The “Rapture” and Book Reviews

By: Kathleen Pickering

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I had a book deadline for yesterday, and given most of the hype leading up to Saturday’s expected “Rapture”, I kept looking out the window and wondering . . . so, if I’m gonna disintegrate at 6 p.m., do I really need to finish this final edit for Monday?

Now, stay with me here, you’ll see my point.

Since I knew the “Rapture” prediction was hype, and that the hype was unreal (Why would I have a deadline for Monday if it was real? My editor surely would have known!), it started me thinking about the power of opinions.

Which led me to the power of book reviews. (My point, entirely, which Clare Langley-Hawthorne tapped into with her blog from yesterday. I wonder if she was thinking Rapture, as well?) So, to continue Clare’s conversation, I ask: Will Internet reviews be as powerful as the tried and true print and media reviews?

I say, hell yes.

From all the Internet marketing classes and webinars I’ve attended, the magic words are “buzz’” and “viral”. While TV interviews are the ultimate for books sales, I believe (hallelujah!) that Internet book reviews are another rapid means to get word out about a hot, new novel. Believe me, brothers and sisters. I am taking full advantage of online reviews. (Feeding the bees to make a buzz, you might say.)

I just received a 5-Star review on my self-pubbed, urban fantasy, MYTHOLOGICAL SAM, and enjoyed a surge in my Amazon sales from this post. (Thank you, Melissa Cabrera!) So, I am taking Internet book reviews very seriously. Here’s the book. Feel free to check out the gratifying book review:

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http://werevampsromance.blogspot.com/2011/05/kathleen-pickering-book-review-author.html?m=0#more

Now, granted, this is only one review, but I have posted this opinion on Facebook, Twitter, my email signature, other writer’s groups, and now here on this fabulous blog page. FOR FREE. That suddenly gives this review multiple opportunities for exposure.

Do I care if my reviewer is educated? Respected? Influential? Hell, no. Although I’m sure she is, what truly matters, is that she liked the book enough to give it 5-Stars and rave about it to everyone she knows. She’s starting a buzz for me, and that’s priceless. Word of mouth on the Internet is how ‘viral’ gets born.

So, while still courting radio, TV and print media for reviews, I’m putting my money (which isn’t requiring much, I might add) on Internet marketing, which includes free book review blog sites and interviews. Internet marketing is something I can actively target and control (until it happily and wishfully goes viral, of course). I will do the same with my book being released next year through my publisher, as well. I’ll keep you posted on whether or not my efforts prove profitable. It’ll make an interesting study.

Has anyone else seen a rise in sales from Internet book reviews? And if you are a reader, do you buy from the Internet reviews you read?

HOW DOES YOUR SUCCESS LOOK?

By: Kathleen Pickering

success3As authors, most of us understand the on-going process behind the craft of writing. Getting the book written is no longer our challenge. Getting the book into the hands of the world is.

One of the biggest hurdles we all face is the marketing of our precious cargo—unless, of course you are of the J.K. Rowling or James Patterson ilk. Since I am newly breaking into the publishing world, I have dedicated myself to mastering Internet/Media marketing along with hand-selling because marketing will ultimately measure my books’ success. Besides, I think my stories rock and I want everyone to read them!!!

steve2[1]One champion of media marketing I’ve encountered is Steve Harrison (http://www.reporterconnection.com/). Steve and his brother, Bill, offer a treasure-trove of free information. As expected, much of this info leads to the hook where he gets you to pay big bucks for specialty services, but I say, all the power to him. When I can afford one of his five thousand dollar seminars, I will certainly attend.

What I would like to share with you today are three questions and five fast-track strategies Steve Harrison offers to help visualize and create your career goals. If you find yourself signing up at Steve’s site, please tell him I sent you. (Even though he has no earthly idea who I am, I’d like him to know I’m pitching for him.) So, if you are about to leap into your new career, or are re-vamping your present one, I encourage you to grab a pen and paper and take the time to answer these questions. Here goes:

Career Visualizing Questions:

1. What do you want from you career? Think big! How much do you want to make? What will you be doing in one year? Five? Ten? (Okay, now. You can laugh, but when I hear think big, I say, $10 million/year, movie contracts, book signings and speaking engagements on site, on radio, on TV all the while knowing I can retire, should I want to, but love my life too much to stop . . . oh, yeah!!!)

2. How many books do you want to sell? (I said, 100,000 copies per month. Hey, the man said, think big!)

3. How does your success look? Where are you? Who’s with you? What have you done? How have you been acknowledged? (I’ll let you answer. No need for me to color your opinion any further!)

Fast Track MEDIA Publicity Strategies – When you have a book/movie/event to share with the news, take action. Never underestimate the fact that interest exists for exactly what you have to offer! Here are the basic steps:

1. Contact media by email – Email is the fastest way to get responses over phones (unless you already know the person) or snail mail when contacting newspapers, TV or radio stations.

2. Offer a “timely tie-in” to a current event/holiday – Something happening “now” in the world or your community that relates to your offering/specialty creates an excellent hook to grab a radio or television station’s attention.

3. Use the “magic phrase” – When contacting radio, TV or businesses, your subject line in the email should contain the media person’s first name and use of the word ‘timely’ w/(story) for the event/date. i.e., Andrea, timely guest for Friday before Super Bowl. (The author had a “how to” piece for understanding football.)

4. Keep email short: 3-4 paragraphs describing pitch and qualifications behind it.

5. Send a hand written thank you note after interview. It’s good business!!!

Great stuff, yes? It sure helps me to focus on the business of writing. I just began this process in January to complement my website. Through Steve’s free “Reporter Connection” service, I have already been featured in one e-zine article and will be interviewed on a reviewer’s blog site on April 20th. (I’ll be sure to post it on my Facebook page!) This morning, I sent a query for a morning radio show looking for authors to interview.

I also invested in a video camera (I love my Kodak Zi8!) to record short videos from conferences/workshops as well as interviews with authors. I post these video clips on my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/katpickering. Reaching out to readers through the Internet or Media is not only great fun, it is one of the fastest way to earn name recognition, and hence, book sales.

I look forward to mastering this challenge of getting my books into the hands of readers. I’ll update you on how these strategies work as the year unfolds. Feel free to post your answers to the questions listed above, or any media tips you would like to share.