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

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

The Incredible Story Behind the Movie THE ELEPHANT MAN

Remember- All Movies Start with the Written Word – All of Them

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Book Marketing

Incredible StoryMovies, like books, sometimes have humble beginnings.

Remember the movie The Elephant Man? It was a true story about a nineteenth-century sideshow freak who was saved by a doctor portrayed in the movie by Anthony Hopkins.

THE ELEPHANT MAN, portrayed by the late John Hurt, continues to be a gold standard for artful cinematic creativity today. The movie is from Academy Award-winning film producer Jonathan Sanger.

How did this movie come about? Was it an agent’s pitch? No.

Was it an award winning script? No.

Did experienced screenwriters create this masterpiece? No.

Was it adopted from a book? No.

I recently met up with Jonathan Sanger in Hollywood when my firm Westwind Book Marketing arranged a book signing and special big screen showing of The Elephant Man at the Egyptian Theatre. Mr. Sanger introduced the movie to several hundred people where he retold the incredible story of how this movie came about.

Where did the script come from?

His babysitter handed it to him to read! That’s right, his babysitter. Sanger took the script and said he’d read it and promptly set it aside… for about a year. Then one day he came back from a trip opened his desk drawer and there it was… staring at him like an obligation.

What did he do? He read it – and he loved it!

His book “Making the Elephant Man: A Producer’s Memoir” gives us an insider’s look at the creation of one of the first ever indie films and a box-office smash, as well as a peek into the early careers of movie greats David Lynch, Mel Brooks and Anthony Hopkins.

MAKING THE ELEPHANT MAN – A PRODUCER’S MEMOIR, in Paperback and Kindle is available on Amazon or on the author’s website www.JonathanSangerProductions.com  View the book trailer here: http://bit.ly/MakingTheElephantManTrailer

 

Few members of a film audience appreciate the intricacies of the myriad aspects of making a film. Sanger takes his experience as the producer of THE ELEPHANT MAN and opens a powerful discussion on the evolution of cinema, how he ‘discovered’ a script written by ‘unknowns’ Christopher DeVore and Eric Bergren finding “it was exactly the kind of story I would want to make, a historical biography about a wretched soul who had nonetheless lived an extraordinary life” – the true story of 19th century grossly deformed John Merrick, known as the Elephant Man working in a sideshow in London who was treated by a kind Dr. Treves.

 

“When I wrote this, I was teaching a course in independent film and using my experience with this film to teach,” says Sanger. “I realized that it would be great to get these stories down and put them in a book.” For every movie he makes, Sanger keeps a notebook about the crew, the schedules, what they ordered for lunch, and other details. He was able to tap into notes from 30 years ago that brought the whole process up fresh in his mind, including the strong emotions that gripped him upon first reading the script..

“Human stories have always moved me,” says Sanger. “I like movies about people who are outliers, who are not in the mainstream for one reason or another, even if they are famous. It’s not something I’m actually seeking, it’s just a trend I’ve noticed over the years, about myself as a producer.”

Sanger’s latest two movies, both follow similar themes. In Chapter and Verse, a reformed gang leader returns to Harlem where he gets a job delivering meals.  Marshall is based on a true incident in the life of Thurgood Marshall, when he was a young lawyer, long before his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Written with passion, Sanger’s memoir takes us with elegant prose and many black and white photographs through the presentation to Mel Brooks who helped propel the young Sanger’s project into the hands of neophyte director David Lynch, the details of finding the proper crew, the cast (John Hurt, Anthony Hopkins, Sir John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anne Bancroft), the location, the anxieties of meeting deadlines, the technical hurdles of creating a film about such a character – facing struggles at every turn. Even the final showing of the completed film to an audience of professionals, whose silence terrified Jonathan, until he learned the silence was due to the emotional impact of the story – an unspoken Bravo!

Brooklyn-born Jonathan Sanger is a highly respected producer and director of major films, television series, and theatrical productions, having earned twenty Academy Award nominations, and winning three.

 

In 1976, Sanger moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for Lorimar Television on network television series The Blue Knight and Eight Is Enough. In 1978 he was Mel Brooks’ Assistant Director on High Anxiety, which led to a long professional association. For Brooks’ wife, Anne Bancroft’s feature directorial debut film Fatso, Sanger served as Associate Producer. During this period Sanger had acquired the rights to the script of The Elephant Man – his first production which led to a successful career in both producing and directing films – films such as Frances, Without Limits, Vanilla Sky, Flight of the Navigator, The Producers, and Code Name: Emerald.

 

The Bottom Line: A good story well written delivered to the right person can be the ticket to incredible success. Remember- all movies start with the written word. All of them.

Check out this New York Post  article about Making The Elephant Man http://nypost.com/2017/02/19/how-the-inner-pain-of-a-circus-freak-became-a-surprise-hit/

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

Jess Todtfeld Launches New Book: Media Secrets

#1 Bestseller on Amazon in 25 Categories & 4 Countries

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Media trainer and esteemed “media guru” Jess Todtfeld recently launched his new book, mediasecretscoverMedia Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course. The book shows readers how to earn press coverage, ace interviews and personally gain the most from media interviews.

Media Secrets taps into Jess Todtfeld’s former career as a producer for CBS, NBC and FOX to reveal how you can make the most of your time in the media spotlight. Jess was a former producer on FOX & Friends where we met a few years ago. Utilizing his unique grasp on the industry, Jess Todtfeld exposes how the media industry operates and how you can use that to your advantage.

Use Sound Bites. Todtfeld says the best interviews include succinct quotes or “sound bites” that the media can extract and then publish from entire dialogue. Here are some ways to frame your most important points during an interview to increase media pick up:

  • Express Emotion
  • Speak in Absolutes
  • Use Action Words
  • Use Clichés
  • Use Analogies
  • Use Humor
  • Include Facts and Examples
  • Make Predictions
  • Ask Rhetorical Questions

“The media especially likes predictions,” says Todtfeld, “It takes the heat off them and it’s interesting to hear what you think could play out.  In the future, if they figure out whether or not your prediction came true, they may choose to bring you back on.”

“Give some of your best answers early in the interview,” says Todtfeld, “Especially if it’s taped or recorded, because they may only use your answers from that first part of the interview.”

Media Secrets: A Media Training Crash Course is available in both eBook and hard copy. Visit http://bit.ly/MediaSecrets and watch the video and bonus links with tips to “Get on Good Morning America.”

Bottom Line:  If you are serious about maximizing your media exposure and every media opportunity, then buy this book. You owe it to yourself to learn from a top media pro how to optimize each interview so it converts to sales, web traffic or other opportunities.

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

Top Book Fairs and Festivals for Authors in 2016

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications Book Marketing

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

22 Book Fairs and Festivals Authors Should Attend in 2015, Top Book Fairs

Book Fairs and Festivals Authors Should Attend

After writing diligently for weeks and months on end it’s time to get invigorated! Nothing does the job like meeting people who love books and write books. Check out this list of book festivals and fairs authors can attend for 2016. These events are an excellent way for authors to meet book buyers and reviewers, interact with fellow authors and publishers, meet your readers and find new ones too. As an author you can network with book industry leaders, locate the help you need, such as a publicist or book editor, and learn what’s new in the marketplace.

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

 

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

 

Here’s my list of upcoming book fairs and events that are worthy of your attendance in 2016 as of the date of this publishing:

  1. Santa Barbara Writers Conference, June 5-10, 2016, in Santa Barbara, California. There will be more than 20 different instructional workshops each day. http://www.sbwriters.com
  2. Printers Row Lit Fest, June 11 & 12 2016, Chicago, Illinois on and around the area of Dearborn Street, from Congress to Polk. A large book fair attended by more than 150,000 book lovers. http://printersrowlitfest.org
  3. American Library Association Annual Conference, June 23-28, 2016, Orlando, Florida. Some 25,000 experts in the market who will help you advance your career. http://2016.alaannual.org
  4. International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) June 26-June 29, 2016, Cincinnati, OH. CBA’s International Christian Retail Show Considered the best show for Christian authors according to Sara Bolme, author of Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. http://www.marketingchristianbooks.com
  5. Harlem Book Festival, July 16, 2016 Harlem, NYC visited by over 30,000 readers and viewed by millions on C-Span http://www.harlembookfair.com
  6. The Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair will begin August 5, 2016 and finish August 6, 2016 in Denver, Colorado http://www.rmaba.org/rmbpf/2016/rmbpf_2016_GeneralInfo.html
  7. Writers at Woody Point, August 16-21, 2016 in Woody Point, Newfoundland. Travel to Canada and see what creativity and talent lies across the border. http://www.writersatwoodypoint.com
  8. Decatur Book Festival, September 2-4, 2016, Decatur, GA, largest independent book festival in the country. Since its launch, more than 1000 authors and hundreds of thousands of people have attended this event in downtown Decatur. http://www.decaturbookfestival.com
  9. The Bookmarks Festival of Books & Authors will be held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 8-10, 2016. http://visitwinstonsalem.com/special-events/view/bookmarks-festival-of-books-and-authors
  10. The Brooklyn Book Festival will begin September 12, 2016 and run through September 18, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. http://www.brooklynbookfestival.org
  11. The South Dakota Festival of Books in Brookings and Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be held September 22-25, 2016. http://sdhumanities.org/festival-of-books/
  12. The Baltimore Book Festival will begin in Baltimore, Maryland on September 23, 2016 and end September 25, 2016. http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com
  13. Chicago Writers Conference, September 23-25, 2016 in Chicago. Topics include writing unlikeable characters, how to pitch, etc. http://www.chicagowritersconference.org
  14. The Iowa City Book Festival will begin October 4, 2016 and end October 9, 2016 in Iowa City, Iowa. http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org
  15. The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair will be held October 8-9, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. http://www.seattlebookfair.com
  16. The Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee will run from October 14, 2016 through October 16, 2016. http://humanitiestennessee.org/programs/southern-festival-books/about-southern-festival-books
  17. The Vegas Valley Book Festival will take place on October 15, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. http://www.vegasvalleybookfestival.org
  18. The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (40th Annual) will be held October 28, 2016 through October 30, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts. http://bostonbookfair.com
  19. The Texas Book Festival will begin November 5, 2016 and end November 6, 2016 in Austin, Texas. http://www.texasbookfestival.org

 

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

 

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

How a #SELF-PUBLISHED #Author went from 99¢ ebook to Movie Blockbuster #THEMARTIAN

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications Book Marketing

Did you know that Andy Weir author of The Martian first published a series of blog posts, then an ebook? Yes, it’s true. Before The Martian  became a Hollywood legend it had humble beginnings… on a blog. Here’s the backstory of  this self-published author.

SELF-PUBLISHEDAuthor Andy Weir wrote The Martian in 2011 and it’s now one of the most popular movies of the day. It is a story about fearless astronaut Mark Watney, played by actor Matt Damon, who overcomes several challenges after being left behind by his team on Mars.

How did Weir get the inspiration to write a bestselling novel and Sci-Fi blockbuster extravaganza? With rejection of course…

“I was sitting around thinking about how to do a human mission to Mars, not for a story but just for the heck of it. I started thinking about how I would do it and all the things that could go wrong, and I realized it would make a great story. So I made up a protagonist and subjected him to all of it,” said Weir in an interview with SmithsonianMag.com.

“I had tried before to write novels and submitted them to agents but no one was interested,” said Weir.

Weir grew up with parents who were an electronics engineer and a particle physicist and became interested in science, technology, and of course Sci-Fi classics including Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Robert Heinlein, and let’s not forget Dr. Who, according to an article by Micah White on Biography.com.

Weir was a computer programmer at AOL, but when they merged with Netscape he was let go and with his severance package went on to fulfill a dream of his to write fiction.

In 2009 Weir began writing The Martian as a hobby and posted chapters on his website for interested readers. He gained a few thousand followers, many of whom were scientists that provided technical accuracy of the story. From there, The Martian was completed and posted on his website as a free e-book.

“If it wasn’t for the Internet, the story wouldn’t have been possible at all because I wouldn’t have had any medium to tell stories. I wasn’t even trying to break into the industry anymore, I was doing it as a labor of love,” said Weir in his SmithsonianMag.com interview.

“Chemists actually pointed out some problems in early drafts,” said Weir in an interview with Businessinsider.com. With that he was able to go back and correct some of the chemistry that was crucial for Watney’s survival.

This self-publishing author followed his true passion without any additional help from an agent or marketing team and continued to write even though he received many rejection letters.

“I was afraid it was going to read like a Wikipedia article if I didn’t make it really interesting,” said Weir during a discussion of The Martian at the recent Human MARS Summit in Washington D.C.

In September 2012, the book became available on Amazon for $0.99, selling 35,000 copies and moving it up to the top of Amazon’s Sci-Fi Bestseller List. After topping the Bestseller List on Amazon, 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.

Within days of each other both deals closed and the computer programmer had gone from a self-published author to published author (selling nearly 1 million copies) to the creator of Hollywood’s 2015 blockbuster.

Even NASA loved the publicity from The Martian with the following tweets:

  • NASA astronaut and #TheMartian movie actress hope to inspire the next generation of astronauts on our #journeytomars
  • Watching #TheMartian? See how our Deep Space Habitat compares to one in the film: go.nasa.gov/1iUaBKi

“It was such a sudden launch into the big leagues that I literally had a difficult time believing it,” said Weir in an interview on his site. “I was actually warned it could all be an elaborate scam. So I guess that was my first reaction: ‘Is this really happening?’”

Persistence is key in the self-publishing book business. Almost every writer goes through the struggle, some having an agent, some not. The idea behind The Martian is that similar to Mark Watney, Andy Weir did the best he could with the limited resources that he had; no agent, no marketing team and no publisher. He, like Watney, took the creative spark he harnessed and prevailed in his struggle to find success.

The Bottom Line:  There’s a wealth of brilliant self-published authors striving to succeed. For some authors big success awaits. The difference is often getting just a little exposure. If the New York Times and other publications who routinely dismiss self-published authors would take a look at the fine work created by these talented people The Martian will indeed leave an indelible imprint on the self-publishing landscape. To the NY Times: See what you are missing!

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  http://www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com

Medium – A New Writing Tool For Authors

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

MEDIUM- New Tool For AuthorsWalter Isaacson uses it. NY Times journalist David Carr uses it. Author Emily Gould, Journalist Ben Smith, and Entrepreneur Elon Musk use it too. What is it?

It’s a new site for authors called MEDIUM.

It was founded by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone in August 2012. On this exclusive site the authors post to a communal blog, then the site groups the posts together to create broad topics such as “Creative Writing” “On Publishing” and “Online Marketing.” https://medium.com/about/writing-in-medium-df8eac9f4a5e

The thought behind the interworking of Medium according to the founders, was to provide a place where the authors could write a post longer than 140 characters—Medium length content. Medium provides the “what you see is what you get” experience to provide the right amount of formatting. According to the website, you cannot change fonts, font color, font size. You can’t insert tables or use strikethrough or even underline. Here’s what you can do: bold, italics, subheads (two levels), links, lists, and block quotes. Anil Dash, cofounder of @thinkup and @activateinc said, “It’s true: Medium has the best web-based editor I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen them all.”

According to the media experts at Medium, “Notes are one of the best parts of Medium and useful for lots of things: They help improve writing. They add valuable supplementary information. They incorporate new viewpoints. They give meaningful feedback to those who write things. And they let people connect over ideas.” Excerpt examples of a note edit:Clip for MEDIUM article

The collaboration of ideas among others and readers is another main idea of Medium. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Steve Job’s biographer Walter Isaacson said,” My book was formed by being posted and allowing people to make edits.”

“While I was writing The Innovators I posted the chapter about software and received many ideas from people within the technology field. I like that there is a way to collaborate with books online, where the author is the curator and others could contribute their edits. In the end we would split the royalties,” said Isacson.  Isaacson is the bestselling author of the biographies of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein and most recently Steve Jobs.

David Carr, Journalist for the New York Times spoke about his experience while using Medium and said, “The writing tool is intuitive enough to seem psychic. Just when you search for some function, it pops up out of the background. Medium’s most important feature may be all the stuff it leaves out, including endless options for sizing text or positioning pictures.”

Evan Williams, co-founder of Medium said, “Our goal is to make Medium the best platform possible for everyone to share great ideas or stories. This should certainly include those whose profession is doing so.”

The Bottom Line: MEDIUM, a site for serious collaboration and the verification of facts. Tap into the brainpower of MEDIUM, and allow others to comment on your not yet published work. It’s the perfect way to crowd source, fact check, and edit your work all while gaining insight from some of the best minds on any given topic.

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

What Can Authors Learn From The #ALSIceBucketChallenge

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Participating in good deeds of charity can help promote your image, whether you are famous or not.  If you are an author challenge another author like Stephen King did and keep this thing going!

John Grisham takes the Ice Bucket Challenge after being challenged by his "former friend Stephen King who's now just a mere acquaintance."

John Grisham takes the Ice Bucket Challenge after being challenged by his “former friend Stephen King who’s now just a mere acquaintance.”

The “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” today’s social media explosion, has caused a dramatic change in awareness among many. Whether on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube, the “icing” videos have taken over everyone’s newsfeeds.

The challenge involves filming a video of yourself while getting drenched by a bucket of ice water, share it on social media, and challenge others to do the same or to donate $100 to an ALS disease research fund of their choice.

What is ALS Lou Gehrig’s disease and how did this whole phenomenon come about? ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord leading to muscle weakness, loss of the use of arms and legs, and difficulty breathing, swallowing, and speaking.

The Ice Bucket Challenge was started on July 15, 2014 by Chris Kennedy, a golfer from Sarasota, FL, who was nominated by a friend to participate in the challenge, which at the time had no ties to ALS. Kennedy selected the ALS fund to donate to because he had a relative suffering from the disease. In turn he nominated his wife’s cousin Jeanette Senerchia, whose husband, Anthony is suffering from ALS.

Kennedy, in an interview with TIME said, “What started out as a small gesture to put a smile on Anthony’s face and bring some awareness to this terrible disease has turned into a national phenomenon and it is something we never could have dreamed of.”

Beth Kanter, author of Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, said in an interview with NPR that, “I think part of the success is that really it appeals to the way that we’re using social media. We’re always taking selfies, we’re sharing details about our lives. Also, we’ve had a summer of downer news, with conflict in Iraq so people are ready for positive news.”

“People want to look good to others, so it’s hard to turn down a prosocial cause,” Jonah Berger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “ALS is a great cause, so when someone asks you directly to do this, it’s hard to turn them down without seeming like a bad person.”

These public displays help people promote themselves whether it is their goal or not. Beth Kanter, said, “One of the key ways these campaigns become successful is the social proofing that’s involved. And what I mean by social proofing is you’re observing other people in your network doing something and you want to participate as well.”

This is enforced when celebrities such as Matt Lauer, anchor on The Today Show, and Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers player show their support by taking the challenge. Stephen King joined the fun and challenged fellow author John Grisham, to do the same. Check out the Stephen King video at this link: http://youtu.be/XO7lFV2e-xA  and John Grisham taking the challenge at:   http://youtu.be/f1HFXtD4F5M

King tweeted afterwards and said, “My shoes are wet and I’m freezing. While I dry off, go to #icebucketchallenge and kick in some dough.”

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been very rewarding to the ALS Association. Record-breaking donations from the viral sensation of icing videos have provided the organization the ability to do extensive research on Lou Gehrig’s disease. As of this writing since July 29, the organization received $41 million from existing and new donors.

The Bottom Line: Participating in good deeds of charity can help promote your image, whether you are famous or not.  If you are an author challenge another author like Stephen King did and keep this thing 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 #ALSIceBucketChallenge

PR Stunts Can Pay Big Dividends — How WestJet and a Cowboy Author Won Our Hearts — and Our Minds Followed

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

ImagePR Stunts get a bad rap because they are either ill-conceived or poorly executed. But I like them and have been involved in many.  One recent PR stunt of note paid huge dividends this past holiday season. An airline company called WestJet captured the hearts of many YouTube viewers. WestJet has been dubbed social media’s Christmas miracle. Their YouTube video titled “WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving” was uploaded by the Canadian Airline’s PR department December 9 and went viral quickly thereafter with more than 35 Million views to date! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIEIvi2MuEk

I saw it on every national news channel and everybody was talking about it. How’d they do it? In the realm of public relations, it is important to show the emotional side of a product or service to connect with people, especially during the holidays. Often people see airlines as uncooperative, chaotic, and cold when dealing with delays, lost baggage or booking last minute flights for Christmas. WestJet shows that they care about their customers and they’re reliable (and insanely generous).

Greg Plata, Team Leader of the Sponsorship Team for the organization showed just what kind of company WestJet was in a blog post after the famous video swept the nation. “The coverage is exciting and achieving 35 million views is a great milestone, but not nearly as exciting as watching people around the world dig a little deeper,” said Plata.

“More than a few people were quite sympathetic to the guy who offered a simple but valid response to the question ‘what do you need?’ His reply would make his mother proud as he earnestly replied “socks and underwear.”  Now affectionately known as Socks and Underwear Guy, he’s swept the nation, he’s international – we’ve created something bigger than the Christmas Miracle; we’ve created Socks and Underwear Guy. I’m sure he’ll have syndicated his own show by the time this blog post is up! We just hope he remembers us years from now,” jokes Plata.

The WestJet team made sure to acknowledge the praise and attention they received from the emotional video. Instead of merely reaping the benefits of a successful PR campaign, they showed a softer side. They showed that it is more important to them to make people happy and to give others success than to simply succeed as an organization.

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.

 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.

One very creative author I know personally pulled off a PR stunt that even I was impressed 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. It was all 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

The Bottom Line:  PR Stunts Work!! Take a page out of Carew Papritz and Westjet’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 Amanda Hocking REALLY Did It – An Inspiration for All Authors

Amanda Hocking, as I’m sure you know, is a best-selling e-author on Amazon.com. Since uploading her first e-book in the spring of 2010, she has grossed about $2 million. She’s got 10 novels under her belt, all of which fall into the paranormal-romance category. The prominent entertainment company, Media Rights Capital, optioned her four-book vampire series “Trylle”.

Clearly, she’s had great success self-publishing her e-books. So, it was a surprise when Hocking decided to sign with St. Martin’s Press, which is a very established publishing house. Amanda Hocking 1

Hocking has openly explained that she suffered from depression for the vast majority of her life and turned to writing as a sort of escape. She finished her first novel at 17, titled “Dreams I Can’t Remember” and was turned down by each of the 50 agents to whom she’d sent her work. Not long thereafter, she caught a clip on YouTube of the band Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus encouraging American youth to make their dreams come true. Hocking admits having a sort of “aha” moment and realized that she could not wait for her dreams to come true. She had to put forth the effort and make them come true.

In 2009, Hocking began to treat writing as a job rather than something she did for entertainment. She wrote a few more novels, sent them off to agents, and still received only rejections. In April 2010, Hocking uploaded her novel “My Blood Approves” to Amazon, then later to Smashwords, then directly on Barnes & Noble’s site. Hocking started selling books, first a few a day, then as she uploaded more of her work, she managed to sell 26 books in one day in May. These days, the author is selling 9,000 books a day.

Just how did she do it? Well, the stories she writes are an obvious piece of her success. Her novels combine action and romance with a dash of quirk and topped off by Hocking’s creative style of writing. Additionally, by selling e-books, Hocking was able to sell the books for far less money compared to a traditional bookstore book. Therefore, people were more inclined to spend the 99 cents or $3.00 to read her work instead of dropping upwards of $15.00 for a book off the shelf of a trendy bookstore. Hocking has a very blasé attitude in regard to her success and rapid writing. When asked just how she manages to complete her work so quickly, Hocking responds on her blog, “I don’t know. I just write a lot and drink a lot of Red Bull.”

Hocking also suggests that writing paired with reading more than she writes, was instrumental in her success. She made sure to edit her novels a great deal in order to get them just right. Learning to take criticism was useful to Hocking’s success because she was able to understand that although her books weren’t for everyone, they did have an audience.

Taking a look at her blog, Hocking describes herself as an, “Obsessive tweeter. John Hughes mourner. Batman devotee. Muppet activist. Unicorn enthusiast. Fraggin Aardvarks guitarist. Author of the USA Today Bestselling Trylle Trilogy & the upcoming Watersong series.” She actively updates her blog, so her fans always have something new to read. This past October was Hocking’s second annual “Zombiepalooza!” on her blog, which ran for the entire month of October. Hocking explains that while she especially enjoys zombies, Zombiepalooza is really a celebration of all things horror and Halloween. Throughout the month, there were guest posts, giveaways, and other fun goodies, such as the “ultimate Halloween Playlist.”

John Kremer recently mentioned Amanda Hocking in a seminar about blog tours. Amanda Hocking inspired him to name a particular type of blog tour a Blogpalooza. John got the name from Hocking, after her first Zombiepalooza in October 2010. In his seminar, John also explained a few of Amanda’s stats, which were affected dramatically by Zombiepalooza. Before Zombiepalooza, Amanda had been selling about 3,000-5,000 copies of Kindle eBooks each month. She sold about 20,000 total before October 2010. In December 2010, after Zombiepalooza, she sold 100,000 copies in the month of December alone. In January, she sold 450,000 copies of her Kindle eBook novels.

In February of 2011, she made the USA Today best-seller list. By the end of February, she had sold 900,000 copies of self-published Kindle eBooks. In March 2011, her book sales totaled over 1 million copies, and she subsequently sold the rights to four of her books to St. Martin’s Press for $2 million. Some were surprised by her decision to sell her book rights, but Hocking has explained that in order to be a billion-dollar author, she needs people to buy her books at Wal-Mart. In order to get her books onto shelves, she had to partner with St. Martin’s Press.

Says Hocking, “I’m a writer. I want to be a writer. I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full time corporation. I am spending so much time on things that are not writing.”

“I like writing. I even like marketing, especially when it comes to interacting with readers. And I don’t mind editing. I just don’t want to run my corporation, because that takes away from writing and everything else that I actually enjoy doing,” concludes Hocking.

After gaining so much success, Amanda has been able to seize unique opportunities. For example, she was a featured speaker at Comic Con in San Diego. Additionally, she was able to buy a life-size Han Solo figure from Star Wars, which was encased in carbonite. The life-size figure is rare and was something Hocking had her eye on for quite some time. The unique purchase was due in great part to the success of her Zombiepalooza.

The way Hocking executed Zombiepalooza is what earned her such success. She invited people to guest-post on her website, offer free copies of their books, and contribute stories to her blog. Simply put, she asked people to come to her blog and blog. Those guest bloggers, in turn, brought their fan clubs to Amanda’s website, earning Amanda’s work more exposure and causing her to gain even more fans. Zombiepalooza was an event blog tour that really got people talking and excited about the event, making it extremely effective.

In addition to her own blog, Hocking has separate blogs for her book Virtue, My Blood Approves, The Hollows series, as well as a blog dedicated to soundtracks for her various books. Hocking follows dozens of blogs herself. Having been blogging since April 2009, Hocking has had nearly 2 million page views. Check out Amanda’s blog to learn more about her, her work, and to see release dates of her upcoming books at AmandaHocking.blogspot.com or her facebook fan page.

The bottom line: Amanda Hocking is an incredibly talented author. She has achieved great success in her career, largely due to marketing her novels so effectively. Amanda began writing e-books and now has a multimillion dollar book deal. Her talent for both writing and knowing how to market her books has enabled her to become a wildly successful author. Amanda Hocking has helped pave the way for authors to follow in her footsteps without the traditional ‘gatekeepers’ of publishing being involved.

‘Become a Real Self Publisher’ by Michael N. Marcus is a Must Read For First Time Authors or New York Times Bestselling Authors

If you want the roadmap on how to become a successful author and publisher then “Become a Real Self-Publisher” by Michael N. Marcus is the book for you. In a pull-no-punches style Marcus cuts to the chase in the often confusing and treacherous book publishing and book marketing game.

As a writer and successful publisher of books for more than 30 years Marcus speaks from personal experience. He implores authors to become real publishers and not customers of vanity presses or companies that publish on demand which Marcus says does not exist. Why? Nobody publishes on demand; they “print” on demand, he says.

Marcus compares and contrasts publishing options including: LULU, Outskirts Press, Infinity Publishing, Amazon, Author House, Book Surge, Xlibris, Lightening Source and traditional publishing in a “no-holds- barred” approach. I find his approach refreshing because so many authors I speak to as a book publicist really need someone like Marcus, who has no hidden agenda, to tell it like it is.

Besides discussing the benefits and pitfalls about every type of publishing option in the marketplace, Marcus also offers tips on what to do if you get a bad review. Says Marcus, “Don’t let a bad review ruin your day or your life. Some reviewers have hidden agendas like working on a competing book.” Marcus points out that it is rare that 100% of a review is bad and that there are usually a few sentences that can be pulled for the purpose of helping you sell more books.

“Become a Real Self-Publisher” also includes a list of publishing terms authors need to know about such as: ARC (advance reader copy) and POD (print on demand ) …as well as places authors don’t want to see like the Slush Pile which is that place where unsolicited manuscripts end up awaiting an evaluation by a publisher or agent.

“Become a Real Self-Publisher” by Michael N. Marcus is a must read for all authors whether they are first time authors or on the New York Times bestseller list. It’s written in a serious but entertaining style with a little humor tossed in. I highly recommend it.

For more of my ‘favorite books on book marketing’ check out http://www.westwindcos.com/