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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Amazon Tagging: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

I've written about tagging on Amazon a few times on this blog. Here's a link to my original post which explains what it is and how authors with books for sale on Amazon can benefit from it.

To recap briefly, Amazon now allows anyone who has ever bought a product at the store in question to apply 'tags' to any book on sale there. Potential buyers can click on the tags associated with a book to see a list of other titles which have had the same tag applied (and which presumably they might therefore be interested in as well).

Tagging may also be used by Amazon to inform their 'You might also like...' recommendations, and so forth. All this makes it potentially a very powerful promotional tool.

In recent weeks I've been paying much more attention to tagging on Amazon - not only of my own books, but those of other writers as well. It strikes me that the system is poorly understood, and also sadly under-utilized by authors and publishers. It is also, unfortunately, open to abuse.

In my travels across the Amazon (LOL) I've seen plenty of examples of bad and even ugly use of tagging. Let's start with an example of the latter. Here are the tags for Dead and Alive, Book 3 in Dean Koontz's Modern Frankenstein series...

As you can see, these tags appear to have been applied by one disgruntled reader who has taken the opportunity to protest at what he considers an unreasonable delay in releasing the book. (In fact, if you read the reviews, you will see that Dean and his publishers had a very good reason for delaying this New Orleans-set title.)

I call this ugly tagging, because it is simply one person (ab)using the system to make derogatory comments. It's very easy to see how this sort of thing could get out of hand. Amazon might then have to introduce an approval system before any tags are applied (or, more likely, scrap the system altogether).

Fortunately 'ugly' tagging isn't too widespread, but there are lots of examples of 'bad' or pointless tagging. Here are the tags of a randomly chosen example from Amazon.co.uk, The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger...

Among the tags applied to this best-selling novel, you will see book, books, drama, fiction and other terms which are so vague that they are unlikely to be any help at all in telling people whether they might like the book in question. Some of the other tags, such as overrated, probably fall into the 'ugly' category.

What seems clear is that many people are confused by tagging and its purpose. Only a relatively small number of people apply tags, and an even more minuscule number do it in a worthwhile, sensible way. Paradoxically, however, this makes it a particularly powerful tool for authors and publishers, due to the general lack of competition. (Personally I see no objection to authors and publishers tagging their books, as done properly it helps readers understand the content of the book and whether or not it would appeal to them.)

So what tags should you apply to your book to help boost its sales? First and foremost, they should be specifically relevant to the book. If your novel is set in the sixties, for example, '1960s' could be a good, specific tag to apply. Your book will then appear any time someone clicks on the '1960s' tag on the pages of any other books which also have this tag. If a reader is interested in another book set in the sixties, there must be a good chance that yours will appeal to them as well.

To create such a benefit, your tags should of course be shared by other, related titles. Producing unique tags will not generate any immediate benefits for you, although it might do if people apply the tag to other books subsequently.

Ideally, of course, what you want is for your book to be linked to other, top-selling titles whose Amazon pages attract a lot of visitors. Tagging gives you an effective (and legitimate) way to achieve this, albeit at one step removed. Give your book some of the same tags to a best-selling one, and as long as the tags are specific enough to sound interesting, you will get a proportion of readers clicking on them to see related titles. Hey presto! Your own book will then appear.

Suppose that none of the tags currently on the book page you want to attract potential buyers from is relevant to your book, though? No problem! Just apply an appropriate tag to both your book and the top-selling title. Because of the small number of tags which have been applied so far, this technique currently works well even with best-sellers.

Finally, if you want to get multiple tags for your books, you could do a lot worse than join the co-operative tagging service called Tag My Book on Amazon. Members of TMBOA tag one another's books to help boost their positions (the more times a particular tag is used on a book, the higher up the list it is displayed for that tag). The TMBOA website has separate pages for Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. See also my earlier blog post about this site.

Good luck, and happy tagging!

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Twin Keys to a Long-Term Writing Career

Someone asked me the other day how I get writing work in these recessionary times: is it through advertising, my website, my blog, Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites..?

I think they were surprised by the answer I gave. Nowadays, by far the most important source of work for me is clients I have worked with in the past, often for many years. And the next most important is personal recommendations.

I do get work offers from the other sources mentioned, but it is much less significant in financial terms. Other than maintaining an online presence, I don't advertise my writing services at all.

It comes down to two things really: the first, of course, is delivering a good service to clients, so they want to hire you again. And the second is networking, by which I mean building and cultivating a network of contacts, both online and in the 'real world'.

One obvious method of networking is to build good relationships with the publishers and editors you write for, and other writers you meet and work with. This can pay off in all sorts of ways. First, if they like you and your work, there is every chance they will come back to you for more in future.

Here's an example. Over ten years ago I answered a newspaper ad for a short story writer. I sent in a sample story, which was accepted, and ended up writing 11 more for the novelty publishing house in question. Another editor in the company saw my stories and asked if I'd like to contribute to a project he was working on. The upshot is, for that one company I've written humorous recipe books, Internet guides, quiz books, party packs, 'Cyberbabe' and 'Cyberboyfriend' CD-ROMs, online games, tee-shirt and mug slogans, and many more - all stemming from that one 'little' job ten years ago.

What's more, editors move on to new jobs, and naturally they like to bring their favorite writers with them. An example again: years ago I wrote a series of articles on business-related matters for an editor I'll call Vanessa. That went pretty well, then she got a job as editor for a personal finance newsletter, and she asked me to write regular articles for that as well. This continued for some time, and I even carried on writing for the newsletter for several years after Vanessa moved on.

Then Vanessa went freelance, and one of the assignments she got was writing a series of travel books. While she was working on those, the publisher asked her if she knew any other writers who might be interested in writing a similar book, and she put my name forward. The result was that I ended up writing two books about living and working in Italy and Germany.

Of course, networking is a two-way thing, and it works best if you can reciprocate. So I was pleased to be able to put some work Vanessa's way later with another of the mail-order publishers I work for regularly.

And here's another - slightly strange - example of how networking can pay off for all concerned. Last month, I switched roles with a fellow writer/editor called John, whom I've known for many years. Here's how it happened...

For over ten years I've been editing a series of monthly updates on investment-related topics. Most of them were written by John, though occasionally I contributed one myself.

Anyway, the publishers decided that the series finally had to end, so I thought that was both me and John out a job. Then they got back to say they were launching a newsletter on a similar topic, and would I be interested in editing it for them?

Well, because of all my other work, I didn't want to take on another major monthly commitment. But it occurred to me that John would be ideal for the role, so I recommended him to my client. The result is that John has just been appointed editor, and has asked me to write articles for him every month. So, as I say, we've swapped roles, but otherwise it's business as usual!

These things happen regularly in the writing world. In my view, delivering a good service and building up a network of fellow authors, editors and other publishing industry professionals are the two most important things any writer can do to ensure a long and successful career in this field.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: The Ultimate Podcasting Kit

The Ultimate Podcasting Kit is a new product from WCCL, who also publish my courses The Wealthy Writer, Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing.

The Ultimate Podcasting Kit is written by Bob Ferris. I must admit Bob is a new name to me - as far I know this is his first WCCL production - but he clearly knows his stuff where podcasting is concerned.

The Ultimate Podcasting Kit is provided as an instant download in the universal PDF format. It is therefore suitable for all computing platforms: Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux. The PDF files are password-protected, but that's only a minor inconvenience. Once you have opened them, you can print out all or any of the pages as you wish.

Like all WCCL products, The Ultimate Podcasting Kit is beautifully produced, and it has clearly been professionally designed and edited. The main manual (I'll get to the bonuses later) weighs in at a substantial but not overwhelming 114 pages. It takes you step by step through everything you need to know to create and publish your very first podcast.

Assuming no prior knowledge, The Ultimate Podcasting Kit starts by explaining what podcasts are and how to find and listen to other people's, before going on to discuss coming up with ideas for your own. The manual looks at the different options for creating podcasts before coming down firmly in favour of the open source (and therefore free) Audacity software. It explains how to record and edit your podcast using Audacity and how to publish it online.

Of course, there is no point creating a podcast unless you can get people to listen to it, so the last part of the main manual discusses how to publicize and promote your podcasts. Five chapters are devoted to this subject, so it's covered in considerable detail.

Three bonus reports are also included. Possibly the most useful is Get Audacious With Audacity. This is a step-by-step guide to using the Audacity software (for which a download link is provided). It's illustrated with plenty of screengrabs, and should be sufficient to get even a complete newbie up and running.

The other reports are Sizzling Interview Techniques and How to Produce Sensational Shows. These include lots of ideas and suggestions to help ensure that your podcasts attract (and keep) listeners.

Overall, I was very impressed with The Ultimate Podcasting Kit. Even by WCCL's high standards, I think it is one of their best products yet. If you want to create and promote your own high-quality podcasts, this kit - along with the free Audacity software - should provide everything you need to get started.

Do I have any criticisms? Not really. If I was being ultra-picky, I might like to have seen some mention of the latest Internet radio services such as Blog Talk Radio, which can help bloggers create their own online radio shows and save them as podcasts. Such services do not, however, give anywhere near the same quality you would get by following the methods set out in The Ultimate Podcasting Kit.

To sum up, if you are interested in podcasting - and more and more writers are using podcasts to help promote themselves and their work - and you want to do it to the highest possible standard, in my view The Ultimate Podcasting Kit would be the ideal guide and resource for you.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Win a Book Contest

It must be competitions season at the moment. Here's another one I heard about recently...

This contest is being run by fReado, the free promotional service for authors, in association with author Phyllis Zimbler Miller. The prizes are copies of Phyllis's book Mrs Lieutenant, which you can preview free on the fReado site. I've also posted an image link to the book's Amazon.com page below:

There are actually three separate contests. The first is for readers, and requires you to recommend BookBuzzr (fReado's promotional widget for authors) to two authors on Twitter, who must upload at least one book or excerpt each. Two winners will be drawn at random from all eligible entries. It strikes me that this category may not attract a lot of entries.

Two authors can also win a copy of Phyllis's book in a random drawing. To participate, you must upload at least one book or excerpt using BookBuzzr, and tweet a message about it. This is a good chance to try out the BookBuzzr widget for yourself, and if you have a book (or e-book) on sale, I'd recommend giving it serious consideration.

Finally, for the bloggers among you, the best blog review of BookBuzzr and fReado will win a copy of the book. The blog reviews will be judged by Vikram (CEO of fReado) and Phyllis. To participate, your review must be a minimum of 300 words published on the internet, and again you must tweet a link to it.

The contest is open until May 25, 2009. For full details, please visit this page of the fReado site.

Obviously, this contest is designed to promote fReado and BookBuzzr and bring them to a wider readership. That's no bad thing, however. The service offers a unique (and free) way to publicize your book across blogs and social networking sites. If you've written a book and want to promote it online, it's well worth checking out.

* I plan to use fReado to help promote a new book of my own soon, and I'll aim to publish a more detailed review of the service at that time.

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Friday, May 01, 2009

Danielle and Casey: Coming Soon to My Writing Blog!

I am pleased to reveal that not one but two writers are visiting my blog this month, as part of their respective Virtual Book Tours (VBTs) to launch their latest titles.

On Wednesday 6 May, I will be joined by Danielle Thorne, who will be talking about her new historical romance The Privateer (available in e-book form from Awe-Struck Publishing).
The Privateer is based in 18th Century England, but Danielle actually lives near Atlanta, Georgia! I'll be asking what made her choose to write about this setting and period, and how she went about researching it. And, of course, I'll be getting her top tips and advice for other aspiring romantic/historical novelists.

On Tuesday 26 May, American poet Casey Quinn comes to my blog to discuss his first published volume of poetry, Snapshots of Life, from Salvatore Publishing (soon to publish a novella of my own, by the way).


Snapshots of Life is a collection of witty, humorous but above all accessible poems about everyday life, all presented with a wonderfully ironic slant. I'll also be publishing one of Casey's poems, My Niece, which as an uncle to two teenage nieces myself I could really identify with!

I'll be asking Casey how he got into poetry, and any tips he would like to pass on to other aspiring poets. I'm also planning to find out more about Short Story Library, his free weekly online magazine and writers' forum.

And, as usual, I'll be asking both my visitors to nominate their three favorite writing websites - though I'm pretty sure I already know one of the sites Casey is likely to include!

I'm really looking forward to hosting both these excellent writers on my blog, and hope you will enjoy learning more about them and their books too.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Review: Pod Publicity

Today I'm reviewing a new e-book by Heather Wallace, the full title of which is POD Publicity: How to Take a Print-on-Demand Book From Obscurity to Profitability.

POD Publicity (as I'll call it from now on) is a well-written, downloadable manual in the universal PDF format. It's 67 pages long, so quite concise.

All the URLs are hyperlinked, and I was impressed to see good use of the left-hand Bookmarks panel to provide links to the chapter and section headings. This makes finding your way around much easier than is the case in some PDF manuals.

So far as the content of POD Publicity is concerned, to borrow a well-known advertising slogan, it does exactly what it says on the tin. If you've written a POD book, it will show you a wide range of ways you can promote it. These include blogging, social networking, guest posting on other people's blogs, article writing, forum marketing, and various others.

POD Publicity doesn't tell you how to create your book, though Heather does have some advice on the best services to use, choosing a good title, and so on. Basically, though, this manual is all about publicizing your POD book, and there are some real gems here, based on Heather's experience as the author of two self-published titles, two POD books and three ebooks.

One chapter I particularly enjoyed concerns promoting your book on Amazon, using tags, Listmania lists, Amapedia, and so on. In my view the tips in this chapter - titled 'Navigating the Amazon' (LOL!) - are worth the price of the guide alone.

POD Publicity covers some similar ground to The Best-Seller Secret from my sponsors WCCL. The Best-Seller Secret is aimed at a broader market than POD Publicity, and it sets out a week-by-week pre-launch strategy. On the other hand, POD Publicity is particularly relevant to POD authors, and it offers some great additional tips, many of which are also relevant to non-POD authors.

In my view, if you're going down the POD route, POD Publicity should probably be your first buy, while with other forms of publishing and self-publishing The Best-Seller Secret might be the better choice initially. For the maximum benefit, however, I'd really recommend buying both.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

New Co-operative Tagging Service for Amazon Authors

A few weeks ago in this post I wrote about tagging, an easy and legitimate way for authors to promote their books at the Amazon online bookstore.

Well, I recently heard from author Todd Fonseca about a blog he has set up called Tag My Book on Amazon.

This is basically a co-operative service for authors to help one another get more tags for their books. Essentially, you upload details of your book to Todd's blog, including its Amazon page and the tags you want added (up to three). Other users of the service then visit your book's page and add these tags for you, thus raising your book's profile and helping potential buyers find it more easily.

It's a free service, and depends on the goodwill of everyone involved to make it work. If you hope to benefit, then, you should also spend some time going through the list of requests from other authors and applying tags as requested.

Tag My Book on Amazon is aimed primarily at authors with books listed on Amazon.com, but Todd says he is happy for users whose books are only available on Amazon.co.uk (or other national sites) to use the service also. However, he points out that you can only apply tags if you have actually made a purchase at the Amazon store in question, so UK users are unlikely to get as many tags as those in the US.

Still, I think Tag My Book on Amazon is a brilliant concept, and if you have any books for sale on Amazon you should definitely check it out. Click here for more information about tagging, and click here to submit your book.

Finally, I also recommend reading the other articles on Todd's blog, especially Tag My Listmania, which reveals how to use Amazon's Listmania feature to help promote your books, and Shelf My Book, which is another co-operative scheme to help promote your title on the Goodreads website.

UPDATE! Todd has now added a dedicated page for authors who want to promote their books on Amazon.co.uk.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Filedbyauthor: a New Promotional Website for Authors

A quick mention today for a new website that offers free publicity for anyone with a book published in the US or Canada.

Filedbyauthor aims to provide a promotional platform for any such writer, by giving them a free, hosted, and e-commerce-enabled web page, ready to be claimed and enhanced. They say:
"With more than 1.8 million pre-assembled author web pages and over 7 million book titles, Filedbyauthor is the most complete site for finding and engaging with authors and their work."
Any published author (or co-author) can access and update their author page, which is linked to individual work pages. In addition to the free level, Filedbyauthor has two paid-for membership levels offering additional web marketing tools. These include blogs, additional linking and media postings, event listings, online press kits, and banner customization.

Filedbyauthor isn't just for authors, though. Any reader can join the Filedbyauthor community and start connecting with authors. Readers can fill in their own pages, collect favorite authors and books, write reviews, rate works and authors, and comment through wall postings.

Although most of my books are published in the UK rather than North America, I qualified for inclusion on the site by virtue of a couple of titles and duly claimed my page. I haven't done much with it yet, but you can see it if you like by clicking on the banner (provided automatically by the site) below.

View Nick Daws's profile on FiledBy

It's early days for Filedbyauthor - and the site itself is still in beta - but already it looks as though it may become an important resource for both writers and readers world-wide. If you've had any books published in North America, in my view it's well worth claiming your author page now.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

My Latest Amazon Vine Book Review

I recently read and reviewed my latest book from the Amazon Vine programme. I thought perhaps you might be interested to see it.

The book in question is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer. It's fair to say it's not a book I would have read normally, although the fact that it is partly set in Guernsey - which I visited earlier this year - piqued my interest.

Anyway, I'm pleased to say I enjoyed it a lot more than my previous Amazon Vine selection. Here's a (slightly edited) version of my review.

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I must start by saying that I have an innate prejudice against books written entirely in the form of letters. However, this novel went a long way towards curing me of this.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is set just after World War 2, when the German occupation of Guernsey in the Channel Islands had only recently ended. The central character is a writer, Juliet Ashton, who begins a correspondence with the members of the eponymous society. They are a group of disparate individuals who met regularly during the occupation to read and discuss books, keep their spirits up, and provide mutual support (and as they tell their stories, it becomes clear that the support given was very much practical as well as emotional).

I found reading this book a bit like listening to a radio play. Each of the letter-writers has his or her own distinctive voice, and gradually you get to know and understand them better, through both seeing what they write themselves and what others write about them. Although I do still have some reservations about novels written entirely in this form, I have to admit it works well at showing readers the characters from different perspectives and bringing them more vividly to life.

The book is perhaps a little slow in the beginning, as we read letters sent between Juliet and her publisher and other people in her life such as her friend Sophie. As the correspondence with members of the society gets into its stride, however, the book becomes much more gripping. There is a lot of presumably well-researched information about what life was like in the Channel Islands during the German occupation, and it really does bring this lesser-known aspect of WW2 into vivid focus. To the author's credit she pulls no punches about the worst aspects of life at that time, both in Guernsey itself and in the Nazi concentration camps. Some readers might find certain scenes described in the book quite disturbing.

It does, however, have a happy ending. A harsh critic might say that it has a touch of the Mills & Boon about it as Juliet finally finds True Love, but of course I would say no such thing!

In summary, then, this is an entertaining and at times moving novel, with a fascinating background. I will certainly look out for Ms Shaffer's next book, though I might prefer it if next time she uses a more conventional narrative format!

Here's a permalink to my review on Amazon.co.uk, in case you'd like to read it in situ. By the way, if you do visit, and you like the review, a 'Helpful' vote is always appreciated!

Finally, I've included image links to the book's sales pages at Amazon.com and co.uk at the foot of this post. Note that, as this was an Amazon Vine selection, the book won't actually be available to buy until next month. Note also that if you are receiving this post by email, you will need to visit my blog to see the image links.

Happy reading!



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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Book Proposal Secrets - $10 Discount

A while ago in this post I mentioned Book Proposal Secrets, the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers.

Book Proposal Secrets takes you step by step through everything you need to know to create a book proposal that will knock the socks off a potential publisher.

I've had some good feedback from those of you who have bought Book Proposal Secrets, but one comment that came back to me was that some of you felt that at $47 it was a bit pricey. I'm not sure I agree with that actually, as if it enables you to get just one book contract from a publisher, it will have paid for itself many times over.

But even so, I appreciate that $47 isn't just small change. So I've found a 'back door' way to get readers of this blog an extra $10 discount.

Just click on any of the links to Book Proposal Secrets in this post and you will be taken to a special, unadvertised order page, where you can get Book Proposal Secrets for just $37 (that's just over 19 UK pounds for those of you on this side of the pond).

This is perfectly legal and legitimate, but I don't know how long the special price will be available - so if you're interested in buying Book Proposal Secrets, I strongly recommend you don't wait too long. If the link doesn't work, I'm sorry, but it means the offer will have been pulled by WCCL.

By the way, if you want to see the full sales page for Book Proposal Secrets you can do so by clicking here, but DON'T order via this page or you will be charged the full 47 bucks. Use the special links in this post.

And finally, the links in this post will take you to the standard credit/debit card order page, but if you'd prefer to pay by Paypal - and still get the $10 discount - please use this special Paypal link.

Happy proposal writing!

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Review: Book Proposal Secrets

Book Proposal Secrets is the latest in WCCL's range of products and courses for writers, which also includes my courses Write Any Book in Under 28 Days and Quick Cash Writing.

The author of Book Proposal Secrets is Mel McIntyre, who has also written several other WCCL courses (and will soon catch up with me as WCCL's most prolific author of writing courses!). It is provided as an instant download in the universal PDF format. It is therefore suitable for all computing platforms, Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux. Book Proposal Secrets is password-protected, but that's only a minor inconvenience. Once you have opened it, you can print out all or any of the pages as you wish.

Like all WCCL products, Book Proposal Secrets is beautifully produced, and it has clearly been professionally written and edited. The main manual (I'll get to the bonus items later) is 61 pages long, and takes you step by step through everything you need to know to create a book proposal that should knock the socks off a potential publisher.

For those who don't know, I should explain that writing a proposal is an alternative method to trying to sell a completed book. The method has the big advantage that if you can 'hook' an agent or publisher with your book proposal, you may be able to get a contract before you have even written the book itself. At the very least, if you get an expression of interest, you can go ahead and write the book with every expectation that it will be published. And even if you have already written your book, many publishers and agents nowadays prefer to receive a proposal initially rather than the whole manuscript.

It should be mentioned that this method is best suited to writers of non-fiction books, however. A new novelist would be highly unlikely to sell a book on the basis of a proposal and outline alone (though it's been known!).

Anyway, Book Proposal Secrets explains exactly how to craft the perfect book proposal. At its core is the author's ten-step method for creating and structuring your proposal - from Step 1, 'The Hook', through to Step 10, 'The Query Letter'. Mel explains how to write each section of your proposal, with links to other useful resources where appropriate. The advice is given with particular reference to the US market, but most of it would apply equally to writers in the UK and other parts of the world as well.

In addition to the main guide, you get various bonus items. These include a set of book proposal templates you can use to help produce proposals for a number of different types of book. These include how-to and self-help books, gift books, sales and marketing books and true crime books, as well as a generic book proposal template. These set out exactly what items your proposal should contain for the genre in question, though it must be said that several of them are actually quite similar!

You also get a bonus guide titled 'People you MUST know to get published'. This doesn't list agents and publishers as you might expect, but rather points you to various resources and (especially) websites that have the relevant information on them. This is a sensible approach, as contact details for agents and publishers are constantly changing. It therefore makes sense to list specialist websites that publish this info, rather than compiling a directory that would swiftly go out of date. Some of the websites listed in the bonus guide are free, but others charge a modest subscription.

The other bonus is a guide to 'power words' to punch up your proposal. This sounds quite useful, though as I haven't seen this particular item (it was only added to the package after I received my review copy) I can't actually tell you any more about it!

Overall, Book Proposal Secrets is the most complete guide to writing book proposals I have seen, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know how to produce a professional-looking proposal that has the best possible chance of being accepted. My only slight criticism is that I would like to have seen a few more examples of successful proposals that resulted in a publishing contract being offered. Still, maybe that's something for the next edition!

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Grab This Free Report on Publicising Your Book!

If you've written a book, or are in the process of writing one, here's a free report you won't want to miss.

Beyond the Press Release: 10 Exciting Book Buzz Ideas That Will Take You to the Top is written by Sandra Beckwith, an award-winning US book publicist, author of two publicity books, and online course instructor for Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz. You can download the report free of charge by clicking on this link.

The report comes in the form of a highly professional-looking PDF. It's much more than just the 10-point list I half-expected to receive. There are 13 pages of excellent advice on promoting your book, including some ideas I'd certainly never thought of myself. For example, here's an extract from Idea 9, Start Your Own Holiday:
Whether its serious or lighthearted, your holiday can be the launch pad for an annual publicity campaign.

Every year, humor writer Jen Singer generates national publicity for her collection of laugh-out-loud parenting essays, 14 Hours 'Til Bedtime, through the holiday she created, 'Please Take My Children to Work Day.'

How can you not smile when you see that title? Whether you're a humorist, a science fiction writer, or a biographer, you can use this technique to generate buzz for your book every year, too.

Start by brainstorming ideas for a holiday that is appropriate and relevant to your book but attention-getting, too. A funny holiday will get more attention than a serious one, but a lighthearted concept isn't required. Here are a few examples using books written by a few students in my book publicity course to get you thinking:

'Visit a Cemetery Day' for Grave Matters: A Journey through the Modern Funeral Industry to a Natural Way of Burial
'Call a Sick Friend Day' for How to Say it When You Don't Know What to Say: The Right Words for Difficult Times
And Sandra goes on to explain how you can make your holiday 'official' by registering it at a certain website.

As well as the free report, you also get a free subscription to Sandra's monthly newsletter. This is also very informative, and includes interviews with successful authors and publicists, tips on publicising your work, and much more. Obviously, though, you can unsubscribe to the newsletter any time you like.

I'm sure Sandra hopes that as a reader of her report and newsletter, you might like to buy her book publicity guides and workbooks, attend one of her courses, or even hire her professional services. However, there is no hard sell involved. I've also corresponded with Sandra recently, and found her friendly and helpful.

As I said above, if you're writing a book or have written one, I do recommend going to Sandra's website and grabbing a copy of her free report while it's still available.

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