Monday, December 31, 2007

Wow . . . What Photographs! What a Video!

Here are some fantastic photographs and an incredible video featuring works by an author, photographer Gregory Colbert, who will soon have some wonderful books:

And the video:

Thanks to Kira Rosner for sharing these with me. And now I share them with you. Enjoy your new year.

Gregory Colbert has used both still and movie cameras to explore extraordinary interactions between humans and animals. His exhibition, Ashes and Snow, consists of over 50 large-scale photographic artworks, a 60-minute film, and two 9-minute film haikus.

Sunday, December 30, 2007 Really Poor Customer Service

I find it interesting how ready and willing companies are to take your money online, but when it comes time to cancel your service -- they are no where to be found. For example:

I signed up for the NFL Field Pass (hosted by so I could listen to the football games not shown on TV. Well, now that the season is over, I went to their website to cancel the monthly service before I got charged for games I did not want. Alas, no deal.

The only way I can cancel the service is to call their toll-free number -- which has very limited service times. Essentially, they are making it almost impossible to cancel their service, especially given their phone service times.

Now, why does a company that offers an online service make it impossible to cancel their service online? It makes absolutely no sense -- unless they are trying to steal your money by making it impossible to cancel.

Every other online company I know makes it easy to cancel a service. The only other company I know that make it impossible to cancel their services is Capital One credit cards, another example of a company which offers really poor customer service. Until today, I thought they owned poor customer service. Now I know that and the National Football League has them tied.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Do You Want a Story in USA Today or Other Major Media?

Do you want to catch the eye of major media such as CNN, USA Today, and Rachel Ray -- and get a story about you or your book? Many authors have, thanks to PressKit 24/7, an online press kit technology that puts you in front of the media every day.

Now it's gotten even better. It’s the only online press kit technology viewable from any hand-held device.

“Online access is critical to match sources with the media members who need them,” says Drew Gerber, PressKit 24/7 designer. “Now any Blackberry-toting media member can select an author at the click of a button.”

We invite you to try it out for yourself. Check it out at

Be in front of the media for less than a tank of gas and give your PR campaign the boost it deserves.

It's a great system if you don't already have an online press kit or system for reaching major media.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

YouTube Vegetables

If I were an author of a diet book or cookbook featuring vegetables, I'd make a down and dirty funny video about vegetables and tie it to a commentary on the above video featuring the vegetable orchestra.

The above video has already been viewed 295,000 plus times. It will only get more popular. A fantastically fascinating video with viral possibilities. Someone who creates a great commentary piggybacking on the vegetable orchestra -- and the value of eating vegetables as well as playing with them -- could get hundreds of thousands of viewers for their companion video.

If you post such a video, be sure to add the following tags: vegetable orchestra, vegetables, orchestra, commentary.

To discover other video-sharing websites where you can share your videos, check out

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

National TV PR Directory: 3-Day Sale

Just wanted to let you know starting this Wednesday, November 27th, Bradley Communications is having a three-day sale on their Harrison's Guide directory/database of the top 235 national TV shows. In addition to a price savings of $50.00 to $200.00, buyers will get a one-hour consult with a former NBC TV guest booker with their one-year subscription.

Check it out now at

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

John Kremer's Book Marketing Blast-Off Seminar

Would you like to sell more books — a lot more books? If you do, I can show you how! I wrote the book on the subject: 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. For the past twenty years, I've edited the newsletter on the subject: Book Marketing Update. And, also for the past twenty years, I've consulted with some of the top bestselling authors in the country. Who am I? I'm John Kremer. If you want to sell more books, I can show you how!

This seminar is designed to help authors, self-publishers, and regular publishers sell thousands of more copies of their books. All categories are covered, including novels, business books, children's books, self-help, religion, travel, cookbooks, reference books, and more.

Join me at my next Book Marketing Blast-Off Seminar in December, 2007. Here are the details:

Dates: December 7 to 9, 2007, Friday through Sunday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Location: Marina del Rey Hotel, 13534 Bali Way, Marina del Rey, California

For seminar details, see

“Thanks again for a super fantastic class this past weekend! I've taken over 100 classes and seminars and yours was by far the best in all categories: valuable content, organized delivery of content, interesting, value for the money.” — Jill Ferguson, publisher, Truth Endeavors

“You're fabulous. I'll never be the same again. Thank you a million times for the opportunity to hang out and learn from you, and for assembling such an interesting mix of information, people, and pastries.” — Patt Pugliese, publisher, The Pugliese Group

“We are just a bit excited about being nominated for Book of the Year! You know it all started when Denise and Cari took your workshop. Since then we won the Ben Franklin Award for Children's Picture Books. We spent 10 weeks plus on the BookSense bestseller list and for two weeks at Christmas we were #4 putting us ahead of two of the four Harry Potter Books. We have spent 12 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list and have gone as high as #2. We have won the International Reading Association Young Readers Award for fiction. What we are most proud of is that we have raised over $50,000 for wishes for kids and for protecting special places with the Nature Conservancy since the book was released. Thank you setting us off in the right direction.” — Carl R. Sams II, author/publisher, Stranger in the Woods

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Designing Better Websites: How People View Your Website

At the blog below, they feature 23 important elements for good website design that takes into account how people look at websites. Check it out at

Alas, this blog post is no longer available. Too bad.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

An Overdesigned Website

If you'd like to see a really overdesigned website that is impossible to use in any practical way, check out this website:

It takes a long time to load, uses way to much Flash, and when you click on the contact info, you have to leave your cursor on the page in order to handwrite any contact info. No cut and paste capability. Very strange.

The website is currently giving a database error message.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Regnery Publishing: Boon & Bane, Part II

Well, now Alfred Regnery, former publisher at Regnery (and still a board member), now calls the lawsuit by the disgruntled authors frivolous. Here's what he said in his blog at the American Spectator, where he is now publisher:

"The merits of the lawsuit are hardly worth discussing. To anyone in the book publishing industry they're laughable. I'm a lawyer and know that the contracts they signed are clear and transparent, and are similar to the contracts used throughout the industry. I also know that Regnery puts marketing muscle and expertise behind its books like nobody else in the business -- something that each of the five authors involved benefited from enormously. These disgruntled authors are, perversely, complaining about that muscle. But it's one of the reasons why Regnery has the success it does in putting conservative books where the New York Times doesn't want them -- on its bestseller list."

One, he is correct, Regnery has put a lot of conservatives on the bestseller list. In that sense, they are a boon to conservative authors.

But, two, Regnery, like so many of the larger publishers, offers a contract that is not at all clear or transparent. Regnery should not get off the hook for offering a bad contract to authors. Neither should any of the other large publishers. They offer bad contracts that no author should sign without heavy negotiation. Agents have been doing authors a huge disservice for years allowing authors to sign such author-unfriendly contracts.

Regnery failed to discuss at all the central points of the lawsuit: the self-selling of Regnery books to Eagle at discounts that offer the authors little to no royalty. These sales do not affect the New York Times list. They are simply ways for Regnery to take advantage of authors who sign contracts that are not in any way clear, especially when publishers sell books to themselves at discounts totally out of range of honest business practices.

Posh, again, on Regnery for such self-serving deals.

Posh, again, on the authors for not reading their contracts more carefully and signing what they did. Al is correct in saying that the contracts they signed "are similar to the contracts used throughout the industry." As an industry member, I am not at all proud of that statement. Regnery should also be ashamed.

Posh, again, on the agents that allow authors to sign such bad contracts.

I really do wish publishers would treat authors better. That is the one point Regnery completely ignored. Why would he be happy that the key contributors to the content Regnery publishes are unhappy? What does that say about him as a board member? Let's call the authors fools so we don't have to deal with them anymore. Sad.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Singled Out Book Promotion

Bella DePaulo's book, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, is out in paperback. Singled Out is a myth-busting, consciousness- raising, totally unapologetic take on singlehood. Bella has been pursuing the singles topic with a passion, and she would love to see the paperback version of Singled Out get off to a great start. So if you buy two or more copies between Sunday, November 4 and Friday, November 9, she will send you (or anyone in the continental U.S.) another book for free. For details, see:

Even if you buy just one copy of Singled Out between November 4th and 9th, there are special thank-you bonuses available at her website,

To purchase her book go here: Singled-Out-Singles-Stereotyped-Stigmatized, but you can buy the books anywhere to qualify for the free book and other thank-you bonuses. (The retail price is $14.95, and Amazon is selling it for just $10.17.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Regnery: A Boon and a Bane

Conservative book publisher Regnery is being sued by some of its bestselling authors because it doesn't play fair with them. Regnery gives its authors a paltry, paltry, paltry royalty on books it sells to itself or gives away to its customers (via its Eagle-affiliated sister companies). Now the authors are mad and suing Regnery.

Posh on Regnery for giving publishers a bad name. Their treatment of authors on this issue is shameful. And then a lawyer for Regnery had the temerity to say, "These disgruntled authors object to marketing strategies used by all major book publishers that have proved successful time and again as witnessed by dozens of Regnery bestsellers." When what the authors objected to was not the marketing, but the self-dealing, author-robbing, underhanded, bogus deals Regnery makes with its sister companies.

Posh, of course, on the authors for signing such bad contracts in the first place. When are authors actually going to read the contracts publishers give them and negotiate the hell out of those contracts. Because, believe me, every publishing contract offered by a big publisher is full of such self-dealing, author-robbing, underhanded dealings -- even when those publishers are not selling to themselves like Regnery/Eagle does.

I don't object to publishers robbing authors blind -- if they admit to doing so. But they never do. Personally, I believe authors deserve such underhandedness for their inability to read and negotiate decent contracts.

Posh, of course, also to the agents that let authors sign such contracts. Posh, and be gone to such agents. Posh, posh, and be gone.

Well, now that I've angered authors, publishers, and agents, I guess I should attack the media and booksellers as well. That way I could get everyone in the industry mad at me. But I won't. At least not today.

A Terrible Book Cover: My Apologies

Update: The book cover was so terrible they took it down from And, since I never listed the author or title, I can't provide an update. Just a cautionary note to spend time creating a great cover.

Here is a terrible book cover. At least as it looks online. Maybe it looks better in real life, but still, who picked that bland and horrible typeface?

Watch for the book on They are running an Amazon bestseller promotion for the book right now.

Too bad none of her partners in the promotion told her how terrible the cover was. With just a little work, it could have been spectacular. But first, and foremost, lose that typeface.

I can't read the author's name at all online. Nor the subtitle. At least it looks like there's a subtitle there just below the rays.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Make Money with Your Blog or Website

WidgetBucks: — Mpire Corporation, 1725 Westlake Avenue N #203, Seattle WA 98109; 206-706-5588; Fax: 866-828-3876. Email: Their WidgetBucks widget allows you to feature content from eBay, Best Buy, InfoSpace, BuddyTV, Target, WalMart, WhateverLife, and Amazon and make money from any referrals.


The above is just one of the ways you can make money with your blog or website by featuring various ad formats. For a list of more ways — with contact info — see

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Readability and Book Sales

If your book is part of the Search Inside feature on, you might be able to get some incredible statistics about your book, including its reading level, word count, average words per sentence, % of complex words, and words per dollar (based on the retail price of your book).

If you'd like to read an interesting post comparing books by Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, and a few other authors, go here:

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the above post is how books with fewer average words per sentence and a smaller % of complex words sell better. In other words, if you write shorter sentences and use less complex words, you have a greater chance of becoming a bestselling author. Interesting.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Viral Marketing vs. Word of Mouth

Seth Godin, in his normal brilliant fashion, describes in today's blog post how viral marketing is different from word-of-mouth marketing. His distinction is important. The two are different. Viral is better. Want to know how?

Here's a hint: "Viral marketing is a compounding function. A marketer does something and then a consumer tells five or ten people. Then they tell five or ten people. And it repeats. And grows and grows. Like a virus spreading through a population. The marketer doesn't have to actually do anything else."

For more details, read Seth's blog post: seths_blog/2007/10/is-viral-market.html.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Passion Test Bestseller Campaign

Jack Canfield said, it "changed the way I have lived the past year."

Jay Abraham said, "It is unlike anything anyone has ever exposed me to."

T. Harv Eker said, it will help you "get clear on who you are."

What would your life be like if you were doing what you love, with the people you love, in places you love? It's called a passionate life and, for the first time there is a simple, effective way to discover your passions so you can create that kind of life.

Everyone knows that following your passions is the key to a successful, fulfilling life. Yet, how do you discover what they are? And even if you think you know what you're passionate about, how do you stay on track?

"It wasn't until I took The Passion Test that I realized one of my top five passions ... my mind was blown!" says Dr. Jacalyn Buettner, one of the most successful chiropractors in San Francisco. She made this statement after using this powerful tool to clarify her top passions and then two days later receiving an invitation to fulfill that passion.

The Passion Test is a simple, powerful tool that allows anyone to discover their passions and clarify what matters most to them in their life.

Yehuda Berg of the Kaballah Center is known and respected by hundreds of thousands of people around the world, including Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Demi Moore, and Ashton Kutcher. Yehuda said, "I couldn't put it down. Taking the Test I realized how valuable it was to hear the story..."

This book is a fun, engaging read that may change the way you live your life. And here is one of the best parts:

Now you have the chance to purchase an incredible book, AND to receive a remarkable collection of thought-provoking gifts to help you live a truly passionate life. These gifts feature people like:

- Dr. Wayne Dyer
- Michael Dell
- Jack Canfield
- former President Jimmy Carter
- Tony Robbins
- Maya Angelou
- Robert Kiyosaki
- Dr. Christiane Northrup
- Jay Abraham
- Mark Victor Hansen
- James Ray
- Byron Katie
- John Assaraf

All told, you'll receive more than 40 life-changing gifts when you purchase the book today. To join in this bestseller campaign, click here: .

The Passion Test has transformed the lives of thousands of people throughout the world. The one thing that all the most successful people in the world share in common is, they have followed their passions. What would your life be like if you were fully living your passions? Are you ready to find out?

The Passion Test - The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Destiny is the road map to your passionate life.

P.S. -- Take a look at the gifts you'll receive when you buy this book now. They're unbelievable. And the best part is this book is such a fun, inspiring and useful read, you won't be able to put it down.

Weeks before it was released, it was already a #1 bestseller. Order your copy now and get your own library of transformational gifts by going to:

Note: You can also hear the authors Janet Atwood and Chris Atwood give The Passion Test live and in person at these bookstores:

October 9, 7:30 PM - Boulder, CO - Boulder Bookstore, 303-447-2074

October 10, 7:30 PM - Denver, CO - Tattered Cover Bookstore, 303-470-7050

October 11, 7:00 PM - Phoenix, AZ - Changing Hands Bookstore, 780-730-0205

October 15, 7:00 PM - Chicago, IL - Transitions Bookstore, 312-951-7323

October 17, 7:00 PM - Seattle, WA - East-West Bookstore, 206-523-3726

October 24, 7:30 PM - Los Angeles, CA - Bodhi Tree Bookstore, 310-659-1733

October 25, 7:00 PM - Santa Cruz, CA - Gateways Bookstore, 831-429-9600

October 30, 7:00 PM - Sebastapol, CA - Copperfield's Books, 707-823-2618

November 7 - San Diego, CA - Warwick's Books, 858-454-0347

December 9 - Corte Madera, CA - Book Passage, 415-927-0960

Again, your can order a copy now and get a fantastic library of transformational gifts by going to: .

The above is an incredibly powerful sales letter for anyone wanting to run an Bestseller Campaign. Model it. Check out the sales letter on their website as well. See how many people have partnered with them by offering bonus materials. The last time Janet and Chris ran this campaign, they sold thousands of copies of The Passion Test. Follow YOUR passion today!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

AMS Book Auction

If you want to take part in the auction for all the book inventory caught up in the Advanced Marketing Services bankruptcy (including books from Publishers Group West), click on the banner above. It will take you to the online auction site for the auction of millions of dollars worth of books.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Be a Ball Bearing, Not a Beach Ball

In his blog, Seth Godin pointed out the following statements from Michael Brooke, editor of Concrete Wave, the magazine for skateboarders. I think what Michael has to say applies as well to most book authors. Check it out:

I am not publishing a magazine – I am helping to document and foster change within skateboarding. The magazine is part of a greater movement within skateboarding. Concrete Wave exists to spread specific ideas. The more people we can spread these ideas too, the more success we achieve.

I am not merely building readers or subscribers – I am building a cult of supporters, each of whom will further support the cause and bring in more readers and subscribers.

I build marketing INTO the product and distribution. By limiting the kinds of advertisers I allow, by keeping the editorial strictly focused and by carefully distributing the magazine, my readers and advertisers trust the magazine to deliver on its promise of 100% skateboarding. I will never betray that trust.

Concrete Wave wishes to remain a ball bearing – small, hard to find and continually in the state of being polished. Our goal is to provide readers with a deep impression when they get hit with it. Conversely, we do not aim to be a beach ball – big, seen all over the place, colorful and yet leaving very little impression when it hits. A beach ball is very fragile indeed and must avoid challenging environments, because it requires so much air to keep it afloat. A weighty ball bearing can withstand both challenging environments along with the pin pricks of adversity.

Most authors would be better served becoming small solid ball bearings than over-inflated beach balls. Focus on your core audience rather than trying to convince the world that you are the fulfillment of the masses.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Why Book Covers Count: Another Reason

Bonus update (original posting below).

In addition to the quote by Sean Penn in Entertainment Weekly cited below, Sean also talked about the book cover for Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild in a recent interview in Time magazine:

"The cover grabbed me--the bus, the image of the bus with the title Into the Wild on it. I've made a lot of decisions in my life that you could call judging a book by its cover. And I've become a real advocate of it. So I took the book home, and I read it cover to cover twice, and I went to sleep in the wee hours and immediately got up in the morning, and I saw in essence the movie that you saw last night."

I noticed the following quote from actor and director Sean Pean in a recent issue of Entertainment Weekly. He had been asked when he decided to make Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild into a film. His answer was as follows (the bold is my emphasis):

"When the book first came out, I wandered into a bookstore, saw it on the shelf, judged the book by its cover, took it home, read it twice, finally fell asleep, woke up, and started trying to see if the rights were available. I had a very strong feeling that this thing was dying to get out of the pages and onto the screen."

That's how a cover should work. It should draw potential readers into the book, get them to pick it up, buy it, and read it. That's what happened to Sean Penn. That's why covers are important, not just for the initial sell, not just for the initial impression, but also for the potential of follow-up sales, including movie rights and other subsidiary rights.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Dramatic Book Cover

Here is a very unusual cover. I don't recall seeing one just like this. It catches your attention. The book, Cosmic Trends by Philip Brown, is published by Llewellyn, one of my favorite publishers.

It's a very arresting cover. Personally, I'm not sure I like the colors or the busyness of the cover, but it does stand out.

What are your thoughts on this cover? Does it help sell the book?

By the way, the author loves the cover.

Friday, September 14, 2007

T-Shirts Sell Books

I recently returned from a conference in California and wore a t-shirt with my 1001 Ways to Market Your Books cover. I got a comment on the shirt from someone in the elevator down to the shuttle van, from someone at the front desk, from two people in the shuttle van who need the book (I referred them to my website), another person in the van, the person at the check-in counter, someone in line to board the plane, the pilot when getting off the plane, and someone in the grocery store on the way home.

Not bad for an $18.00 t-shirt from

More than one person commented: I guess that's 1002 ways to market your books (the t-shirt being the extra way). Of course, the truth is that t-shirts are already included in the 1001, but I just agreed. It's simpler that way.

Check out the things you can buy that promote my book at Thanks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

How to Get 30,000 Subscribers to Your YouTube Videos

The fellow that does the What the Buck videos on YouTube describes in this video how he got 30,000 subscribers to his videos. That's subscribers!

He has had as many as 200,000 people view one of his videos.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Authors Tour the World with Virtual Book Tours

Copyright © 2007 by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Blog Tour Palooza

Over the years, authors who wanted to promote their books directly to the public had one main option; you had to physically travel across the country conducting book signings and readings in various bookstores and praying that people would show up. This meant spending money on flights, hotels, transportation and meals. This traditional type of book tour is expensive and very few publishing companies are willing to pay for them. But now, authors have a new method of ‘touring the world’―the virtual book tour.

Virtual book tours (also known as virtual author tours, guest blogging, blog tours, or VBTs) are a simple concept. The author tours various blogs and sites that pertain to a theme in the book or to writing in general. This way, you can potentially reach thousands of avid readers each tour day from the privacy of your office or home.

The goal of marketing your book is to expose it to as many people as possible in an exciting, cost-effective and entertaining way. Guest blogging can achieve that goal. Most blogs are archived, so your post becomes permanent and often viral, spreading from site to site. That is leverage. You are in essence leveraging your internet presence and duplicating yourself with every VBT stop. Your blog tour is working for you even while you sleep. Try doing that at a bookstore signing!

Virtual author tours really took off in the past year or two. They began with a handful of authors posting to other blogs in order to promote their works online. They announced those dates just as they would a bona fide book signing. This kind of author tour is now becoming all the rage. Some bookstores are no longer allowing authors to do book signings. Limited space and time constraints are the common reasons. Plus, it just isn't time efficient and monetarily feasible for most authors to do the physical cross-country bookstore tour. Well, unless you are one of the super authors that get paid the big bucks, like Stephen King or J.K. Rowling. And since I am neither, I decided to hold my first blog tour this past August―for the entire month―to promote my latest novel Whale Song.

Virtual book tour services and book marketing experts are popping up all over the internet. Authors can now outsource the organization of a VBT. I suggest that you thoroughly check out these companies and ask yourself if the price is worth it. Some services cost thousands of dollars, while some cost less but only post your content to duplicate sites―ones they have set up themselves. The latter is not an advantage to you. You need to have wide coverage and exposure to various sites and audiences. Go where your readers are.

Planning a VBT is time-consuming, but not that difficult. You may find it more worthwhile to take the time to plan your own blog tour, since you’ll have more control over who hosts you this way. Or you may decide that hiring someone to coordinate the tour is best. Do what’s right for you. I chose to do my own because I wanted to have flexibility in what each site posted and I enjoyed the contact with my hosts.

Blog Tour Palooza

How to organize a virtual book tour:

• Start planning at least 1 month before you want to begin, and never before your book is available for sale. I suggest you allow 1 month when planning a 2-week tour and 6 weeks for a 1-month tour. It takes time to get the hosts lined up and on board and you don’t want to shortchange yourself.

• Read everything you can find on virtual book tours. There are numerous articles online and many books that give great advice. Check out Steve Weber’s Plug Your Book! for VBT advice and more, and John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market You Books for numerous marketing tips.

• Determine the length of your book tour―1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month.

• How many hosts will you need? 1 a day is best. If you have a radio interview, you could have it scheduled on a day when you have a text post appearing on another blog.

• Make a list of keywords and phrases that relate to your book.

• Search for these terms on Google and look for any sites that show up on the first page. Sites on the first Google page are the ones that your potential audience will find more easily. Make a note of these sites or save them in your Favorites under a folder marked VBT contacts.

• Search Technorati as well, although personally I found this method more time-consuming and confusing. Look for sites that have a high Authority and high number of Fans. Keep in mind that Authority means that people have voted for this blog, but that it doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best site for you.

• Use Alexa to get traffic results. Some sites or blogs may not rank well on Google or Technorati but may still be a viable host for your VBT.

• Look at the amount of reader participation. Do people leave comments? Is the topic of the site perfect for your book? Often lesser known sites and ones without a Google PageRank are little goldmines. You may find that the host will go out of his or her way to advertise you and your VBT. Don’t ignore sites by friends or fellow authors either. One day these sites could score an 8 or 9 on Google.

• Install and use Google PageRank. This is a simple tool that allows you to view the Google Rank of sites and blogs, which is Google’s interpretation of how important the site is based on the authority of inbound links that lead to the site. Go through your list and check their Google PageRank. List them in order of importance and contact the highest ranking ones first. In the beginning, contact about 25% more hosts than you actually need. Not all will say yes.

• Write an email that you’ll send individually to each potential host. Let them know what you’re doing and what you can supply. I always like to point out the benefits to hosts―more traffic, new visitors, fresh and interesting content, prizes, and a link on my website. What’s in it for them? That’s what they want to know. Make sure you hook your host, just like you would with a query letter to a publisher.

• Internet radio and promotional sites that charge small fees also make wonderful hosts. ArtistFirst Radio Network and Passionate Internet Voices Radio are online radio networks that interview authors in exchange for a donation or small fee. For an a la carte or membership fee, Author Island is another excellent site for authors holding a virtual book tour. You can post a book trailer and excerpt, plus advertise your contests and tour.

• Confirm hosts’ dates, topics and ask them to post the night before. This way you are not waiting all morning for them to post your content. Let them know you’ll send them the information 3-5 days before their date. If you send it too early they may lose, misfile or delete it. What will you submit? Each blog or site will usually feature one or a combination of the following: a book cover, a summary or synopsis, an interview, book review, an article that fits the site’s theme, a short story, an excerpt, a contest, an audio-cast or a book trailer video.

• Advertise your VBT via online and media press releases. It is a great investment, since it’s no good doing a virtual book tour if no one knows about it. One leading press release distribution service that I use almost exclusively is, where you can pay from $10.00 to $299.00, depending on your distribution requirements. However, I can attest to the fact that a $45.00 release is the minimum you’ll want and its effectiveness is worth it. Other online services include PRWeb and WebWire, and don’t forget to send releases to the free services too, like and Press releases can be extremely beneficial if written correctly and distributed extensively to the right audience, and this means submitting them to your local media (newspapers, TV, radio) as well.

• Publicize your virtual book tour and other events on, a free site that connects authors to readers by listing author events and making it easy for readers to set up reminders and track their favorite authors.

• Promote your VBT on all your websites and blogs on an events page. Put up a schedule with your hosts’ home page URL. I found it more exciting to post a weekly schedule the day before the week began. It prevented people from going to host sites too early and kept them coming back to my website to see where I’d be going next. I promoted the mystery, which worked to my advantage since I’m a suspense author. This also gave me 1 extra blog post each week, and therefore new content.

The day before each virtual stop:

• Send out a reminder to your host and ask them to post that night. Make sure they have book cover jpgs, your photo and anything else they might need.

The morning of each stop:

• Confirm that your host has posted your content. Check the site. Copy the full URL that leads directly to your post. The home page will change and you want your links to always lead to the exact page that the host has created just for your content.

• Change the home page URL on your schedule to the exact page link. This is how you really leverage yourself. Now when someone stumbles across your schedule and clicks on the link, they’ll be directed to your post, not your host’s ever-changing home page.

• Write an introduction about the day’s stop and post it everywhere. Copy the first paragraph or two of the interview or article and use that for your intro. Post intros to all websites and blogs that you have access to. Don’t forget to post to your Amazon blog, MySpace blog, and MySpace bulletin. The latter goes out to all your MySpace friends. Make sure you have some!


• Check your host site frequently throughout the day for comments and answer any questions directly on your host site. Do this every other day afterward for about a week. Offer to write a possible follow-up article, depending on what you posted originally.

• Assess the success of your virtual book tour. Set up TitleZ and/or Charteous to monitor your book’s Amazon sales rank throughout the VBT. You should see some lower ranks (lower is better!) during your blog tour, particularly if you have a contest or incentive that inspires more sales of your book. Be creative and have fun!

Authors are now starting to comprehend the full potential that blog tours have to offer and how they benefit everyone involved. You could sign books at a bookstore for three hours plus driving time and reach a few hundred people yet sell only to a few dozen, or you could organize a VBT and promote to millions of people worldwide. Virtual book tours take time, patience and research, but as I have discovered, they are definitely worthwhile. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So why not start today? You have the entire world at your fingertips!


If you found this article helpful, please consider picking up a copy of Cheryl’s newest novel Whale Song through Amazon.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the author of The River, Divine Intervention, and the Amazon bestseller Whale Song. Among her peers, she is known for her perseverance and tireless dedication in book promotion. In August 2007, she was the first Kunati Books author to hold a virtual book tour with 35 stops.

Blog Tour Palooza

Monday, September 10, 2007

AdWords for Dummies: How to Make More Money with Google AdWords

The following is an interview with Howie Jacobson, author of AdWords for Dummies.

1. What are the three biggest mistakes beginners make when advertising via Google AdWords?

1. Muddying Results from Search and Content Networks - A person actively searching for your keyword should be marketed to differently from someone who was reading an article or blog post and happened to see your ad. Make sure you create separate campaigns for search traffic and content traffic, and speak to them differently and measure their response differently.

2. Ignoring the Principle of Relevance - Creating one giant ad group with hundreds of unrelated keywords all going to a single ad and a single landing page, rather than laser targeting small groups of tightly related keywords to specific ads and lots of "that's for me!" landing pages.

3. Not Split Testing - It's so easy to split test ads and landing pages using AdWords. Everyone who starts split testing becomes amazed at the surprising insights they gain into their market. Routinely, split testing can increase profits by 400 to 1200% over a few months.

2. What three elements make for a great Google ad?

1. Positioning - Saying something different and meaningful than the other ads. The Google Search Results Page is the most competitive advertising real estate on the planet. How is your offer different from the other 19+ offers on the same page? What makes you stand out?

2. Speaks to the Itch Behind the Search - If you know what your prospect is really thinking when they type a search term, you can market to their "little voice" in a subtle and powerful way. What triggered their search at that moment? What is the story they're telling themselves right now? How can you join the conversation already going on in their head?

3. Uses the Display URL - The display URL can be the most important line of your ad. Buy a bunch of domains and test them out. See if .com or .org makes you more attractive. Try memorable names, benefit-driven and problem-based names, generic and specific names. Your URL is the only part of your marketing that can't be copied. That's why is suing for copyright infringement.

3. If the term you'd like to rate high in costs too much for your campaign, how can you compete?

1. Optimize your campaign to get costs as low as possible.

a. Get your quality score to Great.
b. Improve the click-through rate through testing.
c. Use exact match and negative keywords to eliminate wasted clicks.
d. Test the content network for websites that convert well and bid on impressions rather than clicks (CPM for site-targeted campaigns).

2. Find related keywords that cost less.

a. Longer tail
b. Synonyms
c. Misspellings and typos

3. Spend the money on that keyword to determine conversion. If it converts well, consider organic search engine optimization.

4. Improve your website and back end so the high-priced keyword is worth it. Remember, AdWords is a stock market for keywords. Each keyword is priced at the market rate, determined by the average value of that keyword to advertisers. If it's too expensive for you, that means your competitors have figured out how to extract more value from that keyword than you have.

5. If you can't extract more value per click than your competitors, then approach them about buying their unconverted traffic, or being an additional part of their back end on an affiliate basis.

For a free download of the first chapter of Howie Jacobson's new book AdWords for Dummies, go to bookfiles/AdWords-For-Dummies-Chapter-1.pdf.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

How to Keep People Happy

In a blog post on Saturday (How to Spend $20 Million), Seth Godin noted that Steve Jobs should NOT have given early adopters of the iPhone a $100 store credit when Apple lowered the price of the iPhone by $200 last week. Giving early adopters pseudo price protection is not the way to run a profitable business.

First, giving that store credit will cost Apple some $20 million. Second, the $100 store credit feels like a weak effort (it's only half of the price cut). Third, no matter how it is phrased, a half store credit feels like the early adopters were taken advantage of.

The key, Seth noted, was not pretending to guarantee price protection but making the early adopters feel more exclusive rather than less. To accomplish that, Seth suggested one of the following three options:

1. Free exclusive ringtones, commissioned from Bob Dylan and U2, only available to the people who already had a phone. (This is my favorite because it announces to your friends--every time the phone rings--that you got in early).

2. Free pass to get to the head of the line next time a new hot product comes out.

3. Ability to buy a specially colored iPod, or an iPod with limited edition music that no one else can buy.

I think the first option is the best, because it really does offer something exclusive. It would have continued to signal to latecomers who the hot people (early adopters) were. Plus, of course, the cost would have been minimal.

The second option is too vague. What if, as an early adopter, you have no interest in the next hot product. The free pass, then, becomes an empty promise. While most Apple lovers would never think that Apple would create an unwanted product, the reality is that Apple has done that more than once.

The third option, like the first, offers a sense of exclusivity. But why would anyone want another iPod when the iPhone already functions as a great iPod? With the suggestion of some limited edition music, though, the offer might work. But the price would also have to be right. Otherwise, you not only paid $200 extra to get the iPhone first, but you have to pay more for the exclusive iPod.

I believe most early adopters did not feel abused by the price cut. They had the early adopter prestige for more than two months plus the use of a great phone. If I had been able to buy the iPhone, I would not have cared what happened later. In the world of technology, prices always go down.

Alas, for me, I didn't get a chance to be "abused" because Apple chose to work with ATT which has a huge gaping hole of coverage in the Rocky Mountain area. Once you are off any of the interstate highways, you have no coverage via ATT. Now, of course, I have a chance to buy the new iPod Touch. Neat!

Now, back to the theme of this post. How do you keep people happy? Simple, give them a good deal. Or give them exclusivity. During its lifetime, Apple has rarely offered a great deal, but they have always offered wonderfully designed products that always offer an air of exclusivity.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Make Money as a Blogger

If you'd like to make money as a blogger or if you would like to advertise on other blogs, check out this new page on my website:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Teen Vampires Blog About Their Lives

When Heather Brewer found out that her first novel Eighth Grade Bites would be published on the same day as Adele Griffin's Vampire Island, she sent Adele a message via They soon met in New York City where they exchanged galleys. As they talked, they decided it would be fun to write a blog from the viewpoints of their vampire characters.

Brewer's Vladimir Tod suffers the typical junior high troubles (girls and bullies) while Griffin's Lexie Livingstone, a human-fruit bat hybrid, tries to keep her superhuman abilities secret while attending school. It wasn't hard for the two authors to imagine their two characters meeting at a summer debate trip to DC.

Their two characters now share a MySpace page ( as well as a blog called Bite Me (

Their shared blogging allows the authors to introduce their books to a larger audience. In addition, it could lead to a few new books featuring both characters. Now that's creative blogging!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Blog Tours: An Opportunity Not a Loss

In a Sunday New York Times article on blog tours, Felicia Sullivan, senior online marketing manager for Collins was quoted as saying, “If I had to choose, I’d rather have an author promote themselves online. You can reach at least a few hundred people on a blog, and save time, money and the fear of being a loser when no one shows up to your reading.”

What a sad comment on the possibilities of a blog tour: Do the tour if you don't want to be a loser. Sad. That's not why you should do a blog tour. You should do a tour because it can be an incredible way to reach a targeted audience for your book.

Blog Tour Palooza

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Books You've Bought for the Cover

I love the Book Brahmins interviews in the Shelf Awareness ezine because one of the questions they ask every interviewee is what book they've bought for the cover. Well, today's cover of choice -- as chosen by Debra Ginsberg, author of the memoir Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress -- is Jessica Cutler's The Washingtonienne.

Now, I understand why a man would be attracted to the cover. I found it inspirational. And I can also see how a woman would like the cover. It is very arresting.

Of course, I would have loved to see the title be bolder, but I guess they felt that, if they made it bolder, it would take away from the other attractions on the cover. Sometimes you have to make tough choices in designing a cover.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Book Bought for Its Cover

In an interview, M.J. Rose, author of The Reincarnationist and founder of, noted that she bought Nicholas Christopher's novel A Trip to the Stars because she liked the cover.

I like it, too, although the title does disappear from the cover. But, gosh, what a wonderful illustration!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Some Great First Lines

In a review of Alice Sebold's new novel The Almost Moon, the reviewer quoted the first lines of her new novel as well as a previous novel.

In her first novel, it took her two lines to kill off the heroine:

"My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973." -- The Lovely Bones

What great first lines! They draw you into the novel right away.

In her newest novel The Almost Moon, Sebold gets to murder within the very first line:

"When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily."

Another great first line. It juxtaposes a cliche (when all is said and done) with a simple statement of murder. Incredibly dramatic in an understated way.

Would you continue reading if you had read these opening lines?

How does your book (fiction or nonfiction) stack up in drawing readers into your book?

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blog Action Day

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind. In 2007 the issue is the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. The aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

They are looking for bloggers of all nationalities and backgrounds, writing about all topics to join in. By joining this day, you can get your blog to be better known within the blogiverse.

Here’s what you have to do:

Publish on October 15th -- Publish a post on their blog which relates to an issue of their own choice pertaining to the environment.

For example: A blog about money might write about how to save around the home by using environmentally friendly ideas. Similarly a blog about politics might examine what weight environmental policy holds in the political arena.

"Posts do not need to have any specific agenda. They simply need to relate to the larger issue in whatever way suits the blogger and readership. Our aim is not to promote one particular viewpoint, only to push the issue on the table for discussion. So write in whatever way suits your readers and your blog, just relate it back to the environment and make sure it goes up on October 15th."

To sign up to join Blog Action Day, go to

Monday, August 27, 2007

Book Signings Are Your Best Friends

Guest article by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

So you’ve written a book, had it published and you are now facing the dreaded book signing or book launch. Your palms sweat at the thought of facing droves of people and actually having to talk to them. You are a writer, not a salesperson, right? Wrong! If you do not have the guts and determination to sell your own work, then why should anyone else do it for you?

Book signings are your lifeline -- your best friends.

Before you step out into virgin territory and cross that boundary that is called a book signing, endless questions will bombard your brain. How many books should you expect to sell? What if you don’t sell any books? And what if someone should ask that one little question that makes you quiver and shake in your shoes: “What’s your book about?”

In Canada, according to many managers at Coles, Indigo and Chapters bookstores, an average book signing is approximately $100.00 in retail sales. So if your book retails for $20.00, then selling 5 books would be considered okay. However, many authors in Canada and the US have gone home without even one sale. Many authors will sell $100.00 or less; some will achieve $100 to $300.00 in sales; and very few will see more than $300.00 in consistent sales at a signing. And fewer still will sell over $600.00 in books. So where are the hundreds of book sales that you hear about in the news, and the long lines of people anxiously waiting all night? Unless you are J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Nora Roberts or you are on the New York Times bestseller list, the reality is there probably won’t be a line longer than a family of four, and $100.00 in sales represents an average book signing event. Now that is not to say that you can’t sell more.

What makes a good book signing? YOU DO!

You set the tone by how you lay out your display on the table, how you dress and stand, how you think about signings, how you approach people, and how excited you are about your book. You represent your craft, your talent and your product. So how can you achieve sensational sales?

Follow these simple guidelines and watch your sales soar:

Tables should be covered with clean tablecloths. Books should be displayed in stands and not left in stacks on the table. Signage should clearly state why you are there and who you are. Posters with your book covers, book reviews and excerpts can be displayed if you have the use of a wall or a tabletop easel. Draw people in by giving away a prize. Have them fill out their email address on the entry form so that you can invite them to sign up for your e-newsletter. And NEVER, EVER GIVE AWAY YOUR BOOK. If the prize is your book, do not be surprised when your sales are non-existent. Why should they buy when they can win it?

Present yourself in a friendly, approachable but professional manner by dressing accordingly. It is also important to dress according to the image you present as a genre or expert writer. For example, if you’re writing a book on riding with the Hell’s Angels and the photo on the back of your book is of you in black leather pants, don’t show up in a three-piece suit. However if you’re writing steamy romance novels, don’t expect to show up wearing a dress with a ripped bodice. Professionalism is key. Dressy casual always works. And during Christmas time, glitter attracts attention. If nothing else, people will stop by just to see what all the sparkle is about.

Body language can make or break a sale. If you stand with your arms crossed, no matter how comfortable you are, people will assume you don’t want to be bothered. They will think you are unapproachable and will steer clear. You will get the same reaction if you turn your back. NEVER turn your back to talk to someone behind your table. Many sales have been lost by this thoughtless gesture. Stand with your arms loose by your sides or clasped loosely in front or behind your back. This shows that you are relaxed and easygoing. Monitor the crowd by sitting for short durations. Every crowd is different. Some prefer to check out your table while you sit. But never hide behind your table! Once you or they initiate conversation, stand up, smile and sell them on your personality.

When you are preparing for an event, make sure your attitude is turned UP! Attitude is contagious! If you are excited about your signing, everyone you meet will be excited. If you are dreading it or telling yourself you hate book signings, everyone will see that and your sales will take a nosedive. Love those book signing events! They are your best friends, remember? There are golden opportunities at every event. Media will often contact an author they have seen at a signing. I have personally had four interviews (TV, radio and newspapers) within two months because of a chance encounter at a signing. And there is no better way to become known than by public exposure.

Everyone you meet should be approached with respect. Treat them as if they are the President of your Fan Club. Have a handout (bookmarks are best) ready to give to anyone who passes by, but do not be the pushy credit card salesperson. Look for eye contact. Smile and greet them. Then offer something to draw this potential fan to your table. Business cards, brochures and entry forms for a contest work wonders. Talk to them while they fill out the form and tell them: Who you are, What you are doing, Where you’ll be next, When you’ll be there and Why they should buy your book now.

Know exactly what to say when someone asks: “What is your book about?” Think of a movie trailer for your book. How would the announcer describe it? Be prepared by writing down a script and practicing it before your signing. Be enthusiastic, positive and animated, and your audience will be intrigued. When the opportunity presents itself, hand them a copy of your book to feel and look at. The action of placing that book in their hands will dramatically increase your sales. Invite them to read the first page or chapter. Then let them know that you would be happy to autograph the book for them.

High, consistent sales depend on three things: knowing your target audience, having a positive, enthusiastic attitude and providing a great product. If your book is full of obvious typos and glaring errors (especially on the back cover), you’ve wasted your money and your potential fan’s time. Make sure your books have been edited by three pair of unbiased eyes before you self-publish. Nothing will turn off a sale faster than improper use of punctuation and spelling missteaks. Know your target audience. Know exactly who would buy your book for themselves and who would buy it as a gift. And always monitor your attitude, reminding yourself throughout the day that every person you meet is a potential sale.

Follow the guidelines above and remember that the most important aspect of any event can be summed up by two words: HAVE FUN! Relax and enjoy the fact that you are a published author and that you have a book that is worthy of public adoration. If you have an exceptional product, are positive and lively, know your target audience and follow these steps, then you will be one of the few authors in North America who will consistently sell more than $300.00 per book signing. You must BELIEVE in your book in order to effectively sell it. You must also believe in yourself, in your skills as a writer. You must become a shameless promoter. Why should you feel shame? Your book is worth promoting, right? Enjoy every opportunity you have of turning a book signing into pure gold.

A previous version of this article was published as Book Signings Are Pure Gold for WestWord magazine.

Cheryl Kaye Tardif is the author of Whale Song, Divine Intervention, and The River. She has appeared on television and radio, and has been featured in newspapers and magazines across Canada and the US. Her book signing sales are often well above $600.00.

Visit her at or

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pitching to Magazines

In a recent blog post, Kelly Powers of Obie Joe Media offers some great advice on how to read a magazine to dissect how to pitch them for maximum effectiveness.

Read about it here: 2007/08/dissecting-magazines-for-authors-gain.html

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Book Covers: Another View

Today's Shelf Awareness newsletter interviewed book critic John McFarland. One question they asked was the title of a book he had bought only for the cover. Here was his answer:

"Juno and Juliet by Julian Gough. How could anyone resist identical twins dressed for swimming and looking like two mysterious sleek seals?"

What's your take on the cover? Here it is:

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Very Ineffective Book Cover

The above book cover from Penguin Press is a terrible book cover. I do hope that it is just a place holder at and will be changed to a real cover soon.

If the above is the cover going into bookstores, I have to wonder why Penguin Press is letting monkeys design their book covers these days. I apologize for the bad joke, but this cover is a bad joke.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Speaking from Your Legs

The following is a short article written by Eileen Parker, who teaches authors how to perform their best in a media interview. For more about her services, see

During a media interview, a rock-solid posture is a no-no. It restricts your breathing so you sound tense and weak, even tinny. Put all your weight on your legs and hips to relax and open up your body to a confident-sounding voice (even if you are not feeling that way). Here is how:

Your Weak Voice

Sit in your chair and assume a solid posture then lean back a little. Talk about your book as if you are in a media interview. How do you sound?

Your Strong Voice

Scoot forward in your chair so the bottom of your bottom is at the chair’s edge. Put your feet on the floor hip-distance apart. Lean forward slightly so the back of your bottom lifts a little. Your hip and leg muscles will tighten slightly. Talk about your book again. Now how do you sound?

Your Strong and Relaxed Voice

Now that you have the weight of your body on your legs and hips, loosen everything above it. Keep your back straight, but not tight. Starting with the top of your head relax your upper body while imagining it as going down an elevator. Relax your throat and jaw, your shoulders go down, and your chest and stomach relax. Feel the tension flowing down out of your upper body into your hips and legs. Talk about your book. How do you sound?

Relaxed Mind

If your brain were a muscle, I would tell you to relax that too. But, this upper body relaxing does relax the brain. Tension begets tension, but relaxation also begets relaxation. Relaxation results in greater confidence, or at least sounding that way. Sounding confident makes you feel more confident. Now, talk about your book confidently.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Interview with Jeff Rivera, novelist

Forever My Lady is the award-winning novel that tells the story of a Latino juvenile delinquent that turns his life around. Originally self-published, the book was picked up by Grand Central and is now available in bookstores or on his website at

Q: You took a very unconventional route to get your novel out there. What challenges did you encounter along the way?

A: I would go to the Self-Publisher's Hall of Fame webpage on your site and I would visualize myself as one of those people who got picked up by a major publisher. I typed in my name on that list and printed it out because I wanted it to happen so bad. I had no idea the prejudice that some people had to self-published books, but strangely enough not from the publishing industry. It was more from the literary snobs and writers that were against non-traditional ways of publishing. I think the greatest challenge was sticking with the book when I didn't see the results I wanted to see right away. But I was passionate about the story an believed it had to get out there.

Q: Why do you think Warner Books/Grand Central picked it up so fast?

A: I knew my market. I knew exactly who the book belonged to. In my case it was Latinos, but more specifically those interested in urban Latino literature. Once I figured that out I was able to gear my pitches to people who were interested in serving that market as well. Also I really worked to make the book the best it possibly could be. I would take walks along the beach and visualize people reading the book and feel them really getting into it. I did the same thing when visualizing the right editor. And quite frankly I had what they were looking for.

Q: You have received thousands of fan letters and emails about Forever My Lady from people all over the world, why are so many people excited about the book?

A: I think it's a universal story that everyone can relate to. Everyone knows what it's like to love someone so much or want something so bad -- and that person or thing doesn't want you back. And in terms of my particular market, I think they felt like, "Finally, there's a story for us."

Q: Would you suggest people self-publish as a way to break in? If so, why?

A: Absolutely, it's not the best way necessarily but neither is traditional publishing. I would say, try traditional first. If that doesn't work, go for it. Know the pros and cons. Then go for it 100%.

Q: What would you do over again if you could?

A: In retrospect nothing, because I learned so much along the way and I can help people now and tell them what to avoid. The whole thing has been a rewarding experience even when I was in bed crying from not selling a million books in the first week.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Teleseminar: Magazine and Newspaper Publicity

My friend Steve Harrison is hosting a free teleseminar on Seven Things You Absolutely Must Know to Get Publicity in Major Magazines and Newspapers at 2:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, August 9th.

The 90-minute call will explain the three biggest mistakes most people make trying to get publicity in magazines and newspapers. You'll learn how to create relationships with top magazine editors, how a woman was so good at getting advance publicity that her book hit the New York Times bestseller list before publication date, a simple strategy for scoring an Associated Press story about you that runs in dozens of newspapers across the country, and how to spin a small story into a much larger feature for yourself.

To join in on this phone call, go to:

Friday, August 03, 2007

Publishing Calendars

Reader Question: I've enjoyed your book 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books, immensely. However, I'm a photographer and would like to self-publish a fine art calendar. I'm having difficulty finding the best route to go. Would I also hire distributors to get my product into bookstores? I plan to market the calendar primarily at art festivals, but I'm looking for other distribution channels. Any thoughts.

John's Answer: I rarely encourage anyone to self-publish a calendar. Calendar publishing is a high-risk proposition if you are marketing to the retail trade. Calendars are dead in December and are returned heavily very soon after that.

Calendars for the retail market must be ready by May/June of the prior year. Must be distributed over the summer. Die in December. Buried in January -- buried in your warehouse as they are returned.

That doesn't mean you can't sell a calendar via your website and art festivals. But note that calendars, because they are full-color, are also expensive to print. To find appropriate printers, check out some of the magazine/catalog printers who would probably also be competitive in printing a calendar:

I would suggest you consider selling the rights to a good calendar publisher like Ronnie Sellers Productions out of Maine. I think they would like your work.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Poetry Books: Best Options

Question from reader: I'm 15 years old and love writing. It's my true passion. I write free verses, modern poetry. I was just looking for a good publisher. Could you please assist me through this? I really want to bring out new poetry to the audience, because people seem to have forgotten poetry and go for Harry Potter or other fiction genres. I really know I can do this, and will try my best. I'm still writing and have around 20 free verses by now, obviously I'll continue.

John's Answer: For poetry, a book only sells if an author actually goes out and does a lot of readings. Most poets don't want to do that but, if you do, you can be successful as a published poet, although you might have to self-publish.

You can easily self-publish your book -- and much more quickly than any publisher -- by using a print-on-demand service. See for a great list of such services. Among others, you can try Infinity Publishing, Iuniverse, or

Aim to publish a book of poems that's about 60 to 80 pages long. Once you publish your book of poems, you can sell the books at your poetry readings. Start by checking out your local library author programs, local bookstores, and places around your city that do open poetry readings. Most cities have anywhere from 5 to 10 open poetry nights around the city hosted by various venues (coffee houses, bars, comedy clubs, etc.).

Also, check out my story about an author that is selling lots of books -- poetry and a first novel -- on the subways of New York: selling-books-on-nyc-subway_29.html. As a 15-year-old, of course, you'd want at least one of your parents along if you were to ride the subways of New York every day.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Copywriting Manuscripts

A week ago, I spoke at the Learning Annex in Los Angeles to a group of about 30 authors. During my talk, I told the authors that they did not have to copyright their book before sending the manuscript out to publishers.

First, putting a copyright notice on your manuscripts marks you as an amateur.

Second, some editors will not look at a manuscript that has a copyright notice because if the publisher ends up publishing a similar book, the author will accuse the publisher of stealing (when, in truth, there's a good chance that the publisher might already have a similar book in the works).

Third, publishers hate dealing with paranoid authors. I've seen manuscripts sent to publishers where there was a big copyright notice on every page. Yuk.

Fourth, publishers can buy authors for less money than it would cost them to steal the author's book idea. Why? Because most authors are desperate to be published and sign bad contracts. And because the publisher would have to hire a professional writer to rework the book if they were going to steal the book idea. That would always be more expensive than buying the rights from a debut author.

Fifth, every manuscript is already protected by copyright without a copyright notice or official copyright submission.

Note: When an author signs a contract with a publisher, they should make sure the book is copyrighted in their (the author's) name. A very few publishers do try to sneak in a copyright under their name.

Well, one of the participants questioned my advice about copyrights.

She wrote me the following:

One of my contacts through The Hampton's Writer's Table asked his editor friends at the following book publishers about whether it was considered amateur to copyright a book. Their responses follow. John, with all due respect for you and your success, I must comment that advising novice writers to avoid copyrighting their material is..., well, the overwhelming response from the table was that you really shouldn't tell people such things, even if it is common practice among some publishers.

Meredith Books — I can't imagine that would be a turn off, but I don't know for sure. Sorry.

Simon & Schuster — I wouldn't think so… I doubt that anyone would pay much attention to it.

Dutton — No taboo. It's fine for authors to copyright their work.

Well, I still disagree. My experience with many, many editors and publishers is that they don't like working with amateur authors and putting a big copyright notice on a manuscript submission is a clear sign of an amateur. Professionals know they are protected.

It doesn't mean that you can't copyright the manuscript if you are really paranoid. If you must, you must, but don't make a big production of it. One small copyright notice on the title page is all you need. No extra verbiage. No paranoid wording. Simply the standard copyright notice: Copyright 2007 by John Kremer. You can use the copyright symbol, but I don't know how to get blogger to enter that into a blog entry.

But, again, here is my basic point: Publishers will not steal from an author. It simply doesn't make sense. Authors are far too paranoid. That paranoia if too explicit will turn off publishers.

Having said all that, if you'd like to see a list of more than 400 editors at major publishers who have bought a first novel from a new writer within the past two years, go here:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Book Marketing Network: A Free Network

I invite you to join the other 721 plus authors and publishers who have already joined the Book Marketing Network at Visit here:

Update: Please note that another 51 people have joined the network since I last updated this page. We now have 721 people on the network. Yahoo!

For other interesting social networks you might want to join, see

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Yahoo Sucks

MyYahoo at really sucks. Something bad is happening with Yahoo. Their customer service has fallen by the wayside. What used to be an incredible service has become inept. The past month I've not been able to access my MyYahoo page more than half the time. It comes in and out. When in, it offers old data half the time. I can't access the TV listings anymore. Even though when I do get my sporadic access to MyYahoo, I click the link to the new TV listings and they don't show up.

Yahoo has to be going through some major shakeup to be offering such poor service. I've added a custom Google page which I have to use at least half the time to access the things I want to access. But all my RSS feeds are on MyYahoo. I'll probably have to switch them if Yahoo doesn't get its act together soon.

This is just not fun. If you're going to offer a service, you have to staff up to provide that service -- or not offer it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Less Money, More Story

Seth Godin always has interesting points to make. In a recent blog post, he made the following point, one that I've been trying to get through to people for a very long time:

"The art of marketing is not finding more money to do more marketing. It's figuring out how to tell a story that spreads with the resources you've got."

So many self-publishers and new authors want to throw money at marketing or hire someone else to do the marketing for them when they should be spending the time creating great stories. By great stories, I mean, marketing messages that move people, get people talking, get people telling others about your story, etc.

Before you do anything else to market your book, decide what your story is -- what message will move people to act.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Great TV Commercial

I just saw a great TV commercial featuring various factory line workers and supervisors talking about how much they like making Tylenol, how important it is to them to be making a quality product, not just for your kids, but for their kids as well.

Real people talking about their pride in making something -- that's a good commercial.

How can you incorporate your authors, order takers, shippers, etc. in talking about the books you publish? Are they proud to work for you? Are your printers, typesetters, cover designers proud of your books?

What Publicity Is All About

I found this great comment by Howard Rubenstein in Levine Breaking News email newsletter. I agree with it:

PR is about far more than media events, publicity stunts or red carpets. Learning to maintain a high ethical standard is just as important as mastering media relations and client counsel.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Apple iPhone Challenge

Note: This blog post, of course, is now out of date. Finally. The iPhone is available now on other phone networks. A long wait for a great phone.

The Apple iPhone is gorgeous but it doesn't work in most of the Rocky Mountain states if you live more than a few miles from a major Interstate. The iPhone is great, desirable, fantastic. The network Apple chose to use is crippled, inadequate, sadly lacking in coverage.

I would have stood in line for the iPhone, but I won't stand in line for the inadequate ATT network. I can wait.

I'm sure Jobs had his reasons for choosing the cut-rate ATT network, but it doesn't serve his image for excellence. It's possible that the early implementation of the iPhone required a disabled network.

Monday, June 25, 2007

PMA's Loss: Jan Nathan

I heard today that Jan Nathan, long-time director of Publishers Marketing Association, has died of cancer after a year-long battle.

Jan was a sweetheart, an incredibly talented and dedicated association executive, and a good friend. I will miss her a lot.

If you have benefited at all from PMA's programs, PMA University, Ben Franklin awards, distribution program, etc., you have Jan to thank for a lot of that.

Here is an image of her that I found online:

Again, I can't tell you how much I will miss her and her good heart.

Here's another photo of her. Always a good person full of fun.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Fun Promotions for You and Your Workers

Here are some interesting things service establishments are doing. You might find one of them that will make your books, talks, website, or company better.

The D.C. taco chain California Tortilla offered a promotional discount: any customer who beats the cashier in a game of Rock Paper Scissors receives $1 off an entree. The offer was for only one day, but personally I'd have made it policy. It'd make the day interesting for the cashier.

California Tortilla salad

A wine shop in Cambridge, England, offers a student discount that can be doubled or quitsed (eliminated) on a Trivial Pursuit question.

In his blog, Seth Godin suggested that you give customer service people the ability to give a prize to the nicest person who calls in each day. As he noted, "What's the worst that could happen--they might use a little judgment, might enjoy the day a bit more, might even start to care."

Magician Chris Angel offers an incredible viral email that you can send to your friends that features their name and phone number in a video. You can create such a video by going to his website at (no longer an active website, alas). Once your friend views the video you had Chris's website prepare for her, the video takes her to Chris's site so she can create similar videos for her friends. Alas, this site has retired to the magical land of previously great websites no longer existing.

What can you do to get people talking about your book, speech, website, or company?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Where will you be in 10 years?

Martin Foner of NPL Consultants wrote a rant on book publishing in 2007. I don't agree with much of his rant. He gets carried away with depression. But his conclusions out of the rant do make sense: Publishers do have to move toward more selling online and more marketing online and more distribution online.

Unlike him, however, I do not believe that the bookstore trade is a dinosaur, about to be obliterated. And that book distribution is a dinosaur, also about to die a quick, painful death. But I do believe that smart publishers do not put all their eggs into one basket. You diversify. You find multiple ways to sell your books, via multiple markets, via multiple distribution strategies.

In his rant, Martin wrote that in ten years most publishers will be in one of four categories:

1. Sold out.

2. In business with a huge content-driven website.

3. In business with a substantial web presence and multiple channels to sell books (direct to consumers, premium sales, non-book trade retailers, web sellers, etc.).

4. Dead.

I hope most of you fall into category 3. I think that's the best plan for most book publishers, given the talents we have.

But category 2 can also be a good plan (and perhaps more profitable, especially if you hit it Google big or Bing middling). But you will have to be a talented software engineer or hire such talent to make this pay off in a big way. As publishers, we tend to be content-driven while most successful websites are software-driven. Note: In today's world, you only need a great WordPress website to carry this off. WordPress offers so many wonderful plugins that allow your website to be whatever you want it to be: sales site, content driven, forums, membership site, article directory, etc.

As many of you know, I've become more and more of an advocate for Internet marketing. There are so many incredible opportunities to sell books via the Internet. The toughest part for many publishers will be deciding what paths to take (of the growing number of possible ways to market via the Internet). You can easily get overwhelmed by the possibilities. My advice: Focus. Don't buy into every new Internet promise, every new program. Find one to three ways that you like doing and which you find to work -- and continue to pursue and build those ways.

Personally, I'll never participate in Second Life (something that was in the news a lot in 2007, but is now is nearly invisible except for the fans it attracted early). I have no interest in participating in such virtual worlds. They can be a real time-sucker. And, yet, I know that some publishers will create great successes using virtual worlds. For me, though, I'd rather focus on email marketing, blogs, joint venture opportunities, creating relationships, teleseminars, webinars, HangOuts.

Plus, of course, I'll keep my fingers in offline ways to sell my books: speaking, premium sales, direct sales to consumers, and book trade distribution. I suggest you do something similar if you want to be around in ten years.

Where will you be in ten years? Where do you want to be in ten years? Please choose one of the first three options Martin described. Don't die.

A sidebar: Fifty years ago, everyone said that television would kill radio. It didn't happen. During the past 15 years, radio has been stronger than ever. What happened to the naysayers? They sold out a long time ago. Lost a chunk of money in the process.

Now everyone is saying that newspapers and books are dead. Magazines, too. I don't agree. I think they will all continue to exist for many, many years to come -- both in print and in electronic forms. The smart print publishers will migrate content to the web. They are already doing that. Forbes magazine already gets half its revenue from online. The New York Times is moving in that direction. Book publishers should do this as well. But don't ignore print. It still drives the online strength of most successful publications.

Friday, May 25, 2007

John Kremer at BookExpo America: May 29th to June 3rd, 2007

I'll be speaking three times at the PMA University on Tuesday (2 p.m.), Wednesday (2 p.m.), and Thursday (10:30 a.m.) in advance of BooKExpo America. Details at:

I'll also be speaking at the Publishing Seminar described above on Tuesday morning, May 29th, from 8:30 a.m. to Noon. Details at:

I'll also be speaking on Sunday on the floor of the convention center at 11:00 a.m. at the Small Press Lounge (Booths 1643, 1645, 1646, and 1647). I'll be speaking on 30 Ways to Market Your Books in 60 Minutes.

I hope to meet some of you at one of these events or in walking the floor of the BEA convention itself.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Alex Carroll's Radio Publicity Manual

Alex Carroll, the foremost radio publicity expert, is offering a free copy of his Radio Publicity Manual for download, but you have to act before this Wednesday, May 23rd.

This new edition of his manual is 177 pages. Plus, it comes with two bonuses: A 15-minute Radio Publicity Strategy Session and his 75-minute Radio Publicity DVD (you'll have to pay for the shipping of the DVD). The rest of the offer is free.

To download this free manual, go to

Here's a few of the things he covers in the Radio Publicity Manual, which will sell for around $50 after Wednesday:

* How to get a radio station’s receptionist to work for you ... for nothing.

* All producers answer their phones ... if you know the secret to getting them to pick up. Alex has been using this simple tactic for years, and it's one of the biggest secrets to his success.

* The one question to ask a producer that will virtually guarantee you a booking.

* How to double the response to your interview by getting a producer to run ads for your interview ... before it even airs!

And, of course, much, much more.

Download this 177-page report for free at

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How to Talk to a Bookseller: A 10-Step Guide for Authors

For an article on how to talk with booksellers if you want them to buy your book or host an event, read the following:

Using Teleseminars to Create and Market Books

In May 2007, I hosted a free teleseminar on how you can use teleseminars and webinars to create new content, write new books, promote your books, and sell more books.

It was a fantastic teleseminar that included some creative tips on how to create relationships that are out of this world!

To listen in on this teleseminar, go to:

Book Titles Matter

In a recent column in the New York Sun, David Blum wondered why Joshua Ferris's wonderful novel Then We Came to the End never made the NYT bestseller list. Here's one of the reasons he came up with:

“In the case of Little Brown and Mr. Ferris, some attention to the novel's cumbersome title might have helped. Was Then We Came to the End really the best title for this wonderful novel? I doubt it. By allowing his impossible-to-remember title to remain on the book, everyone involved willfully ignored the pragmatic truths of the 2007 literary marketplace: Sometimes the catchier title wins. It's no coincidence that the cleverly-titled Heyday sold better, even though it's hard to believe any readers preferred Mr. Andersen's self-conscious artifice over Mr. Ferris's heartfelt tour de force.”

Even the editor of Ferris’s book admitted that “Nobody ever remembers the title exactly right. Usually they call it the office novel or something.”

Blum had a great comment on that: “Try asking for the office novel at Barnes & Noble and see how far you get.”


In a blog post written about a year ago, blogger Rohit Bhargava had this to say about book titles:

Why the Irish Saved Civilization was a very average book released with a perfectly crafted title just engaging enough for all Americans who claim some amount of Irish heritage to buy it for other Americans with similar backgrounds. It probably sold well in Ireland too. But my guess is that only 10% of people who bought the book ever actually read it. The title is what sold the book.”

Don't let your book titles ruin your chances of success. Keep working on the title until you come up with something memorable. If you need help, take advantage of my Book Title Critique service. It only costs a $125, and it's worth every penny. Call me at 575-751-3398 to set up an appointment or email me at

Friday, May 04, 2007

Newspaper Book Review Sections

In recent days, again, many book publishing commentators are lamenting the paring down or elimination of newspaper book review sections. Well, I'm not one of them. Most of these sections have been doing such a poor job that they don't deserve to continue to exist.

Too many of them review the same, same books (all from New York publishers) when they should be reviewing books that would truly interest their local and regional readers. Far too many of them ignore books from local and regional publishers, books that would truly interest their readers.

As I've traveled around the country, I've noticed that most book review sections review the same books, write about them the same way, etc. It has been a long, long time since newspaper have served their local readers with reviews of local books. Once in a while, they throw in a review of a local book, but most newspaper book review editors review, as many have told me, "only major novels, major memoirs, and major nonfiction," which, of course means, no local or regional books for us.

No wonder no one reads the book review sections anymore. No wonder newspapers are dropping them like flies or paring them down to nothing. No wonder so many major newspapers now feature reviews syndicated from other newspapers. They might as well. If they had written their own review, it would have sounded the same anyway.

Seth Godin, my favorite business blogger and the only one I read regularly, wrote a post about the demise of newspaper book review sections (and other mass media options). You should read it. Check it out here: reaching_the_un.html.
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