Tuesday, January 31, 2012

NEA: Reading Patterns of Children, Teenagers, & Adults

This is interesting...I found it while searching online for supporting research to support several planned iniatives for book marketing for 2012. This research should be required reading for authors, publishers, educators, etc. The information is not super current -- the report was issued November 2007 -- but it shows important trends in reading patterns of children, teenagers, & adults.

How am I using the information? I'm using it to fine-tune marketing targets -  instead of trying to sell to ALL teenagers, this report is steering me in a direction that will target "reading teens" specifically; it's pushing me to create the best Return On Investment (ROI). Instead of following a blanket marketing approach, I want to find places where "reading teens" might frequent, and market to them specifically.

Here's an overview of the report, as outlined on the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) website.

To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence.
This report is a new and comprehensive analysis of reading patterns of children, teenagers, and adults in the United States. To Read or Not To Read assembled data on reading trends from more than 40 sources, including federal agencies, universities, foundations, and associations. The compendium expands the investigation of the NEA's landmark 2004 report, Reading at Risk, and reveals recent declines in voluntary reading and test scores alike, exposing trends that have severe consequences for American society. November 2007
Executive Summary
Research Report #47
NEA website

Monday, January 30, 2012

ABNA 2012 - I'm in!

I've been saying it for years...I'm going to send in an entry to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA). Well, I finally did it. There was some feverish work at the end to complete last minute edits, and fine-tune my query, all the while I was hoping to make the deadline. I was worried that the contest might fill-up before I was done. But no, I made it. Yippee!

Now the lengthy process begins.  The waiting and the cuts. I hate waiting. I hate cuts. I'm trying to quell the urge to keep tweaking the manuscript. It's times like these that I wish I had a magic timepiece that would allow me to jump ahead...just to find out the results...did I make it to the next round, or not.
Time to distract myself, and move on to other projects so I'll avoid last minute neurotic edits. So it's on to drafting the next book (yay!), and developing my marketing plan (super-yay!)...and waiting.

Monday, January 23, 2012

News...Selected to Judge Global eBook Awards

It's official...I just got word that I am going to be a judge in Dan Poynter's second annual Global Ebook Awards contest. How exciting! I'm awaiting news on which category I'll be judging - will keep you posted.

Entries are still being accepted if you're interested in participating.
Eligibility: eBook released anytime on or before March 11, 2012.
Application deadline: March 12, 2012 (midnight Pacific Time).
Award ceremony in beautiful Santa Barbara: Saturday, August 18, 2012.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Book Review - The Road

Book Review - The Road
by Cormac McCarthy
The Road

The Road…wow, what an amazing book. It is written so simply and yet it draws you in. You can feel the setting, feel the anguish of the characters, and it’s a quick read too. No wonder this book is a classic. I found myself highlighting so many parts as I read in my Kindle that when I went back over my notes there were six pages of highlights!

The Road is set in a post-apocalyptic world where life is all about survival. People have become an endangered species, hunted even by other humans. There are no animals and very little else left to scavenge for survival. The main character is a nameless father and his son who are on the move, searching for anything that will help them survive even one more day. They journey to an unknown destination with very little hope of finding anything better. The son has grown up knowing this emaciated world, and when his father talks of things the way they used to be, it is as if he is making up stories, fairy-tales.

This story will forever occupy a part of me. Haunting, enduring, and still somehow very beautiful.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 - Going to be Amazing

Do you guys feel it? I feel it. 2012 is going to be an AMAZING year! So what do you have planned to accomplish this year? New Year's resolutions were flying all over the internet the first week of January. They started dwindling last week, and now the third week in January and they're nearly non-existent. So have you lost focus on your goals for the year already? I hope not.

Now is the time to review your list. Which goals/resolutions still seem realistic, and which ones were more pie-in-the-sky pipe-dreams? Narrow the list to 1-3 that you think will be the real items you want to go after this year. And then right down the steps that you need to accomplish to get it done, distribute those tasks to the weeks/months in which you want to get them done.

Goals are best accomplished when broken down into smaller, more attainable steps.

2012 can be your year. 2012 WILL be your year...if you just plan for it and pursue it with blinders on.

I believe in you. Do you? Believe in yourself.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

How To Write A Book Marketing Plan

Please welcome a guest to the blog today: Teresa Edmond.
She is here to share some information on Book Marketing Plans,
so without further delay, take it away Teresa...
(cheers & clapping from the crowd)

It's not enough for an author to just write and rewrite a book. That's only the beginning of that book's life. To nurture that book's life (read: let readers know its exists), the writer also has to establishing a platform, build a fan base and get one's name out there in the literary world -- before the book hits the virtual bookshelves, or even tangible bookshelves. Authors also have to know how to plug in their books as well. This is where some self-published authors go wrong.

Authors have to be willing to pound the pavement to various locations for personal appearances, make a flurry of phone calls to book such events and use the power of the Internet (I especially recommend Facebook and Twitter of course; however, also check out blogging sites like WordPress, a FeedBurner account to help deliver your blog to the masses, GoodReads, and LinkedIn to network with other writers, editors and publishers). Warding Off Reality is still in its pre-production phase (under publication of my imprint Heathermoors Books), but I'm already letting people know via my blog, Facebook and Twitter about it. I even set up the book's website, http://www.wardingoffreality.wordpress.com/.

Publicity is the name of the game no matter what product or service anyone offers. Notice how even entertainers, including A-listers like Tom Hanks, Will Smith and Meryl Streep, have to do the rounds of the media circuit before their movies come out.

As a soon--to-be self-published novelist, I'm willing to work hard and do what it'll take to make my novel a success. Are you?

Dog Ear Publishing has posted on their website dogearpublishing.net a great article on how to write a book marketing plan, which I posted below.

Photo Courtesy of: http://free-clipart.net/

How to Write a Book Marketing Plan

Posted on May 25, 2011 by admin

I’m sure you’re not too surprised to find out that your work as a self published author doesn’t end when the presses finally begin –actually, some of the most important work you’ll do to make your book sell STARTS now (if not a bit earlier…)

How often have you heard other self published authors lament their lack of sales? All too often, I’m sure – and all too often, good planning and a smart strategy could have changed those stories.

A sound and sensible book marketing plan is just as important as the writing, design, and publication itself – no matter how wonderful your book might be, it won’t sell itself…and it’s highly unlikely for a new author’s (and even many well seasoned ones’) book to jump off bookstore shelves without some help. Remember, most bookstores have about 8,000 other titles competing for the consumer’s attention right next to one another!

Your book marketing plan should be designed to identify the revenue streams you plan to tap into. This document should be an outline of how you will achieve your income or sales goals, and it should identify in detail the market you’re targeting.

Building a book marketing plan.

Everyone knows a book won’t sell itself, Right? Surprisingly, many authors DON’T fully grasp this fact until it’s too late – and they are disappointed with their sales performance. Every book needs some sort of marketing plan – something that sets your expectations and creates achievable goals that you can pursue in an orderly fashion.

But, how do you create a marketing plan for your book? There is a ton of great free software, and even more that you can spend lots of money on, that all help you create a marketing plan for selling your book. However, before you spend a lot of time and money downloading software, open up your trusty word processor and follow me…

Chapter One – Who will buy your book?

The secret to sales success is to target your marketing as directly as possible to your potential reader – and have it be someone who is reachable.

“Everyone will want to read my book!” Sorry, but that doesn’t work. Even the absolute best selling books – that sell 2 or 3 million copies in a year – only penetrate about 3% of the reading population. Sales success for your book will be driven by defining a very clear picture of who is interested in your book.

They must be identifiable: Make a list! Which groups would be interested in your book? Why? Who is next? Why should they need or want your book? (remember this – someone is more likely to buy something they NEED before something they WANT)

Now – narrow it down even more. Find a unique angle about your book – and don’t try and be everything to everyone, because you can’t – instead target 100% of a specific part!

Chapter Two – What is your definition of success for your book? What is your GOAL?

Some authors write for themselves and their families only – they don’t dream of their books as bestsellers in the marketplace. Some authors write for a very specific personal need to tell their story. Some have unique insight into very specific topics. Many have dreams of seeing their books in the front of Barnes & Noble. Each author is different, but you MUST decide what your real definition of success happens to be. We don’t want to pursue a goal that may not be what you actually feel is important.

Chapter Three – Objectives, Plans and Actions

Everything needs to start with a GOAL – and that is what you outlined in Chapter Two. Everything you do for your book should be in support of this goal.

Objectives- these are the steps you take to achieve your GOAL – for example, if your goal is to sell 5,000 books, then you need to identify some OBJECTIVES as the “steps” to achieving your goal. Just like your GOAL – make sure your Objectives are reasonable, and something that you can achieve. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to confuse WANTING to do something to achieve a goal with being ABLE to achieve a goal – make sure you possess the necessary skills to do the things on your list. Perhaps my OBJECTIVES list would look like this:
1.Set up personal events to promote my book – book signings, seminars, radio interviews, etc.

2.Secure reviews from print resources.

3.Identify online resources for promotion of my book

4.Identify non-retail opportunities for book sales.

5.Create outbound awareness campaign of me, the author, as an expert in my field

Plans – your PLANS outline the needed steps to get your OBJECTIVES moving, and they begin to suggest “to do lists” and measurable actions. For example, one of my Objectives is to set up personal events to promote my book. So, my plan section might look like this:

•Objective:Personal Appearances:


i. Set up one book signing per week at local outlets

ii. Set up two seminars on book marketing in 1st quarter

iii. Conduct one radio interview per month over the coming year

Actions- these are the details of each PLAN- and, as the saying goes, “the devil is in the details”. This is where most marketing plans fail – you must have a coherent and workable set of “actions” to achieve each plan, that then lead to each objective – and, eventually, achieves your ultimate goal. If you can’t produce a reasonable set of “actions” for achieving each plan, then scrap the plan and start over. Here is my “Action” list for the Objective / Plans above:

•Objective: Personal Appearances:

•Plan: Set up one book signing per week at local bookstores


• Call B&N at Keystone– get Events Coord. name – make appt. to visit and present book signing idea. BRING BOOK!! Mary knows Mgr. – get intro?

• Books-A-Million Mgr. – drop off book – and mention reading / seminar on mktg.

• Contact library for presentations on self-pub. Monthly event?

As you can see, it really is all about breaking your marketing efforts down in to small enough pieces to be A) understandable, B) achievable and C) measurable.

Marketing & publicity is a long-term, consistent and concerted effort. It never ever happens overnight, even though it may seem to for some people.

Chapter Four – Create a reasonable timeline and budget

All of us have finite amounts of time, energy and money. Marketing can eat up all three very quickly, leaving you alone, exhausted and broke. The game is to pace yourself and resources so that you can keep the effort moving along. This is where your planning in Chapter Three works its magic. Without looking at the “big picture,” most of us would never know how much of our precious resources should be devoted to each aspect of the game. Organization and prioritizing are the most important parts of the process – and you may find yourself returning to “Chapter Three” and rewriting sections of your plan.

Here are some monetary expenses you may expect to incur in your marketing plan:

1. Sample Books – do you plan on sending them out or dropping them off?

2. Marketing materials – posters, flyers, postcards, etc.

3. Press release writing and distribution

4. Advertising – sponsored search, links, banners, print

5. Web site design and shopping cart creation

6. Direct mail opportunities

A quick note on samples – I don’t believe in sending out books blindly – it’s too expensive and not effective. If a potential resource is interested in your book, they’ll ask for it (as long as you’ve written a good press release).

Chapter Five – Creating a brand with your book marketing plan

Think about this. In many cases you, not your book, are really the “brand”. Books can occasionally be seen as a commodity. “Experts” who can be interviewed on a topic are often far more valuable. Your book is your calling card, and ultimately the way you will profit from your expertise, but many times it’s YOU, the expert, that is the selling point!

Use your marketing plan to push you as the primary product, building a brand around what you know and your “mystique” as an author. Also, don’t forget to let us know your plans! If you and your book are “tied” as a brand, let us help you use your book to increase your credibility and awareness. At least have us add your web site in several places in the book – even on the cover. Letting us in on your marketing plans can allow us time to help you create the best possible product.

That’s it – the building of a book marketing plan in a nutshell if you will. Let us know if we can answer any questions, and thanks for reading.
Teresa Edmond is a journalist in northern New Jersey. Visit her website at http://www.teresaedmond.com/.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Masque of the Red Death ARC...love book mail!

I received another ARC today, this one is from Greenwillow Books...Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. I LOVE getting these in the mail! Time to add it to the reading pile.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Book Review - Bitten

Book Review - Bitten by R.L. Stine

Bitten: Dangerous Girls & The Taste of NightBitten follows twin sisters, Destiny & Livvy, as they return home from summer camp only to discover that vampires are invading their small town. And they are smack-dab in the middle of it all - they are also craving blood - they need it. Can they keep it a secret? Will they become full fledged vampires?
Bitten is a fast-paced easy read. But on the same token, it's also lacking some of Stine's hook and pizzazz that are in his stories for younger readers.

I enjoyed it, but it isn't in my top reads. I think it may be one of those stories that easily fades for me. Maybe my expectations were too high?

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Book Mail - Forbidden & Hallowed

I love when new books arrive in the mail!
Look what was waiting for me in my mailbox today...ready for me to read and review.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

"Do You" is FREE for 2 days only!

My Writing Life followers...I need your help! I'm running a limited-time promotion on Amazon, for 2 days only...my e-book is FREE! If you are into poetry & full-color photography then this book is for you.

Here's the link: Do You

Thanks to all who read this, and a double thanks to those who download the book.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Book Release - Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This looks interesting. Check out the blurb abour Cinder - releasing today! I'm adding it to my TO READ list:
Product Details

Cinder: Book One in The Lunar Chronicles
by Marissa Meyer

Even in the future, the story begins with Once Upon a Time…. Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.

Marissa Meyer's Blog:


Monday, January 02, 2012

Kindle Direct Publishing - KDP Select...a new way to earn royalties

I'm not sure how long this has been available, but I found out about it today when I was researching another author's book. This program gives authors a new way of earning royalties, as long as you're willing to give Amazon exclusivity on your e-book for 90 days.
Here's a blurb about it from Amazon's site:
Want more information, follow this link to the KDP Select section of the Kindle Direct Publishing site.
"Introducing KDP Select - a new option to make money and promote your book. When you make your book exclusive to Kindle for at least 90 days, it will be part of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library for the same period and you will earn your share of a monthly fund when readers borrow your books from the library. You will also be able to promote your book as free for up to 5 days during these 90 days."