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

How Authors Can Land Speaking Gigs

Want to become a sought-after speaker? Then get cracking on this list and tell the world what you talk about and line up some speaking gigs. DO IT TODAY.

How Authors Get Speaking Gigs

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Being a book publicist, I am often asked to help authors get speaking gigs. But, it’s a specialty in itself and outside our wheelhouse. Authors can make a lot of money speaking, more so sometimes than selling books, but generally, it’s the book that creates the demand so there is a symbiotic relationship. Some of my clients earn anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 per speech routinely. It’s getting on the circuit that’s difficult.

I’ve compiled a list of people and companies in this business that authors can engage with, who represent potential speakers. For many of these entities their client is the company or organization looking for a speaker and not you.  They want a good fit and someone who’ll deliver a terrific speech.

Here’s the list:

All American Speakers https://www.allamericanspeakers.com/category/Authors

All American Speakers assists meeting professionals, event producers, corporate groups, universities, nonprofits and associations in booking speakers and entertainment. The database “houses booking information on everyone on the speaker circuit, regardless of their agency/bureau affiliation.”

 American Program Bureau http://www.apbspeakers.com/literature-speakers

American Program Bureau books renowned literature speakers, including best-selling authors, historians and poets. The website has easy-to-browse categories and sub-topics to easily find speakers for any conference.

Christian Speakers Services http://www.christianspeakersservices.com/about.html

The organization serves event planners and ministry leaders. Everyone on the speaker roster has been vetted. You must complete an application to be represented by the organization.

ExpertClick  http://www.ExpertClick.com  Many speakers and authors turn to Expert Click to send news releases and to expand their online platform. Their proprietary news release distribution service pushes out ten ways including via Google News. Authors can get found based on 30+ key words that meeting planners are searching. They pull the author’s blog on an RSS feed and syndicate them into the press rooms, thereby getting more exposure, distribution of content and ‘Google Juice. According to CEO Mitch Davis, “We have 150+ speakers and authors who use us including Patricia Fripp, Alan Weiss and Jeffrey Gitomer.  We were featured in Tim Ferris’s book Four Hour Work Week, and PRWEEK called us ‘a dating service of PR,’ The New York Times called us ‘dial-an-expert.’ I use it and recommend it. When you join at this discount link you can save $100: www.ExpertClick.com/Discount/Scott_Lorenz

 Espeakers   https://www.eSpeakers.com/

The eSpeakers Marketplace brings the world’s greatest speakers together in one place and makes it easy for buyers to filter by topic, price range, and availability. Their platform takes the hassle out of booking and scheduling for both meeting planners and speakers.  They offer a cloud based, multiuser calendar suite; (they’re sort of like the Airbnb for speakers). They also connect speakers to over 50+ speaker directories saving hours of tedious administrative duties. It’s no wonder they are the preferred choice for many top speakers.

 GigSalad https://www.gigsalad.com/

A service that books entertainment and speakers for parties, productions and events of all kinds. This platform books10,000+ performers and presenters across the U.S. and Canada. The website’s search tool allows potential clients to view authors, categorized by genre and location.

HarperCollins Speakers Bureau http://www.harpercollinsspeakersbureau.com/

The HarperCollins Speakers Bureau is only accessible to authors published by HarperCollins, Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. It works with corporations, universities, schools, associations, libraries, clubs, hospitals, foundations, and other professional groups and societies in the U.S. and around the world.

 Harry Walker Agency http://www.harrywalker.com/

The Harry Walker Agency works with thousands of meeting planners in need of speakers. The agency belongs to the International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) and has largest breadth and highest caliber of speakers in the world.

International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) http://www.iasbweb.org/

IASB is the only trade association that exclusively represents speakers bureaus and agencies. Meeting professionals that request assistance in locating a speaker are referred to the Bureau Directory on the IASB website. IASB encourages meeting professionals to seek out member bureaus when searching for speakers.

Lyceum Agency http://www.lyceumagency.com/  

The Lyceum Agency represents authors and academics for speeches, lectures and readings on a variety on subjects. Access to an impressive list of speakers is available on the website.

Nancy Vogl Speakers Bureau http://www.nancyvoglspeakers.com/

A “boutique bureau” that books professional speakers in leadership, diversity and sales, futurists, health and wellness professionals and those sending a message of hope and inspiration. It’s located in Traverse City, Michigan.

National Speakers Association (NSA) http://www.nsaspeaker.org/

NSA has a network of 3,400+ speakers and has the tools, techniques and professional connections to help you share your message effectively. Whether you speak at their annual conference, chapter meetings or other events, NSA is eager to help you grow your business.

 National Speakers Bureau http://www.NationalSpeakers.com National Speakers Bureau has achieved over 40 years of success! Clients are primarily corporations and business associations. Speakers are searchable on their website according to topic and fee. **Only a small fraction of received speaker inquiries result in a correct fit.

Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) http://www.pcma.org/

Professional Convention Management Association calls itself “the definitive authority in education, business networking and community engagement for leaders in the global meetings, convention and business events industry.” PCMA has more than 6,500 members and 50,000 customers.

redBrick Agency http://redbrickagency.com/applause/

The redBrick Agency works with corporations, conventions, arts and lecture venues, libraries, performing arts centers, schools, colleges and universities. The agency represents authors and all kinds of speakers.

Speakers’ Spotlight http://www.speakers.ca/

Speakers’ Spotlight has arranged more than 20,000 speaking engagements in over 30 countries. The agency finds speakers for leading corporations, associations, government agencies, colleges and universities, school boards, health care organizations and charities.

Steven Barclay Agency http://www.barclayagency.com/

The Steven Barclay Agency serves colleges, universities, schools, performing arts centers, corporations, associations, and for private events.

TED https://www.ted.com/

Collectively, TED speakers have won every major prize awarded for excellence, including the Nobel, Pritzker, Pulitzer, Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Tony and MacArthur “genius” grant. TED also seeks out emerging artists, scientists and thinkers, introducing them to the TED community.

To speak at TED: https://www.ted.com/about/conferences/speaking-at-ted

TEDx https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/tedx-program

A TEDx event is a local gathering where live TED-like talks and videos previously recorded at TED conferences are shared with the community. TEDx events are fully planned and coordinated independently, on a community-by-community basis.

The GUILD Agency http://www.theguildagency.com/

A full-service international Speakers Bureau, Literary Agency, Social Impact Consultancy, and Smart-Content Media Firm. The organization has assisted with thousands of events and works with many speakers not listed on their website.

The Tuesday Agency http://tuesdayagency.com/about

The Tuesday Agency is a full-service lecture agency representing elite authors, journalists, historians, artists and scholars. Based in Iowa City, “The Tuesday Agency is dedicated to the literary arts and to thoughtful dialogue.”

Thumbtack https://www.thumbtack.com/

This platform’s motto is “From house painting to personal training, we bring you the right pros for every project on your list.” Although presentations are more obscure than other professional services offered, this platform does book motivational speakers. Special attention: Lifestyle coaches and authors sending a positive message.

“If authors want to get speaking gigs they need to figure out where the leads are and have an easy system for following up on them,” says Jess Todtfeld, creator of  EndlessSpeakerLeads.com, a guide to finding and connecting with events and those who book them.

Endless Speaker Leads http://www.EndlessSpeakerLeads.com

Jess Todtfeld author of Media Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course, has curated some of the biggest resources for speakers into one place.  Using online videos, Todtfeld explains how to find conferences and the contacts who are the decision makers. Todtfeld suggests authors and experts add speaking as a profit center to help drive more book sales and drive more business.  Says Todtfeld, “If you can get more leads, you can make more connections and get more offers to have you as a speaker.”

The Bottom Line:  Want to become a sought-after speaker? Then get cracking on this list and tell the world what you talk about and line up some speaking gigs. DO IT TODAY.

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

Authors: Is There an Animated Book Cover In Your Future?

By Scott Lorenz  Westwind Book Marketing

Designing an eye-catching book cover is a strategic part of the book marketing process. If someone lingers over your cover for a millisecond longer, there’s a greater likelihood they’ll be inspired to crack open the book. What then, can be done to set one book cover apart from another with the hundreds of thousands of books being published every Animated Book Cover GIFyear?

Lately the trend of animating book covers has caught on as a sleek new way to add pizazz and let books stand out. An animated image is a great way for a book to be shared, posted, and reposted, on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest. Tumblr and other social media sites thereby reaching a wider audience. Google’s expanded feature for Advanced Image Search is a good sign for authors and animators who want their work shared.

William Herr, author of From a Broken Land, described his decision to jump on the animation trend as a “shut up and take my money moment.”

Who is using Animated Book Covers?

Graphic design artist Joshua Jadon has offered GIF book covers to his clients for over three years. Joshua has designed book covers for authors of all genres including New York Times Best Selling authors. Joshua says that one in five of his clients will request an animated book cover.

So far, several renowned authors including Stephen King and J.A. Konrath have adopted the animated design. Stephen King published Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, with a beautiful animation.

How Can Authors Get an Animated Book Cover?

William R. Herr, described his decision to animate the cover of his recent novel, From a received_10153670733206183Broken Land, as, “Not something you can do yourself, at least not if it is done right, and the artists understand this. Pay well for good work, and don’t accept the sub-par.”

Unfortunately, his publisher at the time wasn’t onboard. Herr states, “Their position was that the retailers would never agree to include the covers, so why even pursue it?” After leaving his publisher for unrelated reasons Herr turned to his friend Aaron Acevedo of Pinnacle Entertainment Group, a “bootstrap tabletop gaming company.”  Acevedo in turn brought in colleague Martin de Diego Sadabo to do the artwork, the combination was simply perfect.

On the other side of the spectrum is book design artist, Joshua Jadon, who has been dazzling readers for over three years with animated book covers. “My dad has always been into animation and suggested that I look into doing animated book cover designs. The idea that an eBook cover can be brought to life with a bit of custom animation in a GIF format is really amazing.”

Why Should an Author get Animated?

 According to Jadon, “Eye-catching book cover design is a real key to catching the attention of MORE readers and the best possible way to increase that rate of someone seeing your book is to have a cover that really stands out. GIF animations just crank things up a notch with real-time movement and effects.”

What is the Cost of an Animated Book Cover?

Less is more according to Herr. “Too much movement, and the eye gets tired. Too little, and it does not ‘pop’. Overall cost for the animation was $100.00.” All animators have their own fees and the DIY option is always there if one is inclined to take up the task.

“Honestly creating a GIF animation can take some time depending on the difficulty of the animation and what exactly the client wants created”, states Jardon who quoted his rate for an animated GIF cover at $200 although he offers discounts if authors want a regular book cover as well.

There is also the option of creating your own. All that is required is Photoshop and the help of a Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) creating site. There are several tutorials online such as this one that can give any book a creative edge to grab attention.

The Future of Animated Covers?

 While many authors and designers are catching on to this unique marketing tool, animating still appears to be in its early stages. At the moment, Amazon Kindle and most major online retailers do not support them. Nor has Amazon released any plans to feature the new designs.

However, the trend has gained some serious momentum and may become more commonplace as the book industry continues its competitive streak. As Herr put it, “Someone has to be first, and I’ll be darned if it’s going to be Steven King over me.”

While some mediums where this article is published allow animation, others do not. So to see the full effects of animated covers go to www.joshuajadon.com, www.aaronace.com and http://ebookfriendly.com/best-animated-book-covers/. Designer Charlotte Strick tells us how an animated book cover is made at: http://bit.ly/2bJzHe1 

The Bottom Line: With the explosion in electronic everything, getting an animated book cover will be standard in the coming years. Might just as well jump on it and 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 Check his blog at: http://www.The-Book-Publicist.com

 

 

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

33 Radio Interview Tips For Authors From Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

You’ve landed the radio interview and it’s time to get ready to actually do it. Now what? As a book marketing expert and book publicist, I have booked my clients on thousands of radio interviews. Here’s a list of tips I give to my clients prior to their interviews. Keep this helpful list of interview tips nearby and you’ll be glad you did!

  1. Go to a quiet room in your home or office; be sure staff and/or family know you are 16on a radio interview and cannot be interrupted.
  2. Turn off other phones, cell phones and anything else that could create background noise including air conditioners and the radio, etc.
  3. Have a glass of water nearby; there’s nothing worse than dry mouth on a radio interview.
  4. Be on time. Call the station exactly at the time they tell you, or be at your phone waiting if the station is going to call you.
  5. Use a land line phone for best quality. Some stations won’t allow a cell phone interview. If it is not possible to reach a land line then use a cell phone in a stationary location and not while you are rolling down the road as the reception could be interrupted mid-interview.
  6. Disable call waiting: dial *70 and then call the studio number. This disables call waiting for the duration of the phone call. As soon as you hang up, it will be reactivated.
  7. Do not use a speaker phone or a headset; again, it’s about good sound quality.
  8. Be self-assured. Remember, you know your topic inside and out. Be confident in your ability.
  9. Smile, smile, smile, whether on radio or TV – SMILE. You’ll feel better, and for TV you’ll look better too.
  10. Put some pizzazz and energy into your voice. Try standing while you speak to liven things up a little.
  11. Research the show and tailor your message accordingly. Just Google the host’s name and station and check out their web site. Is it a national audience or a small town in Ohio? What is their format? Is it News/Talk, NPR or Classic Rock or something else? You need to know.
  12. KNOW exactly how much time you will have on the air as a guest, three minutes or 30 minutes…so you can tailor your answers to the time allotted.
  13. Practice your sound bites—out loud before the interview. Communicate your main points succinctly. Practice this out loud.
  14. Be informative and entertaining without directly pushing your book, product or service. Make the audience “want more.”
  15. A kind word about the host can go a long way. It’s good manners and good business.
  16. A person’s name is sweet music to them so commit to memory or jot down the name of the host and use it throughout the interview. When taking calls, use the names of callers too.
  17. Be prepared for negative comments, from the host or listeners.
  18. Be careful not to slide into techno-babble, jargon or acronyms that few know about.
  19. Never talk down to your audience.
  20. Be respectful of the host because everybody starts someplace. Today they’re interviewing you from a college radio station; in a few years they could be a nationally syndicated host.
  21. Don’t Oversell. Remember you are on the air to provide useful information to the listening audience. If you are an author or selling something, limit yourself to TWO mentions of the book, product or service. You must make it interesting without the commercialism. It takes finesse but you can do it. Often times the host will do this for you and you won’t need to mention it.
  22. Think of a radio interview as an intimate conversation with a friend and not a conversation with thousands.
  23. Radio interviews require verbal answers, not head nodding or uh-huhs. Hand gestures don’t count in radio either.
  24. Radio will often use interviews live and later cut them up for use throughout the day giving you more airplay. So keep your answer to a 10 to 20 second sound bite. You can say a lot in that amount of time and then you don’t sound like you are babbling on. Don’t go on more than a minute without taking a break.
  25. Don’t just answer questions. Tell listeners something you want them to know, something they wouldn’t know unless they were tuned in, with the promise of more of the same when they buy the product or come see you!
  26. Have three key messages. Short, not sermons. Sometimes the host opens the door, other times you have to answer a question and segue to a key message. A compelling message will have the host asking for more. Usually, people can get in two key messages; the pros can get three. But even if you get in only one, you get a big return for the time invested.
  27. Lazy hosts open with a lame: “Thanks for being here.” Boom! Give a :15-:20 sec summary message. If the host introduces you with a question, be polite, deliver your summary message, then answer the question. “Thanks, (use name), for the opportunity to talk about….Now, to your question (name)…”
  28. Maintain a Positive Attitude. BE GENUINE OR TRANSPARENT. Don’t fake enthusiasm or sincerity. If you’re in a bad mood cancel the interview. Don’t pretend to know stuff you don’t.
  29. Re-read the press release or pitch that got the booking since the host is going to be using that as a starting point. Often a book publicist such as myself, will tie into a breaking news event that relates to your expertise. Be aware of that tie-in.
  30. After the interview write a thank-you note. Since so few people do this, you’ll really stand out from the crowd. And most importantly, you may get invited back.
  31. Whether the interview is live or taped-live, if you stumble, or flub up just keep going. Often what you perceived as a mistake, the listeners won’t even notice.
  32. Ask for an MP3 of the recording before the interview. Often if you ask ahead of time the producer will record the interview and then you can use it on your web site. If that’s not available get the link to the station’s recording and Tweet about to your followers and promote it on your Facebook page. Be sure to listen to it later and critique your performance.
  33. Listen for the testimonial. Sometimes the host will say something complimentary, “You have a fascinating story Mr. Jones.”  Use it in your marketing.  Or you can actually ask for a testimonial.  Often that MP3 will arrive with a note from the host saying how much they enjoyed the interview, or that “Scott Lorenz was a great interview, he really kept our audience engaged,” or “the phones rang off the hook when Scott Lorenz was being interviewed.” You can use those testimonials in future pitches and on your web site, blog etc.

As a book marketing firm, we’ll prepare our clients with media coaching or if need be training with a media trainer. We’ll also submit questions to the radio host ahead of time and include those in our press kits emailed to the stations. Often the radio host will read those questions right in order. Other times they refer to our questions and include some of them. We do this to help the host in case they’ve not had a chance to read the book, and to help direct the questioning.

Make sure you know your own material inside and out and are comfortable with everything in it. You are the author of the book, or the press release and they’ll ask you, “What did you mean about this or that?” You need to have the answer. You don’t want any surprises.

The Bottom Line:  RELAX, you’ll do fine. The butterflies you’re feeling are what will drive you to do your best! Just follow these helpful tips and you’ll be a radio interview star!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

 

 

37 Top Book Awards for Authors in 2017

Book Awards for Authors

Book Awards for Authors

Enter Book Award Contests and Become an Award Winning Author in 2017!

 

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

“Do book awards matter?”  YES!!

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

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

Jeff Bezos at the 2016 Code Conference

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

 

Recently a business book client won a major award which caused CNN to reach out to request the book.

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

 

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

 

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

 

Here’s a list of my Top 37 book awards worthy of your consideration. Keep in mind that links change all the time and contests come and go. Some links are for the previous year because that’s all that was available at the time of this writing. Events already passed are not listed.

  1. Check out the National Book Critics Circle Awards http://bookcritics.org/awards/award_submissions/

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction site will reopen for new entries in May 2017. http://www.pulitzer.org/how_to_enter

 

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

 

  1. Learn more about how to enter to win the Stonewall Book Award. Click for details http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/award

 

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

 

  1. The Deadline for the Autumn House Press award for poetry, fiction and non-fiction is June 30. Check it out here http://www.autumnhouse.org/contest-submissions/

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. The National Indie Excellence Book Awards competition selects award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in dozens of categories. Created especially for indie and self-published authors. Deadline is April 2017. http://www.indieexcellence.com

 

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

 

  1. The non-profit Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards are now in their 27th year of awarding excellence in book publishing in 55 categories. All entrants receive direct judge feedback–unique in the industry. For more information, visit http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/

 

  1. USA Best Book Awards has a ten year track record of honoring and promoting books to the national and international community. The contest is sponsored by USA Book Newswhich covers books from all sections of the publishing industry—mainstream, independent, & self-published. http://www.usabooknews.com/

 

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

 

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

 

  1. Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the only self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. One winning entry will receive $8,000 with nine first-place winners who’ll receive $1,000 each. Early Bird deadline April 1, 2017. http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/selfpublished

 

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

 

  1. Romance Writer of America promotes the interests of career-focused romance writers by sponsoring awards that acknowledge excellence in the romance genre. RWA sponsors: “The RITA” for published romance fiction novels and “The Golden Heart” for unpublished romance fiction manuscripts. http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=525

 

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

 

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

 

  1. The Eric Hoffer Award for independent books recognizes excellence in publishing with a $2,000 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions. To enter, a book must be from an academic press, small press or self-published author. http://www.hofferaward.com/HAbooks.html

 

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

 

  1. The International Book Awards (IBA 2017) are specifically designed to be a promotional vehicle for authors and publishers to launch their careers, open global markets and compete with talented authors and publishers throughout the world. Winners get an extensive public relations campaign, social media promotion and more. http://www.internationalbookawards.com/

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

  1. Shelf Unbound Magazine’s Best Indie/Self-Published Book Competition honors more than 100 indie/self-published books. In addition to $1,500 in cash prizes, they’ll feature the winner, five finalists, and more than 100 “notable” books in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound. Any independently published book in any genre in any publication year is eligible for entry. Entry fee is $50 per book. The competition also includes the Pete Delohery Award for Best Sports Book, open to fiction and non-fiction sports-related books. http://www.shelfmediagroup.com/pages/competition.html

 

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

 

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

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

 

 

Book Marketing Video Westwind

http://youtu.be/bTsTCKjLxc8

 

 

 

How Rachael Ray’s TV Career Started With Her Book

The Book Publicist

Rachael Ray heads an empire that includes hit TV shows, best selling books, a magazine and her own product lines. Things keep getting better and better for Rachael Ray. But, you might be interested to know that it was a couple of radio interviews about her book that propelled her to fame and fortune.

As a book publicist I talk to authors and clients every day and every so often one says, “Oh I really don’t want to do radio” or I’ll have a client who’ll decline a rachael rayradio or TV interview and then give me reasons like “There’s only 5,000 people tuning in to that station, or such and such is a small town, or nobody listens to radio at 2AM,” or whatever. I usually respond with “If the Rotary Club in your home town called you today and invited you to speak to their club and 450 people would…

View original post 675 more words