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

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

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: Turn to Kickstarter to Launch Your Book


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 ( 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
, ( ) 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  or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist


Authors: Use Alliteration for Illumination of Your Book Title

By Scott Lorenz

Westwind Communications

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

Alliteration for IlluminationThe Teeny Tiny Teacher by Stephanie Calmenson

The Magical, Mystical, Marvelous Coat by Catherine Ann Cullen

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Love’s Labor’s Lost by William Shakespeare

The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Caesar and Cleopatra by George Bernard Shaw

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


About Book Publicist Scott Lorenz

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

Learn more about Westwind Communications’ book marketing approach at or contact Lorenz at or by phone at 734-667-2090. Follow Lorenz on Twitter @aBookPublicist

Authors: Crowd Source Your Next Book Critique – New Service Does the Work

ImageI recently contacted several Amazon and GoodReads reviewers to obtain a blurb for the cover of a new book in a series. Most of the reviews were very complimentary but then I got one back that stopped me in my tracks. In that email the reviewer pointed out some flaws in both the writing and the cover. There was inconsistency in what the writer said and what the cover designer selected. Furthermore the reviewer pointed out that a couple of the characters were ‘formulaic’ and ‘underdeveloped.’ She mentioned a few other things but you get the point. And so did the writer, who thanked me and the reviewer for taking time to point out these flaws and gladly made the changes…before it was published.

The point? Imagine if you could get not one, not five but 50 people to read your book before it was published and give you some feedback? Would you want that? I know that most writers would jump at the opportunity.

Well, there is a new service offered by my friend Clark Covington that offers in effect a ‘crowd sourcing’ critique of your manuscript.

The service called ‘Collective Intel’ doesn’t shield you from the feedback, they encourage you to embrace it, and use it to get better. The service uses a simple equation to create the Collective Intel book score.

Here’s how it works: They’ll have 50 people read your book cover-to-cover. Who are these people? They are avid readers of books. Some are highly qualified editors, English Majors, proofers and even authors. They love to read books and they know a good one when they see one.

Then, they have each person fill out a ten question survey ranking satisfaction of each question. For example, on a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the rate the way the author wrote about the setting in the book? On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate the relatable nature of the characters in the book, 1 for you couldn’t understand who they were, and 10 for feeling like you’ve known them all your life?

Then they take your total score (out of 500) and divide it by 50 to get your mean book score, or Collective Intel score. You are then given a total score, and a breakdown of your scores by each question so you can see how you are performing in each area pertinent to being a great writer, like setting, plot, tempo, etc. If you have a collective intel overall score of a 9, you probably have a bestseller on your hands. Conversely if you’re a 3, it might be time to get back to the drawing board. This data is awesome for so many reasons, because it helps you break down what you do well, and what you need to work on, which as I’ve illustrated above is often totally out of sight to hardworking writers.

In addition to creating collective and Question-by-Question mean scores for your book, they also provide you with each survey individually, and the notes from each reviewer on what they liked and what they didn’t when it came to your book, and most importantly what they want you to work on.

Think of this service as the ultimate focus group, a way to get honest feedback on your book, learn to be a better writer, and understand your audience better.

Let’s face it, if you have your friends, family and workplace acquaintances read and comment on your book, are you really going to get the feedback you need to create a best-selling well rounded book? I don’t think so. That’s why this service sounds like it could really be a useful tool for all authors.

Learn more and sign up here

How ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Author Hit It Big… And ‘Mommy Porn’ Entered Daily Vernacular

E. L. James author Fifty Shades of GreyBritish author E.L. James’s erotic romance trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed is the hottest topic in publishing right now. The trilogy has been featured on mommy blogs, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Saturday Night Live, book clubs, and The book’s main characters are Seattle billionaire 27-year-old control freak Christian Grey and innocent 21-year-old Anastasia Steele. Grey, a self-made entrepreneur, not only controls his wildly successful businesses, but takes the reins in the bedroom as well. With a tortured childhood fueling his dominant personality, the trilogy unravels the tumultuous relationship between Grey and Ana. So, what is it that makes this series so special that it’s flying off shelves with more than 20 million copies sold in the United States alone?

James has been wildly successful and has gained massive publicity for her work through word of mouth and media outlets alike. Fifty Shades of Grey was first published in 2011 by a small Australian publisher. It generated buzz by word of mouth after it was available as an ebook. Once the book topped the American best-seller lists in early 2012, Vintage Books bought the rights to publish both the ebook and paperback for seven figures.

Fifty Shades of Grey gained massive popularity on the web via “mommy blogs.” The Suburban Jungle raved about the book in her blog and explains, “…so many of us can’t put the series down. We have an inherent connection to the characters and may not even know it.” BabyCenter Blog’s Lindsay Weiss wrote a cheeky post titled “I have a ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Hangover” in which she explains her dedication to the series. “Are they tremendously meaningful literature? No they are not. Are they even exceptionally well-written? Nope. But have they kept me up until 2am for two nights straight? Yes, they have. I can’t put them down. I can’t sleep. I’d rather read than eat. And I’m cursing the time it’s taking me to write this post because it’s taking me away from the twisted plot of the book.” Weiss’ blog post received 57 responses of women raving about the books.

In an article in The Guardian, Vanessa Thrope wrote, “Mainstream publishing houses are colonising fresh territory in the next stage of an ebook revolution that is changing not only how we read, but what we read, forever. Following the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, which started out as an ebook series posted on a fan site by author EL James and has become the world’s fastest-selling book, publishers are starting to move in on the profits generated by the thriving online platforms that serve unpublished writers. In July of 2012 Pearson, the owner of Penguin Books, bought one of the largest grassroots publishers, Author Solutions, based in Indiana, in the US, for £74m. (135 Million US Dollars)The idea is that Pearson will no longer have to rely on spotting ebook hits early; instead, they will own a new author’s work from the first moment it appears on screen. This acquisition comes in the wake of Pearson’s launch last year of Book Country, a website on which fiction authors could publish their work.”

From Mommy Blogs to daytime television, Fifty Shades of Grey took the media by storm. Ellen DeGeneres featured the book on her show and Saturday Night Live did a parody of the book’s effect on women.

It’s no secret that sex sells. However, James is not selling sex. In fact, she’s selling romance, which is the best-selling category in publishing. The romantic plotlines appeal much more to women, the book’s primary fan base, than sex alone.
While various readers’ sexual fantasies and tastes may differ, most can agree that receiving lavish gifts would be wonderful. Grey showers Ana with foreign cars, the latest technology, an expansive closet filled with designer duds with price tags to match. James speaks to readers’ inner desires to experience a life in the lap of luxury.

In a USA Today article, author Deirdre Donohue explains that James gives women what they want: Christian Grey. “The 27-year-old self-made entrepreneur dropped out of Harvard (hello, Mark Zuckerberg). He is a smoking-hot Adonis (hello, Channing Tatum). He has his own security force to keep his family safe (hello, Michael Corleone). He’s also an innovative philanthropist (hello, Bill Gates).”
Presently, James’s first novel in the trilogy, commonly referred to as “mommy porn,” has received over 6,187 5-star reviews. However, just over 4,624 readers have given the book 1 star. I have authors contact me practically in tears that someone ‘trashed’ their book with a 1 star review. Now I just mention “Fifty Shades of Grey” collection of a few thousand one star stabs!
James is praised for her honesty and bluntness regarding socially taboo sexual desires. However, other readers feel her writing style is repetitive and lacks a certain polish.

Women have blogged about how Fifty Shades of Grey has helped them in their marriage. The books aren’t a dirty little secret hidden in bed-side tables. Instead, women are opening up and explaining how the books’ themes of love, desire, and passion have helped their sex lives and relationships.
Universal Films/Focus Features has purchased the film rights. There has been loose talk of James writing a fourth book as well. Visit E.L. James’ official website  for updates on all things Grey.
The Bottom Line: Women love Fifty Shades of Grey and E.L. James for her romantic, erotic, and boisterous characters and themes. Perhaps you can take a page out of her book!

How Amanda Hocking REALLY Did It – An Inspiration for All Authors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apple Genius Manual: What Authors Can Learn

Apple Genius ManualApple is a category killer in computers, mobile phones, tablets and is playing an increasingly important role in publishing and selling ebooks on iTunes for the iPhone and iPad. We can all learn a lot from Apple so when their ‘Genius Manual’ was revealed recently, I found ways the info contained was applicable to authors.
The Genius Bar is the name of Apple’s in-store tech support station, which is located in Apple retail stores. The Genius Bar is the one-stop-shop for Apple users who have questions about or are having trouble with their Apple hardware or software. Can’t get your iPad to connect to WiFI? Apple’s one-on-one tech support session with a trained Apple Genius can help you fix the problem on the spot or simply better understand a product. Tech support from The Genius Bar is free of charge, but repairs and more in-depth support usually has a fee, unless your Apple product is still under warranty.

Until now, it has been a well-kept secret how Apple employees are trained and what is expected of them. Gizmodo published a portion of Apple’s “Genius Training Student Workbook,” which sheds light on how to walk, talk, and behave like the perfect Apple Genius.

Authors can take notes from Apple’s Genius Training Manual and put them into practice when promoting their work.

According to the Gizmodo article “How To Be a Genius: This Is Apple’s Secret Employee Training Manual” by Sam Biddle, “Selling is a science, summed up with five cute letters: (A)pproach, (P)robe, (P)resent, (L)isten, (E)nd.” Simply put, you should allow fans and readers alike to open up to you about their literary wants and needs, offer them choices, open lines of communication, and seal the deal with the book of your choice. Keep abreast of what people are posting on your website, social media outlets, and forums that are in keeping with your writing style or genre. You’ll be more in tune with what people want to read and you can start a dialogue with them. Reply to their comment or mention them on Twitter. This open dialogue will draw more people to your website and earn you more publicity. Once you suggest your latest book for them to read, you will have opened the door for a new fan and a new string of publicity for yourself.

Apple Geniuses “strive to inspire” so you should be doing the same. Inspire people with your work! Especially if you are an author of the self-help or lifestyle genres, you should be inspiring people with the words you write and publish. Publicize how your book has inspired people. Put quotes or stories from readers on your website, blog, and Facebook page. This will help people see that your work stands out and makes an impact on people and their lives.

As an author, you’re no stranger to critique or criticism. So there is bound to be, or more likely has already been, a time when a disgruntled reader expresses their feelings on your work. Not everyone is going to love your work, but you knew that going into writing. So, when someone sends you a negative Tweet, comment, or letter in the mail, have empathy. Do not apologize for anything you’ve written. Instead, express regret that the person is experiencing a particular emotion.

Something along the lines of, “I’m sorry you did not enjoy My Book as much as you were hoping to” or “I’m sorry you felt frustrated with the relationship between Him and Her in My Book” should suffice. You could also encourage the dissatisfied reader to give your work a second shot and suggest another book of yours that you feel is completely different from the piece they did not enjoy. However, tread lightly and be respectful of his or her opinion.

In a Forbes article titled “The Psychological Tricks Behind Apple’s Service Secrets,” author Sebastian Bailey wrote, “Give fearless feedback. Geniuses are told to engage in ‘open dialogue every day’ with ‘positive intent.’ They’re encouraged to listen to their colleagues’ interactions and give them a friendly piece of advice if they spot something going wrong.” As an author, listen to your colleagues when they give advice or constructive criticism about your writing. Also, follow Apple’s suggestion and give advice in a polite and friendly manner.

The Apple Genius Training Manual has a section titled “Emotion Portrayed through Nonverbal Gestures” which could come in handy at book signings or speaking engagements. This section of the training manual is broken down into “positive” and “negative” columns, respectively. The manual goes on to explain nonverbal gestures and their meanings. For example, a blank stare is a sign of boredom and a smile indicates openness. So, if you’re at a book signing, reading, or other speaking engagement and you notice people staring blankly or crossing their arms, change-up your speech. It’s important to keep your audience (and fans!) interested in you and your work. Keep an eye out for nonverbal gestures and keep your audience engaged. If you notice a sea of smiling faces and people nodding, you’re on the right track.

According to a CIO Magazine article titled “How Genius Is Your IT?” the Apple Genius Bar is successful because it is organized, personal, and focused. The article explains, “When you show up to a Genius Bar appointment, there is a staff member waiting for you. For the duration of your time there, that staff member is focused only on your problem. They may not be able to fix it, but you see firsthand that they’re working on the problem. Also, they generally attempt to educate you on common solutions so you’ll be better prepared if you have the issue again in the future.” Keep your website, blog, and social media outlets organized. Make sure to have links to your work as well as areas for reviews or comments. Engage with your readers and fans because it will give them a more personal experience. If you’re focused on your work and your readers, they will feel a closer connection to both you as an author and your work.

According to Biddle’s article, “Negativity is the mortal sin of the Genius.” So whatever it is, a bad review, a tough critic, or an argument with your editor, stay positive. As frustrated and wronged as you may feel, fight the urge to take a trip to Negative Town. Take everything in stride and keep your work at the center of it all. Remember that all the criticism and speed bumps are there to help make your book the best it can possibly be.

The Bottom Line: Apple has the world’s largest market cap for a reason; they know what they’re doing! So, take a few notes from their Apple Genius Training Manual and use them to your advantage when promoting your work and interacting with your readers, you’ll be glad you did.

Top Book Awards Authors Should Pursue

Do book awards matter? Absolutely YES! In fact, just recently one of my clients won the prestigious Los Angeles Book Festival award. That then led to a flurry of media interest, which then led to a major New York agent deciding to represent the book and pitch it to all the major publishing houses. Deals are in the offing. This author, needless to say, is happy he decided to enter.

Pursuing and winning book awards will give you another opportunity to reach out to the media, booksellers and agents. Awards create interest in your book, Book Fairs Logo Collagewhich 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 22 book awards worthy of your consideration.

Enter to win The 2011 Independent Book Publisher Awards between January 1 and March 15 at

Entering the Book of the Year Awards should definitely be on your end-of-the-year to-do list. Check it out at

Check out the National Book Critics Circle Awards and enter by December 1 at

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction boasts that the prize is the world’s most important literary award. Enter to win by July 1

The Newbery Medal was the world’s first children’s book award. Enter before December 31 at

Enter to win the Caldecott Medal before December 31 for your Children’s picture book at

IACP Cookbook Awards deadline is October 29. Check out how to enter at

Hugo Award deadline is March 26, check out science fiction’s most prestigious award details at

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 your alma mater!)

The Edgar Allan Poe Award for books submission deadline is August 15. See how to submit your book at

FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year submission deadline is June 30 at

Enter to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction before February 2 at

The National Book Award deadline is June 15. Learn how to submit your book at

Submit your work by October 31 to win the Stonewall Book Award. Click for details at

The Deadline for the Autumn House Press award for fiction is June 30. Check it out at

Enter to win the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award deadline is December 17. Click here for more details.

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction deadline is October 31. Check out how to enter at

Get your book nominated for a Quill Award at

Voting for the Indies Choice Book Awards ends March 31 Enter at

Get your cook recommended for The Discover Great New Writers award at

The Nautilus Book Award seeks books that make a difference and inspire. The deadline is February 25 at

Enter your ebook to win Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards by June 30 at

With book trailers being an important part of all book marketing strategies be sure to enter your book trailer in the Moby Awards. They are looking for the best…and worst book trailers. Deadline in April. Enter at

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. Just do it.

The National Indie Excellence Book Awards competition selects award winners and finalists based on overall excellence of presentation in dozens of categories. April deadline.

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. They have a year-end deadline

ForeWord Reviews sponsors the Book of the Year Awards. It’s open to all independently- and self-published books released that year. There are sixty categories, and in each category a gold, silver, and bronze winner. The deadline to enter is January. Check out:

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 let me know how it goes. If you know of another book award I should check out, please send me the details.

Authors: Rename Your Book For a Second Life

Throughout the ages books have been renamed, given a new copyright date as a result, and found new life and success.

There are several reasons to rename a book such as adding a subtitle to be friendlier to search engines. Another important reason is to get a new copyright Stack of Booksdate because many book critics will not review an old book and reviewers often define an “old” book as one with a copyright of more than a year old.

Margaret Mitchell first gave the title “Pansy,” the original name for Scarlett O’Hara, to her epic novel. That title was dropped as soon as MacMillan convinced Mitchell to rename her main character. She then considered the titles of “Tote the Weary Load” and “Tomorrow is Another Day,” the latter being taken from the last line in her novel. When MacMillan objected to these two titles, Mitchell reconsidered and suggested “Gone With The Wind.”

Sometimes just a minor tweak in the title will pay off big, such as “Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone” being renamed “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” “Philosopher’s Stone” was the first novel in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling when it was first published in London in 1997. The next year it was republished in America with the “Sorcerer’s Stone” change made in the title and it reached the New York Time’s best-selling fiction list in August 1999.

Other examples of books that were re-titled include:
• “The Last Man in Europe” to “1984”
• “The Dead Un-Dead” to “Dracula”
• “Catch 18” and “Catch 11” to “Catch 22”
• “Atticus” to “To Kill a Mockingbird”
• “First Impressions” to “Pride and Prejudice”
• “Fiesta” to “The Sun Also Rises”
• “Strike” to “Atlas Shrugged”
• “Mistress Mary” to “The Secret Garden”

I think you get the point. Tanya Hall of Greenleaf Book Group ( tells of the renaming of a book that made a big difference for Greenleaf: “Gregg Crawford approached us seeking distribution services for his book, ‘Execute or Be Executed’, originally published in 2006,” says Tanya. “We saw potential in the book but it definitely needed to be repackaged and re-titled to stand out in the crowded business genre. Gregg agreed to our suggestions, and the end result was ‘The Last Link: Closing the Gap That is Sabotaging Your Business’ which was published in March, 2007 by Greenleaf Book Group Press and became our first New York Times bestseller.”

Many of the authors with whom I work do not subtitle their book which is a big mistake. A subtitle allows for a book title to contain more searchable terms which, in this day of search engine optimization, is a major consideration. Remember that people use Google, Bing and Yahoo! to search for information they need immediately – help that fills their needs, wants and desires. You want to be their Answer.

Authors should always be open to suggestions made by editors and publishers. You may love your title but the publishing company that makes millions of dollars each year selling books knows a lot more about titles that sell than you do.

So be ready to rename your book if that new title will attract more readers and sell more books. If in doubt, ask Margaret Mitchell, or J.K. Rowling, or Ernest Hemingway, or George Orwell or ….. Want to rename your book? Bounce an idea off me at:

Jess Todtfeld, former FOX News producer and President of Success in Media Interviews Yours Truly, Scott Lorenz

Jess Todtfeld, former FOX News producer and President of Success in Media ( interviewed Scott Lorenz, President of Westwind Communications Public Relations about his thoughts on PR and the ever changing landscape of promoting a book, product or service. The in-depth interview is one of 15 such interviews with leading experts that Todtfeld is making available in the new The Ultimate Insider’s Toolkit for PITCHING THE MEDIA. The “toolkit” offers insider’s tips and techniques for getting your story publicized and is available at his web site.

Jess Todtfeld: All right. PR in the 21st century media is the topic today here on the Speaking Channel. My special guest is Scott Lorenz. He runs Westwind Communications, a PR and marketing firm in Plymouth, Michigan. Scott helps doctors and authors and lawyers, entrepreneurs to help them get all the publicity that they deserve and more.

Jess Todtfeld: Today we’re talking about the ‘and more” which is the 21st century media, meaning the old school ways are okay, but there’s so many more choices that PR professionals are not necessarily leveraging, in my opinion – which is why I invited Scott to be on here today. So Scott, welcome. Let’s jump right in. You are not only sending the old style press release out to radio and TV and print locations, you are doing more is that true?

Scott Lorenz: That’s correct. I honestly can’t remember the last time I mailed some press releases out, although we do that on occasion. When we ship a new book out, we’ll put press releases in with the book.

Jess Todtfeld: It’s funny that you say that – and I’m a former TV producer and boy, I would get stacks and stacks of mail. And I hate to say, because it’s very wasteful – most of it would get thrown out because it was confusing.

Scott Lorenz: Let’s talk about direct mail for a minute – you’ve got to be able to compel people receiving the mail to rip it open because there’s something fantastic inside. And you’ve got to convey that in the message on the outside of the envelope, for starters.

Jess Todtfeld: Right.

Scott Lorenz: The problem is that that old school is kinda going by the wayside. However, what is interesting, though, now I think, is because so many people use electronic media and they’ve gone away from faxes and direct mail, that you can actually get a little bit more attention with direct mail with the right piece because publicists are not using it as much anymore – funny as that sounds.

Jess Todtfeld: That’s interesting, and I know you said there’s a number of different directions. You don’t just see your firm as a PR firm but as a PR and marketing firm.

Scott Lorenz: Right.

Jess Todtfeld: You employ marketing methods?

Scott Lorenz: Yes. PR is really a sales job. You are actually selling something. We are selling a client to a member of the media, and we’re selling it on the phone, we’re selling it by e mail, whatever methodology we use, face to face, but it’s a sales job. So I come from that marketing and sales side of things, and that’s probably why I’m so effective in the PR field, because of that background. I’m not a journalist, okay, and often times I find that journalists who enter this field exit it quickly because of the fact they’re really not salespeople, they are journalists and they have a different skill set and mindset.

Jess Todtfeld: I’m glad to hear you say that, because as a media trainer when I work with clients I’ll always sit there and say, “What’s the reason why you’re doing these interviews and talking to the media?” They’ll usually say, “You know, to get my face out.” “Why?” “You know, so I should be out there.” “Why?” “You know, to build my brand.” “Why?” And I keep going until they realize, “Oh, yeah – sales; oh, yeah – because I want my business to do better.” It’s “Oh, yeah,” because they get lost along the way sometimes.

Scott Lorenz: Right, exactly. What’s really great is if somebody has a book that we’re promoting and besides the book they’re selling speaking engagements or they have a consulting business. Now, that book becomes a calling card and a platform. You’ve got to sell a lot of books to make a few thousand dollars. But you can make several thousand with just one speaking engagement or considerably more if your book lands you a $25,000 consulting gig. Any PR we obtain helps with the overall building of credibility for the author and their brand and ultimately leads to new business.

Jess Todtfeld: So a book has really got to be part of a bigger strategy, right?

Scott Lorenz: Right. I like very much to work with people who have those other ancillary services that they could sell besides just trying to make money from book sales, there’s more upside potential for the author.

Jess Todtfeld: Let’s talk about Facebook – everybody’s all excited about Facebook, and this I’m sure has got to be one of the 21st century new media places to be for any of your clients. Is it?

Scott Lorenz: Well, I think it certainly has potential and some people have done quite well with it promoting their brand and business. One of the things that I like about it right now is from an advertiser’s perspective. I can go in and select people who’ll see the ad by several variables. For example I can say I’d like an ad to be seen by females, between the age of 21-35 who work at IBM who like yoga and biking who live in New York.

This selection by demographics and interests electronically has not been available until now. So it’s pretty exciting. I’ll give you an example. I have an artist in California who paints on glass using a special Persian technique. She’s one of the only artists in the US who does this. Golnaz Shobeiri is her name. I created a Facebook ad with a picture of one of her art pieces with 160 characters of ad copy. It targeted people in the USA and in certain counties in the Middle East and further targeted Americans who have Middle East interests, Persian interests, Iraq/Iranian interest, art culture interest and so forth. This allowed me to zero right in on the most likely buyers of her art.

I have another project that I’m working on that I can’t disclose but it has to do with advertising to people that are in the auto industry, So I discovered that in a certain geographic area there are 1,700 in Michigan working at General Motors that are on Facebook, and about 1,500 Ford employees. Then there’s another 1,200 Chrysler employees and a few hundred more with Penske and other auto-related companies. I can target an ad that will only show up on their Facebook home page or their Facebook when they sign on. This is important because I am not wasting money trying to reach people who would not be interested in the product being advertised.

And I can further target it to people that are college-educated, not college-educated, whatever. This is pretty good targeting as marketing goes. As a marketing guy, I’m very impressed with this. I like that kind of targeting; it has potential for authors as well. You just have to think about who it is that’s going to read your book, who is your target market, and zero in on them directly.

Jess Todtfeld: Right. And so anybody listening right now who’s still fuzzy on Facebook, it’s a place where not just young people hang out. In some ways, some circles, they’re saying it’s replacing e-mail as the place to go to communicate with other people. And Scott, you’ve taken a step further because you’re talking about now instead of just becoming a friend of somebody – that’s kind of the way that Facebook works where you go on there, you have your own page, your own area, and you try to become friends with people that’s there. You’re skipping over some of that because you’re figuring out how to use the advertisings and to target certain groups and to show up right on their page.

Jess Todtfeld: And I think for anybody that says, “Wait a second – this is not PR. Now, I’m buying advertisements.” The more what I keep thinking is what’s the end goal? If somebody says, “Wait, Scott, I just want you to get me in the newspaper article or get me on CNN tomorrow.” But what’s the goal? The goal is to be on there so people will be interested in you and buy whatever it is that you have to sell, whether it’s a service or a book or whatever. But meanwhile if you pop up in a place where they hang out and they click and they go and they buy what it is that you have to sell, you achieve the same goal. Am I right?

Scott Lorenz: Yes. People always ask me what is the most important thing we can do? Then let’s just do that. I could tell you time and time again it all works in concert just like a three-legged stool. Which leg does all the work? Well, you take away one leg you’ll find out – they all work together. If we can digress a second, I have clients, a doctor who performs a certain procedure that – and that procedure was kind of controversial. I’ll just tell you so you can get an idea what it is; it’s vagina tightening, okay?

Jess Todtfeld: Okay.

Scott Lorenz: Anyway, the point was that we published articles online about this topic. Then we placed Google ads as well. Then members of the media contacted us after discovering the ad and then the article and the doctor’s web site. One reporter in particular was researching this topic for a story. What do most people and reporters do when they research a topic? Of course they go to Google or Yahoo or Bing and search. This reporter researched it and came across my ads and all my material out there that we were using to promote this doctor. And she ended up contacting me as a result – it was a major national publication and a very nice article resulted from that. I even had HBO call me on the same subject because they discovered our ad which led to the web site. So I know it works.

So the point is that you can get press by having the right things online, with articles, releases that are electronically published along with a paid Google ad or Yahoo ad campaign and Facebook, for that matter, so it all works together.

Jess Todtfeld: I like that – I want to take another jump to another area that I know that you’ve been working in. You don’t have to give away any trade secrets here, but you’re doing something with Internet articles. What is that exactly?

Scott Lorenz: Articles – let’s say when people want to research something, they used to pick up an encyclopedia or they used to go to the library. If people wanted a product or service they would pick up the Yellow Pages but not so much anymore.

Certain people, certain demographics mostly those over 60 years old will still use the Yellow Pages. But the advertising is very regional, very localized because they divide the area codes up into 20 different slices and markets. That’s a big deterrent to using the Yellow Pages as well. In order to be really successful in their market area you’d have a book that’s two feet thick.

That’s what’s good about the Internet, because you can go online, search for any product or service you want. You’re not limited to who’s in your back yard. The whole world is an open book for you, and as a result the internet and Google is where people go to find what it is that they’re looking for whether it’s a product or service or information about their special interest.

I use it to make sure we have material out there about our clients online that people can search for keywords and then get directed to those articles, and then those articles lead to a website, which leads to the client.

Jess Todtfeld: Right. I see. And you have your secret sauce, your special way of getting them out there so that Google and other big search engines find it. I know even being the former TV producer I used to go to Google and I would type in some keywords and see where it took me.

Scott Lorenz: Of course.

Jess Todtfeld: If I’d see any important names, and before that we used to use Lexus Nexus, a very expensive service that lawyers and big universities use and pay a lot of money so that you could search old articles to get names of experts. But you don’t really need it any more, or we would rarely use it after that because you go to Google, a bunch of things come up, and there you go, there’s some important names, so –

Scott Lorenz: It’s only going to get more important, because here’s what’s happening. Kids of all ages whether in grade school, high school or college are used to using all of this technology. It’s all second nature to them. I was contacted by a 25 year old member of the media who was a producer for a radio show. He wanted one of my clients for an interview. I always try to track the origin of their interest in my client and ask “how did you hear about Dr. So and So. ?” He said he went online and searched it. He went inside Wikipedia. That was his starting point. Not Google. Not Yahoo! He started with Wikipedia.

Jess Todtfeld: It’s the online encyclopedia that regular people contribute to and creating a knowledge base.

Scott Lorenz: Right. So he just typed in the search of the topic area, okay, that he was looking for combined with the word expert or consultant, whatever, and he ended up with my client. Because my client had a Wikipedia page he was there to be found. I thought that was pretty cool, and for that young producer this is what was normal for him. It’s only going to become more important that people have a presence in all of these online locations, whether it’s Wikipedia, Facebook, online article sites, and so forth.

Jess Todtfeld: That’s terrific. And then you brought up Facebook ads, you brought up Google. I have to ask you of course about Google ads. Do you use them? Have they helped you?

Scott Lorenz: Of course. Absolutely. I represent people who are experts in their field. One of the things that members of the media will do if they’re looking for an expert is to add the word expert or consultant to the end of it. Just type in “Book Marketing Expert” and you’ll find yours truly! You’ve got to be there with Google ads or with your online material ranked high enough so that people can find you. So that’s critical. So again, I used them in tandem when my clients can afford it. Not everybody can afford it, and some of these ads for some of my clients can run $3 to $20 and up per click. But for the vast majority of people the price range is $.50 to $3.00 per click.

If you’re trying to sell a book for $20, you sure as heck can’t be paying $12 a click. So you’ve got to be very judicious and clever in how you attract people to your ads. However, there are plenty of places you can advertise. Use Yahoo too – don’t forget Yahoo because Yahoo still gets 20% of the search engine traffic. Google gets 50-60-70 percent depending upon who you believe. Just don’t forget Yahoo! and Bing. I buy ads on those sites as well and they are usually less expensive.

Jess Todtfeld: It really depends on the type of business you have to determine what the right price to bid might be. If you’re talking about top legal experts I’m sure that’s expensive, but if it’s some of the key words included with the expertise of that doctor you mentioned, that would be much lower because it’s specialty area.

Scott Lorenz: That was very interesting, coming up with the search terms for that, and what actually produced the results versus, you know, what produced some other non-important result. But it’s a project. It’s a project and it takes somebody who can really think about it and you know go through all the possibilities and then work with the client and come up with the terms that make the most sense.

Jess Todtfeld: Right, right. Wow. Okay, that’s some good stuff.

Scott Lorenz: Now, let’s go back to that for a second because that’s an important element. Through Google ads you’ll see the search terms that drive traffic to your site and that actually produce business because you can track the conversions for people that search a term and then click on your ad then fill out a form on your web site. This is called “conversion” So you can actually see the words that are most important, but those words you need to integrate into your articles prominently and also work them into the headline for press releases etc.

That’s part of the research of the whole thing. So it’s great to have an integrated campaign like this for PR and the pay per-click and all this stuff is working together.

Jess Todtfeld: And somebody that doesn’t really know what they’re doing with these Google ads could –

Scott Lorenz: Easily get killed by paying too much, bidding on the wrong words and not thinking like a customer thinks.

Jess Todtfeld: They could lose their behind, so to speak.

Scott Lorenz: You could get a large charge on your Visa bill, unless of course you limit your daily budget and place other parameters on the account. If you don’t watch Facebook ads you can get killed too. Frankly you can get killed on all this stuff if you’re not careful, okay.

Jess Todtfeld: How do you protect yourself?

Scott Lorenz: You set limits on the daily spend. You set limits on the clicks, the total daily spend, your monthly budget, and so forth. But hey, Google is out there trying to make as much money as possible.

Jess Todtfeld: Exactly. They want to make lots of money.

Scott Lorenz: They keep coming up with new ways to maximize your spend with them.

Jess Todtfeld: I want to ask you also about a Google-owned company but another way that PR professionals who really know how to tap into the new media, the 21st century using YouTube.

Scott Lorenz: Right.

Jess Todtfeld: Have you used YouTube ever to promote and help clients?

Scott Lorenz: Yes. There’s actually we’ve used a couple different methods. One client was a – used an item called TeacherTube. It’s just for schoolteachers and students.

Jess Todtfeld: Awesome. The other video sites – meaning they’re not the only game in town.

Scott Lorenz: Right. We – promoted my clients video using press releases which talked about how teachers could use music to help kids learn math, science, history, and so forth. The video was all set to hip hop rap music. And the actual singer is a school teacher. We marketed we used press releases and our phone calls and pitching to the media, and got placements and drove traffic to that site. That particular video became the most-watched video ever on TeacherTube with over 1.5 million views.

Jess Todtfeld: Really!

Scott Lorenz: Yes, and so – but just putting it up there alone it would’ve taken a lot longer to get to that kind of prominence. We pushed it along with the media exposure, and once it – then that’s actually taken off virally, which means people send it on to their friends, their neighbors, their, you know, mother, brother, sister, their schoolteacher, their superintendent, and, you know, next thing you know 50 teachers are watching it and then 500 teachers are watching it. So you see what I’m saying? So that’s what PR helps start the whole viral campaign for that. Now, on another case for a client who is in the recruiting business, he created some terrific videos directly targeting Merrill Lynch brokers who were in the process of being absorbed by Bank of America.

And so he targeted this very creative, very, very creative video, set to music, but it was very poignant and it basically said to the Merrill Lynch brokers, “Hey, before you sign up for Bank of America here and be part of their, you know, machine, think about leaving, you know, leaving Merrill Lynch and going to another firm.” So we put that out and sent it to our contacts – you know, the financial media contacts and so forth – and pitched it and, you know, it was picked up by the Wall Street Journal, CNBC and it pretty much went all over the country. That video’s gotten some thousands and thousands of views. And then that also took off virally because when one Merrill Lynch broker sees it he’ll shoot if off to his buddy, because he’s at Merrill Lynch.

He’s deciding what he’s gonna do with his career, or she, and so that took off virally. But you gotta get the ball rolling, though, and PR is the way to do that, okay.

Jess Todtfeld: But it all sounds like you like set up a backdoor way into getting into the Wall Street Journal and CNBC. Instead of just knocking on their door and they say, “Yes,” you and the last 50,000 people that knocked on their door –

Scott Lorenz: They knock on the door with the same old dried up stupid poorly crafted press release, okay, and you know – this is creative stuff. Now, it’s my clients and I working together, okay? I didn’t create the video for the Mr. Duey or for the R.J. McKay. They created it, but then I leveraged it, okay, and that’s –

Jess Todtfeld: Right. That’s not bad! I just went to TeacherTube – Mr. Duey popped up as still one of the top videos on there.

Scott Lorenz: Another very successful application for YouTube videos is through video book trailers as part of a book marketing campaign. In an effort to obtain book publicity for my author clients we’ll create a book trailer about the book. A book trailer is like a movie trailer in that it allows someone to preview a book both visually and via audio. A video book trailer brings the book to life and gives the potential reader a sneak peak at the contents. We’ll then post that book trailer on YouTube and… here’s the best part… we add it to more than 41 additional video sites online for even greater exposure.

One of the big benefits of a book trailer is how it improves search engine ranking for an author’s main web site, providing you carefully select traffic driving key words and titles. Check out examples of book trailers we’ve created at Westwind Communications YouTube Channel at:

Jess Todtfeld: Are other PR people – not that I’m trying to knock any other people in your profession – but are they spinning their wheels in just the old ways of doing things and saying, “You know, I’m calling CNN every day. Don’t worry, I’m trying!” instead of trying some of these new methods? It’s almost like there’s other media out there that they’re just ignoring.

Scott Lorenz: That’s true. No question about it, no question about it. You’ve really got to keep on top of what’s going on, and technology is moving so rapidly that everything is changing. The methods that work today won’t work tomorrow. A technique mentioned in a book is 6-18 months old and may not work. You need to be on top of that dynamic and that’s what we attempt to do, and it’s a challenge. Google keeps changing how they rank their searches and you need to react accordingly. I’m a student of this stuff and it’s a project keeping up with it. Thankfully I’ve got some 20-year-old kids who are really sharp and who keep me on top of what’s happening.

Look how the Obama campaign utilized all these online methods to stay in touch with their constituency: Texting, YouTube, Twitter, Pay Pal and all these things that were not in the mix during the previous campaigns.

Texting – what politician’s ever used text on a national level – nobody. Obama was the first one to text. And imagine you’re sitting there in line or you’re at the grocery store and you get a text from Obama saying, “Hey,” you know, blah, blah, blah. How cool is that?

Jess Todtfeld: It’s very cool, and it was – they seemed to use every new type of media opportunity to reach out and get the voters.

Scott Lorenz: They did. It was terrific. That was their secret sauce and it’s also one of the reasons they connected with the younger voter. Older voters went to McCain, younger voters went to Obama because he talked to them, okay. Now, can somebody do that again next time around? You bet. Will the Republicans have their act together next time? I would think so, but I don’t know; at least electronically, they might.

Jess Todtfeld: I think they just realized it’s a whole other arm for their campaign, right?

Scott Lorenz: They got killed; they got killed. The Republicans got killed on the online stuff totally, and Obama’s people employed the new technology to near perfection. So I can’t wait for the book that describes the Obama campaign and what they did to come out, because I’m going to be the first guy to buy it. And in the meantime, there’ll be some magazine articles – I’ve already read a fair amount of stuff about it and I’ve seen them on CSPAN, some of their talking – guys that have been talking about what they’re doing. But they’re going divulge some secret sauce, and that’ll be great – I want to see that. And that’s what you gotta do. You gotta stay on top of what’s happening. They are the ones that executed on this beautifully. They put it together.

It was the best marketing campaign of any kind probably in U.S. history, not just politics – anything.

Jess Todtfeld: Right. And you’re trying to employ some of those methods? The book is being written as we speak and we’re gonna find out all the ins and outs. And before we go I want to ask you one last thing, which I think Obama was definitely using, was Twitter, and a lot of the folks who are listening right now keep hearing about Twitter. It’s confusing. Some people don’t know what it is. Should they even be a part of it? One, do you know what the heck it is, and have you, you know, been doing anything –

Scott Lorenz: We’ve used it. In short it’s a way to stay in touch with your constituency with short messages, 140 characters. It has a role, okay; where exactly it’s gonna be in the marketing side of things is still yet to be determined. I don’t wanna be twittered by like Coca Cola saying, “Hey, buy a Coke.” I don’t mind staying in touch with my friends but I don’t want hear about everything that they’re doing either, okay. So I’m looking for a happy medium in that department. Certain people I think it might be cool to get a Twitter from – you know, Obama, or from some of those folks like that, or maybe some, celebrities might be Twittering people and get some bang out of that.

Jess Todtfeld: Right.

Scott Lorenz: And certain family members – I’d certainly like to stay in touch with certain family members and what they’re doing and what have you.

Jess Todtfeld: But its on your radar, it’s developing. It’s a location that’s developing; it could turn into something, it could be part of another service. I think Facebook has a feature just like that, so who knows, Twitter might go away.

Scott Lorenz: It’ll be interesting to see what happens. It’s one of these things like, “Okay.” It’s like when cameras were put on phones. When it first came out we said “What were we going to do with that?” But now, it’s like, gee, my wife’s in a dress shop buying dresses for my daughter. She takes a picture of it, she sends it to her over the phone. My daughter says, “Oh, I love it!” or “Ay, keep shopping!” or whatever. So there’s ways that you can use these technologies that you hadn’t thought about. Go back to this – way back – the steam engine. When the first steam engine came out they said, “This’ll be a great thing to pump water out of mines with.” Then some genius said let’s put it on wheels and created the locomotive and that changed the world.

It wasn’t until they applied it in different ways that it really blossomed and that’s where we’re at with a lot of this technology. Where is it going to? Who knows?

Jess Todtfeld: Right. Wow, that’s pretty good. But it’s way on your radar. I know of on there but I don’t really spend a whole lot of time on there, but just so that as it really hits and becomes the next big place, and some people say it already is, at least I’m already there, and at least I already have an idea of how it works and how it functions.

Scott Lorenz: Right. And it’s important to do that because things develop and you see opportunities. For example, I’ll give you everybody has heard of TiVo, of course. Now, there’s the cable companies, ATT and everybody and their brother has DVRs so you can record any show and so forth. But when that first came out that was kind of astonishing, frankly, and it was pretty cool that you could record anything any time anywhere and forget about the VCR. But one of the neatest things, though, from a mining standpoint is now, you can order Domino’s Pizza on TiVo right from your screen.

Jess Todtfeld: Yeah?

Scott Lorenz: Yes. And now, and this came about because Dave Brandon, former CEO of Domino’s, said he wasn’t sure what the thing was all about because he’s noticed that people – he got less reaction from commercials because people were TiVoing past them, okay. And so he just dove into it and figured out, “Hey, this is a marketing opportunity.” Now, people can buy pizza online from – not online, but through their TiVo with Domino’s because he just stayed on it and tried to figure out how to make this thing work, he and his people, okay. And that’s how you gotta be with all this new technology – how can you use it for yourself?

Jess Todtfeld: I love that he said it’s a marketing opportunity, and I love that that’s been your approach with everything that you do where you say, “Boy, it’s not just PR, it’s a marketing opportunity, it’s an opportunity for sales.” That’s really what this is all about and you need to employ all the new methods to be able to really do the right job.

Scott Lorenz: Exactly.

Jess Todtfeld: So, Scott, great, great information, and I encourage people to find out about you. What’s your website, by the way?

Scott Lorenz: My website is

Jess Todtfeld: Very nice.

Scott Lorenz: And I’d love to talk to people about it some more. I mean I could talk about this stuff all day, but you’ve probably gotta wrap it up.

About Jess Todtfeld

President of Success In Media , is one of the leading speaking and media training authorities in the U.S. With more than 15 years of experience, Todtfeld helps CEOs, business executives, spokespeople, public relations representatives, experts, and authors to not just become better speakers, but become expert speakers. Todtfeld has trained clients from the United Nations, IBM, AIG Insurance, AARP, USA Today, The World Children’s Wellness Foundation, Land Rover, Edelman Public Relations, The American College of Emergency Room Physicians, The Fine Living Television Network, North Face apparel, and the ASPCA.

Todtfeld was a Television Producer on the National Level for networks including NBC, ABC, and FOX. During that time he booked and produced over 4,000 segments. 10 of those years were spent at Cable TV’s #1 news channel, FOX NEWS CHANNEL . Todtfeld spent 2 years with cable’s #1 prime time show, “The O’Reilly Factor”with Bill O’Reilly, and 7 years with cable’s #1 morning show “FOX & Friends.” For more information visit or call (800) 369-3421