Book Marketing Recap – Part 2 Marketing Methods

A few weeks ago, I was the moderator for a great #smchat conversation on book marketing and publishing. There were so many insights that not only was I able to compile one post-chat blog post, I created TWO! The first half of the chat was on book publishing and the post below contains some of the book marketing insights I learned from the lively #smchat discussion:

Q4 You’ve written a book-now what? Do you need special book marketing skills? What role does social media play?

@JimKukral: Book marketing starts at book conception. BEFORE it’s written.
@WhereitBlooms: But SM does help in determining your audience. Is there a need for the book? Who will have interest?
@ambercleveland: A4. Tons of book marketing resources available, do your homework. Social media plays a huge role, gives audience access to authors

Q4b: How soon should you begin promoting your book before it is finished & is it possible to promote “too early”? @akstout18 asks, “Is there a risk in letting ppl know about your book idea before it’s finished?”

@thehealthmaven: Use SoMe to find out where your target market is & what they are taking about, build & leverage tribes before book comes out
@AndreaPatten: Non-fiction gets submitted as a proposal. fiction needs 2b complete
@novelpublicity: For fiction, you definitely want a completed and polish manuscript before submitting. Nonfic has different rules
@CreativeSage: For non-fiction, submit an outline + 3 chapters and your marketing position (after your research) to agent/publisher (cont.) For novels/memoirs, the writing is more key, often need to finish book & get editor before submitting manu.
@JimKukral: Nobody is going to steal your idea. Block and tackle. Ideas are worthless, implementation is everything
@novelpublicity: New authors often worry about ideas being stolen. Once you see how hard it is to sell an idea, you’ll get over that 😛

Q5 Videos, TV spots, print and online display ads – what’s the most inventive way you’ve seen a book marketed?

@ambercleveland: A5. Use a QR code on your business card that takes them to your site where they can purchase your book
@CreativeSage: Inventive video “trailers” & author interviews; integrated approach w/ social media, PR, targeted mktg, crowdsourcing
@novelpublicity:Do you see the little button on my Twitter avatar? That’s called a PicBadge, and it’s another creative marketing tactic (cont.) PicBadges are all about solidifying your brand – keep a primary author page, integrate book in picbadge (cont.) I actually blogged about that today with a step-by-step guide on how to create a PicBadge for your book >
@tcgagency: Q5 Sending advanced copies to a small group of people and asking them to leave an Amazon review, good or bad.
@sharonmostyn: A5 I love book trailers! Author @ToniMcGeeCausey talks about them here

(cont.) Also interesting when authors interviewed-ex. @barbaravey interview of Tori Carrington (cont.) Also love videos by fans/friends about #books, like this by @shelleyryan for @thecontentrules
@novelpublicity: Create a truly engaging book trailer, then purchase PPC advertising on YouTube. I’m doing that with >
@ProminencePR: The hangout feature on google + is really great. You can invite key people that you want to network with.
@LarsDHHedbor: What’s the best way to reach out to book clubs? GoodReads presence? Amazon Author pages? Other? got a mention by several of our participants, one going so far as to say it is “is the single most important site for writers, even more so than Twitter and Facebook.”

If you are really interested in the book marketing topic, @ambercleveland recommends #BookMarketChat with @ClaudiaC Thursdays at 4PM ET. And we’ll end with this reminder from @JimKukral: Nothing can happen until you write something. Get to work.

Book Marketing Recap – Part 1 Publishing

A few weeks ago, I was the moderator for a great #smchat conversation on book marketing and publishing. There were so many insights that not only was I able to compile one post-chat blog post, I created TWO! The first half of the chat was on book publishing – different ways to have your book published: traditional or crowd-funded, indie publisher, self-publish, e-books and their formats, etc.

Here are some of the book publishing answers I learned from the #smchat participants:

Q1 What is the difference between “traditional” and “crowd-funded” book publishing? Advantages to each?

@JimKukral: Crowd-funding, or crowdsourcing is how I’m pre-funding my next new book series. Raised over $20k so far.

Q2 Everyone’s an author these days, is it getting easier to get a book deal or is self-published the way to go?

@DigitalKaitlyn: A2 I think it’s almost harder to get a book deal because there are so many writers now, self-publishing is a great way to start
@tcgagency: A2 At the same time, I read about one author who left his publishing house to pursue a bigger audience/profits with self-publishing.
@ambercleveland: A2. If you self publish, important to use multiple available platforms – Smashwords, Kobo, PubIt, Amazon, eBooks…etc
@JimKukral: Best advice. No agent or publisher needed. Write a book, get it out there. Learn how to market it. Over and over.

Sounds like the consensus to Q2 is self-publishing – so Q2b why would anyone go through a big name publisher?

@ambercleveland: A2.b. Advantages to big publisher is better access to libraries and bookstores
@adinfini: I think the big guys do have a better understanding of the marketing side of selling the books than most authors

Q2c: If self-publishing, are there any aspects that really would be better if you enlisted the services of a professional?

@ambercleveland: A2. c. Get professional assistance with editing and designing the cover (unless you have great graphic skills)
@CreativeSage: You may need to hire yr own publicist because trad. publishers won’t do enough—AND you promote yr book too

Q2d from @WhereitBlooms: If you self-publish do you hire an editor for proofing and input?

@tcgagency: Editors give you a fresh set of eyes on structure, flow, where needs beefing up, etc. That always makes for better writing.

Q3 Do formats matter? Is it better (or more-effective) to publish an e-book before you try a printed version?

@adinfini: Q3 in some ways ebook is harder to market
@CreativeSage: It would make sense to try e-book format 1st, but a good editor & book designer are most important, look professional

There were several sub-questions on the ebook publishing topic – the first from @akstout18 – Is CreateSpace the best platform for self publishing?

@sharonmostyn: Instead of CreateSpace, @JimKukral suggests BookBrewer & @ambercleveland likes LightningSource

@thehealthmaven asked, “Curious: How many books do u order/month? I love books – my ipad, book shelves are filled, but rarely walk into a book store anymore”

@lesleyridge: …my rule of thumb: reading for fun – iPad; book I will want to markup/underline for future reference, in-store buy
@sharonmostyn: ebooks are convenient but prefer “physical” book-like bookstores who can help recommend books I’ll like.


Want to know what else we talked about? Please visit the second part of the Book Marketing Recap – Social Media and Other Marketing Methods. One of the most provocative Tweets was from @jettzworld, “Everyone may be an author but ever few are writers. #justsaying,” to which Alex from @tcgagency replied, “I’d say it’s the other way around. We all write emails, Tweets, etc. But how many complete a creative work like authors?” So maybe there’s hope for me yet!

9-11 Memories – 10 Years Later

In Memory of the 9/11 Attacks - Never Forget
In Memory of the 9/11 Attacks – Never Forget

I have been posting topic updates at the #SMchat site, but I haven’t updated my own blog in a while because it was a crazy summer. However, I can’t let the 10th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11/01 go by without remembering what I was doing when 9/11 changed everything.

On September 11, 2001, I was in my office when one of my coworkers came to get me. She said, “A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center in New York.” Little did we know that the first plane crash was only the start of hours and days of uncertainty that has changed so many people’s world forever.

My coworkers and I gathered in the conference room of the advertising agency where I worked to watch on the big screen TV as one horrible image after another filled the screen. Originally people speculated that it was a horrible accident, but when the second plane struck the Towers it became evident that it was an act of terrorism. My boss and several others were scheduled to be on a TV shoot that day and we called them to let them know what was happening. As they headed back to the office, they told us to go home if we felt that’s what we needed to do.

There was so much confusion – cell phones and land lines weren’t working because of the huge volume of calls, no one knew what to expect next and it was increasingly difficult to contact anyone without speaking to them in person – and all I wanted to do was be with my kids. I drove to their school to pick them up and was amazed at how well the teachers and staff were handling this unusual situation.

It was especially remarkable in light of the fact that the husband of my son’s teacher was in the Pentagon that day. Ten years later, I’m still not sure how she dealt with the unexpected dismissal of a classroom of children while waiting to hear from her husband to be able to get in touch with her. (He was fortunately in the other end of the building and able to evacuate without injury and help others get out of the building as well.)

I took the kids home and we sat and watched TV with my Grandmother (who lived with us at the time) as the details continued to be disclosed. The images from those hours are still burned in my mind today.

I finally was able to get in touch with my husband and learn that he was fine. In hindsight, there was no real reason to worry about him but there was so much uncertainty that you didn’t know what to expect.

The weirdest thing about the days immediately following the 9/11 attacks was the lack of air traffic – no planes, no helicopters, etc. – for several days after it happened. You don’t realize how much air traffic noise you hear until it is absent. When there were finally some military planes flying by after a few days, all heads popped up to see if it was another attack.

So many people were impacted by those terrorist attacks, whether they had a friend or loved one in the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, or in the Pentagon, or on Flight 93 which made a crash-landing on the fields near Shanksville, PA. Ten years later, or a hundred years later, we will never forget the 2,997 people who lost their lives that day, and we will never forget the changes that have impacted the United States and the world since that fateful day.

Where were you on 9/11? Please feel free to share your stories in the comments below or read stories and share your memories at the 9/11 Memories site created by Deb Carney (aka Loxly):

Special thanks to Brian Niemann for creating the image on this post and donating the proceeds from its printed image to the Salvation Army. You can find more info on the poster at:

Marketing and Social Media – Community Building

Join #SMchat Wednesdays at 1P ET
Join #SMchat every Wednesday at 1PM ET

The Twitter chat #SMchat is a community that I have been a part of for quite some time now. Every Wednesday at 1PM ET, there is a great conversation about a social media topic. Since March 2010, on the 3rd Wednesday of each month, I have been moderating the Marketing session of the Twitter chat #SMchat. Occasionally there will be guest moderators when I’m not available, but generally a few days before the chat, I write a framing post so people joining the chat can have the questions in advance. It’s not required that you read the framing post to join the Twitter chat, but it does give you an opportunity to read the related links and to formulate thoughtful answers to the topic.

The Marketing and Social Media topic for June 2011 is Building Communities and starting this month, you can find the framing posts on the new #SMchat website at:

Please feel free to leave a comment either below or at the new #SMchat website and join the conversation every Wednesday at 1PM ET to chat about social media.

Content Marketing Strategy

Content Rules Personalized Just For Me!
Content Rules!

Content, content, content! Content is King! With the recent Google “Panda” and “Farmer” search engine optimization (SEO) updates, Google has taken a stand against websites that provide little original content. So I thought content might be a good topic for the Twitter chat #SMchat on May 18, 2011  at 1P ET.

I’ve talked to a few people about content recently and I’ve asked two special guests to join me to discuss Content Marketing on #SMchat: Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, and Danielle Leitch, Executive Vice President of Client Strategy at MoreVisibility.

Ann spoke with me about her new book, Content Rules, written with C. C. Chapman and personalized especially for me (see photo) after I spoke at the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum and what she said makes sense to me:

“My feeling is that you can’t have a Social Media Strategy without first having a Content Strategy. How can you speak before you know what to say?”

Danielle also recently discussed content strategy during the new #MVchat Twitter chat on May 12, 2011. If you haven’t joined #MVchat it’s a good place for a quick (half hour) discussion on different internet marketing topics. #MVchat is held on Thursdays from 3:30-4P ET. After the chat, I asked Danielle about content driving online revenue and she said:

“Content is essential when it comes to providing value to the user, positioning well in SERPs, creating sticky site or social account and establishing self (business) as industry leader. All of the above will contribute to revenue generation in one form or another – so YES, content directly correlates to making money online.  Measuring time versus value for that content production is critical for ROI analysis.  Don’t produce content for the sake of text – offer value in all content delivered.”

It appears that Danielle isn’t the only one who thinks good content equals more revenue. According to a MarketingSherpa case study on Content Marketing: Inbound strategy pulls in 25% more revenue, 70% more leads

I’m very excited that these smart ladies will be joining us and I’ve got several questions for them and for everyone who will be participating in #SMchat:

  1. Do you think sites with good SEO practices have been impacted by Google’s Farmer and Panda updates?
  2. Do you have a Social Media Strategy? A Content Strategy? If both, which came first and why?
  3. Nearly 1/4 (23%) of all social media messages contain links to content – how do you make it easy to share?
  4. Have you found content=revenue like the MarketingSherpa Content Marketing case study?
  5. Now that we’re not just writing brochures, how can you repurpose content to minimize overload on creators?

Look for answers from Ann (@MarketingProfs) and Danielle (@DanielleLeitch), along with me (@SharonMostyn) and the rest of the #SMchat crew on May 18, 2011 from 1-2P ET! We look forward to seeing you there! Can’t make it or just shy? Leave your question or comment below and I’ll make sure you get an answer.

Video – The Other Search Marketing Method

Video Marketing
Video Marketing an Upcoming #SMchat Topic

According to web metrics company comScore, YouTube was named the second-largest search engine, so it makes sense to add video to your website. Do you have videos on your website? I haven’t added any videos yet, but Gary Vaynerchuk got his start by creating a video blog on wines and has become a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author!

Here are some questions to ask before you add videos to your site the way Gary V did:

  1. What kind of videos will work best on your website? Humor? Testimonial? How-To? How important is it for the tone of your videos to match the tone of your website?
  2. How do you get the videos to play on your site? What video player should you use?
  3. Do you copyright your videos? How? Has anyone been sentenced to “copyright school”?
  4. Is SEO a part of your video strategy? How else do you integrate video into your marketing?
  5. What video metrics should you track? How do you track it?

We’ll be discussing these questions and more during the #SMchat session on Wednesday, April 20, 2011 from 1-2P ET. Please join us or add your insights to the comments section below.

Want to learn about affiliate marketing for free? Here’s how!

Fun and Games at Affiliate Summit
Fun and Games After the Sessions at Affiliate Summit

April is a very busy “holiday” month for me – our wedding anniversary, birthdays for several family members, Earth Day, usually Easter, and sometimes even Tax Day are reasons to celebrate. OK, maybe not Tax Day, unless you’re getting a tax refund, but in any case, I give away a lot of presents in April. From now until the end of April, I’d like to give YOU the opportunity to get a present from me, too!

I have written about how lucky I have been in attending previous Affiliate Summit events (look at that, an affiliate link!), but now I want to share that luck with you! I was fortunate enough to be given TWO GOLD PASSES (each a $279-$749 value) to Affiliate Summit East 2011, August 21-23 in New York City and I’d love to give them away to you! Leave a comment below telling me what you want to learn about affiliate marketing and I’ll randomly select 2 answers to each receive a Gold Pass to this exciting affiliate marketing conference!

You’ll get the opportunity meet the best and brightest people in the affiliate marketing industry for free! Gold passes to Affiliate Summit include:

  • Admission to the Meet Market and Exhibit Hall
  • Keynotes
  • Sunday educational sessions (except the Monetize Summit track); and
  • Access to the Affiliate Summit Social Network.

This pass does not include Monday and Tuesday sessions but you will have access to all recorded session videos and PowerPoint presentations after the Summit. Here come the disclaimers: Passes cannot be transferred, and the pass codes become invalid in the event the conference sells out (so register using them before Affiliate Summit East 2011 sells out in order to use them). Also, anybody registering for a complimentary pass who neither checks in at the conference nor cancels will be ineligible for future complimentary passes (so don’t say you’ll be there and not show up…it’s just not polite).

I’m so excited that Wil Reynolds will be giving one of the keynote addresses! He is an amazing and engaging speaker and although I have heard him speak several times, each time I learn something new. Bryan Eisenberg, also known as The Grok on Twitter, will also be giving a keynote at ASE11 and I can’t wait! I have followed Bryan’s writing for years and finally met him at Econsultancy’s Peer Summit 2010 event. I was blown away by how quickly and easily he came up with innovative solutions to what had seemed to be insurmountable problems so I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say to the Affiliate Summit attendees. Jon Spoelstra is also a keynote speaker at ASE11. Although I haven’t heard of him individually, I have heard of the Portland Trailblazers and New Jersey Nets, both of which he has managed.

Don’t forget to add the Twitter hashtag #ASE11 to your “watch list” for more news on speakers, sponsors, affiliate info, and even special events around the conference dates. Life isn’t all work and no play, and this conference isn’t either – some of the special events around Affiliate Summit conferences include parties and other networking events, including my personal favorite Trivia Tweetup (no Tweeting required, just a good knowledge of trivia).

What do you want to know about affiliate marketing? Leave your comment below by April 30th, 2011 and you could win one of two Gold Passes to Affiliate Summit East 2011!

Can I Pick Your Brain? Sure, Why Not?

Don't Say No
My Grandparents’ 50th Anniversary

20 years ago this week, my grandfather passed away. I still miss his easy, laid-back manner and willingness to help anyone. My grandfather would patiently explain things for hours. He never got frustrated when I didn’t understand something, and I wasn’t the only one he took the time to help. Sometimes he even helped people who didn’t necessarily want help…there was one time on a trip to (French-speaking) Canada when he helped someone push a car during a snowstorm and because of the language barrier we’re still not exactly sure how that person actually wanted my grandfather to help! I only remember him telling me “No” one time, when at 13 I wanted to buy a black string bikini – it was the kindest, firm refusal I have ever received.

I’ve seen several posts on why you should say no when someone asks to “pick your brain” and, as I learned from my grandfather, I have a hard time saying no. I may not be able to spend a huge amount of time, or answer every question, and it may not be on the timeframe you desire, but I am generally happy to share the knowledge that I have.

Here are some of the posts I have seen on why NOT to let someone pick your brain:

Many of the people I read saying “no” are consultants, and while I truly understand their need to make money, I’m confused as to why they think having a conversation about what they do for a living is a bad idea. I personally like Barry Moltz’s response – pay it forward by letting them pick your brain, but do it on your schedule and set your own limits.

I’m using this as the topic for my 1-year anniversary of moderating #SMchat on Wednesday, 3/16/11, at 1PM ET. Here are the questions I am asking:

  1. Have you ever had someone “pick your brain” (yes/no)? If so, how often? If not, why not?
  2. Does your answer depend on how well you know the person who asked or the type of company they represent?
  3. Would you be more likely to participate if you were in the beginning of your career or once more established?
  4. Could a “brain picking” session could turn into an advantage, either personally or professionally?
  5. Is blogging/participating in online chats/answering online Qs/etc. the same thing as having your brain picked?

I’m hoping my online friends will be able to shed some light on both sides of the topic. Let’s talk about it then. Please feel free to comment below if you can’t make the chat or if you would like to bring up something I have missed.

Social Media Best Practices at MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum

Turn Up The Heat!
Turn Up The Heat with Social Media Marketing!

Snow in Austin, TX? The theme for the MarketingProfs Digital Marketing Forum 2011 was “Turn Up The Heat” but I didn’t realize they were talking about the weather! Rather than cancel the event, the MarketingProfs team really stepped up by working with the speakers and attendees who were caught in the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011 by offering an online version of the conference for those who couldn’t make it in person, as well as rearranging sessions to allow for delayed keynote speakers.

I was honored to be a panelist on the Social Media Best Practices to Heat Up Your Marketing session and I was very happy that I was able to make it to the conference before the blizzard ruined my travel plans. Of the other panelists in my session only Jeff Cohen (@JeffreyLCohen) from Social Media B2B was able to make it. Unfortunately, Alan Belniak (@abelniak) was stuck in Boston and couldn’t attend our session in person, although he was with us in spirit.

Here is the description MarketingProfs used to describe our session:

Social Media Best Practices to Heat Up Your Marketing

Are you an expert marketer but new to social media marketing or need a refresher of best practices? Then don’t miss this session! We’ll talk about developing a social media strategy for your company, establishing social media guidelines, and tactics to integrate social media into your existing marketing programs to increase ROI. We’ll show you examples of companies using blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn successfully to meet their overall marketing and business objectives and how to measure the results.

MarketingProfs conferences are smaller than some other conferences I have spoken at, but one of the things I like best about them is that people come up with really good questions. We received several questions during our “live” session and there was even a question form the online audience! After the session, one of the fantastic MarketingProfs staffers forwarded this question from Sylvie H.:

What if you conduct some listening and learn that really people are not talking about you very much at all (and you’re a pretty big regional company). Is it still worth creating conversation in this space?

I emailed the following response:

If you aren’t participating much in social media or don’t have a solid brand presence, people may not be talking about you specifically. The question is, are they talking about what you do or topics you are interested in?

An example of this from today’s presentation is the Fiskateers from Fiskars scissors. There are few people talking about scissors online. Even fewer are discussing Fiskars brand scissors. But there is a lot of conversation going on around scrapbooking and by talking about something their customers were interested in, Fiskars developed top of mind presence when a scrapbooking fan is in need of advice on crafting and scrapbooking which lead 600% more brand mentions and ultimately more sales. If you want to read more about the Fiskateers case study, you can see it here:

Basically, find the conversation and listen to what people are saying and then join in!

If you’re interested, you can find the slides to our presentation on SlideShare or contact MarketingProfs for a replay of all 26 hours of sessions so you can ask your own questions. You can also read what others had to say about our session here:

Spredfast BlogGetting Back to the Basics – Social Media Marketing Best Practices

The Cross-Channel ConversationSocial Media Back to Basics Everyone Forgets

Search Marketing SageSocial Media Best Practices To Heat Up Your Marketing

Plus, if you leave a comment below with the slide number for the “what NOT to do” example in our slide deck, you could win a tchotchke from the conference! I’ll pick one random comment on this post with the correct slide number and send them their choice of either the Einstein or Shark squeeze toy that I picked up at the Digital Marketing Forum vendor tables!

Canceling Events: What Might Have Been

"Sunny with Snow" by Parhamr as commonly used in weather forecasts
“Sunny with Snow” by Parhamr as commonly used in weather forecasts

Right now, I’m supposed to be speaking at the AMA in the AM (the Baltimore Chapter of the American Marketing Association) but instead I’m writing a blog post. You see, we got some snow this morning and the event has been postponed – hopefully until a nice warm, sunny day! It’s difficult for organizations to make the decision to cancel an event, but hopefully people understand that it’s more important to stay safe when the roads are bad than it is to attend an event.

Weather considerations are a major factor in many event planning decisions. Many meeting and event planners select warm weather venues during the winter months but snow is not the only reason for a weather cancellation – hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, thunderstorms, and even extreme heat have caused events to be canceled. Some events even have alternate online plans if the event won’t be able to be held as scheduled. Fortunately, this morning’s event wasn’t of a critical nature and the decision to cancel was an easy one.

Considerations when making an event cancellation decision:

– Weather conditions / forecast: Are there weather advisories, watches, or warnings in effect? Is there more bad weather predicted during the time of the event?

– Travel advisories: Have local, state, or federal agencies issued travel advisories? Is there a snow emergency plan or other travel limitation in effect? Has the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) issued an alert?

– Number of attendees expected: Is it a small meeting or a large conference? The number of people attending makes a difference in how easy an event can be rescheduled.

– Distance of attendees from event venue: Are the attendees local or do they need to travel long distances to attend? Are the attendees staying in the event hotel/venue?

What other factors play into your decision when canceling events? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

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