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Learn to promote a book

Promote a Book: Why Should I Have To Learn How To Promote A Book?

“…To Thine Own Self Be True.” William Shakespeare (or was it Francis Bacon?)

Being an author is a business. While the artistic passion often tries to conquer the capitalistic vision, make no mistake that if you do not learn how to promote a book and your books are not sold… well, starving artist comes to mind. While that may sound romantic, in some sort of Machiavellian way, it definitely does not lend itself to fulfilling your dream of having people get your message and recognize your talent (not to mention becoming rich as you learn how to promote a book for books sales and the resultant money that comes).

So while as an author, the passion of the message can often make one assume that if he or she writes it, people will automatically want to read it; after all, it’s an amazing message that will (fill in the blank); the harsh reality is that to the masses, you don’t exist if you do not make efforts to learn how to promote a book. So if that’s the case, being honest with yourself, you need to ask, “Why should anyone buy my book?”

If the book is well written and has a unique message, it’s a great start. However, how does the public KNOW that your book offers this unique message that will add value to them for reading it if you do not strive to learn how to promote a book that you have written? More importantly, and this is a hard one to swallow sometimes, “What makes me qualified and special to be the one that SHOULD deliver this message?”

It’s easy to just say, “Because I wrote the book!” But is it really enough; why should I have to learn how to promote a book as well? I mean, let’s say that you fell in love—at first sight—with the most beautiful girl in the world. You are convinced that she should be your wife. However, she doesn’t know you exist. If she did, she doesn’t know YOU. “What makes you SO special that I should dedicate the rest of my life just to you?” she might think. You say, “Because I love you!” You get my message?

You have to woo her, have her see your special qualities, get her to trust you, show her the value you bring to her life, and then—maybe—she might fall in love back! This takes time, effort, planning, and it can’t be you telling her how special YOU are. After all, no one likes anyone who pats themselves on the back. No my friend! You need to show her that you are special, but have OTHERS say, “That’s a special guy (or girl in the reverse context)!” So you enlist all the friends you two have in common and you start your personal PR campaign for the heart and mind of the one you love. The same thing is true when you write a book; you need to learn how to promote a book as well to “clinch”

Guess what? The same applies to your efforts to learn how to promote a book in your endeavor of wooing the public into wanting to buy your book. How to woo the public is the structure you apply to your promotion or marketing plan to learn how to promote a book, or for that matters to learn how to promote any product or services.

So ask yourself, “What makes me special?” The answer to this question will reveal your expertise. “What value do I bring to the relationship?” The answer to this question will show you how you fit into the media in your attempts to learn how to promote a book. “What friends can I make that will help me show the world that I am the qualified special person for this message?” The answer to this question is simply “the media.”

Well, now we have a dilemma! Do you know anyone in the media that would be willing to interview you on TV or radio, or write about you in newspapers, magazines and online publications in your crack at trying to learn how to promote a book? If you don’t, how are they going to tell the world that YOU ARE that special person? That’s where a book publicist and public relations comes in; they are specialists and know exactly how to teach you how to promote a book.

A good book publicist will help package your message and deliver it to the media, getting you the TV appearances and talk radio interviews, and the editorial coverage to accomplish how to promote a book that will tell the public, “Hey, pay attention, you need to know this person.” When that happens, that’s your moment to shine and show the value you bring.

You see, after all, when it’s all said and done, YOU are the product. If the public buys YOU, they will most likely buy ANY book you wrote and/or will write. But more importantly is the credibility it will engender. That’s the true value of PR when you learn how to promote a book! Once you have the credibility, not only are your books getting promoted, but other opportunities may arise. Imagine becoming a regular commentator on a radio or TV show. Imagine being asked to contribute to editorial coverage or a blog. The possibilities are endless. But one thing is for certain, if no one knows you, nothing will happen.

So have a personal heart-to-heart with yourself. Ask yourself the tough questions. Figure out the correct answers and then find yourself a good book publicist to assist in your direction in learning how to promote a book and start wooing the hearts of the public. After all, like your efforts to have a good marriage, when you are trying to learn how to promote a book, you can have a fan for a lifetime!

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Radio is Still the Best Promotion Tool Available

Promote A Book: Radio is Still the Best Promotion Tool Available

Why the Internet is Not Killing Radio When You Want To Promote a Book, But Making It More Powerful

Communication is the most important component for success in any aspect of life. Think about it. If you do not communicate with your spouse, your marriage is doomed. If you do not communicate with your children, they grow up spoiled. If you don’t communicate in a combat situation, you lose the battle. If you don’t communicate with your consumer, you go out of business. If you do not communicate when you want to promote a book, you will fail.

I’ve been talking about radio a lot over the last few weeks, because it’s the best medium for you to deliver your message to promote a book or any product or service for that matter. For over a hundred years, radio has been the stalwart.

Many claimed when television was invented that radio would die. Yet radio still grew. Then along came the Internet and for sure, this time, this would be the death knell of radio. After all, you go online and listen to so many shows from around the world. While on the surface one may think that hurts radio, but quite frankly it helps. Realize that those shows are RADIO shows on which you can promote a book are being streamed online.

Radio has always been a resourceful industry and has adapted to every change that has come along and extended its reach. When TV started broadcasting shows, radio switched to music. When the quality of stereos got better, FM was created. When AM was going by the wayside, talk radio breathed new life into it which became a perfect avenue to promote a book.

When the Internet was born, it extended its reach to listeners that would’ve never had the chance to hear their broadcast unless they were in their market, by broadcasting online. With the introduction of social media, it further extended this reach; now one could post shows and interviews on their efforts to promote a book so that friends and followers could hear them all over the world. With the introduction of smartphones, the radio came full circle—back to the transistor radio days—with apps like iHeart Radio and TuneIn that allows one to listen to their favorite show anywhere one can take their phone. And, when advertising started to fall from grace, talk radio became the new advertising method through public relations (PR) to promote a book.

You see, radio is not the best venue only because it has extended its reach and provides content for your Web site and Facebook page, but also because advertising no longer wields the power of persuasion it once did. Sure, if you’re an established well-known brand, your advertising will be effective. However, if you’re trying to establish a brand in your efforts to promote a book, it won’t work. Why?

People do not trust advertising and advertisers. Al Ries, world renowned author on marketing, advertising and PR, with over a dozen bestsellers to his credit, notes in his book The Fall of Advertising and Rise of PR, in a survey conducted that people do not trust advertisers. On the scale, they were sandwiched between used car salesmen (who were dead last) and insurance salesmen. This is true whether they are trying to sell cars or to promote a book.

We see this in our very own lives. People DVR or TiVo their shows so as to skip the commercials. We use SPAM filters and pop-up blockers online. We channel surf on the radio. Simply because we don’t want to be bothered by someone telling us what they think we want to hear so that we’ll buy their product.

Image representing TiVo as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Where people DO pay attention and trust what they hear is on their favorite shows. Whether it’s Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Juan Williams, Alan Colmes or Laura Ingram to name a few, when they interview someone and introduce them as an expert in whatever field of expertise they may be from, what the audience hears is, “I can trust this person and they know what they are talking about.” In the process, they come to know you or your spokesperson, your company, in your efforts to promote a book or product, and you earn credibility, trust and respect in their ears. This implied third-party endorsement goes a very long way.

So whether it’s a book, a company, product or movement, if you want to reach the masses with your message and have them listen intently, talk radio is the way to go. If you are trying to promote a book it is probably the number one way to go.


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children's book

How To Write Children’s Books and Get Them Published – Part 2

In the first of my series, “How to write children’s books and get them published Part 1” I talked about getting in touch with the child inside of you. I started my series with the importance of finding the kid inside of you because I really believe that it is probably one of the most important aspects of writing children’s books.

After all how can anyone expect to learn how to write children’s books and get them published and then successfully promote a book once it is published, unless they can really communicate well with children at the child’s level, and have a real sense of what the child feels and to what thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams etc for which the child will respond.

If for some reason you have not had the opportunity to read “How to write children’s books and get them published Part 1” please click on the link and go back and read that article before you finish reading this one. I truly believe that it is the foundation to writing good children’s books.

One of the issues that I touched on toward the end of my first installment on how to write children’s books and get them published was the value of reading other people’s children’s books if you were having trouble getting in touch with the child inside of you. I now want to discuss this from a different perspective.

Before you ever try to write children’s books and get them published I personally believe that you should do some research first. Not just research from the perspective of what you may want to write, but also what may be the best genre of children’s books from a pure marketing perspective.

After all, what good does it do you to learn how to write children’s books if you cannot get them published? Unless you are writing children’s books purely for the purpose of reading them to you children or grandchildren, then you should be concerned with how to get them published.

Certainly you will never be financially successful no matter how well you learn how to write children’s books IF you don’t get them published. I can guarantee that you will not be successful in getting them published unless they have marketability.

And understand when I talk about marketability I am meaning not only will they appeal to the children, but will the concept fly with an adult that controls the decision process as to whether your new children’s book will or will not be published?

In my first installment of “How to write children’s books and get them published Part 1” I talked about my beloved childhood teddy bear, Bobo, for which I have many fond memories and some really solid concepts and ideas that could easily develop into an excellent series about my dear childhood friend.

Conversely, if I think that I am going to write children’s books about Bobo and he will become the next Winnie the Pooh, then I had better not hold my breath. Oh, do not misunderstand me, I just might become the next A.A. Milne, but it is not likely.

On the other hand, as I shared in part 1 of this series, my beloved Bobo really helped me deal with the death of my grandmother and I very well could develop a niche of children’s books that would help kids deal with the loss of a loved one.

The question that should come to your mind, and for that matter mine before I would embark on my great writing quest in my efforts to successfully learn how to write children’s books and get them published, would be to question; is the market already saturated with this type of children’s book? Is there room or need for any additional books for children suffering with the loss of a loved one for me to develop a series in this particular book genre? Can I successfully market my books to get them published once I have written them? These are only a few of the questions that I should be asking if I am going to successfully learn how to write children’s books and get them published.

In the past 20 plus years our group has successfully helped many authors profitably promote a book or a series of books in countless areas of expertise and knowledge. Every one of these successful authors either had an already marketable book that they had written and now wanted to promote, and that was already in a “hot” area of interest by the public, or they had written a book that because of their extensive expertise in a particular field, were someone that we knew that we could be successful in helping to promote a book like they had written.

I will admit that some of these authors, because they were leaders in their field, had books, that once they were given the proper book PR (book public relations) were wildly in demand by the public. The reasons for these successes are varied and many, but most of them centered around the fact that the people themselves, once they had the proper PR (public relations) program developed to promote them as the author, made it very easy to promote a book that they had written. The value was in the individual and their particular expertise. They were the real drawing card and the book was simply the resultant product that was to be sold.

If you have never written a children’s book and you are just trying to figure out how to write children’s books and get them published, then unless you are a well know expert in some area of children development or children’s needs, problems etc, chances are you will need to be much more careful in your selection of the particular children’s book genre that you select before you start writing.

Ultimately, our success in helping ANY author is first in the promotion of the author through proper PR (public relations) efforts with the understanding that after we successfully promote the author and give them extensive public relations exposure, then our efforts to promote a book for that author become much easier.

Thus, once you have properly researched your children’s book genre, you should spend a considerable amount of time becoming an expert in the particular area that your children’s book genre covers. In my case, if my series of children’s books had to do with helping children deal with the grief of the loss of a loved one, then I had better do a considerable amount of research about that very subject.

These are just a few of a whole host of question and concepts that I think that you should ask yourself before you actually write your first children’s book. Because of the critical importance of understanding these concepts if you are going to be a successful children’s books author (by successful in this case I mean make money), I plan to answer some of these basic questions along with a list of other steps that you need to take in “How to write children’s books and get them published Part 3” of my series.


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children's book

How To Write Children’s Books And Get Them Published – Part 1

Get in touch with the child in you!

People are constantly asking me how to write children’s books and get them published. Well the first thing that I tell them is start at the beginning and to go directly to ground zero.

You may be asking, “Where is ground zero in how to write children’s books and get them published”? That is really easy; look first for the child in you.

Let’s face it; we have all been children at one time, even though for some of us it is hard to remember! In fact, if you are like a 62 year old man like me, you may feel like you never were actually a child!

On the other hand, even an old man like me from time to time still dreams about when I was a child and things that I did and that happened to me when I was very young.

So one of the most effective things that you can do when you are trying to figure out how to write children’s books and get them published is to recall special events, people, times, places and things from your childhood.

After all, how better to begin to learn how to write children’s books and get them published then to start thinking like a child again. Because let’s face it, unless you think like a child, it will be hard to write meaningful children’s books!

So how do you go about getting in touch with the child in you?

Sometime your best inspirations do come through dreams. Let me illustrate with a real story that happened to me just recently.

Just the other day, I dreamed of a special teddy bear that had been extremely precious to me when I was only four or five. His name was Bobo. The dream was extremely vivid and brought back many memories that I had long since been forgotten. In fact, after I had awakened, I was sharing the dream with my 15-year-old daughter, and I remembered an anecdote about Bobo the teddy bear.

I remembered that when I was four how incredibly I loved the teddy bear, and how that it had comforted me during the death of my grandmother. I had held it close to me and took the teddy bear everywhere that I went during the ordeal. I vowed that the teddy bear and I would NEVER part and that we would always be together as friends.

In the middle of sharing my dream with my daughter, as the promises I had made to the bear came flooding back to me, I remember my most solemn promise that I had made to my dear friend Bobo. I had promised Bobo that one day when I was very old I would, regardless where he was and what I was doing, remember him and think of him and remember my promise to never ever forget my love for him.

Teddy bear, born in Germany about 1954

Image via Wikipedia

As the thoughts of my childhood lost raced through my mind, and the fact that Bobo had long since gone to the heaven in the sky for teddy bears long forgotten hit me it was impossible for the tears not to flow as a deep sadness wafted over me of the loss of childhood, special friends, precious things and lost innocence.

OK. Now wait a minute. You may be wondering how it the world this sad story will help you on your quest to learn how to write children’s books and get them published. I agree that this sad story is not one that you should send to a potential publisher; or is it?

Obviously, the basics of the actual story itself would be far to sad and over the heads of small children. Those of us who write children’s books certainly don’t want to disturb our young readers and if we write books that cause the loss of a child s innocence, we certainly will not get them published.

On the other hand, many children lose grandparents, uncles and aunts as well as beloved pets, and children’s books about how to deal with the grief of a loved one or the death of a pet are very excellent subjects if you are trying to learn how to write children’s books and get them published. Publisher love books like this.

Right about now you may be thinking, “I never dream about my childhood, so I cannot count on my dreams to help me to learn how to write children’s books and get them published…how can I trigger the thought process to get in touch with my inner child?”

There are countless ways to get in touch with your inner child.

One of the best ways is to sit and talk with your parents, brothers and sisters, aunt and uncles, cousins and other friends and relatives that have been in you life, and simply reminisce about your childhood. Recall good times that you had together, and events that are particularly vivid in their minds.

Have them recount stories that they remember about your childhood that will give you the fodder to sit and re-write some of the stories of your past. Be sure and take good notes. Do not rely on your memory, because I find that when someone is reminiscing, they have a tendency to get distracted and forget much of the real meat of the conversation.

So make copious notes and ask your friends and loved ones to elucidate on details about the stories that they are recounting of your childhood. If they are telling you about a bike that you had or that was very special to you, if you cannot remember the color or what it looked like, have them tell you what they remember about the bike. Ask them why they remember this particular story about your past and ask them to go into detail about their recollections of the story.

Remember, children’s senses are very heightened when they are being read a story and the more descriptive that your recollections are about your own past, the more powerful your story will be as you share it with a potential publisher. Remember, your first quest is to learn how to write children’s books and get them published and if the children’s books that you write do not resonate with your potential publisher, you will not get published. (Note: in future articles, I will be sharing several different ways to get published if you cannot find a traditional publishing firm to publish your children’s books)

If your parents, aunts and uncles have all past away and you can no longer sit with an older member of your family and reminisce about your childhood, family albums and pictures are an excellent way for you to remember your childhood.

Be sure and group the pictures into age brackets if at all possible and hope that your family and friends put dates on the back of the pictures to help in this process.

The reason for the grouping of the pictures into date categories is that one or two pictures that would have absolutely no meaning unto themselves, when given a time context, can conjure up memories that will greatly aid in your efforts to learn how to write children’s books and get them published.

A picture of a place or even a car your dad may have owned, in and of themselves may not trigger any childhood memories, but if you have them in a time sensitive order, the picture of a park or hotel coupled with the rememberance of the car could elicit a wealth of wonderful times in your life that would be excellent food for thought as your are writing your children’s books about things from your own childhood.

Don’t have any picture albums or other personal sources of materials to help you remember your childhood stories? Then simply read other author’s books about their childhood experiences and see if this helps jog your memories of days gone by. Their childhood experiences, albeit different from yours, may trigger thoughts of days long ago when you went fishing like the author did, or you enjoyed a particular type or flavor of popsicle, that brings forth a treasure chest of ideas for your own children’s books.

In Part 2 of this series on how to write children’s books and get them published, I will be discussing simple tips to make it easier when writing children’s books.


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PR Does Not Stand for Press Release

Promote A Book – PR Does Not Stand for “Press Release”

I wonder if people think that press releases are the way to effective PR to promote a book because it shares the same acronym: PR. If you ask the average businessperson how they intend to get their message out, one of the very first things that they utter is, “We’re going to send out a press release.”

Well, when you’re talking to your business friends about your efforts to promote a book, it has a nice ring to it… PRESS RELEASE, it sounds official and it gives the connotation that the “press” will read what you are writing to promote a book. News Flash (no pun intended)! Unless you are a reputable source that has established relationships in the media, your press release to promote a book is not going to get read.

Why? A very good question that I thought you’d never ask.

Have you ever written a press release? I am not talking just about a press release to promote a book. Have you ever written a press release at all? If you have, how have you written it? Was it from the company’s or your best interest point of view? Was it making sure you hit all the sales hot buttons? If you’ve ever read the average press release to promote a book, did it not read as if those were the points being made?

Since the news media exists to provide news, not make sales for anyone, they are not reading press releases to promote a book, or for that matter to promote anything else. Understand that the goal of the news media is to provide information that will be useful to their viewers, readers and listeners. If they do their job well, their public grows and they become more influential. The more influential they become, the more they can charge for advertising revenue. After all, how do you think the media makes money?

Couple this with the advent of the Internet and news aggregators, and what has happened is that traditional media has had to downsize their operations and make them leaner and meaner. For example, The New York Times laid off over 1,500 personnel in 2010. They receive approximately 500 press releases daily. Who do you think is reading them? No one. So how do you reach the media then to promote a book? You become a solution that fills their need.

Image representing New York Times as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Imagine that you are a journalist with a deadline and you need a source that can add substance to your news story. You don’t have the time to hit the streets and hope you can find someone who can speak to the dynamics of your story. Instead, you pick up the phone and you call your trusted sources for news guests that can contribute to your story: PR agencies.

Even better, you check your daily messages and faxes, because your trusted source is sure to have already sent you a media pitch for that news story (hopefully your story on your efforts to promote a book!). You see, a good PR agency understands that the way you get publicity and PR coverage for a client is to stay on top of the news. This is true when you promote a book or you promote some other product or service. The minute a news story hits, the PR agency already knows which client has the expertise and experience to able to be a guest on TV and radio shows, or be interviewed for a print article. Moreover, a good PR agency that is qualified to promote a book typically already has a readymade pitch for the client, based on his or her expertise, so that it can be edited at a moment’s notice to ensure no opportunities are missed. Plus, a good PR firm to select to promote a book will already have the relationships established with an open door, so that when the opportunity arises, the pitch goes directly to the producer or host who is a decision maker.

No press releases to promote a book are going to get perused when a deadline looms, and if the journalist or host makes a mistake, it’s on full display for the entire public to see. So, instead of sending a press release for any little thing you think can qualify for writing one, figure out the expertise of your message and get a PR firm that can present you and your efforts to promote a book as a solution to the media’s need for news.


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