Bob Mayer’s Blog

For those who are thinking of DIY publishing, this analysis should be edifying:


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In my last post I mentioned that Bob and I decided to switch our POD (Print on Demand) needs from Lightning Source to CreateSpace. Many readers here at Write It Forward requested an explanation on why?



Full-Tilt Book Marketing

How To Get Your Book Into Internet, Book and Retail Stores, by Elaine Wilkes

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If you’re a traditionally published author, or any of the publishing gradations coming into being these days via digital or POD, you could learn a few things about marketing from this book. Its tone is that of inspirational gurus or marketers, but don’t let that dissuade you. 

Ms. Wilkes writes from personal experience in marketing her books, but she draws from the experiences of other gonzo marketers as well. An example?

She tells of one person who had had no success in placing her books in one of the big box stores, so she simply carried a number of her own books into the store and displayed them – in the proper genre location – as if they were there, courtesy of said big box. The books began to sell, so the store began ordering them through the conventional routes.


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Ms. Wilkes has learned, apparently by trial and error, how to talk to book store managers, or their buyers, in a way that seems to stand the best chance of getting her books on store shelves. She also has a ton of advice in how to deal with the Internet, to use its resources to market and sell books.

The book isn’t well written – but it’s as utilitarian as the title suggests, something similar to notes you might take at a seminar. Too, because the publishing business is changing almost daily, some of what she writes here is a bit dated. But it’s still a useful book – if you have the moxie to get into her game.


My rating 14 of 20 stars




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Whether you're traditionally- or self-published, one of the hardest things emotionally for you to do may be to give away copies of your books. But doing so just might be the gateway to higher sales numbers. And this applies to e-books as well as print. Here's a take by on the subject:


Author Giveaways

Giveaways to Get Book Sales


At the 2012 BEA (Book Expo America) held last week in NYC, the atmosphere was abuzz with words pertaining to the discovery of books: curate content, collect, connect, converse, engage, community, and share.   For authors looking to cultivate a loyal following and sell books, giving away free copies is an valid component of an overall marketing strategy. One cannot minimize the fact that an enthusiastic reader is the best press for a newly released book title.


Donating books to a library, bookstore, or website is an option, but giveaways as part of a contest or in conjunction with a book tour is also an effective tool. According to Charles Fink of FreeBookFriday, there are several key elements to a successful book giveaway promotion, which include: 1) making a great first impression with a well-designed book cover; 2) leaving readers begging for more with an attention-grabbing synopsis; 3) letting the personality of the author shine through by taking advantage of the opportunity for an interview; 4) providing a place (website or  blog) to get more information about the book, characters, author); and 5) making the book easy to purchase, since only a handful of people can win a free copy with a contest.


Marketing strategist Don Crowther stresses the importance of "desire multipliers" for increasing the sales potential of a giveaway strategy, such as personally autographing each copy of a book to increase its value and "positioning" in the marketplace. His "18 Second Factor" rule is the initial impression that determines what people are going to do based on the first few seconds of exposure to a book or an author. Potential customers can be swayed by a unique book cover that catches their attention, or an author that connects especially well with an audience at an event.


Book giveaways yield better results with careful advance planning and when used  in conjunction with social networking sites such as Twitter. Giveaway contests can benefit from the re-tweeting feature, which is unmatched for passing along information and gaining momentum by attracting new followers.


Thinking outside-the-box can yield some creative ideas that can expand the traditional notion of a book freebie. As a promotional tactic for the release of the movie Hunger Games (based upon the best-selling book), the giveaway sweepstakes prize was a trip to the North Carolina set where the movie was filmed. Every book has a unique tie-in, a hook, character, or setting that can be capitalized upon to entice readers to participate via a giveaway contest.


Giveaways also have found their way into the world of eBooks, where readers often face the issue of deciding between the digital or print version of a book. "Bundling" a free electronic copy of the book with the physical book provides readers with an added incentive to purchase a hard-copy, and may be a clever business tactic for struggling brick-and-mortar bookstores. Offering just one chapter as an eBook giveaway is another option.  This type of promotion can assist authors in building a list of customers. To download the chapter, a reader would have to opt-in for the freebie. This strategy works for publishers as well, as a way to establish a database of interested consumers.  


Developing a mutual dialogue between writer and reader has never been more important, and book giveaways cannot be overlooked as a way to facilitate that relationship. 

eBook Giveaways 
7 Places to List Your Free eBook

eBooks are a great way to gain exposure and increase download rankings. Whether your free eBook serves as a leader into a series to capture readers or a promotional marketing tool to gain exposure, eBook giveaways are an excellent marketing and publicity tool.
There are many sites that allow authors to submit their free eBook for no cost. Pixel of Ink does not guarantee that your book will be listed, but the site brings great exposure to authors. Rainy's Book Realm offers a category where authors can share their free eBook. Both of these sites require no uploading so they can be linked straight to Amazon or another site. 
If your goal is simply to hook readers and not to generate download rankings, then there are several great sites that do require uploading. Smashwords is a great site to sell books on or you can also choose to give them away. Other sites are Scribd, Many Books, Free Ebooks, and PDF-Geni.


I Need Your Help With This Story

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A story of mine is in contention for a prize, and you can read and comment on it here. I won't comment on it here myself, other than to say it's written in a style in which the reader is "eavesdropping" on a conversation, and certain things must be inferred. It should be fun to figure these things out.

I hope you like it, and please leave comments – they may nudge the judges.

What Nora Ephron’s Career Can Teach Writers

  1. Even with writing from staples of the journalistic essay – sex, romance, humor, and, of course, NYC – Ephron found ways to freshen up those old subjects and make them contemporary.
  2.  In the 60s, during a protracted newspaper strike, she and others began their own newspaper, where Ephron continued to hone the humor that paid such dividends for her later in Hollywood.
  3. She didn't just write for a paycheck, either; she used her journalism career to develop a unique voice and style, and  a feminist pose, these eventually making her as much a part of the New Journalism as Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, and Norman Mailer.



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There, writer, you see? She had a habit of doing the lemons-to-lemonade thing, forever vaulting over the ho-hums of her writing life, the seeming drudgery and obstacles that will always send wannabe writers back to selling widgets. Have faith in your writing goals, forever develop your writing toward those goals through whatever writing opportunities you have, and run toward even that tiny speck of daylight you see ahead. I think this is what Ephron would tell you, if you had but asked – what she can still teach you, simply by tracking her fabled career. 

Foreign E-Book Sales Increase 333% For U.S. Publishers | Digital Book World

It's hard to say why e-book sales are taking off in Europe. Part of the reason may be their relatively inexpensive cost on a cash-strapped continent.  And…sad to say…Europe seems to be ahead of the U.S. in the use of most things technological – even when these tech things are invented in the U.S.


By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World, @JDGsaid


Amazon consumer reviews just as accurate as professional reviews, Harvard study suggests | TeleRead: News and views on e-books, libraries, publishing and related topics

For some time now, I've maintained exactly what this article indicates about both Amazon reviews and those by the pros. To get an accurate take on a book from Amazon's reviews, trash over half of the near-perfect reviews and all the totally bad reviews, and you'll come up with a pretty good assessment of a book's worth. Wisdom of the crows, and all that.


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TechCrunch reports on a new study from the Harvard Business Review that suggests that Amazon reader reviews of books are, on average, at least as good as those of professional book critics. The professionals, the report suggests, may not always have incentive to be completely objective, tending to give better reviews to authors who have written for the same publication, and giving worse reviews to novice than established authors.