One Thing Marketing … PINhead Authors

Hi. This is Christen from Litfuse Publicity Group. By day, I’m the Nester – keeping the Litfuse Nest in order. By night, I’m like you, an aspiring author. One of my favorite things about starting a new WIP is finding pictures of my characters and settings. I spend hours pouring over magazines trying to find the perfect look for the characters in my head. Currently, I have a file cabinet full of characters sitting in my garage – taking up space.

Enter Pinterest. It is my new filing cabinet, per say, for characters (and settings and costuming and etcetera etcetera etcetera).

What is Pinterest? I am so glad you asked! Get ready for mind-blowing awesomeness…

According to the Pinterest website it is a Virtual Pinboard. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.

As a writer I love it because I can create a “pin board” or scrapbook for each book or character. The world wide web is my “magazine”. I’ve downloaded the “pin it” button so I can pull pins from virtually anywhere and create visual boards I can access anywhere, at anytime. Gone are the days of me lugging around a large notebook filled with photos and research – ok most likely not, but still the option is there.

Why jump on the Pinterest bandwagon? I know, I can already hear you groaning. Pinning to an online board condenses your ideas into one spot. Plus, you might just develop a new obsession hobby (beware, hours of your life may disappear – don’t say I didn’t warn you). But, more importantly join Pinterest because it’s one more way to create a new level of excitement in your readers. Invite them to follow along and “see” your work in progress. Host a contest and allow fans and readers to “choose” what a particular character looks like or decide a setting for your WIP. You may also gain new readers and fans because of the extreme viral-ness of Pinterest. Since your pins will be public, anyone will be able to view your pin boards – easy (and free) marketing!

So go dive into the endless pool of possibilities that is Pinterest. I’ll meet you there.

What about you? Have you gotten obsessed with pinning yet?

*NEW* Inquire about our specially priced My Book Therapy marketing and publicity packages., by emailing amy@litfusegroup.com today!

Litfuse is a firm that provides a wide variety of services for authors, ranging from blog tours, media PR, social media, campaigns, Facebook parties, interactive websites, blog development, personal assistants, event planning, marketing, and more. Learn more at www.LitfuseGroup.com.

NOTE:  Read MBT info about the Pintrist Copyright Pinterest and Copyright Issues

One Thing Marketing … Write a Press Release as Compelling as Your Book!

Welcome to this week’s One Thing Marketing where we talk about that “One Thing” you can do this week to build your platform, connect with readers/reviewers and snag some attention for you and your latest book or WIP.

Last week we talked about a writer’s mission statement. How did you do coming up with a Brand Promise, Tagline and Emotional Relevance? This week we’ll tackle the press release.

A press release is an announcement of your new book. The trick is making the announcement as compelling as your book is, and that takes a slightly different touch.

It’s a simple formula merely to put together a proper press release for your book.

In the first paragraph, include the following:

  • Title
  • ISBN number
  • Publisher
  • Author
  • Price

Then in the body of the release, include the following:

  • Brief summary of the book
  • Picture of the jacket

But all that doesn’t make it compelling.

If you do nothing else with your “proper” press release, you must give it a headline that hooks the recipient who is looking through a pile of unopened emails—in many cases, emails about someone else’s new book. (Gone are the old days of faxing a press release.) If your headline catches a reader’s eye such that they open your email—you are halfway to getting publicity for your book.

Effective headlines may mimic a news story. “Amish principles work for today’s family.” “[Famous Person] reacts to frightening statistic.” If you’re lucky, your newsy headline will reflect a current event: “Journalist finds strength in captivity.”

Brainstorm a bunch of these and since the main headline will be the subject header of your email, keep the length on the short side. Use a subhead to elaborate.

When composing your headline, consider your target audience. If your book is niche, your niche reviewers will love seeing a mention of it up front, such as love for romance readers. War reference or historical character for history buffs. God for religious reviewers. Your target audience may get excited about a new author—mention it, if you think that would move them.

Now that your release has been opened, you have the first few paragraphs to lure the reader into reading the whole thing. These paragraphs will contain a summary of the plot or content. If your publisher has written summaries for you, utilize their wordsmithing. There is a fine line between going on too long and getting to the point too quickly. Find the middle ground that engages the reader but doesn’t waste his or her time. Don’t be redundant just to add verbiage, and be mindful of the length of your release. If it seems too long at a glance, the reader may prejudge the content as too much trouble.

Now create a quote about how you feel about a character or your motivation behind writing the book. That’ll be your next paragraph. Sum up, and make a final captivating statement about your book.

The rest of your release will include a brief biographical paragraph about the author and a handful of suggested interview questions for reviewers who might like to feature an interview with you. This way you take all the work out of someone giving you free publicity. Questions could cover motivation, research, characters, genre, or personal information.

Have you received endorsements or critical acclaim? Use them! They are very versatile. Depending on their inherent value, they could be part of a headline or a subheading. You could work part of a quote into the body. Otherwise, list the best written ones after the main body of the release. Don’t be afraid to edit quotes for length and impact.

And never forget your call to action: “To request a review copy of My Best Book Ever, schedule So-And-So for an interview, or for more information, please contact ________.”

A good press release is within your grasp as a good writer. You already know your recipients want to read the book—you just have to tell them.

Visit the Litfuse Archive Page

Christy Anderson is a media specialist at Litfuse Publicity Group in Seattle, Wash., a firm that provides a wide variety of services for authors, ranging from blog tours, media PR, social media launch parties, interactive websites, blog development, personal assistants, direct mail, event planning, marketing, and more. Learn more at www.LitfuseGroup.com.

One Thing Marketing … Writer’s Mission Statement

Welcome to this week’s One Thing Marketing your “One Thing” you can do this week to buildyour  platform, connect with readers/reviewers, and garner some exposure for you and  your latest book or WIP. Last week I talked about Finding Your Why. How did you do with the evaluation questions? This week we’ll be using those answers to craft your mission statement.

The definition of a Mission Statement (as defined by Wikipedia) is a statement of the purpose of a company or organization. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a path, and guide decision-making. It provides the framework or context within which the company’s strategies are formulated.

This is what every author should start with before they decide on writing projects, accept assignments, or begin marketing themselves and their work. One of our clients recently  attended a blogging conference and used the below steps to create her mission  statement. This client, Tricia Goyer(http://triciagoyer.com), has been writing  for over ten years with thirty plus titles under her belt, but it wasn’t until  she sat down to really think about her mission statement that she felt like she  understood for the first time her purpose and mission.

Why is this even important for an author? Your mission statement is used to create your “brand  identity.” Your brand identity will guide how you want your readers to perceive your platform or your message—your brand. It’s the main message you want to communicate to your potential readers with the “product” you’re offering – you and your words.

Tricia is not an author who  sticks to one genre so this makes her brand identity a bit difficult. She  writes Amish, but she’s not just an Amish writer. She writes parenting and  marriage books, but she’s not just a family life expert. She writes historical  fiction, but she’s not just a historical fiction author. She writes books for teens, but … well, you get the idea. When Tricia thought about her Mission Statement she longed to capture all that is Tricia Goyer—this also included teen mentoring, speaking, and being a radio host. Tricia says that when she began  to evaluate her mission and brand she broke it into three parts:

1. My brand promise is what I weigh my writing and ministry by.

2. My tagline is what readers can expect from me.

3. And the emotional relevance is the feeling my reader gets after reading one of my books or blogs or hearing me speak.

As Tricia thought of all these  things one word came to mind, “Inspiration.” To her inspiration is the  “breath of God.” And the message that resonates in all her books is  our need to allow Him to breathe strength, creativity and purpose into our  everyday lives. She discovered that whether she’s writing about personal issues or sharing the lives of characters in her novels,  “ordinary” becomes  “extraordinary” as we give Jesus space to live and move in us–and  through us. And as we impact the world for His kingdom. With the help of her blogging  friends (and Facebook friends), this is what Tricia came up with. In Tricia’s words:

#1 Brand Promise Statement (My mission statement): Inspiring ordinary women to follow an extraordinary God.

#2 Tagline from my website. (What readers can expect from me): Authentic Fiction, Real Life Truth

#3 Emotional Relevance Word: Inspiration

Tricia says that this has helped  her to see why certain projects she proposed got rejected—they didn’t resonate  from who she was deep inside—and somehow publishers could see that. It has also  helped when she’s been approached to write books. There are many great projects, but knowing her mission helps Tricia determine if the project is  right for her. Your one thing for this week is to use this model, take your WHY from last week and create your own mission statement and brand Identity.

1.Brand Promise

2.Tagline

3.Emotional Relevance Word

And like Tricia, don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, readers and critique partners for help. I can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

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Amy Lathrop is the lead hen at Litfuse Publicity Group. Come see what’s stirring. We offer a wide variety of services ranging from marketing, publicity, social media campaigns, Facebook launch parties, interactive websites, author assistants, custom apps, event planning, ghost blogging, and more. If you need your own nest put in order, look no further. Go ahead, put all your eggs in one basket and contact one of the hens today, www.litfusegroup.com.

One Thing Marketing … Find your WHY!

Susie May here:  I’m super excited to announce a new marketing series at MBT:  One Thing Marketing, written by my amazing publicist, Owner and Founder of Litfuse Publicity Group! She not only runs one of the hottest book marketing companies on the market, but Amy is just brimming with great marketing ideas.  Look for some marketing specials from Litfuse too, as the series continues! Thank you Amy!!

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Hello … and welcome to the brand new One Thing Marketing column on My Book Therapy!

This is Amy Lathrop from Litfuse Publicity Group. Susie May asked me to come on board to share some of the tips and best practices I’ve got rattling around in my head. I’m honored and thrilled to have this chance to connect with the MBT community! In my weekly posts I’ll be tackling the time suck that is Marketing and Publicity (henceforth known as M&P) and breaking down tasks in manageable bite-sized chunks. Each week’s column will offer up “One Thing” you can do each week to build your platform, connect with readers/reviewers, and garner some exposure for you and your latest book or WIP.

Before I launch into this week’s One Thing Tip, I’d like to share a little about my “WHY.”

I started Litfuse six years ago with one passion: to free authors up to write. I have a degree in creative writing and editing and thought I would go on to be a writer. (Well, actually a poet. Clearly, I was fine with being poor all my life.) But, I soon realized that my passion wasn’t writing, but rather helping people who write. Litfuse began as an author assistant business and grew to become a full M&P firm. Being an author assistant allowed me a double-sided view of the publishing world. I saw what publishers expected from authors and what authors expected from their publishers in regards to marketing and publicity. These mutual expectations often created gaps of crucial tasks that never got done because of time/budget/inexperience. My business grew by filling in those gaps. Authors need to write (that requires time) and publishers need to sell more books (that requires publicity) – so I partnered with authors to perform virtual assistant work (answer reader mail, project-manage marketing/publicity campaigns, blog, social media, databases, newsletters, create buzz, etc.), and with publishers to market and publicize books.

Now on to…FINDING YOUR WHY

This may seem really basic. Almost too basic. But, before writing the first word in your manuscript you must start with ”Why?” Why are you writing, why does your reader need to hear your message, who are you hoping to impact?

You may be saying, “I write fiction; I’m just telling a story.” But at the heart of every story is a motivation. If you’re a writer, telling stories is part of your story. As the storyteller you have your own motivation (much like your characters). If you don’t start with WHY long before you get to marketing and publicity, you’ll just be another voice clambering to be heard. You’ll waste money and time trying to entice people to buy and read your books. Only your WHY will create a compelling platform and brand for your work.

In Simon Sinek’s book Start With Why, he says, “Those who start with WHY never manipulate; they inspire. And people follow them not because they have to; they follow because they want to.” You can see the truth in that statement by looking at authors who have a clear purpose and message for their writing and life. They have branded themselves well with their WHY and readers are drawn to their books.

What about you? Have you found your WHY?

Your One Thing for the week is to evaluate your WHY. Ask yourself these four questions (Adapted from Start With Why):

1. Why do you write? (Start with “I believe….”)
2. How do you write? (How do you think about writing, and what are your guiding principles?)
3. What do you do? (What steps are you taking to become published or get another contract?)
4. What are your goals?

Your answers should be short and concise. Put your answers away for a week – then take another look. Does what you wrote still ring true? If not, re-evaluate and try again.

Next week I’ll talk about mission statements and why they’re important.

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Litfuse Publicity Group exists to create a stir in the marketplace for our clients. Visit our site and you will soon discover something unique. We love our clients. We offer a wide variety of services ranging from blog tours, media PR, social media and Facebook launch parties, interactive websites, blog development, author assistants, custom apps, event planning, marketing, and more. If you need your own nest put in order, look no further. Go ahead, put all your eggs in one basket and contact one of the hens today, www.litfusegroup.com.