Tag s | Marketing

My 600-lb Book Life

Recently I spent a few hours visiting a relative in rehab, and the television was tuned to an episode of the television series, My 600-lb Life. This is why I like to control the TV remote at all times.

The episode focused on a fairly young mother of two children who weighed nearly six hundred pounds and was hoping to engage a surgeon for weight-reduction surgery. Her first several consultations with the doctor didn’t go well, in her view, because he prescribed a low-calorie diet and insisted that she change her eating habits and lose thirty pounds in a month before he would approve her for surgery; otherwise, he explained, she would almost certainly continue to gain weight even after the surgery. This seemed unreasonable to her, but she managed to lose eleven pounds in the first month. When the doctor sent her home with the same instructions—lose thirty pounds in a month—she became discouraged and went off the program. The episode continued, however, and nearly two years after her initial consultation, she managed to more carefully follow the doctor’s orders, and he agreed to perform the surgery.

I’ve had my own struggles with weight and diet and donuts, so I can sympathize a little with that woman. However, it was still amazing to me that she couldn’t understand that surgery wasn’t “the be-all and the end-all” (to quote Shakespeare’s Macbeth), but that new eating habits were also part of the picture. She couldn’t quite reconcile herself to the fact that she would not be able to return, post-surgery, to a diet of fast food, ice cream, and pizza. If she had grasped that reality, she might have been able to reason, “Since my eating has to change post-surgery, why is it unfair to be asked to change pre-surgery?”

Her struggle seems to me to be somewhat analogous to those of us who write for publication—especially when we seek to be represented by an agent. Bear with me.

Just a couple days before that episode of My 600-lb Life, I spoke to and met with writers at a writers’ conference. The subject of “platform” came up, of course, as it always does. And it elicited groans and gripes, as it always does, among the many people there who had a book idea to pitch and the hope that an agent or editor would see its promise and sign them to a contract. But a book contract or agency agreement isn’t “the be-all and the end-all” of the publishing process.

All of those writers vowed that, post-contract, they would market themselves and their books via social media, blogs, website, speaking engagements, podcasts, interviews, and more. But when a panel of agents and editors suggested that a healthy platform comprised of such things can—and, almost always, must—come pre-contract, they expressed chagrin. Chagrin, I tell you!

But why? Either way, you’re going to do those things, right? Whether you sign a contract today or two years from now, you’re going to be developing a following, right? I know you can’t schedule book signings until you have a book, but nearly everything else you plan to do after your book is released, you can do before your book is released—right? So why wait? Get started—now—engaging with people about your message and passion and genre, and you (and your agent and publisher) will be so glad you did when your book is finally released to universal acclaim.

 

 

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Six Easy Steps to Publishing Success

Success in publishing is actually quite simple. Honestly I am surprised more people aren’t more successful financially as an author. So many conference workshops are making this entire publishing thing far more complicated than it needs to be. Today, here are six fast, easy, no risk steps to being a …

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Be Published? or Be Read?

Is your goal “being published” or “being read?” What pieces of writing and publishing advice do professional agents and editors wish would go away…forever? I asked that question of some of my friends in the industry (yes, I have friends, and most are much smarter than me). The last two …

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What Makes a Great Hook?

Lately, smart publishing professionals have been saying “it needs a great hook” to describe  books they seek. Recently I wrote about the all-important first page, which of course should seize the reader and not let go. However, that’s not the same as the story hook itself. The hook must make …

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Marketing vs. Publicity

by Steve Laube

Recent I have run into a common misunderstanding. Some writers use the words “marketing” and “publicity” (or P.R. “public relations”) as synonyms when actually one is a subset of the other.

There are marketing departments that have a publicity division or a marketing department that outsources their publicity. The two go hand in hand and should compliment each other.

The best way I can define it is to say that:

Marketing is all about creating multiple impressions.

This can be through ad placement, in-store displays, banner ads, reviews, contests, etc.

Publicity is all about meeting the author.

This is done through radio and television as well as through all forms of social media.

The difference is that author “feels” publicity because they are involved. They do not “feel” marketing, per se.

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Why I Use That Dirty Word … PLATFORM

It’s a dirty word to aspiring writers. It is even unpopular among many agents and editors. It elicits snarls and sneers from people who just want to write great stuff and get their writing published. I’m talking, of course, about the word “Platform.” It refers to the extent of a …

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Books are Not Mass Media

A hundred years ago, the most powerful media in the world were newspapers. Newspaper writers and editors were society’s thought-leaders and political kingmakers. The day-to-day influence of a major newspaper was unchallenged, no matter what city or country. They were the first truly mass media, defined as broadly available to …

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We Need More Reader Segments

In the bookselling world, books are categorized with a coding system developed by a collaborative industry organization called the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). They own and manage the BISAC codes, an acronym for “Book Industry Standards and Communications.” No matter how you are published, you will be required to …

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Create Videos Based on Your Blog Posts

Check out Lumen 5, (www.lumen5.com) a wonderful resource that can help you create videos out of your blog posts. As a test I took my post from July 31st, “Should You Hire a Freelance Editor?” and within 45 minutes the following video was complete. (Read more below the embedded video) …

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Overselling Yourself

When I was a kid, if you really wanted to let people know you in the area, you took a couple garden-variety clothespins (the spring-loaded kind) and two of your lowest-value baseball cards, and attached them to the frame of your bike in contact with the spokes of your wheels. …

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