Friday, February 27, 2015

The Great Mysteries of the Viral Universe

Here I am awake and ready to blog. I check my stats every time I go online. My curiosity piques as I see that in one day I had 350 page views, which for this blog is way off the charts. Now I'm curious, "Why?" I ask myself. What appeared and where that drove up traffic?

Blogger allows you to see sources, but most of these sources came from Google, which is nonspecific. These systems rarely come with classes. When it comes to blogs or even social media, it's all "figure it out." Asking questions of others is always good, but the answers are varied and sometimes inaccurate. I think it's more trial-by-fire.

We had a writers' group meeting last night. The focus was on building your followers on social media. What I noticed that was missing from the discussion was traditional marketing and promotion. So much emphasis exists on using the free and seemingly easy resources with Blogger, Facebook, Twitter and the many other tools that charge nothing but your time (but time is a commodity and costs). During the discussion, the authors seemed to focus on their own abilities to use these resources, but to address the theme of this blog, it's not just the obvious that builds following.

National media campaigns and traditional public relations play an equal if not greater role. The reason my blog hits went so far up had nothing to do with my social media activities. Something in the mainstream media promoted it -- or someone. You can start with your own resources, but if you want your book to go bigger than the sum of your social media parts, it will require good old-fashioned marketing and public relations. You will not be able to get around a publicist (not if you're a serious author). Either you will promote your book far enough that it gets big enough that it requires assistance to expand or you won't promote your book enough to ever budget-wise be able to fund the assistance to make it go bigger. It's the marketing Catch-22.

While social media and blogging is great, it's limited. Serious-minded authors need to consider professional marketing and public relations. Even when I released my first book Second Bloom and 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) wasn't yet a thought, I hired a publicist. It's akin to not being your own editor, too, but that is a whole other blog.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

eBooks -- The Revolution Continues

Up until this year, the Wall Street Journal's projections that the eBook industry would hit billions in revenues (way back in 2012), I would have been skeptical. The Journal gave projections that at the time seemed implausible, but trend-wise also was right on course.

I'm going to say that 2014/2015 (just as projected) are demonstrating that rapid and precipitous upward trend predicted back in 2012. Last summer is when we noticed a dramatic shift that caught our attention at 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com). Just a year ago, print sales still rivaled eBook sales to the point that we could still largely put our investment on print with confidence. Now just a year later I wouldn't make that kind of assertion.

Today the greatest example is the No. #1 selling Chocolate Flowers by Jori Nunes. Early sales figures show for every print copy sold, she's selling 10 eBooks. Yes, that is a 1 to 10 ratio (and that's an estimate). We cannot say the same about children's picture books -- that market with the advent of the more capable readers such as Kindle Fire is now starting to develop.

Now the foreign markets do not reflect the U.S. domestic market. We are just beginning to develop those areas in publishing. It's safe to say that the eBook revolution has more than begun. While print loyalists will feel distressed and pray for their paper books to remain available (and they will), expect to see this rapid trend continue. We have an entire generation coming up that spends their lives online and on the Smart Phone. Many of them are not paper loyalists, and soon as is the case in most of life their consumer demand will drive the market to its realization of what it will be.

The good news: fewer trees will be cut down. Affordability and price will be to the consumer advantage. Author royalties increase. Profitability comes with less storage space and consumption of natural resources (gas) and transportation. As a publisher managing storage, fulfillment,

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Seize Social Media Opportunities to Grow Business

It has been a while since I've just quipped or been interesting on my blog. Why, you ask? Well, have you ever had your brain so full it's leaking? We have so much going on right now with the national exposure of the book Chocolate Flowers. The phone calls and requests for ghost-writing services and full-service publishing (see our company at www.3LPublishing.com) have been nonstop. I just got off the phone with a woman from South Carolina. So many compelling and important stories to tell from people who call in from across the country.

Most of the interest is coming from social media since the Dr. Phil show didn't directly promote Chocolate Flowers or even reveal its title. The social media attention has proven the importance of having a strong presence. I'm about to max out my "friends" on Facebook. I think the biggest lesson:

Don't automatically exclude someone on Facebook and accept "new" friends if you want to grow your business.

I once worked with someone who eschewed the idea of expanding her FB network unless she knew the contact. If someone comes to you, though, and they're trying to get to know you that premise doesn't work. If you intend to promote anything (including your business or even book), open your network to those you don't know. You don't always know why they're connecting with you.

Now the caveat: you can get stalked by no-so-well-meaning strangers.

If someone starts stalking you shut it down. Don't respond or give them fodder to continue their behavior. It's playground rules: ignore them. They won't get what they're looking for -- attention -- and go away.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chocolate Flowers Soars into Public Attention on Dr. Phil Show, Feb. 20, 2015

Chocolate Flowers
Available on Amazon (print and Kindle): click here

Dr. Phil clip (click here)

The book has been lauded as very well written, and that is very important. The material is very sensitive. It needed to be published with a great deal of awareness that it not be salacious. Jori Nunes' intent is to raise awareness about child abuse and sexual molestation. While the content is difficult, it's important and people need to be aware.

Those who watch the show on February 20, 2015, please know there is a viewer discretion attached for good reason.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book Awards: Are they worth it?

Many authors covet winning a book award. In my experience with 3L Publishing books that have won awards, the value isn't the monetary gain. Most awards unless you're no. #1 winner for the general category don't pay awards. I thought I would take a moment to outline what is the value of book awards.

No. 1 -- Credibility
A panel of "experts" evaluate your book based on professional criteria. Some evaluate it just on content. Others evaluate the entire book including design. A panel of experts sanctioning a book as "good" or "excellent" gives an author something to point to that is a credible second party. It far exceeds the idea that your family likes it ... or your local librarian gave it the thumbs-up.

No. 2 -- Exposure
I have rarely seen awards generate much sales. It naturally does depend on the book's sales in the first place. A book already selling well is going to gain even more credibility (as noted) and probably continue to sell more books. However, a book that hasn't been selling that wins an award doesn't mean it will miraculously start selling. In fact, one, two or even three awards may not impact sales at all. An uninterested audience will remain uninterested even when a book is now deemed "good" or even "excellent".

No 3 -- It Feels Good
Yes, the "feed-good" factor counts. Sometimes approval and validation go a long toward your feeling like you've got talent. Even when maybe you know you have talented, it doesn't hurt to have a group validate it. Nothing wrong with wanting validation from an unbiased second party.

Upcoming Awards Worth Entering:

Indie Book Awards -- deadline Feb. 20, 2015
Indie Excellent Awards -- deadline March 31, 2015
Writer's Digest Indie Awards -- April 1, 2015

Good luck!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

3L Publishing Author Jori Nunes Appears on Dr. Phil Show on February 20, 2015



(L-R) Dr. Phil, Jori Nunes, and Robin.
SACRAMENTO, California, January 25, 2014—Sacramento-based 3L Publishing author Jori Nunes, who wrote the groundbreaking book Chocolate Flowers on childhood abuse and sexual molestation, reveals her story on the Dr. Phil Show. The show is set to air February 20, 2015 and centers on the book’s central theme. Nunes’ book, which was released in 2013, was specifically written to raise awareness about child abuse and sexual molestation, and now her message is reaching a broader audience on the Dr. Phil Show.

Buy a copy now (click here)
3L Publishing, a boutique publisher, proudly worked with Nunes to help her edit and publish this harrowing story that reveals dark secrets experienced by many children. Chocolate Flowers gives these terrible secrets the light of day to diffuse and dispel the power that enables predators to do what they do – pray on innocent children. The book’s difficult subject matter was tastefully considered and treated editorially in the best way to help Nunes meet her objective – to stop this from happening to more children.

“We’re very proud of Jori and the work that went into making her book the best possible platform to raise awareness on a difficult subject,” said Michelle Gamble, CEO of 3L Publishing and executive editor on the book. “I was personally very moved by the book and committed to ensuring all sensitivity and genuine caring went into helping Jori make it a success. We’re grateful to the Dr. Phil Show for seeing its value and benefit to help others and spread the word.”

In this brave book author Nunes reveals a dark and nightmarish tale about child abuse, molestation and unimaginable torture of innocent children. Nunes visited and collected stories from adults who experienced abuse to write this compelling and disturbing story to help raise awareness and prevent future child abuse.

Chocolate Flowers retails for $18.95 and is available in print and eBook versions on Amazon, Nook and Apple stores. It is also available for bulk or individual purchases on the 3L Publishing website at www.3LPublishing.com. It will slowly be released into bookstores nationwide. Portions of each sale go to benefit children of abuse and sexual molestation.

ABOUT 3L PUBLISHING
3L Publishing offers a unique business model for authors, individuals and businesses interested in publishing a fiction or non-fiction book or custom manual, guide or white paper. Our staff of award-winning authors, writers and editors provides unsurpassed expertise to deliver an end-to-end publication. We specialize in fiction, business, technical and engineering, education, memoir, self-help, motivational, general nonfiction and inspirational books. For more information, go to www.3LPublishing.com, send email to info@3LPublishing.com, or call 916-300-8012.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I've Written my Book Now What?

Writing the book is only half the journey. Writers whose business education got left out after the fifth creative writing class often get left with a manuscript in one hand and a shrug with the other hand. Where do I go? What is this publishing world? Then as they read the "rags to riches" stories or hear them from fellow writers, their heads fill up with images of dancing dollar bills and red-carpet congratulations. Soon they prepare to quit those nine-to-five jobs and go forth and conquer the literary world.

So, as a denizen of said literary world, I want you to know that writing and novel writing and books all sorts of literary pleasures have their ups and downs. Getting published or accepted to be published is just on small peak or step toward the end goal -- success. Mind you success means many different things to different people. Once you've managed to get past the proverbial literary guard and have a book actually published, realize this journey is not complete ... not even close.

Next comes marketing, public relations and promotion. Ah, now we've hit the area where most who love the quill start to frown. They like the idea of signing books, yes. They like the idea of selling books, yes. But attracting that audience and doing the necessary and ongoing work to actually win the sale, no so much.

Book marketing is the real battle. It's the point in the journey where the weak give up and the warriors take their quest with honor and sword. When you're a warrior you know you have to keep talking to people who can sell your books (bookstores) or organization that can sell your books. You know you have to get out there and promote and use all strategies to your best advantage (social media, blogging and otherwise). You know you have to keep the armor safely on for the merciless critics who not all think your the book of the month club winner. You have to prepare for the worst and sign relief with the best.

But don't be fooled. Writing your book is step one. Publishing and promoting are the real challenges -- and only the worthy with the thickest skin win.

Monday, February 9, 2015

If You Want a Date Go to a Dating Service

Social media has its upside and its downside. People using Facebook or Twitter or Instagram to do business are often nonplussed by the habitual social aspects that makes it great, but also annoying. When I'm friended on Facebook my initial consideration to accept is based on two things: 1. is this a prospective customer/client or 2. is this another person only interested in a date? Since I'm looking for clients/customers for our business 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) that second question has merit. Those looking for a date will start almost immediately bothering me.

The no. #1 thing I don't like though ... getting in touch with me and using business as a means to your end. Men (and even some women) who approach me about my business and act like that is what they want to know about and then do bait and switch. What I really want to know is: are you single? Not only is that a very cheesy and dishonest way to approach me, but it's offensive.

I was taught manners when I was a kid. I have high hopes that most people at least try to have manners. In this virtual world we live in, the idea of manners is often forgotten as individuals hide behind computer screen and do things their mother or father would frown over. If you want to get to know anybody here is a great tip: just approach them and honestly say you want to get to know them. Don't use their business as a cover to approach them, and then say, "Oh yeah! I just want to know you." You don't look very honest that way, and frankly any woman worth her own self-esteem and value would be nonplussed by a guy who approaches her dishonestly.

So your takeaway: just be honest. Say what you want and mean what you say. That strategy will be stunningly winning.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Marketing Solves All of Your Sales Woes (that an a five-minute pity party)

Outflow gets inflow ... so I'm an open book about my business. I like to teach other people how to succeed. It gives me so much pleasure when I see someone go from "rags to riches" (even if it's emotional).

So just so you all know right now I'm human. I give myself the badge of flesh and blood. I have my great days like you all do and then I have my tough days. Sometimes as I'm selling our services for 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), I hit a sudden wall of "No's" vs. "Yes's". If the series of No's starts to trump the Yes's I've learned a valuable technique (well two of them):

Give yourself a five-minute pity party. Yep, scream, kick, cry and just light up the room. Punch a pillow. Get your sob on. But that's all you get! Bring on the cake, eat the ice cream, and MOVE ON. Five minutes is all you get.

Then move to my opening phrase: outflow gets inflow. Start reaching out. Work it! Work it! Work it! Keep your eye on the ball. Do your marketing (blog, newsletters, etc.). Make some phone calls. Remind people you exist and what you do.

Now sit back and watch the results! And this is the really, really cool part: give yourself a five-minute, "It's-all-good" party too.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

The "Of-Course" Generation Book Buying Habits

Great article on book marketing and social media (click here). I don't know how many conversations I've had with clients about consumer behavior, but this article amplifies what I've said. We live in an unpredictable, crazy culture that loved unimportant things like pet rocks, Chia pets, clappers, and a host of funny as-seen-on-TV gadgets that sometimes but most of the time don't work. If I had a nickel for every time an author asks me, "Is this best-seller material?" I would be richer than Bill Gates.

I know what I like to read. I know what my friends like to read. I know what people are generally reading. But asking me if you've got the next Harry Potter or fan fiction like 50 Shades of Grey is basically asking me to call the next pet rock. I mean who knew that "mommy porn" and S&M would set American women into a dither or excitement. I was pretty surprised when some of my women friends gushed their love for this book.

So in the above-cited article, the author is right -- algorithms measuring social media behavior are useless. It all comes down to the real world. We are not measurable in algorithms, numbers or fuzzy math. We're humans that love stuff that sometimes no one can predict or define.

I agree with the writer's assessment of the future of publishing and kiosks. Red Box spelled the end of Blockbuster, did it not? We are a smart phone generation. Easy, quick and downloadable appeals to a huge demographic of what I'm going to call the "of-course" generation. Can you please help me find a book? Of course, says twentysomething counter girl. My business partner, who has teenage kids, recently started saying "of course" (I couldn't help but smile). At least the phrase is positive and upbeat. The of-course group loves their smart phones, loves e-everything, and a kiosk? Even better. Forget Amazon and shopping. Video-loving eyes will gladly spend 5 minutes at your kiosk to buy their books.

Does this bode well for the future of eBooks? You bet it does. So, read that linked article. You'll learn way more than I just shared here about book marketing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book


When I open my presentations, I ask two questions: “How many of you throw away books in the trashcan?” I follow up that question with the next one, “How many of you throw away brochures in the nearest garbage can?” The second question provides the audience’s a-ha moment.
Most people feel value when they buy or are given a book. A book has weight. It has pages. It has merit. It conveys the perception of knowledge and expertise and time and money to publish. A feeling of guilt or at least a sense of environmental responsibility overcomes the desire to toss all that time, money, expertise, and most importantly “paper” into the garbage can.
On the other hand, how many flyers, tri-fold brochures or one-sheets create such a moral or ethical dilemma that you actually feel guilty to throw it away? I’ll be honest. I’ve thrown away countless brochures. I even curse when someone shoves a flyer under my car windshield wiper because now I have to find a garbage can so I’m not a litterbug (anyone raised in the ’70’s era of trash propaganda knows what I mean about litterbug guilt pangs). Meanwhile, I can only think of one time I deposited a book in the nearest trash receptacle – and that was because the author bored me with a bad sales presentation. I figured if she couldn’t even speak on her subject with intelligence, what were the chances her book would be more interesting?
Truth is when people either buy or are given a book, they are unlikely to throw it away. In fact (and this is the real value), if the reader doesn’t need the book or can’t use it, he or she will give it to a friend. This is the other a-ha moment when audiences responded favorably during my presentations. The pass-around rate on a book harkens back to that old Faberge commercial, “and she told two friends…” Not only do authors get mileage out of the first point-of-purchase sale, but also the pass-around benefit makes a book even more attractive – especially to business owners or those authors who wish to become subject matter experts to support their businesses. Brochures go away. Books last and are passed around.
This concept alone should convince entrepreneurs and executives to publish a book. In fact, a book’s value proposition to any business far exceeds its shelf life. A book is your entrée to new opportunities AKA sales and customers. I am about to cite the extreme value proposition that is sure to cement your desire to publish a book. The opportunities are so amazing I don’t know why when a book doesn’t cost that much money to publish that a smart business executive would not publish one.
When I share this information I am speaking from experience. My business books have built our publishing company 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com), and sometimes even paid for the book’s cost in mere hours off press. The first thing I teach anyone interested in publishing a book is VERY IMPORTANT:

Do NOT measure the individual book sales as your return on investment! Measure the OPPORTUNITIES (e.g., speaking to attract business, media exposure, new sales leads, etc.).

My third book Vanity Circus came off press, and I took it to the Book Expo of America held annually in New York City. The first person I handed a copy to; she took the book with her on the train ride back home, read it, and by the time she reached the station, she called me and a $20,000 deal was cut. The book cost $6,000 to produce and publish 500 copies. Do you think after that one contract I needed to sell the other 499 copies to make a profit? That book sold dozens of other copies (and some were giveaways), and many more contracts were derived from those sales. It made a lot of money. I still have 200 copies I decided are dated and will discard. Do I care that I have 200 unused copies? The answer is simple: NO.
My other favorite case study comes from a client who shared this story. He published his first book (a niche book). A few months later he reported with excitement he had a new six-figure income executive position. How? The company’s owner read his book and loved it. A job offer soon followed. His second book (another niche book) he reported more excitement. He said the book had resulted in at least a 200 percent return on investment. He had sold it during workshops, made new connections, and seized opportunities.
What else does a book do to open opportunities? It creates prospects that would otherwise not exist if you didn’t have a book to sell or giveaway that supports your business. What are these opportunities?

A marketing platform—a book becomes the centerpiece to build your marketing platform, which will promote your business. A book provides a theme and content to populate your platform, which includes newsletters, blogs, social media, websites and more.

A news hook creates exposure to your name, company or service—a book creates news; real news that the media can feature. It gives you something to tie to a greater story at large. For example, a book about reinvention could be tied to the headlines for New Year’s resolutions. A book about a social issue could be tied to an “awareness” issue such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Exposure or increased visibility—the book and your name in the news and on the Web increase awareness of your name, book, product or service. More people hear about you, and the benefit snowballs into more interest in you and more “followers” or “friends” on social media. More exposure on social media generates more interest in current and future products (ultimately customers and prospective sales).

Qualifies you as an expert—now you are identified as an expert on your topic or subject matter. What happens when someone thinks you’re an expert? You get asked to speak in front of groups and share your expertise. What happens when people think you’re an expert and they see you in person speak (and you’re an especially persuasive, interesting or entertaining speaker)? People hire and buy from experts. Now you have two opportunities once closed to you before a book: speaking engagements and exposure to potential customers and clients. The media may even invite you to share your expertise for interviews, and what does this mean? It means even more exposure to your name, product or service.

            After I just outlined this fantastic sales pitch, you are probably convinced you need a book for your business or to support your profession. Yet maybe you’re not a writer or you are a writer but a so-so one. Maybe the idea of 200- or 300-page books just scares you. You want to run right out of my presentation or put this book down now and forget it.
Forget your fear. Don’t be scared. Don’t run away.
What I’m about to do is describe the specific value of what a book does for a business, how it does it and why, and then I’m going to calm your nerves. Publishing with a reputable and knowledgeable publisher or book coach doesn’t have to scare you. Many different techniques can be used to produce your book, including ghost writing for those who don’t want to write at all.
Now there are many scams out there. You will want to protect yourself before you ever work with any publisher through knowledge and education. The easiest way to see the quality of a publisher’s books and products is to ask for samples. Publishers can’t hide the truth in the final product. Make sure you ask to see samples. Let me tell you something depressing: an author who shows up to work with my company 3L Publishing and sadly shares his or her rip-off tale. Now this person is working on a shoestring budget or cannot afford my services. I wish I could help him or her, but I am in business too and cannot cut a deal because he or she got scammed. Regardless I feel badly for this person each and every time I receive that phone call.
So I hope now you realize that in fact Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book, and you will be well armed to go forward with information to achieve success and avoid common pitfalls. I’m going to give you all the information you need to make a sound decision, and then I am going to share specific case studies of authors/entrepreneurs/business people whose books created unprecedented opportunities for growth and success. By the time you finish working with us and taking advantage of our consultation, I am certain you will be clamoring at my door utterly convinced Nothing Sells Your Business Better than a Book.
For more information, contact us today (ask for Michelle or Scott) at 916-300-8012, send email to info@3LPublishing.com or visit the website at www.3LPublishing.com.
                       


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

3L Publishing is More Likely to Make Your Book an Amazon Top Seller

Before we get started, read the July 2014 Author Earning Report (click here). 3L Publishing (www.3LPublishing.com) falls between the two high categories of publishers that have the most best sellers on Amazon -- Indie (25%) and Small- to Medium-sized Publishers (45%).

The most important takeaway for those considering other options to self-publish or use low-end services like Create Space or Smash Words is the ranking for top-sellers is 1% -- not good.

Already in 2014, we had Josh Mathe's book In the Footsteps of Greatness crack the top 10 on Amazon and go to no. #3 to be considered an Amazon best seller.

What do you need to know as you consider your publishing options? Based solely on the published figures in that report, here are your bullet points:
  • The mainstream big publishing houses' market share has eroded down to 16 percent in terms of overall best sellers produced.
  • The self-published options have the lowest market share at 1% and hardly offer any potential or prospective value to generate a top-seller and provide adequate return on investment for authors looking to recoup base costs in sales.
  • The indie publishers provide an adequate opportunity at 25% to produce a best-seller, but still not the optimal number.
  • Small- to medium-sized presses offer your best chance of a best-seller at 45%.
Forty-five percent is a generous market opportunity. What you need to know is that the book market itself has eroded, transformed and changed with the eBook revolution increasing overall volumes of books now glutting the market. However, discerning consumers still put value and apply credibility to professionally published books -- whether print or eBook.

With a competitive market, authors should look to the largest opportunity and best advantage for success by working with companies like 3L Publishing that fall into the highest market share category. Why make it harder to publish a book? Why put yourself at a clear disadvantage from the get-go. If your desire is simply to save a few dollars you will be very surprised how 3L Publishing offers competitive package prices that are often less expensive when you compare it to what it would take in time, resources and expenses to do it yourself or hire a self-publishing house.

And finally, 3L Publishing has already done the hard work for you. We've got the foundation (distribution, fulfillment and technical services) already poured and cemented. Why spin your wheels and potentially waste time and not even be assured of a quality product or ability to reach your desired market?

We didn't do this survey -- Amazon did it. But it does bode well for our business, and for the success of 3L Publishing's books and authors.

Want to publish and take your bite out of the 45% or greater market opportunity? Call us today at 916-300-8012 or send an email to info@3LPublishing.com 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Movie Review: Cake

****1/2

Actually, I don't know why I gave it less half-a-point, but maybe it deserves five stars. Cake is yet another riveting, emotional and spiritual movie out in theaters. Chronic pain sufferer Clair is kicked out of a support group after she articulately, truthfully and in an unvarnished description goes through a "forgiveness" exercise and excoriates her friend's suicide. The group's stunned reaction leads to Clair being asked to leave. The heart of the story begins here with Clair's pain and addiction to pills spiraling out of control. She begins to hallucinate the woman who committed suicide and soon her obsession lands her on the woman's doorstep where she befriends her widower and son.

While Clair is self-destructive and a self-proclaimed bitch, the audience slowly learns what happened that resulted in the physical and emotional scars. Outsiders are often unsympathetic to her situation, but Clair has bottled it all up and uses pills to numb it out. The script is well written and structurally interesting how the writers peel back the layers of the story and in doing so peel back Clair's story.

Cake is not a feel-good movie. It's emotionally intense, riveting, and absorbing. So many masterfully written moments and scenes that make you think. Jennifer Aniston's performance is spot-on full of anger, pain, grief, sadness -- all expressed so well in her face. She looks intense and painfully sad the whole through.