Archive for the ‘book publicity’ Category

Dusting off the popular list of book reviewers

Tue, 1 Apr 2014

The month of March was a slog, weather-wise, which motivated me to take care of boring chores like fixing the broken links on my list of Book reviewers on the Web. It and a few other posts on this old blog get lots of page views. I imagine readers nagging me to update periodically.

One visitor mentioned that my book reviewers list was confusing or disorganized, so to improve navigation I’ve added a table of contents linking directly to each section, or type, of reviewers. If you use the Book reviewers on the Web list often, please let me know how I might make it more user-friendly.

Book reviewers on the web
As penance for channeling so many pitches to the reviewers on my list, let me urge anyone who’s planning to ask for a book to be reviewed to study each review outlet’s guidelines before submitting. Ignorance is no excuse for spam.

For anyone who’s never written a pitch to a media outlet, Rick Frishman gives excellent, clear directions in Advanced Review Copies of A Book Being Published at the book marketing blog Beneath the Cover.

Lastly, for those who aren’t do-it-yourselfers, I offer a long and random list of publicists who can be hired to do the work.

Penny Sansevieri: “Why having a platform may be the only way to sell books”

Thu, 1 Aug 2013

Penny Sansevieri
Yesterday, I linked you to a blogpost written by a publisher who explained what he’d learned about selling the books he’s been publishing for 35 years.

Today, with book authors in mind, I’d like to recommend a Huffington Post article written by publicist Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, who says that “in order to gain any kind of attention for your book, you’re going to have to have a platform.” I agree. Take a look at Sansevieri’s description of the basic components of an author platform and trust her when she says, “Without it, yours may be the best book that no one has ever read.”

Christina KatzMy friend Christina Katz, author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, has been a trailblazer on the topic of author platforms. I’m glad I met her before I started my agency, so I could learn what to expect of my clients and how to prepare them for their books’ publication.

A few months after I established my business, a young editor at HarperCollins told me he would not look at the work of a writer who hadn’t already established an online presence. In the years since, other acquiring editors have followed suit. They’ve found the author platform requirement a quick and dirty, not to mention objective and reasonable, means of eliminating quite a few manuscripts from consideration.

These days, I can’t consider taking on a new client who hasn’t demonstrated a capability for self-promotion, online and IRL. I still use the terms online and IRL for clarity, but I no longer perceive a distinction. To me, they’re one and the same.

I once thought I’d be able to teach every new client the platform development techniques I’ve learned from Christina Katz, Penny Sansevieri, and other book marketing experts. Instead, I found that it’s impractical to try to instill the motivation to make time, the competitive drive, the emotional stamina, and the willingness to learn, all of which are required of a writer who needs to build a readership. When I’m considering whether to work with a writer, I need proof of those characteristics.

Martin Shepard: “Selling books depends on reaching potential readers”

Wed, 31 Jul 2013

Over at The Cockeyed Pessimist, Martin Shepard, co-publisher with his wife, Judith, at The Permanent Press, has summarized what they’ve “learned over the past 35 years when it comes to promoting and selling books.” Read his post to pick up on some best practices.

The archives of The Cockeyed Pessimist’s blog contain some fascinating and fervent accounts of the publisher’s frustration with big media. Good insights for anyone in the book business.

Book publicity and marketing know-how, courtesy of Brian Feinblum

Tue, 23 Jul 2013


Reprinted with permission

Brian Feinblum
Chief Marketing Officer,
Media Connect

I invite you to enjoy these recent book marketing blog posts that may be of use to you:


25 Ways for Authors to Break Through & Establish a Legacy

Can You Market & Promote Books Like TV’s Dexter?

Evolving as a Book Marketer & Publicist

Winning the Battle Over Internet Book Piracy

26 Ways to Save Barnes & Noble

Do You Market Your Books Doggy Style?

Does Your Book Blog Do These 16 Things?

Writers, Read This: You Are Marketers

Why Authors—and Publicists & Publishers—Need A Therapist

If you need assistance in promoting your book, please keep Media Connect in mind. Brian Feinblum invites you to consult and a Publishers Weekly article about his firm. He can be contacted at or 212-583-2718, and you can find more of his advice for book authors @ThePRExpert and his BookMarketingBuzzBlog.

All the best writers are eager to learn

Wed, 12 Jun 2013

I have this bias. I believe that the best writers are people who love to learn, who are open to experimentation, who fight to understand and improve. A writer who claims to know it all, who is certain and inflexible, also is pompous and boring on the page.

Although people naturally separate into camps that become echo chambers, the web still enables the alternatives: bridges and connections, exposure to otherness, new ways to learn.

A few good online learning locations for writers:

Charles E. May’s blog – Reading the Short Story

Goodreads’ group – Middle East/North African Lit

Joel Friedlander’s blog – The Book Designer

Lucy V. Hay’s writing craft tips – Bang2write


Care to share where you go online to learn more about the art, craft, and business of creative writing?

How to assemble an author press kit (and why)

Sat, 21 Jul 2012

Authors sabotage their books in two very common ways, both of which are symptoms of the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

Monkey wrench #1

Not knowing how much work goes into producing a good book (therefore, failing to do the work)

Monkey wrench #2

Trying to generate publicity for a book without a press kit/media kit, even if it’s only one page


It’s easy to be irritated by or make fun of the authors who simply don’t know what they don’t know. Our annoyance comes from assuming they could know if they tried. In reality, some writers aren’t capable of recognizing that what they’re doing differs somehow from the efforts of successful authors. We can’t rescue the blissfully ignorant from failure. The best we can do is politely ignore them.

The upside, if you’re an author, is that you can remove monkey wrench #2 in one weekend with a reasonable amount of effort. If you’re super busy, you can hire someone to do it for you.

You can become much more attractive as an interviewee or event participant when your press kit can be downloaded by anyone who takes an interest. If it’s not available online, then at the very least, your press kit should be assembled and ready to send by courier whenever it’s requested by a reporter, producer, blogger, or book reviewer.

Make it easy for people who need to know more about you and your book. Show them you’re professional, and you’ll avoid being politely ignored.

Exhibit the Dunning-Kruger Effect by reading no further

If you recognize that being discoverable, approachable, and professional will help you draw more attention to your book and yourself, then continue reading.

Press kit primer

Be sure to have your press kit compiled before you need it.

Your press kit must be downloadable, or forwarded immediately upon request, so the person inquiring can read your book, learn something about you, and prepare interview questions or schedule an event.

Step 1: Assemble a press sheet

If you really like your publisher’s information sheet (sell-sheet) for your book, then ask permission to include it in your press kit. If you prefer, you can create your own press sheet using these guidelines:

Social Media News Release Template, Version 1.5
Todd Defren, Shift Communications

Advance Information Sheets (AIs)
Welsh Book Trade Info

A one-page press sheet includes brief biographical information about you, the author. You might be lucky enough to enjoy the assistance of a publicist when writing your bio, or you can refer to these tips:

How to Create an Engaging and Effective Bio Page
Georgiana Cohen, Work Awesome

Don’t forget to include on your one-page press sheet:

  • Book cover image
  • Book title
  • Your name and city
  • Page count
  • Genre
  • Synopsis
  • URL for your book’s page on your publisher’s site
  • URLs for your book’s page on your favorite bookseller sites
  • ISBN
  • Name of publisher, publication date, and territory
  • Prizes/awards for this title (only if it was the grand-prize winner)
  • Stupendous blurbs and/or awesome review excerpts
  • Your bio and maybe your headshot
  • Your blog or website URL
  • When and how far you’ll travel for interviews, book club meetings, events
  • Contact information (your publicist’s or yours)

Step 2: Assemble a press kit

Follow the links below to find out what else you’ll need or want to add to your press kit. There’s more, but you’ll need to leave this page to discover it.

What on Earth Do I Put in My Media Kit?
L. Diane Wolfe, Spunk on a Stick

Book Marketing: Your Online Press Kit
Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer

Is Your Author Website Ready to Meet the Press?
Chris Robley, BookBaby Blog

I like the idea of including a sheet of sample questions and answers. Writing them is an effective way to prepare yourself for an interview, regardless of whether the questions are ever used.

Step 3: Use your press kit

The individual to whom your press kit is being sent will choose the format: digital or hard copy. Ask which format the person prefers. Be prepared to send either version. Don’t just provide the URL, but do make a version of your press kit/media kit available to download from your website or blog.

A version of your press kit should be on your website, because not everyone will go to the trouble of contacting you for information. It’s simpler and faster to pay attention to authors whose websites are comprehensive. Reporters and producers with deadlines have no time to waste, and there’s never a shortage of authors seeking media attention.

After you’ve finished putting together an attractive press kit and you’ve posted a version on your website, then sit back and smile, knowing you’ve removed one of the biggest obstacles that might have prevented other people from helping you to promote your book.


If you’d like to share your press sheet or press kit as an example, feel free to post a link to it in the comments section of this post. You might have noticed people talking about this one a while ago.

Authors, are you using Goodreads?

Sat, 14 Jul 2012

Goodreads isn’t the only social network devoted to library cataloging and discussions about books, but it’s the one I use and appreciate. I’d like to know why Goodreads and sites like it, including Shelfari, LibraryThing, Revish, and aNobii, aren’t very well utilized by authors and publishers. After all, the members of these communities are book buyers or borrowers. Not only that, they’re gathered in one place and identified by the books they’ve tagged as owned, already read, to read, in the process of being read, and favorites. On other types of social networks, not all of the users are book lovers.

GoodreadsAuthors seem to discover and congregate in author communities online, which is fine, but relatively few authors seem to know much about Goodreads. For the moment, it’s an uncrowded platform. As an author seeking readers, you’d be wise to jump on the Goodreads stage in 2012, before your competitors discover it in 2013. And if you’re not thinking of other authors as friendly rivals, then you’re not reading this post anyway—and, heck, you might not even own a computer.

To assess the potential of Goodreads, explore the site until you’re comfortable with its features and navigation.

You can install apps that link Goodreads with your social networks. You can join a few Goodreads groups to see how they function and whether they’re active. You can add books to your Goodreads bookshelves, and then the site will recommend other books you might like based on what you’ve shelved. But that’s not all.

After you’re familiar with the Goodreads site, and you’ve seen how others are taking advantage of it, you’ll be better able to imagine how the Goodreads Author Program can be used to promote your own books. Best of all, it’s free.

Goodreads: How to Use the Goodreads Author Program

Jane Friedman: 2 Ways to Make the Most of Goodreads

Patrick Brown: Goodreads Stats Show Which Media Outlets Really Sell Books

Goodreads: Goodreads Author Feedback Group

Jason Boog: How to Add Goodreads to Your Facebook Timeline

Sarah Pinneo: An Author’s Guide to Surviving Goodreads

Madeleine L'Engle quotePerhaps Sarah Pinneo’s survival guide answers my question. Authors don’t use Goodreads if they fear they’ll make targets of themselves, or worse than being targeted, they’ll go unnoticed. Meanwhile, the authors who take risks get all the attention.

Writing a book is risky. Why stop there?

%d bloggers like this: