Hollywood Movie Producers Offer Tips to Authors

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

“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.”

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.

“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

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

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.”

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 CommunicationsMEME PR STUNTS

PR 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

MOJO If I don't Get the Book Written

 

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!

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 of Westwind Communications

 

Time to Get an AgentLanding 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?

Get 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

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

 

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 Authors Can Use Book Clubs to Promote Their Books

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind CommunicationsFlying Books Clubs, Book Clubs


When promoting a book, many authors think national promotion. And that’s fine, but I also suggest authors consider solid local promotion using book clubs.  While national campaigns can be effective, reaching out to a  nearby audience is certainly cost-effective and, when done right, can help start word-of-mouth promotion every author covets.

The obvious appeal of a book club is that it is a prime niche target. The simple equation is that book clubs consist of people interested in books and people who like books can like your book as well as any other.

The investment is driving 15-20 minutes to where the club meets, speaking for 30 minutes, answering questions for 10-15 minutes, and then greeting members as they depart at a table filled with your books.

If 20 members attend that week’s book club session, and six buy your book, they will return to the following month’s meeting and at least two or three will talk about your book. Others will then go out and, on the recommendation of club members, purchase your book. All will tell friends outside the club, some of whom will buy your book. It doesn’t take long for 100 sales to rack up from a 90-minute investment by the author.

And, by the way, a book club in another state or another country still can have value to an author because it can easily be arranged to “appear” as a speaker to any distant club by using SKYPE, Facebook Live or other technology.  Visiting a book club offers many benefits beyond sales, although generating sales should be number one. Other benefits include:

  • A way to better identify target audiences
  • Getting new thoughts and ideas for future books
  • Increased understanding of what characters or plot lines were of interest to readers in your target audience
  • Having an instant focus group without having to pay for one
  • Meet and relate to reviewers who often are book club members
  • Meet people from all different walks of life, greatly adding food to the writer’s observational brain
  • Learn about new books to read. Remember Stephen King’s advice: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.”

To find book clubs nearby do a Google search. Then, (now don’t laugh), actually go to your local library and ask the librarian! Chances are some book clubs may even meet in the library. Others will meet in private homes but the librarian will know. In fact, the librarian will belong to local book clubs and probably would be willing to recommend you as a speaker at a club event or at the library itself. Besides the library, visit local community colleges and universities to get information on book clubs.

Book clubs also can be located by searching on Facebook, Goodreads and other online sites. You can visit local coffee shops, sandwich shops and even bookstores and look for a community bulletin board that book clubs are apt to use for announcements.

Another way to locate nearby book clubs is to go to www.readerscircle.org, www.readinggroupguides.com and www.bookbrowse.com/bookclubs.

There are some things an author should do to make the visit worthwhile to club members so they will be invited back or invited to another club, such as:

  • Provide study questions in advance
  • Have some great stories ready to tell about writing and the creative process
  • Seek their help by asking them to review your book on Amazon, BN, Goodreads, or talk about it on Facebook or Twitter
  • Keep in touch. Take a picture with the group and offer to email it to them. Save the contact information and email them updates
  • Bring something – bookmarks, a bottle of wine, or a batch of homemade cookies. Best of all bring free books to give away.

After you have visited all the book clubs within a 50-mile radius, you will have become an expert at promoting books using book clubs. After all, paid speakers begin by speaking free to local civic clubs and become better speakers by this training method. The same goes for authors and book clubs. These new skills will prepare you to speak at seminars, workshops, book fair conferences, etc.

One more thing. There are several celebrity book clubs promoted by Reese Witherspoon, Jimmy Fallon and Sarah Jessica Parker to name a few.   Getting picked up by these are a long shot at best for most authors. So for best results and mental satisfaction, I’d focus on the plan I’ve outlined above.

The Bottom Line: Authors, pursue book clubs to promote your book and get the local buzz going!

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