Navigating the Internet to Find Your Audience

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

When I freelanced during the 1990s, the Internet was not what it is today, so most of the research for my articles and short stories came from visits to the local libraries, face to face interviews, and the news. Currently, a writer can do most if not all their research from their own office. For the prolific writer this is a game changer - but, using the internet only to research for your writing is not going to help them get their articles, books or blogs to their audience. In order to get your work out to the right audience a lot of thought and research is needed to determine who will be interested in the topics and stories you are working on. Luckily, we can also do that from our office these days! Below are some tips on how to navigate the Internet to find your audience:

·         Brainstorm – This first step is the key. No one knows better than you what your work is about, so it is up to you to find all the possible angles embedded within your topic or story. You can begin with the general genre or topic and break that down to sub-topics, age group, specific interest groups…etc. For example, my first book “Innocent War” is a Historical Fiction book, based on my father’s tapes documenting his childhood, and coming of age memories growing up during WWII in Libya and Sicily. From there I can come up with the following marketing angles: Fiction, Historical Fiction, WWII Stories, Memoirs, WWII Memoirs, Coming of Age, YA, Teen, War, Military, History, Father-Daughter Relationship, PTSD, older people from that era…etc., just to name a few…

·         Niche Marketing Strategizing - This second step is also a must. Once you find angles for your work you can pinpoint marketing targets, and platforms where to promote your work. For example: under “Innocent War”  angles I  can target Military, Italians WWII buffs, Memoirs, YA, Teens, Family, ….etc. I can also market on different platforms such as Veterans Organizations, WWII Museums gift shops, History Magazines and Channels, Libraries and Bookstores in the History department, as well as Memoir department, Historical Fiction department, Teen and YA. As well as High Schools and College Libraries and their History departments, Italian Clubs, Italian Restaurants, Ancestry.com, AARP…etc. All these places can be reached via an email, by commenting on their Blogs, Magazines, and their websites. You can even advertise on these sites for better fees than on printed media.

 ·         Persistence and Follow Up - Once you have found your audience and established contact and relations with different platforms, all you need to do is keep at it. You can create an automatic marketing system through Mail Chimp, Infusionsoft, Constant Contact or any other marketing system that matches your needs and budget. But don’t forget to follow up and keep personal contact with your audience via your blog page or any other types of virtual interactions such as podcast interviews, articles published in e-magazines and other newsletters, or blog tours and social media appearances.

Yes, it takes time but without investing your time and your budget wisely on promotion and marketing, all your writing and publishing effort and investment will be in vain. For more information on how we help Indie Authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

2019 Writing for Publication – Take Charge!

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

The New Year is always motivating as we focus on finally doing what we couldn’t do. This is true for writers’ publishing projects and dreams. Unfortunately, for many who begin their projects, holding on to the new year enthusiasm loses momentum as their daily lives unravel. But how can we avoid giving up on our publishing goals? By taking charge…one step at a time! Here are some tips on taking charge to reach your publishing goals this year:

·         Take the time to plan and schedule publication. Create a plan and schedule each phase of the process. This will not only help identify all stages necessary for a successful project…it will also allow for better marketing and PR planning by incorporating reviewers, awards, and other necessary timing items and deadlines into the publishing plan.

·         Plan your marketing and schedule so that a buzz is created before the book launch. Many Indie writers overlook this step as they are eager to get their book out. However, I recommend they invest in marketing 6 months before book is launched (after it has been professionally edited) so they can get reviews from big and small reviewers and include some as endorsements on the back cover and praise page.

·         Create and sync a budget for your plan. This will make sure you don’t fall short on the important stages of publishing and marketing. Be mindful of which tasks are better outsourced to professionals and which to take on yourself.

·         Pace yourself and be persistent. Sometimes it is better to be patient and launch the book at the right marketing time than rush to get it out. But it is always a win to be persistent and keep at it through social media, events, promotions…etc.

Taking charge of your dreams and goals is not that difficult if you keep focus on the finish line while advancing step by step. To learn more about how we help Indie Authors visit us at www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

Celebrating Another Year of Service to Indie Authors

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

When I came aboard, Reader Views had four years of helping authors under their belt. Since then, many things have happened – some devastating like the loss of my friend and mentor who founded Reader Views, Irene Watson. Others life-changing and fulfilling, like when I took over Reader Views under Book By Book Publicity. This year, the 13th year of Reader Views (lucky number in Italy), marked for us another level of service as Sheri Hoyte joined me as partner after four years as book reviewer, social media manager and editor.

2018 was a year of growth, realized goals, and changes. Our logs show the total number of books reviewed in the 20K bracket!  As we enter 2019, we are filled with more goals, more plans, new reviewers and renewed passion but always with the same mission of helping Indie Authors get their books out there by reviewing books, building platform foundations and online PR.

It amazes me how far we’ve come from the early days when I took over. It was scary and sad for the circumstances but as time went by I could feel excited about keeping Reader Views afloat and making it grow. Some of the challenges felt overwhelming, like the time we had to take down the site due to a virus attack. Somehow, we made the tragic event work to our advantage and changed the entire system to make it not only safer but also current in design and efficient on the back end, which helped us to keep costs down and thus prices down. Since the scary times through growing pains we have grown to 25 adult reviewers for Reader Views and 20 kids for Reader Views Kids.

We now offer a whole line of Publicity services under the Book By Book Publicity brand from our signature Publicity Packages, Book Video productions, Podcast Service, Press Kits and Press Releases to new services like Book Translations to and from Spanish and Italian, Book Editing in English and Spanish, Manuscript Analysis, Consulting On the Go, and many more. We have converted the librarian catalog to a magazine-catalog hybrid. Click here to check out First Chapter Plus Magazine.  We also have been able to continue the Reader Views Literary Awards with very little fee increases while adding more categories to better fit the different genres of the participants. We have also extended the deadline to December 31st to accommodate books published in December. If you wish to submit your book, click here.

Our plans for 2019 include the launch of our I Have Something to Say Press publishing packages, a collaboration package with a librarian for children books, optimization of our system and social media campaigns for better results, and so many other things…so stay in touch through our newsletter for updates!

We want to thank you, the reader and supporter, for sticking with us, using our services, and telling others about us.  Everything we do is for you! This will be the last editorial for this year as the office will close for the Holidays. Sheri and I will still be processing submissions, checking emails, and reading a lot through the holidays so keep in touch!

Getting Your Promotional Ducks in a Row for 2019

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

If you are like me, the beginning of the year is filled with enthusiasm and new projects, and that’s great! But is that also great when the project is the publishing of your new book? Maybe not so much...If we begin the planning of our new title at the start of the year then the book will most likely come out towards the second half of the year. That isn’t bad, but planning before the new year begins, the ground work for promoting will be done by the time the book is out. And that is better!

Here are some things authors should figure out before sending the final, professionally edited manuscript to production:

·         ARC Copies Ready for a List of Book Reviewers.  If, in the PR Campaign plans you have included book reviews by Publisher Weekly and other printed media, you have to consider their deadlines for submission which can be anywhere between 6 to 3 months before publication. Having endorsements for the back cover, also takes time. Having these figured out and ready to go at the beginning of the year will make the book promotion more effective.

·         Book Publicity Campaign Plan Worked Out. Before the year starts it is also wise to have a list of events and an online platform worked out, so that you can begin scheduling your book signings, tours and interviews with the venues and media list you put together based on the genre and topic of the book and its audience.

·         A Press Kit and List of local Bookstores and Libraries. Publishing a book and not hitting your local stores and libraries makes no sense. So have everything ready to go and send the kit with an ARC giving them all the information on when it comes out, as well as your contact information. Make sure you have the right person as your point-of-contact before sending the package out. This will make it easy to call for follow-ups later on and to try to get in for a book signing or speaking events.

In short, before the beginning of the year, putting all your ducks in a row can make the difference on PR and sales, as having the extra time ahead of the publication will give authors an edge to create momentum. For more information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

Indie Publishing and Book Distribution

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

By the time their second book is published, Indie authors should know enough about book distribution to understand the differences between a distributor, a wholesaler, and a bookstore or online bookseller.

Okay, for those that don't know this is the deal:

Distributor - gets your book into wholesalers and bookstores (See list of top independent book distributors http://www.bookmarket.com/distributors.htm) Distributors may sell to wholesalers but not vice-versa.  Distributors have sales reps, wholesalers don't (they just wait for the phone to ring). Distributors need 60 to 75% discount.  For wholesalers, typically 55% is standard.

Wholesaler - takes orders from bookstores and libraries unless they are a distributor themselves (Ingram, Baker & Taylor, etc.)

Lightning Source
- this is neither a distributor nor wholesaler.  They are a printer of print-on-demand (POD) books.  But, their parent company, Ingram Book Company, distributes books that are printed through them.

Amazon.com - this is a seller of books, no different than your local B & N. They sell to the general public - the reader.  They do not distribute or wholesale books.

How an author sells their books really depends on their ultimate goal. Working with a distributor gives some advantage of having books accessible to multiple stores and libraries across the country.  Even though they are currently more flexible than in prior years in a local level, bookstores like Barnes & Noble most likely will require that their stores order only through a book distributor rather than dealing with individual authors on a national level. Other stores may just prefer to order only from a distributor like Ingram or Baker & Taylor because it’s easier to pay one vendor instead of fifty individual authors. If you want your book in a major bookstore chain or in some libraries, you’ll need a distributor. (Some libraries do order direct from the author or Amazon.com but not all of them.) Here are some tips when deciding how to figure out how to publish and sell books based on distribution:

·         Do your research on publishers before choosing one. If your goal is to try to get your book in big stores, then making sure the publisher uses the stores’ main distributor is a must.

·         The above step is true also when choosing the print-on-demand platform.  So don’t be afraid to call and ask questions before signing up. In my case I chose Outskirts Press because they have Ingram and Baker & Taylor as distributors.

·         Don’t stop at the publisher/printer’s distributor. Look for others yourself and sign up with the ones that make sense for your personal goals and title.

In the end what really makes the difference in getting your book out there is your knowledge of the industry and willingness to research before doing the work. For more information on how we can help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

Authors – What NOT to Do When Promoting in Bookstores

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

By far the hardest thing an author has to learn to do when their first book comes out is promoting. I was lucky in that I had worked in retail in my younger years, so all I had to do was tap into my long-forgotten sales persona to sell myself to bookstores and other businesses where I hoped to do book signings or have them carry my book. Even so, I made a number of mistakes. Some molded the way I do things now…others I rather forget because they were embarrassing, but they do bring laughter to others when my husband tells the stories…Either way, mistakes are how we humans learn so don’t be discouraged by them. Below are some things I learned not to do whether through my own mistakes or those of others:

·         Don’t expect to be seen by the Manager or Buyer of the store when visiting unannounced. Yes, I was that person. Not even once was I seen by the manager or buyer just because I stopped by to honor them with my visit. The best thing to do is to visit the business to see if your book is a good fit. Once there, become a customer by purchasing something (even if it is some mints from the cashier’s counter) and request a business card or contact information for the buyer or store manager. If you want, you can actually leave a copy of your book with the sell sheet for them to follow up with an email.

·         Don’t restock you consignment books directly on the shelf yourself. Let’s say a store agreed to take a number of copies of your book as consignment. If you are like me you will probably go at least once a week to check on how your book is doing. But if you do what one author did (not me than the heavens…) and keep re-filling the shelf every time he/she saw they were selling without going through the buyer…you won’t get paid! What you should do, is blast out through social media that your book is in stock in that store and as you see the stock going down, offer the buyer or manager more copies. 

·         Don’t try to sell your new book at regular price in a used bookstore. Yes, this was one of my mistakes…I did a book signing at a used bookstore. The buyer ordered the books directly through the publisher and expected me to sell them during my signing (that was the mistake as my price could not compete with the used book prices, as their customers were there because of their discounted tags). In the end, they returned all the copies they purchased and got a refund. What I should have done is bring my copies and work out a discounted price tag under a consignment arrangement. Having my name on their marquee was really cool though…

Marquee.jpg

 ·         Don’t change your books’ placement in the store. You got your book into a store! That is a big, big accomplishment! Oh wait, they didn’t put them on the Best Seller table…instead it is in the Local Author section…I know it’s tempting, but don’t do it! Moving the books around is not going to help you sell it. The bookstore people know their customers…and believe me, they do want to sell all of their books. So let them do their jobs. What you can do is drop off bookmarks and postcards about your books at the information desk, the cashier’s counter and the café. Although, this was not my mistake…I found that all stores appreciate the bookmarks and if you are nice to them, they might even put them inside the purchased books with their customers’ receipt!

Sometimes, authors just have to trust the stores and hope for the best. All we can do is to establish a respectful relationship so that they always welcome us and our books back! For more information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com

 

 

An Indie Author’s Perfect Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

T’was the day before Thanksgiving when Susan Violante, a beautiful mature woman who had the looks of a 25-year-old brown-haired, hazel eyes, athletic woman, and the mind of a world-traveled 55-year-old, finally finished her own memoir. It was her first draft but with all of her Best Seller and Pulitzer-worthy books under her belt, she no longer needed to re-write anything…nor the services of a professional editor. She no longer needed to consider traditional publishing either, as her own Indie Publishing Company was better known than the Big Five all over the world. She decided to wait until after the holiday weekend to put it in the printing queue as she did not want to deal with all the exclusivity pleads from book distributors and bookstores. Publisher’s Weekly was already stalking her for a launch date and an interview, and Oprah Winfrey made her promise she would be the first to have a copy of her book and first appearance.

Sheri Hoyte, also an accomplished Best-Selling Children’s author and Susan’s partner in the biggest International Indie Publishing Company of the world was due to arrive at the luxurious office any minute. Sheri was also beautiful with a 55-year-old world traveled mind, but she looked like an athletic 26-year-old instead of 25 because of her hesitation in coloring her hair purple. But that did not affect her astonishing writing and editing skills. She was known as the best Editor Eye in history.

Susan actually didn’t realize Sheri was already there working next to her desk, as the three VP’s of Security were the quietest dogs in the Universe. This is why Susan had already finished her impeccably written thank you speech to all of the Book By Book Publicity and I Have Something To Say Press customers. Susan and Sheri knew that without them, nothing described above would be possible…

“Susan, do you have the editorial ready? I want to finish work early today so that I can get to cooking for tomorrow.

“Oh Sheri, can’t believe I didn’t hear the dogs barking…Yes girls, I know she is here THANK YOU! Yes, let me save the editorial in your Dropbox – I’ve been working all night and I think I felt asleep while writing it, please make sure it makes sense…you know I need a lot of editing!”

For more information on how we help Authors pursue their dreams please visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.

 

 

Book Sales Accounting – When Reality Sets In

Susan Violante Managing Editor

Susan Violante
Managing Editor

Many of us have been here already. Right before our first book launches we have about five thousand copies, a book tour set up, and our suitcase packed with optimism.  As the year moves along and book sales slow down before we break even on our investment, we realize two things:

1. We didn’t do as good as we thought

2. We spent the money we got from book sales celebrating.

If you are finding yourself in that spot when reality sets in don’t despair, you can recover from it! If you are working on your first book launch, you are still in time to avoid a sour moment of regret. Below are some tips on how to spend your book sales money wisely.

·         Save it all! Yes, I went there…you do not need to spend it! Put it in a separate account and hold on to it for at least 6 months. Watch your account grow as you sell your books one by one. Remember, this is not a hobby anymore. You are now in the business of writing and publishing, and as such you need to create your business capital.

·         Record selling expenses before touching sales dollars. Forget that you are cashing in for a while to give your capital a chance to grow, and in the meantime make note of the cost of selling your books. These are not production costs…those you should have recorded as you invested in writing and publishing the book already. I am talking about traveling, fees to book stores for shelf placement, consignment discounts, personal image, marketing, promotions, etc.  Make sure you know the total cost of producing and selling a book.

·         Budget before digging into your sales money. Nope, you still shouldn’t spend your sales money celebrating! Chances are that you sold between 500 to 2000 books during the first year. If you did, you most likely didn’t break even. Yet, you are fortunate as a huge number of first time authors do not even hit the 500 mark. If you were strong enough and did not touch your sales money, pat yourself on your back as you now have a startup dollar amount for your next book, which already has a platform - an experienced author and bookseller (you), and a realistic budget plus a bunch of contacts in the industry!

If you are looking to publish your book as a hobby, then these tips do not apply, but if your goal is to make a career out of writing and publishing your books, and/or being a public speaker on your topic of expertise, then remember that a business is built over time, and as such the income needs to be re-invested in order to grow. For more information on how we help authors visit www.bookbybookpublicity.com.