Guest Blogger, Kristen Weber, Freelance Editor and Co-Founder of Shelf Pleasure
To listen to Kristen’s interview on the show: http://wp.me/p1KmwD-69n
We all know this scenario, we’re completely absorbed in a great book, we rush through it to find out the ending…and then what? So begins the search for our next read. It’s a problem even the most religious readers come across. In this age of rushing from one activity to the next, while also dealing with media overload, it’s difficult to keep track of what our few favorite authors are up to, let alone find time to discover all those great new writers out there. We’re guaranteed to miss something! With so many books and authors vying for attention—and space on our shelves—it can be hard to figure out what will appeal to our own personal tastes.
We’ve tried to solve this dilemma by looking in newspapers and magazines but good review coverage is scarce these days. And sadly, you can’t always trust the online reviews. Often, the reviewer hasn’t even read the book or will give a poor review because they were bothered by the font size on their Kindle or the price was too high. Many times they will give a rave review because they have some connection to the author.
So where can you go for trustworthy recommendations? Bookstores and librarians are amazing resources, and it’s such a treat when you have the time to go in and leisurely browse the aisles. If that’s too time consuming (and for many of us, it is!) online sites can be a great option. We created Shelf Pleasure for people like us who are always on the go but like to have a good read at our fingertips. You can find new releases every week that you might otherwise not know about, new authors worth exploring, and features on established authors that you might not have had the chance to read. It’s a big world outside of the bestseller lists! Perhaps the most important thing we try to do at Shelf Pleasure is to let readers share the great titles they love. After all, one of the best ways to learn about a new book is from a trusted friend—and that’s what we’re aiming to become for our readers.
Online sites like Shelf Pleasure help book lovers get down to the more important thing…like actually reading.
To listen to the show: http://wp.me/p1KmwD-69n
Today let’s talk about social proof and the value of having others review and recommend your book to more readers.
For many writers, an author platform is oftentimes more about being a town crier and begging people to buy their book than simply providing an invitation into a conversation that can be continued over time.
How you find out about a book will sometimes determine whether you’ll actually buy it – and read it. For example, if your trusted friend who loves to read other books you have enjoyed told you about a new book she just loved and couldn’t put down, chances are you would either ask to read it when she’s done or possibly run out and get your own copy so you could read it too. Another example is when book clubs tend to make recommendations or select books for their club members to read. Chances are, you’re going to trust that recommendation and read that one too.
In the digital age we live in, there are more clubs, reviews and recommendations being made than ever before. Websites like today’s guest, Shelf Pleasure, and others including Goodreads, Shelf Awareness, Shelfari, AuthorsDen and more help you stay in the loop with books others are reading and enjoying – and those they’re not.
Social proof is a concept that may be unfamiliar by term to many authors but it is the author’s heartfelt desire to have it—and keep it. Social proof is when someone other than you talks with someone else about your book or project. Examples of this are when someone turns to someone else and says, “I just read this incredible book. Great read!” That’s word-of-mouth and that’s social proof. When you receive an endorsement or praise for your book, that’s social proof too. If someone or an entity recommends your book, like a book club or online community, that’s social proof too.
If we turn the words around, it means that your book or project has proven itself to society.
This does not require you shouting on Facebook, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” Instead, it invokes something much more powerful: the power of the relationship you build with readers – and that relationship gets built through your author platform.
By building a continuing conversation with readers, social proof naturally evolves as part of your platform and conversation that reaches more readers. The more they like it, the more people they tell!
As a society, we often look to others to determine what is valuable, correct or important – and what is not. It’s sort of like the old saying, “Well, if everybody’s buying it, it must be great!” Social proof is something we’ve seen probably all our lives. The advertising world thrives on social proof. Businesses rise and fall as a result of social proof.
Since your book is your hook—and a product worthy of social proof, the best thing you can do is get as many people as you can to talk about it, recommend it and review it so they can tell others about it. After all, the more people you can reach and let know about your book, the more people will know about it and, proverbially, buy it.
Stop shouting from the treetops and start using your book as your hook to extend your platform, raise more awareness about your book, and get more social proof through recommendations and reviews from others.
For more information on this Education Corner topic and others, please refer to www.YourBookIsYourHook.com/blog for more articles and resources to help you with your books.
Social Proof, Online Book Club, & Harvard Author Outsmarting Anger on the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show
Kristen Weber, co-founder of Shelf Pleasure a destination website for women who love to read, and Harvard Medical Professor and Author, Dr. Joseph Shrand, will appear as guests on the Your Book Is Your Hook! Show on WomensRadio.com
Ms. Weber will discuss how writers are able to leverage reader sites like Shelf Pleasure to support their writing careers and books. Dr. Shrand will discuss his new book, OUTSMARTING ANGER, and share how and why he wrote it, as well as how he got published.
To listen to the show: http://www.womensradio.com/2013/05/social-proof-online-book-club-harvard-author-dr-shrand/
New York, NY (May 14th — May 20th, 2013): Kristen Weber, co-founder of Shelf Pleasure, a destination website for women who love to read, will talk with radio personality and host Jennifer S. Wilkov about how to leverage reader sites like Shelf Pleasure to support their writing careers and books.
She’ll also discuss how readers in today’s digital world are finding information about the books they read. Ms. Weber will also talk about how an author can work with Shelf Pleasure to productively promote their work.
Harvard medical professor and author, Dr. Joseph Shrand will discuss with radio personality and host Jennifer S. Wilkov his new book, OUTSMARTING ANGER, how and why he wrote it, and how he got published. He’ll also talk about the difference between anger and aggression and why books like OUTSMARTING ANGER can help us resolve the outrage we feel about recent national events. He’ll also share advice for new writers who want to write and publish a book about particular human experiences like anger in today’s publishing world
Host Jennifer S. Wilkov will discuss social proof and the value of having others review and recommend your book to more readers during her Education Corner segment during the show.
Click Here to Listen Now: http://bit.ly/167mbd5
If you have questions about any of these interviews or the education corner topic included in the show, please put them here in this discussion thread and I’d be happy to answer them.
Guest Blogger, Rochelle Weinstein, Author, Blogger, Speaker www.RochelleWeinstein.com
To listen to Rochelle’s interview on the show: http://bit.ly/Zj5Ee0
When I wrote my first novel many years ago, the publishing world was going through a period of rapid growth and change. Still, first-time authors faced numerous obstacles getting their books into print. Self-publishing was relatively new, and authors were ambivalent about the non-traditional road. Enter CreateSpace and KDP. Amongst numerous self-publishing houses, I quickly became convinced that entrusting my firstborn to Amazon’s influential and far-reaching publishing arm was the best option.
As a wife, mother, author, blogger, and volunteer, it was crucial for me to find a publisher who would balance the chaos in a simple, flexible package. CreateSpace provided an easy-to-navigate dashboard with an a la carte menu for editing, formatting, designing, distributing, and marketing my work.
The ease at which CreateSpace piloted my book release and eventual Kindle conversion were impressive. However, it wasn’t until some time later that I came to realize its true value. When my novel debuted last year, I never imagined I would be faced with my mother’s eighteen month battle with pancreatic cancer. I had to quickly prioritize and juggle. When she passed away in December 2012, all things book related came to an immediate halt. The DIY approach afforded me the freedom and flexibility I needed to sustain myself through an awful period. By taking the non-traditional approach, deadlines were self-imposed, not imposed, and I could write and market my book at my own personal pace.
When I meet with writers or book clubs, the most common statement is: “I also want to write a book.” I often tell aspiring writers to do just that—write their book—although the next piece of advice I offer is this: have a clearly defined goal. It may seem like a simple answer. It’s not. We are all unique and our needs and expectations complex. What is it you want out of the book experience? Be honest. Sometimes that’s the tricky part. Do you have a secret desire to be famous and travel the world? Are your expectations realistic? Or do you merely want to touch someone’s life with your words? The answer to this question is one that has the potential to strategically pave your next steps.
Writing the book is the easy part. After setting 85,000 or so words onto the page (in pitch perfect form) you will have to face the most difficult part of being an author—marketing. In today’s booming book world, some sales tactics are obvious: set up social media linking your book and website; exploit your friends, family, and business networks; get yourself out there through organizations media, and institutions that target your niche; utilize the free on-line forums that DIY companies like CreateSpace and KDP offer; increase distribution through relationship building with libraries, independent bookstores, etc. Then get creative. Really creative. Think grass roots. Think outside the traditional box.
Know your hook. What’s your elevator pitch? Try to sell your book in one succinct, appealing sentence. This one line, when intriguing enough, has the capacity to sell many books. Exploit that hook. Who does it target? Is it a beachside romance? Find a boutique hotel to sell your books in their gift shop. Is your book worthy of book club discussion? Make yourself available. Is your school or religious organization having a fundraiser? Offer an evening with the author as an auction item. Find book conventions around the globe. Offer promo pieces (book discounts or bookmarks) for swag bags. Leave your book on an airplane the next time you fly. Drop business cards with your book’s hook wherever you can. Plan unique contests and giveaways. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a favor.
And most importantly, after all is said and done, pay it forward to the next guy.
To listen to Vikram’s interview on the show: http://bit.ly/Zj5Ee0
Does your personality match the tone of your blog? Maybe that’s not a good thing! We don’t all have personalities that POP. And even if you do – here’s how you can make your blog – in the immortal words of Cosmo Kramer – “more you than you’ve ever been.”
Previously, I’ve written about the Blogging Best Practices we use internally at phoneBlogger.net; you can read that here. While that post went into the structure of a blog article (how to make it eye-catchy, social media friendly, search engine optimized), these 5 tenets are about the style of your blogging. These same tenets – a checklist of questions – can also be used to make your public appearances POP:
1) Are you engaging your readers?
Blog articles are figurative conversations with your readers (clients, prospects, fans, referral sources). They are also meant to spark literal conversations. How do you do this? By involving your readers in the article: Can you ask them questions? Ask for feedback, their examples, their agreements, their dissent. In this way, blog articles are engaging when relevant to the (personal and/or professional) lives of your readers. Questions are also great rhetorical props to introduce your points.
2) Is your blog article remarkable?
Can you follow this logic? Relevancy is to Engaging, as Interesting is to Remarkable: Your blog article – from its title, teaser paragraph, to sub-heads, short paragraphs & engaging conclusion – ought to be thought provoking.
Moreover, is your blog literally remarkable: Are your readers able to remark on your blog post? That is, is there a facility for them to Comment right on your blog? (Turn on “moderation,” to approve comments before they go public – to avoid spam and unwanted dissent.) Likewise, make your blog easy to share via social media widgets.
3) Snackable content?
Your blog posts are hors d’oeuvres, finger foods, or at most, appetizers. It’s not meant to be the entree. They oughtta pay you for that, right? (Be that your book, your service, your product.) Likewise, we use the term ‘snackable content’ in the blogosphere. Media have been calling it soundbites for decades. Can readers consume your blog post in less than 5 minutes? Note: Pop songs are at most 3 minutes. Can your readers skim a digest in seconds? If you’ve got a lot to say, how can they eat your elephant?
4) Multi-media rich?
Printed books are bound to the constraints of that medium. Whereas, you get to make your blog article as eye-catchy & eye-candy as it can be. Use color, punctuation, bold statements, bullet points, hyperlinks, and other visual texture. Insert photos, diagrams, slides and other images. Embed videos & audio. Like other interpersonal communication, your words are but a small percentage.
5) Are we exclusive?
Sure, your blog is a watershed of all your media: where you’ve been quoted or by-lined; where you’ve presented or going to speak; excerpts of your other writings & resources. But your blog can be more than just a regurgitation of what you offer elsewhere.
Your blog is an opportunity for readers to peer into your mind and get a sneak-preview of what’s to come. What can we learn about you and your work, that we may never know elsewhere? Perhaps it’d be too awkward for you to share in person. Your blog can be your mask & diary at the same time. Sound salacious? Even better!
Now stop reading and get to using these tenets. I look forward to seeing how it works out for you. Pop me a quick email with your blog link and any questions you may have: vik@phoneBlogger.net. Also, if your blog markets your expertise or practice, I’ll send you my Blog Brainstormer as a reward for reading this far: just gotta ask. Happy poppy posting!
To listen to the show: http://bit.ly/Zj5Ee0
Today let’s talk about how to take your creative ideas to the blog on your website.
Blogging is a core component of your author platform. It is a venue designed for connecting with your followers. Instead of a simple 140 character tweet on Twitter or a short post or picture on Facebook or Pinterest, blogging gives you a greater opportunity to express yourself, define your platform more clearly, and tell fans and followers in your own words about upcoming events, appearances and places where they can meet you offline and in person. It also creates a wonderful opportunity to say thank you to the venue that hosted your appearance and give them a shout-out on your blog!
Blogging also gives readers a place they know they can use to communicate with you publicly, and where they can refer others to so they can get to know more about you and your voice and overall platform. Readers can also comment on your blogs publicly, if you allow this open dialogue (more on this in a moment).
Blogging can be tricky and often confusing for many. Some don’t know what to write. Others don’t feel they have the time to write their blog posts, much less their books or screenplays.
Here are three reasons to keep your blog up to date and how to do it:
- Let people know you’re active. Your blog is a simple sign of “activity.” Set a schedule and stick to it so you can regularly show up for those who are interested in following what you have to say and offer.
- Highlight what you want people to know about and express your perspective on it. Make sure it is congruent with your platform, book and business or project. This blog post you are reading right now is a good demonstration of this. I blog here about topics related to writing, marketing and getting published. I also blog in other places and on sites related to other topics and platforms I have. My audience for the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show and others who may be interested in working with me in some way or attending a workshop can learn more about my experience and perspective on book publishing and author marketing platforms by reading one of my blog posts—like this one.
- Mix up your content with pictures, videos and/or audio recordings that viewers can look at, watch and listen to. Variety is the spice of life, and the same goes for blogging.
No need to feel that you have to “write” your blog. Post pictures from an event with a short blurb about your experience there. Record a video while you’re out at an appearance or while visiting a venue relevant to your platform. Transcribe the recording and have that transcription become the fodder for the blog you write, instead of being forced to come up with it from scratch!
When you’re blogging or if you’re blogging for the first time as you kickstart or expand your author platform, here are a few don’ts to help you make your posts more effective and so you can avoid some common mistakes:
- Don’t make your post too short. If you want your blog post to be picked up by Google and other search engine results, make sure it is 300 words or longer. If you don’t want your blog post to be picked up by Google or other Internet search engines, then write less than 300 words. This goes for the caption of a picture or video too. The text copy beneath it or around it needs to be 300 words or longer.
- Don’t make your blog too long. Keep your blog posts short and punchy. Use bullet points (like I have here) to break up your content if your post is going to be a bit longer. The average post should be between 500 – 700 words.
- Don’t allow comments to automatically post on your blog. Screen them first so you can post the ones that are relevant and delete those that are not.
- Don’t blog about myriad topics that are not related to your platform. This creates confusion and a disconnect with followers. After several posts on different unrelated topics, they won’t be clear about what your platform is anymore.
If you are extending your platform to include a new area, say so in your post.
Blogging can support you with your author platform in ways some of the other online opportunities can’t. It can also help you to use your book as your hook to boost your platform and voice.
If you’re not blogging now or if you are skeptical about using this tool to reach your audience and build a bigger following, I encourage you to take a second look at blogging so you can use this essential and fun technique to drive your author platform.
Vikram Rajan, founder of Practice Marketing Inc. and its Internet word-of-mouth referral marketing service, and book club hit author, Rochelle Weinstein, will appear as guests on the Your Book Is Your Hook! Show on WomensRadio.com.
Mr. Rajan will discuss blogging and its importance for growing your followers as well as options you have to blog if you don’t have the time. Ms. Weinstein will discuss her new book, THE MOURNING AFTER, and share how she got published along with three marketing tips about how she uses her book as her hook.
To listen to the show:http://www.womensradio.com/2013/04/author-platform-bloggi…
New York, NY (April 30th — May 6th, 2013): Vikram Rajan, founder of Practice Marketing Inc. and its Internet word-of-mouth referral marketing service, will talk with radio personality and host Jennifer S. Wilkov about the importance of blogging and growing followers via word-of-mouth referral marketing.
He’ll also discuss why writers should blog, regardless of whether you are a fiction, nonfiction or children’s author. Vikram will also talk about publishing his own book, “365 Marketing Thumb-rules: Daily Reminders for Rainmakers,” and share his perspective of blogging and its role in the future of the book publishing industry.
Book club circuit hit author and blogger Rochelle Weinstein will discuss with radio personality and host Jennifer S. Wilkov her new book, THE MOURNING AFTER, set to release in June, how and why she wrote it, and how she chose to publish it. She’ll also talk about how she’s using her book as her hook and how she comes up with and research her plot points. She’ll also share advice for writers who want to write and publish a novel in today’s publishing world.
Host Jennifer S. Wilkov will discuss the author platform and blogging do’s and don’ts during her Education Corner segment during the show.
Click Here to Listen Now: http://bit.ly/Zj5Ee0
If you have questions about any of these interviews or the education corner topic included in the show, please put them here in this discussion thread and I’d be happy to answer them.
Guest Blogger, Steven Arvanites, founder of NYC Screenwriters Group
To listen to Steven’s interview on the show: http://bit.ly/UieCca
When I started screenwriting nearly 13 years ago, I could not imagine the creative journey I would take. As in any profession there are many highs, as well as lows. If there is one defining lesson I have learned it is to enjoy success because another challenge is always around the corner. Perseverance is the best defense against failure and to always remember – it is never personal and it’s all about relationships.
Also, I learned screenwriting is not a hobby. It is a vocation and craft. If you treat it seriously, you learn it like electrical engineering or truck driving. Malcom Gladwell says you must do something 10,000 hours to be really good at it. As a script analyst, I am always asked by clients how they can improve their writing. First, it takes many hours of BIC time (butt in chair) and, secondly, read other scripts good and bad. Screenwriters have a unique challenge to write textually but create a visual tableau. This is an oxymoron, but there lies the thrill.
In studying the craft of other writers, you’ll find they all have a unique voice. What is a “voice?” No one way to describe it but you know it when you read it. When you read Juno by Diablo Cody, you hear a voice. When you read a David Mamet play, you hear his voice. When you see any Charlie Kaufman movie, you know it can only come from his mind. So how do you develop a great voice? First, it comes from writing what you truly love. It is your thoughts, ideas and feelings unfiltered. Most of all, it is a point of view on a subject, feelings or behavior that is entirely yours. It is embracing what is uniquely you. But you can never find your voice by writing one screenplay. It is something that is defined, honed over many drafts and incarnations.
Finding your voice happens when you do not try to imitate door please others. It comes from place of confidence and knowing that what you have to say is entirely unique and cannot be copied by anyone else, as it is solely your point of view on paper.
Finding your voice has rewards creatively and financially. Ultimately, you will become a brand that producers seek out for their projects. They pay substantial sums to have you pen your voice on a paid assignment that you have practiced and refined over months and sometimes years.
When writers from my organization, NYCscreenwrter.org, inquire about how to be a good screenwriter, I usually give themthe Greek philosopher Socrates’ advice and say, “know thyself.” Knowing what makes you uniquely you is essential. You will be happy in your personal and professional life. By truly knowing what makes you tick, you can transfer it onto page quickly and confidently.
And, finally, the answer to the question, “how to be a good screenwriter?”; it is no secret. The answer is hard work. Always practice your craft, develop your voice and you will find inner and outer success. Good luck and remember, writing is rewriting.
Free membership: http://nycscreenwriter.org/MEMBERSHIP.html
Please contact me: email@example.com
To listen to the show: http://bit.ly/xnnKR4
Today let’s talk about why it’s essential to treat your book and writing career like a business.
Although the facts show that less than 10% of writers make a full-time living from their books, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your book and writing career as a hobby.
The fact is your book is a business and your writing career really is a profession. If you treat it that way, it will grow.
All good businesses require new product creation, creative product introductions, great marketing platforms, sales strategies, savvy financial management, good legal representation and more.
How do you treat your writing career and books? Are they a hobby? Or do they have scheduled times in your calendar for you to pay attention to them?
Business managers like today’s show guest, Anita Katzen, see creative artists like writers treat their careers as a hobby but spend money on them and from them like it was a business with a paycheck. If you want your writing career to pay, then you’ll need to treat it as a business so it has every opportunity to generate money for you.
Writers really are a dime a dozen. More than 81% of Americans want to write a book. The writers who succeed see their craft as a discipline that requires a support team and give it their dedicated time and attention.
Today’s author guest, Carla Neggers, knows this well. She writes more than one book a year and continues to grow her writing career and business. Every time we have the opportunity to talk with her about another book, she’s constantly expanding her reach, following, number of bestsellers and her sales. She’s a great example of how to treat your books like a business.
Writing is really a full-time job. It requires everything you’ve got from great imagination to research, creativity, craft and perseverance. It also requires joy and commitment to make it work and to make you want to keep doing it day in and day out.
If you intend to use your books as your hook for your great writing career and legacy, treat it like a business. When you treat your projects well and support them with everything you’ve got, they’ll support you and your dreams in ways you may have never imagined.
Guest Blogger, Anita Katzen, CPA & Partner at Schulman Wolfson & Abruzzo LLP
To listen to Anita’s interview on the show: http://bit.ly/xnnKR4
When people think of the entertainment industry they think of the fame, privilege, perks, and financial success. What is not in the forefront are the team who help guide the entertainers such as agents, lawyers, stylists, personal assistants and business managers, to name a few. These professionals become not just business related necessities but confidants and an important part of managing fame.
Unfortunately, too often, we hear of entertainers who end up losing it all, filing for bankruptcy, and even some having no place to live. This can partly be the result of poor business management advice. Finding the right business manager is important to protect the things that are important: financial stability, planning for the future, and sustaining life while doing what you are passionate about.
In my over 25 years as a successful business manager for the day to day finances, finding the right business manager can come down to three areas: Helping you map out what is important to be financially content, helping you control your spending, and helping you save for not just the ups and downs but the future.
Here are a few things to take into consideration when looking for a great business manager:
Helping you map out what is important…
A good manager steers their clients to make their money work for them. Helping clients get a handle on purchasing what they need as opposed to what they want. It is important to find out “what are the top 5 things important to you?” The answers could range from the tangible such as clothing, travel, and entertainment to future security. The bottom line is they can always easily answer the question. My belief is they can have all they want, but they have to do away with everything else that you don’t really care about.
Helping you control spending…
It is vital to find someone who will help get control of spending, which in some cases could take years to stabilize. Many clients engage a business manager because they have found themselves in debt. Often, entertainers, especially early in their careers, spend more than they make. They don’t take into consideration the fees going out for the agent and manager; usually 10% for agents and 15% for managers. In some professions in the industry, such as models, the agent fees are sometimes 20%. After those fees they need to pay the expenses like everyone else which include taxes, personal expenses, and living expenses.
To combat with the fees, the entertainers’ mentality usually is I WANT IT NOW! Unfortunately so many don’t know what it means to do without or even just put off buying something on a whim. A good business manager will try to teach their clients the difference between wants and needs. This becomes especially important when most have an unsteady income. For example, an actor’s series ends; or musicians often have many sources of income that are unpredictable and erratic; producers and filmmakers work years on a project. Often there is not a big payday at the end of these projects. The concept of wanting it now can be particularly challenging in today’s world. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements, promotions, and tactics to show us what is available to buy, making it even harder for people who don’t have a controlled spending mentality.
Helping you plan for the future…
A good business manager pushes their clients to save money. That savings will help them carry through the tougher times, when the paychecks are not rolling in, and will help them maintain their cash flow in retirement. I always stress to my clients that you need to have your assets work for you. For example, if they have vacation homes, they could rent out when they are not using them. Entertainers who purchase many homes cannot necessarily afford to pay the overhead without receiving rental income.
A good manager is not afraid to say NO. They are there to pay the bills, make sure the entertainer is receiving their income through contracts, payroll, and residuals. They are most importantly there to make sure the entertainer is putting their money away for the future and for retirement.
I think the best example of what you are looking for can be found in this quote from my client, Melissa Archer, an actress on One Life to Live, “When I first met my business manager I didn’t know much about money except how to spend it. When someone could take me, the girl who spent money like tokens at the arcade, and put me on a budget that worked for my personality, and then saved me a ton of money, that to me is a good business manager. Someone you can trust and someone who wants you to do better”