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BBBB Weekly Tip: BookTour.com Now Partnered with Amazon.com

July 16, 2009


BookTour.com, the world's largest, 100% free directory of author events, recently announced that they have partnered with Amazon.com. Authors who list their tour dates on BookTour.com will now see those dates automatically appear on their corresponding Amazon Author Page. Check out author Daniel Silva’s Amazon page to see this in action. It's a great way to get even more exposure for your upcoming bookstore events. If you haven’t already signed up for a free BookTour.com account, now is the time! Click here to sign up.

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No More "Tuesdays with Marley": Avoid Copy-cating Bestsellers

July 16, 2009

One of our favorite moments of last May’s BookExpo coverage was this one-liner from Bob Miller of HarperStudio: during a discussion on “Stupid Things Publishers & Booksellers Do,” he said, “No more Tuesdays with Marley?” He was, of course, referring to the hastily (and poorly) produced copycats that tend to follow breakout successes in the book world. (Here’s looking at you, Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.)

The lesson is to not let market trends alone dictate the book you decide to write and publish. Most of the time, book buyers will see right through a blatant attempt to piggyback onto a successful book that was probably a success because it was a well-written and smartly packaged book—not because it contained special subject matter (boy wizards, emo vampires, etc.) that readers craved in and of itself.

Anyway, if you thought Tuesdays with Marley was clever, you’ll love the fake-bestseller contest put on by Steve Hely, author of How I Became a Famous Novelist (Grove Press). His book includes a mock NYT bestseller list [PDF alert], and he invited others to come up with their own bogus book titles. A personal favorite, from @ami_with_an_i: "Punk Girls Don't Get Fat: The Secrets of Staying Skinny on Just Two Packs of Camel Wides and a Flask of Cheap Whiskey a Day." See them all on Twitter and on Facebook. (PS: This is also near-brilliant social media marketing, obviously.)

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Bookstore Signings: HarperStudio's 5 Tips and More

July 16, 2009

Some of you might remember that for an April Fool's gag, we gave seven "hot tips" for author events. Signing

Over at HarperStudio's blog The 26th Story, they're giving you the good stuff: a great blog post with five important (real) things to remember for authors who are having book signings at local stores.

Those tips include:

  1. We are investing in you. Invest in us!
  2. Don't spread yourself too thin.
  3. Please don't second-guess the bookstore.
  4. Stay calm; do not panic!
  5. Enjoy your big day!

Check out the blog post, "An Author Walks Into a Bookstore (for a signing)" to get the complete information.

Other links to check out on the how-tos, goods, bads, uglies, and mathematics of book signings and author events:

If you have any stories to share about author events (both as an author and as an antendee), let us know!

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Steal This Idea (again): Video Book Promotion

July 14, 2009

Our friends over at the book trailer blog share an insightful way for authors to use video as a promotional tool for their books, appropriately titled, "Steal This Idea."

The video just so happens to feature author Neil Gaiman, which you big bad book blog readers may recognize as a favorite of mine, and an extraordinaire at modern book promotional techniques.


Authors and publicists, share with us some of your favorite techniques for combining digital tools and marketing efforts for your books!

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Writing for Your Audience

July 2, 2009

crowd“My play was a complete success. The audience was a failure.”
Ashleigh Brilliant

I’ve read many books, ideas, proposals. A small, but shining few are good, and there is a significant trait that define them as such. The authors know who their audience is, and they write for that audience. Knowing your core audience is essential.

I am the first to admit how deeply personal putting words to paper is for me. It has always been subject to my interests, my thoughts, my ideas, my passions. I write because it fulfills me.

Most authors don't write for money or fame (or “fortune and glory,” as pulp fiction screen star Indiana Jones would have put it), but because they have a honest love of what they do.

But the authors who find success (as household names or finding a niche of readers who love their work), they realize that writing a book is about creating something that will find an audience, and moreso, something that finds the right audience. It’s about what the audience will love.

It’s not blasphemy or insensitivity, it’s truth. If a writer doesn’t know who wants to read their work, they won't find an audience. But knowing your audience isn’t the easiest task. There are many considerations, including:

  • genre (what type of book is it? Fiction, nonfiction, memoir, sci-fi/fantasy, women’s fiction, popular science?)
  • subject (light fare or dark? Happy marriages or abuse? New theories or battling disease?)
  • length (short, long or in-between?)
  • language (poetic or straightforward, child’s POV or adult’s, fact-filled or completely imaginative?)
  • current trends (what is selling? What’s popular at the moment?)
  • marketability (can you get this book to your core audience?)

Others arise as well, depending the answers to the above questions.

As an author, it is part of your job to find the answers to these questions, to understand about your core audience. It isn’t enough to write a good book that you think people will like. You have all the fodder you need to know what people like. What’s selling, being talked about, winning awards, popular in social media, or circling through book clubs? (What is most important to you will of course depend on who you’re trying to reach).

I’m not suggesting that your writing becomes impersonal, because that will alienate an audience as surely as will a book they’re not interested in reading. It’s about finding a balance, about shaping your work as you write it and molding it to the needs of your readers while still creating something that you love.

It won’t work every time. Not every idea is meant to be embraced by your readers, as popular and niche writers alike know well. At times, you will always fail to connect. Some writers feel the need to blame the audience, but it is not their failure for having preferences. It just means re-learning your audience, and writing something new.

While you write, the consideration should be that your book is for other people. It’s hard to remember that at times, in the heat of writing, lost in another world. But it is a core component of authorship. You mean very little as an author without a reader—and in the end, why write if you cannot share it with the world?

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