Authors Check out These ‘Christian Writers’ Conferences’ for 2019-2020

If you have a Christian Themed book or are a Christian author then get involved with the Christian Writers Community and attend a Christian Writers Conference, you’ll be glad you did!

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By Scott Lorenz 

Westwind Communications

 

If you’re writing or have written a book with a Christian theme or genre, you may find a Christian writers’ conference to be well worth your time.

 

By attending one of these events, you can strengthen your skills and gain a competitive advantage in the Christian writing industry.

 

Here’s a good overview of some of the Christian writers’ conferences in 2019 and 2020 that you should  consider attending:

 

American Christian Fiction Writers Conference will take place September 26-29 2019 in San Antonio, TX. This event will host inspiring keynote speakers who are veterans in Christian fiction.

 

Maranatha Christian Writers Conference will happen September 26-28 2019 in Norton Shores, MI will host 24 essential workshops for various writers and feature over 28 leaders in the industry.

 

Ohio Christian Writers Conference will occur November 7-9 2019 in Columbus, OH. There will be a keynote speaker and workshops related to the Christian writing industry.

 

The C.S. Lewis 2019 Retreat for Christian readers and writers will occur November 15-17 2019 in Navasota, TX. It’ll revolve around the work and life of C.S. Lewis, a British writer and theologian.

 

Capital Christian Writers Fellowship will be held January 25, 2020 in Annandale, VA. There will be sessions designed for aspiring writers, beginner writers, and advanced writers.

 

Asheville Christian Writers Conference will take place February 22-24 2020 in Asheville, NC. Writers who attend can receive one-on-one mentoring and earn scholarships.

 

Blue Lake Christian Writers Retreat is planned for March 25-28 2020 in Andalusia, AL. It will offer training and networking opportunities as well as lodging for three nights and all meals.

 

Colorado Christian Writers Conference will take place May 13-16 2020 in Estes Park, CO. Workshops, bible study, and an agents panel are all planned.

 

St. Davids Christian Writers’ Conference will be held June 24-28 2020 in Grove City, PA. The theme will be “From Heart to Pen” and feature boot camps, critique groups, and public speakers.

 

Florida Christian Writers Conference will be held October 21-25 2020 in Leesburg, FL. The conference will be full of critique groups, writing contents, and meetings with editors and agents.

 

The Bottom Line: Get involved with the Christian Writers Community and attend a conference, you’ll be glad you did!

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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Attending Writers’ Conferences Put Authors on the Road to Success

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Writers' Conferences are part of overall book marketing strategy.

Writers’ Conferences are part of overall book marketing strategy.

There are several good reasons why writers should invest the time and effort required to attend writers’ conferences.

Attending a writers’ conference only takes a few hours, or a couple days at the most, a small investment, and a little effort to register and arrange travel and lodging, but the payoff can be big.

Attending a writers’ conference gives you a great chance to pitch your book, learn about the major publishing houses, meet book editors, agents and book marketing specialists. If your book is six months or a year from being finished, you can meet people who will give you valuable ideas on shaping your book and provide other advice to help you wrap up your project when you return home.

Or maybe you have been working on your book for a few months and are feeling insecure or unsure whether you really can be a published author. Attending a conference is a good way to get a reality check from book editors to get a professional opinion on your plot and characters and to determine whether you are on the right track.

Most importantly, attending a writers’ conference provides you with an opportunity to learn about the publishing business from fellow authors.  You will also get honest and helpful professional assessments from book editors that will be more than worth the cost and effort of attending the conference.

Of course, you will want to prepare for any writers’ conference you attend by having a plan of what you want to find out and what you will do while there. You will want to develop an ‘elevator pitch’ of your book that you can deliver in 30 seconds. Have a one pager available with your book cover, author headshot, short 50 word synopsis, short bio, website URL, Twitter handle and your contact information. You never know who’ll you’ll meet so be prepared for that moment.

Now that you are ready, here are some writers’ conferences that you should consider attending:

Here are some upcoming writers’ conferences in 2019 for your consideration:

 

Select a writers’ conference of interest to you and be prepared to enjoy the benefits of meeting other writers, acquiring knowledge you can use immediately, learn about different genres, find a new market for your book, elevate your professional effectiveness, meet editors, agents and publishers, become inspired and return home energized.

The Bottom Line: Make a commitment to attend at least one writers’ conference this year. You’ll be glad you did!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

 

Jewish Book Fairs and Festivals Authors Can Attend in 2015

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Jewish Book Festivals

Authors, reach out to the Jewish community and attend a Jewish book fair or festival this year.

If you are a Jewish author or specialize in writing about Jewish issues, you should consider visiting book fairs in the Jewish community. Book fairs are excellent places for authors to interact with the public as well as network with book industry leaders, publicists and book editors. Book festivals and fairs are held year round all over the United States.

As a book marketing specialist, I’ve see too often authors focusing on websites, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest to the exclusion of good old fashioned face to face sales. While social media can be very effective when used properly, authors should never overlook opportunities to meet the reading public face-to-face.

Here’s a list of 17 Jewish Book Fairs and Festivals for 2015. Keep in mind that links change all the time and festivals come and go. Some links are for the previous year because that’s all that was available at the time of this writing.

  1. JCC San Antonio will host Mark Lee Greenblatt, Author of Valor: Unsung Heroes from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front on May 20, 2015 at Barshop JCC. To receive more information about their Author Series or any other Arts & Culture event, sign up for their Email Mailing List. If you have any questions, please contact Aliyah Kuchinsky at 210-302-6827 or visit http://www.jccsanantonio.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=Author%20and%20Speaker%20Series&category=Arts%20and%20Culture

 

  1. Shalom Austin’s Austin Jewish Book Fair will be finalizing their schedule in late July/ early August. Check out http://shalomaustin.org/bookfair for further information or contact Crystal Connelley at 512-735-8098.
  1. JCC of North Shore is finalizing their schedule for the Jewish Book Month fair, and will have more information in early July. For more information please contact 781-631-8330 or visit http://www.jccns.org
  1. JCC Charleston will have their finalized list for the Charleston Jewish Bookfest in late July. For more information please visit http://charlestonjcc.org/cultural-arts/charleston-jewish-bookfest/ or call 843-571-6565.
  1. JCC Dallas is finalizing their schedule of events for the 2015 Book Fair and will be ready in September. For more information, please contact Rachelle Weiss Crane at rweisscrane@jccdallas.org or 214-239-7128 or visit

http://www.jccdallas.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=Book%20Fair&category=LifeLearning

  1. JCC Indianapolis will host The Ann Katz Festival of Books & Arts on October 28- November 15, 2015 For more information please contact Martha Karatz at 317-251-9467 ext. 2209 or by email mkaratz@jccindy.org or visit http://jccindy.org/community/festival-books-arts/
  1. Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor The 28th Annual Jewish Book Festival will take place in November 2015. For more information please contact Karen Freedland, Cultural Arts and Education Director, at karenfreedland@jccfed.org or 734-971-0990. You can also visit http://www.jccannarbor.org/#!book-festival/c1f1b
  1. Weinstein JCC will host the Fife-Davis Family Annual Jewish Book Fair & Gift Shop in November 2015. For more information please visit http://www.weinsteinjcc.org/cultural-arts/book-fair/ or contact Erin Mahone at 804-545-8644.
  1. Columbus JCC is finalizing the fantastic 2015 line up for JCC Bookfair 2015! For more information about sponsorship contact Bookfair Director Debbie Vinocur at dvinocur@columbusjcc.org or 614-559-6214. Check http://columbusjcc.org/programs/cultural-arts/jewish-bookfair/ for updates as they become available.
  1. Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center in Houston, TX will be holding their 40th Annual Jewish Book & Arts Fair and will begin in November 2015. For a calendar of events and complete brochure, visit http://www.erjcchouston.org/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=BookAndArtsFair&category=Arts or contact The Evelyn Rubenstein JCC at 713-729-3200.
  1. JCC Memphis is finalizing their schedule for the 2015 Jewish Literary and Cultural Arts Festival, and will be ready in the upcoming months. For more information visit http://www.jccmemphis.org/index.php?submenu=Culture&src=gendocs&ref=jewishliterary&category=Culture
  1. Louis JCC’s 37th Annual St. Louis Jewish Book Festival will be in November, 2015. For more information, please call the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival Hotline: 314-442-3299 or visit http://www.jccstl.com/programs/arts-culture/st-louis-jewish-book-festival/
  1. JCC of Metro Detroit’s 64th Annual Jewish Book Fair will be held November 4 – 16, 2015. At this event, fabulous authors from all over the world will present their books. For further information visit http://www.jccdet.org/bookfair-home/
  1. Marcus JCC Atlanta’s Book Festival will be November 5-22, 2015. For 23 successful years, the Book Festival of the MJCCA has offered a fifteen-day literary extravaganza featuring an exciting lineup of the year’s most exceptional authors, speakers, and celebrities. Join thousands of your fellow book lovers to listen, meet, and interact with your favorite authors in a variety of forums, including author meet-and-greets, book signings, a community read, and panel discussions. Check out http://www.atlantajcc.org/interior-pages/arts-and-culture-book-festival/ for more details.

 

  1. JCC of Greater Washington will host the 43rd Annual Book Festival from November 5-15, 2015. The festival will present an exciting line-up of best-selling authors as well as up and coming writers new to the literary scene. The nine-day Festival will be packed with engaging author events, children’s programs, book signings, and a bookstore brimming with Jewish must-reads. For details, to request a Book Festival brochure contact Lynn Gittleson at 301-348-3840 or lgittleson@jccgw.org or visit http://www.jccgw.org/arts-culture-jewish-life/literary/
  1. Mandel JCC in Beachwood, Ohio will be celebrating the 16th Annual Festival of Jewish Books & Authors from November 5-19, 2015. Stay tuned for details and a full listing of authors, which will be announced in the upcoming months. For information please contact Julie Frayman at jfrayman@mandeljcc.org or 216-831-0700 ext. 1316. Please check back at http://www.mandeljcc.org/book-festival/festival-of-jewish-books-authors/ for announcements.

 

  1. JCC Jewish Book Festival The Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival is one of Vancouver’s leading cultural and literary events, attracting a large and varied audience of over 5,000 people of all ages. The festival will be held November 21-26, 2015. For more information please contact Nicole Nozick at 604-638-7278 email her at nicole@jccgv.bc.ca or visit https://www.jccgv.com/content/jewish-book-fest

Book fairs typically seek out guest speakers or panelists. By volunteering to speak at a Jewish book fair, you will pique the interest of new readers and potentially gain a few new fans. Additionally, you can add the speaking appearance to your resume and press material. Be sure to plan ahead because book fairs, speaking engagements and readings are all planned months in advance. For more book fairs and festivals visit http://www.book-marketing-expert.com

 

The Bottom Line: Reach out to the Jewish community and attend a Jewish book fair or festival.

 

About 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, Navy SEALS, Homemakers, Fitness Gurus, Doctors, Lawyers and Adventurers. His clients have been featured by Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, CNN, ABC Nightly News, The New York Times, Nightline, TIME, PBS, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Washington Post, Family Circle, 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

 

Writers’ Conferences Put Authors on the Road to Success

Writers Love to Help Fellow Writers – What Better Way to Meet Them Than a Writer’s Conference?

Writers' Conferences ListThere are several good reasons why writers should invest the time and effort required to attend writers’ conferences.

Attending a writers’ conference only takes a few hours or days at the most, a few bucks, and a little effort to register and arrange travel and lodging, but the payoff can be big.

If the book you are working on is almost finished, attending a writers’ conference gives you a great chance to network with other authors, pitch your book, learn about the major publishing houses, meet book editors and book marketing specialists. If your book is six months or a year from being finished, you can meet people who will give you ideas on shaping your book and give other advice to help you wrap up when you return home.

Or maybe you have been working on your book for a few months and are feeling unsure about whether you really can be a published author. Attending a conference is a good way to get a reality check from book editors or literary agents who can give you a professional opinion on your plot and characters and help you determine whether you are on the right track.

Most important, attending a writers’ conference provides you with a great opportunity to learn about the publishing business by purposeful interaction with insiders.  Some conferences offer  an opportunity to get honest and helpful professional assessments from book editors that will be more than worth the cost and effort of attending the conference.

Of course, you will want to prepare for any writers’ conference you attend by having a plan of what you want to find out and what you will do while there. You will want to develop an elevator speech pitch of your book that you can deliver in one minute. Have handouts available such as promotional bookmarks or book covers, or a one-page written pitch with website URL, email, and one paragraph book summary.

Now that you are ready, here are some writers’ conferences in the coming weeks and months you should consider attending:

Here are some upcoming writers’ conferences in 2019 for your consideration:

 

Select a writers’ conference of interest to you and be prepared to enjoy the benefits of meeting other writers, acquiring knowledge you can use immediately, learn about different genres, find a new market for your book, elevate your professional effectiveness, meet editors, agents and publishers, become inspired and return home energized.

The Bottom Line: Make a commitment to attend at least one writers’ conference this year. You’ll be glad you did!

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

I Got Your Number! Using Numbers In a Book Title

Using Numbers in Your Title Might Help Make Your Book More Memorable.

naming a book, book title naming process

Using numbers in your title might help make it even more memorable.

On LinkedIn, J.D. Gershbein, a global speaker and social branding specialist, raised the question, “Does a numbered step approach to titling a book have a positive effect on sales?” This particular question and subsequent thread made me delve deeper into the use of numbers in book titles and whether or not it makes sense.

Book titles are extremely important. As an author, creating a memorable title should be a high priority. Numbers in book titles work with items that already quantify. For example a book titled ‘Get 6-Pack Abs in 6 Minutes a Day’ makes sense. I like using numbers in a book title when it’s relevant and useful in describing what the book is about.

An example that really works is ‘The 4 Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferriss and his ‘4 Hour Body’. That number stops you in your tracks because it is shocking. How can you work just 4 hours a week? How can you have a good body in just 4 hours? Ferriss has capitalized on his branding of ‘4-Hour’ and ‘The 4-Hour Chef.’ He owns that number now. He’s branded his name with ‘4-Hour’ and will be able to incorporate it in his future work.

A number is a quickly comprehended visual because it’s a symbol and is represented by a minimal amount of characters. For example ‘One Thousand’ spelled out is represented by 12 characters, but only four characters if used as a number; 1000. This can save space on your cover and in this digital world sometimes a savings of a few characters can make a difference whether your complete book title is displayed by Google or even on Amazon. Furthermore, there’s a magic number of 65 characters for some search engines before it gets truncated or cut off. Another often overlooked benefit is that a number rises to the top of a list when alphabetized right along with symbols like ‘@’ or ‘$’ for example.

Here’s a list of a few well known books that have used a number in the title:

1. Catch-22
2. The 4-Hour Work Week
3. The 4-Hour Chef
4. The 4-Hour Body
5. Europe on $5 a Day
6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
7. Fahrenheit 451
8. 1984
9. The 39 Steps
10. 1, 2, Buckle My Shoe
11. Around the World in 80 Days
12. 1001 Arabian Nights
13. 13 Reasons Why
14. 3:10 to Yuma
15. Beneath the 13 Moons
16. Size 12 is Not Fat
17. 13 Little Blue Envelopes
18. 13 Treasures
19. The 6th Target
20. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
21. 7th Heaven
22. 10,001 Ways to Live on a Small Budget
23. The $100 Startup
24. The 48 Laws of Power
25. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
26. The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
27. 5: Where Will You Be Five Years From Today?
28. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School
29. 30 Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30
30. 17 Cents and a Dream (a book from one of my clients, Daniel Milstein)

17 Cents and a Dream by Daniel Milstein

Whenever possible I use numbers in my article headlines because it drives home what the article is about. Here’s a sample:

22 Tips on What to Wear For a TV Interview
52 Ways to Promote Your iPhone App
33 Radio Interview Tips
55 Reasons to Send Out a Press Release
15 Tips for Great Book Cover Design
The Top 25 Book Fairs and Book Festivals Authors Should Attend.

You can find even more articles on book promotion topics at http://book-marketing-expert.com/articles.htm

On LinkedIn, the question received many insightful responses. One I particularly liked was from James Cosenza, a software engineer, “I think the numbered approach is especially useful for self-help and how-to books. People want to know that they can change their lives or learn a new skill in 5, 10 or 15 ‘easy’ steps. I don’t know about saturation, but I think conflicting titles on the same subject might be off-putting. For example, do you buy ‘Install a New Patio in 10 Easy Steps’ vs. ‘A New Patio in Seven Simple Steps’?

Ethan de Jonge Kalmar, founder of Make Your English Work, says, “I think that it depends on your content and audience. Numbered lists certainly work well for blog posts and on social media sites, but given the speed of information now, and the tendency to want to have everything in concise, easy to digest form, I think that many readers of books (by which I mean works of at least 100 pages or so) are looking for more in-depth insight, and numbered list titles do not exactly communicate that the book provides that.”

“For a short promotional e-book, or perhaps the self-help/entrepreneur market it might work well. Also, I think that if you are providing information that is comprehensive because it covers many different things, it might work well, as in James Cosenza’s example of 1000 Places to See before You Die.”

Tim Lemire responded from an author’s perspective, “I never worried about coming up with a good title; I knew the publisher was going to assign their own title to the book anyway.”

Keep in mind, not every book title needs a number. For example, the number 7 is overused because people are trying to capitalize on Covey’s books. Even he came out with the “8th” Habit to stay away from the number 7. So, if you’re thinking of tacking the number “7” into your book’s title, think again because it will not stand out.
Should you decide to incorporate a number into your book’s title, make sure it adds to the book. Do not shove a number in the title because you think it might be a good idea. Not all book titles need numbers. However, some books might sell better because of the number in their title.

The Bottom Line: Coming up with the right name for your book is beyond important it’s critical. Creating a memorable title is really the point. Using numbers in your title might help make it even more memorable.

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: Jump on the #AmazonCart and Twitter Bandwagon NOW!

Amazon and Twitter Make it Easier to Buy Books via #AmazonCart

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

#AmazonCart Great Way For Authors to Tap into the Power of Amazon and Twitter

#AmazonCart Great Way For Authors to Tap into the Power of Amazon and Twitter

A new way to use the power of Amazon and Twitter together was announced recently that should help authors sell more books. It’s called #AmazonCart  and it combines the best elements of Twitter with the shopping and buying power of Amazon.

The way it works is that whenever anyone sees a tweet containing a product on Amazon and wants to purchase they simply reply and type the hashtag #AmazonCart and the product is automatically and seamlessly added to their shopping cart on their Amazon account. Amazon then responds on Twitter and by email with a confirmation message that the item is resting in the shopping cart.

In order to use this tool, available only to Twitter users in the U.S. and United Kingdom (“#AmazonBasket” in UK), the user must connect their Twitter account to their Amazon account. I fully expect that #AmazonCart will be readily accepted and used by impulse buyers. The purchase can be made instantly without switching to Amazon, entering a user name and password, searching for the item and adding to the cart.

Instead of liking the product and thinking about buying when done on Twitter, the potential book buyer simply adds the item to the shopping cart and continues reading and sending tweets. This makes it even easier to buy books and other goods while online and is expressed well by its marketing slogan, “Add it Now. Buy it Later.”

Twitter is not getting any revenue for adding this feature but is adding the tool as a forerunner of its expected venture into ecommerce in the near future. And the tool does help keep users on the Twitter site longer if they use it for shopping as well.  #AmazonCart will most likely increase revenue for Amazon one would hope. The significance is that authors who already promote on Twitter will now want to make sure to add the Amazon URL to all Tweets. That’ll make it much easier to get closer to actual book buyers who see your Tweets and get inspired to buy. It’s really at the perfect inflection point of inspiration and decision so start doing it today!

It would be good to experiment now with #AmazonCart to become familiar with it as a sales tool because in the near future Amazon very likely will also reach a deal with Facebook and/or Google Plus.  So if you are selling on Amazon now it is a no-brainer that you will benefit from the ease that #AmazonCart offers to impulsive buyers.

Now it is true that some upwards of 70 percent of items placed in shopping carts on retail sites don’t make it to checkout. But it still is important to get your book off the shelf and into the cart by using the Amazon URLs. As they say in hockey, you can score unless you SHOOT!

For anyone wanting to rely on #AmazonCart to sell content attention must be given to ensure that the product description provides all the information the consumer needs to push the order button. Beyond the sale, on-page content in Twitter also can result in product reviews or book reviews.

Mediabistro has already tracked the use of #AmazonCart and found that several authors are signing up by including a line in their Twitter content to simply reply and type in the hashtag.

Goodreads also has taken note of #AmazonCart and suggests it can be very helpful for self-published authors. “Self-published authors can now use the social media network to sell books directly to their fan base,” stresses Michael Kozlowski, editor-in-chief of Good e-Reader. “Often books are for sale via the Kindle Store or physical titles using Amazon Createspace, or even the audiobook edition via Audible. Authors can now tweet product links out to their followers or pay famous people to endorse the link to their book. This is a brand new marketing vertical that all authors should be embracing.”

The Bottom Line: #AmazonCart will help authors sell books. Start including your Amazon URL in your tweets. Do it today! Watch this video for more information. www.Amazon.com/AmazonCart

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 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

Authors: Turn to Kickstarter to Launch Your Book

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In Renaissance times and during other eras it was common for artists, sculptors and other creative people to recruit patrons and sponsors to fund their works so they could create masterpieces

Today it also is important for creative people, such as writers, to recruit sponsors and patrons – not to help make a living but to promote their latest book in need of a boost to climb up the best-selling lists.without worrying about such trivial matters as making a living.

To take the greatest advantage of the technology of the 21st Century a tool some authors are turning to is Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com). Kickstarter is a virtual place where authors, musicians, app developers, inventors and others go to recruit people to support their creative project.

Based in New York City’s Lower East Side, Kickstarter is a for-profit company that exists to support creative projects (for a 5% fee against the funds collected) because they believe creative projects make for a better world. Since starting in 2009, five million people have pledged $826 million to fund 50,000 creative projects.

Project creators joining Kickstarter set a funding goal and deadline and if people like your project, they donate money to support it.  An author can use the money for publishing or distribution costs, to upgrade a better distributor, or to pay for the costs of the book promoter hired to give your book the push it needs.

One great thing an author can do is to give a free digital copy of his/her book to anyone making a contribution. This is a great way to promote your book by getting it into the hands of committed readers interested in your writings.

Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing policy that states you must reach your goal before receiving any money. But don’t let that be a concern because even if you don’t receive a penny you have the opportunity of placing your book into the hands of a few dozen or few hundred more readers and that’s a good thing.

While many authors have benefited from Kickstarter, a lot of the campaigns flat out failed, especially when the creative person tried to run their own campaign without first researching what works or without professional assistance.

As a book publicist I have been involved on both sides of a Kickstarter campaign and have seen firsthand how authors have used the platform to attain the funds needed to publish and promote a book. In one case one of my author clients funded a campaign to launch his book into outer space on a balloon. I kid you not! I have not had a single author share with me that the efforts put into Kickstarter were not worth their time. In fact, all of them gained from enrolling in Kickstarter in some form or another.

Author Andrew Peterson of Nashville, TN, used Kickstarter to recruit almost 1,300 supporters who pledged some $72,000 to support his book The Warden and the Wolf King, the fourth and final volume of the award winning Wingfeather Saga. The minimum bid for each supporter was $1.

When Peterson filed his project with Kickstarter his goal was to raise $14,000 to issue his latest book as a high-quality paperback and to deliver an early pre-release digital copy in time for Christmas sales. The author also promised supporters if he exceeded the goal of $14,000 he would add more illustrations to the book, if he exceeded $25,000 the book would be published in hardback, and if he exceeded $35,000 an audiobook version would be made available. All goals were met and exceeded.

In a video presentation Peterson explained where he was at in writing his book and what his hopes were before introducing the illustrator who would be used if $14,000-plus were raised. Peterson told listeners he always wanted to publish hardback but could not afford to and added that he would personally narrate an audio-version.

Author Harry Connolly of Seattle recruited almost 760 sponsors who have pledged more than $35,000 in the campaign for his book The Great Way, an epic fantasy trilogy about a supernatural invasion which  destroys an empire.

Connolly offered free sample chapters from the beginning of his book to anyone who makes a pledge and then offers a free copy of his trilogy to anyone pledging $30 or more if the 850 backer level is reached. He also promises free cover art for all three books to anyone pledging $12 or more if the 925 baker level is reached. And if the 1,000 backers or more level is reached anyone pledging $12 or more will receive an e-book copy, an upcoming short story collection Connolly will be releasing.

Supporters are told that the money raised in the campaign will be used to pay for the cover art, book illustrations, copy editing and typesetting costs, etc. “That will make the difference between a book created by a guy whose only real skill is telling stories and a book that has clearly been prepared by a team of professionals,” explains Connolly.

In his video on Kickstarter, Connolly tells readers that the first draft of the entire trilogy is written and that after he does a revision he will turn his writings over to an editor and designer. He explains his goal is to connect to a larger audience with The Great Way. He presents a plot summary of each book in the trilogy, explains that the trilogy started as a homeschool project with his son, what readers his book is intended for, and shares his writing standards. After explaining what the money raised will be used for, Connolly then explains what the reward levels are for different pledges.

“The real challenge here is the timing because 350,000 words is a lot to revise and it’s not something that can be rushed,” says Connolly. “I’ve selected a generous delivery date with the expectation that I will deliver early, but this work takes time.”

Liza F. Carter of Concord, MA, author of a photo book on Mongolia entitled Moving with the
Seasons: Portrait of a Mongolian Family
, (www.MovingwiththeSeasons.com ) relied on both creativity and practicality in conducting a successful campaign on Kickstarter.

Because you can only collect money if you reach your goal, Carter began with a modest goal of $7,000 which she reached in just two days. She then added a “stretch goal” of $12,000 and raised $14,739 before adding a second stretch goal of $18,000, explaining that the extra funds raised would allow her to conduct a travelling photo exhibit.

Before posting her Kickstarter project, Carter studied the projects of others and learned from them. Every Kickstarter campaign that’s ever been done is still up on the website so there’s ample opportunity to learn from the good and the bad, from the mistakes and successes of others. In addition to the promotional video, her project page contained an informative map of Mongolia and stunning photographs of the people of Mongolia.

Part of that initial research involved viewing the promotional videos of others so she could create an effective, promotional video. Carter found that many were merely talking heads and were very boring because they were too long and lacked promotional elements. She designed her video to be only three minutes long and to include scenes from Mongolia rather than shots of herself.  Of the 2,237 people who clicked on her video, 17.2 per cent viewed it to the end.  Carter stressed that it is important to place your pitch in the first 10 seconds of the video to be successful.

Carter learned from Kickstarter that the average contribution is $20-$25 so one offer she made for pledges of $25 or more was a postcard from Mongolia with stamps from different parts of that country and 35 people accepted that offer. For larger pledges she offered 8×10 limited edition signed prints from her book as well as signed copies of her book.

Liza began her campaign by creating a Facebook page on the campaign with a link to Kickstarter, and then shared that page with friends. Facebook turned out to be an important part of her campaign as 37 percent of the money raised was from Facebook. Another 16 percent of the pledges were generated by Kickstarter from people she did not know, mainly because her project was a “staff pick” the entire time she was on Kickstarter.

“I sent a personal email right away thanking people for the donation,” says Carter. “It makes the people feel good and connected to the project. I am sure it helped maintain the momentum and spread to others who knew those people.” Some 15 percent of donors gave money without expecting anything in return and those donors she thanked personally on Facebook as well as by email.

Peterson, Connolly and Carter conducted successful Kickstarter campaigns because they:

  • Explained the reasons they were seeking the money
  • Came up with fun, unique and compelling offers to the funders for the cash they pledged
  • Understood the importance of a good video pitch
  • Promoted the program outside of Kickstarter with a solid public relations campaign

A very imaginative approach was taken by Celeste Headlee of Washington, D.C., who started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $92,000 to launch a National Public Radio show called Middle Ground. Celeste said that she turned to Kickstarter for support in her efforts to “launch a brand new public radio show focused on the states in between California and the eastern seaboard, ignoring the coasts. We hope to tell the stories that are largely ignored by the major networks while they focus on New York City, DC and LA.”

For various pledge levels, Headlee offers a CD of the pilot programs, a Middle Ground t-shirt, an outgoing voice mail greeting recorded by Celeste, webinars on how to conduct interviews, producer credits on the show’s website, on air mentions, a basket of foods from middle America, dinner with Celeste, or a personal visit by Celeste to your school, business or organization for a pledge of $10,000 or more.

Authors besides Headlee who have used very creative approaches in their Kickstarter campaigns include Gary W. Allison of Clarkston, MI, author of Bone Cay: Crime Thriller Book Project, who promised anyone who pledges $500 or more that he would name a character in his book after the donor. What a great way to raise $500 without any monetary costs to the author!

Author David Bergantino of Los Angeles promised anyone who pledged $400 or more that he would name a character in his book after the donor plus place a photograph of the donor on the cover of his book Afraid to Love.

Seth Godin of New York City, author of The Icarus Deception: Why Make Art, offered to interview anyone who pledges $1,150 or more and write a paragraph about them in all editions of his book.

Other ideas to attract pledges are for authors to offer:

  • Digital copies of your entire works if you have written three or more books
  • Autographed, limited edition copies
  • Free editing and critique of a donor’s draft writing
  • A free review of a donor’s published book
  • Your illustrator to draw an image of the donor to place in your book
  • An in-person meeting with the author for a formal English tea
  • Mention of the donor’s business with a testimonial given by a character in the book
  • A gourmet meal prepared by the author of a cookbook at the donor’s home
  • A free hot air balloon ride for two with this article’s author, Scott Lorenz to any Michigan resident donating $1,500 or more one to one of his clients

This is meant as a sampling of creative ideas authors can use to entice pledges from supporters. When one of my clients agrees to a Kickstarter campaign we will look at what offers should be made for a successful campaign, what pitches should be used, how to come up with an appealing video, and how to promote the campaign outside of Kickstarter.

Bottom Line: If you are an author who wants to be on the edge of the latest promotional tools then check out how Kickstarter can launch your book and its promotion.

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: Use Alliteration for Illumination of Your Book Title

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

Alliteration is a very useful literary tool. Alliteration is simply defined as the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words and also the repetition of an initial consonant sound, as in “a peck of pickled peppers.” Incorporating alliteration into your book title can help people remember your work and it will stick out in people’s minds. Here are a few examples of books with alliteration in their titles:

Alliteration for IlluminationThe Teeny Tiny Teacher by Stephanie Calmenson

The Magical, Mystical, Marvelous Coat by Catherine Ann Cullen

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Love’s Labor’s Lost by William Shakespeare

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Caesar and Cleopatra by George Bernard Shaw

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Roger Parker of personalbrandingblog.com explained on his website, “Sometimes the most important lessons in personal branding are the simplest ones, like using alliteration, or repeated “hard” sounds, to make the title of your brand-building book stand out and be easy to remember.” You want readers, fans, and your potential audience to enjoy your book’s title. Alliteration can help that title roll off the tongue nicely. If your book’s title is memorable and fun or easy to say, people will talk about it. The alliteration will stand out in conversation or in the review section of a website.

According to Mike Ball, author of ‘Banjos, Boats and Butt Dialing’, alliteration can be a very effective  tool for a humorist. Ball explains, “I rarely use it for serious subjects but judiciously used, alliteration is an author’s best friend. Since humor is all about timing, alliteration forces the reader to participate in the timing you are trying to set up. That’s why my book title ‘Banjos, Boats and Butt Dialing’ gets people to laugh before they crack the cover.”

As J.R.R. Tolkien observed, alliteration “depends not on letters but on sounds.” Thus the phrase know-nothing is alliterative, but climate change is not.”

Domey Malasarn from the website “The Literary Lab” feels that alliteration can belong in titles as well as within your book. “I have used it on occasion myself in places where I thought it was helpful. For example, if I had a sentence like ‘Alfred was furious.’ I might revise it to “Alfred was angry.” because to me it pairs the subject of the sentence with his emotion a little more powerfully.”

Puja Lalwani of buzzle.com explains, “The importance of alliteration should not be undermined as just another literary device that is beyond comprehension. It is highly useful and most invaluable, whether just to drive a point home, make for a fun read, or as a marketing tool that will leave your product etched in the mind of the consumer.”

On the website, helium.com, Stella McIntyre perfectly outlines the benefits of using alliteration across various mediums. “Although most commonly used in literature, most particularly poetry, alliteration can also be found in non-fiction writing: leaflets, newspaper headlines, advertising and merchandizing. Its effect is twofold. Firstly it draws attention to and emphasizes a phrase and secondly, it can create connotations that significantly add to the understanding and enjoyment of a writer’s meaning.”

The Bottom Line: Alliteration in book titles will help people remember your book title because it will help your work stand out and engage your reader before they even open your book.

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

Authors: Get Bloggers to Promote Your Book

Book Bloggers, I.E. people who blog about books, like to interview authors for their blogs. Some bloggers have tens of thousands of followers and can totally change an author’s life by exposing you and your book to their audience.

Finding a blogger who interviews authors in your genre and particular topic allows you to reach your target niche. Blogs tend to generate a fairly dedicated following with certain blogs sending some authors right to the best seller ranks. By having a blogger interview you and post the interview on their blog, you will potentially pique the interest of everyone who reads that particular blog. People will be more likely to visit your site and read your work, increasing your sales.
Here’s a short list of book bloggers who interview authors. Find the ones that fit your genre and give them a shout:

Book Bloggers Association
YA Book Blog Directory
Eri Nelson: Wonderful Reads of the Month:How To Blog A Book
Teddy Gross on Jewish-themed books
Morgen Bailey
Kate Brauning writes excellent book reviews
MUTT
Indies Unlimited
Review Carnival 
The Writer’s Life
Beyond the Books
Cynsations
The Next Best Book Club
Book Chums
Rainy of the Dark
The Indie Exchange
Neal Thompson
Expat Bookshop
The Writing Corner
First Book Interviews
Lena Sledge
Better World Books Blog
Proud Book Nerd
I Am a Reader, Not a Writer
Blogging Authors

As long as a particular blogger covers the genre you write about, most of these bloggers will be happy to interview you about your book. Some bloggers may conduct a phone interview while others will email you questions to answer. Others will invite you to submit a book synopsis, your bio, head shot, book cover and a press release. They’ll use all of this to create the blog page about you and your book. After all, it is fresh material for their site.
By reaching out to a targeted list of bloggers you will be promoting yourself in online circles, which will increase your visibility and potentially increase book sales. You can also search for bloggers who interview authors by typing keywords such as “list of book bloggers” or “blogger author interviews.” If you want to track down a certain audience, you can be more specific with your Internet search and search phrases like “young adult fiction book blog.”
For more in depth information about promoting your book using blogs I suggest you read “How to Blog a Book” by Nina Amir. It’s filled with useful tips and techniques that will guide you through the process.

Bottom line: Finding a blogger to interview you about your work is one ‘arrow in the quiver’ of a book marketing strategy and one that can lead to new fans, publicity and increase in book sales.