A unique blog dedicated to covering the worlds of book publishing and the news media, revealing creative ideas, practical strategies, interesting stories, and provocative opinions. Along the way, discover savvy but entertaining insights on book marketing, public relations, branding, and advertising from a veteran of two decades in the industry of book publishing publicity and marketing.
year I purchased a copy of The
Collector’s Book of Children’s Books by Eric Quayle, a 1971 edition from
Strand Book Store in New York City. It’s
a wonderful history of children’s books.
Coming to life, through its over-sized pages were Aesop’s Fables, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Huckleberry Finn, The Jungle Book, and
Voyages of Dr. Dolittle Which childhood memory rushes back to you just at
the mention of such illuminary books?
up with books as the centerpiece of fantasy and escape may be a thing of the
past for most. Today’s child has the
Internet, television, movies, theater and a downloadable catalog of
entertainment and information that’s mind-boggling. As we look back at some of the classics for
kids, we harken back to a lost era when these books brought an ephemeral,
elusive pleasure to children.
Here are some insightful excerpts from the book:
provide one of the most fruitful ways in which a child can increase his
knowledge of the world and extend his vocabulary to include a diverse and
exotic mixture of places and things to which he would otherwise remain a
after the novels and romances of adult life have faded and been forgotten, the
simple stories and tales we read in childhood live on in our hearts. Who ever forgets The Story of the Three Bears, the tale of Jack the Giant Killer, or the plots of Rumplestiltzkin, Cinderella, or The
Wizard of Oz? The nursery rhymes and
fairy-tales we first heard in the tucked-up-in-bed security of early youth
continue to exert a fascination throughout life, the words and phrases etching
themselves in the memory for instant recall at any time or place. They colour our literary consciousness, and
are repeated as fables to the eager young listeners who re-create the image of
ourselves so many years ago. Just to
hear again the magic words Once upon a time… with all the breath-taking
anticipation they inspire, is to crowd the mind with the lost delights of
childhood and conjure up a picture of never-never land of make-believe and
fantasy. Once, a long time ago, all of
us lived there and believed it to be true.
This is the story of the little books that made us believe; and probably
brought us more happiness and peace of mind than anything we have ever read
publishing began to develop in a way we recognize today with the appearance of
sophisticated and worldly-wise fiction for adults and books of amusement and
entertainment for children. Both these
phenomena occurred in the 1740s, the former with the appearance of the first
‘true’ novel in English, Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, 4 vols. 1741-2, by
Samuel Richardson (1689-1761), a book discussed in the companion volume to this
present work; and the latter with the publication by John Newbery of his first
book for children in 1744. Brief mention
must be made of Thomas Boreman, a publisher of children’s books, who sold them
from his shop at the ‘Boot and Crown’, and from a temporary stall erected with
those of other traders within the Guildhall, London. A
Description of a Great Variety ofAnimals,
and Vegetables…especially for the
Entertainment of Youth, 1736, and The
Gigantick History of the two famous Giants…in Guildhall, 2 vols. 1740 shows
that he was publishing books for children before Newbery came into the field."
have never ceased to enjoy reading fairy tales since the first collection of
them appeared in print early in the 17th century. They were the first literature for children
to escape from the stifling toils of didacticism and were attacked and
condemned by the puritanical writes for precisely this reason. The battle between the strait-laced juvenile
tract and the fairy stories that children delighted to read extended until well
into the 1830s. By the age of Victoria,
they had been grudgingly accepted by the parents, guardians and governesses of
even the most strictly regulated children, and well-thumbed collections of the best
known tales were to be found on nursery shelves everywhere."
great landmarks in the annals of children’s books are more fully discussed
elsewhere in this work: but it can be
said that the appearance of Alice in
Wonderland, 1865, marked a decisive victory over the now scattered
exponents of moral earnestness and that the battle was finally won with the
publication of Stevenson’s Treasure
Island in 1883. Children could
identify themselves with the Jim Hawkins of the apple-barrel perhaps more
easily than Alice in her dream-world
of fantasy and make-believe, but both were rational human beings who became as
easily excited, bored, irritated and bad-tempered as the boy or girl who turned
the pages of their books."
Here are the best chldren's books identified by Quayle:
not going to force you to make a decision today,” said a man that goes by the
name of Q. “You’re going to make a choice.”
This is because
there’s no difference between the two.
My decision, er, choice, would be obvious.
to the world of high-pressure sales tactics in the world of time shares.
fact, this presentation said it wasn’t a “time share”, but a "travel ownership.”
were big on euphemisms and semantics, but that kind of word dodgeball is what
makes you suspicious of their offer, no matter how tempting.
took my family skiing in Vermont to a place called Smuggler’s Notch. A lovely, snow-filled resort perfect for
those who love to risk body parts in the freezing cold after withstanding an
8-hour drive (includes one gas and two bathroom breaks) through winding roads
with poor weather conditions and low visibility.
I said I took my family. I participated
in eating, sleeping, driving, and non-ski activities – but I stayed off the
mountain. I only skiied once in my life
– about three years ago – and that was enough.
It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.
defray $400 off of our resort bill, we agreed to submit to a two-hour
presentation on time shares. For my wife
and I, it was fine. My kids were on their own, skiing.
knew going into the sales pitch that we wouldn’t buy in no matter what they
said but it was very interesting to see how they try to get people to spend as
much as $100,000 on the spot.
right, they ask you to buy right then and there, so fearful that once you’re
out of their hypnotic clutches you won’t want to pay up.
you ever bought something that expensive without researching it, talking to
others, or sleeping on it? You can buy a
pair of shoes spontaneously. You can go
to see a show on a whim. You can
suddenly upgrade your smartphone. But
who spends the equivalent of a year’s worth -- or more – of salary after hearing
a slick pitch from a pro trained in the art of separating you from your money?
let me just say that Wyndham’s offer seemed tempting and I can see how it may
work out for others, maybe even myself.
But I felt rushed, pressured, and in a positon where I was making a
decision -- or a choice – without doing due diligence.
instance, they tell you they have 80 properties or whatever the number is, but
I didn’t get to learn about any of them.
Would I necessarily travel to those locations – and what about areas
where they lack coverage? I had other questions, including:
if Wyndham goes bankrupt and doesn’t honor its commitment?
if they lower their prices to sell more memberships and then there are too many
members, too few properties?
I be able to go where I want, when I want --or will there be booking conflicts?
say I can sell or transfer it but how would I do that and what stipulations
would there be?
addition to shelling out a lot of money up front, there’s a monthly maintenance
fee being charged, one without fixed costs that rise over time.
doesn’t own any properties – they act as a management company. What happens when these properties go under
or their quality wanes?
package they pushed heavily was one that gets you 200,000 points/year for
$48,000. It gets confusing with the
points but they try to show you that you get value on what you book.
That $48,000, if borrowed, depending on the interest rate and duration of the loan,
could easily cost you 60, 70, or $80,000.
That money in theory, could also be used for other things, such as
investing in the stock market, netting you more money. Should I prepay a lifetime of vacations now –
is it worth it?
course I thought about how I could split the costs with a friend, but that can
get tricky. Then I thought of how I
could sell vacations to people, but that also seemed like more work than it’s
so why am I like Hamlet on this? Because
there do seem to be appealing advantages of this plan, but it gnaws at me that
they demand you do it on the spot, and I wonder if there are shortfalls that I
don’t know about or can’t fully anticipate.
experience did leave me wondering about how things get sold. The time share people waived a carrot worth a
few hundred dollars to lure me in to spend tens of thousands. You see how easy it is to fall victim to a
scam or to let your guard down.
not saying this is a scam, but it could prove to be a poor investment. It also might be a great one. I don’t know.
I can’t process this over a cup of tea.
And then empty out my bank account.
But someone likes these tactics.
They obviously work often enough or they wouldn’t be in business.
if authors did this with readers and offered to sell them lifetime readership
memberships? Each year you’ll get access
to one new book – and always to the author's backlist. You just need to prepay $175 plus shipping
fees. Would you do it?
bookstores – or publishers – can sign up lifetime patrons – or have a ten-year,
thirty-year, or fifty-year membership for buying books.
sooner buy into that than a travel deal – less money, great product, and with a
brand I can trust. Maybe Wyndham can partner with authors or
publishers so that books get thrown into the travel deal. Ready to sign up?
interrogation process applied to sales by Wyndham was interesting. They would first have you meet one -on-one, then a group, then one-on-one. Then,
when the first salesman failed to close, a second, more seasoned one was called
in, making a different offer.
I heard “free” or “please think about it and call us next week,” I wasn’t
the timeshare is amazing, which it might be, there’s no reason to do a rush job
to desperately squeeze someone. Even car dealerships have concluded they can’t always get a sale just because you
went for a test-drive.
harder they pushed, and the more they tried to dance around certain words and
terms, the more reluctant I became.
I was envious of their approach. I wish
that it can be taken to sell books and to grow the book industry. If people feel invested in books, publishing
will prosper. But when we depend on
single-book purchases we risk having to prove value on every purchase. We need to get people to make a single
decision that ties them up for a lifetime.
lust for the very process I just condemned.
But for books, I’d do anything!
need an elevator speech. They will use
it to summarize an upcoming book, a current one, and their writing brand. So just what needs to be done to get it
the very least, the elevator speech is factual – it’s an abbreviated summary of
your writing career and books. It’s a
way to encapsulate your core message. It
must be brief – say it in 20 seconds.
elevator speech should reveal key benefits of your solution to an issue. Highlight what you bring to the table. You essentially must answer the unstated
question: Why am I interesting,
important or entertaining?
elevator speech showcases who you are and why one should read your book. It seeks to differentiate your voice, your
story, your history. But it doesn’t
merely delineate accomplishments or sound like a resume. It’s your advertisement, your chance to give
shape and depth to you as a writer.
being a voice in someone’s ear while in a bookstore. What would you whisper that would make one
feel like they want to take your book off of the shelf. What would lure them in? What would get them to be curious to want to
process of crafting an elevator speech will:
you to achieve a true clarity of yourself.
you understand the value that you offer.
why you are better/different from other authors.
to shape your marketing efforts.
best elevator speech says something memorable with an economy of words. It sells without sounding like a
commercial. It describes in a way that
colors and shapes things. It helps you
transform not only how others see you but how you see yourself.
The printer is the
friend of intelligence, of thought; he is the friend of liberty, of freedom, of
law; indeed, the printer is the friend of every man who is the friend of order
– the friend of every man who can read.
Of all the inventions, of all the discoveries in science or art, of all
the great results in the wonderful progress of mechanical energy and skill, the
printer is the only product of civilization necessary to the existence of free
“The introduction of
printing into England is undoubtedly to be ascribed to William Caxton a modest,
worthy, and industrious man, who went to Germany entirely to learn the art, and
having practiced it himself at Cologne, in 1471, brought it to England two years
afterwards. He was not only a printer,
but an author; and the book which he translated, called the Game and Player of the Chesse, and which
appeared in 1474, is considered as the first production of the English press.”
--William Keddie, Anecdotes Literary and Scientific
Thackeray wrote his great novel Vanity
Fair, for Colburn’s Magazine, it
was refused by the publishers, who deemed it a work without interest. He tried to place it with several of the
leading London firms who all declined it.
He finally published it himself in monthly parts. The first volume of
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales
was declined by every publisher in Copenhagen.
The book was brought out at the author’s own cost.”
Andrews, Literary Byways
“There are many of
the forces of Nature which tend to injure Books; but among them all not one has
been half so destructive as Fire. It
would be tedious to write out a bare list only of the numerous libraries and
bibliographical treasures which, in one way or another, have been seized by the
Fire-king as his own. Chance conflagrations, fanatic incendiarism, Judicial
bonfires, and even household stoves have, time after time, thinned the
treasures as well as the rubbish of past ages, until, probably, not one
thousandth part of the books that have been are still extant. This destruction cannot, however, be reckoned
as all loss; for had not the “cleansing fires” removed mountains of rubbish
from our midst, strong destructive measures would become a necessity from sheer
want of space in which to store so many volumes.
“The Invention of
Printing made the entire destruction of any author’s works much more difficult,
so quickly and so extensively did books spread through all lands. On the other hand, as books multiplied, so
did destruction go hand in hand with production, and soon were printed books
doomed to suffer in the same penal fires, that up to then had been fed on
Blades, The Enemies of Books
“Of all forms of
theft,” says Voltaire, “plagiarism is the least dangerous to society.” Not only that, it is often beneficial. In mechanics all inventions are plagiarisms. If inventors had not borrowed ideas from
their predecessors, progress would come to a standstill. Shall I refuse to own a timepiece because my
watchmaker is not original?”
S. Walsh, A Handy-Book of Literary
Drucker said those words. He was a famous management consultant who lived to be almost 96, and won the
Presidential Medal of Freedom. He wrote
dozens of books over a 65-year period. Think
about the words this accomplished soul uttered and heed his guidance.
an author or book marketer, rule one to your success is to measure what you are
doing – and to make strides to increase those numbers. Diets, budgets, and most other things work
this way, so why not your writing or book publicity?
as an author, what can be measured?
of hours devoted to writing, or editing, or researching.
total number of literary agents solicited or researched.
many writers’s conferences or workshops attended over a period of time.
it comes to book marketing, you can measure:
like sales, or effort, such as the number of people called, emailed, or reached
through other methods.
of awards applied for.
many social media platforms you’re on – and the number of connections.
often you post your blog.
much news media coverage you generated for your book.
·The number of public appearances or speeches made.
more you measure, quantify, qualify, and adequately define, the likelier you
are to achieve success, improve over time, and push yourself beyond your
wildest expectations. In fact, the key
to turning a dream into a fact falls squarely on your ability to state goals,
measure progress, and make the extra effort to be disciplined and focused. Keep your eye on the prize!
of this may sound simple, obvious and straight forward, but it can become very
burdensome, challenging, and quite elusive.
You need to know what to measure, then to really measure it and to
analyze/motivate as to what can be changed, improved, or swapped out in order
to show gains and substantive growth.
you approximate things or keep everything floating in your head without a
specific game plan that gets measured and reviewed regularly you will not
always hit your mark. We can’t be vague
about the things we must do in order to accomplish more.
secret to writing excellence and book marketing success is to measure the
things you’ll need to excel at in order to improve and prosper.