Thursday, December 18, 2008

Good Sources of Publishing Industry News

Publisher downsizing...acquistion technology...bestseller lists...with all of the crazy things going on in the publishing industry these days, it's important for authors to stay in touch with the latest industry news.

Here's a list of blogs and newsletters that I recommend:

Publisher's Weekly - Daily Enewsletter

Christian Retailing E-News

Chip MacGregor - Literary Agent Blog

Alan Rinzler - Consultant Editor Blog

Michael Hyatt - President of Thomas Nelson Blog

Joe Wikert - Publishing 20/20 Blog

These are just a few of the great sources of information that give authors insight into the publishing world. Do you have a great source of publishing info? Leave a comment with your suggestions.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Success Story from The Writing Spa

Are you a first-time author struggling to finish your mansucript? Or, an established writer who's hit a creative wall? I continue to hear good things about Mary DeMuth and her new service called The Writing Spa. Mary is an experienced author of five books with four more on the way. And, she writes both fiction and non-fiction, so she has the insights to help any kind of author.

Here's a recent success story from a happy client:
“Mary DeMuth is one of the most perceptive, insightful writing coaches I’ve had the honor to work with. She gets into your heart and mind and actually feels the story. She then responds with questions to help you passionately paint the picture from your heart to the reader—a rare talent indeed. Mary is tough, but she builds you up and challenges you to be the writer God designed you to be. If you’re looking for an excellent return on your investment, I encourage you to work with Mary DeMuth.”
Jan Coates, author of Set Free

If your manuscript could use a makeover, check out The Writing Spa.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Monthly Marketing To-Do List for Authors

A common fear that I find with authors is concern over what marketing activities to do on a regular basis. This anxiety hits everyone, from beginner to bestseller and fiction to non-fiction. Either information overload sends authors in all directions, or analysis-paralysis shuts down their marketing efforts altogether.

Sure, there are thousands of ways to promote your books. But, trying everything won't necessarily make you successful. Usually, you're better off sticking with a consistent plan that keeps you focused on the right priorities. So, for the betterment of worldwide author sanity, I've created the following monthly book marketing checklist. This list is in addition to any weekly activities you may engage, such as blogging or participation in social networks.

1. Create a Free Resource
Every month, you should take time to create at least one free resource of value for your target audience. Your resource doesn't have to be extravagant. The important distinction is that provides real benefit to your readers. Good examples include brief helpful articles, resource listings, teaching videos, booklets, study guides, humor compilations, short stories, travel guides, etc.

Occasionally, I hear authors complain about taking time out every month to create a new resource. But, if you want to be a professional, then you must invest in the growth of your career. Creating a free resource every 30 days is the least you can do to connect with your book buyers.

2. Send Out a Newsletter
Current marketing research reveals that the average American receives over 3,500 buying impressions per day. Since our finite brains can't contain all this information, we easily forget about products and services. So, if you want people to remember your book, you must remind them that you exist. Sending out a newsletter via print or email newsletter is one of the most effective, yet overlooked, tools available.

Unfortunately, many authors shoot themselves in the foot by sending self-focused, rambling newsletters that never benefit the reader. So, I recommend making at least 75% of your content helpful to the reader, and the other 25% used for promotional text.
Click here for a list of seven key elements every author newsletter needs to include. And, don't forget that newsletters make a great vehicle to share the free resource we just discussed.

3. Look for Media Opportunities
At least once a month, ask yourself if there are any current headlines, trends, holidays, or stories that tie-in with your book's message, including fiction or non-fiction. Too many authors blow great opportunities for media coverage by failing to look for media connections.

I recommend creating a Media Calendar for your book that lists any possible tie-in for each month of the year. For example, if you write books on marriage, you know that Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day will open regular doors to get media coverage. Know this ahead of time and send a press release to radio, newspaper, and TV producers. If you write fiction stories for children, then back-to-school, Christmas, or summer break periods may provide natural ways to get more exposure. In addition, don't forget to monitor the headlines, and offer yourself as an expert to comment on national stories.

4. Update Your Website
Nothing says "forgotten author like a static website that never changes. Your website is your most important marketing tool. Don't let it sit there and gather dust. Keep it fresh by updating your Home, Latest News, and Free Resource pages every month.

You can add new items as free resources discussed earlier. Plus, update your latest news and events calendar with upcoming media or speaking engagements. List new products in your website store. Post a recent testimonial from a leader or book review from a fan. There's usually more happening with your message than you may think. Pay attention to your activity and keep people updated.

5. Pursue Speaking Engagements
The best way to sell books and grow your author platform is to get out and speak. No other marketing activity lets you simultaneously connect emotionally with readers, generate word-of-mouth, and sell books on the spot. So, increasing your speaking opportunities needs to be a priority.

To get more bookings, devote some monthly time to these three activities. First, research who and where the leaders are that could book you. Build a leader database, and find out which conferences they attend. Second, send leaders your helpful print newsletter (not email, or it's spam), and visit key conferences for networking opportunities. Third, ask leaders you already know for referrals and testimonials that will draw other leaders to you. Conducting these three steps each month should help open new doors.

Reduce your fear of book marketing by enacting this monthly plan. This isn't the exhaustive list, but it's a good foundation to build upon. Don't worry, writing success isn't based on some mysterious lottery system. Instead, you will sell more books when you regularly remind readers your message is valuable.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December Amazon Comparison of CBA Publishers

WildFire Marketing has released the December 3rd Amazon rankings for the Top 15 CBA Publishers. This research let viewers see both the overall CBA industry rankings, plus each publisher's individual top 20 bestselling book list.

Why is this information helpful to you? This is one of the few ways that authors, agents, and publishers can simultaneously see how a publisher's best books stack up against their peers. For example, Neilsen BookScan doesn't let other publishers see the competition's sales numbers (only bestseller lists). But, WildFire's free research gives publishers a way to see which titles are selling well on Amazon at 14 other houses. This data is also helpful to see which authors, topics, and genres are dominating Amazon sales trends. For instance, this month included many new titles that focused on Christmas themes.

Items of Interest this Month:
1. Top-Selling Overall CBA Title:
"Multiple Blessings" from Zondervan took the top spot with an Amazon ranking of #10. This new release continues to capitalize on the popular TV show, "Jon & Kate plus 8."

2. Biggest Publisher Moves:

a. Charisma House debuts on the list at #14.
b. B&H dropped from #8 last month to #13 this month.

3. Zondervan e-Book Outperforms Print Version:
Since October, the e-book version of "Jesus Wants to Save Christians" by Rob Bell has consistently held a higher Amazon ranking than the print version. This marks an interesting point in the industry as book formats and buyer preferences continue to transform.

Note: Amazon rankings do not reflect accurate sales figures and only account for a small percentage of a book's total sales. However, they can help determine how specific publishers or book titles perform over time versue their peers.

Click here for an Excel spreadsheet of the December 3, 2008 rankings.

If you missed the November 2nd rankings, click here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Advanced Book Marketing for Authors

Okay, I'm not one who likes people promoting stuff on their blogs. As I tell my author clients, "It's more important to provide value to the reader, rather than promote your books."

However, I'm really excited about a new resource that I've just completed. It's an 8-disc audio CD set called, Advanced Book Marketing for Authors. If you're going to succeed as an author in today's dismal economy, then you've got to leave the beginner stuff behind and implement proven, advanced marketing techniques.

So, I've put together over 6 hours of top-level instruction to help you sell more books in 2009. My material was recorded live before a diverse group of authors at a recent writers conference. During this conference, these teaching sessions outsold all other resources by a margin of 6:1. Plus, most of the class sent thank-you notes afterwards telling how grateful they were to discover book marketing ideas that really work. Here's a sample of the topics covered:

Discs 1 & 2: How to Market for More Bookings
Discs 3 & 4: Write Newsletters that Get Results
Discs 5 & 6: Turn Media Interviews into Book Sales
Discs 7 & 8: Author Q&A: How to Set Speaking Fees, Build a Leader Database, Negotiating Tips, and much more...

Plus, Disc #1 include 10 bonus teaching resources, such as listener handouts, author website checklist, and samples of professional newsletters, press releases, and speaking contracts.

If you're skeptical, take a moment and listen to this short sample:

I know times may be tight right now. So, I've priced this teaching resource to fit any authors budget. The people who attended my teaching sessions paid over $1,000 to attend the writer's conference. But, I'm making the same instruction available on audio CD for only $125.00 - a huge bargain.

Even better, I'm offering a special promo price by December 31st of only $99.00. So, I hope you'll take advantage of this opportunity to improve your book sales in 2009.

To order Advanced Book Marketing for Authors, go to:

"Rob Eagar mentored me for 6 months and really helped take my marketing, speaking, and branding to the next level. I can attest that I make much more money as a result of Rob's tutelage. Plus, I'm more strategic as I promote myself, my message, and my books."
Mary DeMuth
Author of Watching the Tree Limbs
2007 Christy Award Finalist