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Monday, March 27, 2017

Do Book Readers Live Longer?



Recently a study that was published in the Journal Social Science & Medicine showed, according to Yale researchers, that reading books and periodicals extend our lifespans.

Sure, 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!

On the other hand, think of the amazing benefits of reading and why readers may live longer:

·         It engages the mind and gets people excited.
·         The content inspires or educates us – and helps us live a healthier life.
·         The books may entertain us and laughter reduces stress.
·         If you are reading you are not taking time to engage in riskier behaviors.
·         Readers are intelligent and probably as a result, more cautious people, ensuring they do fewer stupid things that could harm themselves.
·         Book readers may have more money than non-readers and thus have access to better healthcare, nutrition and lifestyle.

Scientists 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.

The 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 week.”

I wonder if writers live longer.

Perhaps reading this blog post extended your life by a few seconds.

You’re welcome.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

When Marketing Hype Fools A Book Marketer



Have you ever bought a book, sight unseen, and felt buyer’s remorse?

Though 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.

Well, two lessons.

1. Never, ever buy a book unless you have seen what is in it.  Mail-order-only books should be purchased with caution.

2. As an author or book marketer, you may want to copy the strategy that, as a consumer, annoys me.

The 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.

The 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.

I 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.

So the marketing rules in play here are:

·         Create hype by leaking some information.
·         Use strong visuals to sell it.
·         Build a book around a popular figure.
·         Create a picture that leads the reader to fantasize.
·         Stir the consumer’s desire to own a collectible (it was numbered and autographed).
·         Don’t allow the consumer to browse through the contents (not available in stores).
·         Sex sells, sex sells, sex sells.

The 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.

What I received, instead, was a thin paperback book that lacked style or substance.

It 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.

Most 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.

The 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, a turn-off.

Of 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.

Still, 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.

So 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 planet.

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Why PEN America needs you and you need them!

2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit For Writers Of All Genres

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Does Social Do-Gooder Marketing Increase Book Sales?



Many 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?

According to a survey taken by Ad Week magazine:

·         Up to two-thirds of respondents said that they regularly or sometimes actively seek out a brand that supports certain causes.

·         A third of respondents say they are more likely to purchase from a brand that supports a cause they agree with.

·         One in four say they are much less likely to purchase from a brand that supports a cause they disagree with.

·         Generationally, 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.

·         The 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.

·         61% support a domestic cause for brands, while 13% wanted to see an international cause; 25% had no preference.

·         53% believe a brand should support a cause and donate money to a recognized charity.

·         39% believe that a brand should integrate a cause into their business strategy such as how TOMS donates shoes.

·         33% 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.

·         25% believe a brand should use its visibility to publicly discuss important issues they would like to solve.

This may work for Starbucks and others, but does it translate into the book world?

No 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.

There 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.

It’s 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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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Friday, March 24, 2017

Interview With Author Robert E Flynn III



The Touch – A Supernatural Story – Part I


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 reader?
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 Biblical.

3.      What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
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 be yours?
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:

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs

Reliving Life When Confronting Death



Chuck Berry, 90
Jimmy Breslin, 88
Chuck Barris, 87

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 behind.

I’m 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.

We 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.

Chuck 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 troubled life.

Jimmy 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.

Chuck Barris was behind numerous hit television game shows, such as The Dating Game, The Newlywed Game, 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.

Each 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.

For 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.

Last 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.

I 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.

We 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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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs