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Book Publicist Scott Lorenz offers Authors Book Marketing Tips and Techniques on his Blog “The Book Publicist”

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Should Authors ‘Pay For PR Placement’ or Pay a Monthly Retainer?

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Book Marketing

Authors will on occasion request an alternative payment arrangement other than the typical retainer fee arrangement most PR firms including Westwind Communications require.

 

I could discuss all day the various payment options offered for PR services such as ‘pay for placement,’ ‘hourly fee’ or ‘retainer fee’. In a nutshell, the retainer fee allows the client to have a fixed budget amount for PR each month and it allows my firm to rely on a steady cash flow. The work goes up and down depending upon opportunities and implementation of the marketing plan. Clients will also appreciate the logic of this concept as the billing process is simplified for both parties.

 

For example, let’s say we get a placement or review in the Chicago Tribune – what’s that worth? What about a photo? You would think that should demand more money right? How much more? What about a one-line quote in the Wall Street Journal? What’s that worth? What happens if a newspaper in Singapore or Australia runs that quote right out of the journal? What’s that worth?  What happens if a meeting planner sees it and calls the client for a speaking gig? Does the PR firm get a piece of that speaking fee? Why not?

What’s the value of a TV interview in the hometown of a self-published author on WBZ in Boston that includes her book cover, photo and link to her web site and the book trailer on YouTube? What happens if that leads to a movie deal? Would my firm be entitled to a piece of that? Or, does the fee for pay-for-placement relate to the ad rate for the airtime and space for the web site?  For example, an ad a little larger than a business card is $10,000 in the NY Times Sunday Book Review!

 

Do you want to share profits with the publicist?

I’ve promoted new medical techniques which resulted in hundreds of procedures at $5,000 apiece. In that case the worth or value of the TV story is dramatically higher. I wish I would have had a piece of that!

 

Several of my legal related PR placements resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements for my lawyer clients and plaintiffs when the opposing party saw the story on the local TV news. Once they knew we were prepared to continue to do battle in ‘the court of public opinion’ they settled.  Should I have gotten a piece of the lawsuit settlement? Why not? Do you see the dilemma?

 

What happens if we hit our stride and all the big shows want the author? Can you afford the $3-6,000 fee per show? I personally have met authors who’ve turned down major national morning shows because they could not afford the ‘pay for placement’ fee. That would never happen on a fixed fee retainer basis because you’d get all the shows for one flat fee.

Do you like reviewing complicated bills? How about fighting over ‘value’ of a PR hit?

The way I see it, ‘pay-for-placement’ is a bad deal for authors. Furthermore, there is no way authors would want to review that detail every month and frankly it would cost us hundreds or thousands of dollars per month to prepare a bill with such a breakdown. The very thought of doing it that way is rather terrifying!

 

There are other reasons we believe it’s in our mutual interest to use retainer fees over other billing methods. Usually people who want such a deal have had a bad experience with a PR firm that did nothing or they don’t have enough money in the first place and they’re trying to generate sales from the PR to pay for the PR. Finding out the reason for asking for a non-retainer deal is essential to formulating an equitable arrangement.

 

The real issue is the futile attempt to place a ‘value’ on PR placement on a monthly basis. Nobody knows the value with certainty because the benefit may come down the road in the form of new business, speaking gigs, consulting deals, TV shows, book deals or even more publicity. Trying to measure its value every month is like trying to place a future value on a baby in a bassinet… it cannot be done.

 

Another issue is about trust. Can the PR firm deliver the PR that is proposed? Can they be trusted to deliver media placements? I believe that past results are a predictor of future results, especially when it comes to PR. There need be no leap of faith if a PR firm has a track record of success with placements.

Will your book publicity result in book sales, a speaking gig or will it change somebody’s life?

Furthermore, with some PR projects there is just no way to assess how the media and public is going to respond. We could go through a lot of expense to create a PR strategy, press materials and pitch it to an audience that is just not interested. I once had a reporter at Bloomberg News say “Scott your guy’s book on INDIA looks great, but it’s the 7th book on India I’ve had this month so sorry we can’t run another one!”  Or, there’s a problem with the credentials of the author, founder, CEO etc. that were not disclosed to the PR firm in advance. These revelations could tank a PR effort and cost the PR firm money instead of making money.

 

Sometimes even with PR, people may not buy the book. In fact there have been authors on CNBC and Good Morning America who have not sold any books!

Are you available willing and able to do almost any interview almost anytime?

Finally, another reason the pay for placement deal won’t work is if the author doesn’t hold up his or her end of the bargain, such as being available for interviews, preparing for interviews, book signings, traveling, etc. Little things like these will result in little or no book sales and the publicist gets stuck with little or no compensation. Sorry, that’s a deal killer.

 

The Bottom Line: We’ll stick to a retainer fee basis, and my clients get to keep profits from their sales, movie deals and speaking gigs. Fair enough?

 

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 fill out the form below or contact Lorenz at scottlorenz@westwindcos.com or by phone at 734-667-2090. Check out our new book trailer at https://bit.ly/BookPublicistScottLorenz Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist 

The Top Writer’s Conferences for 2020 by Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Writers Conferences and Confabs are a great place to learn about publishing and writing from agents, publishers, authors and publicists.

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

If you are a serious writer with high aspirations, then you’ll want to go to a writers’ conference. Want to meet authors and exchange ideas, tips and techniques? Then sign up for a writer’s conference today.

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.

Writers Conferences and Confabs are great place to learn about publishing and writing

Writers Conferences and Confabs are a great place to learn about publishing and writing from agents, publishers, authors and publicists.

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 2020:

January 21-26, 2020 StoryCamp (St. George Island, FL) StoryCamp is a women’s writing retreat with writing and creativity workshops in a quiet, supporting atmosphere. http://aroundthewriterstable.com/storycamp/

February 13-16, 2020: San Francisco Writers Conference (San Francisco, CA) At this writers conference, you can expect over 100 presenters, which will be editors, literary agents, and bestselling authors. https://www.sfwriters.org/2020-conference/

February 21-23, 2020 Asheville Christian Writers Conference (Asheville, NC) The Asheville Christian Writers Conference will offer one-on-one mentoring, writing workshops, and discussion groups. https://ashevillechristianwritersconference.com/

 

March 7, 2020: Atlanta Writing Workshop (Atlanta, GA) The title of the Atlanta Writing Workshop is “How to Get Published.” It focuses on classes and advice intended to help you get your works published. https://atlantawritingworkshop.com/

March 20, 2020: Kentucky Writers Conference (Bowling Green, KY) This writers conference offers workshops put on by the bestselling authors and educators in the SOKY Book Fest. https://sokybookfest.org/programs/ky-writers-conference/

March 28, 2020: Kansas City Writing Workshop (Kansas City, MO) At this writing workshop, you can learn about how to write queries and pitches, what you can do to market yourself and your books, and more. https://kansaswritingworkshop.com/

April 2-4 2020: Las Vegas Writers Conference (Las Vegas, NV) At the Las Vegas Writers Conference, writers can meet and learn from some of the greatest agents, authors, and professionals in publishing. https://lasvegaswritersconference.com/

April 3-5, 2020: The Muse & the Marketplace Writers Conference (Boston, MA) Here you’ll find over 130 interactive sessions led by authors as well as a happy hour session where you can network with agents, publishers, and authors. https://museandthemarketplace.com/

April 4, 2020: Get Published in Kentucky Workshop (Louisville, KY) The Get Published in Kentucky Workshop is essentially a full day of classes and advice that are designed to help you get your books published. https://kentuckywritingworkshop.com/

April 18, 2020: North Carolina Writers Workshop (Charlotte, NC): At the North Carolina Writers Workshop, you can gain all of the information you need to get your work to the publishing phase. https://carolinawritingworkshops.com/

April 25, 2020: Seattle Writers Conference (Seattle, WA): The Seattle Writers Conference aims to provide participants knowledge that can help them get their books published. https://theseattlewritingworkshop.com/

April 25, 2020: Michigan Writers Conference (Detroit, MI) At this writers conference, participants will enjoy a day of intense instruction on how to get their works published. https://michiganwritingworkshop.com/

April 30-May 2, 2020: Northern Colorado Writers Conference (Fort Collins, CO): The Northern Colorado Writers Conference will hold workshops, sessions, and four-hour master classes to inspire authors. https://northerncoloradowriters.com/Conference

May 2, 2020: Missouri Writers Guild (Cape Girardeau, MO) The Missouri Writers Guild offers market information, contests, and networking opportunities for writers. https://missouriwritersguild.org/

May 7-9 2020: Storymakers Conference (Provo, UT): The Storymakers Conference will consist of various classes that cover various topics such as cover design, marketing, creating a writing business, and the nuts and bolts of screenwriting. http://ldstorymakersconference.com/

May 8-9 2020: Washington Writers Conference (North Bethesda, MD): At the Washington Writers Conference, there will be one-on-one pitch sessions with literary agents from New York, Boston, and DC. http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/index.php/page/2020-washington-writers-conference

May 15-17, 2020: PennWriters Conference (Pittsburgh, PA): The PennWriters Conference offers three days of workshops, panels, networking opportunities for current and aspiring writers. https://pennwriters.org/

June 13, 2020: Tennessee Writers Workshop (Nashville, TN) Writers can learn the ins and outs of getting their works published at this conference. https://tennesseewritingworkshop.com/

June 14-19, 2020: Santa Barbara Writers Conference (Santa Barbara, CA) At the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, writers can enjoy six days and nights of over 30 writing workshops, speakers, and agents. https://www.sbwriters.com/

June 22-28, 2020: Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference (Bemidji, MN) This writing conference is full of workshops, Q&A sessions, panel talks. https://www.northwoodswriters.org/

July 26-July 31, 2020: Napa Valley Writers Conference (St. Helena, CA): At the Napa Valley Writers Conference, writers can participate in small workshops related to poetry, fiction, or translation that meet for two hours daily over a five day period. http://www.napawritersconference.org

June 27, 2020: The Writing Workshop of Chicago (Chicago, IL) The Writing Workshop of Chicago gives writers the opportunity to pitch editors and literary agents and get their questions answered. https://chicagowritingworkshop.com/

July 30-August 1: Mendocino Coast Writers Conference (Mendocino, CA): At this conference, writers can participate in morning workshops that related to various genres. http://mcwc.org/

August 19-22, 2020: Killer Nashville Writers Conference (Franklin, TN) Writers who attend the Killer Nashville Writers Conference can expect writing workshops, pitch sessions, panel discussions, author signings, and a book fair. https://www.newpages.com/writing-conferences/killer-nashville

October 23-25, 2020: La Jolla Writers Conference (San Diego, CA) At the La Jolla Writers Conference, writers can attend two types of classes: 50-minute lecture sessions or  110-minute workshops. https://lajollawritersconference.com

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: Take a little working vacation and hit some writers’ conferences. Make it a priority to sign up for one in the coming weeks and months. You’ll be glad you did!

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 or fill out the form below. Tell us about your book! Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors Want Hollywood to Call You? Use These Matchmakers & Turn Your Book Into a MOVIE!

Turn Your Book into a Hollywood Movie

Matchmaker Services Puts Your Book or Script in Front of Producers

Innovative Services Place Your Script in Front of Hollywood Producers

 

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

 

As a book publicist, I am asked on a regular basis, “Can you get my book turned into a movie?”  With all the streaming outlets like NETFLIX, AMAZON and others who desperately need new content, the demand for creative work has never been higher. Now there are services who can place your book or screenplay in front of Hollywood producers who can, in fact, turn it into a movie.  If you want to turn your book into a movie then check out these ‘matchmakers’ I’ve discovered below.

Greenlight My Movie

If you have a short film, book, screenplay, or true story, you can pitch it to Greenlight My Movie. Once you do, you’ll receive a guaranteed response from Hollywood buyers and representatives. To get started, create a profile, add your synopsis, find companies that may be interested, and submit your project. Warner Brothers states that Greenlight My Movie has a great process and has provided them with some great ideas. 

Pros of Greenlight My Movie

  • Optional Video: If you don’t have video, no worries. It’s optional so you can simply submit your synopsis and logline.
  • Guaranteed Response: A Hollywood buyer or rep will get back to you via a written email response. Their response will likely come with detailed feedback that will steer you in the right direction.

Cons of Greenlight My Movie

  • Submission Charge: You’ll have to pay $29.95 to submit your pitch. 
  • Will Have to Wait for a Response: While most people receive a response in about 3 to 4 weeks, you may have to wait longer to hear back. 

Hollywood Pitch Festival

Attend the 23rd annual Hollywood Pitch Festival and pitch A-list buyers and representatives. This year, the event will be held August 1st through 2nd in the Los Angeles area. It’s the only pitch festival that offers one-on-one pitch meetings in two days with over 200 of Hollywood’s top personnel under one roof. One-on-one pitch coaching via Skype is also available two weeks before the festival.

Pros of Hollywood Pitch Festival

  • No Limits: While you’re at the festival, you can pitch as many companies as you’d like because there are no limits.
  • Pitching Resources: Hollywood Pitch Festival wants you to succeed so they will send you pitching tips and how-to videos right before the event.

Cons of Hollywood Pitch Festival

  • Travel Involved: Since this is a physical event, you’ll have to travel to participate. This can be an issue if you’re limited on time and money. Fortunately, you can buy a virtual pass and submit your pitch online if you prefer.
  • Limited Attendance: The Hollywood Pitch Festival limits attendance to 200 people. So if you don’t sign up early enough, you may not make the cut. 

TaleFlick

Since its debut in 2018, TaleFlick has provided a searchable library of fiction, novels, and short stories. It strives to connect authors with film or TV producers. You can create your own page and match with vetted scriptwriters who can offer tips on how to improve your story. TaleFlick can also help you get discovered by producers looking for new material.

“TaleFlick is an effective, efficient way for your work to be presented directly to those people who may want to make a film out of it. I don’t know why it didn’t exist before but I’m glad it does now,” says Michael Bowker, author of Gods of Our Time.

Pros of TaleFlick

  • Great Exposure: With TaleFlick, you can submit your story online and get in front of the top studios, producers, and production companies.
  • Commitment to Giving Back: TaleFlick has a “1 Million Books 1 Million Children” initiative where they give one million books to one million children all around the world.

Cons of TaleFlick

  • Must Pay to Submit Stories: TaleFlick is not free for authors as you’ll have to pay $88 to submit your story.
  • Not All Stories Accepted: TaleFlick accepts scripts, screenplays, fiction and nonfiction books, manuscripts and children’s stories. The site doesn’t currently support short stories, comic books, and plays.

InkTip

InkTip began in 2000 to make it easy for producers, directors, agents, managers, and name actors to access quality screenplays and professional authors. Believe it or not, more than 375 feature films have been made from scripts and writers discovered through InkTip. One example of an InkTip success story is Fireball, which was produced by Harvey Kahn with Front Street Pictures and  aired on the Sci-Fi channel.

Pros of InkTip

  • Variety of Services: InkTip offers three main services to get your scripts noticed. These include its script listings and script renewals service, InkTip Magazine service, and Preferred Newsletter service.
  • Thousands of Industry Professionals: Over 2,700 producers, agents, managers and other industry professionals use InkTip.
  • Privacy of Scripts: You can’t look at the scripts of other writers as they are reserved for qualified industry professionals.

Cons of InkTip

  • Fees Involved: While you can register an account with InkTip for free, you have to pay for its specific services. Fees range from $30 to $60.

Spec Scout

Spec Scout’s goal is to be the best place to discover and promote the highest-quality screenplays, on and off the market. It hopes to give aspiring writers a way to break into the business. “Spec Scout is my secret weapon. Having the whole spec market in one place, with scores, loglines, and coverage is such a huge advantage. I can’t imagine not having access to this library,” says Stephanie Marin, producer at El Camino Entertainment.

Pros of Spec Scout

  • In-Depth Feedback: Once you submit your script, three readers will provide ratings and a comprehensive analysis of your script. You’ll get 8 to 10 pages of detailed comments that outline its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Script Score: Your “Script Score” will indicate the quality of your script. If you score 75 or above on the 100 point scale, you’ll be listed as a “Scouted” writer for free, forever.

Cons of Spec Scout

  • Pricey: To submit your script, you’ll have to pay $297. Rush service is available for an extra $100.
  • Feedback Takes Time: It’ll take about one month to receive feedback on your script. If you can’t wait that long, the $100 rush service can get it to you in one week.

 

The Bottom Line: Just like online dating doesn’t guarantee you’ll meet your special someone, there are no guarantees that these services will turn your work into a movie. Just look at them as another opportunity to gain exposure for your book.

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 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

 

 

 

How the New York Times Selects Books for Review for 2020

New Behind-the-Scenes Story by FOX-5 NY Sheds Light on the Meticulous Process

by Scott Lorenz Westwind Communications

As a book publicist, I talk to authors and clients on a daily basis. Many have one goal in common: To become a New York Times bestselling author. One way to do it is to get reviewed by the New York Times Book Review. This is no surprise as the New York Times Book Review is one of the most prominent book review publications out there. It’s a weekly paper magazine that comes with the Sunday New York Times, which has a circulation of 1.5 million. A one-fifth page ad in the Book Review will cost a whopping $8,830 for small presses. You can expect to dish out even more if you’re a major publisher. Check out the 2020 rate sheet here.  

 

If your book gets on the New York Times Book Review, you’re almost guaranteed an increase in sales and publicity. So, how does the New York Times Book Review select books to review? Good question! Pamela Paul, who’s been the New York Times Book Review editor since 2013 sat down with FOX 5 NY to shed some light onto this very common question. Check out the terrific story here.

“We love the publishing industry and we support what they do, but really we are here for readers.” Pamela Paul, Editor, NY Times Book Review

She explained that the New York Times receives hundreds of books that would like to get reviewed each day. Believe it or not, all the books, except for self-published books, receive some kind of look by a staff of critics and freelance reviewers. The type of look each book gets, however, varies. While one book’s look lasts a few seconds, another book gets read cover to cover. 

 

“Only 1% of all the books we receive make the cut. We’re always on the lookout for new and interesting voices. Since we view books as a form of art, we strive to recognize innovation and diversity,” Paul explains.

Paul was asked whether critics ever get tired of looking at books. “The kind of people that work at the Book Review are always excited to check out a book. They really love books and are doing exactly what they want to be doing,” she says.

 

All NY Times book reviews are fact-checked for accuracy. Paul states that fact-checking is very important for them because while you can disagree with a book review, you shouldn’t distrust it. Once the reviews are fact-checked, copy editors write headlines, credits, and more before the review goes to press. 

 

You can see that the New York Times Book Review is run by people who love books and why they take extra care to make sure what they recommend is worthy of their audience’s time. That’s why a mention in the NY Times Book Review is so powerful. Keep up with their latest reviews by following Pamela Paul on Twitter at: @PamelaPaulNYT

If you would like to have your book considered for review, please send it to:
Editor
The New York Times Book Review
229 W. 43rd Street
New York, New York 10036
If you are sending a children’s book, please send it to the attention of the Children’s Book Editor.

The Bottom Line: While earning a spot on the New York Times Book Review is no easy feat, it’s not impossible. As long as your book has a unique twist, is well crafted, has an important message, or a new voice which must be heard, it stands a chance and is certainly worth sending in. 

Final Recommendation: Watch the FOX-5 NY piece a few more times so you can really understand what the NY Times wants. https://www.fox5ny.com/news/a-day-in-the-life-inside-the-ny-times-book-review-process

You can also watch an hour-long interview with C-SPAN’s Book TV and  New York Times Book Review editor Pamela Paul from 2015. https://www.c-span.org/video/?326362-1/tour-new-york-times-book-review

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 or fill out the form below. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist