Tag Archives: entertainment

Principal Entertainment Aligns with Self-Publisher

Click the images below for more information about this newly announced partnership:






Make Your List of 2011 Book Marketing Commitments

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

Now is the time to get that new 2011 calendar out and commit to:

  1. Promote yourself to Chief Marketing Officer and get to know your craft
  2. Promote your book
  3. Promote yourself

If you can check the first off of the list, the others will be much easier to come by.  Learning more about marketing can be as easy as knowing what book events are happening in 2011 and reading about, attending or signing copies of your book at one or more of them.  Across the U.S. are several amazing book festivals, and if you happen to live near one or are lucky enough to afford the time and cost to travel to one, you should. 

Below are just a handful of book festivals/fairs to consider in 2011:

Tucson Festival of Books Tucson, Arizona; March
Philadelphia Book Festival Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; April  
LA Times Festival of Books Los Angeles, California, April
Brooklyn Heights Book Festival Brooklyn, New York; September
Decatur Book Festival Decatur, Georgia; September  
National Book Festival Washington, D.C. at the National Mall; September
Texas Book Festival Austin, Texas; October
Wisconsin Book Festival Madison, Wisconsin; October
Litquake – San Francisco’s Literary Festival San Francisco, California; October  Miami Book Fair Miami, Florida; November

Be sure to Google your surrounding cities for book festivals, fairs, and events – city, school, church and Parks and Rec sponsored. You might be surprised to find one near you.

VIDEO: Great vs Average

by Marcus Chait, Director of New Media

In any creative endeavor (and in life, for that matter) there is nothing more disappointing then having someone look at something you’ve poured your heart and soul into only to have them respond,  “…yeah, it’s okay.”   I’d almost rather have an audience respond with passionate loathing than to have them consider something we’ve created as “okay” or “fine”. 

When setting out to create a video to help market your book, what steps can you take to give yourself the best opportunity of delivering something great as opposed to something that’s simply average?

  1. SOLID STORYTELLING:  If your story isn’t told in a clear and compelling way, and your audience walks away from your video confused as to what your book is about, you’re on the fast track to “average”.  Even if you have Spielberg behind the camera, if you’re story isn’t focused, the video will most likely not be successful.  If your story isn’t clear on the page, it’s not going to be clear on the screen.
  2. QUALTIY CINEMATOGRAPHY AND EDITING:  Video is a visual medium, so you obviously want your video to look as captivating as it possibly can.  Even on a limited budget, there are ways to make your video jump off the screen if you have a talented and resourceful creative team behind it.  Do your research and make sure you have an experienced team of professionals working for you.
  3. CLEAR TONE AND MESSAGE:  Know what you want your audience to feel when watching your video and be clear about the message you want to convey.  Is your book a suspense mystery?  Then make sure your video creates the necessary tension and suspense your book deserves.  Have you written a romantic comedy?   Then make sure your video feels more like When Harry Met Sally as opposed to Jaws.  You also need to understand what demographic your book might appeal to and make sure you’re delivering a message that speaks directly to that target.
  4. ORIGINALITY:  Make sure there is something about your video that sets it apart from the crowd.  Aim to create that “wow” moment somewhere in your video where the audience is forced to rewind and watch it again because they’ve never seen anything like it before.  Keep in mind that originality is not synonymous with big budget.  With the right creative team behind your video, you can pull off that “wow” moment without breaking the bank.  Some of the most original and creative movies to come out of Hollywood in recent years have been lower budget indies.  Push your own level of creative thinking and encourage everyone working on your video to do the same.

These are just a few tips as to how you can hopefully accomplish a great video as opposed to an average one that is reminiscent of something we’ve seen a thousand times before.  Of course, in any creative endeavor (as in life) there are no guarantees that you’ll achieve greatness.   But if we’re not at least striving for it, then what’s the point?

Check out the link below to see some great author videos:

Book Signings: An Extraordinary Adventure!

By Jann Robbins, Author

This is a guest post from Jann Robbins, author of Harold and Me and widow of Harold Robbins, the best-selling American fiction author. Jann has years of experience with books and book marketing. She is currently blogging about her life with Harold, old Hollywood and all the stories behind the stories on http://haroldrobbinsnovels.wordpress.com/

I love book signings, except when no one shows up! I have done book signings for my own novels as well as my husband’s novels and most have been packed with enthusiastic readers. But, there are times when you sit alone. I have been a participant of book signings since 1982 and seen a lot of changes. I began my experience in the book business with the #1 best-selling author in the world, Harold Robbins. He signed hundreds of books, talking and sharing with his reader. Some wanted special inscriptions and he always accommodated them. If we frequented a particular restaurant some people would bring their books over to him and ask him to sign. He denied no one. It was his pleasure, so I felt I learned from the best.

After Harold was no longer here to sign his books I was asked to sign for him. Since I was not the author I wanted to give his fans a tidbit, a story to take away with the book. I was always grateful that they had gotten into their car, drove and attended a book signing. It was a genuine pleasure to meet each one of them.  

Book signings always have an embedded treasure awaiting the author, and usually one that you will always cherish. So, don’t avoid book signings. You are the entrepreneur for your work, and the person who has created the characters that will engage the reader. It’s up to you to make the event “pop,” not only in reading excerpts, but giving your reader something they don’t know about your story, your characters or you. And remember, you are meeting someone who has taken the time to come see you. Always give them a memory. And if no one is in line, go into the store and engage a customer in conversation. If they don’t like your book genre, recommend another writer.  And for you, finding that treasure in the moment with your reader is priceless.

I was in Albuquerque once signing soon after Harold’s passing. I was talking about his life and times. The book store had a glass storefront. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a car pull up and let a girl, about 14 years old, out of the double-parked car. Mentally, I dismissed her as someone who would be coming to the book signing. And yet, I was completely surprised when I looked out on the crowd several minutes later and she was sitting on the back row. I immediately engaged her in conversation, asking her if she knew the writer, Harold Robbins. She answered emphatically that she did and began to repeat Harold’s history about earning a million dollars before his 21st birthday and losing his commodities in the sugar market. All the guests were fascinated with her and so was I. I told her that Harold would have loved to be there to meet her. She looked up at me smiling, “Oh, he is, that’s why I came.” Needless to say, it was an extraordinary moment and a “treasure”. I gave her a copy of the book I was signing with a special inscription about Harold.

Being an author/entrepreneur is an extraordinary adventure!

Book Signing Basics: Don’t Just Sit There and Look Pretty

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

This past weekend I assisted several authors with bookstore signings at a major retailer. I learned a lot. I think the authors learned a lot. Some things are beyond the author’s control like store traffic & weather. Some things may be in the gray area of control such as in-store placement, signage, and announcements. And some things are very much in the author’s control.  As the author, you need to take control of your signing. Be approachable, active and be your own advertising agency.

Being approachable simply means smiling. Look inviting and open. Even if the crowd is light and the day isn’t going as planned, you need to keep the smile on your face throughout your event. Nothing turns away a potential customer like a scowl.

Being active means you need to seek out readers. Products, and especially books, don’t sell themselves. Don’t just sit there and smile, get out from behind your table and talk to shoppers, starting with those who are milling about your book’s genre section or those that have just entered the store. Engage them. Encourage them to read the back cover. Have a polished elevator speech and pitch the plot in 30 seconds – if you’re not succinct and confident when discussing your book, what does that say to your potential reader?

Being your own advertising agency means that you need to do your legwork prior to your signing. The store will likely not be of much assistance. Meet with them prior to the event and set expectations by telling them what you’d like for your signing. Suggest table location, provide a 25-word blurb announcement they can make periodically during your signing to let shoppers know you’re in the store, request they put your signing on their website and ask to put posters up in advance – in the entryway, near the restrooms (usually there is a bulletin board there) and in the café. Put flyers up around town – at the library, coffee shop and other places readers congregate. Send postcards, emails and post on Facebook and other social media.  Alert local events sites when and where your event is. Inviting family and friends may not result in many sales as they likely already have your book, but having a crowd around your table intrigues people and makes them more willing to stop by and see what’s going on.

Whether your signing meets your expectations or not is dependent on many factors. Remember each time you do a signing you’re gaining knowledge of what works and doesn’t and most importantly you’re gaining exposure … so smile!

You Oughta Be In Pictures!

by Hashim Hathaway, Literary Publicist

Book adaptations for the screen are all the rage. Have been for years. Filmmakers are always looking for new and fresh material to adapt into movies for mass consumption. If you think about it, there are only a set number of ideas in Hollywood, and the majority of them usually find their beginnings on the printed page. Now generally, the main books set for adaptation generally come in the form of whatever latest best-seller is setting the world on fire. Authors like John Grisham, Stephen King or Tom Clancy represent some of the names that usually appear on the hotlist of producers. It seems whatever they write usually ends up as some sort of film property. If this is true, how can an indie author compete?

Generally, those marquee authors get their film deals not just because they’re popular and well read – placing them in the sights of studios and producers – but also because their agents negotiate deals for adaptation. Their agents work around the clock to sell the rights to their films, to offer studios first-look deals to whatever book comes down the pike. For the indie author who generally has no agency representation, the opportunity to see their work on the silver screen seems like a near-impossibility. But nothing is impossible.

Arguably, the first step towards seeing your words come to life on screen is to write something worth watching. It seems like such an arbitrary thing to say, but the reality is that there are many authors who want their work to end up on screen; however they never stop to think whether or not it should. If you’re one of those authors who want to see their dreams come to life, then the first step is to write something that you yourself would pay to see. Of course, opinions vary, but to be able to visualize just what you’re writing as film material would help make selling your property a bit easier.

There are many steps to take to make it all happen, but for the indie author, there is always help. With the new Hollywood Book-to-Screen packages from AuthorHive, authors have the unique opportunity to have help in preparing their material to catch the eye of producers and filmmakers always hungry for new and exciting content.  Authors will work with professionals who are skilled in creating treatments and even scripts based on the author’s material, all with the goal of attracting the attention needed to make the transition from book to screen. Certainly, there are no guarantees in life, but with the help of AuthorHive there is finally a chance for indie authors to get their work on the Silver Screen along with the likes of Grisham, King and Clancy.

Twitter “Noobs”: 5 Things You Can Learn from @50Cent

 by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

In my eyes, the introduction of @50Cent and @OprahTheDog has to be the most interesting (and educational) development in the Twitterverse since…well, Twitter itself.

For those of you who are still in the dark, platinum-selling rapper 50 Cent—who once left his Twitter account to his PR team—suddenly became active in the Twitter world, slinging grammar-challenged tweets rife with controversy into cyberspace. Since then, 50 Cent has been experimenting with fan engagement while gaining footing with a new medium to spread his message. He tweeted that he was looking for love online, which started an avalanche of responses and Twitter photos. He also recently created an account for his dog “Oprah,” garnering over 8,000 followers in two days, and his hints at the dog’s abusive “master” enflamed the animal advocate group PETA. 50 Cent’s garbled tweets even inspired a mock “Queen’s English” 50 Cent translation Twitter page (@English50Cent).

 I’d argue there are a few lessons to be learned from 50 Cent for those who are new to Twitter, both on what to do and what NOT to do (who would have ever thought 50 Cent could be educational?):

  1. Be Active:  At first, 50 Cent was leery of Twitter as a medium to reach his fans—much like many who still are unsure of the value of the popular social media site. But, once he jumped in and began tweeting regularly, he saw a quick response from his followers (now numbering over 3 million). Now, he tweets several times an hour and has mastered the art of links, attachments and replies.
  2. Be Personal:  When his account was maintained by his team, 50 Cent’s tweets lacked the singeing personality and pizzazz that they have now. Now, we can peek into his whirlwind life as a famous rapper (which, if you judged merely by his tweets, consists mostly of sex, money and “hustling”). By being humorous, personal and newsworthy, he’s given followers a reason to pay attention to him (besides his obvious fame factor).
  3. Engage!:  Inspired by the immediate buzz he made, 50 Cent created ways to engage his fans. His quest to find a girlfriend online started an impromptu contest, and even celebrities like Perez Hilton joined in for fun (although 50 Cents resulting homophobic tweets caused a stir in the gay community). While I wouldn’t suggest mimicking his behavior entirely, he has the right idea of using creative methods to engage your followers and keep them interested. If you’re an author, for example, offer a free chapter to your followers.
  4. Be Responsible:  A warning: exercise your power responsibly. I think most would agree that 50 Cent has been abusing his influence and his 3-million-follower soapbox by causing unnecessary controversy. Twitter is a great tool to use to your advantage, but be aware of the consequences.
  5. Be Professional:  It would be safe to say that if 50 Cent’s mother was next to him when he tweeted, he’d be getting soap in that mouth of his! Remember that Twitter is a very public platform, and if your account is public anyone can read what you write. Tweet as if your mother, child, teacher AND employer have access to your Twitter page. That means cutting out profanity, writing legibly, and not tweeting about anything you would deem embarrassing.

What are your thoughts about 50 Cent’s sudden arrival to Twitter? Does it inspire you to become more involved?

Events: Thinking Outside the Bookstore

by Jessica Barrett, Events Manager

Bookstores seem like obvious, ideal places to hold a book signing. While they seem obvious, they may not be ideal for your book. Bookstores contain thousands of titles on a multitude of topics. Where does your book fit into their shelves? And I mean fit in, tuck away, go virtually unnoticed among the myriad titles and non-book items stores now carry. Sometimes you need to think outside of the store. Literally, outside.

Have you written a gluten-free cookbook? Or a history of agriculture in your county? If so, consider setting up a booth at your local farmers’ market and conduct a signing there. Is your book about WWII? Consider setting up at your local VFW or during a Memorial Day or Veterans’ Day event.  Perhaps your book is about equine or large animal care? Then maybe a table at your state fair is the place for you.  Fantasy or SciFi book? Check out gaming stores, gatherings and conventions.

When looking to promote and sell your book through signings, get out a pen and paper, start brainstorming and consider the following:

Niche & Genre:  Let’s say your book is a gluten-free cookbook. Clearly, it falls under the Cookbook category, but couldn’t it also fall under Health & Fitness, Education, Family & Relationships and Medical? When you expand your book’s subjects, you expand your opportunities.

Know your audience and their habits:  Using the same book, think of who your audience is.  Those with Celiac and their families are potential readers, and beyond that, think nurses, nutritionists, health food store owners, chefs, and the list goes on.  After identifying your audience consider their hangouts – health food stores, hospitals, restaurants.

Search creatively:  Armed with your book’s subjects and audience, you’re ready to get creative. Start with Google. Enter your key words and search. I typed “gluten-free” and “recipes” and “Indianapolis” and over 100,000 results popped-up. Some aren’t helpful, but many are.  I found a local TV station’s site which has a community events tab.  There I found an upcoming food event where I could hold a book signing. Beyond the Google search, check your local hospital, parks dept, community newspapers, neighborhood associations and chamber of commerce sites and find out about upcoming events.

When you think outside of the bookstore, you step into a world of opportunity. Widen your subject,  go to where your audience is and watch your sales grow.

Branding 101: Find Creative Ways to Get Your Message in Front of Your Consumers

by Joe Bayern, Senior Vice President

Now you’ve established a message, but there’s a lot of noise out there. Even though you understand who your target audience is and developed a compelling message, you still need to find creative ways to get the message in front of those consumers. 

The good news is that the explosion of the internet, social networking and video sites has created cost effective ways to connect directly with potential customers.  The bad news is that millions of other people have access to those same consumers; so, you must find ways to stand out in the crowd. 

Try to find ways to tell your story in as many creative approaches as possible, including press releases, blogs and forums, print/online advertising and video.  Remember people are much more likely to buy your product if they’ve seen it multiple times across several different mediums. 

Also look for ways to leverage your marketing investment as many times as possible.  Videos and book trailers are great examples.  Not only are they engaging to watch, but can be used in many ways:

  1. Personal website
  2. Video press releases
  3. Email marketing campaigns
  4. Social networking sites
  5. Retailer websites

Check out the video book trailer for Deadly Encounter by Maria Johs: