Showing posts with label Publicity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Publicity. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My DetCon Schedule

Hi, all! I will be at NASFic DetCon 1 this weekend from Friday, July 18th through Sunday, July 20th. I have a couple of panels I am moderating as well as a kaffeeklatsch (kaffeeklatsch=consulting time for free if you play your cards right! ;))


North American Science Fiction Convention (DetCon) Schedule

Econ 101 of Self-Publishing, Nicolet A, Saturday 11 a.m.

I am the moderator, and I will be there with JF GarrardBlake HausladenPatty TempletonChristie Meierz, and Becca Price.

The media is filled with news about self-publishing, but to do it properly, there is a price to pay! This panel will touch on a series of topics and give an estimate of how much things can cost: 1) The difference between traditional and self-publishing, 2) Why an editor is important, 3) How to commission artwork, 4) What copyright is, 5) Marketing Ideas, and 6) The difference in creating e-books versus print books

Kaffeeklatsch, KaffeeKlatsch2, Saturday 1 p.m.

This one's all me! Be sure to sign up for this one when you get to the con registration desk, as space is limited. You'll be able to talk about your project's marketing and publicity with me directly, and you'll be able to hear about some of my own experiences, too. It will be fun!

Creators and Brand Identity, Mackinac West, Sunday 12:00 noon

I am also moderating this one, and I will be joined by John ScalziSean MeadMartin L. Shoemaker

Neil Gaiman. John Scalzi. Would they be mid-list authors in a world without the Internet? Can you be famous in 2014 only by writing or making art? How does a creator build a brand?


I hope to see you there. Please don't hesitate to stop me if you see me and say hello. I will be happy to chat. I'll also have information about AutoCrit, which is a company for which I do social media, so ask me about editing help, too!


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!

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!

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.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

GenreLitChat #1: Storify Transcript

The first #GenreLitChat this past Thursday went well. The three authors who were on the panel (John Mantooth, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Nathan Ballingrud,) had a good time, and as the moderator I found myself surprised by how quickly the hour went. I had several questions I wish I'd had time to ask. All in all, it's not a bad thing to be left wanting more!

If you missed it, you can check out the Storify transcript below. You can also follow the #GenreLitChat hashtag via Twitter itself, or on Twubs.

Let me know what you think in the comments, and thank you--as always--for reading.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Review Copies, Ebooks, and Pirating: Book Marketing without B.S. #5

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.

Want reviews? Of course you do! This means that you have to send review copies, and this can get expensive with numerous physical books to send. Many of you are paying for these directly or are with a small publisher whose budgets are as tight as your own. A few of you lucky devils will be with large publishers who furnish all review copies, whether physical or through NetGalley. In fact, this post may not be as useful for you if you're on a major publisher. Check back next week!

Anyhow. I digress.

For the rest of you, this means you're thinking about ebook review copies. For some writers this is a stressful idea, bringing on fears of piracy and the death of sales. First this post will look at how to prioritize physical vs. electronic review copies, and then I'll discuss piracy fears and why you probably shouldn't worry too much about it.

How should I prioritize who gets physical review copies and who gets ebook review copies? Generally it's good to prioritize this with a simple cost/benefit analysis. If a site or publication is higher-traffic or is heavily influential, seriously consider a phsyical copy--if that's their preference. Some actually will prefer an ebook. If it is a lower-traffic or a less influential site/publication, then it is most cost effective to see if they will accept an ebook version to review. This applies to comics as well as prose books. The final choice is between you, the reviewer, and your publisher; these ideas are simply decision-making tools.

You can determine priority by checking site traffic using a tool such as alexa.com to compare statistics among the places you want to review your book. A lower number is better (i.e. a higher rank), and if you can get sites better than a 500,000 rank, it's a great start. I can't suggest that you only decide with site statistics, however. You should be aware that some sites might have lower traffic ranking, but are influential. A good example of this is Weird Fiction Review. It's a site with strong influence among many authors and readers in genre circles, but its Alexa ranking is so-so at over 1.8 million. Still, it would be a plum spot if you wrote the type of things that they like. Try your best to strike the balance between web traffic stats and less measurable aspects of influence. And, as always, take the time to read submission policies, reviews, and articles so that you get a good feel for what the site is looking for. It always benefits you to ensure that it's a good fit for your work before you approach them.

One other note: if you send a physical review copy unsolicited, make sure it comes directly from you or your publisher, and includes a one-sheet. If you've corresponded with the person on the other end and they're expecting it, it becomes solicited and this is when you can consider having it shipped right from the source (without the one-sheet) if you're doing print-on-demand.

What about ebooks and piracy? First, let me be completely, unequivocally clear: I want creators to be paid for their work. If you don't get paid, I don't get paid. So read this with the understanding that I am firmly on the side of your intellectual property rights.

OK, all that out of the way, I want to say that piracy is not likely to be a big deal for a majority (though not all) writers and comic creators. Let me explain: chances are if you're looking for marketing advice you are in need of audience growth. Audience growth will result from reaching more readers. Reaching more readers happens with word-of-mouth and well-placed advertisements. Ads are really expensive, so the majority of your marketing, especially early on, will be reviews by professional reviewers, and reviews by readers who share their thoughts on Amazon, Goodreads, and other similar sites.

Reviewers to whom you send an electronic review copy are nearly all good, ethical people who will not share the ebook with anyone. The few who may leak it can't be helped. If the book gets out and gets read by people who then discuss it with others, some of those people will end up with a pirated version; but, some of them are going to buy your book. If you somehow are lucky enough to go viral on torrent sites, you're going to get more sales and more fame even with people illegally downloading your work. This will ultimately translate into more money for you down the road. And really, the chances of your book going viral are quite slim anyway, so your lost revenue is negligible, if anything at all.

One of the best ways to get more readers for your work is to keep writing. The more you write, the more you tend to sell. So focus as much of your energy on writing and creating as you can, and over time it is most likely that you will get better sales.

One other thought about piracy is that it's difficult to measure the impact. Are the people pirating your ebook the kinds of people who would have bought your book in the first place? It's impossible to say, really. I suspect that in many cases they wouldn't have bought it anyway. I know, I know. I don't have evidence, but going on the principles of word-of-mouth marketing and the effectiveness of samples as a sales tool, I think it's rational to conclude that over time a few pirated copies will ultimately benefit you.

So send review copies, ebook and paper, as you need. Don't worry about it. Don't fuss over DRM. (Unless, of course, you're with a larger publisher and don't have a choice. In that case you can use NetGalley, or send plenty of paper review copies that aren't out of your own pocket. Lucky devils indeed.)

Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thanks for all the support!

Tonight don't forget to join #GenreLitChat with John Mantooth, Nathan Ballingrud, and Heidi Ruby Miller. Tomorrow is Calls for Submission #2.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

#GenreLitChat: An Occasional Twitter Chat about Genre

Introducing #GenreLitChat, an occasional Twitter chat with writers on the state of genre, and how their work does--or doesn't--fit.

The kickoff chat is just in time for your holiday book buying needs! It's this Thursday, December 5th at 8:30 p.m. EST/5:30 p.m. PST with John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm (Berkley/Penguin), Heidi Ruby Miller, author of Green Shift (Raw Dog Screaming Press), and Nathan Ballingrud, author of short story collection North American Lake Monsters (Small Beer Press).

When you join the chat, you can use this page (http://twubs.com/GenreLitChat) which will focus only on the hashtag, and even automatically insert the hashtag for you if you ask questions or reply.
Alternatively, you can follow the hashtag #GenreLitChat right on Twitter, but make sure you use the hashtag or your questions and comments may be missed!

You can send questions to me, the moderator, during the chat (@BeverlyBambury). You are also encouraged to send questions ahead of time to beverly@beverlybambury.com and I'll add the best ones to the list.

Questions? Email me or ask in the comments. Hope to see you during #GenreLitChat in a couple of days!

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!

Friday, November 22, 2013

How Far in Advance to Hire a Publicist and a Book Marketing Plan Timeline: Book Marketing without B.S. #4

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.

Today brings another pair of related questions. The first is "How long before my book comes out should I hire a publicist?"

It depends to a certain degree what you're looking for and on how in-demand the publicist is. My business is relatively young, so six months is plenty of lead time for me, and I can absolutely work with much less if required. I've even done emergency publicity!

Ideally, for prose novels, pre-work work for publicity should start anywhere from 4-6 months before release (for long lead-time review spots such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal). It is helpful to give your publicist plenty of time before that to plan and, if necessary, work with your publisher. Graphic novels and comics can work with a bit less lead time.

While this represents the ideal, it's possible to do good work with much less time, too. Just bear in mind that for the biggest and busiest review spots that if you don't give them at least a few months you aren't likely to get reviewed. Other than that, 1-3 months is plenty for most reviewers and for setting up a lot of your publicity.

What if you try it yourself and suddenly realize, right before (or right after) release that you want some help after all? You can get help at the last minute, too, but it's important to understand that many major spots won't accept books that are either close to or post-release. Many excellent reviewers and sites will; however, so all is not lost. Just realize that you're not going to get The New York Times from a book that is already released. Not even John Scalzi's Big Idea, for that matter.

So for you TL;DR types: the best time to contact a publicist (at least for this publicist) is 5-6 months before release, but anything can work (even post-release books) as long as what you expect from your results is realistic.

The next question is "What timeline should I use to plan my book marketing?"

As  I mentioned above, if your book is eligible to be reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, Book Slut, and other long lead-time publications., then send those review copies/galleys out 4-6 months before release date. Send these with a one-sheet, which is important to include with mailed copies.

For the rest, you'll query. (Unless they say it is OK to send a book, of course, then you send the book with a one-sheet or via email/NetGalley, depending on the reviewer's preferences.) A query is just seeing if a blogger or reviewer wants to look at the book and of course an offer to send one. As far as the timing, my assumption is that you've read other websites' and publications' and bloggers' review and publicity submission guidelines. If you have, you'll know how to stagger the rest of the schedule. Some will need to go out 3-5 months, some 1-3 months, some 5-6 weeks. This is one of the more time-consuming things: finding the right targets and making sure that you have them scheduled correctly. Don't be shy about writing these down in order or using an electronic calendar to keep track. 

Make sure that as you query--particularly blogs and media you know accept guest posts and do interviews--ask for what you want from that site. Something along the lines of "If you like the idea or the book enough, I'd love the chance to do a guest blog post for you. I can do it on (sample topic 1) or (sample topic 2), or if you have something you'd like to hear about, I'll gladly write that instead."

2-4 months before release: if you want to set up book signings or readings, now is the time. Note that very popular reading series, such as KGB, may require 6-7 months of lead time. 

3 weeks to release date: handle your correspondence and write guest blog posts as required. If you have an interview or need to finalize any in-person events, make sure you have what you need. If you do book signings/talks, then you'll want a poster of some kind to take with you.

What about those queries? Once it's been 2-3 weeks, it is OK to follow up with people to whom you have sent QUERIES. If you've already sent an actual book (often those long lead time publications from above,) then don't follow up. While we're at it, if you ever send a press release (and usually you do not send those for books,) don't follow up on those, either. Anyway, queries you can follow up, but they should be super polite and low pressure. 

At release time and after: make sure you're meeting your deadlines and following through on commitments. If you get a good review or a guest blog or an interview, share it. Share when your book is released, too. Anything like that is fine. A bit more often on Twitter than on Facebook. Don't forget though: if all you do is push your books, people will stop listening to you.

You may also find it helpful to revisit 5 No-BS Twitter Tips for Authors and 5 Steps to a Quality Blog Tour

Anyhow: this is a very rough and basic guideline. Each project will have to be planned based on its own requirements and based the resources of you and your publisher. As always, let me know if you have any questions about your situation.

That's all for this week. Keep an eye out for the first of the semi-regular calls for submission columns. 

Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thanks for all the support!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Changing/Correcting Guest Posts or Interviews, and More Replying to Reviews: Book Marketing without B.S. #3

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.

Today there are two related questions. The first person asked "What if I want to change an interview or guest blog post reply after it's already gone up?"

Naturally, if there is an error of some kind--whether factual or typographical--you should politely ask the journalist or blogger to make the change and explain why if it isn't obvious.

I can't think of any other reason you should ask to change something you've already vetted and has been published. It is possible you'll be embarrassed by something you've written, or realize it might have been more clear stated another way; but, those aren't good enough reasons to ask for a change.

If you're worried this may happen, have one or two trusted friends read through what you have written and give feedback. At the very least, try to finish a day or two before deadline so you can sleep on it overnight and see if you still like it in the morning.

The next question was "What do you think about writers replying to their reviews?" Now, I have already written about this; but, I realized that I could add one more piece of advice.

If you see that the negative reviews have similar themes, there may be something you can learn from them, and it may be worth it to reply in the form of a blog post. Be very careful to not specifically address individuals if you do this. You can say something such as "I've noticed a trend in my 1- and 2-star reviews" and that covers it. You can always link to the book at an online store and people can look at all the reviews for themselves. Plus it's the link where they can buy your book, so there's that, too!

An essay will let you explore your thoughts on the topic without seeming confrontational. I still think the best option is not to address it publicly at all, but if you feel there is interpretation to share, or that you have something interesting to add to the conversation then go for it.

Finally, be careful about tone if you go this route. It's still important to not look like a asshole or a whiner. You are your own branding online, and your choice of words makes a difference. So, as you would with your fictional writing, have trusted associates read through your post first and give their feedback serious consideration.

That's all for this week. Keep those questions coming, and sign up to get my posts sent directly to your email by clicking here. Thanks for all the support!

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."

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Why You Shouldn't Buy Followers: Book Marketing without B.S. #1

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.

The marketing and publicity worlds are important for understanding audience and customers, and getting the right word out to the right people; but, let's be honest. There's also a lot of bullshit. My goal is to help you cut through the B.S. with direct, understandable advice you won't be embarrassed to follow.

Welcome to my inaugural Book Marketing withouth BS column. Today's question was asked anonymously, and it's about purchasing followers on Twitter (and by extension, purchasing likes/on other blogs and social media such as Facebook, Pinterest, etc.).

The short answer to this is "Don't do it". Below is the breakdown on why, but first, I should say that other people have written about this. Just Google "Should I buy Twitter followers" (without quotes) and you'll find other discussion.

Here are more thoughts on the topic, and be sure to leave yours in the comments. I'll share the best in my next post.

1 - It's dishonest, and if you're found out, people will think less of you. Remember what happened to President Obama and Mitt Romney in the recent election cycle?

1.1 - It's also pretty corny. Honestly. See #2.

2 - It's much more obvious than you think. If you're not famous, but you have tens of thousands of followers (and you're only following a small number yourself), no one is going to believe you've got that many followers. Really, really.

There are people I know and otherwise respect that I am certain have purchased followers. I feel bad for them in the way you feel bad for someone who buys a bad hair piece or who has a comb-over. They don't seem to feel good enough as they actually are, and so they try covering it up. They don't need to do it though--they're already cool on their own. They're just looking for an easy way to get a boost, not realizing that there's no easy way with social media. More on this later.

One other note: Facebook's analytics tell anyone where a page's audience is, not just the page owner. One of the people I know had around 85% of his followers from a former Russian republic. It's there for all to see, and it looks plain bad.

3 - Most importantly: it won't deliver results. There may be a few little metrics here and there that will boost, but mostly it won't work. Why? Well, if you're paying for followers, and the vast majority of them are fake/inactive, you are not expanding your audience at all. You're only buying a bigger number and nothing more.

The 30,000 followers you bought? None of them are going to buy your graphic novel. They aren't going to share your book with anyone. If they do--by some crazy chance--they're sharing it with other fakes. It's a waste of your time and money, and you don't have enough of either, right?

It's possible a few people who stumble across you will be impressed with your numbers, but you know what? If you're posting useful, relevant stuff already, they'd have followed you when they stumbled across you with or without high numbers. Also, the more savvy people get about fake followers, the more likely it is to be a turnoff. Once again, I refer you to #2.

In all my research I saw no one, even anonymously, saying that they were thrilled with their results (aside from a few stray blog comments that were so awkward and ham-handed that they were obviously from people who sell the fake followers). Surely someone out there would boost them if they were effective, but I don't see that. Have you seen a trustworthy source ever say it was a good idea? I personally have not.

I also interviewed three people who have bought followers or likes, some on Twitter, some on Facebook. (And yes, I know this is not a scientific sample. I just wanted some directly shared anecdotes!) All three of them say they saw no tangible results. Two of them are specifically unhappy and regretful and one has neutral emotions about it. One said that some of the Facebook "likes" occasionally interact with his page, but that there's been no boost in sales. That person also wonders whether it might have made more sense for his business if he'd waited. I concede that it is possible that this purchaser might appear a bit more often as a suggested page on Facebook because of the likes; however, I still think it won't likely boost sales since the purchased followers have zero emotional connection/interest with you or your product/service.

The main thing to remember is that it's really tempting to buy followers for many reasons. Some of that is what I mentioned above: feeling unsure, desperate, insecure, worried. Some people are more mercenary and genuinely think that they're going to improve their standing on social media and they see it as legitimate. I can understand all of those reasons and more. You want to look good. I get it, but this isn't the way.

"So how do I build audience?", you ask. It's actually not too difficult. The problem is it takes time and effort, and that's why it's hard. Time is short. We're all tired and hoping for a shortcut. The only good way is to interact with people. Share other people's content and ideas. Share about your dog, your wife, your kids--and also your books and creations. Try not to let all of (or even the vast majority of) your tweets be "BUY MY BOOK" stuff or "READ THIS EXCERPT NOW!" stuff. Some rules of thumb say 10% of your stuff should be about your stuff. I think that may be about right. Some weeks it will be more, some weeks it will be less. Mainly remember that (and yes, I am repeating myself) social media is social. Be a real, integrated human being who sometimes shares his or her work, and you will build a following.

Will you ever have a million followers? Almost certainly not. The followers you have, though? They're actually interested in YOU. Respect them. Cultivate them.

Check out Zenni Optical on Twitter. Whomever does their social media is skilled at building loyalty and feelings of community. They tweet back to people who mention them. They ask about what the potential customer is interested in. Not only are they building followers with genuine interest and interactivity, but they're offering a good, high-touch customer experience and that's going to garner a healthy percentage of followers who are likely to spend money. Not only that, but Zenni is getting real data from consumers about what they like and don't like, and what products are popular. This is incredibly valuable information.

"But, I'm dark and serious and not that social. Plus I don't sell glasses. This advice sucks!" you say. OK, I'll grant you that. It's not the same thing, selling glasses and selling dark fiction or surreal graphic novels. And, well, yeah, that overly happy voice isn't a good fit for everyone, but that isn't the point. The point is that they are social. They interact. They participate with potential customers instead of broadcast, so despite that perkiness that may not appeal to you, those principles are the same, and I'll cover them more specifically (along with examples that you may find more relevant) in next week's column.

Thanks for joining me for the inaugural Book Marketing without BS. 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.

Have a questions you'd like to see answered? Email them to beverly@beverlybambury.com.

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.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Just a Litte More: Author/Creator Comments on Reviews

In light of recent discussions I thought I'd clarify my thoughts on the authors (and other creators) commenting on reviews issue. I’ve said in the past “just don’t do it, ever”, but I think the time has come for me to expand that thought into more than just the idea of authors behaving badly.

My updated advice to creators is that they should pretty much never comment on negative reviews. If you want to thank someone for a good review, please do; but, don’t say much beyond a gracious “Thank you”. Especially if you have any negative or irritated feelings inside you. The reason I say this is because people can tell, and—at least from the publicist’s perspective—you don’t want people thinking of you as an author behaving badly. And that includes authors behaving in a passive aggressive manner. Or a whiny or entitled manner.

“But I have a right to talk to people online. They have comment functionality turned on, and that’s what it's for!” Yes, that’s true. You certainly have that right and privilege. But stop and ask yourself whether is it wise from a public relations perspective. If you are a wise person, you’ll realize that the answer is most likely going to be “no, I shouldn’t”. It’s similar to the adage about not emailing angry.

Think about what you want your name to be as a brand, because your behaviour feeds right into that idea of the personal branding, and for creators on the internet, word gets around fast. Negative feelings about you will affect fans’ perceptions of your work, whether or not you want to believe that’s true.

Not only that, the stuff you post on line can’t ever really be removed. People take screen shots, aggregators aggregate. So if you want to get on that train to interactivity, then feel free, just make sure you’re doing it for reasons that further your goals and cultivate the online image you want to have. Or you know, if you actually like and get along with people and are just socializing. Which is way different from commenting on reviews/criticism.

Anyhow, here’s a final piece of free advice: when in doubt, don’t.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Your Thoughts on Publicity and Creative Support Services

Please take this is a one-question survey about the kinds of services you'd like to see from me in the future. It should take a minute or less!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Publicity Rates: What Changes and What Stays the Same?

Coming up tomorrow, a guest blog by editor (and author of new novel, The Dragon Whisperer,) Vanessa Ricci-Thode. She'll talk about what to do once you finish writing your novel. (Hint: finishing the novel is only the first step.)

On to the changes: I have learned a lot in my first several months as a freelancer, so in the interest of using that knowledge to make things more efficient and offer better service, today I'm announcing that my rates and structure for 2014 will be different from that of 2013. My two primary goals are unchanged: publicity for books, comics, films, and more will remain 1) affordable, and 2) flexible and at a flat rate.

1) Since affordable publicity is important, especially for genre writers, I will still have packages based on the number of contacts, but I will also be willing to do fully custom work based on your needs. Whether you can spend $100 or $6,000, I can help. Click "Contact" above and let me know what you need.

2) Flate rate publicity is another important goal, as it minimizes unforeseen expenses and helps a writer or publisher with a limited budget feel comfortable about the publicity contract. What has changed is that the two-tier pricing structure of basic service and limited service will go away. Starting in 2014 I will only offer a full-service experience, because changing my tactics from client to client became confusing to my contacts. Also, unexpected things came up more frequently than expected, so now instead of my asking you for more funds at each step, everything but the most unusual circumstances will be covered with your full-service contract.

So if you're one of the TL;DR crowd: starting in 2014 there will only be full-service contracts. I'll still have some very affordable options, though.

Do you want to ask about a 2014 project? Any other questions? Leave a comment below or contact me today and we'll discuss it. And don't forget to come back tomorrow for "I've Finished Writing my Book. Now What?" with Vanessa Ricci-Thode!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Closed for Queries on 2013 Release Dates

The response to Beverly Bambury Publicity has been overwhelming, and so it is with gratitude and pleasure that I annouce that I am no longer accepting queries for 2013 releases. (Well, maybe a little sadness, too, since it means I won't get to work with so many of you!)

The one exception: if you and I have a prior relationship, please do contact me even with 2013 releases. I don't have much space left, but it's much less time consuming to work with someone whose work I already know, so I may be able to squeeze something into the schedule.

If you have a 2014 release please contact me soon; I'll gladly make tentative arrangements that we can solidify closer to your release.

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.



Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Real Costs of Self-Publishing a Book

If you missed PBS Mediashift's piece on the costs of professional quality self-publishing, it's a real eye-opener. Read it here: http://www.pbs.org/mediashift/2013/05/the-real-costs-of-self-publishing-book. Go on. I'll wait.

So what did you think? I am sure the high end prices were a little frightening, but notice that there are lower end prices, too. If you think you can't afford an editor, don't go without. Consider paying a student a lower rate. It allows him or her to get experience, and at the same time you get affordable editing assistance. You have to understand in this case that you are not getting a highly experienced editor, though, so keep expectations appropriate for what you're paying for.

The same goes for cover art and marketing services. Don't go without these things, either, especially the cover art. A bad cover will lose sales, hands down. Pay lot of money for years of experience, or smaller amounts for those new in the field. (Or a hybrid, such as my basic versus premium services).

The main takeaway for me is that while self-publishing may be easy to do, it's not necessarily easy to do right. Tell me about your book. Did you hire an editor and an artist? Any regrets?