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

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind CommunicationsMEME PR STUNTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

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

33 Radio Interview Tips For Authors From Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

You’ve landed the radio interview and it’s time to get ready to actually do it. Now what? As a book marketing expert and book publicist, I have booked my clients on thousands of radio interviews. Here’s a list of tips I give to my clients prior to their interviews. Keep this helpful list of interview tips nearby and you’ll be glad you did!

  1. Go to a quiet room in your home or office; be sure staff and/or family know you are 16on a radio interview and cannot be interrupted.
  2. Turn off other phones, cell phones and anything else that could create background noise including air conditioners and the radio, etc.
  3. Have a glass of water nearby; there’s nothing worse than dry mouth on a radio interview.
  4. Be on time. Call the station exactly at the time they tell you, or be at your phone waiting if the station is going to call you.
  5. Use a land line phone for best quality. Some stations won’t allow a cell phone interview. If it is not possible to reach a land line then use a cell phone in a stationary location and not while you are rolling down the road as the reception could be interrupted mid-interview.
  6. Disable call waiting: dial *70 and then call the studio number. This disables call waiting for the duration of the phone call. As soon as you hang up, it will be reactivated.
  7. Do not use a speaker phone or a headset; again, it’s about good sound quality.
  8. Be self-assured. Remember, you know your topic inside and out. Be confident in your ability.
  9. Smile, smile, smile, whether on radio or TV – SMILE. You’ll feel better, and for TV you’ll look better too.
  10. Put some pizzazz and energy into your voice. Try standing while you speak to liven things up a little.
  11. Research the show and tailor your message accordingly. Just Google the host’s name and station and check out their web site. Is it a national audience or a small town in Ohio? What is their format? Is it News/Talk, NPR or Classic Rock or something else? You need to know.
  12. KNOW exactly how much time you will have on the air as a guest, three minutes or 30 minutes…so you can tailor your answers to the time allotted.
  13. Practice your sound bites—out loud before the interview. Communicate your main points succinctly. Practice this out loud.
  14. Be informative and entertaining without directly pushing your book, product or service. Make the audience “want more.”
  15. A kind word about the host can go a long way. It’s good manners and good business.
  16. A person’s name is sweet music to them so commit to memory or jot down the name of the host and use it throughout the interview. When taking calls, use the names of callers too.
  17. Be prepared for negative comments, from the host or listeners.
  18. Be careful not to slide into techno-babble, jargon or acronyms that few know about.
  19. Never talk down to your audience.
  20. Be respectful of the host because everybody starts someplace. Today they’re interviewing you from a college radio station; in a few years they could be a nationally syndicated host.
  21. Don’t Oversell. Remember you are on the air to provide useful information to the listening audience. If you are an author or selling something, limit yourself to TWO mentions of the book, product or service. You must make it interesting without the commercialism. It takes finesse but you can do it. Often times the host will do this for you and you won’t need to mention it.
  22. Think of a radio interview as an intimate conversation with a friend and not a conversation with thousands.
  23. Radio interviews require verbal answers, not head nodding or uh-huhs. Hand gestures don’t count in radio either.
  24. Radio will often use interviews live and later cut them up for use throughout the day giving you more airplay. So keep your answer to a 10 to 20 second sound bite. You can say a lot in that amount of time and then you don’t sound like you are babbling on. Don’t go on more than a minute without taking a break.
  25. Don’t just answer questions. Tell listeners something you want them to know, something they wouldn’t know unless they were tuned in, with the promise of more of the same when they buy the product or come see you!
  26. Have three key messages. Short, not sermons. Sometimes the host opens the door, other times you have to answer a question and segue to a key message. A compelling message will have the host asking for more. Usually, people can get in two key messages; the pros can get three. But even if you get in only one, you get a big return for the time invested.
  27. Lazy hosts open with a lame: “Thanks for being here.” Boom! Give a :15-:20 sec summary message. If the host introduces you with a question, be polite, deliver your summary message, then answer the question. “Thanks, (use name), for the opportunity to talk about….Now, to your question (name)…”
  28. Maintain a Positive Attitude. BE GENUINE OR TRANSPARENT. Don’t fake enthusiasm or sincerity. If you’re in a bad mood cancel the interview. Don’t pretend to know stuff you don’t.
  29. Re-read the press release or pitch that got the booking since the host is going to be using that as a starting point. Often a book publicist such as myself, will tie into a breaking news event that relates to your expertise. Be aware of that tie-in.
  30. After the interview write a thank-you note. Since so few people do this, you’ll really stand out from the crowd. And most importantly, you may get invited back.
  31. Whether the interview is live or taped-live, if you stumble, or flub up just keep going. Often what you perceived as a mistake, the listeners won’t even notice.
  32. Ask for an MP3 of the recording before the interview. Often if you ask ahead of time the producer will record the interview and then you can use it on your web site. If that’s not available get the link to the station’s recording and Tweet about to your followers and promote it on your Facebook page. Be sure to listen to it later and critique your performance.
  33. Listen for the testimonial. Sometimes the host will say something complimentary, “You have a fascinating story Mr. Jones.”  Use it in your marketing.  Or you can actually ask for a testimonial.  Often that MP3 will arrive with a note from the host saying how much they enjoyed the interview, or that “Scott Lorenz was a great interview, he really kept our audience engaged,” or “the phones rang off the hook when Scott Lorenz was being interviewed.” You can use those testimonials in future pitches and on your web site, blog etc.

As a book marketing firm, we’ll prepare our clients with media coaching or if need be training with a media trainer. We’ll also submit questions to the radio host ahead of time and include those in our press kits emailed to the stations. Often the radio host will read those questions right in order. Other times they refer to our questions and include some of them. We do this to help the host in case they’ve not had a chance to read the book, and to help direct the questioning.

Make sure you know your own material inside and out and are comfortable with everything in it. You are the author of the book, or the press release and they’ll ask you, “What did you mean about this or that?” You need to have the answer. You don’t want any surprises.

The Bottom Line:  RELAX, you’ll do fine. The butterflies you’re feeling are what will drive you to do your best! Just follow these helpful tips and you’ll be a radio interview star!

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

 

 

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

Podcast with Business Book Ghost Writer and Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

Scott Lorenz Interview wi Biz Book Ghostwriter

Be honest… did you think you were done with your job as an author when you typed

“The End”?

Have you heard that you need to market your book, but aren’t sure where to start?

Are you overwhelmed by all the book marketing advice out there?

In this podcast where I was interviewed by a business book ghost writer, I’ll share a little about the easy things you can do to market your book—whether it’s been out for a week or a few years.

Click here to listen to the interview http://bit.ly/A–46

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

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications Book Marketing

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In September 2012, the book became available on Amazon for $0.99, selling 35,000 copies and moving it up to the top of Amazon’s Sci-Fi Bestseller List. After topping the Bestseller List on Amazon, an agent contacted Weir and he was soon represented by Random House for a book deal. On top of that Fox contacted him for the film rights of his novel.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Authors Can Use NetGalley For Ultimate Book Marketing

Book Marketing

Using NetGalley for Book Promotion featured in PR Toolkit in Small Business PR

by Scott Lorenz, President, Westwind Communications Book Marketing

Word of mouth sells books.

Unfortunately, one of the most difficult things to do is to get people to read and review your book to help get the buzz going. As an author, how would you like to get your book into the eager hands of reviewers, bloggers, members of the media, librarians, booksellers, and educators before it was published? Ever wonder how some books have 50 reviews the day of publishing? Want to know the tricks of the trade? One way is through NetGalley and their 300,000 readers.

Corrin Foster of Greenleaf Book Group says that their publishing firm uses NetGalley for nearly every title that they publish as a way to reach active and influential reviewers. “The NetGalley community is fair and transparent with their reviews, responsive to collaboration, and an invaluable resource for generating early reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, blogs, and social media which carry a lot of weight with general consumers. We value our relationship with NetGalley and their members very highly,” says Foster.

Read More>>>> How Authors Can Use NetGalley to Promote Their Book

http://bit.ly/1LEmj5V

Should Authors Repurpose their Book Content into an App?

Authors, How About an App for Your Book?Books inside an iPhone

Books are turned into movies all the time. But what about other money making avenues for repurposing content and expanding the reach of the book? How about creating an iPhone or Android app for your book?
The bestselling book What to Expect When You Are Expecting has an app that is a great example of how a book can expand its reach by creating a useful companion app.

More >>>>>  http://bit.ly/1YDNe8A 

Book Fairs & Festivals for Authors Summer/Fall 2014

Book Festivals and Book Fairs important element in book marketing

Thousands of potential book buyers, agents and member of media attend book festivals and book fairs looking for new books.

Book fairs and festivals offer authors an excellent place to interact with fellow authors and publishers, network with book industry leaders, locate the help you need, such as a publicist or book editor, and learn what’s new in the marketplace.

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

For upcoming book events on C-SPAN2 visit: http://www.BookTV.org For more information about book events and book marketing visit http://www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com

Here’s my list of upcoming book fairs and events that are worthy of your attendance in 2014:

The Harlem Book Fair in Harlem, New York will take place July 11, 2014 through July 12, 2014. http://www.qbr.com/harlem-book-fair.aspx

The Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival will take place every Thursday, beginning July 24, 2014 through August 21, 2014 in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. http://mvbookfestival.com/author_lecture_series_2014

The Rocky Mountain Book and Paper Fair will begin August 1, 2014 and finish August 2, 2014 in Denver, Colorado http://www.rmaba.org/rmaba_events.html

The Brooklyn Book Festival will begin September 15, 2014 and run through September 21, 2014 in Brooklyn, New York. Top Book Fairs & Festivalshttp://www.brooklynbookfestival.org/

The Bookmarks Festival of Books will be held in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 4, 2014 through September 7, 2014. http://bookmarksnc.org/events/festival

The Kansas Book Festival will be in Topeka, Kansas on September 13, 2014. http://kansasbookfestival.com/general-info/about-the-festival/

The South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, South Dakota will be held September 26-28, 2014. http://www.sdbookfestival.com/

The National Book Festival will take place in Washington, DC on Saturday, August 20, 2014. http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/

The Baltimore Book Festival will begin in Baltimore, Maryland on September 26, 2014 and end September 28, 2014. http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com/

The Iowa City Book Festival will begin October 2, 2014 and end October 5, 2014 in Iowa City, Iowa. http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org/

The Brattleboro Literary Festival will take place October 2, 2014 through October 5, 2014 in Brattleboro, Vermont. http://brattleboroliteraryfestival.org/

The Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee will run from October 10, 2014 through October 12, 2014. http://www.humanitiestennessee.org/programs/southern-festival-books-celebration-written-word

The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair will begin October 11-12, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. http://www.seattlebookfair.com/

The Vegas Valley Book Festival will run from October 16, 2014 through October 18, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. http://vegasvalleybookfestival.org/

The Texas Book Festival will begin October 25, 2014 and end October 26, 2014 in Austin, Texas. http://www.texasbookfestival.org/

The Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair (38th Annual) will be held November 14, 2014 through November 16, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. http://www.bostonbookfair.com

The Miami Book Fair International will kick off in Miami, Florida on November 16, 2014 and wrap up November 23, 2014. http://www.miamibookfair.com

The Bottom Line: Take a little summer vacation and hit some book festivals. Make it a priority to visit a book festival in the coming weeks and months. 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

Authors: Jump on the #AmazonCart and Twitter Bandwagon NOW!

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

#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

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

 

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

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