Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seven Simple Tips to Getting Your Book Reviewed by Paula Krapf

Today's guest post is courtesy of Tony Eldridge, creator of Marketing Tips For Authors.

I am excited to introduce our guest today, Paula Krapf. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a company that has its finger on the pulse of the publishing industry. She will be blogging on a subject that every writer wants to learn more about: How to get your book reviewed.

You may also want to check out the Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Blogging Ideas the Whole Year Through. This is the summary of the Blog Talk Radio program that Paula interviewed me on as a guest. You can also replay the interview on demand when you want to listen to it.

Make sure you check out the great additional resources that Paula lists at the end of the post.

7 Simple Steps to Getting Your Book Reviewed
By Paula Krapf

Your book is ready for reviews and all you need to figure out is where and how to find the appropriate reviewers – so you can add the reviews to your website (you were planning to add the reviews to your own site, right?), find blurbs for your book cover if you don't have any yet, and just generally spread the word about your book.

But first, you need to know what to look for and where to go online to find reviewers.

1. Google is your friend

You can always start with Google and type in your “genre” + “book reviews” to start building your list; or, if you are familiar with books already published that are in your genre you can type in the “book title” + “book reviews” in order to discover reviewers who have reviewed similar material and might therefore be open to reviewing your book. When doing these searches, be prepared to do some serious groundwork, however – you'll need to visit each of these sites not only to collect contact information but to learn about the blogger and his or her site. You'll want to make sure they're still accepting review requests, see the genres they typically review and get a general feel for the blog and its tone and whether you feel it fits you.

2. Use the free tools

If you can, download Google's free toolbar which includes the Google Page Rank (GPR) algorithm. This is a useful tool for determining the “weight” of a given site; the higher the rank (from 0-10), the more important Google deems the site. What you want to try to do is find the most active people who review in your genre. A rank of 3 is very good for a review blog; although that doesn't mean you should discard anything below a GPR of 3. You should also read the blog and get a sense of whether the blog attracts readers; one sure sign of this is the fact that there are comments following the blog posts. Certain factors don't weigh as heavily – for instance, many blogs have Google subscribers, but this number can be misleading as those who join have to sign up to do so. There are many regular blog readers who simply won't take the time to sign up, so the number of Google subscribers may not mean much. You'll also want to see if the blogger is active on sites like Twitter and Facebook; if so, then the books they review are most likely posted to those popular social networking sites, which is great additional exposure for you and your book.

3. Read the fine print

In addition, most bloggers post their blog policies and genre/publishing preferences – it's important to read their policies in order to understand what they review, preferred genres, whether they'll consider self-published books and how long they may need to review your book. Here's a great example of a review policy: If you're working on a tight timeframe and they indicate it could take 6 months to get to your book, well... you probably won't pitch them. Then again, if your book is in a small niche and this blogger and site seem perfect for you, a longer wait might be worthwhile. Many authors do not read the review policies before pitching bloggers, which is a bad idea. This information is readily available and there for a reason. Also, never send attachments via email but DO send links: to your author bio, photo, press release, books blurbs and book excerpts. These should all be on your website, and including them in your pitch is a great way to make it easy for prospective reviewers to learn about you and your book.

4. Reviews versus blog tour considerations

There is a difference between pitching for reviews versus seeking a blog tour. Requesting reviews could lead to coverage at any time, really, unless you work out a timeframe with the reviewer, but each situation is handled separately. A blog tour is typically coverage of your book by a certain number of bloggers within a given timeframe – a week, two weeks, a month. Blog tours can consist of reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways – there are many options. But before you seek bloggers to fill your tour dates figure out in advance what you'd like to do, how long you'd like to do the tour (so you know how many bloggers you'll need) and if you can't prepare guest posts in advance at least have some topics ready to present. Some bloggers love blog tours, others don't want any part of it. Your research will uncover the best prospects to pitch; just give yourself plenty of advance time to set up your tour. Bloggers are busy so you may find a certain number must decline due to other commitments and you'll need to seek others in their place.

5. Be thorough

The key is to do your homework – research the blog, the blogger and learn the things that matter, such as the blogger's name, contact information and preferred genres so you can send a professional, personalized pitch. If your genre is a natural fit for them it's a fact you can use in your pitch by indicating that your book is similar to other books they've reviewed (and provide examples). Also become familiar with their style – some bloggers tend to emphasize the positive and if they can't say anything nice, they may decline to review the book. Others prefer to be honest (brutally) if need be. Some bloggers are not afraid to tear and book and its author apart and are quite merciless in their approach. You need to know this before you pitch and be honest with yourself – look at the tone of the blog as ask yourself how you'd feel having your book reviewed the same way. If you can't handle it, don't do it. There are hundreds of blogs out there and there's room for you to decide that a certain blog or blogs don't work for you.

6. Free versus paid

One final note regarding paid reviews or tours. There are some review sites that charge for reviews claiming that they must compensate their reviewers for their time. There are sites that will charge you for a blog tour. They do not do anything you can't do yourself – research and identify bloggers, pitch, schedule, send books – so let the buyer beware, as the saying goes. You may be much better off going the free route in the book blogosphere where hundreds of bloggers connect with each other daily and work hard to provide as much exposure as they can for each book.

7. You do know best

Don't be afraid to trust your gut, either. You might find a gem of a blog that has a low Google Page Rank, but it's a nice-looking site, well written, has regular commenters and basically demonstrates a commitment to reviewing books – if you like what you see don't sweat the statistics, make a pitch! There are things you can do to boost your reviews such as posting your reviews on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, and those techniques will help you gain even wider exposure for that review. Once you find blogs you like, you can also look at their blogrolls for additional blogs to check out – often bloggers who like similar books list each other on their blogrolls.

Additional resources

Looking for sites to pitch? Here are some great and useful lists:

* Book Reviewers on the Web – this list includes industry standards, literary blogs, off the beaten track blogs and the more opinion-driven book bloggers,

* Midwest Book Review – a listing of a number of sites to check out,

* Best of the Web blogs – blog listing with a description of each blog listed,

* YA Book Blog Directory – bloggers who specialize in Young Adult books,

* Kidlitosphere Central – bloggers in Children's and Young Adult Literature,

* Book Blog Directory – a large list of blogs followed by a brief description,

* FSB – search by genre(s) for bloggers,

* Book Blogs Search – a huge listing of blogs,

* Things to know about Blog Book Tours -

Paula Krapf is Chief Operating Officer of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a marketing and publicity firm that specializes in Internet promotion, strategically working with social networking sites, blogs, micro-blogs, ezines, video sites, and other relevant sites to push an author's message into the virtual community and connect with sites related to the book's topic, positioning the author in his or her market. In the past 15 months their creative marketing strategies have helped land 10 books on the New York Times Bestseller list. Get free tips from our blog, and our biweekly newsletter Book Marketing Expert, You can find Paula on Twitter:

Monday, October 25, 2010

How Blogging Benefits You As An Author

How Blogging Benefits You As An Author

How Blogging Benefits You As An Author

By Charles Jacobs

As a writer planning to blog, your first decision is whether you want to write about the topic covered in your most recent book or about the process of writing and publishing a book. Or possibly both. Both are subjects you should know well.
The option is yours. You can always mount two blogs. Or better yet, combine the two subjects in a single blog. Either way, you must be certain that you have the time to keep them updated. That's crucial. A blog requires continuous fresh information or commentary to keep readers coming back. Allow your blog to become stale, and you will see a speedy exodus of visitors.
You certainly don't have to feel restricted to the two subjects I mentioned above. I picked them because you're a writer, but you have the option to select any topic you wish to concentrate on. However, that topic should in some way relate back to your book. After-all, your reason for embarking on this blogging gig was to hype and sell your book.
Content Rules
The prime consideration as you sit down to plan each edition is to remember that this site is not an advertisement for your book. Not even an advertorial. To be effective, a blog must offer solid content. It is an informational resource; not a promotional vehicle to sell your book or boost your vanity. The days of mental meanderings about personal issues that characterized the early stage of the blogosphere just won't cut it any longer. Leave those messages to Twitter.
The ideal blog serves as a treasure chest of information on a subject the reader wants or needs. Consequently, it is imperative to keep it updated with fresh material on a regular basis. I suggest that updates be made at least every week and more frequently if possible. Archiving earlier issues is important too. This gives your visitors the opportunity to research back to find the information they need which may be contained in a previous blog that you posted.
Starting Your Blog
There's little risk to developing your own blog. If money is a concern, you can find free sites on the Internet to assist you in building it. If you are unsure whether or not you can sustain a blog with its demanding updates, create a chart of 25 or so subtopics that you can write about within the overall subject to which you plan to dedicate your blog. That will assure you of substance for at least 25 weeks of posting as you get into the swing of blogging on a regular basis.
By entering "Creating a blog" in your favorite search engine, you'll find an assortment of free design sites that will lead you step-by-step through the process. One of the most popular is, a product of Google, but you will find others as well. For those who want a more sophisticated blog with a design that is unique to them, most website designers also prepare customized blogs. Search the Internet for them, and check out their galleries of websites to find the best.
The designer's function is to create the shell into which you can easily drop copy whenever you prepare a new post. The prices range widely. They are based on the designer's experience and expertise.
Your Blog Is Your Signature
A visit to your blog is the closest contact most readers will ever have with you. They will judge you and your work by the quality of the blog. A well executed blog will boost sales of your book and contribute to building your reputation as an expert in the field you choose to write about.
Two major factors will form each blog visitor's opinion. The overall impression of the site-its cleanliness, neatness, excitement-will tell the reader a great deal about you. The quality of the content you place on the blog will bring him/her back again and again and will serve as an invitation to read articles you write, visit your website and perhaps buy your book.
Taking Full Advantage of the Blogosphere
Using the blogging world to your greatest advantage includes reaching out beyond your own site and placing material on the sites of other popular bloggers. This can be done by either posting comments to the content on the other blog or by actually offering content to a fellow blogger.
You have a distinct advantage in placing your copy elsewhere because bloggers function as a close-knit community and are usually quite welcoming of submissions by fellow bloggers. This is a carry-over from the early days of blogging. As a newcomer to the communications world, blogging was disparaged by other journalists and looked upon as an amateurish, often narcissistic form of writing. That has changed dramatically today, but the sense of camaraderie between bloggers remains strong.
Stick to a Schedule
It is essential to stick strictly to a regular schedule of posting, as I stated above. This doesn't mean you suddenly have to devote your life to blogging. If you devote 10 to 12 hours a week to creating your own posts and supplementing them with comments on other blogs, you can enjoy a great deal of success and build a sizeable following. You'll gain great satisfaction and have a good deal of fun as well. So join the thousands upon thousands of your fellow writers who have discovered this marvelous tool for harnessing the promotional power of the Internet.
View more than 60 free, informative articles by author and editor Charles Jacobs. Click on to his new website Click on "Library" to discover this world of information to help you write, publish and promote better. Read Charles' widely-heralded book "The Writer Within You," named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR seven times and a gold and bronze medal winner.

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Most Popular Posts of the Week

Here are the most popular posts of the week, according to the number of readers.  If you missed any of these, here is your chance to catch up on your reading!

What Authors Can Learn About Book Marketing from Rapper Jay-Z

How Do Books Get Stocked in Bookstores?

How to Announce Your Book By Email

What's It REALLY Like to be a New York Times Bestseller?

Interview With NYT Bestselling Author Suzy Spencer

Friday, October 22, 2010

What Authors Can Learn About Book Marketing From Rapper Jay-Z

Jay-Z is a well-known rap mogul, but if the marketing plan for his book pans out he will also be known as a best-selling author.

The marketing plan for Jay-Z's upcoming book "DeCoded" is certainly outside the box.  It consists of a scavenger hunt, with pages of the book hidden in plain site, like billboards, while others require a bit of searching, like inside of a jacket in a store display window.

Perhaps the best part of Jay-Z's plan is that both he and his publisher are not paying for it, at least not the majority of it.  That's being covered by the search engine Bing and the broadcasting company Clear Channel.  The scavenger hunt is a means for Bing and Clear Channel to advertise and get people to use their services.  The estimated cost of the scavenger hunt marketing plan for Jay-Z's book is well into seven figures.  Of course, it helps that Jay-Z has a ready-made audience of rap fans.

So, you aren't a rap star.  What can you take away from Jay-Z's marketing plan for his book?

1.  You don't have to market your book alone.  You can partner with another person or business to get your book out to the public.  Terry Johnson, author of "Cardinal Fever" arranged for the minor-league Springfield Cardinals baseball team to buy 1,000 copies of his book and give them away at one of their games.  Partnering like this allows the author to advertise their book and have someone else pick up the cost.

2.  Unusual marketing plans get people talking about the book.  I'm writing about about Jay-Z's book right  now in this blog, and the story has been picked up by numerous media outlets, including MTV News.  That's great exposure for a book.

3.  You can try new and different things.  Book marketing doesn't just have to be book signing events and media interviews.  With the Internet, authors can do unusual things that just might get them noticed.  One author auctioned off the names of characters in one of their books.  People could bid to have a character named after them in the book.  The author donated the proceeds to charity.  It also grabbed attention for the book.  Marketing a book doesn't necessarily have to cost you money, and depending upon the idea, can even make you money.

What unusual things have you done to create a buzz about your book prior to its release date?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Guest Post: How to Announce Your Book With E-Mail

How to Announce Your Book With E-Mail

How to Announce Your Book With E-Mail

By Sandra Beckwith

What's the best way to announce your book via e-mail?
I've received quite a few book announcement e-mails lately, including some that were trying to achieve "Amazon best-seller" status. Sadly, most of the messages were not very compelling. More often than not, they were self-congratulatory ("I've achieved my dream!") or self-serving ("If you buy my book on Amazon at 11 a.m. tomorrow morning, my book might become a best-seller!"). Some were brief: "My new book is out. Here's a link where you can buy it." Others were rambling. None of them told me why I'd want to buy the book - what was in it for me, the reader.
I don't want you to repeat the mistakes I keep seeing in my inbox, so I'm sharing seven tips that will help authors with any level of marketing experience write a book announcement e-mail message that isn't obnoxious, annoying, offensive, or downright sad:
  1. Start with the text from your back book cover. It should tell us why we will want to buy your book, right? You might need to massage it to make it more personal, since e-mail is such an informal means of communicating.
  2. It's not about you. It's about the person you're writing to. Tell me what your book will do for me. Will it educate, inform, entertain, enlighten? What's in it for me? How will your book improve my world, help me improve someone else's world, or help me forget about my world?
  3. Include a link where we can purchase the book. Seriously - you'd be surprised at how many messages omit this.
  4. Forget the "help me make my book an Amazon best-seller" plea. Unless you are my total BFF, I don't care if your book is a best-seller. All I want to know is whether I'll like or need your book or whether I know someone else who would like it. If you feel compelled to be focused on that best-seller-for-five-minutes-on-Amazon plan, at least share information about your book, too.
  5. Don't come on too strong. You might suggest that it makes a nice gift, but don't tell me that I "should" buy it for everybody on my holiday gift list.
  6. Ask me to share your news with my networks. If I know people who will want to know about your book, I'll help spread the word. But sometimes I need to be reminded.
  7. Remember that the quality of your announcement reflects the quality of your book, so make it as high-quality as you can. I received one this week that looked like a ransom note, with multiple fonts and sizes. And I know this wasn't what the author intended. You don't need to have a professionally designed, all-HTML'd-up message, but you do want something that reflects the quality of your book.
Send your announcement to as large a list as you can assemble, remembering that some people will be more interested in this news than others. And some are just naturally better at sharing and forwarding. And whatever you do, make this just the starting point for your book launch. There's lots more you could - and "should" - be doing.
Sandra Beckwith, the author of two publicity books, teaches a popular publicity e-course for authors. Sign up for her free book publicity e-zine at

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