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Gifts With Humanity

Wednesday
Aug132014

Why Authors Should Connect with the World 

Guest post by Susan Violante

Many years ago the image of the writers was that of the mysterious loner, always pouring his/her stories from within in an old typewriter. Not anymore!

Reading, for fun or for information is just not what it used to be, and readers have evolved with the times.  With all the technological advances brought in through the development of the internet, people have accustomed themselves to massive loads of information daily. We get bombarded with all kinds of information through the TV, radio, phones, computers, tablets, etc., and the list grows by the minute!  Due to this constant connection to the internet and the overload of facts, stories, and images feeding our brains, readers have changed their ways. They are no longer satisfied with the mysterious loner author; they actually need to connect with the authors to be interested in their books.  On many occasions I have come to realize that most of people that purchased my book had actually looked into my bio, listened to one of my interviews, read my blog, met me at one of my events, or even interacted with me through Reader Views before purchasing the book.  It is a fact, readers want to know about the author, and the author needs to be credible and genuine in the book’s topic or genre to be successful. The only way to do this is by staying connected to the audience and keep updated in their topic. Here are some tips:

  • Stay Updated –Staying updated in the topic you write about is not just for nonfiction authors. In order for fiction novels to be successful they need to be credible. This demands extensive research from the author, which in turn makes the author an expert on the researched topic.  Keeping their knowledge level current on the researched topic can guarantee speaking events, interviews and media attention, which is the some of the best ways to promote books. It is up to the author to update themselves by reading and even writing articles and books in the topic or genre he/she writes. Commenting on other authors and writers from his own genre through their blogs, book clubs, and even by reviewing books will also help in keeping the author updated as well as securing a presence in the author’s target market.

 

  • Stay Connected to Readers – Staying connected with the audience and other authors is crucial for the author as it keeps him/her present, whether online or through the media, and being connected benefits authors in many other ways.

    • By constantly connecting with other authors, information is shared which helps in staying updated. This information creates discussions which generates new ideas, new projects, and new collaborating opportunities as well.
    • By staying connected with the audience, the author is able to determine the needs and likes of his fans. This knowledge will not just help in creating a marketable story, but it will also give the author a head start on the market through his connections.

Authors should not underestimate readers. Our readers, although always in search for entertainment, are also more knowledgeable of current events, other cultures, science, history, and geography thanks to the internet. They expect well written, relevant books that also provide entertainment.  How can we provide this if we stay locked up within ourselves?  For more information on how Reader Views can help authors click here.

 

Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Tuesday
Aug122014

Categorizing your Book 

Guest post by Susan Violante

Many times when we submit our book reviews to authors we receive replies with concerns that they might not have categorized their book correctly on the original submission form.  Because of the regularity of this concern I realized that maybe we should address this topic in an editorial. 

Categories are used by libraries and book stores to organize their shelves, but they are not the ones who decide what category a book should be, the author is the one that makes that decision. When the author decides which genre to write they are at the same time choosing their market target.  However, this target market can include many categories. Choosing a main category that applies to their book is a very important decision that requires a lot of thought as this not only will determine where the book will be placed on the shelves, but also who will review their book when submitting for reviews and literary contests.  Here are some tips when categorizing your book.

  • Never come up with your own category or label. There is a system in place and bookstores, libraries, contests, and the entire publishing and literary industry goes by that system.
  • Get familiarized with all the categories already in place, so that you can choose the one that applies best to your book. This system used comes straight from the BISAC coding
  • When picking the category for your book, the first step is to consider your audience. For example if you write a children’s book, what is the target age group? Is it a nonfiction or fiction book? Don’t be tempted to think that your children’s book is for everyone, and categorize it for everyone. This will only hurt the marketing of your book.
  • Once you have determined your audience niche, look through the BISAC headings and pick the one most relevant to your book. You will go from general to specific when assigning the category
  • Include the category on the back cover of your book so that librarians and book stores place the book on the right shelf where your target market will look for books. The common practice has been to place it on the top left of the back cover. For example my book shows the BISAC category I chose on the top left of the back cover and looks like this:

                  “JUVENILE  FICTION/Historical/Military & Wars”

When in doubt, it is always better to talk to other authors, publicists, or publishers while writing your book to help determine which category is best. This will make your book more marketable as your writing will be speaking to your target market, and the right category will place your book where your audience will find it. For information on how Reader Views can help market your book click here.

 

Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Monday
Aug112014

Book Images as Promoting Tools 

Guest post by Susan Violante

Images can be key tools when promoting and marketing your books. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your book images.

Some books have at least a couple of images connected with them—the cover and the author photograph. Other books also have numerous interior pictures, illustrations or other types of images and art work. All of these images can help to promote your book. The idea is to identify which images are great to use for marketing before the book is published, and put in place a marketing plan using the images. 

Make Sure You Have the Right Types of Images

It is important to have the right image specs. When meeting with your artist, photographer or illustrator, make sure they provide you with high and low resolution jpeg files on all art work. This will guarantee their quick availability to use on the internet or in printed marketing materials when your campaign is in place. Sometimes images will be given to you in tiff format, which is better in some cases. However jpeg format works with most, if not all different systems. These graphics, if designed or produced by someone other than you, will have certain rights that might limit their use. Make sure you understand what you are allowed to do or not do with them to avoid future problems. The best thing even if a little more expensive, is to obtain unlimited use rights or specify the production of marketing and other products that might bring income, such as t-shirts…etc., this way you won’t have to go back to get permission to use and edit for each marketing project you might want to launch. 

Another wise thing to do is take a quick class or you-tube on how to use Photoshop, or any other photo editing software. This will save you time and money when designing promoting and marketing tools. Depending on what your plans are, and which online system you plan to use, the graphics might have different requirements, so it is always useful to know how to edit them quickly. 

Here are Some Ideas to Market Your Book Images

Websites: The first thing an author will need to create and build their platform is a website, and yet, many Indie authors skip the website altogether! Having a website not only creates a place where readers can gather and find out more about you, your books and your events, it also creates your brand as an author. First time authors starting out with their first website must make sure the website resembles their book cover or reflects their book’s content. Talk to your website designer so the best use of the cover and other images can be made. Use those images as a preview so people will want to buy the book. This is one way to use the book’s images to promote the book.

Blog: A website with no activity will not do the trick. Authors need to make sure the website connects them to their fans, so it needs to be interactive. This is the benefit of adding a blog. When you are creating your brand you want the images and color themes to identify with your products. This is why you may want your blog to reflect the theme and content of your book and your author persona as well. The author picture from the book will identify you and connect you directly to your product, so why use a different one? You can then use your other images to post in your blog, a couple at a time. Here is one place you will want to make sure you have a lot of jpeg images available, so if you are going to post a blog daily or even just a couple of times a week, your images are all readily available to you and already cropped and sized as needed to save you from spending a lot of time on preparation.

Online Photo Albums: In this age of social networking, people love to look at each other’s photos. So much so, that most postings on Facebook are done through an image. Whether you’re on Facebook, Instagram, your website, or another site that allows you to upload photos or images to an album, a photo album for your book, events, or even about the main topic of the book, creating a photo album is always a great idea. People will be more interested in your book if they can see some of the images. And don’t be afraid to alternate some of these images for your profile photo as well.

Book Preview Videos: There is no better way to make the story in your book come alive than seeing it on a book video. Having a video made of your book can be tricky, and should be done by a professional to obtain an effective tool that will hook the reader and convince them to check out the book. There are several professional book promotion companies, and yes, Reader Views is one of them. When picking one, do not go solely by their prices - check out samples of their work, and other options offered. Make sure they allow you to use your own pictures as well as stock pictures. Getting the books graphics in the video is vital. You may want to include a voiceover script or have one made for you that will help you match up the spoken words with the proper images to give your video “movie-type” flair.  If your book doesn’t have a lot of images, here is a reason to find additional images, provided you pay for them or use royalty-free images that will help you promote the book. A good book video producer will help you find additional images, and even animations that will go with your book.

Postcards and Other Marketing Pieces: Bookmarks and book cover business cards are not the only way to create handouts. Let’s face it printing handouts can get expensive, so why not earn income from them? For example if you’ve written a history or travel book, why not turn your images into your own postcard line. If the tourists are likely to buy your book, they’ll buy your postcards also, and because postcards are generally low cost items, you may be likely to sell a large quantity of them. You can do the same with your book marketing pieces—pick five or six of your best images and make t-shirts, tote bags, note pads, and bookmarker series.  For children’s books you could have a bookmarker for each character in the book or children’s trading cards! Even if you don’t mention your book on all of these items, you can earn additional income from your images, and you can sell these products in addition to your book on your website, and even on Amazon.

The local gift shop might not sell books, but they might be able to sell calendars or t-shirts. Don’t limit yourself. Market and sell your images, with or without your book.

People love to look at pictures and images are attention grabbers. Use images to gain attention and promote your book in every way possible. Being creative with those images can generate additional income for the author as well! For more information on how Reader Views can help authors click here.

Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

Thursday
Jul172014

How to choose Book Contests? 

Guest Post by Susan Violante

Authors may feel overwhelmed by all the different contests out there. Here are a few tips on how to decide which ones to enter.

The first thing authors should ask themselves is what they are hoping to gain by winning the contest they are entering. Is it to bring credibility to their work? Maybe they are after the cash and other prices offered? Or do they just want exposure to increase sales? Some book contests are notable enough that an award will increase book sales. Other contests charge high fees and receive little attention but the prizes are worth it. A few guidelines for choosing a contest are:

  • If there is no entry fee, there is nothing to lose except the postage and book cost, and entering will almost always generate a book review, and some exposure. It is a no brainer.
  • If looking into a National contest, do not be intimidated. It is true that they are very competitive, but the greater the competition, the greater credibility to gain if scoring. When budgets permits, it is always best to enter.
  • Local contests provide greater chances of winning as the number of entries is smaller making an easier competition. The entry fees are also lower. These are great to help authors establish themselves locally, which is always a great first step, they should always be considered by new and upcoming authors.
  • Independent: For self-published authors, these are the best place to start as they can get book notoriety by the Media and create online buzz.

Once an author wins or becomes a finalist, announcements should follow. Letting the media know though press releases is not just wise but also necessary if an author wishes to put themselves available as experts in their book’s topic and be considered for commentary or interviews. Although no one can successfully measure how well book awards sell, contests do get attention for your books and help authors to establish themselves as credible experts. This is actually the best prize contests offer. After all, readers tend to buy books from their favorite authors and check out books from other authors they have heard of somewhere. So what are you waiting for! For more information on the Reader Views Literary Awards click here.

Susan Violante is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.