How Authors Can Use Book Clubs to Promote Their Books

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind CommunicationsFlying Books 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

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

How Authors Can Use Webinars for Book Marketing Success

by Scott Lorenz, President Westwind Book Marketing

When it comes to book marketing, of the many tactics, authors can employ once the book is written and published are those that are cost-effective and produce results.  Free Webinar This WeekBesides free publicity, if you would like to reach a large targeted audience efficiently then consider conducting a webinar.

What’s a webinar? A webinar is an online interactive meeting where the author is able to educate, demonstrate, entertain, and sell their book to their audience of potential readers. It can be held at any time of the day—live or recorded.

“Doing webinars is a way to reach much larger audiences – often in the thousands – without leaving your home or office and for less than the cost of one night in a hotel,” says Bill Harrison, co-founder of the National Publicity Summit in New York City.  “Many authors do bookstore signings to promote their books but it can be expensive to travel and unless you’re a celebrity, you’ll be lucky to have 15 or 20 people turn out.”

“JJ Virgin used webcasts to hit the New York Times Best Seller List in one of the most competitive markets of all—health and nutrition,” says Mike Koenigs, #1 Bestselling Author, and Serial Entrepreneur. Koenigs encourages authors to “Write Your Book From A Webcast” as it’s perhaps the most cost-effective way to capture one’s knowledge effortlessly.

Author media trainer Jess Todtfeld, President of Success In Media, uses webinars to build a relationship and rapport. “The advantage is that they see and experience who I am and receive something of value at the same time,” says Todtfeld. “I’ve conducted many webinars with authors and they are particularly useful for keeping your network warm and staying on the radar. I’ve then transcribed the recording and created content I can repackage and offer to my audience.”

Put webinars into your book marketing mix. It will reach your most interested market.

Scott Lorenz – Book Publicist

One book marketing pro I know has been conducting at least two webinars per month for more than four years. Brian Jud, Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales, and the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books, uses webinars for several reasons. “First, it keeps my name in front of a targeted audience on a regular basis. And scheduling speakers for my webinars, many of which are authors, gives me access to people who might not otherwise accept my call. Also, by listening to experts in a wide variety of book-publishing topics I learn something from every webinar. Finally, preparation for webinars in which I am the speaker forces me to update my material and solidify my reputation as a knowledgeable expert in non-bookstore marketing.”

Brian conducted a webinar with me a few months ago about how to name a book and from the transcription of the recording I created two articles and found plenty of new material that came out during the interview process. The best part is that I was able to communicate my expertise to his list of contacts. How’s that? Prior to the webinar,

Brian emailed a note to his list of a few thousand authors and publishers telling them about my upcoming webinar. Some of those people signed up for the webinar and others simply read that email so it served as a form of an advertisement for my book publicity services.

Tapping into someone else’s list of contacts is one of the big benefits of using a webinar. Nobody can know everybody and a webinar offers an endorsement, in effect, from the person conducting the webinar.

“The purpose of your webinar series is not only to promote book sales—although it will do that anyway,” says Gihan Perera, author of There’s an I in Team, and eleven other books. “It’s also to continue positioning yourself as an expert, and to remain in front of your target market’s mind, so that when they’re ready to buy what you’ve got to sell, you’ll be their first choice.”

What’s the next step?

  1. Research who conducts webinars in the genre of your book or someone who covers your topic if it’s a ‘how to’ or ‘business’ subject. Go to both Twitter and Google and search the term ‘webinar + YOUR TOPIC’ to find them.
  2. Sign up for some webinars as a participant and listen in so you can see how they work. For author related webinars check out the Writers Digest website.
  3. Reach out to those hosts you’d like to talk to and ask if they would like to interview you.
  4.  Then once you’re ready to host your own webinar check out webinar providers such as GoToWebinar, GoToMeeting and WebEx.

 

The Bottom Line: Put webinars into your book marketing mix. Using a cost effective webinar is an easy-to-use promotional tactic to reach the most people ‘of like minds’ at the same time. 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. 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

How Authors Can Get 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.

Charli Jane Speaker Club   https://charlijanespeakers.lpages.co/cj-members/

Charli Jane actively seeks speaking opportunities and lists them on their members-only website. Charli Jane’s service is different from a speaker bureaus in that YOU reach out to the people looking for a speaker. They charge a nominal monthly fee but they also do the heavy lifting by compiling a list of 200+ speaking opportunities a month. Then you reach out to the best prospects. If it’s a good fit you get booked.

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