Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Blog Promotion Via Blogs (Part 2 of 2)

Using Blogs as Part of Book Promotion

(Kathy Carlton Willis)

Blog Ideas to Increase Exposure
At Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, we work with more than 600 bloggers, many doubling as book reviewers. You can use some of the same tips we use at our communications firm when it comes to deciding which bloggers to contact for book promotional purposes.

In Blogs, at KCWC, We Look for/Ask for:
1. A following. Do they show a good number on their follower list?
2. Good interaction. Does the comments section show good reader/blogger interaction?
3. Activity. Are there new posts at least 4 times each month? We prefer 12 times per month.
4. Social networking. Do they plug the blog post links on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or to their mailing lists?
5. Diversity. Do they provide good content on their non-blog tour days, motivating their readers to visit frequently?
6. Personalization. Do they personalize blog tours to make them fit their readership? They might do that by writing a review or spotlighting an aspect of the book that makes it a good match for their blog niche.
7. Book Reviews. Besides their blog activity, are they willing to post a review at one of the online bookstores such as Amazon?
8. Quality Content. Do their views represent the same mindset you have? Look for well-written posts, well thought-out opinions, and wholesome conduct on their blogs.

We Help You Use Your Blog Connections for More than Blog Tours:
1. Reviews. Bloggers write reviews in exchange for free books.
2. Guest Blogger Article Content. Bloggers select from a variety of articles we provide for their sites. We provide reprint permission and make sure they also add a full bio, for promotional purposes.
3. News Releases. When a news release is relevant to our bloggers and their readers, we provide it in the form of article content. They can copy and paste the complete article to their sites, passing along our news.
4. Contests and Giveaways. With new regulations, these require special legal
 wording, but can be done.
5. Surveys. We’ll give bloggers a survey to participate in with their readers, using prize incentives to increase traffic. Blog readers vote on their favorites.
6. Current Content. We provide article content that fits with an “awareness day” or water-cooler topic.

Are you using blog content to its maximum potential? Brainstorm new ways to add content to your own blog, and to the blogs of others that will reach your target audience.

-—Kathy Carlton Willis, Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, is an editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. She enjoys helping writers and speakers.

KCWC BLOG: http://www.kcwcomm.blogspot.com
Kathy’s BLOG: http://imlivingoutloud.blogspot.com

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blog Promotion Via Blogs (Part 1 of 2)

Blog Tours

(Kathy Carlton Willis)

What Are Blog Tours?
Blog tours work like commercials—like running the same ad on different stations to reach multiple audiences. They stimulate a desire for the book with the consumers you want to purchase the title.

Blog tours are like virtual-book tours. Each blogger has a distinctive realm of influence—a different readership. The combined effect of being on multiple blogs in the same week helps increase your search-engine rankings and exposure. Some post the book information you send them; others write reviews in addition to the tour material.

How Do Blog Tours Fit into an Author’s Overall Marketing Plan?
Blog tours develop a grassroots level exposure to the book, and create buzz because of the oldest PR method on the planet: word of mouth. Bloggers feature the book to readers the author couldn’t reach any other way.

What Is Included in a Kathy Carlton Willis Communications (KCWC) Blog Tour?
We send bloggers an eBlast that includes the information we want them to post on behalf of the author:
• Book summary and photo
• Author bio and photo
• Q & A style interview with the author, top 10 List, or other extra features to personalize the tour and make the authors more approachable to the readers.
• Details of any tour giveaways.

Creating Your Own Blog Tour:
1. Make a list of blogs and blog hosts to invite to participate in the blog tour.
2. Decide if there will be a giveaway. If so, in your blog tour invitation, list the details of the prize, along with a photo.
3. Create the blog tour content, and send it to the blog hosts along with the tour invitation.
4. To show your appreciation, mail a free book to each participating blog host.
5. Follow up with any blog tour hosts who need assistance in posting the blog tour so that it’s customized for each host. Make sure they share the blog tour link (URL address) to their social networking sites, to increase traffic.
6. Mention each blog tour link on your social networking sites, and your blog.
7. Interact with the bloggers’ readers on the day of the blog tour, and thank the host on the comments section of each blog.

-—Kathy Carlton Willis, Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, is an editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. She enjoys helping writers and speakers.

KCWC BLOG: http://www.kcwcomm.blogspot.com
Kathy’s BLOG: http://imlivingoutloud.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Writer as Speaker (Part 2 of 2)

Creating Speaker Promotional Materials

(Kathy Carlton Willis)

Now that you have the design for your speaker-promotional materials, how do you distribute them? Here are suggestions to help you let the right people know about your programs and result in more bookings on your calendar.

Online Documents
Save your promo materials as PDFs and make them available online. On your email to event planners, send a website link rather than an email attachment, which is often frowned on. It's also faster than sending print materials through the mail. Along with your own website, consider saving the PDF to a public document-sharing site such as googledocs or docstoc.com.

Eblast Mailer
Redesign your printed promotional materials as an eBlast. An eBlast is a bulk email campaign that sends creatively designed materials in the body of an email. Eblast servers allow you to track who opens the email and who clicks on the links.

By phone, follow up those positive responders. They’ve already heard about you through the mailer, so your calls won't feel like cold calls.

Mailing Database
Compile a mailing database by researching contacts online and by trading lists with others who speak to similar audiences. Start local before you branch out (think Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world).

A database is a spreadsheet with headers to reflect the contact information in a format that is mailer friendly. Use your database to send mailers with USPS or eBlasts, and you'll have phone numbers for follow-up calls. Another option is to collaborate with a professional who has readymade databases.

Pay attention to where others say they have been as guest speakers. For future reference, add those groups to your database. Fill in the blanks by using a search engine to pick up details you need, such as the name of group or church, mailing address, phone number, email address, fax, and contact name.

Don’t wait for event planners to call you. Become active, and you'll see an increase in the number of bookings on your calendar.

-—Kathy Carlton Willis, Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, is an editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. She enjoys helping writers and speakers.

KCWC BLOG: http://www.kcwcomm.blogspot.com
Kathy’s BLOG: http://imlivingoutloud.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Writer as Speaker (Part 1 of 2)

Creating Speaker Promotional Materials

(Kathy Carlton Willis of Kathy Carlton Willis Communications)

One of the best ways to build your marketing platform is to get involved as a speaker for events. The hardest part is getting the word out that you're available. You need to create promotional materials to make sure event planners have the information they need to decide if they want to book you.

Types of Promotional Materials:

• A speaker one-sheet is usually a full-color glossy front-and-back flyer featuring the information you want disseminated. It’s eye-catching and is easy to file away by event planners for future reference.

• A tri-fold brochure uses the 3 columns of each side as natural dividers for information you’re sharing. It’s visually appealing and can be easily mailed.

• A rack-card is the same size and paper as the cards you see for tourists at hotels. It fits in a business-sized envelope. It contains less content, but works well as an oversized bookmark. With the durable glossy cardstock, it lasts longer than most paper products.

Pick the format that goes best with your branding, message, and purpose.

Information to Include in Your Promotional Materials:

• Your name and contact information.

• Contract information for your booking agent (if you have one).

• Branding information, including tagline or main focus, and logo (optional).

• Your bio (written in third person).

• Endorsements (from attendees, event planners, and name-recognized experts or celebrities).

• Your key topic titles and blurbs.

• Current photo.

Other Items to Include for Event Planners:

• Demo recordings (audio or video) in MP3, CD/DVD, or online.

• Event kits—a ready-to-use plan with the information they need to produce a big event, that includes tickets, programs, d├ęcor ideas, menus, music, and skits.

• Publicity kit—media information about the event.

• Speaker contract. Use a form to list your negotiated agreement, including honorarium amount, deposit fee, and travel specifications.

• Handouts or other duplicatable materials. Provide the masters for print materials for the event planner to copy and distribute at the event.

The crucial factor in creating speaker promotional materials is to think like event planners. How can you make it easier for them to want to book you as a speaker?

If you have a PDF of your own speaker promo kit online, share the link with us in the comments below.

-—Kathy Carlton Willis, Kathy Carlton Willis Communications, is an editor, publicist, certified CLASSeminars speaker and faculty member. She enjoys helping writers and speakers.

KCWC BLOG: http://www.kcwcomm.blogspot.com
Kathy’s BLOG: http://imlivingoutloud.blogspot.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Firing Your Agent (Part 6 of 6)

If you decide to fire your agent, write a neutral, matter-of-fact letter to include statements such as:

• I wish you to stop making submissions of my work.

• For a period of sixty days, you may continue to represent me on any submissions that are still active.

• Please send me a list of all editors who have rejected any of my unsold work or are still considering any of my work.

• Please inform me of any offers or rejections that come as a result of these submissions.

If your agent has any unsold manuscripts, send instructions to delete, destroy, or return them. After they end the business relationship, writers need to realize that for already published work the agent will continue to receive royalties on their behalf and to forward statements. If they are representing work for you at the time you dissolve the relationship, it's still their project to sell—or they may opt not to do so.

Even years after the termination of my first agent contract, I still receive royalties on four books he represented. That means he still receives 15 percent of those royalties. That's how the book business operates.

Some writers don't seem to understand that the letter of termination only starts the process. Until the agreed-upon thirty or sixty days have expired, writers don't have the legal right to sign with a new agent or submit their work to an editor until the termination of that prior relationship.

A woman called me who had fired her agent that morning with a registered letter. In the same mail, she queried an agent about repping her. It shocked her to hear that her letter to the prospective agent was both illegal and unethical. She was still under contract until the first one expired. Some agents write that fact into the contract.

When we fire an agent, we're taking a major career step. I urge writers to get a lot of emotional support from their friends first.

If there are any mistakes and failures in this relationship,
perhaps signing the contract was a more serious error than getting out of it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Firing Your Agent (Part 5 of 6)

Timing is important. That is, don't wait until the relationship deteriorates so that you yell at each other or you detest getting an email from him. Or you wonder if it's worth sending a registered letter to learn if he's alive.

No matter when you sever the relationship, do it politely. Give as little offense as possible. Most agent-client contracts state that either person can break the relationship by letter or by a thirty- or sixty-day notice. Honor that contract. Be totally professional.

Even if you think the agent is cold-hearted, indifferent, and incompetent, treat her with respect and kindness. Offer the same courtesy you would like extended to you if the situation were reversed.

It sounds strange to say, and ten years ago I would have laughed at such needless advice. Since then, however, I've spoken with several agents and heard their painful tales of dealing with clients who didn't behave professionally.

It's simple to break the contract. Make the parting as painless as possible. A phone call often is enough. If you can't do that, write a brief, businesslike letter to your agent and send it so that the agent must sign for it. (Obviously, you'll keep a copy of the letter and the receipt from the post office.) We like to believe that agents wouldn't try to sue, but we now live in a litigious world, so who knows?

Begin by saying that you wish to dissolve the agent-client relationship. I suggest you provide no reason. To give a reason opens the case for argumentation. The agent may feel the need to defend herself. If you start citing reasons, you may end up writing rude or hurtful things. This is business, not a broken love relationship, and recriminations have no place in business.

It's never wrong to be kind,
even if the relationship between you wasn't good.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Firing Your Agent (Part 4 of 6)

I wanted an agent I liked. Writing is tough and competitive, and I didn't want to deny the human element. Not only did I want to like my agent, I also wanted one that editors liked. I know two highly successful agents who represent top clients, but editors have told me in confidence that they don't like them and hate to negotiate with them.

I'm fairly outgoing and straightforward. That's also the kind of person to whom I can relate. I wanted that magic something called chemistry. The first time I signed with an agent, like any inexperienced writer, I hardly knew what I was doing.

My story goes like this. One day an agent phoned me because a publisher had referred him to me when he wanted a ghostwriter. We talked for nearly an hour and two days later I received a contract from him.

The second time, because I had decided on the kind of person I wanted to represent me, I began to interview agents. I flew out of state and spent the day with one agent, set up tentative plans to drive to see another, and then I had lunch with Deidre Knight, who was then a new agent. Within ten minutes of our meeting, I knew we already had an intrinsic "something" that makes for a good relationship. I have been with her since 1997, and it's exactly the kind of relationship I've always wanted with an agent.

Estimates in the publishing world indicate that over a career span, writers average three agents.

When we remind ourselves that this is a business relationship, then it's no disgrace for the writers or the agency to make changes. Signing a contract with an agency isn't marriage. Writers hire agents to represent them. If a time comes when the employers feel they're not getting what they want for the money they pay, it's time to make changes. That is, it may be time to fire the agent.

"I like my agent and we're compatible."
Can you make that statement about your agent?