Stefanie Hartman In The Press

Tag Archive | "book marketing"

Author Digital Marketing Strategy One

Posted on 29 Nov 2012 | Author Stefanie | Comments 2 comments | Tags

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Thank you so much for your comments on the latest blog posts. Because of the overwhelming response I will continue sharing some insider information on books, marketing, and publishing.  As many of you know, my roots began with dissecting marketing campaigns to see how and why they worked and what, if any, could be duplicated.  This is actually how I put together most of my material.

Therefore I am particularly excited about the next few short, yet inspiring (hopefully) marketing ideas I’ll be sending your way.

Below is an example of an author using a unique digital strategy to launch their books – and I’m going to send you more.

First, I’m going to be frank with you and go as far as to say that the average person looks at strategies and says, “Can I copy this?”  In fact MOST TEACHERS out there don’t have any more imagination than that and suggest you copy (as that’s all they can see themselves).  But I believe YOU can go further.

Now, I’ve never said things like this before because I was taught growing up not to make waves.  But after my husband’s accident I view life a little differently and not only do I like playing in waves (literally speaking now, not figuratively as I detest stirring up trouble) but time is short in this lifetime and I want to just tell it like it is, and revealing more behind the scenes’ info as well as my own thoughts.  Hopefully you won’t “unsubscribe“ because of it.  But I feel that it matches my goal of truly being honest and helping you by giving as much information as I can.

Ok, so in that spirit of going beyond the average marketer or author or entrepreneur here, I challenge you to do what I do, which is … just for fun, no pressure, read the example below and instead of saying, “how can I copy this”, think about these questions yourself

  1. What’s cool or fun about this campaign that I enjoy?
  2. Could I do something similar?
  3. How does it engage the reader?
  4. Is there a distribution partner here, or way of getting books into customer’s hands or capturing their interest, that makes this exciting for me to brainstorm on?
  5. Did they succeed in creating a media angle here?
  6. How could I take just one element of this campaign and have it inspire me to put my own twist on it?  I find that is where the REAL FUN begins.

Ok here’s your first shot at this:

…and PS – don’t ignore fiction campaigns if you are a non-fictional writer, or vice-versa.  Look at the promotional concept and what it does for the book promotion and the audience/reader.  After all a book campaign should evoke the following 3 elements:

  1. Garner interest of new audience.
  2. Spark interest in the media (either social or traditional).
  3. Create a response or interaction for the reader, as this goes a long way in not only getting the reader’s attention but building a loyal, supportive and connected following.
  4. Bonus element -  Hey, where can I get a distribution partner?

Darn, I said this would be short.  Dammit.

Sorry about that…back to the example:

Example One:

Ok, I’ll admit I picked this example because of my relationship with and respect for Howard Behar, the former CEO of Starbucks, but I wanted to give you this idea to think about how you could promote your book with the help of a company – any company.  Please don’t email me requests for Starbucks, again you’re thinking too literal here, but if you are dead set in that space, I suggest you contact your local Starbucks first as they have a goal to connect with their community.

Author Digital Marketing Strategy One Genre: Fiction
Book Title & Author: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern Video or Book Link:
Publisher: Doubleday/Random House
Basic Premise: A Circus that opens at night and closes at dawn, becomes a star-crossed love  story for two competing magicians.
Digital Marketing Strategy: For several years now, you could walk into any Starbucks, order your coffee and grab a small ‘pick of the week’ free iTunes downloadable song.  Recently the 2 partners (Starbucks and Apple) have expanded their deal and are now offering ‘pick of the week’ programs to include book “episodes”.  This is term you may hear a lot of.  Basically it’s a selected chapter or selection of chapters.
Brief Intermission Factoid: Did you know that Charles Dickens began selling his books not as a fully completed storybook, but instead as individual episodes?  That’s where he quickly learned to create ‘cliffhangers’ so readers would buy his next ‘episode’.  So what is old is becoming new again.  How about that?
Back to the Strategy: The first e-book episode to be chosen by Starbucks is The Night Circus.  You can go into selected Starbucks store and pick up the download code on a card that will let you read several pages of the book.  Secondly, in the UK, they also launched an interactive mobile game that users can log into via Twitter or Facebook, and gather “preserved snowflakes” to advance to the next game level.  This is also Media worthy as they can make press releases about the interactive game and the new Starbucks deal.
Game link:
Interesting Author Fact: Erin began sending query letters to literary agents in June 2009.  After one year of bouncing between mildly interested agents and revising her manuscript on their advice, she signed with an agent (Richard Pine of Ink Well Management) in May 2010.  And just 4 months later Erin signed a (rumored 7-figure advance) publishing deal with Doubleday.  This is her first book – yes I said first book.  Her book deal includes rights in 25 countries and film rights by the producer of the Twilight Series.  Good job Erin! I’m officially jealous. Author Digital Marketing Strategy One

Look for my next post shortly for a second digital book strategy!  See – a real life cliff hanger!

Article Written by Stefanie Hartman

2012 © Stefanie Hartman Enterprises Inc. You may republish this article, if you keep the article intact as is and credit the authors name and website: “Stefanie Hartman” and website: Thank you.

Popularity: 5% [?]

Hot Tips for Book Marketing

Posted on 28 Nov 2012 | Author Stefanie | Comments No comments | Tags

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Hot Tips for Book MarketingBook marketing and Book Promotion should of great importance to you as an author and know that this is definitely the case where your publisher is concerned. Without a solid book Marketing plan many book authors can experience the ebb and flow of book sales when they first start out. Some never break out of this daunting cycle. They don’t experience the flow of good sales that comes with a consistent marketing plan.

In fact, to increase your daily sales you must have a book marketing / promotion plan put into place that shows the publisher you are marketing to your audience on a daily basis.

Here are 10 easy book marketing tips that will be useful for marketing and promoting your books.

1. Create a new book marketing plan or revise your old one to include all aspects of offline and online Marketing. Your book marketing plan will describe your book, what will you do after the book is completed and published. It also describes whom you want to sell your book to or your target audience.

2. Using press releases for marketing or promoting your book or book’s website has become increasingly popular as publishers discover the powerful benefits of using press releases.

3. It’s important to create a website specifically for your book that focuses on your book title; you’ll be able to refer editors and customers and all interested parties to your book information with the click of a mouse.

4. I’ve seen a lot of people paying for expensive display ads, so beware if you do this; I don’t advise it in the beginning — get your feet wet first so you know what you’re doing.  One of your best bets is creating Joint Ventures.

5. Be your own publicist and send a press release along with a review copy of your book to publications in your book’s genre and to book review magazines. Get as many testimonials about your book, as possible, from experts in the field relating to your title, not customers; use these on your fliers and back of books.

6. You can create a fan page on Facebook and twitter page specifically for your book; They are great online book marketing tools.

7. Library Press Release – Are you a member of your local library?  Once your book has been published, meet with the branch manager and ask them to issue a press release in the library system’s newsletter.  (You can write this ahead of time for them.

8. Local Newspaper – Contact your local news publications. Including the citywide and local papers.  Explain as a local to your town or city, you have written a book and would like them to do a story on you.

9. Local Radio and T.V. Stations – Contact your local radio station.  Preferably one that will have listeners in your target market and also your local T.V. Stations, like breakfast shows.  Explain as a local to your town or city, you have written a book and would like them to do a feature on you. Community oriented opportunities are usually easier to secure than national ones in the beginning.

10. Perhaps the most important tip is to recognize that your book marketing and book promotion will be mainly done by you and not your publisher.  They will help you with certain aspects of this procedure but you will be best advised to create your own plan with additional back-end products.  We work on this with all my students and clients as I know firsthand what publishers are looking for, but most importantly what plan is needed to make your book marketing and book promotion successful.

The success of any book launch campaign depends on a good book and marketing plan; it’s been done many times before and you can do it too.

Use your book promotion and book marketing dollars wisely; go after the local and no-cost strategies first. Make sure to test, test, and test some more before you lay out large sums of money.

All the Best,

Article Written by Stefanie Hartman

2012 © Stefanie Hartman Enterprises Inc. You may republish this article, if you keep the article intact as is and credit the authors name and website: “Stefanie Hartman” and website: Thank you.

Popularity: 2% [?]

MUST Read…Publishing Changes and New Trends

Posted on 02 Nov 2011 | Author Stefanie | Comments 6 comments | Tags

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Is there opportunity here or not for you?

I am fascinated by all the changes happening in the book industry and publishing world right now.  We are truly smack dab in the middle of a major historical shift.  I have called several book industry people and no-one seems to know what will die or how it will be reborn, but they all agree this is a very interesting time in history.  They are taking the famous “wait and see approach”.

As for me, well that’s just not my style is it? (more about that below)

One of the things I am following is the adventures at Amazon.  Personally I think Jeff Bezo’s is either one of the smartest guys out there (and I do admire him) or just one lucky son-of-a -gun. Amazon has pretty much taken over the book distribution field (direct to consumer) and when they opened, many bookstores run by families or small business owners had to close up shop, almost overnight.  Life following fiction as in the Tom Hanks movie “You’ve Got Mail” from years ago – except this time Jeff Bezo didn’t marry and rescue all the women who owned the small book stores well loved by their communities and neighbors.  To be fair to Mr. Bezo, polygamy is illegal or at least frowned upon in most states, so what could he do, really?

More on the drama, earlier this year- large chain bookstores were seen closing their doors, many Canadian and American Booksellers declared bankruptcy including Independent Storied Books who won the bookseller award for 2009 (doesn’t that blow your mind), Arcade Publishing (who published James Beard, Ingmar Bergman) and even Canadians largest book distributer HB. Also gone from the book publishing landscape are Fenn and Company and Europe’s largest Newspaper Publisher, Axel Spiegel.    Even Borders Books filed for Chapter 11 and one of the largest and oldest Publishing Houses declared bankruptcy.  What’s amazing is that in many cases, no-one suspected any of these companies were in trouble.

MUST Read…Publishing Changes and New TrendsIs this really new though?   I did some digging (ok online research) and found out that even the famous writer Mark Twain went bankrupt.  He didn’t like his current publisher (they weren’t doing much for him and yet making most of the money – gee, sound familiar?) and he wanted to make more money for himself.  So he got together with a friend of his Charles Webster (his niece’s husband) and put together his own publishing house.  Twain also put his money into a friend James Paige, who invented a typesetting technology to help Twain produce books faster.  The machine never worked properly so Twain lost all his money and even had to get a bankruptcy lawyer in the 1880’s. 

But fret not; there is always opportunity in failure and loss.  If Mark Twain had succeeded as a book publisher, it is highly speculated that he may not have gone on to write his many famous novels, which caused his fortune to return plus hundreds of years of young readers adoring his much loved adventures.  So don’t despair with what’s happening now, nor what may personally be happening to you.  There is another bend in the road to get you past any roadblock, and sometimes if I dare say, it may even be fate setting you straight onto a better path.

Now, Amazon seems to have the publishing world in its sites.  It has started a new division to publish authors.  And now the fight is on.  Many bookstores who feel that Amazon has tried to put them out of business, are now trying to figure out if they should deny or display books published by Amazon on their store shelves.  Many are saying, “No Way”, while Barnes and Noble are possibly trying for a compromise by only agreeing to allow them if Amazon agrees to give  rights to the book on their e-reader Nook and not just on Amazon’e proprietary Kindle reader.  Nothing has been decided as of writing of this blog.

Amazon seems to be approaching authors by buying some titles for print and some just for e-book format.   It does seem unclear how much marketing help they are actually giving authors though as Seth Godin’s new book, The Hangman’s Daughter, published by Amazon, has had some good sales, while other published books by Amazon seem mediocre.  In fact most books that have been sold, have been sold on Amazon for $3.99 or less on their deal of the day program.  Amazon is also giving away free books through its Vine Program in exchange for reviews.  When approached, Seth Godin said most of the marketing was done by him already.  Having said that, that seems to be the future and current trend for authors anyways – to market themselves.

It used to be a romantic thought to be a writer, when I was kid thinking about it.  To spend hours over a typewriter (I’m dating myself here) or computer, ok iPad now, starve (romantically) while you wait for that coveted letter in your mailbox (now email), to find out if your life is about to change and a publisher has bought your book.  Then comes money, media interviews, book tours, celebrity status and a new house and car for you and your mother who always believed in you.

Now you hear stories of publishing firms buying your book for less and less money and ‘maybe’ assigning a small media budget for you.

I speak with authors every day, weighing the pros and cons and trying to help them decide whether it’s best for them to go traditional or independent (self-publishing).  I am also teaching them how to create their own media kits, how to create blog or social media buzz (great marketing on the shoe string budget of a writer) and how to create 6-figures themselves from their books post print.  Basically how to get them and you, to think like Mark Twain, but through today’s technology while making more money for yourself.  So feel proud.  You are in good company.

More than ever (yet apparently also in the 1880’s), writers need to have the street smarts of how this industry works, how not to get eaten alive and how to come out of your book with a smile on your face and hopefully a big fat bank account.  Thankfully I have been helping authors do this for over 10 years.  But how I teach it has changed as more and more opportunities present themselves.

The trend that spanned the last 5 – 10 years was to be the ambassador of your own health. Educate yourself first, don’t just fly blind.

Now I’m finding myself giving that advice to my writers, especially nonfiction.   But the rainbow here is that now more than ever, you have the chance to be innovative, cool, and make more money than ever for your book (from product lines, sponsored events, app’s, games, group consulting,  etc.).  It’s just going to take a little powerful knowledge (which you can do) and old fashioned elbow grease.  In fact, I am working hard with some very special people to put together something for you monthly to get you in the know, so you can feel empowered and take charge of your life and business.

Isn’t that what we all want in the end?  A better life.  An easier way.  An understanding of what to do instead of falling prey to paralysis by worry and concern. And last but not least…Money rolling in.

Personally I’d like to see local bookstores find a way to stay alive.  I treasure them as much as I treasure libraries that are also under attack (but they are fighting with the help of loving community friends).  I love walking into them. I love the electric quiet.   I get a warm feeling like I’m home, then a building excited feeling of discovering new adventure and new favorites I don’t even know about yet.  In fact bookstores say that over 50% of sales in the stores are unplanned purchases.  And they also say that many e-book purchases are made only after the titles are discovered in person at a store first.  So why can’t they both exist?

I use e-books for work or business books and my nighttime ritual of fiction has to be (for me) paperback where I can curl under the sheets with a good book and my trusted book light.

I’m on 2 missions over the next 15 months – one, to get more kids to read, and second to help more adult writers to not only get their books out there but make their own money from their books via back-end book business.  I see MASSIVE opportunity for you now.  Everyone is looking and watching the change (even my industry insiders), I say – hey why not BE the change. 

Please post your feedback on what you think about this post and my viewpoint on this.  Do you share my optimistic Mark Twain view on a greater opportunity emerging here for you or not?

And hey 2 minutes ago when I started writing this I wasn’t even planning on doing this part, but if you want answers, please take 1 minute (or less) and post on my blog what you’d like more help with.  I promise to incorporate it somehow into the info I create, even if only 1 per cent of you ask for that help, heck if even only you wants to know.

Also, putting this info and program together is going to require massive effort on  my part here, not that I’m complaining, well ok a little, but I’m really only remarking about it because in order to do this I need to put other projects aside. So please give me your serious input on this.  All feedback and viewpoints are welcome and appreciated. I promise not to heckle if you don’t.

Warmest Regards,


Popularity: 4% [?]

How to give a great event

Posted on 05 Oct 2011 | Author Stefanie | Comments No comments | Tags

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Here is the next of the installments I found on book tours, from a company that is closing their doors soon, so I thought I would pass it on to you!  I do really enjoy being at a great event.  In this article Kevin will give you some tips and pay attention to how to jazz up your event and create a unique and engaging experience for the attendee.

Here’s some of my Golden Rules for speakers:

  1. Make eye contact with audience and keep your focus on them.  You want them to connect with you not “watch” you.
  2. Make sure you have good posture and your stance is strong.  Feet should be almost shoulder width apart.
  3. Get excited about what you are speaking about.  Energy is contagious.
  4. Adjust your volume and tone throughout the presentation to keep them awake.
  5. Remember it is all about them – not you, so relax and have fun.
  6. Get them involved and participating.  Take the pressure and work off of you by getting your audience involved.  Both parties will have more fun.
  7. Remember mistakes are learning experiences.
  8. Don’t try to rush trough a ton of points.  It is better if you teach less but more clearly and more interactive way.  And if you forget a few things – don’t stress about it as no-one will know.
  9. Record the event to sell later, to put snippets on your website, or just to watch yourself and to improve your performance.
  10. Record video testimonials from students during break.
  11. Speak with power and compassion.
  12. Pass out freebies or goodies.

There is an exercise at the bottom for you of this article for you.   Enjoy.

All the best,

How to Give a Great Event

Last time, we discussed the logistics and bigger questions of setting out on your book tour. We called it “the fun part” of our series and probably jumped the gun. Planning your own book tour may indeed bring you joy (particularly if you  the sort who enjoys the challenge of say, finding an hotel vacancy during Thanksgiving weekend), but most likely, you feel like planning is the responsible, adult part of anything (including book tours) you must trudge through before getting to the fun.

Fair enough. Trudge you have. Now we’re at the fun.

You’ve mapped out a block of time you’re going to spend promoting your book. You’ve got a handful of events of varying colors and shapes on your calendar. Wowee. On that date in the not-so-distant future, a group of people will be gathered to hear you, the author, talk about your book.

Neat huh? And unless you’re hammier than Little Richard, kinda scary. You already wrote the book. Now you gotta sing and dance about it too?

Today we’re going to talk about doubling down on the “neat” and minimizing the scary. We’ll do that by looking at the lifecycle of the typical book event and how to push yours it towards awesome at each step.

Ready? Let’s go on tour.

Step 1: Getting People There.

Few of us are The Reverend Billy Graham where the promise of us talking draws a screaming crowd. So you’ll have to do a little hustle to get folks to show up at your book event. And while I encourage any writer with a tour date coming up to list it in community calendars, local newspapers, on BookTour etc. the truth is it won’t matter all that much. Because unless you live on an ice floe, your event is competing against every other choice a possible attendee has for that evening—going to the movies, dining out or just staying at home with a book. Given those options “Look honey! A writer I’ve never heard of reading from a book I’ve never heard of,” rarely wins out.

It’s wise then to plan events that have their own marketing muscle or a built in audience. A bookstore with a strong events program will have an active mailing list and a crowd that shows up just because they trust the store’s taste. Find out which ones those are by attending a few events on off-nights (Monday, in January or when it’s raining) and see how many show up. I also encourage writers to plan non-bookstore events at places that both match the readership of their book and are also where those potential readers already spend their time. Workplaces, conferences, interest group meetings, houses of worship. Put simpler, if you’ve written a novel about beekeepers, should you be holding events at just a bookstore or a bookstore and the local apiarist society?

You’ll still be expected to bring your own crowd. And that means asking friends and family with a firm but sparing hand to help you “fill the room” and buy books. It will only help if the venue has its own crowd already.

Step 2: What should your event look like?

The standard book event goes like this:

  • Author is introduced
  • Author says a few words about their book then reads a few passages.
  • Author answers questions and autographs newly purchased copies.

It’s an old formula but a serviceable one. It just isn’t that exciting for the people who came to see you.

What can you do to jazz up your event? Go back to what sets your book apart from others like it. Then use those differences to create a memorable evening for your audience. Any book about food is remiss not having food at their events. Same with any book about music, movies or any feature which most people enjoy on its face. A travel book event should have photos and slides. Poetry should be read aloud or performed dramatically. An event for a biography should have juicy gossip about its subject and perhaps costumes or giveaways.

The common thread here is playing to the essential uniqueness of the book by creating a unique experience. What makes your book special and how can you make that the backbone of a special evening? Fundamentally, that’s why audience is there. They can find out about your book’s existence in a hundred different ways, most without leaving the house. By asking them to leave the house you are promising them something more than information. You are promising them an evening out.

Step 3: Iron clad rules for a good event.

Every successful book event abides by the following rules.

  • Be brief: Assume anyone who comes to your event leads a busy active life. You are asking for an hour of it, which is asking a lot. You show the most respect for your audience by keeping your event short, sweet and leaving them wanting to know more about your book. 30 minutes is ideal, 60 is the absolute maximum. Beyond an hour and your audience just switched from thinking about your book to dinner, money left in their parking meter, the uncomfortable chair they are sitting in. You make whoever invited you angry because a restless audience means fewer book sales. Worse of all, you come across as arrogant and rude, as if nothing in the life of your audience could be more important than hearing about your book.

Asking for your reader’s time is a sacred covenant. Treat it with the utmost respect.

  • Be clear: You are the evening’s entertainment and nobody leaves home to listen to mumble. Speak and read how you would like to be spoken to, with clarity, conviction and pizzazz. Make eye contact. Every passage you read should have a beginning, middle and end. State at the top of the event what the structure of the evening will be and stick to it. Address every question asked with respect and thoughtfulness.
  • Be willing: Everyone hosting or attending your event is doing you a favor. The answer to anything they ask short of organ donation is “yes.” Yes, you can show up a bit early, yes you will sign autographs afterward, yes someone can have their picture taken with you, and yes you will chat with staff. You do it and say thank you. Each one of these seeming inconveniences is an expression of their deepening interest in you and your book. And each one increases the chances of them inviting you back, recommending your book to someone else or telling their colleagues what a nice person you are.

Anyone who arranges book events has a tough job. If you make it harder, they will hold it against you and your book. Make it a pleasure and it will pay off for a long time after you’ve gone home.

  • Be grateful. Book promotion, even touring is hard, tiring work. You will feel crabby and uncomfortable. You will say to yourself at least once a day “this isn’t why I became an author.” And invariably when someone at one of your events asked “How is your tour going?” you may feel the need to vent a little. About how tired you are, about how awkward promotion feels and about how you can’t wait to “get back to your writing.”

Don’t. There are few bigger turnoffs to an audience than an author complaining about being an author. For many sitting there, you are living their dream. For nearly all, going on a book tour seems impossibly glamorous. Complaining about it makes you look like a spoiled brat. No one wants to support the literary efforts of a spoiled brat.

  • Be quick on your feet. It’s hard not to get flustered at poorly-attended event. Or one where the staff did a half-rate job. Again, you may be tempted to complain to someone, or at least mutter to the three people who came about the injustice of it all.

Again, don’t. You’ll make whoever came uncomfortable. Instead, see it as an opportunity. Sit down with your small crowd and chat it up. Ask them about why they came, what they like to read. Be the interesting, thoughtful, warm person you are. If they are came, offer to buy them a drink at the nearby bar.

Step 4: Remember why you do this at all.

Fundamentally, every book event is about forming deep connections and relationships between you, your book and its advocates. Ideally the event is both an hour well-spent and an appetizer-sized bite of your book and its wonders. Moreover an event is the living manifestation what you want for your book and its readers—reflecting exactly the type of energy put into it. If you and your events embody these emotions—communalism, warmth, possibility, fun—your new readers will feel the same towards you and your book.

Homework: Imagine then write down what your most successful event will look like.  launched a ten-part series on Book Promotion called “Everything you Wanted to Know about Book Promotion but were Afraid to Ask” written by CEO Kevin Smokler. Kevin has been advising authors and publishers on marketing and promotion for nearly a decade and has written and lectured on the topic throughout North America.

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