What Inspires You?

by Shelley Rogers Landes, Marketing Manger

in·spire  verb \in-ˈspī(-ə)r\:  to influence, move, motivate or guide

 
At the beginning of my professional career at Macmillan Publishing, I remember being the youngest person on our sales team and I was proud of that fact.  I always felt lucky to be in the right place at the right time and to work for managers that valued my opinion and encouraged my development as an  account manager and sales professional.

I look around our offices today and realize I have suddenly become one of the oldest people on our team and often wonder to myself, “….how did that happen?”  Some of my colleagues are honestly old enough to be one of my kids and a year ago, that really bothered me.

Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, LinkedIn, WordPress, Flickr, Yahoo IM, You Tube. I had a vague knowledge of social media and could talk my way through a meeting but the reality was, I was being left behind.  As a marketing manager, I was diminishing my value proposition to my employer as an effective part of our marketing team because I was feeling uninspired to know and use the tools that are essential to our industry today.

Once I got past the fact that I had aged much quicker than I had realized, I will tell you that much of my inspiration, energy, education and enthusiasm in 2010 came from the wide eyed, untarnished and courageous ideas of this young creative team I work with on a daily basis. 

While I have taken the position of the “industry veteran” on our team, my young colleagues have taught me a whole new way of communication through social media.  I have been inspired to keep up, stay fresh and educate myself about trends and technology that are essential to the success of my job.

So what inspires you as an author?  What inspires you to write every day?  What drives you to want to create your next masterpiece?

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I have writer’s block….I don’t feel like it……

by Chris Bass, Director of Author Marketing Services
I have a raggedy yellow piece of paper that my father gave me about 30 years ago.  Written on it are these words, “Nothing great was ever accomplished without discipline.”

Today you might be feeling full of excuses about why you can’t write, why people aren’t reading your book, why you can’t come up with anything worthwhile to say in your blog.  You have a choice to make.  You can listen to the excuses or you can get busy about doing something great.

Stay disciplined even when you don’t feel like it. Experience tells me that in the long run you’ll find you’re doing great things.

You’re an Author. You’re an Expert.

by Kevin Gray, Public Relations Manager
I often speak with authors, who are actively engaged in publicizing their books and the great majority put a strong emphasis on pitching their books to book reviewers at daily newspapers. They’re disappointed when their books aren’t reviewed, are rejected or summarily ignored. Many think this means the end to their efforts to “make news.”

The reality is that just as publishing is changing, so too is the news media. A 2010 study released by the Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism reported ominously that “roughly a third of the newsroom jobs in American newspapers in 2001 are now gone, and those cuts come particularly in specialty beats like science and the arts, suburban government and statehouse coverage.” Book reviews can certainly be thrown into this mix.

In a July 2010 interview with the Public Relations Society of America, John Drescher – the executive editor of the Raleigh News & Observer admitted that coverage responsibilities at his paper – the 59th largest in the U.S. – have changed dramatically.

“All beats are still covered, but reporters are doubling up,” Dresher said. “Fewer do more, with changes like paring back to one healthcare reporter, splitting healthcare business coverage among existing business staff, and relying on wire services and correspondents to cover fitness.”

What this all means is that reporters are busier than ever, which puts the squeeze to the time-consuming process of choosing a book, reading a book and writing a review. Whats more, these time constraints come at a time when in 2009, according to R.R. Bowker, more than one million new titles hit the shelves.

So what’s a fledgling author to do?

Well the squeeze being put to reporters can actually favor you, dear scribe. An author, well-versed in a particular topic, that’s written and published a book, is an expert!

In 2008, leading up to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, Jim Bendat, author of Democracy’s Big Day parlayed his collection of historical Presidential Inauguration potpourri into a landslide of media coverage. USA Today, Bloomberg News, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times were but a few of the prominent outlets that leaned on his expertise.

And once a few reporters called a gaggle of busy scribes and correspondents in need of knowledgeable sources practically knocked down Bendat’s door. Throughout the media frenzy, Bendat consistently mentioned his book. During TV appearances he always had a copy in hand. Bendat got not one single book review, but the number of readers that learned about Democracy’s Big Day is incalculable.

Check out Jim Bendat on Fox News as he talks about his self published book, Democracy’s Big Day:

Valentine’s Day: Books We Adore

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

Who knew that a holiday honoring a beheaded saint would turn into such a huge Hallmark event? Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love (whether it’s with a spouse, significant other, your dog, your goldfish…you get the idea).  At AuthorHive, our passion is for books—because whether or not you have someone to cuddle up to this Valentine’s Day, you can always cuddle up with a good read.  It’s getting a little steamy in the AuthorHive office, as staffers share their romantic holiday picks:

 

Shelley’s Pick:  Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Sometimes the strongest bond can be between two best friends. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives. For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—-jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac.

Brittani’s Pick:  He’s Just Not that into You: the No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt
Okay, so maybe this book isn’t romantic per se, but it certainly gives women some direction when dealing with the mysteries of men.  Have you ever liked a guy, but he’s given mixed signals? Former executive story editor for Sex and the City provides a simple answer:  He’s just not that into you. If you’re not convinced yet, read this smart, funny and surprisingly upbeat little book.

Jessica’s Pick:  P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Who’s up for a bit o’ Irish romance? Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life-a passionate, funny and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of 10 letters that will guide her, not only through her grief but in rediscovering herself. Each letter sends her on a new adventure, each signed, “P.S. I Love You.”

Kelly’s Pick:  Chasing Harry Winston: A Novel by Lauren Weisberger
Chasing Harry Winston is a fun, flirty novel from the author of The Devil Wears Prada. Three best friend New Yorkers—Emmy, Adriana and Leigh—are facing the horror of turning 30. Recently dumped Emmy promises to make a drastic change and find guys from every continent for casual affairs. Beautiful Brazilian Adriana in turn tries to leave her old lifestyle of sleeping around and living off daddy in order to get a Harry Winston ring on her finger before the first wrinkles start showing. And Leigh, the one with the perfect life, doesn’t know what she needs in order to be happy and to be able to relax.

Sandy’s Pick:  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
What can I say—I’m partial to the old-school kind of romance.  This classic follows the classy Elizabeth Bennet and her family as they deal with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in early 19th-century England. Things get saucy when an eligible bachelor and his handsome (but arrogant) friend shack up at a nearby country estate.

Happy reading! Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget the chocolate!

Check out additional recommended reads:

Is Social Media Really An Effective Way to Promote Your Book?

by Megan Leiter, Events and Social Media Coordinator

As someone who fulfills social media setups for AuthorHive authors and is currently acting as the Social Media Services Coordinator, I can give you a big honest YES to this question! Many of the authors I talk to daily ask, “Will anyone really read my blog?” and, “How are people going to find my profiles on all these social networking sites?”

Here are five ways to make the most of your social media profiles to promote your book:

1) Tags, Tags, Tags! :  A “post tag” is a keyword you can attach to each new post you put on your blog and essentially how people are going to find your blog site. When you attach keywords to your blog’s content, it’s more likely someone searching for those same keywords will find your blog through a search engine. Key Tip: you should always attach your pen name and book title to each post along with any other relevant keywords associated with what you’re writing about in that particular post.

2) Reaching Out:  The whole point of social networking is to be social on the internet – crazy I know! That means you’ll have to put some work into reaching out and contacting people through your profiles by sending out messages, updating your statuses in Facebook and Twitter on a consistent basis, creating event invites for book signings or speeches you may be giving, and more.

3) Fresh Content:  For a lot of people within the “blogosphere” once someone finds a blog they like, they visit it daily to check out what the contributor has to say. There’s nothing more disappointing to a devoted blog reader than going to your favorite blog(s) to find the blog contributor hasn’t posted any new content in a week or more. Keeping readers engaged through fresh content means being committed to keeping that connection alive by making the time to continuously post new content which means more than once a week.

4) Gathering Friends:  Exposure is the key to publicity. The more people you can gather to follow you on Twitter and like your fan page on Facebook, the more exposure your messages will have.

5) Time:  It takes a lot of time and commitment to build a fan base for a book so please don’t expect to be an overnight social media sensation like Susan Boyle (the Scottish singing talent discovered on Britain’s Got Talent who became an overnight sensation on YouTube.com). Just as it took time to write and produce your book, it will also take time to create your social media fan base.

I know many authors are intimidated by social media because it’s a new beast in the world and perhaps out of their comfort zone. Many authors I speak to vow to forgo the social media aspect of promotions entirely and I think the only person this is a disservice to is the author themselves. Facebook currently serves over 300 million users (and is still growing) and Twitter serves 190 million users. To me, that’s an awfully big market to be left untouched just because you may be unfamiliar with using a computer or don’t want to put the time into keeping up a social media presence.

If you’re not sure where to start, ask a friend or family member for help or call AuthorHive and we will get you on your way!

Book Launch Party. Book Launch Party. Am I repeating?

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

There are two great things about Groundhog’s Day. The movie. And, the prospect of winter ending sooner, rather than later. But what does Groundhog’s Day have to do with a book launch party?

The premise of the movie is that Bill Murray’s character has to repeat Feb 2 over and over until he gets it right.  Marketing of anything, even your book, requires a lot of do-overs, as it’s a learning process.

Events are one segment of the book marketing process, and one you’ll want to repeat to gain awareness for your book. The first event you should hold for your book is a launch party. If your book just went live or is about to go live, plan a launch party. Has your book been live awhile, but you’ve not had a party? Then plan one. Already held one? Then throw a re-launch or a 100-copies-sold party.

Hosting a launch party is far less intensive than the events in Punxsutawney, PA. While they can be fancy, they can also be simple. The key is to get the word out. Send out an evite, post an invite on Facebook and update your author website and blog – and encourage your invitees to forward the invite out to others. Put out some snacks and drinks. You may want to shape your get together around your book’s genre.  If it’s a history on picnicking, serve picnic foods. If it’s a romance novel, plan the party around Valentine’s or Sweetest Day and provide festive treats. Consider holding the party at a locale that relates to the book, or at a restaurant or bar or in multiple locations around town so your guests don’t have to travel so far. Don’t forget to have plenty of copies of your book on hand and to prepare a short reading from your book.

If you really need a reason to self-promote, since it’s Groundhog’s Day, and the furry dude will likely see his shadow, plan a another-six-weeks-of-winter-means-more-time-to-curl-up-with-a-book-party. Either way, start promoting today and plan your book launch party.

Plan your book launch party.

Plan your book launch party…

What Book Publicity Can (and Can’t) Do

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

You are probably confused as to why an AuthorHive publicist is telling you there’s anything book publicity can’t do. And, at the risk of refuting my entire argument, perhaps I should include a disclaimer by saying that almost anything is possible…but is it likely?

Maybe you’ve tried to market your book yourself, and realized how daunting the task can be.  Or, you’ve done your research and realize that for a new author a promotional campaign is a must. That’s where we, as literary marketing and publicity experts, come in.  We offer a complete line of book publicity options, including online outreach to potential fans and readers through social media.

However, there are things I can accomplish as your publicist and those that even Hercules couldn’t.  Becoming a famous author like J.K. Rowling or James Patterson takes a lot of time and hard work. In my experience, authors who have realistic expectations and understand the limitations of this industry prove to be the most successful.

Can a publicity campaign make your book a bestseller? A book publicity campaign itself will not likely make you a bestseller. But, a campaign can increase interest in your book through the third-party credibility of media placement, which can in turn increase book sales significantly.

Will you be interviewed by The New York Times? Major media outlets reserve space or programming for only the most newsworthy stories, which unfortunately aren’t always book releases. Targeting local news, trade magazines, and national news outlets that are already interested in your topic will usually yield the best results in book campaigns. You’ll be reaching out to your target audience, and might even be filed by journalists as an expert for future news stories.

Avoid the “O” word. We hear it from almost every author at the beginning of campaigns: “Can you get me on Oprah? I think she will really enjoy my book!” It’s true that several authors have gone on to find fame and fortune after receiving the media guru’s seal of approval.  It’s also true that a handful of our books have been considered by her staff for promotion. But, the likelihood that you will be featured on Oprah’s show is slim—even slimmer now, since her last episode is scheduled to air September 9, 2011.

While none of my authors books have become one of Oprah’s “Favorite Things,” I have garnered media hits for my authors from notable outlets such as the Ladies Home Journal and American Fitness, and runs in Food and Beverage magazine, the Colorado Springs Gazette, NBC Connecticut, International Business Times, Houston Press, and Boston Globe. Start small, with your local news for example, and then work your way to the top. Believe me when I say that your book can still find increased visibility to readers through book publicity, even without Oprah’s blessing.