Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DIY. Show all posts

Friday, January 8, 2016

Announcing an A-Z and DIY Book Publicity Course -- with Me!


Announcement

(Note: as of 15 January, the early interest form is closed. I expect to launch the course this week. If you are still interested in being part of the early interest group, however, email me and I'll handle it.)

Hello again, friendly readers! I am pleased to announce that this winter I am launching a course on Udemy. It will be on DIY book publicity, which I often talk about, but it's going to be a total package, an A-Z course on what I do for my clients, how I do it--and how you can do it, too. If you are interested in knowing when it launches, enter your info here. The people who tell me they are interested using this form will get first dibs and a discount code for the course if they join in the first month! Feel free to spread the word if you think you know someone else who might be interested. If you refer three or more people who enroll in the course, you'll get something extra special just for you.

If you take the course you can look forward to knowing how to identify the best places to get publicity for your creative work, what to say when you contact them, and how to keep the whole thing organized. You'll also get office hours where I'll be available for Q&A, a message board just for fellow students in the course--and lots more. Sign up now to be among the first to know when it's live, and get yourself that discount on tuition the process.

Goals and 2015 Wrap-Up

2015 was the year of nearly no blog posts for  me. While I don't foresee ever being a particularly prolific blogger, I'd like to offer you more value this year.

See, the thing with my Book Marketing without BS brand is that if I have nothing to say, it seems silly to me to create a blog post to say nothing or to repeat myself. That said, I think I can do better than I have. I have retained some topic suggestions from the last time I asked people what was on their minds, but please let me know (in the comments or by email) what topics you'd like to see with regard to book publicity and marketing.

Those are my goals. What are yours? What do you look forward to this year? And don't forget to tell me you're interested in my course so you can reserve an earlybird discount code.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fall Workshops: First Lead-Up Exercise for Twitter




Hello again, everyone! I have two social media for authors workshops coming in September, one in Pickering and one in Brampton. In preparation I have exercises participants can work on over the summer. They will then bring the results with them to the workshop on the day they attend.

Since I am doing this in conjunction with BeNovel Marketing Services, the exercise is hosted on its site. Go take a look, and if you are in or have friends in the GTA, please share this with writers you think may be interested. Early-bird pricing has a few weeks to go and you won't want to miss out on the hefty discount for getting in on it early!

Register here (scroll down, the registration is right on the page), and view the Twitter Challenge exercise here.

Coming soon: tips for editing comic book scripts.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Self-Planning for Self-Promotion: A Book Marketing without B.S. Web Workshop

I am doing an in-depth online workshop on self-promotion for all authors and comic creators. This isn't just for the self-published, either. If you're published by any house, big or small, you know how much work falls to you for your own book marketing and publicity. In fact, it's telling that my clients primarily fall in the small-to-medium publisher category, with the next largest being major publishing houses. (And yes, I have a few self-published/owner-created comics clients, too!)

Right now there are two dates: Thursday, March 27th at 7 p.m. Eastern Time and Sunday, April 13th at 1 p.m. Eastern Time (get those tickets here). I will do this again a few times a year as long as there is interest, so if you miss these, let me know what time is good for you and I will take that into consideration when I schedule the next one. (Also, if you can gather 6 or more people interested in the workshop, I'll create another event at a time chosen by your group.)

Here is a tentative course outline:
  • Pre-Planning
    • Honestly determine your strengths and capabilities
    • Choose the right tools for you
    • CreateSpace and other print-on-demand vs. traditional printing vs. ebook-only
    • Decide whether to create a business entity or publish under your own name
  • First Steps
    • Plan and Outline
    • How far in advance to send review requests?
    • How far in advance to hire help if you are going to?
    • How to get blurbs?
    • Publicity: interviews, guest blogging
    • What about traditional media?
    • One-sheets for mailed books
    • Book trailers and other video
  • Details
    • How many and what type of targets?
    • Get your data right here!
    • Review copies: physical vs. electronic
    • Keep consistent, good records
    • What does return on investment mean in this context?
    • Social media: tips, tricks, and useful apps
  • Obstacles
    • Toughening up to criticism--or how to cope if you can't
    • Connections and networking: more important than you think
    • Growing too fast: slow follower growth is GOOD
    • The importance of honest people
    • Self-publishing and industry respect
  • Q&A
This should all take between 90 minutes and two hours, depending on how many questions there are--and please do bring questions! Also, feel free to email me questions ahead of time if you don't see them addressed in the outline and I'll do my best to work them into the material.

Buy tickets here:
I look forward to meeting with you soon!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Self-Promotion for Authors and Comic Creators Webinar Update: Timing Survey

Hi, all! I am planning that webinar on self-promotion for writers and comic creators sometime this month. It's an update and expansion on the free talk I gave at SFContario this past fall. I plan to charge somewhere in the neighbourhood of $15 for the session, which I expect to take 1.5 to 2 hours. If you're potentially interested in this, take this survey to help me get an idea of the best day and time to run a session. I'l consider two sessions if necessary, or even more, depending on response, so tell me what works for you and I'll make a schedule late this week. Anyhow, here's the survey for your radio button-clicking convenience:


Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Self Publishing Comics Panel Report: A Guest Post by Ricky Lima

This past January there was a comics self-publishing event at PAMA (a local art gallery and historical archive). On the panel were Sanya Anwar (Site | Twitter), Ricky Lima (Facebook | Twitter), Jason Loo (Site | Twitter), and David Bishop (Facebook | Twitter).  I was unfortunately unable to make the event, so I asked Ricky to tell me about it in the form of the guest blog post you are about to read. I hope you enjoy it, and let me know if there are similar events in your city you might like to report on. 

Bishop, Loo, Anwar, Lima (L-R)
Photo credit: Stadium Comics


Peel Art Gallery, Museum, and Archive is hosting an exhibit dedicated to graphic story telling. The gallery has an awesome collection of original pages from True Patriot which is a comic anthology focused around Canadian stories and superheroes. To go along with the exhibit PAMA  organized a couple of panels and workshops about the comic industry. I was asked to run a panel on independent comic self publishing. I gathered a jolly crew of fellow self-publishers and we spoke to a crowd intent on independently creating comics. David Bishop, Jason Loo, Sanya Anwar, and I split the panel into four categories: inception, creation, production, and marketing.


Inception

In this first segment we discussed how a creator gets their ideas. It was interesting to note that creators can't create in a bubble: everything we talked about was inspired by something else. Sanya's book 1001 is inspired by the old story of Prince Ali Baba, and Jason's webcomic is an expansion on the Star Wars universe. All the panelists made it clear that it is important for a creator to consume everything they possibly can so they can learn as much as possible. As strictly a writer I've always been told that I should be reading 24/7. While I think that is true, I feel that it's a little misguided in that the scope is too narrow. As a creator you should be consuming 24/7. Not just reading, not just looking at art, but consume everything you enjoy, and sometimes things you don't in various. This way you'll be a well-rounded creator with a fresh perspective for any medium.

Creation

The next portion focused on techniques people use to get the work done. It all boiled down to, “Just do it!” The panel agreed that creators often get caught up in their own head and don't actually get anything done. World building is great and thinking up every single detail can be beneficial, but there reaches a point where thinking about it simply won't do. David explained to us how he had a very specific time for creating. He wakes up super early before work and makes comics for an hour or two. Everyone's process is different but the most important thing to remember is that if you're not doing it, it's not getting done.

Production


The most technical portion of the panel was when we talked about production. When getting things printed it's very important to understand what technical terms like “bleed” and “CMYK” are before you begin (FYI: Bleed is the area around a page that will be cut off, and CMYK is a method of blending colours. Computer screens use RGB and printers use CMYK, this creates a slight difference in colour from screen to paper). Different printing houses were discussed as well, major recommendations were given to Toronto's Guerrilla Printing and Houston's LithoNinja. Printing comics can get pretty expensive so it's important to find a printer that has prices that fit your budget.

Marketing

Finally we discussed how to market our books. In comics we're lucky because we have such a great support group of comic conventions that allow us to meet people interested in comics and picking up our books. Cons are the lifeblood of an indie creator and should be used to their full potential. At a con you can create a lifelong fan and repeat customers. From there, thanks in part to social media, you can connect with them and build the relationship. In the comic industry we're also lucky that a sizable portion of our audience are digital natives (i.e. people born during the internet age, so they are completely comfortable with digital reading). The internet is an extremely useful tool in connecting with fans all across the world and should be used effectively and consistently. Personally marketing is my personal favourite part of the comic game because it allows me to meet the people who are reading my book and ask them what they think. I love hearing what people think and seeing how they react to the book and if they have an feedback that's even better. Our book grows through feedback. 

The self publishing panel held at the lovely PAMA building was informative for all. The panelists and myself stayed after for a couple of hours to answer people's questions. I met a ton of cool people in Brampton who are longing to do amazing things. To me that's the most important part of any city: people with ideas. I like to think that the self publishing panel inspired some of those people to go out and get things done. I know seeing people so excited inspired me to continue doing cool things and getting my work done.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Winners Announced!

Thanks once again to everyone who entered and who shared and tweeted. Your support is fantastic and I couldn't do this without you. This has also been a great chance to promote my non-publicity campaign services, of which there are many you can see here. Some of my favourites are social media planning and coaching, and copy editing, and even though it's not officially on the list, I enjoy critique as well. It's likely to end up on the list at some point. So please contact me and ask about these other services. I can work with any budget, so don't be shy.

Anyhow! here are the three winners:

Karina Sumner-Smith Site | Twitter
Jessica Meddows Site | Twitter
Teri Kline Twitter (and yes, I know the name on the Twitter account doesn't match this. ;))

I have been in touch with all of them, and it is my hope that I can help them and also have some fun in the process.

I know many of you joined the email list to enter the contest. I hope you'll stay, but if not, you should be able to unsubscribe easily from the next email you get, or if you're in a hurry contact me and I'll take care of it for you.

Coming tomorrow, a guest post about a local self-publishing in comics panel, and next week it's back to regularly scheduled programming!



Monday, February 17, 2014

Enter Here to Win Free Consulting or Critiques!

Subscribe (and confirm--check that spam email box!) to my email list and you will be entered to win two consulting or editorial hours. You can use the time toward:
  • Help creating your book or comic's marketing plan
  • A complete flash fiction critique and copy edit
  • A full social media consultation and plan
  • A brief critique of a novella or a partial of a novel 
  • Website critique/planning assistance
  • Any other publishing- or marketing-related consultation time
Three winners will be selected at random from mailing list subscribers who have joined and confirmed by clicking the response link (remember it may go to a spam filter) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, February 19th.

Not sure how to join the list? Subscribe right here.

Note that the prize will be delivered no earlier than March 15th, 2014. I will work out final details with the winners, whom I will announce on Thursday, February 20th.

I'll take this opportunity to also remind you that I provide all of the above services at reasonable rates, so if you aren't the winner, contact me and let me know what you need and we'll put together a plan that fits your budget.

Good luck, and spread the word to anyone you think may be interested!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Promise of Better Craft in Self-Publishing (or Slow the Eff Down): Book Marketing without B.S. #10

The other day Chuck Wendig shared a blog post he wrote entitled "Slushy Glut Slog: Why the Self-Publishing Shit Volcano Is a Problem". You should read it, assuming that some "shit" and "fuck" aren't going to be offensive to your delicate sensibilities, and particularly if you're thinking about taking the self-publishing path or starting a small publisher. It's already up to almost 200 comments, including a long one from Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords. Stick with reading it even though it's long and it may piss you off. It's not an anti-self-pub screed; but, a way toward a solution that elevates independent writers--and to be perfectly blunt--a number of small publishers, too.

Anyway, I won't rehash Chuck. He breaks it down so well that there's no point in my repeating it. Just read.

So... why exactly did you share this as a "Book Marketing without B.S." column?

I am so glad you asked. It's because the flow of the shit volcano reaches my doorstep, too. Now that I accept queries from potential clients, I see work that ranges from amazing to decent to incomprehensible to despair-for-humanity-inducing. The worst ones never reply when I (invariably) suggest obtaining the work of an editor. Well, sometimes they send a nasty reply back, but mostly I take the silence to mean that they stick their fingers in their ears and say "la la la la".

I haven't banned self-published authors (and indeed, some of my fine, fine clients are small publishing house and self-pub), but the vetting process for small publishers and self-publishers takes up valuable time for which I do not get paid. I don't typically have to work this hard at vetting work from medium and large publishers. So in a real and fully tangible way, self-published authors and small publishers (you know the ones I mean: they're made up of one harried person who is putting out too many books per year and thus isn't spending enough valuable time editing) cost me money. Someday I may decide I don't want to pay anymore.

So here is my point that I feel fits nicely with Chuck's blog post:


Slow down

I know you're excited because you think you're done with your book; but you're almost certainly not finished. Walk away for several days or weeks so that you can return to it with fresh eyes. You probably need an editor which you can get for low cost if you can't afford the most experienced people. Or perhaps it is time to look for a really good writers group. Or at the very least cultivate friends who aren't afraid to tell you when something could be improved in your writing. And let's not forget the cover art issue: bad cover art is debilitating. Invest in your cover to the best of your ability.

If you want to put out your best work, you can not be in a hurry to publish. It's about getting it right and putting out a quality product, not about how fast you get your book to market. If you are in a hurry because you're counting on sales of your books for financial support, you are likely making a mistake. Well, unless you're already a known author; but, I imagine if you are that you already know this anyway. If that's not the reason, then why rush this thing? You will, rightly and justifiably, be judged by this product, so make it the best it can be. Slow. The. Eff. Down.

Don't forget that part of the reason more traditional publishing is slow is because the books go through multiple edits and re-writes, and even when all that happens there is often still more that could be done, So why would you think that your first or second draft that no one else has ever looked at was ready? Even a second draft after a few people who just say "it's good!" isn't going to be much help either. Every writer needs an editor--a real editor, not just a yes man--who can help them find structural problems and inconsistencies and typos and strange word choices. You're not any different, which is fine. It means you're in good company.

Even Smashwords' Mr. Coker says in Wendig's comments, "It takes a village to publish great books." So don't do it alone, not because I have sympathy for your overworked plight (nearly all writers are overworked, my special little muffin), but because the best quality books are simply not put together alone. Find your team, the one that works at the level you can afford, however that looks. Be prepared to let things sit for a while. Be prepared to accept constructive criticism and suggestions for edits. Be prepared to re-write.

So make yourself the promise of editing, re-writes, and patience. Make yourself the promise of craft. Even if the way poorly published independent books bring the whole thing down doesn't matter to you (and it really ought to), it should matter to you whether or not you put out the best work that you can. You'll do better in the long run in the most self-interested of ways, and I'd like to think the entire big, messy community will get better, too.

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here, and please send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com. Thank you for your continued support!

Monday, January 27, 2014

How to Handle Social Media Missteps: Book Marketing without B.S. #9

Twitter is often an important tool in the writer's networking arsenal. It's fast, it's short, it's connected. Author Peter V. Brett was reminded last week that those strengths are also its obstacles. Today's blog post is to illustrate that being careful how you compose tweets about controversial or sensitive topics makes a difference, and how you handle it when you misstep makes an even bigger difference. (And if you're active and engaged, it is likely that you will at some point make a social media mistake.)

A Social Media Problem is Born

Last week's genre author twitterstorm was set off when Peter retweeted the following:


How did you read this tweet? Some people took it as he intended (more on that later), but many, many people took Peter to mean any number of things like "It's not fair I can't have more rape without people complaining about it" to "I am making light of a serious topic" to many other things, none of which he intended. It should be noted that Peter has had some controversy about rape in his novels before too, so--fairly or not--he may already have people feeling unsure about his sensitivity.

So he didn't mean it? You'd think I was just taking his word for it; but,  here is his next tweet, posted just a minute after the first one:


If you saw the second tweet, you'd likely get a meaning closer to what Peter intended; but, the problem with Twitter is that the tweets flow by fast and furious, and seeing one is never a guarantee someone will see the next one. I am guilty of dividing thoughts up into two tweets sometimes, so I can understand why it would happen. The low character count feels too limiting sometimes; but, this is a lesson to us all that a complete thought in one tweet is a best practice, especially when it's a sensitive topic such as rape. So what can you do to prevent this on the front end?

Stop and Think

While Peter's intention was good, much like editing in your writing, his meaning would have been much clearer if his second tweet had been his first tweet, and there had never been a second tweet at all. Usually you can be casual on Twitter, but when sharing (again, especially sensitive material,) it is best that you take a moment and consider how it might look to someone else. Put yourself in someone else's shoes and imagine. If you're creating  and writing, this should be something you already do anyway.

It is important to always remember that the only thing we're in control of as is what we say. We can not control how others perceive what we've written, how they'll feel about it, or what they'll say about it. 

Best Way to Handle a Social Media Problem

Problems like Peter's really can happen to anyone. The internet moves so much faster than you could ever anticipate, and it seems bad news travels further and faster than good news. We all have the potential to tweet something that either we should just plain not have said at all, or more commonly, that will be taken in a different way than intended. Maybe you'll realize it right away and delete it in time. Maybe you won't. And if you don't, and you want to handle it with grace, dignity, and humility. In my estimation, Peter handled this (mostly) well. What lessons can you draw? Here is what he did right:

His response was swift
Instead of letting it fester without comment (one of the worst things you can do with your "brand",) he replied quickly and profusely. No one could doubt Peter was doing his best to manage the issue in a timely manner.

He stayed calm and rational
He got a defensive at a few points (more on this and the language of apology later), but given the harshness of some people's reactions and how fast things were moving, I can understand his feeling how he did about it. Overall he kept it sane and decent. He never called names, he never got into any nastiness beyond initial defensiveness.

He expressed remorse
He apologized numerous times and admitted he could have done better and that he understood the other people's points of view.

He had humility
Even to defenders, Peter said he understood how the tweet was interpreted and expressed that he wished he could have handled things differently. He could have just soaked up his numerous supporters' comments and used them to say "See? You people who misinterpreted this are just plain wrong!" but, he did better than that. Here is a good example:


Finally, he put his money to work by donating to a related charity

This was a class act kind of a move, and can never hurt.



What should you do if you have a social media problem?


React quickly, calmly, and evenly as possible
You'll undoubtedly be feeling emotions such as defensiveness, anger, annoyance, and embarrassment; but, from a public relations standpoint you have to put those on the back burner. If you are not able to do that--at least in writing--ask a trusted friend for help in composing your response.

Also, take responsibility completely
That's the one area Peter could have improved on. His apologies were touched with the "I apologize to those who took my comment that way" and " I apologize for wording that could be interpreted as such". This (I assume unintentionally) serves to put some of the responsibility back on the offended party, and also doesn't indicate any sympathy for the people who were upset--which is important in smoothing over feelings. Better phrasing would have been something along the lines of, "To those I hurt by my earlier tweet, I offer my apologies. I was not careful in composing my earlier RT. I'll do better in the future." It removes the "if you took it wrong" language, and turns it into "I am 100% accountable" language. Even if you don't fully feel that way on the emotional level, that's how you apologize. That's how you take responsibility.

I should also say that I don't mean to pick on Peter. He did well on the spot and under a lot of pressure. He is not trained in PR and let's be real: writers don't have the money to have staff to help with this sort of thing. I was simply inspired to write about it to help all of you understand how easily this might happen to you, and more importantly how to handle your own social media problem situations as they come up.

I hope you found this useful. I'd be interested to see other situations you think were handled well (or handled badly) if you want to share them in the comments.

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here, and please send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com. Thank you for your continued support!


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Amazon Exclusivity and KDP Select: Book Marketing without B.S. #7

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com.

Once I began working independently of a publisher, I ran into an issue that I hadn’t dealt with before: exclusivity with Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select program. From a publicity perspective I found it frustrating, as I have contacts affiliated with other book-buying outlets and I am unable to call on them in exclusivity situations. Why would they help with a book they can’t sell, after all? Still, I know it is more complicated than that, so here are some thoughts. I hope you'll share yours, too.

I want to make clear that I have no problem with authors and publishers who choose to use the KDP Select program. I understand why. What I am bothered by is Amazon's program itself. Since people make a large percentage of sales through Amazon, they’re often going to be tempted by the higher royalty rate, or rather, seek to avoid the punishment of the 35% royalty rate. There are other benefits as well, such as five days of being able to offer your ebook for free download (though Amazon has nerfed the impact of that  by changing the visibility of the top free books list) and members' books are available for free borrowing by Amazon Prime members, which may net more reviews and definitely nets a share of money.

In a fascinating article by Eoin Purcell,  he compares KDP Select's desire for exclusive content to Netflix’s production of exclusive content. The point that sticks out the most to me is that it reduces user churn. In other words, Netflix wants to keep its current viewers as much—if not more—than it wants to attract new ones. It does this in part by producing and purchasing content that only appears on Netflix. Netflix then promotes this content and funnels it to viewers' eyeballs.

While we have no direct evidence of this one way or another, it makes a lot of sense that Amazon may be trying to do something similar. It wants to keep people paying for Amazon Prime membership, and one of those benefits is free borrowing of ebooks exclusive to Amazon Kindle. It’s no-overhead income for Amazon. Indeed, retaining subscribers is a big moneymaker for pretty much anyone who does subscriptions. While Purcell contends that Amazon is getting this exclusive content without paying for it, I’d argue that it's paying for it with higher royalty rates. Still, they’re not paying publishers and authors what they probably should be given the extent of the benefit to Amazon, and given that all the work of writing, editing, layout, marketing, advertising, and publicity falls squarely on the creators and publishers.

Purcell raises another interesting point when he says that Amazon also gets to see how self-published authors sell during this exclusivity period, which gives them an edge in possibly offering publishing contracts for Amazon Publishing, and of course scads of general sales and marketing data, all paid for (in many ways) by publishers and writers.

One thing that was previously difficult for creators and publishers to control was the timing of promotional pricing. It was hard to predict exactly when it would kick in. Now Amazon has introduced Kindle Countdown, which lets one set parameters of timing. But, naturally, one has to sign up for KDP Select to use it, creating yet more pressure for exclusivity, when someone really ought to be able to schedule the dates and pricing anyway.

How big is the benefit to creators? Many argue that it’s not worth the exclusivity to limit yourself. I myself don’t have any experience that is definitive one way or another. Two publishers I’ve worked with prefer to go this route, but others don’t. I can't argue with the ones who like it when they feel they get a consistent benefit from it, after all. Still, both publishers are fairly young and neither had large marketing and publicity campaigns (of which I am aware, anyway!) prior to doing the exclusive arrangement.

This piece by Jane Litte over at Dear Author raises a really good point that gets to one of the reasons I feel uncomfortable with exclusivity. It starts to feel (to me, not in Litte’s words) a bit like the “company store” phenomenon. What Litte does say is that it can be dangerous because with all your eggs in one basket, what happens if the bottom drops out of the basket? Remember when Amazon removed lots of erotica? What if they come for what you write next for some reason? I know that’s a long shot, but exclusivity gives them complete control over that if they choose to exercise it. What if they decide to change terms in some other legally-covered way? You’ve undoubtedly agreed to a host of terms and conditions when you go with KDP Select, and Litte points out that Amazon changes terms at other times writing, “Just recently they increased the amount you have to buy in order to get free shipping from $25 to $35.” Do you fully understand what you signed when you joined KDP Select?

She also argues that exclusivity harms readers, too. Litte says that by reducing or eliminating competition, some of the drive for innovation—and thus perks for customers—disappears. If Amazon has no competition, they don’t need to win your business. They’ll be the only game in town, then we’re back to the company store of books. Again, though, I can’t blame people for doing it. When most of your sales come from Amazon, and Amazon sweetens the deal, then what’s a struggling small publisher or self-publisher to do?

In any case, many people have looked at this more closely than I have, and authors have generously written about their experiences. You can read, in addition to the above, the below interesting posts, and I am certain that a quick search will net more.


To sum up, on a purely theoretical basis I encourage people not to use Amazon’s KDP Select/exclusivity; but, in the pragmatic sense, I understand why people use it, and I still gladly work with publishers who are part of the program. We all have to work with the resources at hand, and when money is tight (and when isn’t money tight for a small publisher?) then we take what we can.

I am really interested in your experiences and I can even do a follow-up post about what readers are willing to share. Contact me at beverly@beverlybambury.com if you want to discuss your KDP Select experiences. I imagine there is a wealth of experience out there!

Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thank you once again for your continued support.

Remember, I am on blog hiatus until the second week of January. Happy New Year, everyone!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Inspiration vs Newsjacking: Book Marketing without B.S. #6

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com.

My client, writer Chris Irvin, did a blog post about the assassinated Mexican physician and politician Maria Santos Gorrostieta, which inspired his novella, Federales. He was concerned that the post might be interpreted as using a tragedy for his own marketing benefit. I advised that the post was just fine, and that the real problem were things such as the infamous Cairo tweet from Kenneth Cole. Sure, Kenneth Cole got a lot of attention; but, the majority of it was bad, and despite what you may have heard, bad publicity is not as good for your company as good publicity. 

It's not hard to learn more about this concept of marketing tie-ins to tragedy or events. In general, this is often called “newsjacking”, a term coined by David Meerman Scott. Scott does not advocate the use of tragedy in this way; however, and even spoke out against marketers making light of Hurricane Sandy, which you can see in the comments of this controversial HubSpot blog post.

I admit I don’t see how newsjacking could ever be a positive term. I think appending “-jacking” onto something creates a negative connotation. So, what is good newsjacking, then? Why is it a thing? This blog post was a helpful run-down of positives and negatives to watch out for. Finally, if you're interested, it may be useful to also read Danny Brown's reply to the HubSpot post and its replies. .

Consensus is definitely on the side of staying empathetic, kind, ethical, and.... well... classy. Of course there still seem to be people who have no problem making light of tragedy with an eye to profit. I personally find things like that distasteful and certainly the person doing the newsjacking may create a negative association for the brand or individual in the eyes of many potential customers. It's risky at best, and dangerous and cruel at worst.

So did Chris newsjack in a bad way with his post about Maria Santos Gorrostieta? No, not at all. For him--and for all artists--this served as inspiration to create a bigger story, to create art. This wasn’t a casual, off-the-cuff tweet intended to drive traffic to his web site. Indeed, I think painful or tragic incidents are often the inspiration for people to create, which is a healthy, humanist response. A callous marketing effort this was not, and so I feel comfortable saying that inspiration is not newsjacking. They're totally different things, and respectful blog posts about one's inspiration, such as what Chris wrote, is something you should feel completely free to do. If you're ever worried about the tone, ask a trusted (and 100% honest) associate for his or her thoughts.

What do you think about newsjacking and using tragedy to inspire art? Is there a difference? What examples have you seen (of either) that have been particularly bad, or particularly good?

Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thank you once again for your continued support.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

My SFContario 4 Schedule, Including Free, Open to the Public Workshop

Book Marketing without B.S. is taking a week off for U.S. Thanksgiving. Check back next week for #5. In the meantime, I will be at SFContario 4 this weekend (as will my husband. As you can see below, I am not the only Bambury out there!). Saturday is a busy day of panels for me, and Sunday I am running a free, open to the public workshop that will help you create a marketing and publicity plan for your creative work.

Take a look, and if you see me, please say hello! I promise I don't bite. Talk a lot, maybe, but no biting.

Finally, don't forget to check out my recent guest post by Effie Seiberg, all about doing conventions on the cheap.

A Hard Hobbit to Break, Ballroom BC, Sat. 9:00 AM
James Bambury (M), Colleen Hillerup, Beverly Bambury
Three movies? Does Peter Jackson's approach work? Many fans were disappointed in the first film. Will they continue to watch? What was successful, and what failed, in Peter Jackson’s treatment? What are you looking forward to (and what do you fear) in part two, coming out next month? Come out for a lively discussion of all things Hobbit.

SFContario Idol, Courtyard, Sat. 5:00 PM
Debra Yeung, Sandra Kasturi, Hayden Trenholm, Beverly Bambury
Attendees bring in the first page of their manuscript. A presenter from SFContario will read out the manuscript (anonymously) until a majority of our panel of judges ‘buzz’ the story to a stop. Discussion ensues on why they stopped it, what didn’t work, and what did work. A great exercise in story openings that will provide immediate valuable feedback to the writers.

New Philosophies for Science Fiction, Solarium, Sat. 8:00 PM
Karl Schroeder (M), Tamara Vardomskaya, Beverly Bambury
Looking at the values of the past, it is unrealistic to think that people in the future would think the same way we do and hold our values, yet looking at old SF it's exactly what you do see. How do we get beyond that and come up with new ways for people to think about their new worlds?

Don't Blink, Solarium, Sat. 9:00 PM
James Bambury (M), Debra Yeung, Colleen Hillerup, Beverly Bambury
Do Daleks keep you up at night, checking under the bed? Do the Weeping Angels haunt your dreams? Or are you more likely to cower from The Silence or Cybermen? Are you my mummy? Our panelists discuss which of the Doctor’s monsters or arch-enemies scare them the most.

WORKSHOP- Self-Planning for Self-Promotion, Solarium, Sun. 1:00 PM (90 minutes)
Beverly Bambury
Are you a published author being left adrift by your publisher? Are you a self-published author with only yourself to rely on? A plan will help you decide timelines and create an automatic list of things to do and when to do them. In this interactive lecture you will learn how to create a plan for promoting your book, and learn some research tips and tricks to help you along the way. By the end of the program participants will have initial concepts for their marketing plans as well as an outline of what to do next.This workshop is open to the public!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Social Media for the Misanthropic and the Anti-Social: Book Marketing without B.S. #2

Book Marketing without B.S. is a weekly publicity and marketing advice column for writers and other creators who prefer a realistic, clear, and no-nonsense approach. My goal is to help you cut through the bullshit with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow. Send your questions to beverly@beverlybambury.com.

One of the best things about being a publicist, is that I get to do all the social, extrovert, asking-for-things work that my clients usually don't want to do. I get to give them more time to create, and take away the stress of putting themselves directly out there. Also, given that my clients are overwhelmingly writers of dark fiction of some kind or another, they're frequently put off by other social media tone and content. It's too perky and bubbly. It doesn't feel genuine.

In last week's column about why you shouldn't purchase followers, I looked briefly at the question of "So how do I build audience?" and the imagined comment of "But, I'm dark and serious and not that social. Plus I don't sell glasses. This advice sucks!" I get into the topic a little there, and in this post I offer you a few examples of people whose social media skills I admire.

Note that for this article I am only focusing on Twitter. The reason I am not discussing Facebook more is that Facebook's brand pages consistently decrease in direct benefit, and it's a topic for another day. That said, the general ideas still apply for Facebook or anywhere else. If you have questions, leave a comment and I'll reply to it as soon as I can.

There are a number of people whose technique I admire, but I am going to have you take a look at three specific people: Chuck Wendig, Caitlin Kittredge, and Sam Sykes. All three of these writers share common characteristics that have served them well on Twitter.

1 - They don't focus completely on their own work. They do sometimes post about their work or ask us to buy their books. That's perfectly fine and to be expected. Notice though, that it's overall uncommon. Every tweet or every other tweet, or even every tenth tweet doesn't contain promotional language. As I've said before (and based on what I see on twitter every day, I have to keep saying it over again!) you should focus on being an integrated, complete person on social media. This is our new town square. Do you really want to talk to someone or hang out with someone that says the same thing over and over again? You do? Well, you're in the minority, ya big weirdo.

2 - They are highly responsive. They don't reply to everyone who tweets at them, and really, given the amount of stuff coming at them every day there's no way that they could; but, they do respond often. They interact. They are social. If you ignore every tweet that comes at you and you just broadcast and don't use social media for its intended purpose of interaction, you're missing out. Note: sometimes if you're really famous already you can get away without bothering to reply. Many brands and many celebrities can post announcement-only and that works for them; but they were already famous. You can't do that. You're not famous. (Unless you are, in which case, thanks for reading this far, famous person!)

3 - They use their own voices. They swear, they grumble, they don't use bubbly, insincere language. Once again, they are complete, integrated human beings who sometimes talk about their personal lives, sometimes what they're reading, what they're watching, what they're doing, sometimes about community issues, and sometimes about other people's work. (See #4.)

4 - They build community by sharing the work of others. These people also tweet about other people's work. They understand that a strong community and strong sense of teamwork are their own important mental and social benefit. They also understand that it helps sell more books than isolating themselves and acting like they're the only game in town. Remember (and this may be the most important takeaway) word of mouth has to come from other people. If it comes from you, it's as good as useless. So keep sharing the work of others, keep being a member of a community, lead by helping others up and not by cutting them down.

So what can you, personally, do? I really like lists, so let's have another list.

1 - Listen.

2 - Reply to people when it's relevant, and about what they're into. If you reply to push your work you've already failed.

3 - Listen.

4 - Share an appropriate amount. Aside from replies, you shouldn't tweet so much that people's feeds are overwhelmed. And anyway, what do you have to say that's so important? Don't be afraid to be quiet on the original Twitter content if you're interacting frequently with others. Naturally, if you think of something interesting, fun, or relevant to say, then by all means, say it!

5 - Follow others, even if they do not follow you back. Yes. Read that again. You can follow people even if they don't follow you back. Sometimes you may want to tidy your list, and that's cool. I unfollow people if it's just not working for me; but, if you like what someone is saying, or you like their work, just keep following even if they don't follow you back. Of the people I list in this article, only one follows me back, and that's just fine. I like what they have to say and they don't owe it to me to follow back. If you're really there to meet people and grow audience, being relaxed about this sort of thing is a good start. After all, if you only follow people who follow you back, what quality is your audience, anyway?

6 - Listen.

7 - Like I said in #5, quality over quantity. When you get a new follower that might be interested in reading your book, make sure you check out their feed and reply to something of theirs. Don't tell them about your book in this tweet. Why? Because it's already in your profile and probably one or two of your tweets. It's completely unnecessary and redundant, and makes you look desperate. Also see the link in #8.

8 - DO NOT FOR ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY USE DIRECT MESSAGES TO PROMOTE TO YOUR NEW FOLLOWERS. Read this. (And yes, this relates to that point in #7.)

9 - Share different types of content. You can share pictures, you can share links (and try to say why you think they're interesting if you have characters with which to do so,) you can share other people's work you think is good. And yes, sometimes share your work, too.

10 - Social skills and listening: I maaaaay have said something about listening already (maybe), but I want to reiterate, read what people are saying. Reply. Don't make this all about you. It may seem like a paradox to say that getting people to like you is not about you, but in many ways it isn't. Social skills may not come naturally to you, but they can definitely be learned, and if you need to do your own marketing and promotion, it's worth your investment to really stop and look at your behaviour honestly.

So, like I said last time: you won't have a million followers. Respect the ones you have. Cultivate them. Give them the kind of experience you want when you follow people on Twitter.

Thanks for joining me once again. Let me know what you think, and you have my deep appreciation for reading this far. I hope you come back again, and if you're forgetful like me, you can sign up by email.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Guest Blog: Small Press Tips & Lessons from the Booksburgh Book Store Hop

Today's guest blog is by Jennifer Barnes, of small publisher Raw Dog Screaming Press (RDSP). She organizes social media and events, and today she's come by to share her experience organizing a madcap day in which RDSP took over Pittsburgh, doing a reading/signing each hour for five hours, at five different locations. Even if you aren't a publisher, you may find some of these hints useful in organizing events with your writing group or other writer friends. Enjoy!

Heidi Ruby MillerOver the years RDSP has done all kinds of events from gigantic book fairs like BEA to readings in a decommissioned lunatic asylum. It takes a lot of planning to get the most out of events and you can learn from each one. We recently did something we hadn't done before which was a 5 author bookstore tour of Pittsburgh. It was a bit hectic but lots of fun and a great experience. I think a one-city tour is something that could be duplicated by others to good effect so I thought I'd share some tips. 

First I'll give a brief description of how it worked. Five reading/signings were set up at different bookstores, each was scheduled for an hour and they were back-to-back beginning at 1pm and going through 6pm. Each store hosted one of the participating authors so every author got a chance to do a short reading and answer audience questions. You can see the photos we took from the event here.

Stephanie WytovichOne thing that worked well was that most of the authors hopped to each location and were on hand to sign their books. This meant a lot of cross-exposure between authors. I noticed that at each location there were people who clearly came for the featured author; but at the same time they often became interested in one of the other authors.

It was also helpful for someone to briefly introduce all the authors at each stop. Often the featured author who would introduce the others. Having multiple authors is the key to drawing in a larger audience.

We had several attendees who hopped with us to each location. This gave the whole event a party-like atmosphere. We were lucky because our event was planned by a local (thanks Diane Turnshek!) and was sponsored by an organization that supports Science Fiction (PARSEC) in Pittsburgh. These connections were important for getting locals to attend. The authors were from nearby but none lived in the city itself.

K. Ceres Wright, Al WendlandAnother thing that worked well was that all of the stores were very different from each other. One was a University bookstore, one a co-op, another primarily dealt in magazines. We also hopped to a mall store and a traditional used bookshop. This gave us exposure to all sorts of shopping venues.

It's important to be flexible with your sales arrangements to accommodate each venue. We had two stores that ordered in advance; one paid upfront, one was invoiced. The co-op let us sell our
own books while the mall store required signed paperwork. 

Matt BettsThough the stores were very different they were all in fairly close proximity. Even so, it was a little hectic trying to get to each store in time. The author who is being hosted should be prepared to leave the previous event well in advance to be sure to be on time.

This kind of event is best suited for a mid-sized city with a lot of bookstores, like Pittsburgh. However, I could see it working well with spots like coffee shops and bars if your city doesn't have enough stores in close proximity. If the distance and travel time between the locations is too great that could cause problems. We did have a few people getting lost between stops. It's not necessary to have 5 stops though, a 3- or 4-stop author tour might actually work better.

Perhaps the most important tip I can give about bookstore events is to think of them as advertising not sales events. When/if you sell copies that is just the icing on the cake. What you are really doing is advertising your book. You get to do that in three ways:

Jason Jack MillerFirst, when you promote the event you obviously mention that you'll be signing and reading. It gives you a chance to mention your books without begging people to buy them. Next, if possible arrange with the stores in advance to have some kind of book display and signage advertising the event. The even itself is an advertisement because as you travel to each location you get to describe your book to whoever attends. And finally, you should do a post-event wrap up for every event you attend. Share pictures (you must take LOTS of pictures) on social media, blog about your experience, publicly thank the stores who supported you. 

These are all ways to advertise your book without actually mentioning it. Compare this kind of advertising to a print ad and you'll see you get way more bang for your buck. What you've invested is mostly time and gas money with the potential to make very strong personal connections with a few people as well as impress a larger number online. Print ads cost hundreds of dollars but never result in a personal connection, only appear once and are easily forgotten.

all authors' books available
A note about turnout: hope for the best but expect the worst. It's hard to get people to come out of their houses. Things like scheduling conflicts and weather are unpredictable and can prevent people from showing up. This is not a fail and happens to famous authors too! Try to make sure you have at least one close friend or family member that's guaranteed to show, enjoy spending time with the other authors and have fun. If the turnout is low you don't need to mention it in your post-event press. People will see how much fun you had and vow to make it to your next event.


Jennifer Barnes, Chris StoutJennifer Barnes is managing editor of Raw Dog Screaming Press which is currently celebrating its 10th year publishing "fiction that foams at the mouth."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Secret to Contacting Traditional Media for Book Publicity

I haven't contacted as many traditional media outlets as I have websites and bloggers for publicity--if for no other reason than traditional media is on a decline or integrating with online media--but, as it turns out, the secret is that there isn't much of a secret. It still remains connections, politeness, reading directions, and being an all-around good human being.

I go into some of this in my earlier article 5 Steps to a Quality Blog Tour, but here is more info with an eye toward bigger sites/traditional media publicity queries.

Connections
The main difference I've found with my work is that personal connections and networking count for even more with bigger publications, print, television, or otherwise. It's not impossible to get into a major spot without connections; but it's much, much harder. I had a campaign recently that didn't go as well as I'd have liked, because it was outside of my usual industry and I had almost no connections. I got some traction, but it wasn't even close to my usual success rate.

Politeness
I am sad I even have to say this, but horror stories I hear time and time again show me it's still necessary. Say please. Say thank you. Don't be a jerk. Related to politeness:

Empathy
You're hoping for the best, naturally. You may even feel a lot of stress because you put so much of yourself (time and money) into your project. Those are all real and valid things and it's OK to feel them. What you mustn't lose sight of is that each of the people you're querying are also human beings with lives, hectic jobs--and often more than one of those. They are really busy, and you are not even close to the only person querying, so be patient and remember that everyone else's world doesn't revolve around you and your creation, even when you wish it were so.

RTFM
If you don't know what RTFM is, go to Google. I'll wait. For those of us who do know, though, you'll get it. Most places have submission or query guidelines, or at least a note about whether they are even open to hearing from you. Please follow the instructions. If you can't find instructions, they have enough content and aren't specifically looking for more. This is where your connections and networking come in.

Following Up Appropriately
Following up is a tricky one. I see conflicting info out there, but I think it's safe to say that if you send one query and you don't hear back for two to three weeks, it's OK to send a very brief follow-up, but don't send any more if you don't hear back.

An example of a brief follow up might be just asking if a (solicited or accepted post-query!) review copy was received. Don't ask when the review is happening, or if it's happening. That's up to them, not you.

Note: if you send a press release or an unsolicited review copy, don't follow up. With the advice above, I am only talking about emailed queries asking for publicity or asking permission to send a review copy.

Creators/authors: any experiences or tips that you want to share?

Journalists/bloggers: any thoughts on the way you prefer to be approached--especially with regard to following up?

I'd love to hear from you. You can post in the comments or contact me.

Also, coming soon, my new column about marketing your book, comic, movie, and (of course) yourself.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Hard Line Against Twitter DMs for Promotion and Marketing

Stop using Twitter DMs for marketing or publicizing your stuff. Just. Stop. (You're going to like this one. It's short to read and I am telling you to do less.)

Here's why:

A minimum of 90% of the DMs I receive parrot the exact same stuff/links that is already on the sender's Twitter profile or in a bunch of their tweets. If someone's already looked at your profile and decided to add you, you don't need to repeat yourself in a DM.

"But I've got free stuff to share with followers! I need to make sure they don't miss it!" Tweet it instead. Twitter is for tweeting. You can add it to your profile, too. It won't be that hard to find. Honest.

And really, if you're tweeting it AND DMing it AND it's also on your profile, how do you think you look to people? Not like a real person interested in connecting or being social on social media. You come off as spammy to most people. (Really. See my survey results from last year about this topic.)

Remember that a DM is a personal contact, and when you use it for advertising, it's completely impersonal and it's broadcasting instead of being social/communicating.

So what's the theme here? Once again it comes down to using social media to be social. Share your business stuff/creative stuff, sure. I do it, too. But you should also talk to people, meet people, share other people's stuff you think is cool, occasionally talk about your spouse or kids, etc. Be real. Be genuine. Be an integrated human being. Be social.

TL;DR: Stop DMing your promo stuff. There's almost never a good reason for it. Send your promos in your tweets or in your profile info. Not in DMs. Or any other private message for that matter. You are not special and different. Trust me.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Self-Promotion on Social Media - Survey Results

(Originally published at http://www.elsewords.com in July 2012.)

Good evening! It's been another overly-full week, but last weekend at Polaris and the monthly Chiaroscuro Reading Series event were well worth cramming in everything else. More on those events later. Right now I'd like to share some of the results of Beverly's Unscientific Survey of Social Media Preference. I have the survey questions and results discussion after the break. Also, be sure to see the comments section, which has some great comments.



Monday, May 13, 2013

5 Steps to a Quality Blog Tour


I recently had a correspondence with an author that asked about my publicity services. When we determined that the fit wasn't quite right, she asked me for a few tips on running a blog tour for her book's publicity. I agreed to share some tips and after giving it some thought, I distilled my best practices into these five tips for running a better blog tour for your book, comic, or web series. Or CD. Or many other creative enterprises, for that matter.

Step One: Quality Means Research
The most important thing to take away from this article is that--if you're doing it right--preparation for a blog tour is time-consuming work. So if you only have limited time, it's far better for you to contact five or ten quality targets than it is to send 100 ill-fitting queries.


Indeed, sending out queries scatter-shot is ineffective and a waste of your time. It is likely it will even make you look bad. For example, if you send a romance blogger your military fantasy or a kids' book blog your erotica, you're going to get a reputation as someone who can't read directions and doesn't care about anyone else's time or effort. 

So, ask yourself which bloggers are going to like your book or film, and then only contact those bloggers/media outlets.

Once you think you've found a blog or newspaper or magazine that seems to be a good fit, take the time to read a few of their reviews to get an idea of what they say about books, or the kinds of guest posts they host. Then you must read the "about", "policies", and "contact" pages (or anything similarly named) that outlines, usually quite specifically: 
  • What he or she likes to read
  • His or her name
  • Whether he or she accepts the kind of book you're offering (some don't accept ebooks, some only accept ebooks, that kind of thing)
  • Most importantly, whether he or she is even accepting queries and review copies at all--or even accepts guest blog requests. Some don't. 
You will make no friends among book bloggers if you go against stated policies and preferences. And you want them to like you... right?

Logistics Note: I also advise making a note of your findings about the blogger or publication's tastes and preferences in what ever way works best for you. I use a Google Drive spreadsheet because I like the ability to easily edit from whichever device I am using at the moment, but if Excel, Open Office, or paper work better for you, then use them. Whatever you do, do it consistently and clearly so you stay organized.

Step Two: Send Good Queries
Now you've got your targets and you know what they like, write each person a personalized and very brief email. Here are some components of a good query letter:
  • The subject line should contain the book/work's name, author/creator's name, and date of release. If you have space, you can also add "Blog Tour Query", but be mindful of a ridiculously long subject line.
  • Address it to the blogger by name.
  • The body should be polite, humble, and brief. The reader gets to decide whether your book is the best thing ever, not you, and not even your publisher.
  • Did I mention brief? Bloggers and columnists and entertainment editors get a lot of email. If you ramble, you've lost them. Use a clear and active voice, and don't use ten words where you can use two. 
  • In the opening paragraph mention something that confirms you read their guidelines and preferences (and make sure you are actually following them).
  • Give a brief (there's that word again) synopsis of your book or project. You can just include the cover copy if you like. Make sure you say it is the cover copy if you do this though, since you want to generally avoid a sales type voice and cover copy can verge into that territory pretty easily.
  • It's OK to include a personal touch. Is the blogger from your hometown? Did you both like the same book? Do you have a favourite track on the CD or a favourite episode of the web series? It is OK to say why, but again--brevity. Don't spend more than a sentence on this.
  • It is best to ask for what you want. If you are hoping for a review, say so. If you are hoping for a guest blog, say that, too; but, be polite and considerate. If the blogger isn't interested, though, then leave it at that. Never ask "why not?" or ask for exceptions.
I also suggest that when sending these queries you not follow up too much. I often don't follow up at all when it is a completely cold contact at a larger publication, since I know how busy they are and that they didn't ask for me to contact them. If it is someone I know or to whom I was directly introduced by a mutual acquaintance, I will follow up on the initial query at that point. If you do follow up, stick to the same general rules above about brevity and manners. Don't email a third time unless specifically asked to do so.

The entire blog tour process is a delicate balance of research, copy writing  and interpersonal skills. Never discount those interpersonal skills in this process.

Step Three: Writing, Proofreading, Editing
Once you have a reply and you decide on a mutually beneficial posting date with the blogger, then you can answer your interview questions or compose your blog post. Make sure the content you are writing is interesting. Don't just talk about your book, find a topic and give it a little effort. If you just write "buy my book, buy my book, buy my book" the audience will get bored with you. It's great to tie it into the topic once or twice, but the topic at hand should carry the blog post. 

When you finish writing, have a trusted reader look it over and offer suggestions. If you don't have someone who can help with proofreading and editing, save the file and walk away for a while. When you return with fresh eyes you are more likely to catch errors or unclear ideas. This writing deserves your effort. These blogs or media outlets are giving you publicity and you aren't paying for it. Respect what they're doing for you.

Be sure to include anything that will be helpful. Do they usually post websites, excerpts, and social media links and an author photo? Include those. Always include a very brief biography for use in the blog post. Here is some helpful information about composing a biography from Rachelle Gardner.

Step Four: Deadlines
Typically you'll want to get your blog post or interview to the blogger/publication two to three full days before the posting date. So, for example, if you have a posting date of June 1st, then you should have your copy turned in by May 29th. Confirm with each outlet what their preferences are. Some want the post a full week in advance. 

This is where the keeping careful notes I mentioned in Step One comes in handy. Be sure you have your due dates on a calendar or in some other format that will help you remember and stick to them. Again, I like to use electronic tools, because I can set up alerts at varying intervals to make sure I don't forget a commitment. 

If for some reason you will be late, email your contact immediately. As I said in Step Three, respect what they're doing for you, and respect their time and their editorial schedules.

Step Five: Manners and Consideration at All Times
Don't forget all the things I have shared with you about deadlines, respecting the outlet/blogger, politeness, humility (i.e. not using a sales voice and being realistic). I also like what Chuck Wendig said about this topic. His was in reference to asking for blurbs, but all of these things apply here. What you put out in the world becomes your brand. Make sure you manage your brand like the professional you are.

Questions? Leave them in the comments, or if you prefer to ask privately, contact me
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My inaugural blog post is cross-posted from my personal blog, elsewords.com. While you're here, have a look around, and thank you for your interest.