Category Archives: Book Marketing

Borrow Your Brilliance

by Brittani Hensel, Project Coordinator

My boss recently gave me a book about brainstorming called, “Jump Start Your Brain” by Doug Hall.  I flipped through it a little bit, but one chapter called “Borrowing Brilliance” stopped me in my tracks. I thought about all the times I’d people-watched while walking in the mall, getting fashion advice from magazines, listened to other people brainstorm, watched them while they work, and the ever-present question, “What would you do?”

After reading Jump Start Your Brain I quickly realized, I’ve always borrowed brilliance. I have always looked to those wiser, older, and more knowledgeable than I to gain information and principles that I could use as well.

This book offered a “David & Goliath” example in which you can learn something by “looking at other David’s who have done battle and won” to learn how to succeed yourself.  Very similar to learning from other people’s mistakes I’d say.  But, that’s precisely how I’ve lived my life. I’ve learned from other people’s actions, fashion, writing, and even communication skills.

Authors come to me often and ask what they should write about on their blog, and while the answer varies from author to author, it’s always the same.  “Take a look at this blog, this blog, and this blog.” I tell them that often reading a blog will give them inspiration on how to write one. It’s how I’ve always led my writing, especially for blog topics. Borrowing ideas and “brilliance” from other people seems to fuel the fire the best, and I say why not use the kindling?

As an author and marketer, take heed from your favorite writers, mentors, and friends. Every second is a learning experience, and life always has something to teach.

Click on the images below for links to help jump start your own brilliance:

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Market Your Book Like It’s Your Business

by Zac Workman, Marketing Specialist

Your book is a business….so treat it as such.  Daydreaming about the best-sellers list won’t get you any closer to breaking the top 10.  So how do you market a book like you would a business?  Let’s start with a few simple questions that will help you identify the best way to market your new book.  Like any business, these questions are key to identifying and creating a successful marketing plan for your book.

  1. What are your goals?  What is the purpose of writing your book and what do you want to accomplish?  The case may be that you are just interested in making your book available for family and friends or maybe you are hoping to sell thousands of books.  Whatever the case may be make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
  2. Who is your target market?  Let’s consider the Christian genre which is vast so you must define who exactly you are targeting and why.  Knowing your audience will help you decide how to sell your book to readers.  Consider the demographics of your audience to determine your marketing focus.  If you find your target to be a very small niche group, marketing will be extremely important and it will need to be very focused.  If this is the case, you may want to consider expanding the appeal of your book by making some changes to increase your customer base.
  3. What makes your product appealing to your target market? Labeling your book “Christian” isn’t enough.  You need to identify what makes your book stand out and use this to your advantage.  Consider the specific characteristics about your book that appeal to your audience.  Maybe you are an expert on the subject matter of your book or you have a unique story or point of view.  Whatever the appeal of your book is, it is essential to identify what separates your book out from the competition and then using it to your advantage.
  4. Where does your product fit within your industry?  The Christian book industry is very large so you need to identify where you fit within that industry.  Start by identifying who your competition is and what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Focus on their weaknesses, because this is where you have an advantage.
  5. Where is the best place to reach the target market?  So how will your reach your audience?  In today’s digital world, start on the Internet, including searching for related websites, and using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, website reviews, blogs, and e-mail marketing.  The majority of your books will sell through some venue on the Internet, and it makes sense to start your marketing efforts there.

Stay tuned on tips to execute that all important marketing plan!

Beyond the Bookstore: Boost Your Self-Promotion Efforts

by Megan Leiter, Event Coordinator

Don’t be afraid to get exposure for your book outside of the typical bookstore and library book signings. There will be other authors vying for those library and book signing slots. Thinking “outside of the box” and delving into untapped resources to garner exposure may give you that extra edge in your book promotion. Here are some suggestions:

Places of Learning.  Depending on the subject of your book, you may need to tailor the age range you seek for a speech but I highly suggest arranging a visit to a local school or university. Some elementary schools host reading nights where kids can attend the event with their parents and it’s not a bad place to try and sell your book after the speech. Also, at the college level, professors may consider having you as a guest speaker for a class during the semester or using your book as a supplement for their students’ course work.

Conventions and Fairs.  Scout out conventions, fairs and festivals in your state and/or surrounding states to see if you can connect the subject matter of your book to an event happening in your area. For example, if there’s a nursing convention in your state capital and you have a medical-related book, having a booth at the convention to sell your books and talk to people or ask to be a keynote speaker may be a great idea. Find ways to connect yourself to community and area events.

Churches.  Churches bring in speakers to give lectures to their congregations through workshops, seminars, etc. If you have a self-help, motivational, spiritual, relationship guide, or any other topic appropriate for a church audience, this could be a great outlet to make connections and relationships and get your book in the church bookstore or available for a group study.

There are so many more places you could seek out to promote yourself and your book without being the typical, run of the mill establishments –community centers, senior living communities, museums, businesses, rotary clubs and lodges, and more. Get creative!

Where have you hosted your most successful book event?

Building Relationships with Bloggers

by Kelly Rynard, Literary Publicist

WARNING:  The referred link via Unmarketing contains harsh language that may be offensive to some.  We used this link as a literal example of what not to do when reaching out to fellow bloggers.

Scott Stratten of Unmarketing recently tweeted, “There are comment train wrecks, and then there is this bit.ly/hwK8Qa.” And “this” is an excellent example what NOT to do when commenting on a blog. Basically, this particular author was upset with a critics review and took matters into her own hands.

As a social media specialist, I train author’s everyday on how to use social media sites to their fullest potential. One of the most popular questions I get asked is, “how do I reach out to bloggers?” and “what am I suppose to say in a comment?”

As we work to build relationships with fellow bloggers, there are few simple rules we like to follow:

Be Selfless. If you want bloggers to promote you, you must first promote them. Think about building a relationship based on their perspective, what can I gain from this.

Comment on Comments. One of the greatest things about blogging is receiving comments. It makes you feel appreciated and respected. In return, your reader feels the same way when you take the time to respond to their comments and it keeps them coming back to read more.

Comment on your Reader’s Blogs. Leaving thoughtful comments on your reader’s blogs is all about giving back. You will begin to see your relationship grow when you take the time to engage and promote other bloggers.

Create Valuable Content. Create posts that have a subject matter that is of value to your readers. Find out what they want and then give it to them. Write to the people that actually read your blog.

I heard Stratten give a talk about month ago on social media and he gave some interesting tips. He calls people on the internet that have nothing better to do than say mean things, trolls. “Don’t feed into the troll,” he says.

So on that note, if someone posts a comment you don’t like, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and “feed the troll” just to make a point.  Stay positive, engage fellow bloggers that have common interests, be selfless and be patient.  It takes commitment and rock solid content to build a strong blog following.

To get started with our own blog, let AuthorHive help get you started.  Check out the following book for a comprehensive look to starting, maintaining and expanding your blog site:

Where Is Your Creative Zone?

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

I am a painter. Oil and acrylics. Landscapes and still life. Lately, I haven’t been very inspired likely due to stress, a recent bout of the flu and a winter that just won’t go away. But this past Sunday, I got up early and enjoyed some reading and coffee in the quiet of the morning, went and got a massage, then went to my mom’s for Sunday dinner. While there I sat on her sunporch with the sun beaming in through the glass, I laid down in the warm light, stretched out like a cat and fell asleep.

I awoke later to sound of my toddlers talking to grandma about bees, butterflies and flowers. And in my freshly awakened, relaxed state, it hit me. I should paint something whimsical. Something for one of my girls’ rooms. Later that evening, looking out my bay window into my wooded backyard, I did just that. I painted some cute buzzy bees – it was outside my comfort zone and it felt great. And, if I must say so, it turned out cute.

Recently, my colleague, Shelley, wrote asking what inspires you as an author, what drives you to write every day and what drives you to create your next masterpiece. It’s not just ‘what’ inspires you, it’s also ‘where’ inspires you.  You need to be in the right frame of mind, the right place and the right time for true inspiration to take over.  My quiet morning, massage, catnap, and favorite spot in my home put me in the creative zone.

Where is your creative space?

Publicity: Keep It Simple, Stupid!

by Hashim Hathaway, Literary Publicist

The KISS Principle, first coined by Lockheed Skunk Works lead engineer Kelly Johnson, was a semi-humorous way to remind his fellow aircraft engineers that the simplest way was always the best as it pertained to design.

This same principle has been applied to various other aspects of life, and for the purposes of this blog, we’ll be applying it to publicity.

When entering the publicity process, it’s easy to come with a head full of ideas and little in the way of an organized plan of execution. It can be daunting to spill out all your ideas out at one time, because while you may understand everything your book is trying to say, the point of all of it is to make sure that potential readers also understand, because these are the people who you want to read your book.

Whether your book is about astrophysics, or how to cook the best-tasting duck breast, the goal of any good publicity campaign is that the simplest person can grasp the concept and determine for themselves whether or not they are interested in finding out more. This is the KISS Principle in a nutshell.

So how do you get there?

One of the first things you have to do is take a look at your work, and from it, distill the most basic of ideas, ideas that would resonate with anyone at just about any level, because that is what determines a successful campaign. It doesn’t matter what you think about your book, because chances are, no one will love the book as much as you will, which is fine, however, if you have designs on being the next great author, your goals are much greater than you…and much simpler.

Keep your message clear and driven towards a singular point. Make the author want to know more without giving too much away in the process. That is how you set the tone for a successful publicity campaign. Anything more than that will be attributed to “white noise” and often times ends up drowning itself out altogether.

Clients We’re Lucky to Have

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

As a publicist and social media specialist at AuthorHive, I work with a wide variety of clients (and with just about every genre and topic you can imagine). I’ve worked with scientists, engineers, CEOs and psychics, and pitched romance novels, cookbooks, business books, and more.  But my absolute favorite projects to work on are campaigns with a great cause.

We must be having the “luck of the Irish” lately, because I’ve been working with a great group of authors. Being that it’s St. Patrick’s Day, I’d like to highlight a few of the awesome and inspiring clients I consider myself lucky to be working with:

ANNA M. WARNER, My Lipstick Journey through Cancer:  A Journey of Faith and Finding the Right Shade: Diagnosed with a rare form of aggressive thyroid cancer and told she’d never again be able to continue her passion of signing, Anna Warner turned to what she knew best: lipstick. In this humorous, inspirational and intimate memoir, Anna shares her battle with cancer, beating the odds, and regaining her voice—all while making frequent visits to the cosmetic counter.

Anna, a self-proclaimed “lipstick junkie,” collected over 50 tubes of lipstick and lip gloss over her three-year battle with thyroid cancer—a different one for every mood she had. After being laid off after radiation, she chose YSL’s “Golden Gloss #14.” After having to quit her next job due to side effects of her cancer, Warner chose Laura Mercier’s “Brown Plum.”

“It’s about staying positive and finding humor during a difficult time, being thankful for every day, and letting even the smallest thing—like choosing the right lipstick shade—bring a little joy to a situation,” Anna says (she also shares her story here at Voice Day 2010). Throughout all the trying struggles Anna has been through, she’s maintained an incredibly positive outlook on life. I’m no lipstick wearer, but Anna is already inspiring me to consider wearing some in her honor!

LYNN ROSEN, Tomorrow’s Vision:   Tomorrow’s Vision shares an inspirational story of a third-grade class that learned about world hunger, brainstormed ways to combat it, and made a difference in their community by donating their time and personal belongings to a cause.   Written by a former New York City teacher and hunger activist, Lynn Rosen, the book is a glimpse of the promise of tomorrow’s generations, starting with the children of today.

Lynn is passionate about ending poverty and world hunger, and as a human rights activist is working on several projects in order to spread awareness of these issues.  She donates her time to the Hunger Action Network of New York, United for Action, New York Cares, and the International Educational Research Network.

It makes you think: If a third grade class can make such a difference, what can we do?

DR. EVERETT WINSLOW LOVRIEN, Doctor Guilt?:  In the 1980s and early ‘90s, hundreds of people experienced what insiders call the “Hemophilia Holocaust.” New medical breakthroughs allowed doctors to relieve suffering from hemophilia, and prolong life. However, the new “magic” medicine unknowingly harbored lethal viruses: Hepatitis and HIV.

Who was at blame for the deaths of the hundreds of patients who died from these viruses? The doctors who administered the drug? The pharmaceutical companies who manufactured the drugs? Or the scientists that were supposed to test the blood? Dr. Everett Lovrien, once a doctor at a hemophilia clinic, was one of the doctors who unknowingly infected patients he deeply cared about. In Doctor Guilt? he explores why this event happened, and shares the stories of the brave patients—some just children—who lost their lives due to these mistakes.

Now he is also on a quest to educate others about hemophilia, and to bring the same hemophilia treatment options that American’s other countries through making hemophilia medicine available and affordable.

All of these authors have inspired me, and I consider myself lucky to be promoting such great causes. What do you feel lucky to have this St. Patrick’s Day?