How To Be Successful with Book Marketing Secrets from JoAnna Penn

Welcome to Publishing and Publicity for Smart People.  You don’t want to miss our guest this week on the podcast, but here is a brief preview of what’s to come. Listen to show on our website. If you missed the last two prior broadcast please get caught up.  We had Chris Lucas to tell us how to contact celebrities for endorsement and the week before that Michaelbrent Colling who taught us what to do to turn books into scripts.  The whole year has been fantastic so feel free to review past episodes.


Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.

Penn: I’m the author of Pentecost and Prophecy, action-adventure thrillers described as Dan Brown meets Lara Croft. I’ve also written 3 other non-fiction books. My blog,TheCreativePenn.com was voted one of the Top 10 blogs for authors and helps people write, publish and sell their books. I’m British and live in London although I spent the last 11 years in New Zealand and Australia. I love travelling, scuba diving, cats and pinot noir.


Leon: How did you begin your writing journey? (Or business if it applies)

Penn: I always wanted to write a book but thought it had to be like Umberto Eco’s A Name of the Rose – award winning literary fiction. It blocked me for years. After 13 years as an international IT consultant I was miserable in my job and desperate to be creative again. I wrote a book about career change and then followed the steps I recommended myself. That started to unblock me again. Then I started my blog and with the encouragement of the great writing community I wrote Pentecost, with the aim of writing commercial genre fiction for the miserable commuters who just want to escape for a few hours! My business The Creative Penn has stemmed from 4 years of experience as an author frustrated by the publishing and marketing world. I knew nothing and sold practically no books when I started, and as I have studied and learned, I have shared everything on the blog. Now I teach others in order to save them time, money and pain along the way.


Leon: What audience (or clients) do you want to reach?

 Penn:

a) Writers who want to become authors

Authors who want to learn about marketing online

Thriller readers🙂 for Pentecost and Prophecy

 

Leon: What are the most effective ways you have promoted your book or business?

Penn: Blogging has been the most effective as it has built a following over time who know, like and trust me – my tribe. It is my home on the internet and the list I have grown from that has formed the basis of the fans for my fiction as well. It enabled me to launch my fiction book and also run my business.

 

I also use multimedia as part of my blog and that is critical for standing out – audio and video interviews and more sharing style videos enable people to hear your voice, see your face and connect more deeply. You also get more incoming links and relationships built over time with interviews.

 

Social media – see twitter below.

 

Book reviews from fans have helped me with Amazon sales rankings and overall sales numbers impacted by the algorithms, so reviews are absolutely critical.


Leon: What ways have you used social media?

Penn: Although I am on many platforms, Twitter is my favorite and I have used it in the following ways:

To become a ‘newsfeed’ style account tweeting articles on writing, publishing and book marketing which translates into followers interested in these subjects

To connect with other bloggers and peers which opens up opportunities for guest posting, speaking, webinars etc

To connect with fans/ other writers/ readers by participating in #amwriting and other #tags as well as responding to comments etc

 

Twitter provides a lot of traffic to my site and has given me fantastic opportunities. I would say that twitter along with blogging have changed my life!

 

Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?

Penn: I think they are critical today – how else can you stand out from the crowd of millions of books and actually sell anything. These tools all help attract people to you for a reason e.g. you provide good content, then they get to know you and may buy your book. It’s still hand-selling but in a digital world. You need this to kickstart your Amazon sales rankings and reviews, and then once you are rolling, the algorithms can help sell your book to people who have never heard of you.

 

Some people prefer traditional mass market media but it is easier and more effective over the long term to use online channels, plus you can DIY so it costs time, not money, which is important for many authors.


Leon: What are 5 things you feel every author should know about book marketing?

 Penn:

It’s up to you – whether you want a traditional deal or are self-publishing

People have to know, like and trust you in order to buy your book – so be authentic and share aspects of you that will attract genuine people e.g. if you love cats, share that as part of your updates. Use your face in your avatar, try video or audio so people can get to know you. Hand-selling is still important but you can do it globally now

Get a wordpress self-hosted blog and use that as the basis of your author website. Yes, you need one and this one step will help you for the future. As you expand and change, it will be much easier from this platform. Everything else points back to the blog so stop the ‘shiny object syndrome’ and get the basics right first

Start early. Don’t expect to sell books if you don’t have a platform before launch. You can pay for advertising but putting in the time will be much more effective prior to launch and over time you will build your tribe

Amazon will sell books for you if you have a great book, at the right price, in the right category, with a good number of reviews on it. You need to start the ball rolling and it will help.


Leon: What are 3 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?

Penn:

Everything I share is based on experience (or guest posts / interviews from other people’s experience). I’m an author doing my own marketing and I’m all about honesty – I share book sales figures and what works and what doesn’t work

 There’s over 70 hours of free audio interviews from my podcast available on writing, publishing and book marketing or you can subscribe on iTunes. There’s also over 100 videos and 400 articles all available for free on the site on pretty much everything related to writing, publishing and online marketing as a digital author

I have affordable multimedia mini courses on writing, publishing and lots on marketing with audio, behind the scenes video and ebooks, e.g. Blogging for authors and writers, Social media for authors and writers. These courses are aimed at helping you cut through the noise and save you time, money and frustration on your journey

 

Leon: Please give our authors a closing word of encouragement.

Penn: Now is the best time to be an author if you embrace the new world of digital publishing and marketing!


Linda Leon
Media Specialist and Author Promotion
c2012

How To Be Success with Book Marketing Secrets from JoAnna Penn

Welcome to Publishing and Publicity for Smart People.  You don’t want to miss our guest this week on the podcast, but here is a brief preview of what’s to come. Listen to show on our website. If you missed the last two prior broadcast please get caught up.  We had Chris Lucas to tell us how to contact celebrities for endorsement and the week before that Michaelbrent Colling who taught us what to do to turn books into scripts.  The whole year has been fantastic so feel free to review past episodes.


Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.

Penn: I’m the author of Pentecost and Prophecy, action-adventure thrillers described as Dan Brown meets Lara Croft. I’ve also written 3 other non-fiction books. My blog, TheCreativePenn.com was voted one of the Top 10 blogs for authors and helps people write, publish and sell their books. I’m British and live in London although I spent the last 11 years in New Zealand and Australia. I love travelling, scuba diving, cats and pinot noir.

Leon: How did you begin your writing journey? (Or business if it applies)

Penn: I always wanted to write a book but thought it had to be like Umberto Eco’s A Name of the Rose – award winning literary fiction. It blocked me for years. After 13 years as an international IT consultant I was miserable in my job and desperate to be creative again. I wrote a book about career change and then followed the steps I recommended myself. That started to unblock me again. Then I started my blog and with the encouragement of the great writing community I wrote Pentecost, with the aim of writing commercial genre fiction for the miserable commuters who just want to escape for a few hours! My business The Creative Penn has stemmed from 4 years of experience as an author frustrated by the publishing and marketing world. I knew nothing and sold practically no books when I started, and as I have studied and learned, I have shared everything on the blog. Now I teach others in order to save them time, money and pain along the way.

Leon: What audience (or clients) do you want to reach?

 Penn:

a) Writers who want to become authors

Authors who want to learn about marketing online

Thriller readers🙂 for Pentecost and Prophecy

Leon: What are the most effective ways you have promoted your book or business?

Penn: Blogging has been the most effective as it has built a following over time who know, like and trust me – my tribe. It is my home on the internet and the list I have grown from that has formed the basis of the fans for my fiction as well. It enabled me to launch my fiction book and also run my business.

I also use multimedia as part of my blog and that is critical for standing out – audio and video interviews and more sharing style videos enable people to hear your voice, see your face and connect more deeply. You also get more incoming links and relationships built over time with interviews.

Social media – see twitter below.

Book reviews from fans have helped me with Amazon sales rankings and overall sales numbers impacted by the algorithms, so reviews are absolutely critical.

Leon: What ways have you used social media?

Penn: Although I am on many platforms, Twitter is my favorite and I have used it in the following ways:

To become a ‘newsfeed’ style account tweeting articles on writing, publishing and book marketing which translates into followers interested in these subjects

To connect with other bloggers and peers which opens up opportunities for guest posting, speaking, webinars etc

To connect with fans/ other writers/ readers by participating in #amwriting and other #tags as well as responding to comments etc

Twitter provides a lot of traffic to my site and has given me fantastic opportunities. I would say that twitter along with blogging have changed my life!

Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?

Penn: I think they are critical today – how else can you stand out from the crowd of millions of books and actually sell anything. These tools all help attract people to you for a reason e.g. you provide good content, then they get to know you and may buy your book. It’s still hand-selling but in a digital world. You need this to kickstart your Amazon sales rankings and reviews, and then once you are rolling, the algorithms can help sell your book to people who have never heard of you.

Some people prefer traditional mass market media but it is easier and more effective over the long term to use online channels, plus you can DIY so it costs time, not money, which is important for many authors.

Leon: What are 5 things you feel every author should know about book marketing?

 Penn:

It’s up to you – whether you want a traditional deal or are self-publishing

People have to know, like and trust you in order to buy your book – so be authentic and share aspects of you that will attract genuine people e.g. if you love cats, share that as part of your updates. Use your face in your avatar, try video or audio so people can get to know you. Hand-selling is still important but you can do it globally now

Get a wordpress self-hosted blog and use that as the basis of your author website. Yes, you need one and this one step will help you for the future. As you expand and change, it will be much easier from this platform. Everything else points back to the blog so stop the ‘shiny object syndrome’ and get the basics right first

Start early. Don’t expect to sell books if you don’t have a platform before launch. You can pay for advertising but putting in the time will be much more effective prior to launch and over time you will build your tribe

Amazon will sell books for you if you have a great book, at the right price, in the right category, with a good number of reviews on it. You need to start the ball rolling and it will help.

Leon: What are 3 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?

Penn:

Everything I share is based on experience (or guest posts / interviews from other people’s experience). I’m an author doing my own marketing and I’m all about honesty – I share book sales figures and what works and what doesn’t work

 There’s over 70 hours of free audio interviews from my podcast available on writing, publishing and book marketing or you can subscribe on iTunes. There’s also over 100 videos and 400 articles all available for free on the site on pretty much everything related to writing, publishing and online marketing as a digital author

I have affordable multimedia mini courses on writing, publishing and lots on marketing with audio, behind the scenes video and ebooks, e.g. Blogging for authors and writers, Social media for authors and writers. These courses are aimed at helping you cut through the noise and save you time, money and frustration on your journey

 

Leon: Please give our authors a closing word of encouragement.

Penn: Now is the best time to be an author if you embrace the new world of digital publishing and marketing!

Linda Leon
Media Specialist and Author Promotion
c2012

Secrets of Marketing through Celebrity Letter Writing and Getting Endorsed

Our guest this week for Publishing and Publicity for Smart People is Chris Lucas.  He will be sharing insider tips on reaching celebrities for the purpose of marketing your book.  He will be our guest on Book That Author this week and feel free to listen on my website.


Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.

Lucas: I’m a lifelong north New Jersey resident, so I’m in the shadow of New York City, which has exposed me to a certain energy and excitement that I’ve fed off of for years. I’ve been a professional working actor for the last two decades. Much of the acting work I’ve booked has come from self-marketing and by writing letters directly to the decision makers in Hollywood and on Broadway. My hobby is writing letters, and I try each day to write at least one good old fashioned pen and paper letter. I’ve been married for 15 years and I’m the proud Dad of two young boys, who have also picked up the letter writing habit.

 

Leon: How did you begin your writing journey? (Or business if it applies) 

Lucas: My Grandfather worked as a stringer for the New York Times and my Dad is an Emmy winning sportswriter/broadcaster, so writing is in my blood. A few years ago, I started a career consultation service for actors, called The Actor’s Detective, based on my success with writing letters. Many of the actors who attended my seminars asked me what they should say to the producers and directors when they wrote to them, so I put together a small book, “The Actor’s Detective Guide to Writing Letters to Celebrities” as a guide for them. Recently, a grade school teacher read my book and suggested that I update it so that the lessons I teach in it could be applied to anyone who hopes to make a connection with someone notable.

Leon: What audience (or clients) do you want to reach?

Lucas: As mentioned, my book was originally written for actors, but the revised version is great for people who have always wanted to write a letter to someone that they admire, but weren’t quite sure what to say. Specifically, I’ve had great feedback from parents, teachers and grandparents who use the book to get kids excited about writing letters (of course they are more enthusiastic about corresponding with Tim Tebow, Katy Perry, Will Smith or Justin Bieber than they are with Aunt Tilly, but it’s a start.) I’ve also had charities tell me that the lessons and examples in the book helped them to collect endorsements and autographed items to raise money for their cause.

Leon: What are the most effective ways you have promoted your book or business?

Lucas: Word of mouth has been most effective. I applied the same principles that I use when marketing myself as an actor, which is to spend no less than two to three hours a day researching contacts and letting them know about me and my book. I’ve sent hundreds of letters and emails to people that I think might be interested in reading (and promoting) my book.

Leon: What ways have you used social media?

Lucas: Obviously I’ve created a Facebook page and Twitter page for my book and company, but it’s not enough to just do that, as many think. I had to work hard to let people know about them and build a fan base.

Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?

Lucas: I think that they are incredibly important. I grew up in the 1980’s, just before the generation that was raised with the internet, so I was a late convert to social media. I had trouble seeing their importance and viewed Twitter, for instance, as a novelty. My wife challenged me one night to write a few blog posts and then post links to them on Facebook and Twitter. I did it grudgingly and figured I’d only see a blip of interest. When my sales jumped 750% the next day, I kissed my wife and made a resolution to pay more attention to social media from then on. 

Leon: What are 5 things you feel every author should know about book marketing?

Lucas:

1)    There are lots of great books out there, many on the same subject you are writing about. If you can’t figure out how to make yours stand out from the rest, you are in deep trouble.

2)    Perhaps as important as knowing the subject of your book is also knowing your potential audience. If you don’t realize who the potential buyers are, how can you possibly expect to sell to them?

3)    Don’t approach people with an attitude of “How can you help me?” Of course we want them to promote our book for us, but if you approach it instead with “How can I help you?” and answer a need for them, you are well on our way to success.

4)    The job of any successful author is not just writing the book, but also selling the book. We tend to think that we are above the commercial fray, but if you want to make a living as a writer, you have to get in the trenches and peddle your wares.

5)    Unless it offends your personal beliefs or values, never turn down an interview or chance to promote your book. I’ve heard authors (and actors) say “Oh, that audience is too small for me” or “Nobody reads that blog!” but you never know who might see or hear you and get excited about your book. It only takes one influential person to get the ball rolling, and you never know when they will be listening or reading. 

Leon: What are 5 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?

Lucas:

1)    Marketing is the key to selling yourself both as a performer and as an author. If you don’t keep up with it, you’ll see the bookings and sales drop. This is the main message behind my consultation business, The Actor’s Detective.

2)    Writing to a celebrity is no different than writing to anyone else, you have to make a personal connection for it to be a success. In my book, “The Actor’s Detective Guide to Writing Letters to Celebrities” I talk about the six essential steps to write a letter in a way that almost compels the recipient to get back to you.

3)    Writing letters has become a dying art. I’m hoping to revive that with both my company and my book.

4)    Social media and emails serve a purpose, but with so many people using them, and so much electronic information overload, a good old fashioned letter will stand out and set you apart. I point out many of these success stories in my book.

5)    In an uncertain economy, authors and performers have an advantage, because we can create income opportunities with our talents almost out of thin air. If you are not doing all you can to explore these opportunities and utilizing your skills, then you are wasting valuable time. The Actor’s Detective offers consultations to help you discover and develop those revenue streams.

Leon: How would you like to be contacted for people to purchase your book or service?

Lucas: My book is available all of  the usual retail sites, but if you purchase it directly from my website, I will include over $100 of bonus gifts, including a free Actor’s Detective consultation, a newsletter full of celebrity addresses and the opportunity to pick any five celebrities and I will send you their direct addresses. Again, these bonuses can only be claimed by buying the book from my website for just $10.

Leon: Please give our authors a closing word of encouragement.

Lucas: If you try to think of your goals (big sales, awards, notoriety success, etc.) in the big picture, or as the end result, it can be overwhelming. Break your big goals down into smaller bite size daily actions (i.e: writing 10 letters a day, researching 10 new book bloggers a day, making 5 calls, etc.) by the end of the week, month, and year you’ll be able to look back and see that you’ve accomplished a tremendous amount. If I told you to write 3,000 promotional letters this year you’d say I was crazy and that you were too busy. If I said write just 10 letters a day, you’d probably say “I can manage that!”  Little steps turn into big steps and soon you’re on top of the mountain.  

 

Linda Leon
Media Specialist and Author Promotions
c2012

Marketing Inspiration from Michaelbrent Collings

Welcome to another edition of Publishing and Publicity for Smart People, the column. Don’t miss the podcast this week.  Michaelbrent Collings will be sharing tips on getting books converted into scripts and selling them. Matter of fact don’t miss any of our episodes, they are filled with fantastic marketing info. Visit our website to listen to any program.


Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.

Collings: I’m a guy who wears a lot of hats.  Author, musician, martial artist, lawyer.  But of all of them, my most important jobs are those of a husband and father.

 

Leon: How did you begin your writing journey? (Or business if it applies)

Collings: I began at age four, when I wrote my first story… in red Crayola; It was a story about a parrot.  Other than that, it didn’t have much going for it <grin>.  My father, a professor of creative writing at a major university, took a look at the story and helped me improve it, to my delight.  I was hooked, and have been writing since then.

 

Leon: What audience (or clients) do you want to reach?

Collings: The perfect audience, for me, is one that is willing to shell out a few bucks for my books.  Ha!  Seriously, I’m in this to tell a good story.  So I appreciate people who are looking for that.  People who want to escape from “normal” life for a while, be it an escape into a world of time-traveling serial killers (as in my book RUN), or an escape into a world of wizards and witches who are warring over the fate of humanity (as in my book Billy: Messenger of Powers).

Also, the perfect audience is one that is willing to shell out a few bucks for my books.

 

Leon: What are the most effective ways you have promoted your book or business?

Collings: The most effective ways to promote a book (or any other product for that matter), are the following:

            1)  Be willing to talk about it.  Any chance you get.  A lot of people have great stuff they’ve written.  But they’re too shy to ask anyone to read it.  Guess how successful at selling their work they’re going to be?  If you have something good, you should believe in it enough to think that asking someone else to read it isn’t a burden, it’s a gift.

            2)  Have a good product.  Like it or not, most books (and hamburgers, and cars, and everything else) sells from word of mouth.  Which means that in order to bring in readers, your work has to be good enough that not only do they want to plunk down five or ten or twenty bucks to get it, they want to convince all their friends to do the same!

 

Leon: What ways have you used social media?

Collings:  Well, I’m on Twitter, and have a Facebook fan page and my own website.  Those are my main social media focuses, and they seem to be working out fairly well for me!

 

Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?

Collings: The reality is that more and more people today make their purchases through the internet.  That includes books.  So a wily author is going to know how to drive eyeballs to his/her website using SEO and web optimization tools, as well as how to keep them returning through blogging, podcasting, and basically just keeping their presence felt on the ‘net.  Final word: being a bit of a tech geek is going to do nothing but help your career.

 

Leon: What are 5 things you feel every author should know about book marketing?

       

Collings: 1)  It’s hard.

            2)  It requires WORK.

            3)  It requires PATIENCE.

            4)  It requires CONSISTENCY.

            5)  It CAN be fun.

 

Leon: What are 5 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?

Collings:  How about just one thing: books are critical.  They are the medium through which we express our hopes and dreams, our fears and our plans for conquering them.  A person poor in books is one poor in spirit.  And that’s just sad.

 

Leon: Please give our authors a closing word of encouragement.

Collings: You can do it!  Writers write.  That is the single defining characteristic of our profession.  Life is nothing but a series of interconnected stories.  Which means that if you’re alive, you’re qualified to TELL your stories.  You have to practice, practice practice, but I sincerely believe that everyone has it in them to be a writer… and succeed.

 


Linda Leon
Media Specialist and Author Promotions

c2012

The Truth About Social Networking – It’s More than a Conversation

Welcome to another edition of Publishing and Publicity for Smart People, The Column.  We hope that you have enjoyed reading our latest interviews and podcasts.  It is a joy to bring you information that will help you to connect with people that can tremendously benefit your book business.  Our exciting guests have included book distributors, high profile publicists, marketing experts, website and search engine optimization experts, movie scouts, book shepherds and more.  I would encourage not to miss an episode.  This week we are interview author and social media expert Jeff Mollander.  Let’s see what Jeff has to say.

Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.

I love to be doing things outdoors: biking, camping, hiking and especially fishing. My 5 year-old son, Nolan, is my pride and joy as is my wife, Diana.

Leon: How did you begin your writing journey? (Or business if it applies)

I officially began the journey upon being dragged by a colleague to a Mark Victor Hansen event in 2006. They were called MEGA Universities (Book and Speaking). It was a life-changing experience to meet people like Mark, Alex Mandosian, Jack Canfield and others up front and personal.

Leon: What audience (or clients) do you want to reach?

Business readers. Specifically, small business owners. This includes authors bye the way!

You can visit the website publishing basics to learn more.

Leon: What are the most effective ways you have promoted your book or business?

By practicing what I preach and using education, for instance, as a means to attract and “hook” my target readers and buyers of public speaking/keynote presentations. I’m using the techniques revealed to me by the successful people I met/profiled while/in writing the book.

Leon: What ways have you used social media?

I’ve used it to attract the attention of readers/buyers—then secure their contact information as a “qualified lead” interested in my product/service and finally court (“nurture”) them to transaction… forming a customer relationship. 

Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?

There is too much focus on this question. They’re important.  All of them.  Do them.  Next!  Let’s talk less about why they’re important and how to actually get something done with them that feeds families🙂

Leon: What are 5 things you feel every author should know about book marketing?

It takes time, effort and money.  Real money. If you don’t invest in yourself you’ll fail. Period.

Publicity only gets you attention. Without the proper hook you’ll lose the fish every time. Design your marketing programs to nurture your readers. Asking for the sale is part of that process—never neglect it.

Make yourself addictive, like an illegal narcotics trafficker does with drugs. Hook your prospective buyers by “ethically bribing” them with part of what they seek via your book. Promise them the rest within its pages, in your speech, etc.

Spend time reminding your target of the emotional end benefit of your book whenever you’re pitching it.

Leon: What are 5 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?

I’m not sure that I understand the question. In essence, I’ve written the first book to show any business owner or executive how to make social media produce leads and sales, starting right now.  I’m different from most social media speakers or trainers based on my view and what I’m offering: A way to convert friends, followers and readers to leads, sales and subscribers.

My view: I sent the last year researching and documenting how the “social media revolution” is over-hyped nonsense. The real business opportunity is to evolve, not re-invent. That’s just hype. And that’s why I’m helping businesses become more relevant and meaningful to customers in ways that create sales– using social media.

Linda Leon

c2012
Media Specialist and Author Promotions

Publicist Provide 5 Effective Keys for Promotions

Welcome to another edition of Publishing and Publicity for Smart People, The Column.  We always provide a host of informative interviews designed to improve your book marketing ability. This year we have had an all-star line of guests from publicity to movie scouting and distribution to expert web strategist.  If you have missed any of the interviews or podcasts please visit our book marketing professional website. Today’s guest is Lynn Wiese Sneyd owner of LWS Literary Services. 

Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.

Wiese-Sneyd: I’m the owner of LWS Literary Services. Previously I worked for a public relations firm as their book publicist. I also worked for Barnes & Noble as the community relation’s manager, and before that as a freelance writer. My book, Holistic Parenting, was published in 2000 by Keats (an imprint of McGraw-Hill). I was the co-author of two other books, Healthy Solutions, winner of the AZ Book Award, and also How Happy Families Happen.

I’ve lived in the Sonoran Desert of Tucson, AZ for the past 16 years, coming to it via the Midwest. This fall, my husband and I transitioned into an empty nest, with both our daughters now in college.

Leon: How did you begin your writing journey? (Or business if it applies)

Wiese-Sneyd: I was an English major in college and always wanted to write, but stepped into the world of financial sales for 12 years. Finally, the urge to write took over and I started a freelance writing business. That path twisted and turned and led me into book writing and publishing, and then into book publicity.

Leon: What audience (or clients) do you want to reach?

Wiese-Sneyd: I work with authors from the beginning of the book writing process to the end. Translated that means I write query letters and book proposals, do agent and publisher searches, edit manuscripts, and then do publicity and marketing. Right now I even have a ghostwriting project.

Leon: What are the most effective ways you have promoted your book or business?

Wiese-Sneyd: Speaking at writing conferences has been very positive, as has doing workshops locally.

Leon: What ways have you used social media?

Wiese-Sneyd: I have a Facebook Page, Twitter account, and blog, but have not been very consistent in using any of them, mostly due to time constraints. Should the doorbell stop ringing and I need to generate additional business, I would use it more. I encourage all my clients to engage in social media marketing as much as possible.

Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Wiese-Sneyd: Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?

It’s so important. These are great tools for getting an author, his/her message, and book out to the reading public. I wish all of these had been around when my book was published back in 2000. But alas, it wasn’t.

Leon: What are 5 things you feel every author should know about book marketing?

Wiese-Sneyd: The 5 “P’s”

1.     Present yourself professionally every step of the way – via your website, in person, etc.

2.     Write effective geared to the person you are pitching.

3.     Do at least two things everyday to market your book.

4.     Persist for 1 year, 2 years, maybe even 3 years.

5.     Study the art of book marketing.

Leon: What are 5 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?

Wiese-Sneyd:

1.     Without publicity, your book will sit in the dark without readers.

2.     A good editor is a writer’s best friend.

3.     As an author, you have three things to present to the public: your book, your message and you. How you present those three things is key to marketing.

4.     A query letter is key to attracting an agent and publisher. It has to sizzle and sing in a condensed space.

5.     No one gets published or famous without a team of people behind them.

Leon: How would you like to be contacted for people to purchase your book or service?

Wiese-Sneyd: Through my website.

Leon: Please give our authors a closing word of encouragement.

Wiese-Sneyd: Take the time to learn the craft of writing and the business side of writing. These are two disparate areas, but they are both areas in which writers need to be proficient. These, and a double dose of persistence – no, make that at triple or quadruple dose – will get you published and noticed.

Linda Leon
Media Specialist and Author Promotions

c2012

Company that Discovered Lil Jon and JA Rule Now Helps Authors

Welcome to Publishing and Publicity, The Column.  We look forward to bringing you updates from industry professionals and you can hear more about each of our guest on our podcast at our book marketing professionals website.  Over the last few weeks our guests have ranged from pr expert to movie scouts.  I would encourage you not to miss an article or episode.  Today our guest is Aryeh Carni of Shindig Events. The company, Shindig was founded in 2009 by Yale College, Harvard Law grad Steve Gottlieb whose prior entrepreneurial success includes building TVT Records, one of the most successful independent record labels in the history of the US recording industry, a company with an unprecedented 25 Gold and Platinum releases to its credit. Steve discovered Nine Inch Nails, Ja Rule, Lil Jon, Underworld, Pitbull, and others.Leon: Tell us a little about you, hobbies and family.

Carni: I conduct business development and marketing for Shindig and I love keeping up on new media and technology.  I’m fairly young but have always been into media and marketing, so I think it’s something I just have in me.  What’s interesting about working at an Internet company is that I’m part of the new workforce that actually grew up with the Internet, so it has always come somewhat naturally to me.  When you see little kids today playing seamlessly with iPads, it is incredible to think what their generation will be capable of.  But for me, seeking out opportunities and connecting with people over the Internet is second nature and something I have a real passion for.

Leon: How did you begin Shindig?

Carni: Our founder Steve Gottlieb founded Shindig in 2009 on the idea that current video chat platforms are inherently rigid, uncomfortable and don’t allow for large-scale interactions.  We are a venture-backed start-up and our proprietary technology is the only platform out there that allows for large-scale video chat events.

Leon: Even though Shindig is a relatively new company, your group has been in promotions for a while and also started one of the biggest music companies in the U.S., discovery artist like Little Jon and Ja Rule.  Give the listeners insight into how this expertise helps your vision for Shindig in terms of growth and advantages for authors.

Carni: Authors and musical artists are very similar in nature.  They may be expressing themselves quite differently but in terms of reaching an audience, they are exactly the same.  In our age of social media, traditional one-way interactions are a way of the past.  With artists in particular, people want to see the human side of an artist instead of just purchasing another brand off the shelf.  Just having a Facebook page isn’t even enough.  It’s the two-way interactions that that page provides that builds real connections between author and reader (or singer and listener for that matter).  Building those real, long-lasting relationships is what Shindig is really about.  Enabling readers to interact with their favorite author as well as other members of their reading community, to not only forge a bond with the author but also build an engaged community centered on their fan hood for you.

Leon: What makes Shindig different from other networking platforms like SKYPE?

Carni: Skype is great at what it does – providing an online phone call with built in video chat.  If you only want to talk to one other person you should probably use Skype.  But in terms of connecting with many people at once, we the best out there.  Our platform allows for an endless number of interactions between yourself and your fans, allowing authors to give live presentations to hundreds of audience members at one time.  You can interact with each fan individually and fans can interact amongst themselves.  You can share slideshows, documents and music with the audience and you can even call on attendees for an interactive Q&A.  The Shindig platform is the only technology that allows for such events, making your online event the most unique experience possible.

Leon: What is the importance of tools like Twitter, Facebook, SEO, Web Optimization, Blogging, Podcasting, etc. to author promotions?

Carni: They are all very important because creating a dialogue with your readers and fans is the most important thing you can do.  If a fan tweets about your latest book and you respond with a personal message there is nothing more exciting to that reader and the minute it took you creates a fan for life.  And of course the more tools you use and the more active you are the more visibility you will get and more success you will have business-wise.  The common threads you see with all new promotional tools are the social aspect.  The one downside is that everyone is typing everything and no one ever meets.  That’s where we come in.  We would like to take those like-minded communities and turn them face-to-face and in real time.  We believe that speaking to some directly, not through an IM or a message board, is the most social experience you can have online.

Leon: What are a few benefits that authors will have if they use your service?

Carni: Hosting a Shindig Event will allow you to engage with your fans and ultimately sell more books.  If a fan has had a chance to meet you and personally ask you a question the chance they buy your next release is much higher.  And better yet, capitalize on your engaged fans at the event by offering special promotions to all your attendees.  Another idea that has been very popular is hosting a cross-promotional event with multiple authors from the same genre.  This is a great way to find more fans and build out your community of dedicated readers.  What’s great about finding new readers through an event is that when they “discover” you they won’t be reading about you on a blog but rather they will have the chance to interact with you on the spot!  We can think of no better way to build an engaged audience.

Leon: What are 5 things you want the audience to know about the importance of your business?

Carni:

1.Social media isn’t the future, it’s the present

2.Social media is as much a business tool as it is recreational

3.It’s never too late to start using social media

4.Videoconferencing is the most social media tool out there

5.Online events are the way of the future – be one of the first on board and reap the benefits

Leon: How would you like to be contacted about your service?

Carni: You can contact me directly at 212-699-3654.

Leon: Please give our authors a closing word of encouragement.

Carni: I would say to think about your name and your brand as a company and your books as your product.  Look at any successful company today and they have a Facebook page, a twitter handle and they remain quite active on all of them.  It may seem either daunting or even a waste of your time but if you start to think of social media activity as a best business practice it will become an invaluable weapon in your arsenal.  It should also be fun so don’t be afraid to experiment.  People want to see the real you so let your personality shine.

Linda Leon
Media Specialist and Author Promotions

c2012