Promoting a Revised Edition Title

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many authors decide not to pursue a revised edition on their less than perfect title thinking that the opportunity has passed them by. This, in my opinion, is a mistake. The truth of the matter is that the lessons learned with the first edition can actually build a more successful promotion for the revised edition, especially if a couple of years has gone by between the original publication and the second release. Here are some points to think about when considering promoting a revised edition.

·         Don’t hide the fact that it is a ‘revised’ edition - Actually, promote the fact that it is a better version of the original title.

·         Don’t be shy about reaching out to reviewers of the first edition – Make sure the contacts you made during the promotion of the earlier version of your book are aware you are releasing a second edition; especially the ones who spotted flaws, to let them know of the corrected version. Offer copies to these reviewers in exchange for a new review.

·         Share lessons learned – The best way to get doors opened is to give back. Write articles about what you have learned and send them out to online blogs and magazines.

·         Own the fact you are an expert even if it’s about what not to do! – Speak to new writers about what you did wrong with the first edition and if you have copies of your first edition, offer them for free with the purchase of the new one, so they can continue learning by comparing (this could also become a paid class with the requirement of purchasing the second book).

The publishing industry is a work-in-progress and being flexible and creative is the new name of the game, so don’t give up and keep writing! For more information on how we can help authors, visit us at bookbybookpublicity.com.

Want to Improve your Writing? Read!

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

I have always loved books and enjoy reading any genre, as long as it hooks me from the beginning. But I really did not know the meaning of being a book worm until I began reviewing books. I am not sure whether it is the quantity or variety, but I can feel how my brain has evolved for the better, not just in vocabulary or any other reading comprehension aspect.  Reading has improved my memory, speech, social skills, self-confidence, and yes my writing. Yet, I feel my writing has improved not only from the obvious benefits reading the works of others can give to a writer, but that reading as a reviewer specifically has stepped my writing up a few levels.  Below are few ways being a book reviewer has made a difference for me.

·         As a reviewer I have learned to read with intention.  Learning to read with intention is not something that happens automatically, it takes time and many books, but once it happens it’s magical. Now when I read, not only am I able to enjoy what I am reading, I am also able to focus on the necessary aspects to produce an honest and professional book review. I am able to actually multi-task my focus and compare in my mind what I am reading with my own writing style, thus enriching my craft through critical thinking, while also realizing what I enjoy as a reader.

·         Reading is not the only way being a reviewer has enriched my writing. Writing reviews has actually served as a critical writing exercise, which has kept me writing outside the box of my own projects. When you have written as many reviews as I have, it is impossible not to see the benefits with each review as it relates to writing and creativity, when trying to come up with fresh ways to communicate your opinion. Book reviewing has been the best tool when it comes to keeping my writing fresh and agile.

·         Finally, being a reviewer has kept me current about the industry, and what people are reading.  I find myself not only looking at what I am writing and promoting, I am also up to date on what others are writing and selling around the world.  I must say that I find this very helpful when wondering about my next project as well as when promoting other authors!

In the end, anyone who enjoys reading and writing wants to keep at it and evolve.  For me reviewing books has been an awesome gift as I get to do what I love while having the honor of helping others take their craft to the next level. For information on how to become a reviewer, visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

 

What Does 'Give Readers What They Want' Really Even Mean?

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

I don’t know about all other writers out there but when I get inspired and am in one of my writing spells the last thing on my mind is: ‘am I giving readers what they want?’ I do sometimes wonder what that phrase even means. Do they want a specific genre? Do I need to create a specific type of character? How can I give readers what they want and stay true to myself as a writer? How can I be genuine if I only write what the market dictates and is willing to buy?

When I decided to try to publish my writings (whether articles or stories), by selling them to different publications or submitting them to anthologies for non-paid publication, my job was to produce a piece about a topic or event that inspired me. I never had to think about the audience because that was the publication’s editors’ job. I only had to sell myself and my work to them. It wasn’t until I started promoting my self-published book in 2009 that I had to think about what readers want.  I found that understanding that question was actually more difficult than I could have ever imagine.  But it finally clicked when I remembered that I am not only a writer, I am actually a reader first! What my audience wants is not different from what I want as a reader.  So in reality giving readers what they want has nothing to do with what I write; it has everything to do with what and when I publish. I am a reader, so I asked myself what I want.  This is what I came up with:

·         Genuine Message: Whether you are writing fiction or non-fiction, the message, point of the book, and topic or moral of the story needs to feel as though it comes from the author’s truth.  If I am reading a sci-fi novel which is all made up, it still needs to make me care about the plot, characters…etc., in order to pull me in. A genuine message from the author intertwined in the story is the only thing that can do that for me. Why did the author write this? I always will look for that.  A book without a message, no matter what genre or publishing quality will always be a disappointment to me. So, note to my writer self – my reason to write and publish a book must be other than I want to be a successful author!

·         Story or Author Credibility: Again, I have to believe in what I am reading to keep me interested. Even if there is a message that calls my attention, I need to believe the story is possible (if fiction), or the author is credible (if non-fiction). This is where research to create believable settings, characters, and plots in fiction will make a difference between an awesome book and a great story, poorly developed. In the same way, for non-fiction, a credible author (whether through credentials or experience) who publishes a book about what they know firsthand is more likely to be followed than an author who doesn’t have enough background on the book’s topic to be perceived as knowledgeable.

·         High Quality Product: Although the story’s message and credibility are very important, what prompts the reader’s first reaction, and thus the one that the reader shares with others immediately after finishing the book, is the overall experience. Was it entertaining, emotional, thrilling, thought provoking…etc. It doesn’t matter what the book is about, how the reader feels about it has everything to do with the quality of the book. Was it professionally edited, was the font too small, was the narration dull, were the characters relatable, was there too much repetition, was the formatting confusing, and so on. These might seem like small details to many new Indie writers who have no background knowledge of writing for publication, and are inexperienced in the publishing process, but is one of the major reasons for bad reviews on amazing stories and life changing messages. Readers are tough, and reviewers are blunt. I know, because I am both, as well as a writer; and when I wear the reader/reviewer hat I expect quality as a return for investing my time and money on the books I purchase.

In the end I discovered that although knowing your audience is critical for sure, when deciding what to publish in order to have a chance to sell books, what readers want doesn’t really have to do with the topic or genre, as there are really many different target markets per writing topic. It has to do with customer satisfaction over the quality of the product they have purchased! For more information on how we can help authors visit us at www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Local Book Event Tips for Authors

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many authors are writers first and marketers second, and although it takes writing the book to have something to market, without a marketing plan in place, the book won’t get to readers! It is a vicious cycle, but somewhere in it all, the author can find the perfect timing and come up with a balanced formula that will work for them. Here are some tips:

·         Although online stores are an awesome way to get books out there, the author should also think local to get a jump-start on sales through book events planning.

·         The best time to plan local events is 3-6 months before the book is out. The author should come up with a list of possible bookstores that might be interested in hosting a book launch, signing, or speaking event.

·         Visiting the store and establishing a positive relationship with the sales staff and management before approaching them with a book pitch is not only wise, it is necessary. So, the author needs to allocate that time to build up these relationships before the book is in production. Mentioning their upcoming book is OK, as long as it sounds like sharing a comment and not like a pitch.

·          When the time comes, and there are galleys available, the author should then present the pitch by following their regular process and not expecting special treatment.

·         The author should always remember that he or she is not the only one trying to get their book into the store and that in the end, by creating a positive impression, having a good rapport with and being known by the staff, along with being nice and professional can go a long way.

In the end, we are all human, and given the choice, a bookstore will always go with the product that they think will sell. But they will also prefer to work with the author they already know to be nice, easy to work with, and that can have their back by being available to fill in gaps on their events calendar. For more information on how we can help authors visit us at www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Book Catalogs and Magazine Listings as Marketing Tools

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

The first thing an author does when promoting their book is to try to get media attention for their new title. This is why publicists request a number of copies to giveaway to magazines, newspapers, bloggers, etc., in the hopes of getting a review published in one of their issues. These are considered credible by the audience as they are not sponsored by the author. But to be noticed by the media within the vast releases of new titles happening every year is currently, by all mean, a long shot. This is why considering advertising books is a must. The question we need to ask is where and how. Here are some tips:

·         Make a decision on your target.    Do you want to target directly to all readers, a specific genre audience, or bookstores and libraries? This first step will establish the marketing strategy to follow on all other promotional efforts of the title’s campaign.

·         Check out the catalogs and magazines you are interested in. Remember that the number of followers or contacts is not as important as the quality of the audience. If the publication’s audience you are listing the title with is not the title’s audience, then most likely the effort will not be effective.

·         Determine the time you wish the listing to run. It is my experience that one issue is not enough, unless you choose the issue that has some significance with the topic of your title. For example run a war related title in the issue that will be going out with a Veteran’s day feature.

·         Finally, when looking into budgeting in some listings, consider electronic issues as they are not only less expensive, they will also remain on the internet to be found by readers.

Advertising might be the one thing nowadays that will jumpstart some promotion on new titles, especially for Indies. Being smart about it when strategizing how to spend on advertising is what will determine how effective the listing investment will be. For more information on how our magazine can help visit www.firstchapterplus.com.

 

Can You Feel the Love? Romance! Romance! Romance!

Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Editor

While I love all the traditions and festivities surrounding the winter holidays, by year-end I am ready to move forward!  I particularly look forward to February, because it is then, and typically earlier, we have spring-like weather here in Austin, Texas. February marks the beginning of so many different things for me. I get to reassess all the unrealistic New Year’s resolutions I’ve made (and broken already) and adjust my mental focus toward more attainable goals.  Warmer weather means spring planting time and the anxious wait to plant my new flower and vegetable gardens is nearly over!

But probably most exciting for me is that February means Valentine’s Day is coming!  And that means time to read – ROMANCE! I am a romance junkie, I can’t help it – and don’t roll your eyes at me! What’s not to love about romance novels?  In spite of continuously being one of the hottest genres around, romance often gets a bad rap and I’ve never understood that sentiment. Here are a few reasons why I love the genre and why you should give romance a try:

·         Romance novels inspire hope. I love the positive messages and affirmations I get from reading about a protagonist that overcomes many hurdles to achieve happily ever after.

·         Romance novels often incorporate multiple genres into the storyline.  I feel like you definitely get more for your money with romance novels as most of the time other genres are entwined in the plot.  The romantic element of the story often revolves around some sort of intrigue such as solving a mystery, or happens during an event in history, or is part of the excitement of a time travel drama. Romance belongs in all genres!

·         A great way to unwind. Have you ever read a romance novel with a sad ending?  I don’t think so!  And what better way to unwind than with a story that is going to uplift you and make you feel good? 

·         Strong female leads! I recently finished reading several non-conventional romance stories with strong female leads.  One featured a Japanese geisha who was forced to work as an assassin for an evil crime lord.  Another was an intriguing time-travel tale about an ER physician and her escapades with the most infamous rogue of the eighteenth century, Giacomo Casanova.  Yet another starred an NSA agent who was confident and sexy, down to earth and playful, but also mean, and sometimes nasty – one thing was certain – she called the shots. In fact, these ladies are anything but the stereotypical damsels in distress!

There are many great reasons to read romance and I suggest you just go ahead and indulge in a great romance novel soon. Because – it just feels good. To learn more about how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Planning your Writing Year for Real

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

So, now that we all are done with the New Year’s Resolution phase, let’s get back to real life. The fact of the matter is that if we do not plan, schedule and make it happen, we will never find the time to write. If you are like me, you have already sat down with your new planner and scheduled writing time every day, weekly, or any amount of time you think you can manage out of your work and home commitments. But, just because you penciled it in doesn’t mean it is sustainable. Here are some tips on drafting a realistic writing plan for the year:

·         Consider your first plan to be a first draft and not a set-in-stone schedule. We all are euphoric, optimistic, and filled with good intentions at the beginning of the year, so most of our planning reflects what we would like to do, and not what we can do.

·          Once you add up in your planner the working hours, and personal commitments, revaluate your writing schedule with a realistic eye. Avoid substituting writing hours with other appointments and commitments. Truly look at your planner and schedule to find the best time to pencil in some writing time. Five minutes a day or week consistently is better than 5 hours that never happens.

·         Once you’ve allocated the writing time, make sure you use it, even if you are going through the abominable writing block, take the time to read, work on another writing exercise, writing project or just write in your journal. Any type of writing and reading will help you get out of your dry spell.

Plans are awesome to keep us moving forward, but only if we stick to them, so to make sure it happens we have to be realistic. The best plans will consider our own weakness, level of commitment and time available, and will adapt to our life changes as we move through the year! For more information on how we can help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Reading Resolutions and How to Read More Books

Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Editor

It’s almost time everyone – for new beginnings, a fresh start, a clean slate – whatever you want to call it, the weeks leading up to the new year represents for many a time of renewal and reflection of personal and professional goals.  As an avid reader and book reviewer I like to set reading goals for myself each year, with the intention of reading more titles than the last.  Here are a few ways I use to read more books:

Reading Challenges – Reading challenges help considerably with reading goals due to the accountability factor. I’ve participated in the Goodreads challenge for the last few years to publicly declare my intentions and put myself “out there.” While this challenge is a good motivator, it’s not a perfect system as not every book is listed on Goodreads, (and somehow I feel cheated when I don’t get “credit” for reading a book). There are several challenges available to join, so it’s easy to find the one that best suits your purpose.

Libraries – Libraries are awesome!  I just renewed my membership recently and wondered how I survived so long without one.  What a great resource to use to add to your reading list. Today’s libraries have everything you could possibly want to read, plus it’s more fun to chill at the library when you need a break or change of scenery from your local coffee shop. 

Redirect Some Internet Time to Reading – What?  Am I the only one who spends too much time on social media?  It’s so easy to overspend your time this way – part of it I can justify for work, but often I find myself yearning for the hours lost.  This is a work in progress.  I just started to set limits for myself by scheduling a time when the laptop gets turned off and I spend more time reading.  We’ll see how it works.

Read Multiple Titles – Some might disagree with this practice, but I’ll often have a few books going at the same time. The trick here is to read in different genres. For me, it’s easy to read a self-help book and a fiction novel  together, dividing up my time between the two.

Go to Bed Earlier – This may seem like a no-brainer, but if I wait until exhaustion sets in I’ll usually only get a few minutes of reading in before I find myself nodding off, re-reading the same paragraph multiple times, and/or not remembering what I just read.  By going to bed at least 30 minutes earlier, I’m guaranteed some additional reading time.

How do you sneak in some extra reading time and what are your reading goals for the upcoming New Year?

To learn more about how we can help authors visit bookbybookpublicity.com.