4 Ways to Organize a Book Tour That’s Far From Boring

bookshelvesWhen it comes to promoting a book you’ve written, it might seem like writing it was the easy part. Book tours are one of the best ways to get yourself and your book known, but with so many authors out there, how do you make your book tour stand out? The blog post offers easy tips for making your book tour one that the book-buying public will remember.
Your book is published. Congratulations! Whether you finally got the attention of a well-known press or you went the self-publishing route, you now have something you can hold in your hands and call your own. Remember all those hours you spent at the keyboard? Compared to promoting your book, that was the easy part.
One of the best ways to promote your book is with a book tour. When you hit the road to visit bookstores, though, it can be a bit of a nail-biter. What if no one shows up? What if no one buys your book? Among all the other books being pushed by all the other authors, how do you make your book tour stand out? One of these methods might be just right for your publication.
Give a lecture.
Schedule a talk at the bookstore, and narrow the focus, rather than just talking about yourself and your book. Better yet, make it useful. If you’ve written a book on business, you might give a talk on interview skills. If you’re a novelist, hold a Q & A on how you got published. Once the audience knows you have something to teach them, they’ll be more likely to leave with a book in hand.
Use other media.
Libraries often have a collection of public domain films that they can screen for free. Make your appearance a tie-in with a relevant screening, and more people will attend. If you’re a romance writer, for example, you might schedule a talk following a relevant film, then compare the love story to the one in your novel. Non-fiction writers can screen documentaries on their topic. If there’s not a public domain film that suits your book, a slideshow of relevant photos can add interest.
Have a Giveaway
Giving away books is always nice, but you can draw a larger crowd by giving away something a little more valuable, yet relevant. Cookbook authors might give away a cooking class, or action novelists might put together a survival kit. Think creatively. Some writers have attracted attention by holding contests in which the winner gets to name a character in a book. You could give away a gift card for Amazon or Barnes & Noble, a kindle or other ebook reader, or signed copies of your book.
Dress the Part
Remember the lines of kids in costume waiting to buy the next Harry Potter? If your book’s characters have noteworthy dress, make the event festive by inviting attendees to wear costumes. If it suits your personality, wear one yourself. If your book is about executive success, you can still join in the fun: give away a book to the best-dressed business person, or for the most unusual tie.
Bonus tip:
No matter how you choose to make your book tour stand out, remember to sell yourself and not just the book. Consumers often shy away from blatant attempts to sell them something. Be yourself, be friendly and talkative, and buyers will gravitate toward you.

Books on Books: 3 Writers Explore Their Love of Reading

Do you love to read? Is your idea of a great time curling up in bed with an awesome book? Well, those who write tend to agree.
If there’s anything writers like to do when they aren’t writing, it’s read. After all, the world of books is home to a writer, the place where their thoughts and imaginations live. Here are three famous writers who have written books on how much they loved to read:

 

Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtryBooks: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry
Larry McMurtry, author of such well loved novels as The Last Picture Show and Pulitzer Prize winning Lonesome Dove has long been known as a book lover and collector. The writer owns some 28,000 books on his own and is owner of a 5-building bookstore in Texas that is home to 300,000 more. Strange then that McMurtry’s early years were lived in a bookless world.
Books: A Memoir begins with McMurtry’s boyhood in Archer City, TX, during which the future writer had no access to books until, by chance, a cousin heading off to the war gave him a stack of adventure novels. The gift lit up the young boy’s life, setting him on the path of author and ardent book collector.
Synopsis:
In Books: A Memoir, McMurtry writes about his endless passion for books: as a boy growing up in a largely “bookless” world; as a young man devouring the vastness of literature with astonishing energy; as a fledgling writer and family man; and above all, as one of America’s most prominent bookmen. He takes us on his journey to becoming an astute, adventurous book scout and collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible editions in Georgetown, Houston, and finally, in his previously “bookless” hometown of Archer City, Texas. In this work of extraordinary charm, grace, and good humor, McMurtry recounts his life as both a reader and a writer, how the countless books he has read worked to form his literary tastes, while giving us a lively look at the eccentrics who collect, sell, or simply lust after rare volumes. Books: A Memoir is like the best kind of diary — full of McMurtry’s wonderful anecdotes, amazing characters, engaging gossip, and shrewd observations about authors, book people, literature, and the author himself. At once chatty, revealing, and deeply satisfying, Books is, like McMurtry, erudite, life loving, and filled with excellent stories. It is a book to be savored and enjoyed again and again.
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

How Reading Changed My Life by Anna QuindlenHow Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen
InHow Reading Changed My Life, noted author of One True Thing and Living Out Loud Anna Quindlen speaks with eloquence of her lifelong love of reading. In four short essays, the author returns again and again to her special themes: how books have been her constant companions and how such heroes of literature as Anne of Green Gables and Heidi, Anthony Trollop and Jane Austin, were her personal heroes as well.
How Reading Changed My Life is part memoir, part protest, part celebration, a commentary on how books are central to many of the most important questions faced by our culture today.
Synopsis:
A recurring theme throughout Anna Quindlen’s How Reading Changed My Life is the comforting premise that readers are never alone. “There was waking, and there was sleeping. And then there were books,” she writes, “a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but never really a stranger. My real, true world.” Later, she quotes editor Hazel Rochman: “Reading makes immigrants of us all. It takes us away from home, but, most important, it finds homes for us everywhere.” Indeed, Quindlen’s essays are full of the names of “friends,” real or fictional–Anne of Green Gables and Heidi; Anthony Trollope and Jane Austen, to name just a few–who have comforted, inspired, educated, and delighted her throughout her life. In four short essays Quindlen shares her thoughts on the act of reading itself (“It is like the rubbing of two sticks together to make a fire, the act of reading, an improbable pedestrian task that leads to heat and light”); analyzes the difference between how men and women read (“there are very few books in which male characters, much less boys, are portrayed as devoted readers”); and cheerfully defends middlebrow literature: Most of those so-called middlebrow readers would have readily admitted that the Iliad set a standard that could not be matched by What Makes Sammy Run? or Exodus. But any reader with common sense would also understand intuitively, immediately, that such comparisons are false, that the uses of reading are vast and variegated and that some of them are not addressed by Homer.
The Canon, censorship, and the future of publishing, not to mention that of reading itself, are all subjects Quindlen addresses with intelligence and optimism in a book that may not change your life, but will no doubt remind you of other books that did. –Alix Wilber
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

great booksGreat Books by David Denby
To movie buffs, David Denby, film critic for The New Yorker, is a familiar name. But Denby is a lover of books as well, and, at the age of 48, he decided to return to his alma mater of Columbia University and read through 2000+ years of literature. The critic thus read all the “great books,” from Homer to Woolf, Rousseau to Conrad.
Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World chronicles Denby’s experience, thoughts, and inspiration gleaned from the pages of these important writers’ work.
Synopsis:
At the age of forty-eight, writer and film critic David Denby returned to Columbia University and re-enrolled in two core courses in Western civilization to confront the literary and philosophical masterpieces — the “great books” — that are now at the heart of the culture wars. In Great Books, he leads us on a glorious tour, a rediscovery and celebration of such authors as Homer and Boccaccio, Locke and Nietzsche. Conrad and Woolf. The resulting personal odyssey is an engaging blend of self-discovery, cultural commentary, reporting, criticism, and autobiography — an inspiration for anyone in love with the written word.
Book Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

Improve Your Ebook Sales: Create an Awesome Cover

stack of books black and whiteMany authors don’t know how to produce an appealing cover image of their own, and ugly ebooks don’t sell in the competitive ePublishing market. This article discusses a few simple guidelines any author can use to ensure their cover looks attractive and professional.
Ebook publishing has produced many success stories, and their numbers will only grow as eReading continues to grow in popularity. In fact, the market is already flooded with so many titles that it is very difficult to get a serious piece of the ePublishing pie. Many authors fail to realize that having an attractive cover is the best way to advertise their work. By following a few simple guidelines, any author can create an eye-catching cover that gives their work the best chance for success.
Make it unique.
Ebook marketplaces are filled with millions of books, many featuring generic designs. As with any media, communicating why your title is interesting and unique is key to generating sales. Instead of creating a cover with a basic layout, consider using an iconic image or distinctive style to capture your customers’ attention. Studying and using the same elements as popular ebooks is an easy way to make your work stand out from the crowd.
Keep it professional.
Along with being your unique, your cover should also look professional. Many ebooks struggle to sell simply because their formatting is sloppy. If you don’t have the skills necessary to produce a high-quality cover, consider hiring graphic artists or other specialists to help you throughout the creation process. Although websites do offer ebook cover construction tools, their design and formatting options are severely limited compared to what you can create for yourself.
Be willing to change.
Many authors don’t realize that customers won’t buy an ebook that looks unattractive or unprofessional. Since your cover is the first thing shoppers are likely to notice about your title, it is also the biggest factor in whether or not it will sell. If you get too attached to your own designs, you may fail to realize how your ebook is actually perceived by the public. By being willing to change your cover, you can find the layout that leads to the most sales of your work.
Pay attention to your feedback.
Feedback should be an important part of your ePublishing projects. Not only will listening to the opinions of your audience help you create better covers, but it can even help you develop valuable contacts in the publishing industry. Authors generate feedback a number of different ways. Some offer free promotions of their work, while others interact with online communities or ask friends and family for their unbiased opinions. Whatever method you choose, always take advice with a grain of salt and produce a cover you are proud of.
Although making a desirable ebook cover requires experience and hard work, anyone can learn how to create designs that lead to to the most sales!

The Importance of Book Reviews for Authors

success
Getting book reviews is vital for recently published authors. There are two main benefits to having your work reviewed: public presence and social credibility.

 

When your manuscript is complete, you might send it off to an agent or publisher. Alternatively, you may decide to self-publish. Either way, you will need book publicity to gain attention from your target audience, so that people actually buy it and read it.

 

After publication, the fear sets in. What if nobody reads it? Or even worse, what if people read it and everyone hates it? Realistically, if your book is worth publishing, there’s somebody out there who will think it’s worth reading and even paying money for. You need to make sure they know it exists.

 

Gaining presence in the world of booklovers comes about by people talking about your book. It’s a promotion for you, even if they aren’t saying nice things, at least they know your name and the title of your book. If you get people talking about your book online, it will generate more interest and a lot of people will read the book just to see what all the hype is about. So, although positive book reviews are better, any type of mention can help you out with sales and presence.

 

The other reason book reviews are so important for authors is that it gives you social credibility. When other authors support your writing, all of their fans may potentially become yours. Even getting book bloggers or general readers to discuss your work is valuable. It shows people that other people are reading your book, not just your high school English teacher. They have read it and they cared enough about it to tell the world what they thought. The majority of them will be fair, albeit subjective, in their comments, which means you will probably accumulate a decent number of favorable statements to use in your public relations campaign.

 

Of course, it’s a lot of work to get a bunch of reviewers to write about your work, especially if you’d much rather be writing your next book or taking a well-earned vacation. The submission process is different for each blogger and figuring out how to get a hold of published authors is even more complicated and time-consuming, but it’s worth the effort. Having that credibility and public presence will give you the edge you need to succeed in the publishing world. Once a few people mention your name, the word will get passed around.

 

The crux of the matter is that when people are talking about you, it means your book publicity is working. Publicity helps increase book sales, and book reviews are one key way to make those sales happen.

 

Self-Published Authors Need to Create a Community

WritingThe playing field has been leveled for aspiring authors. No longer do you have to send out dozens of queries and wait months to receive a rejection notice. Authors now have the power to go directly to the source and self-publish. Self-publishing has allowed authors to bypass big name publishing houses and press agents, but what some fail to realize is all that responsibility is now in their hands. It can feel overwhelming for a first time author.
Some authors have the mindset that all they want to do is write. Unfortunately, those days are over for most authors, especially those that are new self-published authors. The biggest thing you must do as a self-published author is create a community of “fans.” It may be two people when you first begin, but it has to be people that are passionate about your work. There are so many books being released that it is tough to get publicity and carve out a niche to get yourself noticed. This is where your fans can begin to help you out. They will become your public relations managers and help spread the word on how great your book is.
Developing your base:
You must have a place where your fans can gather and get access to you. If you’re a self-published author who wants to stay out of the spotlight, you have a better chance of hitting the lottery than having a best-selling book. You must be on the frontline engaging with each of your readers. Let them get to know you and really allow them to see who you are.
A blog or a website is going to be your “home-base.” This is where your readers will be able to get updates and samples of all your latest works, and most importantly have access to you to start creating that bond.
Social Media:
As you are establishing your blog or website, you need to start adding social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube are the biggest out there right now. Each site is unique so make sure you get a feel for the proper procedures before you dive in. Once you feel comfortable, it’s all about how you can help your readers. What problems can you solve for your readers that will make them interested in your work? Once they become interested and buy your book, then you want to add them to your army of PR advocates who are also your fans.
Self-published authors need to be on the front-line of any successful public relations campaign. Engaging with readers and building a community of fans is essential. Ideally, this plan needs to be put in place well before your book is released. However, most self-published authors are learning as they go so if you already have a book out it’s okay. Just realize you are starting from ground zero and it will take some time to build a solid platform of followers.

Promoting a Self-Published Book

Open BookThis article gives some low or zero-cost ways self-published authors can successfully promote their books and increase sales.

 

If you have self-published a book, you have likely learned that getting a book published is only half of the work. There are millions of books available to readers, who have only so much time and money to spend on them. The challenge is figuring out how to promote your self-published book so readers become interested and spend their hard-earned money on it.

 

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in promoting your self-published book is if you do not have thousands of dollars or more to spend on hiring a professional to promote it. Still, you can market your book successfully without spending very much money at all. Later, as your book’s sales increase, you can then use the money you earn to increase the marketing efforts for your book.

 

Here are six low-cost things you can start doing today to promote your self-published book:

 

1. Start with family and friends. Promoting your self-published book requires you to not be shy about sharing your work. This is no time for humility, but at the same time you need to not be annoying. Your friends and family have an interest in seeing you succeed, and they are a ready-made support base for promoting your book. Talk to them about your book, and even consider giving them free copies. Encourage them to post reviews of your book online, to talk to their friends about it and do anything else they can think of to spread the word.

 

2. Leverage social media sites. Social media allows you to connect to other people from across the globe, spreading your influence even further without spending any money. Set up a Facebook page for you as a writer, or consider setting up a page for your book, and then invite your Facebook friends to like the page. Use Twitter to connect with other writers and to reach people with interests that relate to your book. Register on Goodreads and encourage your friends on there to read and review your book. Connect with people who have interests relating to your book’s topic by joining groups on different social media sites. For example, if your book is about gardening, find out what gardening groups exist and join them. Do not just talk about your book on these groups, but actually participate in the conversations going on in the group. Mention your book occasionally, or to include a blurb about it in your signature every time you post a comment.

 

3. Never underestimate the power of local support to promote your book. Seek out local bookstores in your area. Avoid marching into a bookstore and just hawking your book to the owner though. Get to know the store beforehand, frequenting it on a regular basis so you get to know the culture behind the store. Many independent bookstores have their own quirks that appeal to their customers, so if you can make your book mesh with those quirks you have a better shot of getting it placed with the bookstore. Also, getting to know the workers and owner as a customer helps selling them on your book.

 

4. Look into non-book stores. The fact of the matter is that a good portion of book sales take place outside of bookstores. Market your self-published book by placing it with other local stores, especially ones that sell things which relate to your book. If your book is about cooking, even if it is a work of fiction, place it with some local kitchenware stores, or even independent restaurants. In general, local gift shops, grocery stores and pharmacies also might be interested in carrying your book, especially if it has good mass appeal.

 

5. Further market your book by convincing book clubs to choose it as their next book selection. This requires you actively seek out local book clubs, which you can find listed on the Internet or at local bookstores. Offer to go speak to the book clubs when they discuss your book, giving extra incentive for the club to choose your book. Members of the book club also inevitably will end up mentioning your book to other people, increasing your marketing efforts and your book sales.

 

6. Donate two or more copies of your book to local libraries. Your book marketing plan can reach a whole new level if people who are well-read like your book. Many people who read high amounts of books frequent libraries, since they cannot afford to buy every book they read. These people often are go-to sources for other people who are looking for a good book to read. If library users have read and like your book, they likely will recommend it to others who value their opinion.
Many people who have written a self-published book see dismal sales because they don’t know how to promote their book. These people often think they need spent lots of money for marketing, advertising, and public relations, but as you can see, there are plenty of low-cost things you can do to promote your book yourself to increase sales.
Open Book

4 Free Ways to Get Your Friends to Help Promote Your Book

Open BookPublishers are increasingly relying on their authors to promote their own books and generate book publicity. As marketing budgets shrink, it’s important for authors to get the word out — and to do it on the cheap. For most authors, the people most excited about their work are friends and family in the beginning, so why not recruit them to help you out? Remember, however, that they are unlikely to know what they can do to help, so you need to give them specific suggestions and ideas. Here are four free ways to get your crew involved in helping you sell your book:
1. Give them the talking points
You’ve lived inside your book for months or even years. You know every line of it forwards and backwards, and can summarize it in a few sentences. Your friends may not know how to talk about your book with others, so give them the words. Give them links to your book’s website (What? Your book doesn’t have one? Get one!) and to any excerpts posted on the Internet.
2. Enlist their social media accounts
Ask your friends to share links to your book sales site (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc) on their social media outlets, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Your friends likely have a broad reach to get your book in front of thousands of eyeballs, and this is a powerful book publicity tool. Provide your friends with links that go directly to the sales page, and provide them with any introductory blurb you would like them to use.
3. Ask them to review the book on sites like Amazon
Solid book reviews are one of the most important components in a reader’s decision to buy your book. If your friends have read your book (hopefully, they will have all purchased a copy), ask them to post honest reviews on sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Good Reads. Their reviews should not be over-the-top ads for the book, but a clear list of what they liked about it, and things they would have liked to see.
4. Bump up helpful reviews and bump down not-so-helpful ones
Book sites like Amazon display their reviews in the order of how many customers found the review helpful or not helpful. Reviews (both good and bad) that are marked consistently helpful in the book purchasing decision appear higher in the list. Your friends can read all of the reviews and mark both helpful and not helpful ones. This keeps positive detailed reviews high up on the list and more likely to be seen by potential readers.
Having friends help you in your book publicity efforts is a valuable tool in your public relations campaign. Don’t forget to someday return the favor.
books in library

13 Do-It-Yourself Public Relations Tips for Authors

Book Publicity ServicesThis article offers 13 do-it-yourself public relations tips for authors to use to promote their books.
Writing a book takes a lot of hard work, commitment and discipline. Ask any author about the trials and tribulations, the research and the search for the right words and wording that goes into writing a book.
Then ask any group of authors about the aftermath of writing and publishing a book, especially those authors who self-publish. That’s when the promoting of the book kicks in and the reality of how hard it can be to get people to want to buy and read their book.
Most writers write to get people to read what they’ve written. They put a lot of time and effort into a project, which most often becomes a part of them. And, they become convinced the book will fly off the online bookseller’s shelves and become an overnight bestseller.
Bestsellers can happen
Any book can become a bestseller, including those that are self-published by the author. It takes creating a need for the book and creating a perception that the author has the answers or the story that readers will enjoy or benefit from reading.
It rarely happens overnight. Instead, authors have to take the time to promote their books. There are a number of ways to do so including using public relations tactics. Writers tend to like the solitude of the profession and steer clear of any overly social aspects of the writing life, making the job of promoting a book even more difficult.
Public relations activities may be more to authors’ liking, making it a bit easier to get the word out about their books. Public relations (PR) generally involves talking to people about the importance of the topic of a book versus talking about how many books a person will buy.
PR Tactics
There are many public relations tactics authors can implement easily, at reasonable costs, and with reasonable time demands. The following thirteen tactics can help get one started.
1. Authors can sell books when they agree to provide free talks about the topic of the book at civic events, local libraries, schools, or book clubs.
2. Donating books to local libraries for local author displays is an effective way to get the book displayed for the reading public to see and possibly decide to buy.
3. Attend book fairs and signings. Attending these types of events offers the opportunity to become a featured author and/or network with other authors to talk about their books.
4. Contact local newspapers and offer oneself as an expert in the topic of the book for them to interview or to use as a resource for other related articles and for local radio and television shows.
5. Contact trade and consumer magazines related to the book’s topics and ask them to review the book for their readers.
6. For business book writers, biographers, or self-help books, network with your local Chamber of Commerce and get to know businesses in the area that may benefit from reading the book.
7. Contact bloggers online that review books to see if they would be interested in reviewing your book.
8. Create your own blog about the topic of the book. Posts regular writings about the topic or the writing of the book or ways people can use the book.
9. Contact local bookstores about doing book signings in their stores.
10. If the topic is teachable, offer to teach a class at local colleges or at conventions.
11. Use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to post messages about where to find the book or about signings, conferences or other events where you will be appearing.
12. Get word-of-mouth promotions started through those that are referenced in the book as case studies or expert commentary.
13. Ask family and friends to help spread the word about your book or write a review for it.
It is important to create a need for your book and develop a must-have perception for it. These 13 public relations tactics can be implemented immediately and at a relatively low cost to effectively get the word out about your book.