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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Need Book Reviews?!

Guest Blog by Author Theresa Braun

So, your book is posted on Amazon, but your page is a ghost town when it comes to reviews. How do you get people to read and review?

Derek Haines wrote an eye opening blog post called “How to Get Amazon Book Reviews.” He spells out many stark realities—like waiting for paying readers to post reviews can literally take years.

Good things come to those who wait, but most of us want to get results a bit quicker. I mean, if it’s taken us a year or more to write the book in the first place, we want the word to get out there yesterday.

And, if you are like me, you want to get on with writing your next book instead of spending hours and days on end soliciting reviews.
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Haines suggests that relying on friends or family members to write reviews is a great place to start. If you think that is “cheating,” Haines says that it isn’t much different than a publishing company paying employees to review it. Obviously that employee will put a positive spin on the book, since the publishing company wants to sell
it. The same thing your friends and family will want for you. If you can, get people you know to read and review. I know this might seem obvious, but I suggest not having them advertise that they are friends or relatives in their review.

You don’t want it to scream, “I’m reviewing this because I know the author.” I hope you have more luck with this than I’ve had. Not one of my friends or family members has reviewed my book yet. And, it’s not because they haven’t read the book. They just haven’t gotten around to it. That’s okay. They have lives and I’m grateful they at least took the time to read it. It just might not work for you either.

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What about hooking up with other authors and trading reviews?
This can be beneficial to both parties. There are places to post such as www.worldliterarycafe.com, which has a page where you can seek reviews and put up a link to your book. I got one excellent response from an author who was willing to trade—and we legitimately enjoyed each other’s book. You can also ask some of the other authors on Twitter if they are open to trading reviews. The worst thing that could happen is that they say no. I think you have to sometimes be open to doing a trade, but this can be a problem if you work full-time like I do and don’t necessarily have the time to read and review other books.
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There are some pitfalls with exchanging reviews.
A writer friend of mine calls them “incestuous” reviews. He’s actually refused to review my book based on how strongly he feels about review trading. One of the biggest problems with trading reviews is that the other person may not be expecting a “real” review, but a flat out five star rating. And this person is reading your book! You don’t want them to give you two stars just out of spite. You can’t take down reviews from Amazon, so you are stuck with it posted on your book page.
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Blogs as other avenues for reviews?
Haines says he finds book bloggers useful, but “a bit hit and miss and often too genre specific.” Most bloggers are willing to not only post a review of your book on their blog, but also will post it on Amazon and Goodreads. You really need to look at their sites and where they will post. Some will even do author interviews which can be tweeted or linked to your own blog or website.
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Paying for reviews is another option.
They can range from $5 to $100, depending on what comes with the review. Joey Pinkney will read and review and make a trailer for you, for example. The World Literary Café discourages paying for reviews and I suppose there are pros and cons. The pro is that you get a review done and the con is that some readers might find out you paid for the review. Is this really worse than relying on friends and family to review? That’s up you to decide.
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Read Part 2 in tomorrows blog… and get lots of useful links for reviewers.

Guest Blogger Theresa Braun always been intrigued by authors and writing, which led her to an almost obsessive study of literature. Spontaneous poems, story ideas, and observational rants were always scrawled in her notebooks.  She started a few novels; but it wasn’t until her Greek wedding that her passion and focus
produced her first finished novel, Groom and Doom: A Greek Love Story, based on a true story and self-published on Amazon in 2012.  Now she’s squirreling time away to pen her second novel set in Renaissance England, the first in a series. Twitter:  @tbraun_author 

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Posted by on August 31, 2012 in Book Reviews, Self-Publishing

 

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MEAN: A Psychological Thriller

MEAN by Renata F. Carcelos

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Cassandra Connelly looks like a normal twenty-four-year-old girl. She seems sweet and shy. She works hard in two jobs and still finds time to do volunteer work. Nonetheless, there’s something wrong within her. She has a lot of anger boiling inside, and a very problematic past, making her a dark, twisted woman. She hides her true self from the world, but there’s someone Cassandra hates so much, she has been thinking of doing something unspeakable: killing this person.

To her, killing this person is absolutely necessary, for he or she should not be alive. However, since she is still not sure about doing it or not, she seeks help.  She goes to a psychiatrist in order to make a decision: should she continue hiding her meanness and being a normal girl, or should she let the meanness win and kill this person she believes deserves to die?

In this contemporary fiction novella, we will find out how badly child abuse and a dysfunctional family can transform a life for worse, much worse. Mean is a novelette (longer than a short-story but shorter than a novella). ADVICE: CONTAINS VIOLENT SCENES AND HARSH LANGUAGE

Available at Goodreads, Kobo, Amazon…

From a book review:  “MEAN by Renata F. Barcelos is captivating from the very first sentence. It starts off with the reader being let into the chilling mind of Cassandra Connelly, hinting at the deep but downright scary thoughts to come. The unique style of writing makes this thriller even more exciting, as Cassandra could well be talking to the reader themselves. We soon find out that the whole story is her side of the conversation with her therapist and…”
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Renata F. Barcelos lives in Brazil with her beautiful and creative daughter and teaches English and Spanish as Second Languages. She loves dark, twisted and flawed characters and stories. She watches way too much TV and reads perhaps too many (almost exclusively) mystery novels, convincing herself it’s all work—research for her own stories. She writes for as long as she can remember, and her other stories are waiting impatiently to be published. Her next book is coming soon: a coming-of-age mystery novel called “My Sore Hush-a-bye”.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 520 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

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And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful.
Thanks, Doris

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Women On The Rise: The World’s Top-Earning Authors

Jeff Bercovici from Forbes  wrote recently: Watch your back, James Patterson. Sleep with one eye open, Stephen King.
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Watch out for women such as Janet Evanovich, who is the recipient of the Crime Writers Association’s John Creasy Memorial, Last Laugh, and Silver Dagger awards, as well as the Left Coast Crime’s Lefty award, and is the two-time recipient of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s Dilys award.

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Men still top the list of the world’s highest-earning authors, but this year it’s the women on the list who’ve been making the boldest moves, led by a trio of genre phenoms: Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games) , E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey) and J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter).


Read the whole story: Women On The Rise Among The World’s Top-Earning Authors

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 520 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful.
Thanks, Doris

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Will Your Book Stand Out Against Millions of Others?

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Next year an estimated ten to fifteen million books will be published. How will you make your book standing out among them? Plus, authors are more and more under pressure from their publishers to promote their own books. 

The good news: Help is on the way – and it doesn’t even cost you anything, other than your time. Nowadays authors have more opportunities to promote their book’s sales than ever before. Social media and the Internet allow authors to communicate directly with their audience.

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5 Tips for non-fiction authors to sell more books:
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Start planning publicity for your book nine months in advance
Just like preparing for a child, the birth of a book needs preparation time. Some authors tend not to think about marketing their book until it’s on Amazon already or in store shelves, which is way too late. Speak about your book, build awareness and excitement; start blogging about it or mention it in your newsletters.

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Smart writers are sharing sample content months in advance, collecting testimonials and getting blurbs from other writers and authorities in your field. Don’t assume any publisher will come up with a great marketing strategy. If you are not self-publishing your book, approach your publisher’s marketing team with lots of your own marketing ideas. Think and plan what you can bring to your publishers’ table.

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Never tell someone what your book is about
Rather tell your potential readers what’s in it for them and how it will help them to resolve problems and also overcome obstacles. Non-fiction book authors often get caught up in their idea, but customers only care about the results the book will produce for them. When talking about your book, tell them what is in it for them, share some tid bits from the book and explain: “if you are interested in the rest of this and in other stories, just read my new book.”

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Create a book trailer
Any smartphone these days has a built-in high definition video camera, so you don’t have to hire a professional company. You can bring in extra lights, put your smartphone on a tripod, and you can have a video running on YouTube, TubeMogul and other video sharing sites the same day. Create a powerful marketing tool on a budget with a good quality book trailer, and it can go viral really fast. Engage viewers by explaining the reason why the book is an important help for them, explain why they should trust your expertise and which results your book can create for your readers. Video content in web pages or in emails increases click-through rates by NINETY-SIX (96) percent! Find links to tutorials and listings of video sharing sites.

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Don’t over-estimate social media
Finally, resist the urge to go crazy with social media. Though it provides a good opportunity to reach readers, balance social media with public speaking e.g. at writers conferences, publishing lots of articles or being quoted in the media, or sending out regular newsletters. Sure, to get 5,000 followers or 25,000 email addresses, social media is invaluable. However, when you’re searching for a core group of committed partners for your book launch, a co-author for your next project, or in-depth feedback on your manuscript, your online followers are not your only best bet. Even “shy” or “introverted” authors are often naturals at networking, when placed in the right environment, such as writers conferences.

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Leverage the power of free
Giving resources away allows skeptical readers to get enough content to talk about your book – and to make it easy for them to share content with their friends. Sample chapters, quizzes, special reports, and how-to articles are all good giveaway possibilities. If you haven’t yet landed on the radar of most people, you need an entirely different strategy. If this is your first work, give away as many books as you can. Ask your publisher for a lower price on promotional copies and get your words out there.

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As an author of hopefully soon, several books, you are a brand. Start thinking and acting like one, and create a serious marketing strategy.

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $159 for three months! Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit
http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/  to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 960 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
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Ever Applied for a Writers Grant? Try These:

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Dreaming of writing full time, but just don’t have the money to make the writer’s life a reality? Grants for aspiring writers might offer the aid to supplement your income until you will get established. Many organizations offer grants for writers to help them to complete their projects or help even during emergencies. 
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Stephen King’s “The Haven Foundation”
He writes: “I was struck by a careless driver and nearly killed while taking my daily walk. It was ten months before I was able to work productively again. My friend Frank Muller, suffered terrible head injuries as a result of a motorcycle accident. My response to this has been the creation of The Haven Foundation.”
Applications and all supporting documentation for the current round of grants must be received no later than November 23rd, 2012. All applications received after that date will be held for the next round of grants.
http://www.thehavenfdn.org/

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California Writers Award
The California Writers Exchange contest introduces emerging writers from California to the New York literary community and provides them a network for professional advancement. Every third year, writers in California are invited to submit manuscripts. Judges review the entries and select a winning poet and fiction writer. Winners are flown to New York City for an all-expenses-paid, weeklong trip to meet with literary agents, editors, publishers, and writers, and to give a public reading. Includes $500 stipend.
Deadline August 31, 2012
http://www.pw.org/about-us/california_writers_exchange_award

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Louisiana Cultural Grants
The Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation Economic Opportunity Fund (EOF) is designed to increase the entrepreneurial capacity and economic health of cultural economy producers. These funds are targeted to unique opportunities to earn income that are not a part of the applicant’s regular work or programming. Louisiana’s cultural economy is defined as the people, enterprises, and communities that transform cultural skills, knowledge, and ideas into economically productive goods, services, and places. It includes: visual arts and crafts, performing arts, film, digital media, music, culinary arts, design, traditional culture bearers, entertainment, LITERARY ARTS and humanities, architecture and historic preservation.
Deadline August 31, 2012
http://culturaleconomy.org/

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Sustainable Arts Grant
Our program focuses on awards to individual artists and writers with families. Specifically, the applicant must have at least one child under the age of 18. We welcome applicants from anywhere, but will give some preference to residents of the San Francisco Bay area. Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award: $6,000. There will be multiple winners for each award. Additionally, we will be awarding a number of smaller $1,000 Promise Awards to those applicants whose work may not qualify for the main awards, but nonetheless demonstrates both skill and potential. The foundation offers awards in two major categories: visual arts and writing. We encourage writers working in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry to apply.
Deadline September 1, 2012
http://www.sustainableartsfoundation.org/apply

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Helen McCloy MWA Scholarship
The Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for Mystery Writing seeks to nurture talent in mystery writing—in fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, and screenwriting. The scholarship ($500) shall be used to offset tuition and fees for writing workshops, writing seminars, or university/college-level writing programs taking place in the U.S. in summer, fall or winter of 2013 or early spring 2014. Applicants must select a specific writing class/workshop/seminar to which scholarship funds would be applied.
Deadline: February 28, 2013
http://www.mysterywriters.org/?q=AwardsPrograms-McCloy

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Funding for workshops by Poets & Writers
To support as many literary events as possible, we generally grant no more than $1,500 to organizations in New York State and California, and $500 to organizations in Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, New Orleans, Seattle, Tucson, and Washington, D.C., during the course of our fiscal year (July 1 to June 30). Decisions on maximum grant amounts are based on the availability of funds and are made at the discretion of Poets & Writers. Grants for readings or spoken word performances range from $50 to $350. Grants for workshops range from $100 to $200 per session. We encourage organizations to match our payments to writers, but this requirement may be waived if there are extenuating circumstances.
http://www.pw.org/content/funding_readingsworkshops

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newARTS Wiscounsin
newARTS can act as a fiscal receiver for Brown County-based arts initiatives. Most independent artists and small or new arts organizations lack the important 501(c)(3) tax status that makes public grants and private donations legal and desirable. newARTS welcomes applications from either short-term but impactful projects as well as new initiatives seeking their own non-profit status, as a way to support the creation of new projects, until there are financial and structural plans in place for the initiatives to sustain their own non-profit status.
http://www.newartscouncil.org/FiscalReceivership.html

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National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowships
Through Literature Fellowships to published creative writers and translators of exceptional talent in the areas of prose and poetry, the Arts Endowment advances its goal of encouraging and supporting artistic creativity and preserving our diverse cultural heritage. Creative Writing Fellowships enable recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement. Grants are for $25,000. Deadline in March.The next awards will be for fiction or creative nonfiction. Translation Projects enable recipients to translate work from other languages into English. Grants are for $12,500 or $25,000, depending upon the artistic excellence and merit of the project. Deadline is January 2013.
http://arts.endow.gov/grants/apply/Lit.html

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The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation
The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation awards yearly grants to playwrights who submit full-length plays, screenplays, musicals or operas. All works submitted must present the gay and lesbian lifestyle in a positive manner and be based on, or inspired by, a historic person, culture, event, or work of art. Writing contests close on November 30th of each year. Grants are $1,000 and are not limited to a single winner. The Foundation also offers grants (usually of $1,000) to production companies to offset expenses in producing gay-positive theatrical works based on history. Submission deadline is November 30, 2012.
http://aabbfoundation.org/

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Library of Virginia
The Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry, founded in 2005, is given each year to a poet with strong connections to the Commonwealth of Virginia. The $10,000 annual prize recognizes significant recent contributions to the art of poetry and is awarded on the basis of a range of achievements in the field of poetry. Also awarded at the Celebration are the Annual People’s Choice Awards for the best works of fiction and nonfiction by a Virginia author and the Whitney and Scott Cardozo Award for Children’s Literature. Voting for this year’s People’s Choice Awards has closed. Finalists for the 2012 Library of Virginia Literary Awards have been announced. The winner in each category will be announced at the Awards Celebration on October 20, 2012. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2013 awards.
http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/litawards/nominate.asp

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 520 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful.
Thanks, Doris
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The Rewarding Challenge of Freelance Writing

I want to tell you about how I found an intellectually stimulating challenge in freelance writing.

Not too long ago I was working as a copywriter for an advertising firm. I had studied journalism and advertising in college, and I was one of the lucky few among my graduating class that found a job almost immediately after finishing school. After the endless all-nighters, study sessions, and project deadlines that typified my college experience, I was glad to be part of the “normal” workforce. A desk job seemed like just the right fit for me.

Unfortunately I discovered very quickly that the advertising world wasn’t something that brought me any happiness personally or professionally. Worse yet, I found myself at the mercy of superiors who had me working hours even worse than those I worked in college although my official hours were 8-5. The work was neither rewarding nor inspiring, and most of the people in my office seemed jaded on a daily basis.

After over a year at the advertising firm, I decided to quit my job and start a new career as a self-employed freelance writer.

I won’t lie to you reader: those first few months out on my own were very tough. I assumed that I’d hit the ground running with my modest connections in the writing industry and my formidable copywriting skills. But it turns out that freelancing is a much more feasible career option in theory than it is in practice. I had to work hard just to get free gigs, writing assignments that I needed if just to add more content to my still small writing portfolio. Luckily I had amassed a small amount of savings just in case, so my finances were not as tight as they could have been. But those first few months of freelancing were among the most humbling and instructive periods of my life.

When I did finally start to make money from freelancing, the feeling was like none other. I was struggling to land decent writing gigs one day, and then the next I was juggling multiple clients at a time, writing copy at all hours of the night and trying to keep track of the numerous projects going on. My hard work and persistence was starting to pay off—quite literally.

Of course, in order to make ends meet I had to veer slightly from my initial plans as a freelancer. I couldn’t only sustain myself by writing copy—I also wrote as a guest blogger for a number of sights (as I am now!) to get my name out there. I also wrote on behalf of clients who wanted stronger content on their websites, regardless of the industry that they worked in. In other words, I had to diversify my approach to freelancing. I had to adapt with the market needs if I wanted to survive.

The point of my little anecdote here is to encourage you to set out to achieve your own writing ambitions, no matter how outlandish they may seem. Perhaps you want to write the next great American novel, or maybe you just want to work for yourself as a freelancer like me. Whatever the case may be, I wholeheartedly encourage you to follow your dreams and make them happen, even if it’s a scary option to consider. If I made it, you certainly can too.

This guest post is brought to you by Mariana Ashley, a prolific blogger who provides web content to a number of blogs and websites. She’s most interested in providing guidance to prospective college students who wish to attend online colleges in Montana. When she’s not writing or researching online education trends, she enjoys riding her horse, George, and spending quality time with her four nieces. Mariana welcomes your questions and comments at mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

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111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer

e-book 111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer

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Video content in web pages or in emails increases click-through rates by NINETY-SIX (96) percent!  

You might have seen many movie trailers, but did you know that book trailers have the same success rate and that they have the potential to go viral?  Book trailers are one of the best ways to introduce your book to millions of readers worldwide. It will help you to find your audience online.

Learn how to plan, download free software, create and most important market your video from this brand new e-book:  111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer
available at Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, Amazon.it

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008Y15YYO

Book trailers are quickly gaining popularity among publishers and successful authors to help promote books and encourage people to read them.  Similar to a movie trailer, some of them can even have live actors playing parts of the book to catch readers’ interest.

The content can range from quasi power-point-presentation to an animation movie. Trailers with humour or special offers have many more views, same with short one to two-minute videos.  Some are still pictures set to music to tell the mood of the books.  And there are some with the author reading a passage from the book.

Viewers / readers care what experience your book will deliver. Don’t make the mistake to show the whole time the back cover blurb instead of expressing the emotional experience your book conveys.  The viewer should feel the emotions the will feel when they read your book. The more emotional their experience, the higher the likelihood of buying your book. Don’t miss to show also some snippets of reviews.

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Book promotion via trailer:

You have written a superb book that has the potential for a bestseller?  The possibility that internet users click on a short video or slide show is much, much higher than they will read a text description. They will also more likely send a link of your book trailer to their friends or to a social media site – more likely than to copy / paste and send out a text description of your book. An earlier survey found that video content in web pages or emails increased click-through rates by ninety-six (96) percent!

Video engages your audience more than text because it includes sights and sound.  Thanks to the upload-site TubeMogul.com and popular video sharing sites, such as YouTube.com and iTunes, Google Video and Yahoo, which have millions of views per day, publishers and writers can post their trailers for the whole world to see. The key is to create a video that people want to pass on to their friends and connections.

This “how-to” guide book gives you all the information and hands-on tips to produce your own book trailer – or the background knowledge to talk to a video producer and to choose images, text and music for your video.

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 520 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it.
There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful.
Thanks, Doris

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