Archives: Blogging

I recently wrote an article for Mary Cummings‘ blog on Digital Book World. Hopefully, it answers some of the questions I often hear from authors: Is NPR a possibility? What can I expect in terms of book reviews? Why again is Twitter important? Here is a teaser, and you can read the full article here.

Every book that you could at one point feel in your hands has today become something you can instantly access on your cell phone. For authors, publicists and publishers, this has meant that we’ve needed to re-think the traditional publicity tools—print reviews, radio, and television that once, in the gilded age of publishing, worked so well for hardcovers. More than ever, it may now be online marketing that makes the PR difference.

Permanency and Possibility in Online Outlets

The moment physical became virtual, publicity both expanded and became more limited. Expanded, because we’ve never known a time when so many online outlets have existed—not merely the digital counterparts of print magazines, but an infinite sea of online programs and blogs, each with their own set of followers. When a book is covered online, a title and link are given permanency. Readers have the opportunity to click directly to buy. When it is so easy to move from point of mention to point of sale, and when eBooks are priced affordably (under $5), the possibility of the impulse buy is all the more tenable. The chance any person of a younger generation will see an interesting author interview on television, remember the name of the author or book, remember to find it the next time he or she is by the internet or browsing in a book shop, and finally buy that new book in hardcover at a price point of $25.99…well, it’s a big leap of faith you’re taking on a consumer. The “un-immediacy” of how books are still presented today using these major outlets will be even more of a challenge for forthcoming, instantly gratify-able generations—if those outlets still exist.

When I learn about a book on Twitter, one 140-character tweet from someone who shares my interests can move me to action. Maybe I click on the link to that blog review. From there, a good review will seamlessly send me to an author’s website or Amazon page.

Online PR is Not Less Credible, and Possibly Even Profitable

For eBooks, and particularly those self-published, the reality is that NPR, Today, and People Magazine are not reasonable targets. Forgetting any argument of stigma, the lack of “physicality” becomes an issue for events; you simply don’t have something to hand sell. To further complicate matters, these longstanding book reviewers are often still of the hardcover “old school,” preferring to see physical review copies of books. This is the limiting side of publicity as it exists currently, not future. Fortunately, authors are understanding more and more that there are all kinds of ways to sell a book; a different kind of “hand selling” that may be less a blanket approach, and more about targeting individuals in reading communities like Goodreads, or promoting their own events via Togather, and gathering a fan base to help.

Happily, I’ve witnessed authors in successful campaigns, thrilled by the snowballing effect of online coverage—the kind that doesn’t start and end at publication, but which builds momentum and endures. In best case scenarios, great websites, blog reviews, and social media buzz are capturing the attention of NPR and newspaper reviewers, and a fortunate author can benefit from all means of exposure.

Read the full article

For all aspiring or established authors today, it’s impossible to emphasize enough the importance of marketing, and doing it early. Marketing for books boils down to one simple premise: reach as many potential readers as possible. Where mainstream publicity is known to be hit or miss, there are cases in which a strong, dedicated and smart approach to marketing is proven to return value. PR needs to integrate social marketing.

In a new weekly series this month, we’ll look at 3 wildly successful marketing programs that have returned value and/or investment, sometimes without or in spite of traditional media attention. Read more »

An agent friend recently asked me: “Have you noticed there are a lot more writers out there today? When I was an intern, going through the slush pile every day, there were about fifteen queries a week. Now it’s easily 30-50.”

Her hypothesis proves true. When I Googled “how to publish a book” today, there were 300 million search results. Read more »

A tweet can make a difference.

I see this happen all the time. But many writers I’ve advised to blog and tweet, will grieve: “no matter what I do, I don’t see anyone coming to my blog!”

But then, suddenly, one day, one hour, and within ten seconds, that changes, and one of the most influential Twitterers falls upon your blog, and tweets about it to his thousands of followers. And suddenly, you see 20 new follows and an unprecedented spike in your web traffic; if you’re published, maybe even a spike in your Amazon ranking.

In publishing today, there is no such thing as “build it and they will come.”

Read more »

This week, the series continues with Man of La Book on the almighty powers of Twitter. You can see the first post of the series here.

Hello again, Zohar. Here’s one question that I, at least, would love to know: What makes you follow someone? Do you give it more than a moment’s thought? Are you most likely choosing on the basis of that person’s popularity or on their content? Have you noticed that following others increases your following, or has no effect?

Here is one no-brainer way to approach it: if someone follows me, I’m pretty likely to follow back. It seems indecent not to — no skin off my back! Many people believe that following back is good “netiquette:” if someone takes the time to listen to what I have to say, I like to show my appreciation.

Read more »

Why Book Blogs Matter

I recently interviewed with a blogger I like, and met on Twitter, on how I see book bloggers changing the business of publishing, and why social networking, or utilizing social media for actual networking purposeshas become a new way of “storytelling” for authors. You can read the rest of the interview here.

Q. How do you see the role of social media play­ing in book mar­ket­ing today and in the future?
A. 
I believe that suc­cess­ful books are made on the basis of word-of-mouth: whether your book club, a friend or fam­ily mem­ber, a movie some­one loved that was adapted from a book.

Word-of-mouth has never been quan­tifi­able. Nei­ther has social media.

Nor has pub­lish­ing ever really been all that inter­ested in quan­tifi­able value—that’s not where our pride is.

Read more »

Here is the last segment of this week’s social media series before we say sadly say goodbye to Man of la Book. If you missed prior posts in the series you can find them here and here. And we’ll be back with more interviews with authors, bloggers, and publishing experts on in our next series on Authors and Social Media, coming soon.

First question: are there any favorite author Twitter feeds you follow? Why?

My favorite authors to follow are Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Chuck Palahniuk (@chuckpalahniuk) and Jason Pinter (@jasonpinter). They talk about writing, life, research, and you can always find them engaging with their followers.

It seems that the most popular tweeters constantly a) tweet constantly and b) link to breaking news, blogs, etc. According to your profile, you are a book blogger, engineer, “wood worker,” father and husband. How is that you can also tweet with such enthusiasm?

My secret is that I’m pretty good with technology. Combine that with obscene laziness and you find good solutions for such issues. I use the cotweet online utility to send out tweets at intervals (30 min. to 1 hour), but check Twitter several times a day to answer questions, interact with others or see what I might be missing (sometimes not much, but that doesn’t stop all of us on Twitter from checking anyway).

But don’t be fooled: it takes great patience, persistence and hard work. Though often a great substitute for real work.

Read more »

Authors on Twitter: A Weekly Series
In the next month, I’ll be interviewing authors, book bloggers, and other experts in the entertainment industry on best practices for using Twitter to grow a following, in all of its myriad promotional and informational ways. I’m launching this series with Man of La Book, who I first noticed on Twitter. His tweets encouraged me to look, to link, and to read–whatever he was telling me to. And at 3,000+ followers, I couldn’t have been the only one who felt similarly compelled…

Read more »

This week has been a revelation on the power of Twitter. Broadcast journalists looked to Twitter to predict the final vote for the first primary based on mentions of competing candidates. Ed Burns, the famous-in-certain-circles rom-com filmmaker, created a low-budget movie, Newlyweds (9k? No way…) crowdsourced by his Twitter followers. Who else can direct a director but Twitter?

Even white-shoe finance firms aren’t above the trend. The real-time aspect of Twitter gives it a newsbreaking advantage in reporting earnings, and thereby could even decide important trading decisions. It’s opinion, not always credibly so, that seems to matter most to Twitter’s 225 million, and clearly diversely interested, members.

I am no Twitter junkie. I’m still learning best practices for Twitter just like everyone else. I started out hating it on principle alone, and then fast realized that, as a marketer, it was a fight ’em or join ’em, crush or be crushed situation. Now, I struggle to create my own persona: a mix of pop cultural addictions observed with dry humor, a proclivity for being controversial…all of which can misfire. And then there’s the publishing and author promotional part — my job — which I try to balance with personal commentary. And risk either navel-gazing or overshare. (You can witness my hapless daring, stumblings, and book cheerleading @lucindablu and attempts to follow industry news at the company account @lucindalitNYC. Tell me what I’m doing right or wrong, by all means.)

Last, I keep abreast of all those I follow in hopes there’s an interesting fact to be learned or conversation to be had. It’s time-sucking, but it isn’t mindless. I’m devoted to seeing value in Twitter myself, so I can more authentically advise my authors.

It’s an art, in progress. And no doubt, after Twitter, there’s another boiling pot.

But getting to authors…and back to Ed Burns. There’s something he’s done in conceiving “Newlyweds” that should be noted among the writing community. Read more »

When I was twenty-two years old, I moved to Paris.  I craved the flexibility of an unstructured, lawless life, governed by creativity and self: the freedom to write or drink wine late into the hours of the night without some arbitrary wake-up call the next morning. Without someone telling me what to do, just because others were so keen to live this way.

Writers, in my both my personal and professional experience, are often as self-conscious, despairingly so, as they are ambitious. Because they are driven by the vocation of writing — in its original sense, a calling — they are capable of the longest hours, the most maniacal and solitary confinement required of the craft.

This penchant for maniacal focus, and also for personal freedom, makes writers a lot like entrepreneurs.

I left France for the simple reason that in New York, unlike Paris, you can hang a shingle on your door, and with a little luck, carve a business from out of a passion — in my case, a passion for authors and literature, a passion I could only understand because I felt it at my own core, years ago.

Read more »