Are you Building a Relationship with Book Sellers?

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

With all the buzz about going green and selling on Amazon many authors are not putting too much thought on selling their books in their local bookstores, often just making the effort of listing their books online and focusing on online promotion. But good relationships, especially with your local and independent bookstores, can result in significant sales and publicity.

Most people who love books still visit bookstores, so not considering Indie and big books stores is a mistake in my opinion. Authors should try to work with bookstores, although Indie authors might find Indie bookstores easier to work with; in my experience big stores are also becoming more receptive to Indies and are trying to accommodate their local authors by organizing local author book events or accepting books on consignment. I also have found that if the Indie authors offer the chain store’s same deal offered to them by their distributor, they might even order books for their event. Independent bookstores, by comparison, can be a delight to work with. People who work in independent bookstores love books. They are big readers, and if you develop a relationship with those people, they are going to remember you and your book and recommend it to people. If you build a relationship with an independent bookstore’s employees, they will reciprocate by acting as intermediary in building a relationship between you and your reader.

Here are just a few of the benefits authors I know have received from working with independent bookstores:

  • Bookstores have advertised programed events for local Indie authors where they can participate and sell their books.
  • Local independent bookstore employees know you so they are more likely to host a book signing for you. And because you live nearby, if they have a cancellation by another author for an event, they might even call you up to come and participate.
  • When customers ask for suggestions, employees at the bookstore you have a relationship with are more likely to have read your book and recommend it to customers.
  • Independent bookstores may work on consignment or may buy directly from the author. Either way, once the books are sold, authors get their payment quicker.
  • Independent and local bookstores will often sponsor events with the local library, as well as participate in local festivals. As a result, authors associated with independent bookstores can build their connections to key organizers of community events
  • Because of their close association with libraries, independent bookstore owners and managers have been known to sit on library boards and participate in greater statewide book events, such as deciding on a “community read” or even which books the state library will promote as notable. A relationship with the bookstore can help your book to get noticed for these reading programs.
  • Authors who have relationships with independent bookstores are more likely to have their books receive better product placement in those stores.

Finally, participating in the community as a local author can help Indies achieve some kind of celebrity status in their community which might be noticed by the local media. For more information on how we can help authors visit us at www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Book Contests to Check Out

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

There are currently many Literary Awards for Indie Publishers as well as Traditional ones. Some of them are distinguished enough that an award will increase book sales. Others are not followed as much and so winners receive little attention. So how does the Indie Author choose?

  • Entry Fees:  Most of the Literary Awards will have an entry fee, so the selection needs to consider the submitter’s budget. If a contest with no entry fee is found, then by all means enter your title!
     
  • National:  National contests are stiff competition, but the greater the competition, the more important the award. If your budget permits, give the contest a try.
     
  • Regional:  Local contests provide greater chances of winning and some have funding so entry fees are minimal. Check out your local libraries for information.
     
  • Independent:  For self-published authors, these contests are the best place to start getting notoriety for your book. Good choices include the IPPY (Independent Publishers Association Awards) and our own, Reader Views Literary Awards.

Once you win or become a finalist, send out press releases. Many contests will sell you award stickers for your books. Some will also provide a review that can be also useful to quote when promoting the title, even if it didn’t place as a finalist or winner. Reader Views provides all participants with a review. Winners get a digital certificate and seal on top of the review, and the convenience of ordering stickers for their books on stock.

Reader Views receives thousands of books each year for review from authors who have worked hard to achieve their dream of being published. Our Annual Literary Awards recognizes the very best of these up-and-coming authors, all talented writers who we know have very promising writing careers ahead of them. Recognition always brings attention from audiences. So although it is impossible to fully measure how well book awards sell books, contests do create a buzz, making them another way to get attention for your books.

Here are few book contests to check out:

For more information on how we can help to get your book out there visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com or www.readerviews.com.

Thoughts About Star Ratings

 Sheri Hoyte Managing Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Managing Editor

Much like judging a book by its cover, I find star ratings and the administering of such, to be highly subjective, and I really don’t like assigning a number to a book I’ve just read.  I find the coveted 5-Star Review to be a bit over-rated. In my mind it’s the content of a review that matters most - what are potential readers going to see in a review that is going to influence their decision of whether or not to purchase a book? 

I read and edit a substantial number of reviews each year and there is nothing more baffling to me than reading a review laden with critiques that somehow ‘score’  4 or 5 star ratings.  "Gee, the plot was full of holes and the characters were like cardboard cut-outs, but I highly recommend this book as a 5-Star read!"  What? 

Likewise, I don’t think a book necessarily merits a 2-star review just because the reader didn’t like the story – there has to be more than that. Honestly if I feel a book merits a 2 star review, I have to ask myself if possibly, it just wasn’t the book for me.  Assuming I like (and read) a lot of titles in the genre, a 2-star review would result from a combination of many things, including: numerous grammatical errors making the book impossible to read, extensive character development issues, stagnant plot or gaping holes, dialogue issues, etc.  I personally assign star ratings based on the following scale:

5 Stars – Excellent
4 Stars – Very Good
3 Stars – Good
2 Stars – Fair, but could use some fine-tuning
1 Star – Needs work

I just want to point out that 3 stars is a good review!  I think the mind-set of everyone in the industry today is that if a book doesn’t rate 4 or 5 stars it isn’t any good. I totally disagree with this line of thinking!  A good review is a good review.  Not every book you read is going to be great or blow your mind, but there are a lot of good books out there that will leave a lasting impression. 

When I read a book, whether for pure enjoyment, to learn a new skill, expand my knowledge, or for a literary contest, I want to feel a connection to that book. Be it fiction or non-fiction, satirical or educational, when I finish a book it is a well-rounded view that will determine the number of stars.  What are your thoughts on star-ratings?

For information on how we support and promote indie authors, visit www.readerviews.com.

Getting Publicity – Errors Authors Make

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

No book sells by itself. It doesn’t matter how good the book is, authors need help to sell it. This is where the promotional efforts of a variety of folks including book reviewers, publicists, radio and television hosts, conference planners, bookstore owners, bloggers, and many more that can help to get the book noticed. But getting the attention and help of these people requires the author’s professionalism and etiquette. Here are some of the mistakes authors make when looking for help from the media and/or publicists to promote their books.

1. Cold Calls: We have to put ourselves in the place of the one receiving the phone call to remember that the phone is an interrupter. So before you call someone, learn all you can about them – visit their website and read all the guidelines. If you can’t get an answer to a question, send an email. Most people will reply to your email in a timely manner, and if a phone call is needed, you can ask in an email when is the best time to call.

2. Being a Bad Guest: TV and radio hosts need guests and they like experts. They especially rely on authors of non-fiction books who can inform their audience. Authors need to remember that it’s not about them or their book; it’s about the topic they were invited to discuss. So don’t try to plug your book during the show; the host will mention the guest’s book during the introduction and again when the program ends. Be a good guest by following protocol and fulfilling the host’s need to give his audience what it wants and you might even be invited back.

3. Being Impatient: Don’t expect an immediate response. Give them a reasonable amount of time. After contacting someone in the media about your book the author needs to wait a couple of weeks and then follow up, or ask upfront what is the timeframe is for when the book review or the news story might appear, if accepted. Being impatient will only irritate people, and even if they do run the news story to eliminate the nuisance, they might not be willing to do so the next time around. Closing doors is worse than doors that open slowly.

4. Self-Praise: “My book is the best one ever written on this topic,” and “This wonderful novel was written with touching scenes, engaging characters, etc.” is a turn-off. It’s fine if you have testimonials from others saying those things. Just don’t say them yourself. The same is true with the book’s cover. Tell people what your book is about, but save the praise for your endorsers.

5. Expecting Something for Nothing: It costs money to operate a website and pay people to maintain it. Even if a service is free, such as a journalist writing a newspaper article about your book, appreciate the value of that person’s time and send a thank you note after the story appears. Always give book promoters a free copy of your book. And do not complain about prices for any publicity service. If you can’t afford the service, find one you can afford, but don’t argue over the fees. Remember that the publishing world is a small place—you don’t want word to get around that you are expecting services for nothing.

For more information about how we help authors go to ReaderViews.Com

And the Winners of the Reader Views 2017-2018 Literary Awards Are…

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

It’s that time of the year again! Can’t believe how fast time went by! Maybe it is because of all the awesome books we’ve been busy reading…

Winners, congratulations! It was a hard decision in many cases; in all honesty, the competition was fierce. I was humbled and amazed with the quality of books, as I saw the stigma of the Independent Authors vanish almost in its entirety this year. I am truly honored to have been a part of reading and judging your work…to me all participants are winners. Yet only few could be selected and thus, without further ado, the winners are here!  Click here for the full list of 2017-2018 Literary Award Winners!!

Award Winners, this is the time to take your book for a ride online! Make sure you shout about your winnings everywhere. You can order stickers by clicking here. Be sure to check out all our promotional services - See a complete list of our publicity options here!

Congratulations and thank you to all who participated in our 2017-2018 Literary Awards.  It has been our honor to work with you and help promote your books!

2017-2018 Reader Views Literary Awards Announcement – And the finalists are…

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

It has been by far the largest awards contest in our history. But what it is truly awesome was the great quality of the majority of the participating books. Unfortunately, judges must select only a few, and this year it’s proving to be a very difficult task! So we wish all the finalists good luck, knowing that in our hearts and minds you all are winners, as this year’s competition was truly fierce. For those participants that didn’t make the finals, know that most of you didn’t make it by a very small margin. So be proud of your book (as we are of you!), and keep reading our newsletter for tips on how to get your book out there. Check out the list of finalists here.

What now? You'll have to wait (patiently) for the next list, which we hope to have within the next week. This is also when the winners in the regional/global and specialized categories will also be announced.

Finalists, as you wait for the winners' announcement, there are few things you can do to get ready and make the most of your winning status!

·         Once the finalists’ placements are announced, we will be producing certificates, to be emailed along with a digital copy of the sticker seal. This is the time to begin to contact your publishers to find out what you need to do to add the seal to your digital front covers everywhere online.

·         Plan your strategy for spreading the news about your accomplishment and take advantage of a winning discount of 20% for Press Release writing and Social Media Blitz offer only to winners! Announcements to the media can be made through press releases and their launch can be coordinated with a social media campaign. Check out our PR Writing, PR Distribution, and Social Media Blitz services here!

·         Literary Awards give credibility to your title, which means the author did things right! Make the most of your writing expert status and give book interviews, publish articles, and share your knowledge with upcoming new authors. Giving back is the best way to promote your work!

We will be placing a bulk order for stickers, which will be available for purchase next week. We will also be giving you a high-resolution image of the sticker to post on your website as well and to place on the book cover during the next printing.  

Being an award winner is what all authors shoot for, but for those who did not make the finalists list know this; competition is fierce, and this year was really close. Be proud of being a participant as you did something the majority of people do not. You not only wrote and published a book; you also had three lines of judges examine it! Use quotes of your review and share the knowledge you acquired during the process to make the most of the experience and keep writing! For more on how we can help authors please visit http://www.readerviews.com.

It’s Time for March Literary Madness!

 Sheri Hoyte Editor

Sheri Hoyte
Editor

With so many bookish things happening around the globe, March is a great time to promote literary love!  Whether a hard-core reading fanatic, book reviewer, blogger, author, or all of the above – there is something for everyone during March Literary Madness.  Here are a few national events in March for all bibliophiles to celebrate – as if you needed a reason.

March 2nd – Read Across America. The National Education Association kicks off the Read Across America program every year on March 2nd honoring the birthday of Dr. Seuss.  The annual program motivates communities to come together and celebrate reading.  Along with providing motivation and awareness on the importance of developing young readers, the program also presents reading resources year-round for parents, teachers and children.

March 2-8 – Read an eBook Week. Because eBooks need love, too!  This event was created by Rita Toews in 2004 and has grown considerably with the rise in popularity of e-books. I can’t even imagine life without my favorite e-reader!

March 4th – National Grammar Day.  Observed across the US every year on March 4, National Grammar Day was established in 2008 by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.  Is grammar your forte or does it squash your creative genius?

March 4-10 – Return The Borrowed Books Week.  According to the American Library Association, the celebration was created by the late created by the late Al Kaelin of the Inter-Global Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Cartoonists in 1953.  This is it – the official grace period to return all those books you’ve borrowed from friends – no questions asked!

All Month – March is also National Read Aloud Month.  This initiative, started by Read Aloud 15 Minutes, promotes reading aloud every day with your child for 15 minutes or more from birth!  Reading aloud to a child is touted as the single most important thing an adult can do to ready children for learning and success.

And, don’t forget local community activities.  From book festivals to poetry slams, there is always something literary going on at bookstores, libraries and coffee shops. There might even be a mobile library in your area – check out the endless opportunities and celebrate March Literary Madness!

For more information on how Book by Book Publicity supports authors and readers, visit us at www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Promoting a Revised Edition Title

 Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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