How to Create a Pen Name

Having a difficult time selecting a pen name? Try these random name generators. You may get some inspiration from some of these and it’s fun to see what they come up with.

By: Scott Lorenz

Westwind Book Marketing

A rich tradition has existed for hundreds of years for fiction writers to use pen names. PEN NAME vs Real NameYou may be surprised to learn that some authors have more than 10 pen names. Here’s why pen names have been and continue to be widely used: Many authors believe that their name can affect how their audience sees them and even affect their book sales.

 

One of the most famous pen names, of course, was Samuel Clemens who wrote under the name Mark Twain. Another well-known one is Lewis Carroll, which was used by Alice in Wonderland’s author, Charles Dodgdon. He gained a considerable reputation as a mathematician and didn’t want to create confusion by writing fiction under his real name.

 

Nora Roberts, is a pen name used by Eleanor Marie Roberts. Nora Roberts’ name has regularly appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List since 1999. Since her first best seller in 1991, Nora’s books have spent 1,045 weeks on the Best Seller List. Believe it or not, that’s equivalent to 20 consecutive years of weekly bestsellers.

 

In 1992, Putnam Publishers asked Nora Roberts to come up with a second pen name because they could not keep up with the prolific writer’s romance novels let alone the new genre of romance suspense novels she wanted to write. So she took the initials J.D. from sons Jason and Dan and shortened Roberts to Robb. She also has written under the pen names Jill March and Sara Hardesty.

Whether you call it a pen name, pseudonym, non de plume, alias or AKA, you are creating a new persona that’ll need care and feeding!  Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

One of my book marketing clients served as a Navy Seal in the Iraq War and then returned to write a book about his war experiences.  To protect his personal safety and maintain security for his family, my client wrote under the pen name Chuck Bravedy.  The author was concerned that extremists living in America would be offended and angered by his controversial book and come after him or his family.

 

The fact that Bravedy’s name was “not in the phone book” raised some attention from the Pentagon who called me to inquire about Chuck Bravedy because they did not have his name in their files. The Pentagon was concerned because they want to keep phonies from impersonating military officials.

 

Since the publishers of JK Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, were unsure if the preteen boys that she was targeting would accept wizard stories that were written by a woman, they encouraged her to use her initials instead of her real name, which is Joanne Rowling. The “K’ in JK came from her grandmother’s name Kathleen and she’s been known as JK Rowling ever since.

 

Known as one of the most famous comic book writers in the world, Stan Lee’s real name is Stanley Martin Lieber. He initially decided to publish under Stan Lee because he thought he would eventually transition to more serious work and wanted to use his real name when and if that time came. Once he realized that he was destined to stay a comic book writer, he legally changed his name to Stan Lee.

 

If you’ve ever read the popular children’s series, A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Wrong Questions, you probably know that the author is Lemony Snicket. Believe it or not, his real name is Daniel Handler. He decided to go with Lemony Snicket because he wanted to anonymously contact right-wing organizations. Handler first came up with the Lemony Snicket pen name while doing research for his first novel, The Basic Eight. He needed to contact right-wing organizations for the book, but he didn’t want to give them his real name. So he called himself “Lemony Snicket,” and the moniker stuck.

 

One client I represented, who asked my advice about using a pen name, was a former CIA operative. He was concerned about the impact a pen name would have on promoting his book. He wondered whether radio and TV interviewers would be willing to use the pen name during an interview or would insist on using his birth name.

 

Some CIA friends of my client also had published books and used their real names without problems. To cover his bases while he decided, the former CIA officer went ahead and registered web domains under his real name and under his pen name. After talking with him about the options, my client decided to use his real name.

 

I also have represented authors who used a pen name because they had a past they were not proud of and wanted to protect their family members and loved ones from public embarrassment.

 

From a marketing standpoint if your real-life identify is associated with a business and you want the book to promote your business or vice versa, then a pen name should not be used. But if you have success, and don’t want that success threatened by pursuing an avocation of writing, then a pen name would be in order. Pen names may create marketing challenges, most of which can be overcome, and so the marketing implications need to be examined before publishing.

 

Reasons for using a pen name include

 

  • To avoid embarrassment
  • For personal safety or security
  • If you write under more than one genre
  • If your name is hard to pronounce or spell
  • If your name is not marketable
  • If your name conflicts with the name of another author
  • To hide gender (a male writing in the predominantly female genre)
  • To avoid confusing readers if you are well known in another field

 

If you want to hide from the public and from people you work with or worked with, etc., then a pen name is fine. But, if it’s not important, why bother? So, my vote is to use your own name. Here are just a few points to ponder.

 

  • Use real name if you are not trying to hide from anyone.
  • Use a real name to brand your name for speaking gigs or consulting assignments
  • Use real name if you are planning to write a series of books
  • Use real name so acquaintances can better locate your published works
  • A real name builds trust and confidence amongst readers
  • It’s far easier to brand a real name than a pen name
  • Expertise is validated by an individual’s real-life experience
  • Long-term loyalty with readers is easier to build with a real name

 

Here’s some interesting information I’ve obtained from librarians and employees at book stores. Is there a popular author whose work is similar to yours?  Why not select a pen name beginning with the same letter as that author’s name? Since most books are filed by genre and then the author’s last name, selecting a pen name with the same letter puts you in close proximity to their books.

 

Someone searching for that author could ‘stumble’ upon your book and decide to take a look. Radio stations have done it for years by selecting their location on the ‘dial’ nearby other highly rated stations so they could benefit from the proximity of that popular station. Crafty? Perhaps but do you want to sell books or not?

 

Having a difficult time selecting a pen name? Try these random name generators. You may get some inspiration from some of these and it’s fun to see what they come up with.

  1. http://generator.chucklehound.com
  2. https://anadea.info/tools/online-business-name-generator
  3. https://www.dotomator.com/
  4. http://www.naming.net/
  5. https://www.shopify.com/tools/business-name-generator
  6. https://namestation.com/
  7. https://namesmith.io/
  8. https://www.namemesh.com
  9. https://businessnamegenerator.com/
  10. https://www.netsubstance.com/

 

 

The Bottom Line: If you want to brand your name for speaking gigs or for consulting engagements then use your own name. If you plan to write in multiple genres or are concerned about safety and privacy then get a pen name.

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Book Publicity Who Needs It? 127 Reasons to Go Get It!

By Scott Lorenz  Westwind Communications

Book publicity can change an author’s life. Don’t put off the most important part of publishing a book. Book marketing costs money but obscurity costs more!

Authors will often wonder what book publicity is all about and ask me about the benefits of marketing their book. Here’s a list of 127 reasons authors should seek out book publicity.

Book Publicity who Needs it 7-19

  1. An agent will ‘discover’ your book and offer to represent you.
  2. Publicity is Free. Advertising costs money.
  3. Your book marketing will spark ideas for new offerings.
  4. You’ll get good (WOM) word of mouth advertising.
  5. You’ll become the go-to author the media seeks out.
  6. You’ll get new business because of all the publicity.
  7. You’ll create positive energy generating more good book ideas while book marketing
  8. Book publicity success will lead to loyal employees.
  9. You’ll be a more driven, optimistic, and secure author.
  10. Other authors will be blown away by your book publicity.
  11. Book publicity will pay off because you’ll be able to work less.
  12. Your book will inspire you to create another product or service.
  13. Well-known TV shows will reach out to you because they’ve ‘heard of you.’
  14. Readers will become loyal to you and demand you write more!
  15. Demand for your services allow you to raise your prices.
  16. Third party media endorsements will result in new business, speaking engagements.
  17. Media stories about you will help your website show up first on internet searches.
  18. Celebrities will be reaching out to you to learn more about your book.
  19. Those who previously never paid attention to your book want to be your friend.
  20. Random strangers come up to you and remember you as an author they saw on TV.
  21. Your Amazon.com orders will skyrocket.
  22. Your book publicity will help you create a name for yourself in politics.
  23. New found ‘fans’ will ask you for your autograph.
  24. Your book promotion will turn into sales.
  25. The online ads for your books will lead to sales and consulting deals.
  26. You’ll get more inquiries for your business or practice.
  27. Your book marketing will spread across the Internet
  28. Your employees will be proud of working with you.
  29. Legislation that you initiate or inspire gets enacted.
  30. When the economy gets tough, your book will keep you thriving.
  31. You’ll be invited to prestigious events
  32. Customers will gladly buy your book.
  33. Book buyers will ask for your book in stores.
  34. You can charge a higher price for your books
  35. Since people are pre-sold about you and your book they’re predisposed to work with you.
  36. Book publicity is more credible and therefore more believable than a paid ad.
  37. Media outlets will reach out and offer your book more free publicity.
  38. You may have the opportunity to write a syndicated column about your book
  39. You may get paid keynote speaking engagements.
  40. Book deals will come to you.
  41. Your book will be purchased by a major company for promotional purposes
  42. Your compensation as an author will grow over time.
  43. Book publicity will help you become well-known in your specialty.
  44. You’ll get your own TV or Radio show.
  45. Those who were skeptical about your book now own it.
  46. Big-name media outlets will feature your book.
  47. You’ll make $$$ speaking about your book.
  48. Your book publicity will help you brand yourself.
  49. Major magazines will feature you and your book on their front covers.
  50. Your book will become so popular that it’ll be time for you to host a radio show.
  51. Framed articles about you and your book will decorate your office
  52. Articles about you and your book will get shared all over Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter etc.
  53. Well-known personalities will endorse YOU!
  54. Your book promotion will pay off because you’ll buy your dream home.
  55. Your writing techniques will be taught at schools globally.
  56. Your book will create a business big enough to franchise.
  57. People will be inspired and positively impacted by your book.
  58. Significant mistakes will be prevented thanks to your work as an author.
  59. Issues you discuss during your book publicity will be taken seriously.
  60. Those who appreciate you and your book want to be in your company.
  61. Lots of money will come your way when you act as a celebrity endorser.
  62. You’ll make money when ideas from you book are licensed.
  63. Book groupies will follow all of your public appearances.
  64. You’ll be flooded with bulk book orders by organizations who love what your book.
  65. Your message becomes part of the lexicon of the language.
  66. Major stores will want to sell your book to their customers.
  67. You’ll get discounts from those who are interested in a business opportunity.
  68. Promoting your books to international markets will be possible.
  69. Your book promotion will motivate others to pursue their dreams.
  70. The cause outlined in your book will receive grant money from foundations
  71. Your family will admire your achievements and be inspired by your success
  72. Your children will be inspired by your success.
  73. Your closest friends will proudly brag about your book
  74. Book promotion will be more fun than you think!
  75. Once your book publicity efforts pay off, you’ll enjoy greater self-esteem.
  76. Your book publicity success will inspire you to take better care of yourself
  77. Others will view you as an author and expert.
  78. You’ll have an edge over your competitors
  79. Your customers will see your book solidifying a positive image.
  80. Investing opportunities will come to you from venture capital companies.
  81. Your success as an author will attract experts to help you.
  82. People will take your advice to heart.
  83. Your love life will improve as a result of the fame your book publicity has brought you.
  84. Your name will be in the databases of TV & Radio producers and journalists.
  85. Your book publicity will earn you various awards and nominations.
  86. Your legacy will be as a successful author.
  87. Other authors will covet your level of success.
  88. Your book will be at the front and center at indie and big box bookstores.
  89. A commencement speech at your alma mater will be offered to you.
  90. Those who once looked down upon you as an author will now see you everywhere.
  91. Other people will become passionate about the cause your book revolves around.
  92. The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and The New York Times name your book a BESTSELLER.
  93. You’ll make more memories with your loved ones.
  94. You’ll be a media darling and will be recommended as a “Great Interview.”
  95. Your book publicity will connect you to people you would’ve never crossed paths with.
  96. Your success as an author will give you more faith in yourself.
  97. Your book publicity will lead you to earn an honorary doctorate degree.
  98. Your debts will disappear thanks to the great results of your book marketing.
  99. You’ll be outlived by the legacy you leave as one of the greatest authors.
  100. You’ll get a ‘command’ performance by the President of The United States.
  101. An early and wealthy retirement will be your option.
  102. Words you invent for your book become household terms.
  103. Your success as an author will allow you to achieve even more than you ever thought.
  104. Your book could be turned into a movie.
  105. You could get a deal to collaborate on a new book with a well-known author.
  106. Your book will win awards at major book festivals.
  107. You’ll be asked to sit on a panel of expert authors at writer’s conferences.
  108. Your book will be required reading at universities worldwide.
  109. People will buy your book to send to their Congressman.
  110. A book award will be named after you and your book.
  111. Your book will attract a global audience.
  112. Young children will look up to your success as an author.
  113. Aspiring authors will consider you their role model.
  114. Traveling the world and marketing a book will become your reality.
  115. Millions of people will follow you on Twitter.
  116. Cruise ships will be calling you talk about your book.
  117. The dream life of fame and fortune will now be yours.
  118. Once you’re famous and don’t need it, Banks will want to loan you money.
  119. A TV producer will want to collaborate on a new series on your book.
  120. Your side of the story will be told to the public thus helping your lawsuit.
  121. The U.S. Senate will ask you to testify about issues in your book.
  122. New laws will be passed as a result of your book.
  123. Book publicity is like a drug, the more you get the more you’ll want.
  124. Your book publicist will work for free… (Ok that’s not happening!)
  125. Marketing a book will become second nature to you.
  126. You’ll accomplish what you’ve always wanted to do i.e. make money & get a movie deal.
  127. The more book publicity you get the more publicity YOU’LL GET!

The Bottom Line:  Book publicity can change an author’s life. Don’t put off the most important part of publishing a book. Book marketing costs money but obscurity costs more!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

 

 

45 Top Book Awards for Authors in 2019

Book Awards for Authors

I followed Scott’s advice. It worked! To my complete surprise, Beautiful Evil Winter earned a bouquet of book awards, including a highly coveted Eric Hoffer Award and a Readers’ Favorite award.

Enter Book Award Contests and Become an Award Winning Author in 2019!

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

“Do book awards matter?”  YES!!

As a book publicist, I can assure you they absolutely do matter! One client won several awards and was contacted by two movie producers about her Young Adult Sci-Fi Fantasy Fiction novel.  Another one of my clients won the prestigious Los Angeles Book Festival award. That then led to a flurry of media interest, which subsequently led to a major New York agent deciding to represent the book and pitch it to all the major publishing houses. This author, needless to say, was happy he decided to enter.

You win awards you sell more products.  Jeff Bezos, CEO Amazon

Jeff Bezos at the 2016 Code Conference

Jeff Bezos at the 2016 Code Conference (Photo news.techniblogic.com

Not long ago, a business book client won a major award which caused CNN to reach out to request the book.

Most recently a major childrens’ TV show contacted me and asked to review a book after they received my press release about the ‘honorable mention’ my client’s children’s book received.

I could go on and on with examples of how pursuing and winning book awards will give you opportunities to reach out to the media, booksellers, and agents. As a book publicist, I see the media perk up when an author client has received an award. It’s the added credibility that gives them the assurance that the book is worthwhile. It takes the risk out of the equation for the producer or reporter if it’s an ‘award-winning’ book.

Awards also create interest in your book, which can lead to more sales and other opportunities.  A book award may cause someone to stop in their tracks and consider picking up your book in a bookstore.  A book award can give you an edge and sometimes that’s all the difference you need to propel your book into bestseller territory. If you win you can say you are an “award-winning author.” Doesn’t that sound better? Of course, it does, and you get a little magic that comes from a third party endorsement because an authority says your work is worthy, and that’s priceless.

Most awards charge a fee to enter. Not all awards have a category for your genre and not all of these will work for every book.

Here’s a list of my Top 45 book awards worthy of your consideration. Keep in mind that links change all the time and contests come and go. Some links are for the previous year because that’s all that was available at the time of this writing.

  1. Check out the National Book Critics Circle Awards http://www.bookcritics.org/calendar/events/paul-beatty-and-joan-silber-with-introductions-by-jane-ciabattari-and-moder

 

  1. Entering IndieFab Awards should definitely be on your literary to-do list. https://publishers.forewordreviews.com/awards/

 

  1. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction boasts that the prize is the world’s most important literary award. Entry Forms are due in March and Finished Books are due in June. http://themanbookerprize.com/fiction

 

  1. Find out how your book can earn a Hugo Award and check out science fiction’s most prestigious award details http://www.thehugoawards.org/about/

 

  1. Strive to be nominated and win the Nobel Prize in literature. Who can nominate? Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges to name a few. (Another reason it pays to keep the ties to your alma mater!) http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/nomination

 

  1. See how to submit your book for The Edgar Allan Poe Award, “The Edgar.” http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=Edgars-Info

 

  1. The Pulitzer Prize will reopen for new entries in December 2019. http://www.pulitzer.org/how_to_enter

 

  1. FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. http://www.ft.com/intl/management/business-book-award

 

  1. The National Book Award by the National Book Foundation. Learn how to submit your book here http://www.nationalbook.org/nbaentry.html

 

  1. Enter Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards. Don’t miss this important e-book only award. http://globalebookawards.com/

 

  1. The Deadline for the Autumn House Press award for poetry, fiction and non-fiction is late June. Check it out here https://www.autumnhouse.org/submissions/

 

  1. Poets & Writers has nice list of writing contest, grants and awards. Check it out at: http://www.pw.org/grants

 

  1. Enter to win the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Click for more details http://www.pen-ne.org/hemingway-foundationpen-award/

 

  1. Find out how to make it on the Indie Next List to win an Indies Choice Book Award http://www.bookweb.org/indiebound/nextlist/view

 

  1. Get your book recommended for The Discover Great New Writers award http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/for_publishers/discover_program/discover_program.html

 

  1. The Nautilus Book Award seeks books that make a difference and inspire. http://www.nautilusbookawards.com/

 

  1. Here’s a service where you can enter several book festivals at the same time for about $50 per festival. This is absolutely the best idea. I’ve used this several times. One entry form, one payment, two books, ten plus book awards spread out over a year. Just do it. http://bookfestivals.com/multiple-entry-form/

 

  1. The National Indie Excellence Book Awards competition selects award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in dozens of categories. Created especially for indie and self-published authors. Deadline is March 2019. http://www.indieexcellence.com

 

  1. Have you written a business book? The Axiom Business Book Awards celebrate excellence in business book writing and publishing by presenting gold, silver and bronze medals in 20 business categories. http://www.axiomawards.com/66/how-to-enter

 

20. The non-profit Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards are now in their third decade of awarding excellence in book publishing in 55 categories. All entrants receive direct judge feedback–unique in the industry. http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/

 

  1. USA Best Book Awards has a ten-year plus track record of honoring and promoting books to the national and international community. The contest is sponsored by American Book Fest, which focuses on mainstream, independent, and self-published books. http://www.americanbookfest.com/2019bestbookawards.html

 

  1. Reader Views Annual Literary Awards were established to honor writers who self-publish or who were published by small presses or independent publishers. http://readerviews.com/literaryawards/

 

  1. Amazon Kindle Scout. Submit your new, never-before-published, English-language book of 50,000 words or more to Kindle Scout and be considered for a publishing contract with Kindle Press in 45 days or less. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/help?topicId=AP72QR5GUKEQS

 

  1. Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the only self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. One winning entry will receive $8,000 with nine first-place winners who’ll receive $1,000 each. Early Bird deadline is April 1, 2019. http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/selfpublished

 

  1. Readers’ Favorite Awards receives submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants like HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times best-selling authors. https://readersfavorite.com/book-reviews.htm

 

  1. Romance Writer of America promotes the interests of career-focused romance writers by sponsoring awards that acknowledge excellence in the romance genre. RWA sponsors: “The RITA” for published romance fiction novels and “The Golden Heart” for unpublished romance fiction manuscripts. https://www.rwa.org/Online/Awards/Online/Awards/Awards.aspx?hkey=36720e5f-ac35-40e6-8311-22d3816567ad

 

  1. Epic eBook Awards by The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition (EPIC) annually recognizes the best ebooks in many categories. (Books may also have been be released in print editions.) The awards were previously known as the “Eppies” http://www.epicorg.com

 

  1. Rubery Book Award is the longest established book award based in the UK for independent and self-published books. “The key to our success is having a keen eye for quality from distinguished and reputable judges.” First prize is $1,500 and the winning book will be read by a top literary agent. http://www.ruberybookaward.com/

 

  1. The Eric Hoffer Award for independent books recognizes excellence in publishing with a $2,500 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions. To enter, a book must be from an academic press, small press or self-published author. http://www.hofferaward.com/

 

  1. Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Thousands of dollars in prize money. Finalists and Winners receive a list in the Next Generation Indie Book Catalog distributed to thousands of book buyers, media and others. Plus the top 70 books will be reviewed by a top New York Literary agent for possible representation. http://www.indiebookawards.com/awards.php

 

  1. The International Book Awards (IBA) are specifically designed to be a promotional vehicle for authors and publishers to launch their careers, open global markets and compete with talented authors and publishers throughout the world. Winners get an extensive public relations campaign, social media promotion and more. http://www.internationalbookawards.com/

 

  1. The Literary Classics Book Awards and Reviews were created to help authors gain recognition for their work and to help parents find the best in literature for children and young adults. http://www.clcawards.org

 

  1. The Scotiabank Giller Prize. A $100,000 grand prize and $10K (CDN) to each of the finalists. To be eligible, a book must be a first-edition, full-length novel or short story collection, written by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada. The publisher must enter. Sorry, no self-published books. http://www.scotiabankgillerprize.ca/

 

  1. The Digital Book Awards celebrate quality and innovation in digital content. Each year, award winners and finalists in fifteen categories illustrate the cutting edge of digital publishing, showcasing creative approaches to design, technology integration and e-reading experiences. http://digitalbookworldconference.com

 

  1. The Feathered Quill Book Awards accept submissions from all size publishers and work very hard to honor and publicize the winners (there’s a link to a testimonial page on the awards page – read what past winners have to say). https://featheredquill.com/feathered-quill-book-awards/

 

  1. Shelf Unbound Magazine’s Best Indie/Self-Published Book Competition honors more than 100 indie/self-published books. In addition to $1,500 in cash prizes, they’ll feature the winner, five finalists, and more than 100 “notable” books in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound. Any independently published book in any genre in any publication year is eligible for entry. Entry fee is $100 per book. The competition also includes the Pete Delohery Award for Best Sports Book, open to fiction and non-fiction sports-related books. http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/competition.html

 

  1. Chanticleer International Book Awards — Grand prize winner receives $1,000 cash plus other awards. More than $30,000 cash and prizes awarded each year. 15 genres including the CYGNUS for SciFiction, M&M for Mystery & Mayhem, Somerset for Literary, etc.  http://www.ChanticleerReviews.com  Several of our winners have received major publishing deals (6 figures) and two have had their works optioned for film.

 

  1. The Royal Dragonfly (all genres) and Purple Dragonfly (children’s books) Book Awards are prestigious national book contests recognizing exceptional authors for excellence in writing and a Story Monsters Approved! (children’s books) book must inspire, inform, teach or entertain, and adhere to rigorous standards of excellence. https://www.dragonflybookawards.com

 

  1. The Kirkus Prize is one of the richest literary awards in the world, with a prize of $50,000 bestowed annually to authors of fiction, nonfiction and young readers’ literature. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/prize

 

  1. The Independent Author Network IAN Book of the Year Awards, an international contest open to all authors with 35 fiction and non-fiction categories. Winners are eligible to receive a share of cash prizes exceeding $6,000 USD. An Outstanding Book (category winner) will be awarded in each category with recognition of Finalists. Six outstanding titles will be named the Books of the Year. Winning books will be shared at the IAN Facebook page with over 120,000 fans and 575,000 followers at twitter. http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/book-of-the-year.html

 

  1. The Chautauqua Prize for authors is $7,500 plus travel and expense for a short summer residency. Full-length books of fiction and narrative/literary nonfiction are eligible. Self-published books are not eligible. In general, cookbooks, self-help books (including inspirational literature), reference books, picture books, graphic novels, or children’s books are not eligible. http://chq.org/general-information

 

  1. Mom’s Choice Awards® is recognized in over 55 countries around the world for setting the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. If you have a children’s book or family-friendly book then this is a terrific award to pursue. https://www.momschoiceawards.com

 

43. Book Excellence Awards – With over $30,000 in grand prizes in media and        marketing services, the Book Excellence Awards has helped honorees increase their book sales, garner attention from film producers, receive distribution in book stores and increased their visibility and media attention. https://www.bookexcellenceawards.com

 

44. Established in 2013, the Beverly Hills Book Awards® competition is judged by experts from all aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book designers and professional copywriters. Contest winners and finalists are determined based on “overall excellence of presentation – a synergy of form and content” over a wide range of genres. They accept fiction and non-fiction books in a wide range of topics and categories including mystery, romance, business, self-help, memoirs, inspiration, and many more.  http://www.beverlyhillsbookawards.com/

 

45. Lucy McCarraher is on a mission to get more women to write and publish
their business books. Check out the Business Book Awards (deadline 31st December 2019) Aspiring women authors can find out more at: http://www.abookofonesown.co.uk/challenge.

Author Kelly K. Lavender read this very article about the value of book awards and said this. “I followed Scott’s advice. It worked! To my complete surprise, Beautiful Evil Winter earned a bouquet of book awards, including a highly coveted Eric Hoffer Award and a Readers’ Favorite award. For those that don’t know, the high-profile Readers’ Favorite competition attracts celebrities and New York Times Best-Selling authors. Thanks, Scott for penning that piece! What a game-changer!”

The Bottom Line: Book awards do matter. Enter a few and become an “award-winning author.” As Hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “You Can’t Score Unless You Shoot!”  Get to it and let me know how it goes. If you know of another book award I should check out, please send me the details.

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist Check his blog at http://www.The-Book-Publicist.com

 

 

Book Marketing Video Westwind

http://youtu.be/bTsTCKjLxc8

Hollywood Movie Producers Offer Tips to Authors

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

“Having an agent skilled in negotiations, rights, and contracts would clearly be beneficial, but even more important is having an agent who believes in you as a writer.”         Peter Miller, producer of  Helter Skelter, Citizen Jane, Kill the Irishman, The Mona Lisa Myth, and Goodbye Miss 4th of July

Find out what movie producers have to say about turning your next book into a cinema worthy masterpiece.

Many writers dream of writing a book that turns into a movie. If your goal is to turn a Hollywoodnovel or memoir into a silver screen success, be prepared for some hard work. After all, movie producers are selective and only the right stories make their way to the big screen. The reality is that very few books even get considered for movies. Fortunately, however, turning your book into a movie is not impossible.

To help you understand just what it takes to get your book noticed and turned into a movie, it only makes sense to share some advice from movie producers. Let’s take a closer look at what reputable movie producers have to say to authors who are on a mission to write books that make it to Hollywood.

“The older I get, the more I look at movies as a moving miracle. Audiences are harder to please if you’re just giving them special effects…but they’re easy to please if it’s a good story.” – Steven Spielberg, academy award winning producer of movies such as E.T., Jaws, The Color Purple, and Schindler’s List.

 Spielberg’s quote illustrates just how important it is for you to ensure you have a good story. An average story cannot get spruced up with some special effects and make it to the big screen. Books with high concepts are typically the ones that turn into movies. These books feature striking ideas that can be easily communicated.

“I think the biggest mistake people make when they’re trying to sell an idea is keeping it too narrow,” Sullivan said. “It speaks to such a small demographic that there’s no way that it can be financially successful. Creatives become so attached to their ideas that they’re afraid to make it bigger, because they think it waters it down. But it doesn’t. It actually gives you a better chance for a sale. The broader and more commercial your idea, the bigger audience you can speak to, the better.” -Jamie Primak Sullivan, executive producer for a brand new movie called Breaking In.

Sullivan explains that while working on a horror movie called Fear Followers, she realized that pitching a U.S. movie that captured Americans’ fear obsession could be successful. However, Sullivan knew that incorporating the way the characters use technology could make the movie more appealing to the global market and increase its chances of selling.

The moral of the story is that when you’re writing a book that you hope to be movie ready, search for ways to make your idea resonate with a large demographic. If your book could only capture the attention of a select group of people, it won’t make it to the big screen.

“Selling a great idea to Hollywood most often starts with effective feedback from a person who understands what top decision makers are looking for.” -Regina Romain, producer of Troy the Train of Car City, Judge Alex, and Cristina’s Court

Romain knows what it’s like to be a writer with the hopes of selling a book to Hollywood. She states that most writers want to hear “That’s nice, honey. Your story could be a Hollywood movie one day.” The truth is that this type of feedback does not show you how you can improve or sell your story. If possible, you should work with an agent with ties to the movie industry who can provide you with effective feedback.

“Human stories have always moved me. I like movies about people who are outliers, who are not in the mainstream for one reason or another, even if they are famous. It’s not something I’m actually seeking, it’s just a trend I’ve noticed over the years, about myself as a producer.” -Jonathan Sanger, producer and director, known for The Elephant Man, Chapter and Verse, Flight of the Navigator, and Vanilla Sky.

Sanger is one of my clients so I know that he is specifically interested in people and what makes them unique. When writing a story for Hollywood, remember this: Ensure there are characters that can evoke emotions in your audience because they’ve overcome adversity, opened up about a serious illness, or saved someone’s life. Focus on your characters and things like their incredible achievements or heroic acts.

In Sanger’s film, Marshall, Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. The film focuses on State of Connecticut vs. Joseph, one of the first cases of Marshall’s career that involves a chauffeur being accused of rape by his white employer. It showcases how Marshall overcame the daily challenges of working in the Supreme Court and inspired others.

Check out Sanger’s book, Making the Elephant Man: A Producer’s Memoir which offers an insider’s look at the creation of one of the first ever indie films. It can provide you with some valuable insight into what it takes to turn your book into a movie. View the trailer here.

“Having an agent skilled in negotiations, rights, and contracts would clearly be beneficial, but even more important is having an agent who believes in you as a writer.” Peter Miller, producer of Helter Skelter, Citizen Jane, Kill the Irishman, The Mona Lisa Myth, and Goodbye Miss 4th of July

In Miller’s book, “Get Published! Get Produced! A Literary Agent’s Tips on How to Sell Your Writing,” he focuses on why it’s crucial to work with an agent. Miller explains that if you find an agent to represent you, you should ask yourself whether the individual only seems interested in your specific project or whether they’ll work with you to develop your career. He states that success in this field is very difficult but those who make it, make it big. Check out Millers most recent book Author! Screenwriter!

“Find something you enjoy and do it. The money will somehow take care of itself.”-Alan Trustman, writer, lawyer, and producer who is best known his books-to-movies, The Thomas Crown Affair and BULLITT staring Steve McQueen.

In an interview, Trustman, another one of my clients, discussed the importance of passion for writers. You have to really want to turn your book into a movie and pour your heart and soul into your story and efforts to get it noticed.

Here are some resources that may help you take your book to Hollywood:

  1. How to Turn a Book Into a Movie, Script Magazine

https://www.scriptmag.com/how-to-turn-a-book-into-a-movie

  1. The Power Of Theme: Turning Books Into Movies, Writer’s Digest

https://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/craft-technique/the-power-of-theme-turning-books-into-movies

  1. Books Turned Into Movies, Newsday

https://www.newsday.com/entertainment/books/books-turned-into-movies-1.3596896

 The Bottom Line: Writing a book that’s worthy of Hollywood’s attention takes a great deal of time, effort, and dedication. Don’t give up as you may just be the author of the next popular flick.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Top Writers’ Conferences for 2019 by Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Book Marketing

 

“Most authors love to share the latest tips and techniques about writing and publishing and there’s no better place to meet authors than at writers’ conferences.” Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

If you are a serious writer with high aspirations, then you’ll want to go to a writers’

Want to meet authors and exchange ideas, tips and techniques? Then sign up for a writer's conference today.

Want to meet authors and exchange ideas, tips and techniques? Then sign up for a writer’s conference today.

conference. A writers’ conference is a think tank for authors to build on each other’s ideas and inspire new achievements in their own work. For the cost of lodging and registration, the payoff for attending a writers’ conference could be tremendous.

Attending a writers’ conference gives you a chance to pitch your book, learn about the various publishing options and meet book editors, agents and book marketing specialists. If your book is six months or a year from being finished, you can talk to people with valuable input on shaping your book. At a writers’ conference, you’ll get all sorts of advice to help you wrap up your project when you return home.

Of course, you will want to prepare for any writers’ conference you attend by having a plan of what you want to find out and what you will do while there. I suggest you develop an ‘elevator pitch’ about your book that you can deliver in 30 seconds. Have a one-pager available with your book cover, author headshot, short 50-word synopsis, short bio, website URL, Twitter handle and your contact information. You never know who you’ll meet so be prepared for that moment!

Here are some upcoming writers’ conferences in 2019 for your consideration:

 

Select a writers’ conference of interest to you and be prepared to enjoy the benefits of meeting other writers. You may acquire knowledge you can use immediately, find a new market for your book, elevate your professional effectiveness, meet editors, agents and publishers, become inspired and return home energized.

 

The Bottom Line: Make a commitment to attend at least one writers’ conference in the coming months. You’ll be glad you did!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications Book Marketing, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  and check out great articles for authors about book marketing at Book-Publicist.com or contact Scott Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

 

How to Get More Book Reviews

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

As a book publicist I’ve read a few thousand book reviews and have written a few dozen myself.  I have a pretty good Write a Review Luliidea about how to write a book review that is helpful to potential readers and buyers of a book. Authors have a difficult time getting people to write a review because their fan base of readers don’t have time or most likely don’t know how to write a review. So, here it is. Hand this to anybody who says, ‘I just don’t know how to write a review.’

Before you pick up a pen, ask yourself these questions:

  • How did the story affect you?
  • Did it make you laugh, cry?
  • Did it affect the way you think about family, spouse, or life in general?
  • Would you recommend it to others?
  • Would you by it as a gift for events such as graduations, birthdays, etc?

 

Here’s What Makes A Good Book Review:

 

  1. In general, you are trying to help someone determine if they should buy the book. “It needs to give a clear reason for someone to want to read or avoid the book in question. Narrowing the potential audience is also helpful,” says Ross Rojek, editor and publisher of the San Francisco Book Review.

 

  1. Talk about your impression of the book. “For fiction reviews, brief plot summaries. You don’t need details about every character and every event. For non-fiction, say what the book’s premise is and whether it fulfills that,” says Debra Englander, former acquisitions editor for Wiley Books.

 

  1. Include qualifications or relevant background about the author. “Include information about author – reputation, qualifications, etc, — anything relevant to the book and the author’s authority,” says Bill Asenjo, award-winning freelance writer. For example, a lawyer should be able to write a good courtroom thriller, but not a book on sewing.

 

  1. Provide a short example from the book. “One good phrase or sentence that encapsulates the book is easy to promote,” Rojek explains. “Be mindful not to give away the ending!”

 

  1. Who should buy this book? “Do compare similar products,” Amazon’s tips on writing reviews states. For example, “If you liked Harry Potter you’ll love this book” or, “If you are into current news events, this book is for you! It’s perfect for middle school children and older.”

 

  1. Talk about what kind of reader this book is for. “Summarize some of your thoughts on the book by suggesting the type of reader you’d recommend the book to,” children’s author Luisa Plaja told BookTrust. If this is a great gift book for the recent college graduate or pregnant Moms then say so!

 

  1. Did the book live up to expectations? Does it deliver on the title? If the book title is “How to Build a House?” Does it in fact tell you how to do it? “Describe what the book does well and what it does poorly (and why), but it should also explain who would value the book,” said Dr. Eric Russell, book reviewer and English Language and Literature professor.

 

  1. Be sure to create a snappy title for your review. Perhaps one with a key word that would help someone find your review about the book. Using the house theme again:  “If You Want to Build A House, THIS Book with Tell You How!”

 

  1. Add the stars on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being great. “A five-star review should be for a book that has everything: good writing, good-editing, and a story that makes you want to read it again and tell your friends about,” Neal Wooten, author and managing editor of Mirror Publishing, advises in his article on HuffPost.

 

What Not To Do:

 

  1. “Be honest, but not overly critical,” Englander warns, “If a reviewer is especially nasty, readers wonder if he/she had a personal agenda.”

 

  1. Don’t lose focus on what you’re reviewing. “Review the book you read – not the book you wish the author had written,” Asenjo cautions.

 

  1. Don’t describe your seller or shipping experience,” Amazon urges. Don’t comment on the fact it arrived late or the book was damaged. The author has no control over that and nobody cares.

 

  1. Don’t review books by your friends or enemies,” suggests Rebecca Skloot, a previous vice president of National Book Critics Circle. Doing this doesn’t provide you any real practice on writing a review and doesn’t help anyone. Keep your intentions as a reviewer in check.

 

  1. Don’t use a book review as an excuse to show off your writerly voice,” recommends Ann Finkbeiner of The Open Notebook, board of directors and regular reviewer for The New York Times Book Review and The Wall Street Journal. A review’s purpose is to evaluate a piece of text and create discussion with other readers. If you want to showcase your writing ability, start a blog.

Bottom line: Authors, want reviews? Ask your readers to write one! Readers, don’t know how to review? Follow the guidelines above to ensure the creation of a helpful review for future readers!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: Check Out These 27 Fan Fiction Sites for 2019

 

“Ever thought about writing fan fiction? Many authors started out writing on fanfic sites.”

3

Anna Todd started writing fanfiction on her phone, published chapters to Wattpad, then after garnering 1 million+ views she was pursued by numerous literary agents. Fast forward five years, her story AFTER is a Simon & Schuster NY Times bestseller and Ann Todd is making millions.

Amanda Hocking started out writing fan fiction and she was signed to a multimillion-dollar book deal.  Erika Leonard, aka E.L. James discovered Fan Fiction in August 2009. Taking a stab at fan fiction under the pen name Snowqueens Icedragon has certainly served James well. The fan fiction morphed into the Fifty Shades of Grey series and movies which as of December 2018 give her a whopping $150,000,000 net worth.

Convinced yet about the value of writing on FanFiction sites? Before you dive in check out my list of top 27 fan fiction sites and see where your work could fit in and most importantly stand out.

  1. Commaful: For a different flavor of fanfiction, visit Commaful. This site takes a new and exciting spin on fanfiction, offers a unique picture book format and is ideal for shorter works.
  2. Quotetv: While Quotev is a fan fiction site that offers a wide variety of fan fiction categories for readers to choose from, it’s also a platform that gives writers the opportunity to post their original poems, stories, and quizzes.
  3. FictionPad: Established in 2013, FictionPad is a great option for anyone who spends a lot of time on their mobile phone. It makes it easy to read stories without being signed in on a desktop, tablet or smartphone device because it is well optimized for all screen sizes.
  4. TONFA: TONFA is a purely Naruto centric website. It features a comprehensive archive of Naruto fanfiction. Users can read fanfiction on this site or submit their own.
  5. MediaMiner: MediaMiner brings together those who are interested in reading and writing fan fiction. The three major sections of this site include fan fiction, fan art, and anime.
  6. Mrs. Darcy’s Story Site: Do you love Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice? If so, Mrs. Darcy’s Story Site was made for you. It’s a platform for you to write and read stories based on this popular novel.
  7. One Direction Fan Fiction: If you are a huge fan of One Direction, you’ll be pleased to find out there’s a website dedicated to One Direction fan fiction. This site offers categories such as action, romance, drama, mystery, and many others.
  8. Percy Jackson FanFiction: Percy Jackson Fan Fiction was made for fans of the legendary Percy Jackson. It offers a variety of Percy Jackson story remixes to read and can allow you to write your own remix. All Percy Jackson stories on this sites are subject to votes and comments from fans.
  9. Good Reads: With over 18 million users, members of the site can share their work, about 400 of which are fan fiction. The most popular books are inspired by Twilight, Harry Potter, and Naruto.
  10. FanFiction is considered to be world’s largest fanfiction archive on the web. The site launched in October 1998 and currently has well over 2 million users. The most popular sections on FanFiction are Harry Potter (675,000 titles), Twilight (215,000 titles), and Lord of the Rings (51,000 titles).
  11. FictionAlley Founded in 2001, the site boasts over 60,000 registered users. Also, in 2006, FictionAlley launched HarryPotterWiki, which was the first wiki to blend information about the Harry Potter book series’ characters, places, magic and things, with fan theories, stories, art, videos and music.
  12. Wattpad: Based in Toronto, Wattpad’s monthly audience is over 10 million readers. Every minute, the site connects more than 10,000 readers with a new story. Wattpad is more about fanfic driven by celebrities and comics. There are over 100,000 stories about One Direction. You can also find fanfic about Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift, or Zac Efron.
  13. Internet Archive: Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library. The Internet Archive allows users to download digital material, but also to upload their own.
  14. Fan Works, Inc.: This site launched in 2003 and while Twilight and Harry Potter are the most popular categories, be sure to check out fan fiction inspired by The Outsiders and Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
  15. Archive of Our Own: Archive of Our Own is a project founded and operated by the Organization for Transformative Works. It’s a non-profit, non-commercial archive for fan fiction of all formats, including writings, graphic art, videos, and podcasts. Currently, there are over 170,000 users.
  16. Asianfanfics: Asianfanfics is mostly about Asian characters and topics that often revolve around Asian culture. One-shot fanfiction, which is characterized as stories no longer than one chapter, is very popular on Asianfanfics, with over 35,000 stories listed in the category.
  17. Tumblr: You can stay logged into your favorite network and search for new, fresh fanfiction; it’s just a matter of using the right tag to search the posts, and finally picking up Tumblr posts you want to follow. Try searching #fanfic, #fanfiction, or any book title you’re a fan of and read what Tumblr has to offer.
  18. FicWad: FicWad is an archive of both fanfiction and original work, launched in 2005 and managed by K&D Lynch. The site is currently in beta stage, but you are able to read the stories even if you are not a registered user.
  19.  Twilighted: Twilighted calls itself all-inclusive, high-quality Twilight fan fiction. Founded in 2008, the site already has a large following. The most popular, and arguably most interesting category is AU-Human: stories in which all the vampires are humans.
  20. Feed Books: Feed Books features works uploaded by the site’s users into its Original Books section. You can easily upload any of the 800 fanfiction pieces to a book application or an e-reader, as they are available in mobi (Kindle), epub and pdf formats.
  21. Deviant Art: There are 176,092 deviations for fanfiction, grouped in 6 categories: drama, general fiction, horror, humor, romance, and sci-fi. The most popular one, however is Not in Harry Potter, with quotes and words that should be included in Harry Potter books – but aren’t.
  22. Harry Potter Fan Fiction: This site is obviously for the Harry Potter fans of the literary world. Founded in 2001, this site has a large inventory with over 78,000 stories and receives over 50 million hits per month! The site’s filtering options make it easy to target exactly what you’re looking to read.
  23. Lord of the Rings Fanfiction:  With 4,936 members, this fan fiction site dedicated to Lord of the Rings offers well over 4,400 stories, which you can sift through by author, title, or category.
  24. Fiction Press: This is the fanfiction site for all things sci-fi and fantasy. One unique attribute of Fiction Press is that there are many dedicated communities of authors on the site who help edit and encourage the work of one another.
  25. Mibba: Mibba is a community that welcomes fan fiction and utilizes forums for help with writing and connecting with people who have similar viewpoints.
  26. Sugar Quill: This Harry Potter fan fiction site favors the Harry and Ginny love match, as well as the Weasley family in general. The site was founded in 2001 and is very well organized and easy to navigate. It also has a page of daily affirmations, lest you forget.
  27. Kindle Worlds. An Amazon publishing platform that lets authors sell fan fiction based on properties like Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars and Vampire Diaries. Amazon Publishing retains the rights to the works and sets prices. There are strict parameters and limited offerings but Kindle Worlds pays fan fiction authors a royalty of 35 percent for works of at least 10,000 words, and a royalty of 20 percent on works between 5,000 and 10,000 words. The authors of the original properties also get royalties.

Bonus:   http://www.archiveofourown.com. It’s a growing fanfiction archive that’s almost as big as www.fanfiction.net and www.deviantart.com right now.

The Bottom Line:  I encourage you to post on fan fiction sites and take your writing to the next level. Reach out to new readers, get feedback from others and fine-tune your craft. You never know, it might be the start of something big!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: Listen Up! Your Book Needs an Audiobook!

Audiobook ACX, Audible, Findaway Voices,

Audiobooks are quickly becoming a popular method of “reading,” with estimated revenue reported at $2.5 billion for 2017 and up 22.7% for 2018 according to Publisher’s Weekly. Busy readers are opting to listen to their favorite books while jogging, driving, and even washing the dishes—usually on their smartphones. Most listeners are under the age of 45, but the numbers are increasing. As an author with a published book, you need to get in the game.

Audiobook ACX, Audible, Findaway Voices,

Authors – It’s never been more easy and affordable to get an audiobook for your book. I encourage you to explore these options ASAP. Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

A lot goes into making an audiobook: you need a narrator, a sound technician, a good place to record, and distribution for the finished product. While hiring your own technician and recording studio can cost a lot, there are other ways— even free ones— to produce your own audiobooks.

Here are your options:

Complete marketplace production: This is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to produce an audiobook. These marketplaces connect authors with narrators, engineers, recording studios, and others capable of producing a finished audiobook. Currently, the most popular is ACX, but more are popping up.

ACX has a “Royalty Share” option, in which the narrator does the reading with no fees in exchange for a cut of the royalties. It’s no upfront cost to the author and distribution is through top retailers Audible, Amazon and iTunes. The downside is ACX /Audible claims distribution rights to your book for seven years.

Voice actor Thomas Miller, who narrates books for author Frederick Dodson, has a love/hate relationship with ACX/Audible. “You almost need to use them because they control so much of the market,” he says. “But, as both an author and narrator, if you have other pipelines of distribution, you should think long and hard before you lock your book up for Seven. Long. Years.”

Other options are quickly popping up. New York Times best-selling author Colleen Gleason used ACX for the six books in her Heroes of New Vegas series. She was happy with her narrator and found the ACX interface easy to use. But when it came time to make audiobooks for her new Stoker and Holmes series, both she and her narrator switched to Findaway Voices.

Findaway Voices offers the same services as ACX but upfront costs average $1000-$2000 for a 50K word book, or about $250 per reading hour for the narrator. The royalties are all yours and you aren’t locked into a contract of years, except with their distribution through Audible.

“I had such a good experience with Findaway, and they have such a broad distribution system that I ended up moving all of my six Heroes of New Vegas books to that platform as well,” says Gleason. “Audiobook usage is on the rise and users are increasing in double digits each year; I decided I wanted my books to be available to as many readers/listeners as possible. So for now, I’ll continue to use Findaway Voices for any future audiobooks I do.”

Find your own narrator: Some authors prefer to have celebrities read their books, which can add to the appeal to purchasers. But just because they’re famous, doesn’t mean they are qualified. You need to find out if they have narrated a book before. For every hour of reading, there are several hours of editing work that has to be done, so you want a smooth and qualified reader. “It was learning how to read well that took some time,” says Miller. “That’s where your 10,000 hours comes in. The one thing nobody estimates properly is editing time.”

There are other places where narrators are selling their talent. A thorough Google Search will reveal some sources.  An inexpensive, although not necessarily fool-proof place to find narrators is fiverr. Some authors have found narrators through Suchavoice.

Remember, much of an audiobook’s success is tied to the narrator. Before you hire someone, listen to examples of their work, and give them a section of your own book to try. If yours is a work of fiction, pick a part with dialogue so you can see how they voice different characters. If it is nonfiction, be sure they lend the right authority to what you are trying to sell. Also, do you want a male or female narrator? Someone with a solemn voice or a perky one? These are all things to take into consideration.

Narrate your own book: William H. Coles, a prolific author, professor, and musician, has an extensive line of his own books that he narrated himself. “I believe, when possible, the best reading is by the author,” says Coles. “However, I think recording experience is necessary.” Coles has radio experience recording live air segments. He also hired the best sound technician he could find, which he attributes to his success. Coles’ most recent recording is a podcast, “Story in Fiction,” which has already surpassed 1000 downloads.

But self-recording isn’t for the faint of heart or the low-budget author. “There is a lot of time and energy spent, and I wouldn’t suggest any author lightly go through the process,” says Coles. “It’s much easier to hire a company that works with authors and/or hires an actor.”

Also, if an author is going to work alone, he or she will need an expert in distribution to get the audio books out to their market. Most of the marketplaces such as ACX and Findaway Voices have wide distribution. Kobo, Google Play and others have gotten into the audiobook market, and libraries find a large percentage of their borrowers request audiobooks now. Recently, Scribd has partnered with Waze so you can listen to your book in your car while your GPS leads you to your destination. Life has never been better for the voracious reader-on-the-fly.

Overall, making your books into audiobooks seems to be worth the effort and cost.

“The growing use of mobile devices for reading fiction makes it all worthwhile,” says Coles. Most authors would agree. The reach is even to the youngest kids. Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri will now read your books—or your children’s bedtime stories—aloud.

Amazon best-selling author Dan Milstein created an audiobook of his most recent business book Rule #1: Don’t Be #2. “With more readers turning to audiobooks, it’s a wise business investment and a great way to reach more readers who don’t have the time to sit down with a book in their hands,” says Milstein. “It makes sense to do it.”

Audiobooks stand on their own now as a medium. Forbes magazine calls audiobooks “The publishing industry’s 2018 trend.”

The Bottom Line: Authors – It’s never been more easy and affordable to get an audiobook for your book. I encourage you to explore these options ASAP. Do it now!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

How an Author’s Consultant Can Cinch Your Book Deal

As a book publicist, I am frequently asked to find a literary agent for my author clients. While I know many agents and publishers and work with them, it’s not what I do. But, from time to time, I find someone who can really help out my clients and I’ve found that person. Her name is Debra Englander.

Debra Englander

Debra Englander

Debby has extensive editorial experience including reporting for Money, managing the Fortune Book Club and serving as editorial director at John Wiley for nearly 17 years. She currently works with authors on creating winning book proposals, editing manuscripts and content creation for online and print projects.

Debby’s editorial service is unique. She’ll listen to your book concept and then advise you on next steps. She’ll tell you whether the idea is sound and likely to interest large publishers. If so, she will help you craft the perfect query letter to a literary agent or occasionally, directly to a publisher. Englander, who has ghost written countless successful query letters for clients, stresses that first impressions are everything and that there are a few common mistakes aspiring writers that impact their prospects. “A query letter is an art form in itself,” says Englander.

She adds, “I spend a lot of time talking with authors, agents and editors. I’m really a matchmaker, between authors, agents and publishers. Sometimes, I’ll tell someone to self-publish if the book needs to get to market quickly. On occasion, I will tell someone the book needs more work before it can be submitted. I give practical advice based on many years in the book business. I don’t want authors, especially first-timers, wasting time, money and effort and ending up disappointed.”

TEMPLATE

Hire a publishing pro to get the help you need to publish your book.

As a book marketing specialist who deals daily with the media, I learned a long time ago that a common mistake in crafting media pitch letters is making them too long. We live in the Twitter world of 140 characters or less. This has trained people to be impatient and critical of long winded introductions. The same is true of query letters to an agent. A query letter should be no more than half a page. You have to know exactly what agents want to hear, what they’re looking for. Tell them only that and end the letter right there! Keep it short, keep it sweet and you’ll be one step closer to landing an agent.

Agents are in the business of selling books. They’re not our best friends, they’re not our therapists, and they’re not our life coaches.  The best agents focus on what they do best which is generating enough excitement on a book and sell it for as high a price as possible. When you get paid, they get paid. End of story.

That’s why I like the concept of an “author matchmaker” because he or she can put the best possible spin on your book with an irresistible query letter to get an agent to pay attention. You know how to write – the author coach knows how to sell your book.

Alternatively, if you are a do-it-yourselfer then check out my article “How to Land a Literary Agent” on my blog: www.Book-Publicist.com

The bottom line: Why reinvent the wheel? Sign up with a book consultant like Debby Englander by dropping her a note at: writereditord@gmail.com

About the Author

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist.

About Debra Englander

Englander served as editorial director at John Wiley Publishing for nearly 17 years and was on the receiving end of thousands of pitches from agents and authors. She currently works with authors on creating winning book proposals and editing manuscripts. https://www.linkedin.com/in/DebraEnglander

PR Stunts Pay Big Dividends – How TESLA and a Cowboy Author Won Our Hearts

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

MEME PR STUNTSPR Stunts get a bad rap because many are either ill-conceived or poorly executed. But I like them and have been involved in many successful ones.

One recent PR Stunt of note paid huge dividends when Elon Musk sent a TESLA into outer space. The car had an astronaut behind the wheel and the radio played David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” about Major Tom. Who didn’t talk about this fantastic just-for-fun extravagant stunt? It was the best one I’ve seen in years. Funny thing, nobody is really calling it a ‘PR Stunt’ but that’s exactly what it was… a beautifully executed PR Stunt. When you have a perfectly performed stunt that catches people by surprise and makes them smile, you got ‘em. The value of TESLA went up and the photos did the talking.

One very creative author I know personally pulled off a PR Stunt that even I was Photo of Carew book signing on the iPadimpressed to read about. He rode his horse into “publishing history” by becoming the first author to conduct a book signing and an e-book signing on horseback. Author Carew Papritz, a working cowboy, rode his horse in front of a Barnes and Noble in Tucson, Arizona and digitally signed his book The Legacy Letters on his iPad in front of a cheering crowd. He made some press and history at the same time. Check out this video at: http://youtu.be/aKEsxqmzs9g

One of the keys to the success of a good PR Stunt is the mashup of two disassociated things: cars in outer space, horses in book stores and in one I did last year, hot air balloons and violins.

As a book publicist and hot air balloon pilot I take to the skies like some people play golf. Violin in BalloonIt’s my main recreation. One day I met a University of Michigan Music Student, Stuart Carlson, and asked him to join me on a balloon flight and to bring his violin. The result: 42,000+ plus views of two videos on YouTube and Facebook.  Here’s ‘Hail To The Victors’ https://www.facebook.com/HotAirBalloonMichigan/videos/10153980344308667/

How can authors benefit by using this technique? Think about the bigger picture. Don’t just focus on selling books. Think about how you can connect with readers on a personal level. Let your audience know you’re both a person and a writer. By that, I mean let your audience glimpse into your personal life. Share things that are important or interesting to you. You can share details on your website, blog, and social media outlets. Utilize your mentions on Twitter and generate conversations with your followers on a personal level. Respond to comments on your blog or on review pages of your work. By sharing more details about yourself, you’ll provoke commonalities between your fans, ultimately appealing to more people.

If you are a romance writer, share with the audience your love of cooking. If you’re a mystery writer, illustrate your travels abroad and how a visit to a particular city was woven into your book. Connect with your following on whatever level you can.  Your goal should be to reach as many new audience members as possible. To do so, dig deep into your being and ‘open up the kimono’ and show the audience who you really are, pen aside.

The Bottom Line:  PR Stunts Work!! Take a page out of Carew Papritz and TESLA’s book and appeal to your audience on an emotional level; it’ll get them to connect with you on another level and it may get them talking about you too!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: Does Your First Line Grab The Reader and Hold On?

TO THE BEST OF my understandably shaky recollection, the first time I died it went something like this. – James Patterson, Private

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Did you spend enough time crafting the first line in your book? In our attention deficit world these days it’s more important now than ever to grab the reader’s attention immediately. Why? Because if they don’t like the first line they may never read any further and may not buy the book!

MOJO If I don't Get the Book Written

We all know when we’ve read a good first line as it grabs you by the lapels and never lets you go. We’ve all heard memorable first lines our entire lives from bedtime stories our parents read us to the books published this year.

So what about your first line?  Is it memorable? Does it contain words with long lasting meaning and value? Some unforgettable first line examples include:

  • TO THE BEST OF my understandably shaky recollection, the first time I died it went something like this. – James Patterson, Private
  • Twas the Night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. – Clement Clarke Moore, A Visit from St. Nicholas
  • When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. – Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Call me Ishmael, – Herman Melville, Moby Dick
  • It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell, 1984
  • It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  • Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. – Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
  • If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. – J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Now that you’ve read some notable opening lines, let’s hear what authors had to say about their process of creating a remarkable first line.

From an article in The Atlantic, Stephen King said, “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say, Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”

Simon Kernick, a novelist, told The Telegraph during an interview, “For me, the most important bit is that you grip your reader from the start. All good writers really need to think about the first line, it’s hugely important. If you spend too much time setting things up, these days it’s not going to work.”

Kathryn Guare, self-publishing author, shared her insight and said, “The first sentence of a novel is exactly that—nothing more, and nothing less. It is the building block and the foundation from which to build everything else. It needs to work, but it does not need to be a work of art onto itself. If you like it yourself, then stop obsessing over it.”

The opening line holds crucial importance for both the author and the reader. It is of the utmost importance to hook the reader with the very first sentence, and engage them to read the whole book. A few ways to do so include:

  • Painting a vivid picture – Gain your reader’s attention by painting an image that stays with them for the rest of the book. For example, an article on The Write Practice shared an excerpt from Cormac McCarthy’s, All the Pretty Horses, which uses this technique.

 The candleflame and the image of the candleflame caught in the pierglass twisted and righted when he entered the hall and again when he shut the door.

  • Capturing the reader’s interest with a scenario or question – rather than painting a picture for your readers capture a scenario or recollection of thought from your main character. As a reader, you might picture the character with his father in deep conversation or envision the father sitting his son down to share valuable life lessons. If you’re imagining a similar scene, the author has done their job correctly. For example, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby.

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.

  • Surprising the reader – this technique is used often by many authors to deceive their readers. Many authors use short and choppy sentences to confuse their readers and to keep them intrigued. A surprising opening is a theatrical way to present your book’s story into reality. For example, an article by Diane O’Connell, a book publishing coach and CEO of Write To Sell Your Book, shared an excerpt from Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road, which uses this technique.

 It was the day my grandmother exploded.

 Writing words that are funny, truthful and concise – the best technique that an author can use is honesty. A good example of honesty is the opening line of Lemony Snicket’s, A Bad Beginning, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. Snicket (pen name for American author Daniel Handler is open and upfront with his reader’s from the very beginning by telling them that this isn’t a fairytale story. By using the honesty technique, he let his readers’ know what they were in for.

If you enjoy books with happy endings than you are better off reading some other book.

The Bottom Line: Grab your reader from the very beginning with an engaging and memorable opening line!  

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: How to Sign a Top Literary Agent

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Landing an agent for many authors is the most sought after goal. Why? It’s been long considered the fastest and most profitable path to publishing success. If that is your goal then you’ll want to check out these tips, techniques and resources to help you land the quality literary agent you are seeking.

Where to begin?

Time to Get an AgentGet up to speed with the latest information with books and resources on the topic. According to Jeff Herman, book agent and author of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, authors should assess potential agents on the following points before sealing a deal:

  1. The list of books the agent has sold to publishers, including the publishers’ and authors’ names.
  2. The agent’s reputation online.
  3. Why s/he likes your book and how s/he plans to market your book, with reference to a timeline and how much you’ll potentially earn.

Note that real agents do not:

  1. Charge upfront fees
  2. Offer to edit for a fee
  3. Sell adjunct services to their clients
  4. Submit books to vanity or non-advance paying publishers

The critical step in the process is to research agents before you submit to them. Avoid agents who charge fees other than the standard 15 percent commission they receive on everything you get paid (your advance and royalties).

Narrow Your Search

Publishers Marketplace is one of the best places to research literary agents. Buy a subscription for $25 and access a wealth of information about publishing. With hundreds of agents hosting web pages, Publishers Marketplace is arguably the largest and most comprehensive repository to find info on top literary agencies. In fact, Publishers Marketplace claims to have “more e-mail and other contact information on more agents than any other source, updated daily.”

Member authors can create their own Publishers Marketplace web page and indicate they are seeking an agent, which advertises you to agent and publishers.

An added bonus to PublishersMarketplace.com is the deals database, which includes the actual dollar figure of the advances paid to authors for many books. The daily updates provide essential information and searches reveal editors’ buying patterns and more. The site also hosts a contact database that tracks editors on the move. Find out more here: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/benefits.shtml

Other resources to consider include:

  1. Manuscript Wish List visit: http://mswishlist.com/
  2. AgentQuery.com
  3. QueryTracker.net
  4. WritersMarket.com
  5. Chuck Sambuchino’s Guide to Literary Agents 2017

Social media is also a powerful tool to locate agents. Search social media for associations of agents— there are plenty. Michael Larsen, literary agent, suggests authors check out the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR) http://www.aaronline.org/ as an outlet for finding quality agents. According to Larsen, “The 450 agents in AAR are the best source of experienced, reputable agents. Members are required to follow the AAR’s code of ethics.”

Another resource for finding agents is simply the acknowledgments section in books similar to what you envision your own book to be. Read the acknowledgments and collect the names of those agents mentioned and contact them directly.

Don’t be shy— Have a presence.

Share your personal brand with the world, both online and in person. It’s wise to create professional social media accounts, an online work portfolio or blog. According to Michael Larsen, “Let agents find you- be visible online and off, get published and give talks, publicize your work and yourself. When you’re visible enough, agents will find you.”  This strategy worked for Andy Weir, author of The Martian. After selling 35,000 ebooks for $.99 and topping Amazon’s Sci-Fi Bestseller List, an agent contacted Weir and he was soon represented by Random House for a book deal. On top of that FOX contacted him for the film rights of his novel. The rest is history.

A popular networking strategy is to attend writers’ conferences. Particularly for first-time authors, there’s no better way to get to an agent than at a conference. Agents typically won’t sign authors on the spot, but accept their advice and remember that networking is pivotal to a successful career. According to Chip MacGregor, literary agent and author of Ask the Agent, “I love writers’ conferences. Don’t go thinking you’re going to land an agent; just plan to meet people and learn a lot.”  Where are the best conferences? Here’s a list I’ve compiled of upcoming writer’s conferences. http://bit.ly/Writer_Conferences

Make It Perfect. Practice Proper Etiquette

“Nothing detracts from good writing like bad editing,” says Debra Englander an experienced non-fiction editor and writer. “Submit your best work. Have it copy edited and proofread by a professional. Don’t ruin a potential relationship with an agent because of mistakes.”  Englander served as editorial director at John Wiley Publishing for nearly 17 years and was on the receiving end of thousands of pitches from agents and authors. She currently works with authors on creating winning book proposals and editing manuscripts.

Also, research an agent before you submit to them and check the agent’s guidelines before packaging and submitting your work. Before you commit to an agent, settle any unfinished business with others still considering your work. Just make it clear that you have an offer that requires an immediate decision.

If you think you’re ready to be placed with an agent, consider the direction your writing career is headed. According to Chuck Sambuchino, author of the Guide to Literary Agents, “Most agents say they’re looking to represent careers, not books.”

Bottom Line: Agents can land you the deal you could never obtain yourself. But the pursuit of an agent can take months and years. If you still want an agent then study up and do it now!

About Scott Lorenz
Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with individuals and entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz has handled public relations and marketing for numerous startups, iPhone app developers, authors, doctors, lawyers, inventors and entrepreneurs. As a book marketing expert Lorenz is called upon by top execs and bestselling authors to promote their books. Visit: http://www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com

Authors: How to Use Kickstarter to FUND Your Book Marketing

KickstarterLOGO2019

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

 

Hundreds and even thousands of years ago, it was essential for creative folks to recruit sponsors to help fund their masterpieces so they could succeed. Things haven’t changed as sponsorships are still important for creative people, including writers. Writers continue to recruit sponsors and patrons to promote their books and help them earn a spot on the best-seller list without clearing all of their savings.

 

Kickstarter is an invaluable resource for authors who would like to raise some money for their books. It is a website that gives authors, musicians, app developers, inventors and others the opportunity to recruit people to support their creative project.

https://ctt.ac/3I7ez

Kickstarter is a for-profit company that was created to support creative projects (for a 5% fee against the funds collected) because they believe creative projects make for a better world. Since its inception in 2009, there have been 165,189 successfully funded projects for more than 5 billion dollars! Although the majority of projects raise less than $10,000, an increasing number have reached six, seven, and even eight figures.

 

Here’s how Kickstarter works: Project creators join Kickstarter and set a funding goal and deadline. If people like their project, they donate money to support it.  An author can use the money for publishing or distribution costs, to upgrade to a better distributor, or to pay for the costs of the book publicist hired to give your book the push it needs.

 

Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing policy that states you must reach your goal before receiving any money. However, don’t let this scare you because even if you don’t receive a penny, you can get your book in front of more readers and obviously, that’s never a bad thing.

 

I’m going to be frank here: The reality is that while many authors have benefited from Kickstarter, a lot of the campaigns flat out failed, especially when the creative person tried to run their own campaign without first researching what works or asking for professional assistance.

 

Fortunately, Kickstarter recently launched a conference called “The Next Page: Creating the Future of Publishing”  to help authors interested in reaping the benefits of Kickstarter. It spent four panels giving those in publishing the chance to discuss topics such as economic sustainability and cultivating community. It took place on May 11th, 2019 but you can watch it online here.

 

“Book publishing isn’t a huge portion of Kickstarter’s revenue — the “Publishing” and “Journalism” categories together account for just 9% of their successfully funded projects and 4% of the total money pledged. But, the industry’s “outsize cultural impact” makes it critically important to the Brooklyn-based public-benefit corporation,” explained Adam Rowe, a Forbes contributor who discussed the conference in a recent Forbes article.

 

As a book publicist, I have been involved on both sides of a Kickstarter campaign and have witnessed how authors have used the platform to attain the funds needed to publish and promote a book. Let’s take a closer look at some 2019 Kickstarter author success stories.

 

Author Jen Marr of Washington DC used Kickstarter for her book, “Paws to Comfort”, a book designed for anyone who has ever felt awkward when reaching out to someone who is struggling. It empowers readers with simple tools and inspirational stories that can help them break through the awkward zone and become better comforters.

 

As of June 2019, her campaign has received the support of 221 backers who pledged $33,819. The money raised will go toward manuscript to book, book production and delivery, and launch and promotion.

 

Art Brooks of Providence, RI is another example of an author who used Kickstarter to their advantage. His Kickstarter campaign is designed to support the “Star Wars The Vintage Collection Archive Edition”, a comprehensive historical manuscript and detailed visual archive of The Vintage Collection, one of Hasbro’s most popular lines of Star Wars action figures.

 

At the time of this writing the campaign had 1,058 backers who pledged $133,887. Brooks offered various perks to backers who pledge a certain amount. For example, anyone who pledged $100 or more will receive one printed copy of The Vintage Collection Archive Edition book and one limited edition 24×36-inch The Vintage Collection compendium poster.

 

Believe it or not, there’s also a Kickstarter campaign for 9-year old author MaKayla Rose Hubbs from Mantua, NJ. She wrote the book “Why Bedtime Sucks: The Opposite of a Bedtime Story.” The book begins with her witty objection to the various reasons she’s been told it’s important for her to get a good night’s rest. Her campaign had 124 backers who pledged $9,588. Anyone who pledged $10 or more will received an e-book as well as a downloadable coloring page.

 

These authors didn’t just get lucky and raise money for their books with minimal effort. Many of them were strategic in how they designed their Kickstarter campaigns and came up with incentives for pledgers. In order to attract pledges as an author, you can offer the following:

  • Digital copies of your entire works if you have written three or more books
  • Autographed, limited edition copies
  • Free editing and critique of a donor’s draft writing
  • A free review of a donor’s published book
  • Your illustrator to draw an image of the donor to place in your book
  • An in-person meeting with the author for a formal English tea
  • Mention of the donor’s business with a testimonial given by a character in the book
  • A gourmet meal prepared by the author of a cookbook at the donor’s home
  • A free hot air balloon ride for two with this article’s author, book publicist Scott Lorenz, to any Michigan resident donating $1,500 or more to one of his clients

If one of my clients decides to pursue a Kickstarter campaign, I’ll help them design an appealing message, create a great video, and promote their campaign outside of the Kickstarter platform.

 

Other Crowdfunding Options

 

Indiegogo: A crowdfunding website founded in 2008. One compelling feature, if you don’t reach your goal you can still keep the funds pledged.

 

Ulule: This is the only international crowdfunding platform where the majority of projects get funded. It strives to empower creators and entrepreneurs.

 

The Bottom Line: If you’re an author looking for funding then check out how Kickstarter can pay for your book publishing and promotion.

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: Is it Time to Do a TEDx Talk?

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

A TEDx talk is another arrow in the quiver for authors to propel their book… or to get a book deal.
Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

Learn about how a TEDx Talk can help you make it big as an author.Ted Talks for Authors

Technology, Entertainment, and Design or TED is a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading ideas in the form of short yet powerful talks. Since its inception in 1984, its talks have covered a plethora of topics such as science, art, business, global issues, and education.

TEDx is a program of self-organized events that brings people together to enjoy a TED-like experience. To sign up for and give a TEDx talk, you must obtain a TED license that states you have agreed to adhere to certain guidelines like no selling, religious proselytizing, or speaking about politics.

While TED talks take a global approach to a topic and must be hosted by experts, TEDx talks focus on a local community and can be organized by just about anyone. Believe it or not, there are many authors that have given TEDx talks and landed book deals as a result.

For example, Celeste Headlee spoke at TEDxCreativeCoast on “10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation.” Her talk was viewed more than 14 million times and she was eventually contacted by an agent who helped her publish her book, “We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter.”

In addition, Mac Barnett, award-winning author of children’s books like “I Love You Like a Pig” and “Places to Be” spoke at TEDxSonomaCounty on “Why a Good Book is a Secret Door.”

If you’re interested in taking your career and book to the next level, getting involved in a TEDx talk may be a great idea. Here are 17 TEDx talks around the country that you can apply to as an author.

  1. TEDxWilmington: http://www.tedxwilmington.com
  2. TEDxPortland: https://www.tedxportland.com/
  3. TEDxBoulder: https://tedxboulder.com/
  4. TEDxMidAtlantic: https://tedxmidatlantic.com/
  5. TEDxMileHigh: https://www.tedxmilehigh.com/
  6. TEDxSan Antonio: http://tedxsanantonio.com/
  7. TEDxFargo: http://tedxsanantonio.com/
  8. TEDxCharlottesville: http://tedxcharlottesville.com/
  9. TEDxUCLA: https://tedx.ucla.edu/
  10. TEDxOshkosh: https://www.tedxoshkosh.com/
  11. TEDxNashville: http://www.tedxnashville.com/
  12. TEDxManhattanBeach: http://tedxmanhattanbeach.com/
  13. TEDxJacksonHole: http://www.tedxjacksonhole.org/
  14. TEDxRapidCity: https://www.tedxrapidcity.com/
  15. TEDxDetroit: http://www.tedxdetroit.com/tedx-in-michigan/
  16. TEDxSonomaCounty: https://www.tedxsonomacounty.com/
  17. TEDxCreativeCoast: https://www.ted.com/tedx/events/14007

Want a global list of TEDx events? Check out this interactive world map of TEDx talks:

https://www.ted.com/tedx/events

If you do decide to participate in a TEDx talk, it’s important to listen and watch various talks so that you can get a feel for what they are like and what the audience expects to see. “TEDx presentations are an art form,” says Jess Todtfeld former TV producer for NBC, ABC and FOX-TV. “You have to deliver on the theme of the event and speak without notes. I help authors and experts fine-tune their talks to fit the TEDx style so they can crush the talk,” says Todtfeld.

Contact Jess at: https://www.successinmedia.com/ted-talk-training/

Also, when speaking in a TEDx talk, focus on one idea worth spreading, create a hook that grabs the audience’s attention and sparks their curiosity, and make sure you are clear and conversational. In addition, keep in mind that some TEDx talks require video applications or in-person auditions.

The Bottom Line:  A TEDx talk can be a great opportunity to get yourself noticed as an author. It may be just what you need to land the book deal you’ve always wanted.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Top Book Fairs & Festivals Authors Should Attend in 2019

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Book Marketing

“Authors, put down your pen and go explore the many book fairs and festivals around the country. You won’t be sorry!”  Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

After writing diligently for weeks and months on end it’s time to get invigorated! Nothing does the job like meeting people who love books and write books. Check out this list of book festivals and fairs that I compiled that authors can attend for 2019. These events are an excellent way for authors to meet book buyers and reviewers, interact with fellow authors and publishers, meet your readers and find new ones too. As an author you can network with book industry leaders, locate the help you need, such as a publicist or book editor, and learn what’s new in the marketplace.

 

Book fairs usually want speakers. By volunteering to speak, authors not only gain great exposure but can also add that appearance to their resume and press releases. One of my author clients was a member of a panel of authors at a Southern Book Festival. I issued a press release about it and added it to her accomplishments on her bio. Not only is she a respected author but she’s now an author admired by her peers. It’s these little things that all add up in the minds of reviewers and the media when they decide who they will write about. If you want to land a panel slot or speaking gig you must plan ahead; dates for panel participants, speakers and autograph sessions are usually arranged months in advance.

 

For more upcoming book events check out C-SPAN2 at: http://www.BookTV.org and click on the Book Fairs tab.   For more information about book events and book marketing visit   http://www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com

 

Here’s my list of upcoming book fairs and events that are worthy of your attendance in 2019 as of the date of this publishing:

 

  1. Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, April 13-14, 2019 in Los Angeles, CA. The festival attracts more than 150,000 people. https://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/  
  2. 2019 Dayton Book Expo, April 27, 2019 at the David H. Ponitz Conference Center, Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. There will be unique books by new authors and panel discussions for aspiring authors. https://www.daytonbookexpo.com/
  3. BookExpo America, May 29-31, 2019, Javits Center, NYC, the ‘Big Daddy’ of all book events. It’s worth a trip just to see what the book business is all about. There are plenty of great seminars to attend, book signings and events. I highly recommend all authors attend.  http://www.bookexpoamerica.com
  4. Millbrook Literary Festival, May 18, 2019.   Millbrook Free Library on Franklin Street presents dozens of thought provoking authors.  https://millbrookliteraryfestival.org/
  5. Printers Row Lit Fest, June 8-9, 2019, Chicago, Illinois on and around the area of Dearborn Street, from Congress to Polk. A large book fair attended by more than 150,000 book lovers. http://printersrowlitfest.org
  6. Santa Barbara Writers Conference, June 16-21, 2019, in Santa Barbara, California. There will be more than 20 different instructional workshops each day. http://www.sbwriters.com
  7. American Library Association Annual Conference, June 20-25, 2019, in Washington, D.C.. Some 25,000 experts in the market who will help you advance your career. https://2019.alaannual.org/
  8. International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) June 25-June 28, 2019, Nashville, TN. CBA’s International Christian Retail Show Considered the best show for Christian authors according to Sara Bolme, author of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. http://www. Marketingchristianbooks.com
  9. Harlem Book Festival, July 20, 2019 Harlem, NYC visited by over 30,000 readers and viewed by millions on C-Span http://www.harlembookfair.com
  10. The Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair will begin August 2, 2019 and finish August 3, 2019 in Denver, Colorado www.rmaba.org/rmbpf/2019/rmbpf_2019_GeneralInfo.html
  11. Writers at Woody Point, August 13-18, 2019 in Woody Point, Newfoundland. Travel to Canada and see what creativity and talent lies across the border. http://www.writersatwoodypoint.com
  12. Decatur Book Festival, August 30-September 1, 2019, Decatur, GA, largest independent book festival in the country. Since its launch, more than 1000 authors and hundreds of thousands of people have attended this event in downtown Decatur. http://www.decaturbookfestival.com
  13. The Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors will be held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 5-8, 2019 https://www.bookmarksnc.org/2018-festival-books-authors
  14. The Brooklyn Book Festival will begin September 16, 2019 and run through September 23, 2019 in Brooklyn, New York. http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org
  15. The Iowa City Book Festival will begin October 1, 2019 and end October 7, 2019 in Iowa City, Iowa. http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org
  16. The South Dakota Festival of Books in Brookings and Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be held October 3-6, 2019. http://sdhumanities.org/festival-of-books/
  17. The Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee will run from October 11, 2019 through October 13, 2019. https://www.visitmusiccity.com/visitors/thingstodo/southernfestivalofbooks
  18. The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair will be held October 12-13, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. http://www.seattlebookfair.com
  19. The Vegas Valley Book Festival will take place on October 19, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. https://10times.com/vvbf
  20. The Texas Book Festival will begin October 26, 2019 and end October 27, 2019 in Austin, Texas. http://www.texasbookfestival.org
  21. The Baltimore Book Festival will begin in Baltimore, Maryland on November 1, 2019 and end November 10, 2019. http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com
  22. The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (40th Annual) will be held November 15,  2019 through November 17, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. http://bostonbookfair.com

 

The Bottom Line: Authors, put down your pen and go explore the many book fairs and festivals around the country. You won’t be sorry!

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist Check his blog at: http://www.The-Book-Publicist.com

 

Authors Want Reviews? Use NetGalley For Ultimate Book Marketing

by Scott Lorenz

Westwind Book Marketing

 

“Reviews are a third party endorsement of your work. They give the potential buyer assurance the book they may buy is worthwhile.” Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

“We are still trying to get reviews. It is worse than pulling teeth though. Unfortunately I used up the reviewers I could threaten bodily harm to with my first book!”   Exasperated Author

One of the most difficult things to do is to get people to read and review your book to help get the buzz going. How would you like to get your book into the eager hands of reviewers, bloggers, members of the media, librarians, booksellers, and educators before it was published? Ever wonder how some books have 50 reviews the day of publishing? Want to know the tricks of the trade? One way is through NetGalley and their 450,000 readers.

NetGalley is a service that allows authors and publishers to get reviews of their work NetGalley400x300before and after it is published. Members get galleys before others, read books digitally, share feedback, and become part of a reading community. There are also built-in benefits beyond the review, including advance promotion (more about that on their website: https://www.netgalley.com/

“What an author will get from NetGalley, but may not always welcome, are reviews that are about as truly independent as can be,” said Tom Barry, author of Saving Jay and When the Siren Calls.  If you can’t handle the truth or someone’s version of the truth don’t do it!

“We work with over 400 publishers, indie authors and small publishers who are incorporating NetGalley into their marketing and publicity activities,” says Kristina Radke of NetGalley. We work in all genres, and the formats we support are ePub (converted to Mobi for Kindle devices and apps) or PDF.”

The reach is often beyond the NetGalley platform. “NetGalley does encourage its reviewers to post outside NetGalley, on places such as a personal blog, Amazon or GoodReads. It does not, however, guarantee or require this to happen,” says C.E. Kilgore, a self-published author of Science Fiction, Space Opera, and Contemporary Romance.

Check out The Science Fiction Writers Association who have a special rate with Net Galley. http://www.sfwa.org/member-links/netgalley-application/

“NetGallians are not only strangers but staunch supporters of good fiction, like Templars defending a holy artifact,” says J.S. Leonard, author of Modern Rituals. “They care only to support excellent writing.”  One thing Leonard discovered with NetGalley are his “superfans,” those individuals who read the book, love the book, and tell everyone they know.

“NetGalley is so huge, your books are getting listed next to some pretty big name titles, and that can sometimes do wonders at getting your book noticed.  It’s a great chance to discover new authors and for authors to be discovered by new readers,” said Melissa Pearl, author of The Elements Trilogy.

“NetGalley is about marketing for authors/publishers, in addition to connecting with readers, and we have to keep in mind the game of trying to reach as many readers as possible,” said Keary Taylor, author of The Eden Trilogy, The Fall of Angels Trilogy, and What I Didn’t Say.

Corrin Foster of Greenleaf Book Group says that their publishing firm uses NetGalley for nearly every title that they publish as a way to reach active and influential reviewers. “The NetGalley community is fair and transparent with their reviews, responsive to collaboration, and an invaluable resource for generating early reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, and social media which carry a lot of weight with general consumers. We value our relationship with NetGalley and their members very highly,” says Foster.

Some authors believe NetGalley is costly, but as a book publicist, I can attest to the fact that the cost of soliciting, shipping and following-up is pretty costly in terms of money and time too.  Author C.E. Kilgore is concerned that the site has little reader/reviewer vetting process. NetGalley admits this, but they believe that publishers and authors know best the readers who are most useful for them. When a reviewer requests a book, the author or publisher can accept or decline the request after reviewing their profiles. The price for a listing ranges from $399 to $599 for six months with the higher fee including a marketing boost and newsletter placement.

Want to save money? NetGalley works in partnership with the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association). They have a NetGalley program that makes it very easy for small and self-published authors to participate at a discount. Click here for more information: https://www.ibpa-online.org/page/netgalley?&hhsearchterms=%22net+and+galley%22

The Bottom Line: NetGalley is a great way to obtain pre-publish reviews and is yet another resource available to authors and publishers to reach a community of avid readers.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com   or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

47 Book Cover Designers to Create Your Best Selling Cover

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

“A Good Book Cover Can Help Sell a Book- A Bad Cover Can Kill a Book.”  Scott Lorenz, Book Publicist

“Your book cover is not a decoration. It’s a smart business investment.” George Foster,  Foster Covers

Being a book publicist and book marketing guy I often weigh in on book cover designs. 4 (5)Sometimes it’s in the nick of time sometimes it’s too late to make a change. Here’s the situation, authors, please – do not underestimate the importance of a book cover’s design.  Not only do potential book buyers judge a book by its cover but so do members of the media. Many reporters receive dozens of books every day! Do you really think they read the book flap and your pitch? Ha!

Here are some important items to consider when making decisions on book cover design:

Use a subhead to create more description. If you have a 10-word title, you have not properly named the book in the first place.

Check with Google on the words that are most searched on your topic. To do this, type in the word that best describes your book in the search box and then see what the next most important or popular words are in that list. That ranking is very relevant marketing- wise so try to use those words in your title or subtitle. Consider using the genre in the subtitle too because that’s what people are searching on.

Visit book stores look at the covers of all types of books. What catches your eye? Look at the book face and look at the spines. Which ones are readable and why?

Will it play on Amazon? Go to Amazon.com, BN.com, Good Reads, Smashwords and search for competitive books in your space. Notice the book covers that catch your eye and the ones that do not. If your cover does not show up well in an Amazon thumbnail then you are going to lose sales.

Contrast. Don’t let your graphic designer get started without keeping contrast in mind. The reason black ink works so well on white paper is because it produces the best contrast possible. Yellow ink on green paper in a small font simply does not work. How does your book look in black and white? Not every publication will be printing it in color.

Font size. Many designers are young with great eyesight. But your buyer may not be able to read the tiny font some designers insist upon using. Be practical.

The spine. Can you read it from five feet away? If not, neither can browsers in a bookstore.

Blurbs. Keep them relevant and short. Consider including a mention on the cover of a foreword written by a famous person or author. “Foreword by Best Selling Author Judith Grisel” or “Foreword by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos” or “Foreword by Singer Ariana Grande.”

Back inside flaps. Do not overlook creating content on the back inside flaps because consumers pick up a book after looking at the spine, front cover and back and then open the book to find the price or more information.

Use a laser printer. Don’t just review your cover on a computer screen which will make it look considerably better. Print it out actual size and make a determination using that printed version.

Pictures are worth 1000 words. Use photos and illustrations to describe what would take too long to explain. When choosing a book design ask yourself how the cover will look on your website home page. Branding is important so you’ll want to use the same design elements on your website that you do on your book cover

Ask for feedback. Show your cover designs to as many people in your target group of potential readers. Get their reactions and opinions. It costs you nothing and you’ll likely find out something you did not realize before.

Here are 47 book cover designers and services to consider for your next cover:

  1. 99 Designs, https://99designs.com/:  99designs.com uses graphic designers from around the world who compete for your business by actually designing the book cover on speculation, ie no charge. I commissioned many covers for authors using 99designs after the author was not happy with the creations from his own designer. I mentioned several design elements such as the title, subtitle, what the book was about etc. Figuring more is better, we got 65 different cover designs in 5 days! The most difficult part was narrowing down the selection to 8 then having friends, family, co-workers vote on their favorites from all corners of the world all online. They also added their comments, insight and logic behind liking or disliking a cover design right under the image of that cover. They voted over several days and the comments were able to be read by our team, also scattered all over North America. The cost was under $700 or so and it was only that high because we put a rush on it and paid extra. This was an excellent process that delivered a NY Times bestseller quality cover that I highly recommend.
  2. Fiverr, http://fiverr.com/: Fiverr gives you many options for just $5. These are fast and obviously cheap but I’ve seen some pretty nice work. Order from 2 or 3 designers at the same time. Hey, it’s only $5 bucks!
  3. Draw Big Design, http://www.jeniferthomasdesign.com/: Draw Big Design produces smart visuals that stand out from the ordinary.
  4. Killer Covers, http://killercovers.com/: Killer Covers offers various packages for your book cover needs including web pages, Facebook pages etc. They are based in Australia and I’ve used them and recommended them several times.
  5. Book Cover Express, http://www.bookcoverexpress.com/: Book Cover Express has a competitive flat rate so you can work with your ideal budget.
  6. Author Support, http://www.authorsupport.com/: The designers at Author Support are a great resource.
  7. Book Creatives, http://www.bookcreatives.com/: Book Creatives offers book cover design and ebook design for authors.
  8. Foster Covers, http://www.fostercovers.com: George Foster of Foster Covers is a book cover designer who has earned more than 300 awards and created covers for 134 bestsellers. His work has appeared on over 1,000 books.
  9. Karrie Ross Graphics,  http://www.bookcoverdesigner.com/: Karrie Ross of Karrie Ross Graphics specializes in book cover design for the self-publishing industry
  10. Damonza, http://damonza.com/: Damonza has over 30 years combined experience in the design and advertising industry
  11. Robin Ludwig Design, http://www.gobookcoverdesign.com/: Robin Ludwig Design  specializes in providing superior book cover design services utilizing professional equipment and software
  12. Andy Carpenter Design, http://acdbookcoverdesign.com/: Andy Carpenter Design is a boutique design firm for self-publishers and small presses.
  13. Self-Publishing Lab, http://www.bookcovercafe.com/: Self-Publishing Lab has been voted the best website for authors, so be sure to check it out
  14. Lulu, http://www.lulu.com/publish/books/: Along with publishing services Lulu provides design quality at a competitive price.
  15. David Airey, http://www.davidairey.com/designing-book-covers/: David Airey is a creative book cover designer
  16. Book Cover Genius, http://bookcovergenius.com/bcg-2/: Book Cover Genius offers a great sales pitch about why you should download their software to design your own book cover. Worth a look.
  17. CreateSpace, https://www.createspace.com/Services/UniqueBookCover.jsp: CreateSpace allows you to work with their professional design team to custom-create an affordable, striking cover that broadcasts your book’s key messages with distinct colors, fonts, and one central image.
  18. BookBaby, http://www.bookbaby.com/services/coverdesign: BookBaby offers a straightforward approach to finding a budget and designing your book cover.
  19. Guru, http://www.guru.com/Find-Freelancers/Cover-Book-Designers/004-RQ3JSR: Guru is a great website to utilize to find freelance book cover designers from around the world. Very cool.
  20. 1106 Design, http://1106design.com/: 1106 Design offers editing, proofreading, cover design, Interior page layout, eBook formatting, Printing and more.
  21. Infinity Publishing, http://www.infinitypublishing.com/book-cover-designs-gallery/book-cover-designs-gallery.html : With Infinity Publishing you have complete control over the cover design and layout of your book.
  22. Abacus Graphics, http://www.abacusgraphics.com/: Abacaus Graphics is an intimate award-winning design studio creating exceptional image building graphic designs for print and the web since 1979.
  23. Albertine Book Design, http://www.dotdesign.net: Albertine Book Design offers complete design and production services for children’s books, tabletop books, cookbooks, textbooks, fiction and non-fiction hard covers and paperbacks.
  24. Book Covers for All, http://bookcoversforall.com/: Book Covers for All features one designer boasting over 18 years of experience with 1000+ books to his credit.
  25. Book Cover Express, http://www.bookcoverexpress.com/ Cathi Stevenson of Book Cover Express has 30 years of publishing experience and more than 1500 book covers to her credit.
  26. Duck of All Trades, http://www.duckofalltrades.com/: Duck of All Trades is a full service design studio offering graphic design, illustration, publication layout and more.
  27. Dunn+Associates, http://www.dunn-design.com: Dunn + Associates creates the success tools that authors need like best-selling book covers and more.
  28. Elaine Gignilliat, http://www.romancebookcoverart.com/: Elaine Gignilliat is one of the foremost romance book cover artists. She has painted covers for over 350 romance books representing more than 150 authors
  29. Extended Imagery, http://extendedimagery.com/predesignedcovers.html: Carl Graves is a professional book cover designer who has a fire sale on book covers with more than 2,000 book covers on hand. These are really amazing must see covers.
  30. Illumination Graphics, http://www.illuminationgraphics.com/: Illumination Graphics provides affordable and dynamic design for books, both book cover designs and book interior layouts.
  31. BookWise Design, http://lightbourne.com/: BookWise Design has designed over 1200 book covers and strives to provide the most experienced and helpful book production services.
  32. ExpertSubjects, http://www.expertsubjects.com/covers: Expert Subjects has several cover artists and you can choose to create a fully customized book cover depending on your budget constraints. They also provide an array of services including typesetting, editing, critique and undertake publishing & distribution too.
  33. Canva, https://www.canva.com/create/book-covers/: Canva’s book cover maker makes book covers amazingly simple to design – even for non-designers. I’ve used them for memes too.
  34. The Cover Collection, http://www.thecovercollection.com/: Here’s a way to get a high quality book cover for a great price using premade book cover designs. Authors receive multiple drafts to choose from and a choice of font options. I’ve checked out their covers and they are top notch.
  35. TS95 Studios, https://www.ts95studios.com/subpages/MyServices.html: Hampton Lamoureux of TS95 Studios is a Daily Deviation award-winning artist on DeviantArt.com. He designs e-book and full-jacket covers, crafting elaborate realistic scenes from stock photos for fantasy, horror, mystery, and sci-fi novels.
  36. JD Smith Design, http://www.jdsmith-design.com/: JD Smith is an award-winning book cover designer who has worked in the graphic design industry since she was 17. She designs book publishers for traditional publishers and independent authors.
  37. Jessica Bell Design, https://www.jessicabelldesign.com/: Jessica Bell is dedicated to creating one-of-a-kind book cover designs that fit any author’s budget. She began designing covers as favors for her author friends and has turned her hobby into a successful business.
  38. Mars Dorian, http://www.marsdorian.com/: Mars Dorian is a digital illustrator and storyteller who specializes in creating e-book covers that stand out for affordable prices.
  39. Alexandra Brandt, http://www.alexandrajbrandt.com/:  Alexandra Brandt’s print and e-book covers focus on sci-fi and fantasy works.
  40. Kingwood Creations, https://www.kingwoodcreations.com/: Find stunning premade book covers at Kingwood Creations. You can select your favorite design from over 100 premade covers.
  41. MiblArt, https://miblart.com/: MiblArt is a design company that specializes in book covers. If you choose them for your book cover design, you can expect the first concept to be delivered in 3 days and an unlimited number of revisions.
  42. Jeff Brown Graphics, http://jeffbrowngraphics.com/: Beautiful sci-fi and fantasy book cover designs can be found at Jeff Brown Graphics. Jeff has collaborated with over 90 authors on more than 250 covers.
  43. Historical Fiction Book Covers, http://www.historicalfictionbookcovers.com: For a historical fiction book cover design, consider Historical Fiction Book Covers by Jenny Quinlan.
  44. Dissect Design, https://www.dissectdesigns.com/: Dissect Design was created for indie book authors who are in search stunning book covers that don’t break the bank. https://www.dissectdesigns.com/
  45. Laura Duffy Design, https://www.lauraduffydesign.com/: Laura Duffy of Laura Duffy Design is a former art director who takes great pride in creating professional book designs.
  46. The Frontispiece, http://www.thefrontispiece.com/: Known as an award-winning design studio, The Frontispiece offers book design services. They believe that great books deserve thoughtful consideration, inside and out.
  47. More Visual, https://thebookcoverdesigners.com/: Dave Kessler of More Visual is a graduate of Parsons School of Design and specializes in unique and professional book design services.
  48. David Moratto, http://www.davidmoratto.com/  With more than 225 covers to date David Moratto brings his unique graphic design expertise to each cover project. The book’s interior design and cover is designed to the demographic profile of  the reader.

You can and should spend a few hours going through all of these websites. You’ll be glad you did. I know I was enlightened myself in creating this list of book cover designers.

The Bottom Line: Get involved early in the entire book publishing design process and get at least several creative concepts for the front cover, back cover, and spine. Don’t let it be the ‘last thing’ you do.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and book marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book.

He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, CIA Officers, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC News, New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, LA Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few.

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com  or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Jewish Book Festivals for Jewish Authors and Topics of Jewish Interest for 2019

Jewish Book Festivals

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

If you are a Jewish author or specialize in writing about Jewish issues, you should consider visiting some of these book festivals in the Jewish community.

As a book marketing specialist, I am the first to impress on authors the powerful

Jewish Book Festivals

Authors, reach out to the Jewish community and attend a Jewish book fair or festival this year.

marketing avenues open to all authors on the Internet – from websites and book trailers to social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. While these are excellent tools when used properly, authors should take every opportunity to meet the reading public face-to-face. Book festivals are a terrific way to do just that.

Columbus JCC’s Jewish Bookfair and Author Series will host events on March 5, 6, and 28, 2019. These events will discuss Jewish-related books such as “Sadness is a White Bird,” “The Ruined House,” and “Why Judaism Matters.”

London International Literacy Festival’s Jewish Book Week will occur March 2-10, 2019 in London. It will feature Jewish writers and themes and a number of interesting discussions.

Alper JCC’s Berrin Family Jewish Book Festival will host events until March 13, 2019 in Miami, FL. There will be various author presentations as well as an event for women that focuses on the book “Husbands and Other Sharp Objects” by Marcy Hammer.

Weinstein JCC’s Fife-Davis Family Jewish Book Fair and Gift Shop will take place March 14, 2019 in Richmond, VA. Its purpose is to spark discussion and thought related to Jewish history, issues, literature, and poetry.

Dallas Aaron Family JCC’s BookFest will be host to a number of events until April 3, 2019 in Dallas, TX. Its mission is to celebrate Jewish authors and help attendees discover what inspires them.

Gordon JCC’s Nashville Jewish Book Series will take place until April 4, 2019 in Nashville, TN. It features books that revolve around Jewish themes and topics as well as books that are written from a Jewish perspective.

Greater Naples Jewish Book Festival by the Jewish Federation of Greater Naples will host various events until April 8, 2019 in Naples, FL. There will be presentations from a number of Jewish authors as well as educational and social programs.

The JCCs of West Bloomfield and Oak Park’s Detroit Jewish Book Fair will take place in October 2019 in West Bloomfield, MI. It’s an eight day event that features Jewish related books on serious topics as well as those that revolve around a few humorous ones. Authors will end their presentations with Q&A sessions.

St. Louis Jewish Book Festival will be held November 3-17, 2019 in St. Louis. It will feature premier speakers as well as books related to cooking, business, economics, family, fiction, history, music, sports, religion, and more.

Kaiserman JCC’s Jewish Book Festival will occur November 11-December 5, 2019 in Wynnewood,, PA. There will be a book fair and a variety of events for adults and children.

Book fairs typically seek out guest speakers. By volunteering to speak at a Jewish book fair, you will pique the interest of new readers and potentially gain a few new fans. Additionally, you can add the speaking appearance to your resume. Be sure to plan ahead because book fairs, speaking engagements and readings are all planned months in advance. For a complete list of book fairs and festivals visit https://www.book-publicist.com/

 The bottom line: Reach out to the Jewish community and attend a book fair! You will be happy you did.

About Scott Lorenz

Book publicist Scott Lorenz is President of Westwind Communications, a public relations and marketing firm that has a special knack for working with authors to help them get all the publicity they deserve and more. Lorenz works with bestselling authors and self-published authors promoting all types of books, whether it’s their first book or their 15th book. He’s handled publicity for books by CEOs, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, Woman’s World, & Howard Stern to name a few. Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at http://www.book-marketing-expert.com or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist