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

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How to Get More Book Reviews

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

As a book publicist I’ve read a few thousand book reviews and have written a few dozen myself.  I have a pretty good idea about how to write a book review that is helpful to potential readers and buyers of a book. Authors have a difficult time getting people to write a review because their fan base of readers don’t have time or most likely don’t know how to write a review. So, here it is. Hand this to anybody who says, ‘I just don’t know how to write a review.’

Before you pick up a pen, ask yourself these questions:

  • How did the story affect you?
  • Did it make you laugh, cry?
  • Did it affect the way you think about family, spouse, or life in general?
  • Would you recommend it to others?
  • Would you by it as a gift for events such as graduations, birthdays, etc?

 
Here’s What Makes A Good Book Review

  1. In general, you are trying to help someone determine if they should buy the book. “It needs to give a clear reason for someone to want to read or avoid the book in question. Narrowing the potential audience is also helpful,” says Ross Rojek, editor and publisher of the San Francisco Book Review.
  2. Talk about your impression of the book. “For fiction reviews, brief plot summaries. You don’t need details about every character and every event. For non-fiction, say what the book’s premise is and whether it fulfills that,” says Debra Englander, former acquisitions editor for Wiley Books.
  3. Include qualifications or relevant background about the author. “Include information about author – reputation, qualifications, etc, — anything relevant to the book and the author’s authority,” says Bill Asenjo, award-winning freelance writer. For example, a lawyer should be able to write a good courtroom thriller, but not a book on sewing.
  4. Provide a short example from the book. “One good phrase or sentence that encapsulates the book is easy to promote,” Rojek explains. “Be mindful not to give away the ending!”
  5. Who should buy this book? “Do compare similar products,” Amazon’s tips on writing reviews states. For example, “If you liked Harry Potter you’ll love this book” or, “If you are into current news events, this book is for you! It’s perfect for middle school children and older.”
  6. Talk about what kind of reader this book is for. “Summarize some of your thoughts on the book by suggesting the type of reader you’d recommend the book to,” children’s author Luisa Plaja told BookTrust. If this is a great gift book for the recent college graduate or pregnant Moms then say so!
  7. Did the book live up to expectations? Does it deliver on the title? If the book title is “How to Build a House?” Does it in fact tell you how to do it? “Describe what the book does well and what it does poorly (and why), but it should also explain who would value the book,” said Dr. Eric Russell, book reviewer and English Language and Literature professor.
  8. Be sure to create a snappy title for your review. Perhaps one with a key word that would help someone find your review about the book. Using the house theme again:  “If You Want to Build A House, THIS Book with Tell You How!”
  9. Add the stars on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being great. “A five-star review should be for a book that has everything: good writing, good-editing, and a story that makes you want to read it again and tell your friends about,” Neal Wooten, author and managing editor of Mirror Publishing, advises in his article on HuffPost.

 
What Not To Do:

  1. “Be honest, but not overly critical,” Englander warns, “If a reviewer is especially nasty, readers wonder if he/she had a personal agenda.”
  2. Don’t lose focus on what you’re reviewing. “Review the book you read – not the book you wish the author had written,” Asenjo cautions.
  3. Don’t describe your seller or shipping experience,” Amazon urges. Don’t comment on the fact it arrived late or the book was damaged. The author has no control over that and nobody cares.
  4. Don’t review books by your friends or enemies,” suggests Rebecca Skloot, a previous vice president of National Book Critics Circle. Doing this doesn’t provide you any real practice on writing a review and doesn’t help anyone. Keep your intentions as a reviewer in check.
  5. Don’t use a book review as an excuse to show off your writerly voice,” recommends Ann Finkbeiner of The Open Notebook, board of directors and regular reviewer for The New York Times Book Review and The Wall Street Journal. A review’s purpose is to evaluate a piece of text and create discussion with other readers. If you want to showcase your writing ability, start a blog.

Bottom line: Authors, want reviews? Ask your readers to write one! Readers, don’t know how to review? Follow the guidelines above to ensure the creation of a helpful review for future readers!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

How Authors Can Use Book Clubs to Promote Their Books

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications
Flying Books Clubs, Book Clubs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book clubs also can be located by searching on Facebook, Goodreads and other online sites. You can visit local coffee shops, sandwich shops and even bookstores and look for a community bulletin board that book clubs are apt to use for announcements.
Another way to locate nearby book clubs is to go to www.readerscircle.org, www.readinggroupguides.com and www.bookbrowse.com/bookclubs.

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

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

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

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

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

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

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

By Scott Lorenz
Westwind Communications

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 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 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.

Violin in BalloonAs a book publicist and hot air balloon pilot I take to the skies like some people play golf. It’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
Westwind Book Marketing

Free Webinar This Week , Book Marketing SuccessWhen 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.  Besides 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!

Scott LorenzAbout 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

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