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.
a study that was published in the Journal Social Science & Medicine showed,
according to Yale researchers, that reading books and periodicals extend our
you might say this makes no sense. After all, readers are couch potatoes, and
they rack up annually hundreds of hours sitting with a book and probably eating crap while
doing so. Reading should be killing us sooner!
the other hand, think of the amazing benefits of reading and why readers may
engages the mind and gets people excited.
content inspires or educates us – and helps us live a healthier life.
books may entertain us and laughter reduces stress.
you are reading you are not taking time to engage in riskier behaviors.
are intelligent and probably as a result, more cautious people, ensuring they
do fewer stupid things that could harm themselves.
readers may have more money than non-readers and thus have access to better
healthcare, nutrition and lifestyle.
examined 3,600 people ages 50 and over, having quizzed them on their reading
habits. “The study’s detailed
findings are even more intriguing.
Individuals who read more than 3.5 hours per week were 23% less likely
to die in the next 12 years,” reported Mental Floss.
magazine added: “Not a bookworm? Don’t
despair: The study also looked at
readers of newspapers and magazines and found that they were 11 percent less
likely to die than non-readers if they spent more than seven hours reading each
wonder if writers live longer.
reading this blog post extended your life by a few seconds.
you ever bought a book, sight unseen, and felt buyer’s remorse?
I feel swindled for plunking down $85 – actually it was a little more for the
shipping – for a book that promised to be great but failed to deliver, it
taught me a valuable lesson.
1. Never, ever buy a book unless you have seen what is in it. Mail-order-only books should be purchased
an author or book marketer, you may want to copy the strategy that, as a consumer,
book in question was a photography book.
I knew I was taking a chance that I may not like it, but it was
presented with the inviting style that one finds irresistible. I’d read about it in several different
publications and when I went to the publisher’s website at www.imperial-publishing.com, I was sucked in.
site described how famed shutterbug Jonathan Leder snapped off Polaroids of the
gorgeous actress Emily Ratajkowski. Just
to be clear, she is the woman I would leave my wife for. I fell in lust with her when she appeared in
the movie, Gone Girl.
saw a story from Vogue, the French
edition, that published 10 of the photos.
I was sold. I was blinded by her
beauty and the anticipation of seeing this gorgeous woman in various states of
undress until she was fully de-clothed.
the marketing rules in play here are:
hype by leaking some information.
strong visuals to sell it.
a book around a popular figure.
a picture that leads the reader to fantasize.
the consumer’s desire to own a collectible (it was numbered and autographed).
allow the consumer to browse through the contents (not available in stores).
sells, sex sells, sex sells.
book features five-year-old photos, taken from a photo shoot before she became
a star. This also added to the allure, a
chance to see a pretty talent in her pre-star days. This should have been great.
I received, instead, was a thin paperback book that lacked style or substance.
featured multiple photos per page with few filling a full page. The paper size was small, so it made the
images seem undersized and insignificant.
importantly, the images lacked artistic touches. Some photographers' work can exceed or enhance
their subject – this one underperformed and took away from his prized subject.
images diminished her to an ordinary status.
There was no glamour or inventiveness attached to the images. The poses were unoriginal and in some cases,
course this is just my opinion. Perhaps
others enjoyed the book whereas others would never have been drawn in to get a
book featuring pictures of a C-list actress.
But to further my contention that the book was sub-par was the fact it
misspelled the word “foreword” as “forward,” a common rookie mistake by self-published authors who quickly put books together on the cheap without the
hint of having consulted an editor.
as much as I feel like a sucker for having bought into the hype and seduced by
the anticipation of what could have been, the experience made me feel terrific
from the book marketing perspective. It
reaffirmed that people often buy on promise, not on the facts. Even books of true substance need to hype
themselves and promote their image in a certain light, otherwise no one shows
up to the party.
consumer, buyer beware. But to the
authors and book publicists out there, take note. You can generate sales with the right blend
of publicity and reader desire. It also
helps if you are offering seductive images of one of the hottest women on the
publishers and authors will donate some of the net proceeds from book sales to
a specific charity or social cause. They
may do this because they believe in and support the very issues they are financing,
but they may also be charitable because they believe it assists with their
branding. They may even think that a potential
reader is more willing to buy a book because a website, flier, social media
post or book cover highlights the link between book sales and making the world
a better place. Does social do-gooder
marketing actually influence consumer behavior?
to a survey taken by Ad Week
to two-thirds of respondents said that they regularly or sometimes actively
seek out a brand that supports certain causes.
third of respondents say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that
supports a cause they agree with.
in four say they are much less likely to purchase from a brand that supports a
cause they disagree with.
the younger you are, the more likely they will buy from a brand that supports a
cause they support. 49% of Millennials said this; 34% of Gen X did; and 13% of
Baby Boomers agreed.
causes that people believe brands should support, in order of popularity, are
hunger/homelessness and medical relief; education; environmental sustainability
and wild life protection; and animal rights.
support a domestic cause for brands, while 13% wanted to see an international
cause; 25% had no preference.
believe a brand should support a cause and donate money to a recognized
believe that a brand should integrate a cause into their business strategy such
as how TOMS donates shoes.
believe that support for a cause by a brand should come through its promotion
of awareness for the cause through an advertising or marketing campaign.
believe a brand should use its visibility to publicly discuss important issues
they would like to solve.
may work for Starbucks and others, but does it translate into the book world?
one will buy a book unless they truly think it would be a useful or interesting
read – or a great gift. But if given a
choice between two similar books, on occasion, the consumer may choose the one
that displays support for an issue he or she cares about.
It may also indirectly help the author get more publicity for his book. The media may subconsciously be drawn to
helping authors they know supports the causes they value. It certainly helps on social media.
are no big studies out there that prove consumers buy more books from authors
or publishers supporting a charitable cause, but it seems like human behavior
would skew that way.
a win-win proposition for the book publishing community to support a
cause. At the very least it raises money
for a cause and helps increase awareness for it. If it influences sales or media exposure,
that’s gravy on top.
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1.What really inspired you to write your book, to force you
from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
I have written all my life,
mostly associated with lyrics for songs, which is poetry after all, and I also
wrote extensively in college. None of
this inspired me to write an extended work.
What inspired me to write this novel was an idea. The idea is not revealed in the book until
about two-thirds of the way through. I
was hoping to keep the reader in some limited suspense about the actual
hook. I can reveal it to you, but I
still would like to keep some semblance of secrecy, even though I am sure that
skipping pages would take care of the surprise.
Suffice it to say that my intention is to bring all the characters of
Biblical antiquity into a new focus with Creation as the bigger picture. My
background story is a life-long scenario.
I have always looked at life through the eyes of practical
thinking. I see a concept and try to
look at it with as much logic as I have in my reasoning. When I thought about God, there were so many
emotional aspects of my reasoning, due to my upbringing and what I was taught. I spoke to a presence all my life, knowing
with logical thinking that a being such as this must exist and that it was
listening to me. I knew enough about
science to know that what I heard did make sense up to a point. I simply could not logically assume that the
Universe and Life had just sprung forth on its own. Being very creative myself, it made perfect
sense to me that a Creator must have crafted this phenomenal world and everything
in it, and of course the entire Universe that surrounds the very small planet
we live in. I saw Creative genius in
every aspect of what I saw in my life. I
also saw the history of humankind as a testament to something as well. It made perfect sense to me that we were
given only good, but we chose to know all that there is to know, including
evil. This choice, as far as my logic
was concerned, explained all the inhumanity of life and the inhumanity of man.
2.What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted
This is the first book of a three-book series. This first book brings in young, highly
disadvantaged children, with no hope, and subject to all the abuses and
atrocities of evil. These children hear
a voice and are given a power from the presence they are hearing. They are finally able to strike back at the
evil in their lives with this power.
They are not entirely comfortable with this presence for many
reasons. The impossibility of what they
are experiencing gives them pause, as well as a certain feeling that something
is not completely right. Something has
chosen these children for a purpose beyond their understanding. They are so consumed by the wonder of what
they are experiencing to fully grasp who it is they are dealing with, even
though they have strong doubts. Who can
trust something like this? The children
are wise enough to question. They are
also stronger than they would have ever known without the guidance of the
presence. They strike fear into those that
have preyed upon them and their families.
The feeling of strength is intoxicating and they continue. Time passes and finally the presence reveals
itself. The story also includes characters
from antiquity, other than the more obvious ones, and these characters will
play an even more important role in the second book.
This book is about hope for all. This book is about the redemption that comes
from living as a truly good person, not allowing evil to extinguish you. This book also attempts to explain the fall
of humankind and our hope that still is present. The target audience would be 15 to 85,
including readers of fiction, supernatural, mystery, thriller and even
3.What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for
readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting
The message of the book is simple. We were given only good by our Creator, but
we wanted to know all. This simple
thought can explain the entire, brutal history of man. This simplicity is what I have always been
attracted to. We all need to look at the
written works of history and see if we can find clues to our existence. I would wish that this book would offer hope
to all those that suffer in this world.
The reason for this is that we are children of the being that created
the entire Universe, so if we are a child of this being, what can this world
offer that could ever stamp out the flame we have inside? Even if we have just a small spark of the
Creator, we are infinite.
4.What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
I would say that a writer should write from the
heart. I would also point out that a
story usually will run away from you, if you give it enough time, but a story
is also not unlike luggage. It stays with
you, so keep revisiting it. I could
point out that narrative disciplines are extremely important. Find one that fits your personality. Edit, edit, edit and edit again. Think about everything you say, every
chapter, every character and try to release your actual self in the book. If you are a new writer, such as myself, find
the best sweet spot between your intuition and all the wonderful direction you
can find from those that are more experienced.
5.What trends in the book world do you see and where do you
think the book publishing industry is heading?
With my experience in the musical world, I have seen how
technology has affected artists. The
consumers want everything now and everything free. This is happening with all artistic
content. I would say that you give it
away for as long as you can and hope that at some point people will start
paying for what you offer. We cannot
stop technology, we simply must embrace it.
6.What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
One challenge is trying to formulate the story and
deciding as best you can, the length of the work. In today’s world, there are accepted norms
about how many pages a book should be.
These rules have many nuances and apply to everyone. I knew that I had at least one thousand
pages, so I had to decide if I could split the story up into more than one
book. This is a challenge for many
reasons, but I was compelled to go forward with a series. Also, my story covers the entire world, so
breaking that landscape down to a digestible amount was difficult.
7.If people can only buy one book this month, why should it
There are so many offerings out there, it is difficult to
find a target. If you are a reader, you
can spend time just being astounded at the volume of work. I am a new author, and this is my first
novel. If someone wants to discover
something new, I would suggest that my book fits that description. My novel has characters that many are
familiar with, but I present them in a human fashion, not a “Hollywood”, in
your face fashion. A new author requires
a bit of investment, because the voice is so new, and possibly entirely unlike
many well-known authors. This investment
is usually worth the time, and that is true in my case. I have started work on the second book of the
three-part series and if the reader will take the time to invest in this first
book, I am betting they will be inclined to check out the second and third as
well. After all, I am like wine in that
I will improve with age!
Robert E Flynn III is a software-developer, musician,
living with his beautiful girlfriend, Claudia, in San Antonio, Texas. He has two wonderful children, Caitlin and
Zachary, who are grown and exploring their own fantastic lives. He has spent his entire life pursuing
creative endeavors. Music was his first
love and still is, and writing was always part of his life, but one college
professor instilled the positive input that pushed him to create his first
novel. While writing endless essays and
research papers, this professor wrote something truly inspiring on every one of
those works one semester. He simply wrote,
“This was a pleasure to read!” This
simple message inspired deeply. This is
my first novel, but the story has been developing in his mind for two
years. The book has a supernatural
theme, but it is also a story of the condition of humanity. For more info, see:
Three very different men, but all around the same age, died in almost successive days
this past week. It may seem like the old
adage is true, that often they die in threes, or it may just feel like everyone is
dropping like flies. The truth is, we
lose people who contributed to our culture, politics, business, sports, or
entertainment worlds at a consistent clip.
Everyone eventually dies, but they don’t all leave the same legacy
not going to eulogize these three -- the traditional media and social media world
has been doing that. It’s not their
specific lives that fascinates me, though each was very accomplished and
confronted personal demons -- to rise above the competition. What interests me is the process we go
through when we learn someone we knew of passes on.
likely never met them but they touch a part of us as if they’d been in our
lives like a friend, family member, school chum, or business colleague. How strange that someone we never spoke to,
who never acknowledged our existence, could move us to feel a sense of loss and
whose passing reminds us of the joy they brought to us through their work.
Berry, the first person inducted into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, practically
invented the music form that has since spawned decades of amazing
performers. He lived a colorful but
Breslin advanced a new kind of journalism with a half-century of writing
narrative columns for almost every New York City newspaper. He also wrote a number of books. He battled alcoholism but rose to be a voice
for the downtrodden and forgotten in a city where the elite can crush skyscrapers.
Barris was behind numerous hit television game shows, such as The Dating Game, The NewlywedGame, and wrote a best-selling song, a
best-selling book, and even hosted a campy game show that though it only aired
for two years still gets discussed four decades later, The Gong Show.
of them, directly and indirectly influenced or entertained millions and
millions of people, for decades. Each of
them were forgotten this century as their best and active days were long behind
them. But their deaths resurrect
something in us.
me, I’m 10 again, and it’s 1977. Breslin
was clacking away on his typewriter.
Berry was playing his guitar. And
Barris was swinging his gong while more than 25 hours of his shows aired in an
average week, through re-runs and prime time.
When we say we miss them we really say we miss our childhood.
year saw what seemed like a disproportionate number of legends passing on. So many great talents leaving us the way a
storm barrels in and then just as quickly leaves us. But the deaths of the famous, successful, and
likeable help us cope with our own mortality and simultaneously rejuvenate
us. We reflect back on what they gave
us, feel a sense of loss and then come to the reality that there’s more living
to be done.
had lunch recently with an author friend who will turn 90 before the calendar
year concludes. He’s still driven to
write books and market them. That’s the
right idea. We keep pursuing our dreams
– and we keep finding new public figures to give us some great memories.
lost – and will always lose -- some really unique, interesting, and amazing
people. It’s natural. The focus can’t be on the loss – it has to be
on the looking back of what they gave us – and to recognize that new talents
are rising right before us to give us new icons, stars, and heroes to admire. But most importantly, we must remember to
live for ourselves and to become a hero to others.
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