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

 sanger-cover-2-25-17

Movies, 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

37 Top Book Awards Authors Should Pursue for 2015

Book Award Contests

Enter Book Award Contests and Become an Award Winning Author in 2015!

Book Award Contests

Enter Book Award Contest and Become an Award Winning Author!

As Hockey great Wayne Gretzky said “YOU Can’t Score Unless You Shoot!”

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

“Do book awards matter?”  YES!!

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

https://giphy.com/gifs/ElZ4GKHUbOpQA/html5

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

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

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

Here’s a list of my Top 37 book awards worthy of your consideration. Keep in mind that links change all the time and contests come and go. Some links are for the previous year because that’s all that was available at the time of this writing.

  1. Enter to win The 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards. The contest is for independent, university, small press, self-publishers and independent authors throughout North America and overseas publishers who publish books intended for the American market. https://secure.independentpublisher.com/cart/?process=product_detail&product_id=4
  1. Entering IndieFab Awards should definitely be on your literary to-do list. Formerly ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards Check it out here https://indiefab.forewordreviews.com/
  1. Check out the National Book Critics Circle Awards http://bookcritics.org/awards/award_submissions/
  1. The Man Booker Prize for Fiction boasts that the prize is the world’s most important literary award. Entry Forms are due March 6 and Finished Books are due June 19. http://www.themanbookerprize.com/node/20
  1. The Newbery Medal was the world’s first children’s book award. Enter before December 31 http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newberymedal/newberyapp/newberyapplication
  1. Enter to win the Caldecott Medal before December 31 for your Children’s picture book http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecottapp/caldecottapplication.cfm
  1. Find out how your book can earn a Hugo Award and check out science fiction’s most prestigious award details http://www.thehugoawards.org/about/
  1. Strive to be nominated and win the Nobel Prize in literature. Who can nominate? Professors of literature and of linguistics at universities and university colleges to name a few. (Another reason it pays to keep the ties to your alma mater!) http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/nomination/
  1. See how to submit your book for The Edgar Allan Poe Award, “The Edgar.” http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=Edgars-Info
  1. FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year. http://www.ft.com/intl/management/business-book-award
  1. The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction site will reopen for new entries in May 2015. http://www.pulitzer.org/how_to_enter
  1. The National Book Award by the National Book Foundation. Learn how to submit your book here http://www.nationalbook.org/nbaentry.html
  1. Enter the 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards by March 10, 2015. The “IPPY” Awards were conceived as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and are open to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books written in English and intended for the North American market. http://www.independentpublisher.com/ipland/IPAwards.php
  1. Learn more about how to enter to win the Stonewall Book Award. Click for details http://www.ala.org/glbtrt/award
  1. Enter Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards. Don’t miss this important ebook only award. http://globalebookawards.com/
  1. The Deadline for the Autumn House Press award for poetry, fiction and non-fiction is June 30. Check it out here http://www.autumnhouse.org/contest-submissions/
  1. Enter to win the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Click for more details

http://www.pen-ne.org/hemingway-foundationpen-award/

  1. Poets & Writers has nice list of writing contest, grants and awards. Check it out at: http://www.pw.org/grants
  1. Find out how to make it on the Indie Next List to win an Indies Choice Book Award http://www.bookweb.org/indiebound/nextlist/view
  1. Get your book recommended for The Discover Great New Writers award http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/for_publishers/discover_program/discover_program.html
  1. The Nautilus Book Award seeks books that make a difference and inspire. http://www.nautilusbookawards.com/
  1. Here’s a service where you can enter several book festivals at the same time for about $50 per festival. This is absolutely the best idea. I’ve used this several times. One entry form, one payment, two books, ten plus book awards spread out over a year. Just do it. http://bookfestivals.com/
  1. The National Indie Excellence Book Awards competition selects award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in dozens of categories. Created especially for indie and self-published authors. Deadline is March 31, 2015 http://www.indieexcellence.com
  1. Have you written a business book? The Axiom Business Book Awards celebrate excellence in business book writing and publishing by presenting gold, silver and bronze medals in 20 business categories. http://www.axiomawards.com/
  1. The non-profit Independent Book Publishers Association’s Benjamin Franklin Awards are now in their 27th year of awarding excellence in book publishing in 55 categories. All entrants receive direct judge feedback–unique in the industry. For more information, visit http://ibpabenjaminfranklinawards.com/
  1. USA Best Book Awards has a ten year track record of honoring and promoting books to the national and international community. The contest is sponsored by USA Book Newswhich covers books from all sections of the publishing industry—mainstream, independent, & self-published.  http://www.usabooknews.com/2015usabestbookawards.html
  1. Reader Views Annual Literary Awards were established to honor writers who self-publish or who were published by small presses or independent publishers. http://readerviews.com/literaryawards/
  1. Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. The Grand Prize winner will receive a publishing contract and a $50,000 advance. All you need is a CreateSpace account. Check out this year’s winners and learn how to enter: http://www.amazon.com/Breakthrough-Novel-Award-Books/b?ie=UTF8&node=332264011
  1. Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Whether you’re a professional writer, a part-time freelancer or a self-starting student, here’s your chance to enter the only self-published competition exclusively for self-published books. One winning entry will receive $8,000 with nine first-place winners who’ll receive $1,000 each. Early Bird deadline April 1, 2015. http://www.writersdigest.com/competitions/selfpublished
  1. Readers’ Favorite Awards receives submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants like HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times best-selling authors.  https://readersfavorite.com/annual-book-award-contest.htm
  1. Romance Writer of America promotes the interests of career-focused romance writers by sponsoring awards that acknowledge excellence in the romance genre. RWA sponsors: “The RITA” for published romance fiction novels and “The Golden Heart” for unpublished romance fiction manuscripts. http://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=525
  1. Epic eBook Awards by The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition (EPIC) annually recognizes the best ebooks in many categories. (Books may also have been be released in print editions.) The awards were previously known as the “Eppies” https://www.epicorg.com/competitions/epic-s-ebook-competition.html
  1. Rubery Book Award is the longest established book award based in the UK for independent and self-published books. “The key to our success is having a keen eye for quality from distinguished and reputable judges.” First prize is $1,500 and the winning book will be read by a top literary agent. http://www.ruberybookaward.com/
  1. The Eric Hoffer Award for independent books recognizes excellence in publishing with a $2,000 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions. To enter, a book must be from an academic press, small press or self-published author. http://www.hofferaward.com/HAbooks.html
  1. Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Thousands of dollars in prize money. Finalists and Winners receive a list in the Next Generation Indie Book Catalog distributed to thousands of book buyers, media and others. Plus the top 70 books will be reviewed by a top New York Literary agent for possible representation. http://www.indiebookawards.com/awards.php
  1. The International Book Awards (IBA 2015) are specifically designed to be a promotional vehicle for authors and publishers to launch their careers, open global markets and compete with talented authors and publishers throughout the world. Winners get an extensive public relations campaign, social media promotion and more. http://www.internationalbookawards.com/
  1. The Digital Book Awards celebrate quality and innovation in digital content. Each year, award winners and finalists in fifteen categories illustrate the cutting edge of digital publishing, showcasing creative approaches to design, technology integration and e-reading experiences. https://app.wizehive.com/apps/DigitalBookAwards15

Need another reason to enter? Jim Cox of Midwest Book Review says, “The fact is award stickers help to convince buyers to purchase. I’ve seen this happen with librarians — when faced with two competing titles and a limited acquisition budget the librarians will take the one that won an award, any award, over the title that doesn’t have an award to its credit. I’m confident that this same phenomena works for bookstore patrons browsing the shelves as well.”

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

 

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

 

 

Book Marketing Video Westwind

http://youtu.be/bTsTCKjLxc8

37 Top Book Awards Authors Should Pursue for 2015 http://j.mp/Book-Awards-2015

Book Publicity Idea: Link Your Book to Holidays and Special Events

list of holidays and events for authors

Learn how to tie your book into a holiday or special event.

One creative way to get publicity for your book is to tie it to a holiday or special event. You’ll be able to reach out to the media who often need a ‘reason’ to showcase your book right now. Furthermore you may be able to reach your audience on a more personal level by promoting your book alongside a national holiday, theme month, or cause. There are thousands of holidays that celebrate various concepts as well as traditional holidays that can be used to market your book; you just have to find them.

There are a couple of terrific websites that are perfect for authors by providing a searchable list of national days of ‘this or that’ for every day of the year. On Days of The Year site I searched ‘book’ and found dozens of relevant days. For example November 1st is National Author’s Day. Who knew? The site provides background about who started an event, when it started and just enough info for you to tie your book in to the holiday. Another site is Holiday Insights. They have listings for each day of the month. There are plenty of examples I could enumerate but check it out and see for yourself. With so many possibilities, finding holidays that can be linked to your book will be no problem.  Check them out at these links: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/  and http://www.holidayinsights.com/

How do you tie your book in to a national month like Breast Cancer Awareness month? I once promoted Jackie Miles, author of Cold Rock River, during Bipolar Disorder Awareness Month because she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. I also tied a promotion of a horse rescue group in to the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont races because the country is focused and interested in horses during that time of year. I also once got television and newspaper coverage for a dentist when we came up with a sugar-free Easter basket. We offered parents tips on how to give non sugar-filled treats over the holiday and received tremendous exposure by doing so. This would be a perfect technique for a dentist with a book as well.

I also promoted a book about sports clichés tapping into the season of each sport and the author’s commentary and collection of clichés about that sport during its season. For example, we pitched sports writers about football during the time they are covering it and baseball during the summer months. I know it may sound basic but people don’t want to hear about hockey in the summer so you have to tailor your pitch and timing accordingly.

In my experience, subjects such as military books and novels do very well before anniversaries of dates of military and historical events like Memorial Day, July 4th, D-Day, Pearl Harbor Day, 911 etc.  Books on the topic of overcoming breast cancer will see increased sales during October due to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Simply think about the subject matter of your book or any cause that is close to you, personally, and promote your book alongside the specific occasion, cause, or holiday.

Other holidays and cause or theme months to consider include:

  • January
    • New Years
    • Martin Luther King Jr. Day
    • Chinese New Year
  • February
    • Black History Month
    • Groundhog Day
    • Valentine’s Day
    • President’s Day
    • Ash Wednesday
  • March
    • Women’s History Month
    • Read Across America Day
    • St. Patrick’s Day
    • First Day of Spring
  • April
    • Autism Awareness Month
    • Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month
    • April Fools Day
    • Easter (Sunday)
    • Earth Day
  • May
    • National Pet Month
    • Social Media Month
    • May Day
    • Cinco de Mayo
    • Mother’s Day
    • Armed Forces Day
    • Memorial Day
  • June
    • LGBT Pride Month
    • D-Day Anniversary
    • Father’s Day
    • First Day of Summer
  • July
    • Independence Day/ 4th of July
  • August
    • Friendship Day
    • “Back to School”
  • September
    • Labor Day
    • Grandparent’s Day
    • Patriot Day (9/11)
    • International Day of Peace
    • First Day of Fall
  • October
    • National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
    • Columbus Day
    • Sweetest Day
    • National Boss Day
    • United Nations Day
    • Halloween
  • November
    • Veteran’s Day
    • Thanksgiving
  • December
    • Pearl Harbor Day
    • First Day of Winter
    • Christmas
    • New Year’s Eve

The Bottom Line: Find a way to tie your book to special events or holidays and you’ll increase your chances of getting media coverage. Members of the press are looking for unique and interesting twists on every holiday. Create the angle that will entice them to interview YOU!

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 cont
act 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' Conferences ListWriters Love to Help Fellow Writers – What Better Way to Meet Them Than a Writer’s Conference?

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 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:

October 2-7, 2014

http://staugustinewritersconference.com/

March 14, 2014

http://www.unicornwritersconference.com/Pages/home.html

 

Bottom Line:  Attend 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.

Hopefully we will meet at whatever writers’ conference you select because although I have been in the book promotion business for many years I still can’t pass up the opportunity to attend a good writers’ conference. See you there!

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

Image

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