Archives: readers

Mary

We were thrilled to sit down with Mary Cummings, the Editorial Director of Diversion Books, to pick her brain on what she sees really working in the world of eBooks, and to get her recommendations for authors on best marketing practices for their books.

First, I’m so curious about how you came to naming your company Diversion.

I can take no credit in the naming of Diversion, as it happened well before my time, but we think of “Diversion” in a couple of ways. There’s the book-as-entertainment aspect, as in “this book is a welcome diversion from my busy day,” but also the very real and important distinction of Diversion as a publisher that has “diverted” from the path of traditional publishing insofar as its digital focus and all that comes with it, but has not abandoned the path altogether. In general, we like to think of Diversion as: “traditional approach, digital focus.”

Why publish with Diversion over Amazon?

Do you mean why not self-publish? Well, if you have time, savviness, and energy to put into publishing and promoting your book in an aggressive, ongoing way, then go for it! But even the most successful self-published authors are turning to companies like Diversion because they see value to more hands on deck, a reputable house backing them and enhancing their efforts, and abandoning the more nitty-gritty, technological, metadata-oriented tasks that are in constant need of management for the entire life of the ebook, assuming it is to be successful. Very few authors will be successful just by putting their work out there–it has to be continually nurtured, updated, and attended to on the marketing end.

Do you predict a fadeout of traditional publishers in favor of eBooks? Read more »

Marketing yourself to find an agent or marketing your book to find a reader are two sides of the same coin. All the same rules apply. If you’re weak on either side…the journey becomes much more trying.

An agent can usually see marketability in a proposal right away. Does this book fall within a greater context of other books that have fared successfully? Is there a clear reader for this book—is that readership wide enough? Is the author well-regarded or well-connected? Where is the evidence of future readers?

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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 »

ON SHELVES IN PAPERBACK THIS WEEK

I’m excited to get acquainted with the Hannah Vogel series, not merely because of its captivating book jacket and intriguing plot – I don’t usually read mystery – but because the author appears to be one of those genuine, real however successful, people one comes across only so often  in the virtual world. I’ve also recently noticed good female mystery authors – save the Sue Graftons and Janet Evanoviches of the world are particularly hard to find. (See this interesting article by Meg Wolitzer in The Times: “On the Rules of Literary Fiction for Men and Women.”)
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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 »

Amy is an ambitious and cool young editor who edits lifestyle, pop culture and celebrity books for Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. I love everything Amy does, because her books are diverse as they are original. Naturally, I was excited when she “tapped” me on this original, if quirky, book just out this week, from new author Vicki Riordan, made for the hidden tap dance enthusiasts among us. I didn’t even know I was one, but I’m looking forward to reading it, and not merely because the jacket grabbed me. Glancing at the book art alone, I’m transported to my inner Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, back in the days when the performance arts mandated talented singing as well as tap dancing (if you can believe it). Voila, the jacket, and some nice praise Riordan has already picked up below:

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Books are made on word-of-mouth.
At least those books that receive critical acclaim or top the bestseller charts. Think The Help or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and countless others.

This is more than publicity. This is the unquantifiable magic of human capital. No matter how much you spend, it can’t really be predicted.

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The latest book by Arthur Phillips, next on my reading list, and in his usual, ambitious style:

Most reading this blog are likely already aware of this book, and have maybe even bought it? For those who aren’t familiar, I encourage you to look no further than the book’s summary:

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I just did a post on a blog I love called Girl Who Reads (yes, great name), about some ways bloggers can get on the mailing list for the books they love, and prove that their reviews mean something. Turns out your traffic numbers may not matter as much as you think.
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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.”

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