the reviewer's business card so you can follow-up.
  • Readers--try and useful trick to build your following; do book giveaways with the request that the readers post Amazon reviews in exchange for the copy. If you have a series you're working on copy giveaways are worth it. Fan following equals bigger sales for the second book. So make a small investment in free copies to grow that baseline.
  • Agents--look for agents to either sell the next book (if you don't have one) or do future activities like sell foreign rights. Again, nothing makes a bigger impression than meeting someone face-to-face. Make sure you have a book proposal on-the-ready to give to the agent. Collect business cards and follow-up.
Different genres of books have various festivals celebrated throughout the nation. Some of the major mainstream fiction festivals include: Portland Book Festival, Miami Book Festival, RT Book Lovers Convention and Book Expo of America in New York City. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why Flawed Characters are More Interesting

The archetypical hero in fiction: good guy or girl who goes on some kind of journey (the story) and comes out the other end even a bigger hero and more white than white. The hero is a vanilla character -- and most vanilla characters don't have striations of chocolate ... unless they are flawed. Flawed characters are, in my opinion, way more interesting to read. A flawed character is a good character at heart who is a little misguided and makes bad decisions or has weak judgment. Flawed characters are more complex. They are more interesting to read about and try to understand their motivations. To write a great flawed character, here are some considerations:

Not too flawed -- avoid going over the top in character flaws. Why? Because there is a fine line between a hero and a villain. An extremely flawed character can make him or her not likeable. The key is to write a likeable hero or heroine who while flawed in some way has something you enjoy about him or her. In my first book California Girl Chronicles, Brea's humanity comes across as she makes really terrible choices based on her confusion. Some reviewers took her as unlikeable, but she was just human -- and we all in our humanity do dumb or misguided things. We have wants and desires, and in our search to fulfill our needs we can go slightly off the rails. In my new book Body in the Trunk (due out in May), Mia is only slightly misguided in her desire for love, which unfortunately sets a line of dominoes that when pushed creates tragedy. At her base, she is very likeable, and the reader through the examples provided can see why she makes her misguided choices -- and the manipulations of the other characters show that she is also being led down the wrong path by extremely flawed characters, too.

Do you have a book you need to be coached? My company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) offers book coaching, and our qualified coaches can help writers do things like create the ideal flawed characters that make great reading. Contact us at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Just do it!

Are you a procrastinator? I can be at different times. Do you realize procrastinating is harder to do than actually doing what you need to do? So many do's in that sentence ... DO is the operative word, friend. Expending time and energy "avoiding" something is harder than just doing it. Now for some creative people that so-called procrastination time often isn't at all. I know when I have a project brewing in my head it's because I'm thinking about plot lines and subplots. The time spent meditatively thinking is actual work. Some meditative thought time is work. Sometimes people don't realize that being up in one's head is a part of the process, too. BUT that is the exception. If you are a procrastinator who lets everything get in the way of the task at-hand my best advice: quit avoiding it and just do it! If it's something you didn't want to do, think of this way: the sooner you do it the sooner you get to do something else you want to do. And that my friends is my sage wisdom for a Friday morning!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Maybe I Should Write About Knitting LOL :)

I'll never forger this: I was at a networking function and this woman was discussing her blog. She said she had 5,000 page views a month (heck I struggle to get 2,000). She was an average business person. Here is what surprised me: her blog was about knitting. Realizing that I my blog was well under her page views, I suddenly had blog-envy. How does a blog about knitting get 5,000 page views per month? I randomly ask myself that question all of the time. Actually the question I really ask is: how do I increase my blog readership? Hmm ...
  • My blog is about publishing, business and marketing (and I occasionally sprinkle in humor) -- check.
  • I write about broad interest and general topics, too -- check.
  • I include pictures when I have them to post -- check.
  • I think over my "labels" very carefully -- check.
  • I "think" my writing is good LOL (insecure writer syndrome) -- check.
So, what's the deal? How can I increase my blog readership? Why does knitting get 5,000 page views. Maybe I should have asked her if that was "all-time" views. Are knitters a rabid audience? Maybe knitters don't have enough source material, and they have to use her blog.

You realize I've just posed the marketing questions of the blog world, right? What are your takeaways? That like book audiences you really never know what is going to strike an audience to go crazy over your material. Some people just seem to put their fingers on the pulse of society and tastes at just the right moment -- timing, luck and intuition. The last two things are a little tricky. BUT the major key to that statement: if you don't market or promote at all you won't have an audience, period. So the real truth: try, try, and try again. Something should eventually stick. If you don't try you get what you get -- nothing.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Happy Birthday 3L Publishing! We're Officially 8-Years-Old!

Eight years ago on my 40th birthday (my birthday was yesterday), I had quit my corporate executive position. After spending my final year in corporate working for the absolute boss-from-hell who was literally crazy and used to send me a hundred emails overnight during her insomnia hours, I quit the rat race. I had come unglued in the nightmare of the 9-to-5 and working for people who either didn't appreciate me or treated me like a personal slave put on earth to make them money. I was quite literally mentally exhausted and ready for my "next" in life. So on my 40th birthday I started my own business -- and here I am still thriving!

I never imagined I would own a publishing company (www.3LPublishing.com). I had been in this business since I graduated from college. I am passionate to this day about every single book we produce. I love what I do. I thank the passion gods for leading me in this direction. Yes, I've had a few tough times, but the key is I survived through it all.

The highlights of the last eight years...

1. My book Second Bloom winning several awards (it was my first book, too).
2. Our first children's picture book turning out absolutely stunning (Manuel's Murals).
3. Meeting and developing an incredible, close bond and deep friendship with fellow author Scott D. Roberts who I then encouraged and supported as he wrote his first novel, Vengeance is Now (www.vengeanceisnow.com) that turned into the critic's darling. 
4. Writing my first fiction book California Girl Chronicles and just having fun with the character of Brea.
5. Traveling all over the United States and promoting books at various book festivals.
6. Meeting some incredible and talented people at the various book launch parties in many different cities.
7. Going to New York City for the Book Expo of America and seeing the fantastic city and eating some of the world's best food.
8. Sitting with Scott D. Roberts and laughing about some of the ridiculous stuff at the RT Book Lovers Convention in 2013.
9. Every single time a book comes off press looking at the results of all the hard work.
10. Living my life my way every single day!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

It's My Birthday and Help for the Hapless Guys

All right some I'm now one year older. I don't want to write a serious blog today so I thought once more I would regale you (meaning the single guys) with ideas and assistance to help your online dating styles. As a "semi-single" gal (I'm dating just not sure who will win the crown of "boyfriend"), I do have an online profile. I do get dozens of emails a day. Yet of those dozens of emails, I have to date only answered one. "Why is that?" you ask with interest. Because of the following approaches that fall completely flat (and don't try this at home).

1. I've shared this so many times but it obviously doesn't work so here we go again ... just saying the single word "Hi". It doesn't work. Don't bother if that's the only syllable you know how to utter. How can you even start a conversation from "Hi"? You can't do much with it. Hi back? I don't think so. If your only original conversation starter is hi then two things are clear: you're not a talker and you're not interesting. Those combined things = no response.

2. Expressing your overly enthusiastic feelings about my looks! Thank you and is that all you have to say? Again, I can't take the ball and run with "you're so sexy" or "you're so beautiful." Other than thank you that is all I can say about that comment. Agreeing with you and going off about my looks spells out a big negative: you're so vain I bet you think this blog is about you ... see what I mean ;). If you want to say I'm attractive that is fine, but you better back it up with some other sentiment that is less (how shall we say) shallow.

3. Expressing how you would like to seduce and have sex with me. Yes, my dear man-friends way too intimate for someone I don't know and have never met. What? Am I supposed to agree with you and then go meet you in some seedy motel? Really? Sexual attraction to a picture? Really? In what world can sexual chemistry be established from a picture? Yes, men are visual but this takes it too far, and it's a major turnoff!

4. Being so weird I think you belong in the looney bin. Some messages are so out there I would never accept a date for fear you need some meds. Guys just try and stick to normalcy. No weird poems or crazy marriage proposals to someone you don't know -- bad ideas. Crazy off-the-wall rants not a good idea either. Sometimes "vanilla" works just fine.


Monday, March 3, 2014

The no. #1 Worst Offense from Publishers

Why do I always know the answer to that question? Want to know the number one blunder smaller self- and traditional publishers make? (I can actually name the offenders, too, but I'll be polite.) Littering the books with editorial mistakes. I can't tell you how many authors (and this applies to the big overseas publishing houses, too) show me their books only to have earmarked dozens of mistakes. In my opinion though the worst mistakes are the egregious and "ew-producing" back-cover mistakes. I'll be fair, a small handful of interior mistakes I can halfway accept, but the minute I see a back-cover with mistakes galore, I am always flabbergasted. The editors couldn't even take two seconds to ensure the most-read part of the book and THE most important part of the book didn't have mistakes? The only word that comes to mind is "sloppy" ... well, I can think of some other words too like "lame," but you know let's not digress. Why does this happen? I can guess so here is a list of explanations (and if you don't like some of them, contact us to publish your book because we don't use these practices):
  • Overseas publishers whose editors first language is (get this) NOT English! 
  • Entry-level editors who don't know a past participle from a banana. It's forgivable to be an entry-level editor (been there done that). How else do you learn? On-the-job training is the best breeding ground for improved expertise. However, that doesn't excuse the publishers who use them as the ONLY editors on the book. An entry-level, low-paid editor has no business attempting to edit and proof a complete book on his or her own.
  • One set of eyes leads to blunders galore. It takes at least 2-3 qualified sets of eyes to review a manuscript, and even then it can a challenge. The final proof is harder than the initial proof. You need someone who hasn't read the book yet to spot the final flaws that your tired eyes can no longer see.
Want to work with a publisher that uses a qualified team of editors to proof and finalize books? Call us today at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com.