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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Social Media and Your Brain

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It is no secret that we use Social Media a lot – and all this social media usage can be hard to curtail.  Resisting Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media sites is harder than other urges, such as smoking, drinking, spending money, sleeping and even sex.

Posting about yourself on Social Media sites rewards the brain the same way food and sex do.
Talking about ourselves became a tough habit to kick…  Read and see more on this info graphic,
created by OnlineCollegeCourses.com
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Your Brain on Social Media Infographic

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Million Dollar Question: How to Get Book Reviews?

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100dollarbills

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Not just a handful, but lots of reviews!

They are crucial, not only for Amazon’s algorithms, but also when selling through other online retailers, such as Kobo, Barnes&Noble or Waterstones.  Polls revealed that 70% of book buyers are paying attention to reviews before they make their purchase. They don’t read the reviews necessarily, but check the numbers of reviews a book has accrued.  Book reviewing, in the past a privilege of literary magazines, became mainstream, encouraged by the likes of Amazon and without any editorial controls. There is an ever-shrinking newspaper space for reviews, while the number of books published is increasing tremendously. However, book bloggers and book lovers all over the world become armchair critics at the click of a mouse.
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So, how can a writer find reviewers?

  • paying for reviews, Kirkus Reviews comes to mind, who charges several hundred dollars
  • asking followers and friends in their Social Media network
  • getting to know book bloggers and hobby reviewers

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The worst method is to write an email and send it out to dozens of reviewers, without a salutation and without checking their websites/blogs carefully or reading their submission guidelines. If you would be a reviewer, would you answer a mass mail?
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Always remember that book reviewers don’t do it for a living.
They often have busy lives, full-time jobs, partners, children, ailing parents and other obligations. They barely can keep up with the growing demand for reviews.  Imagine if you would get an email from a total stranger, asking you to do several hours of work for free. Would you be excited?
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Get to know book reviewers and bloggers.
Careers everywhere depend on networking, same with a writing career.  Start making “friends” with reviewers, long before your book is finished: Search on your social media sites for reviewers, reviews, book bloggers, etc. when using the search function on top of Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and Google+ pages. At Goodreads, reviewers are listed, so you can conveniently choose them as friends and follow them for a while, see which book genres they  prefer,  before you approach them.
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Check out the bestsellers in your genre (in bookstores or online) and find names of reviewers. If these reviewers have a blog (and most do), comment on their articles.  Offer them well-written guest blogs, geared to their topics and readership.
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These are invaluable and important contacts, as those readers do not only review books, but post their reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and the like.  On top of that, they often write a blog post about the books they read, which stays there for years to come. They are actually promoting those book reviews to readers and indirectly even to industry decision makers: librarians, booksellers, agents, publishers – like a publicist does it (for money). If compensated it would mean at least a couple of hundred dollars worth, what they provide you for free!
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Again: It takes often months until getting a review, start early with your search.
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If you write non-fiction, it’s a bit more difficult, as most book reviewers prefer fiction books.  Look for magazines that write about the same or similar topics and find out if they review books. You could also offer an article and in your intro at the end of the article, you could offer readers a copy in exchange for a review of your book. For sample, if you write about aviation safety, you search for aviation magazines, but also for history magazines, travel magazines, even more local publications where a certain incident happened in the past. Or if you write about nutrition, check out all magazines of health food stores, women’s magazines, medical magazines etc. to find out if they write reviews.

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Paid book reviewers
are not hard to find, just type into Google: Book Review Submission Guidelines and you will find lots of them. The most famous:
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/
http://www.bookrooster.com/
https://www.forewordreviews.com/

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Free book reviews
The best source are friends and followers on social media site, starting with Goodreads. Offer a print version of your book as a giveaway (you can do this several times a year). In average, half of the recipients write a book review.
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But again: just don’t email them out of the blue, friend them on social media, read their blogs and get to know them, before you make an approach for a review. If they state in their submission guidelines, they will only read print books, don’t tell them to “just print out my pdf or word file”.  If you have e-books only, get a couple of digital prints (bound) from a copy shop or use one of these espresso book machines, mostly located in big cities, but available online, just add the postage for delivery.

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For US writers: The Midwest Book Review (free!) has contracted with Cengage Learning to provide them with electronic copies of book reviews. Cengage Learning then makes their reviews available to library systems nationwide. Read our former blog post, “How to Find Reviewers for Your Book” where lots of reviewers are listed.
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If you are looking for reviews to use in your books blurb (print or e-book) send out galleys, which can be produced by espresso book machines as well, at least 3 – 4 months before your book’s launch, especially for print books, to be sure to receive it in time.

http://www.rtbookreviews.com/magazine/editorial-submissions (4 months before launch!)
http://bookpage.com/content/submission-guidelines (at least 3 months before launch!)

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Another question is the quality of book reviews, not only on the internet… I think about an extremely unfair review, a good friend of mine has received from a “Librarian” at Goodreads! She wrote about a book that has amassed more than 90 percent 5-star reviews. The “reviewer wrote: “I tried to like the book, really. But I just can’t.” That’s it, this was the whole review! No description what the book is about, no mentioning of the writing style (excellent!), not about the plot, the characters, nothing. And gave it a 1-star. So much for the quality of reviews…  Check out the reviews for world bestsellers and you will find some of them with more than 150 of these 1-star reviews!
And then there are those people who are downloading tons of free books on Amazon – without even checking the content, just because they can get something for free – they are also infamous for writing scalding and unprofessional book reviews. What about the writers’ competition, who could theoretically write an unfair review?  In all these cases, just keep your cool, and work even harder to get more reviews to “bury” those unfair ones.

Take reviews always with a grain of salt. Sure, reviews, and lots of them, are important for writers. But keep in mind, they are always subjective!  And don’t forget to thank a reviewer for their work, no matter if 3 or 3 stars. They will be more inclined to do another review for you when your next book is finished.

Kate McMillian compiled a great number of articles about book reviews, check them out.

BTW: How many books did YOU review recently???

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 700 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, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

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http://bit.ly/VmtVAS      111Publishing @ Google+

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

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Posted by on February 27, 2013 in Book Reviews, Social Networks

 

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How to Sell 8 Million Books – by Jonathan Gunson

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Wikipedia Creative Commons

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Jonathan Gunson has written (again) a great blog post:  “How to Sell 8 Million Books” – in several decades I must add.

The author he is talking about, is best known through his novel Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury’s success didn’t happen immediately.  While he eventually sold more than eight million copies of his novels and short stories, Bradbury actually struggled for years to support his family before making any meaningful progress.

Before he died in 2012, Ray Bradbury recorded the secret of his breakthrough, the moment he stumbled upon the elusive force he needed to power his writing.

See:  http://youtu.be/YlYAhSffEDM  Ray Bradbury on Writing Persistently and read Jonathan Gunson’s blog:  How To Replicate Ray Bradbury’s Success

It’s about building a writing career, one book at a time, not like some people want to tell you, to become a millionaire with your debut novel. It’s about a marathon and not a sprint.

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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Writing

 

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2 Basic Rules To Follow for Your Books Success

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… on Social Media
Are you promoting your book like crazy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook … but nothing seems to happen, no book sales? Are you competing with other writers in “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book… Are you choosing to follow other writers, hoping they will buy your book?

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1. Choose your following very carefully: You want to interact mainly with READERS, NOT writers. The question is: How to find readers?

All Social Media sites have a search function on top of the page. Type in: book bloggers, read, reading, book lovers, book club, love reading, book worm, love to read, mystery book reader, science fiction reader, YA readers, YA book blogger, readers, word nerd, non-fiction book blogger, reading books, reviewing book… and even librarian. Click on “people” or scroll down a lot, as the first names that appear are often publishers and other commercial accounts.

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Another method is to type in the name of a very successful book in your genre and find readers there, talking about this book. Follow those readers that you feel belong to your book genre, based on what they say in their tweets. Re-tweet their posts, engage in meaningful conversation, be funny or refer to blog posts you wrote, but don’t mention your book. They will find out about it soon enough.

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2. Understand the meaning of Social Media – being SOCIAL and STOP talking constantly about your book!
I noticed one writer on Twitter who writes 100% only and only about his book. He seems to use automatic tweets, as he never, ever engaged in any conversation with others. Kind of autistic .. For sure, I was not the only one who un-followed him. Write about interesting things that are happening, give valuable advice or engage in a humerus way with your readers. No one goes on Twitter, FB, Google+ or Pinterest to read constantly about your book. That’s not entertaining or interesting. Many writers don’t buy books from other writers, they want to sell their own. If ALL writers are doing on Twitter, Google+ or FB is self-promoting they are not only NOT attracting readers, but turning them away.

Yes, famous writers may attract attention for what they have to say – not normally related to their books – but rather to their writer’s life or ideas – and they are often interesting or funny. It’s called social networks not selling pages…
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Authors should rather focus their promotional efforts on trying to get people to talk about their books (review them, read and recommend them, give them awards, take them to their book groups, write articles or blog posts about them) instead of trying to get people to buy them. A much better place to do this is on reader forums, such as Goodreads, Shelfari, Bibliophil, Biblio Connection, BookTalk and the like.

So, following these two basic rules: Finding the right followers “readers” and be “social” on Social Media is key to successful promoting your books.

To get more book marketing help, see what we can do for you in individual sessions.

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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  http://about.me/ebookPR

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Interview with Author Michael Watson TREASURE OF THE ANASAZI

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xTreasureAnasazi

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Hello Mike, thanks for being with us today and telling readers more about your Jack Trader series and yourself as a writer. Let’s start, as I have lots of questions for you today:

How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?
Treasure hunters threaten the discovery of the single remaining Anasazi village deep in the Mesa Verde area of SW Colorado. Jack Trader, the main character, and Ranger Samantha Baker must stop the men even when their own lives are threatened. The Anasazi, the coyote people, have the capability to transform if they are forced to protect themselves.
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What inspired you to start writing?
Research about Noah’s Ark led to the writing of my debut novel, “The Nestorian Alliance.
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How did you get the idea for the novel?
This second novel, “Treasure of the Anasazi“, is a continuation of the Jack Trader series. My research of the Mesa Verde / Durango area gave the inspiration to write this book.
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Are your characters based on real people?
Not specifically, but I’m sure my personal experiences find their way into the characters.
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Treasure of the Anasazi by Michael Watson in a YouTube Book Trailer:
http://youtu.be/UCQp1_NF9yU

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Who is your favorite character and why?
Jack Trader is the leading character and my favorite. He always strives to do the right thing and will take personal risk to protect those around him. He is not perfect. He still struggles with his relationship with Samantha.
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Give us an excerpted quote from your favorite review of this book:
“Darn awesome. I felt like I didn’t want to put it down.”
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Michael Watson

Michael Watson

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If Oprah invited you onto her show to talk about your book, what would the theme of the show be? Adventure in our National Parks.
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How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?
It’s not based on any one person’s real-life event(s), but does try to reflect real situations, dialogue and real character actions.
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What would/could a reader or reviewer say about this book that shows they “get” you as an author?
He writes realistic interactions and natural flowing dialogue.
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Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
The writing process cannot be rushed.
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Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf,
what’s your favorite part of the process?
One of my favorite parts of the process is the research.
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What’s your least favorite?
My least favorite is the revising and re-reading over and over and over. Oh yeah. Marketing is a real pain too. It takes away from writing.
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What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I enjoyed the last scene when (spoiler alert) Jack and Sam may finally come back together.
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If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book? Nothing. There were changes after my editor and beta-readers went through it though, and I’m glad they did.
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What genre have you not yet written but really want to try?
I’ve never written a western, but I am now in the process of writing one based on research I stumbled upon at the historical museum at Durango, CO while researching this book.
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If your book would be made into a movie, who should play the main character?
Hugh Jackman
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How did you get published? Please share your own personal journey.
After receiving a huge pile of rejections from every agent and publisher I queried by snail mail or email, and failed pitches at numerous writer’s conferences, I took the leap to self-publish. The experience through CreateSpace has been very positive. The downside is the amount of time necessary to market.
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What general advice do you have for other writers?
Write what you are interested in. Don’t follow trends. Establish good writing habits.
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xNestorianAllianceMikeWatson
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What do you find is the best part of being an author?
Being able to research and write about what interests me. The schedule to write is my own, however, the more structured, the better.
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What is one thing that you have done that brought you more readers?
Hired a great designer (Laura Wright LaRoche) for the book cover. First impression is extremely important, even though we are told not to judge a book by its cover.
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What else your readers would be surprised to know about you?
I didn’t start writing seriously until I was 50 years of age.
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Where can people learn more about your writing?
My blog on http://www.adventurewithmike.com/mikes-books-etc.html
Thanks so much Mike, for answering so many questions I had. And to all your readers: Have fun and enjoy Mike’s great book series!
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Get Grants for Literary Events

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Is your writing group or author organization member of Poets & Writers, or sponsoring workshops or readings? And will this take place in either one of these areas:

  • California
  • Chicago

    Chicago

    New York State

  • Washington D.C.
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • New Orleans
  • Seattle
  • Tucson


You may apply for grants to be used for writers’ fees payments at Poets & Writers.

Applications must be submitted at least eight weeks before the proposed event.

To support as many literary events as possible, Poets & Writers generally grants 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 their 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.
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Grants for readings or spoken word performances range from $50 to $350. Grants for workshops range from $100 to $200 per session. Organizations should match payments to writers if possible.
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Grant checks are payable to the writer and sent to the sponsor, which is responsible for delivering them to the author. We do not fund administrative costs, publicity, transportation, or other expenses related to producing events.
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Eligible Organizations include colleges, cultural centers, museums, libraries, hospitals, small presses, community centers, senior centers, places of worship, bookstores, cafés, galleries, and theaters.
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Nonprofit status is not required. If your organization has not previously received support from the R/W program, include a brief letter that describes your organization, the program for which you’re seeking funding, and publicity plans for the event. Please enclose publicity samples from past events.
Prefered organizations are those that:

  • serve a culturally diverse audience
  • feature culturally diverse writers
  • feature writers who have not previously presented at that venue
  • present programs in rural or other underserved areas
  • have not previously received P&W support
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Events must be open to the public, with the exception of events taking place in institutions. All requests are considered on an event-by-event basis. Applications from organizations only. However, writers are encouraged to initiate events and let organizations know they can apply on their behalf.
More info & guidelines can be found here: http://www.pw.org/sites/all/themes/pw/national_rw_app.pdf

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 700 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, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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

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Comparison of Online Book Retailers

Robert Niles has written an article: Which online retailers do the best job of helping sell your eBooks? 

Jane Friedman gives advice: 10 Questions to Ask Before Committing to Any E-Publishing Service

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Cassandra Giovanni wrote a great blog post, in detail, about the pro’s and con’s of several online retailers and her experience about uploading her books, categories, interface, sales reports etc. Recommend this blog for every writer / author publisher!  Thanks Cassandra!

You’ve published your novel! Congrats! You have it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, now what’s next? Both of these retailers are great and will give you a generous reach to all over the world, but they don’t get everyone or to every device. After a few months of selling on both, but mostly Amazon, I saw an advertisement on Goodreads for Google Play. Now, if you have been following my blog for sometime you probably already know how amazingly arduous getting on Google Play was. I was astounded that such a large company would be so poorly set up to accept novels from publishers and authors. The whole system is archaic. Where it took me all of five minutes to get on Amazon and B&N it took me nearly TWO months to get on Google Play and countless emails. There was a bit of embarrassment involved in that one…

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Posted by on February 21, 2013 in e-publishing, Marketing

 

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