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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Celebrate March Is Reading Awareness Month



March is Reading Awareness Month.  It sounds great, on the one hand, that a whole month is dedicated to turning people onto reading.  Yet, on the other hand, it sounds, pathetic that we need to call special attention to what should naturally be taking place everywhere, for everyone. However, our nation still has unmet challenges when it comes to reading.

ReadAloud.org shares some sobering statistics:


  1. Some children begin kindergarten having been read to as few as 25 hours while their peers may have been read to as many as 1,000 hours.
  2. If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of the first grade, then there is an 88% probability the child will not be reading at grade level by the end of the fourth grade.

The site encourages every child and parent to read aloud for 15 minutes a day.

National Education Association (NEA) celebrates Read Across America Day on March 2, the birthday of the beloved children’s book author Dr. Seuss.  The NEA says:  “Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful readers.  Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.”

According to a 2013 study conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Education and the National Institute of Literacy, 32 million adults – or 14% of the adult American population read below a 5th grade level and 19% of high school graduates can’t read.

No doubt there are many reasons why we have tens of millions of reading-deficient adults, so what can be done about it?  What can be done to prevent others from growing up illiterate?

For those of us who are literate, we have the obligation to contribute to the teaching of others.  If you don’t have time to dedicate to help others read, support them with donations, books, encouragement, and other resources or rewards.  You can be the difference in someone’s life.

For those who can read or are learning to read, it’s important we teach them about the following:

1.      Comprehension
2.      Genre variety
3.      Length variance
4.      Speed
5.      The art of skimming
6.      Retention
7.      Applying what was read
8.      How to choose what to read
9.      How to question and double-source our readings
10.  Becoming better writers by reading

RIF.org (Reading Is Fundamental) states “There is a significant literary crisis in America today.” It says 43% of American adults are functionally illiterate and that “93 million adults in the U.S. read at or below the basic level needed to contribute successfully in society.” 

They also say: “There are currently 16 million children living in poverty in the United States, two-thirds who don’t have a book to call their own.  Since 1966, RIF has distributed more than 412 million books to more than 40 million children across the country, improving their ability to read, learn and grow.”

RIF notes: "Helping someone develop a passion for reading is as important as providing them with the mechanical tools to become independent functional readers."  

New readers should want to read and enjoy the many rewards it can bring Let's all celebrte by sharing the gift of reading..

“When a writer dies, he becomes his books” 
--Jorge Luis Borges, Labyrinths (1962)

“You can’t tell a book by its movie.”
--Louis A. Safian, The Book of Updated Proverbs (1967)

DON”T MISS THESE!!!

Metaphors On Writing, Authors & Books

Did A Famous Author Pen The Death Of Another Writer?

Writers & Artists Can’t Retreat From Threats Or Violence

Support The NEA!

A Book By Any Other Name – What Could Have Been

How Good Of An Author-Researcher Are You?

ABC For Book Collectors

Do You Have A Passion for Books?

The Inspired Author & Book Marketer

2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit For Writers Of All Genres

Overcoming Book Marketer's Block in 10 Easy Steps


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-blo

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Spring Training For Writers



I just got back from a wonderful excursion to South Florida, a welcoming respite from the New York winter.  Aside from trading up about 45ยบ worth of temperature.  I was given an opportunity to see the dawning of this year’s spring training for Major League Baseball.

While staying at my in-laws' vacation house in Boynton Beach, I read in the Palm Beach Post that a brand new stadium was opening about 30 minutes from us, in northern Palm Beach County, not far from the local airport.  This sounded like a great opportunity to go see baseball in February.

I went with my two kids and father-in-law to witness the first public use of the facility.  The complex which houses both the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, is a 150-million-dollar baseball haven.  The main stadium was still under construction when we went, which was six days before the first game was to be played there (Ballpark at the Palm Beaches).

It occurred to me, while I absorbed baseball activity for the first time since the Chicago Cubs made history in winning their first World Series in over a century, that writers would benefit from a “spring training.”

Of course, there are many differences between the worlds of baseball and authoring books, mainly that sports are physical and writing is mental, that sports favors a certain size and shape but writing requires curiosity and intelligence, and baseball players get paid a lot more than most writers compete to be the best in their chosen field, and even when success seems reachable it can elude both the baseball player and the writer.  Both athletes and writers put their work out there for public critique.

But many key differences exist that can’t bring any comparison to the table.  The athlete’s career is short-- at best he gets to play to around age 40-but due to injury and competition, he will conclude his career at a much younger age.  Writers can start when they are fairly young and continue until the day they die, even hacking away past the age of 100.  The cerebral art of writing has it challenges, but the body can’t rob writers the way it can athletes, save for Alzheimer's or arthritis.

For baseball players, there is an off-season.  Even if you are fortunate to play out the longest season – win the World Series in seven games – you end play around November 1.  Spring training doesn’t begin until at least 3 ½ months later.  Who else takes off 100 straight days from their job?  Not even school teachers get a continuous break that long.

The break allows them time to heal physically and mentally.  It’s a time for rest and renewal.  They may still do some light exercise workouts and stick to some kind of diet, but they no longer have to report to work or give deep thought or commitment to anything.

Writers don’t get a scheduled break like that.  Sure, there are times when they are on a deadline for a book or writing assignment.  Other times they are on self-imposed deadlines, pushing themselves to excel.  But writers don’t have clear seasons or start and end dates.  Year-round, writers are always writing, even when they’re not.  They need a relief from the mental burden of creating.

If writers had the equivalent of a spring training they could relax their brain muscle and give themselves a change of scenery.  Then they can come back with a fresh, new focus and inspired approach.  Sometimes to produce more, one must stop and take a break.

My father-in-law was struck at the site of watching millionaire professionals still practicing Little League-type drills of covering first base on bunts, looking to pick off a runner at second, or a catcher throwing down to third base.  He figured they knew all of this and had little need to practice it.  But he realized that in order to be the best, you have to improve by micro measurements on the performance of the most basic task that we take for granted.

The baseball player has several coaches, a manager, special instructors, and a physical trainer.  The writer is often left alone to his own devices, unless he seeks out a writer’s retreat or the advice of a trusted source, like a literary agent or book editor.

Baseball players are part of a team and each player’s overall success depends on his teammates’ performances.  The writer depends on no one else, always the loner.

One can go on and on looking at the differences and similarities between the baseball player and the writer.  They have a symbiotic relationship, as some writers love to write about baseball and their work is intricately woven into the fabric of the sport.  But one thing is clear to me – writers need their sabbatical, their spring training, so they can go away and then return invigorated, enlivened, and hungry.  They need to be told something has ended and that something new, shall soon begin, that a break from the very thing they love and are great at doing will make them even more passionate and productive.

As a fan, though I want to see baseball played year-round, I recognize the break is the perfect way to refuel for a new season and a fresh start.  We can all benefit from spring training.  Now play ball!

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Metaphors On Writing, Authors & Books

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Writers & Artists Can’t Retreat From Threats Or Violence

Support The NEA!

A Book By Any Other Name – What Could Have Been

How Good Of An Author-Researcher Are You?

ABC For Book Collectors

Do You Have A Passion for Books?

The Inspired Author & Book Marketer

2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit For Writers Of All Genres

Overcoming Book Marketer's Block in 10 Easy Steps


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-blo

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Free Speech Is Punished When A Hater’s Book Is Cancelled


Let me preface my post with the following:

Milo Yiannopoulos  --who is still banned from Twitter -- is not someone I would ever be friends with.  He’s not a nice guy.  He spews extremist views and seems to offend everyone, both liberals and conservatives.  However, he has the right to have his book published and his publisher has the obligation, once it committed to publishing his book, to publish it.  To learn of the protests against Simon & Schuster was outrageous, as the First Amendment needs to be protected and supported.  To now learn the publisher capitulated, amidst new evidence that he shows acceptance or tolerance for underage sex with an adult, is disheartening.

They only wanted to publish his book because they thought it would be profitable.  He has a big following.  He’s the next Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and Pat Buchannan – all haters who have had books published.  There are plenty of books published.  There are plenty of books that hit best-seller lists that slander a variety of races, religions, sexual preferences and politics.  This is nothing new.

Is it difficult to listen to cold-hearted, sexist, racist, gun-toting isolationists?  Sure.  But they have a right to free speech.  It’s up to others to counter that speech with speech of their own.  The problem is not with one person writing a book and saying something reprehensible, it’s that so many others are willing to lap up this puke as if it were a chocolate shake.

The thing that disturbs me most about a Trump presidency is not that he’s the president, as sad and fearful that is, but that scores of millions voted for him.  They see him as a positive force or they were willing to overlook the negatives in exchange for some potential payoff.  But you wonder:  How could they?  How could civil-minded people support a lunatic, an egotistical megalomaniac?  How do you let him buy your vote by hoping he delivers a good economy at the expense of social decorum, respect for others, and level-headedness when it comes to international relations?

So I ask, how do we as a society, try to close debate on someone like Milo, by suppressing his right to free speech?  How does stopping him avoid others from thinking like him?  How can we give up on the speech we value, by shitting on that right when we use a veto card against a hater like Milo?

For free speech to work all the time, it must allow for us to hear unpopular, ugly, even ignorant views.  We can’t play judge on what gets printed and what doesn’t. People will determine what they buy and what they believe.  The existence of a book filled with stupidity will be countered by books of hope, love, tolerance, and peace. 

Here’s another truth we seem to fear, which is this:  That we may embrace some views of a Milo-type figure.  But if we do welcome any such views, perhaps society is changing.  Views change all the time.  We used to see slavery in an accepting form, then it was abolished.  We used to hate gays, now society welcomes them and lobbies for them.  We used to think pre-marital sex, abortion, or women getting an education was abhorrent.  Now the tables have turned on all of that.  But if back then the minority viewpoint wasn’t allowed to be expressed, we’d never have seen change.  And even when those views were censored, banned, and shunned, they remained resilient so that generations or even centuries later, things eventually changed.  Some change is inevitable.

As I get older, some of my views have matured on the big issues, but one thing that I’ve grown more staunchly about is free speech.  We must all stand together for it.  Without free speech, we have violence.  I don’t consider myself a violent person and could only see pulling the trigger if in a moment of desperation, fear and self-defense, but if I were to physically fight for something it would be for free speech.  Nothing is more precious than to have control over what I say and what I choose to read, watch, or listen to.  Once our minds are under the influence of governments, corporations or the mob mentality, we are all no longer free.  Creativity and art dies and we’re left with nothing.

My guess is Milo will find another publisher or even do it himself.  His literary agent told the NYT that the book, Dangerous, had 50,000 pre-sales registered.  The book’s release, initially set for March, was pushed to June -- and is now off all together.  He won’t go away quietly and will need a book to truly explain and put into perspective his views and the story of how others have tried to stop him.  I wouldn’t have thought to buy his book before, but as a supporter of free speech, I would consider buying his book when it gets published.  I may trash it or I might find something agreeable.  In a free-flowing world, my hope is that I get to decide what I read and what I choose to own or dispense with.

Do you hate Milo or think the former Breitbart senior editor is an antagonistic jerk?  Do you wish him bad things?  Are you glad his book was dumped?  Even if you answer yes to all of these questions, don’t you believe the free speech ecosystem needs to be prized above all that?

Look, I know the flip side to this.  People will say: Why does he need protection to speak lies, hate, and negativity? They will say he has a right to free speech but no one is obligated to publish his dribble.  They will point out that speech is a right but that it comes with strings attached – the speaker must be civil and respectful of facts, laws, and social norms.

But who decides what such standards should be?  If we silence him, we may end up silencing those that we like or would prove valuable to us.  The only way to get to the good speech is to let the bad speech in, educate listeners and readers, and let society filter what it believes or what it accepts.

If we don’t allow for the minority viewpoint to be heard, we’ll never grow as a people.  True, by giving a megaphone to an idiot, you will initially expose ignorant ideas to more people than would normally have access to them.  But then it becomes a teaching moment.  

The weight of opposing views and the pure sensibility behind them should win out and overtake the other side – unless we find there’s good reason to give credence to the minority view.

It’s complicated and it’s challenging to all of us.  The last thing I want to do is encourage a hater or to expose millions to things we then need to counter and clarify. But what are we afraid of?  Right should always win out.  If we are so confident Milo is wrong, then the truth will be obvious to us.  If some are gullible to believe his words as truth, the problem lies elsewhere.  They need to be educated and exposed to the books that the masses believe in.

The best way to publish a Milo-type book is to split it in half.  Turn it into a debate.  Let Milo take up the first eight chapters and have Bill Maher pen the last eight.  Or let them go at it, head-on, chapter by chapter.  Then fact-check it.  Then publicly discuss it. Let all the ideas come up for discussion and don’t fear anything.  The best ideas will win, most of all, free speech and democracy.


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2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit For Writers Of All Genres

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http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/overcoming-book-marketers-block-in-10.html

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 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Inspired Writer & Book Marketer



I was cleaning up scraps of notes – a never ending process for me – and came across some passages labeled “inspire.”  Here’s what I uncovered – maybe it will help you move towards aiming higher, achieving more, and living a fulfilling life as a writer or book marketer:

·         Visualize what could be and go after it.
·         Be a marketing opportunist – look for opportunities or create them.
·         Score some easy wins – then challenge yourself.
·         Keep your marketing mojo positive and energized.
·         You don’t need anyone’s permission to be successful – just do it, day by day, piece by piece.
·         Act as if you became what you wanted to be; then do what you would do as one who is the person you wanted to become.
·         With awareness and intention, you can succeed.
·         Put the time, effort, and focus into resolving a problem or issue and think your way to a solution.
·         Find a balance in your thinking vs. doing, tending to the present vs. preparing for the future.
·         Seek advice and network your way to success.
·         Pursue help from others – strangers, family, friends, colleagues.
·         Ask yourself where you want to be and determine what needs to be evaluated to reach a goal – what needs to be added, removed or changed?
·         Do things well and keep many balls bouncing in the air.
·         Only look to enjoy what you do while doing something useful and living ethically.
·         Redefine and review your ethics regularly and look to fit your needs into a changing world.

Really, if you want to feel inspired or motivated – whether as an author, book marketer, or ordinary person – just read some of the top self-help books of all-time or those on the current best-seller lists.  

We all need a boost beyond what our circle of friends and families do for us and we all need to get out of our own heads from time to time.  The words of others can help us become better at using our own words, as writers or book marketers.

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 



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 

Do You Have A Passion For Books?



I came across a book published in 1999, Passion for Books:  A Book Lover’s Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books  edited by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan.  It has essays, lists, interesting stories from scores of successful writers, including Anna Quindlen, Leo Rosten, Ray Bradbury, and Philip Roth on a variety of topics relating to why we love books.

It made me realize there are so many ways to think about books and all that they represent.  For instance, here are 22 topics below, of which about 15 are featured in the book.  You can envision any number of stories, stats, and histories relating to each one, including:

·         Book auctions.
·         Used bookstore discoveries.
·         Building one’s personal library.
·         The ritual of shelf-surfing for books.
·         How to launch a book publishing company.
·         Opening or buying a bookstore.
·         Loarning or borrowing a book.
·         Recommended reading lists from major authorities.
·         Becoming a book collector.
·         The burden of staring at an unread book.
·         The pleasure of gifting a book to someone.
·         Discovering a book that changes your life.
·         Learning to read and teaching others.
·         Starting or joining a book club.
·         The rare book.
·         Death of a book store, publisher or author.
·         Visiting the public library.
·         Caring properly for books.
·         The bookworm’s paradise.
·         The bibliophile in each of us.
·         Books about books.

The book contained some interesting lists, including:

  • The Lifetime Reading Plan by John S. Major – includes 133 titles
  • Top 10 Best-Selling Books Rejected by 20 or More Publishers
  • 10 Books That Shaped the American Character by Jonathan Yardley
  • Top 10 Non-Fiction Books That Help Us Understand the World by Anna Quindlen
  • Top 100 English Language Novels of 20th Century by the Editors of the Modern Library
  • A Bibliography of Scores of Books About Books

Which story would you share about books?  What list would you come up with?

Sometimes it’s more fun to talk about books than to read them.  Well, okay, maybe not, but we all enjoy saying which books we love and highlighting the books that impacted us.  If you have bibliophile tendencies, seek out Passion for Books.

All-New 2017 Book Marketing & PR Toolkit 



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 

Monday, February 20, 2017

ABC For Book Collectors



John Carter died more than four decades ago.  But his work lives on.  In 1952 his ABC for Book Collectors was published.  The fifth edition, revised, was released 20 years later, in 1972.  I came across a copy of that final edition, published by Knopf, and found it most interesting.

The book jacket aptly describes its contents and significance when it stated:

“Here, under more than 450 alphabetical entries, ranging in length from a single line to several pages, may be found definition and analysis of the technical terms of book-collecting and bibliography.

“This is an essential reference book for every book collector from aspirant to addict.  It belongs on the most omniscient of antiquarian booksellers.  And it will entertain any general reader who relishes the niceties of connoisseurship for their own sake.”

Carter was a vice president of The Bibliographical Society in Britain, a published author, and a regular contributor to The London Times Literary Supplement.

Library Journal praised his masterful work, stating:

“John Carter, already somewhat of a legend in the world of young bookmen, has performed a fine service for librarians and collectors in the carefully and delightfully prepared manual.  In a dictionary arrangement he has set fourth, with the authority of Webster and the wit of Ambrose Bierce, the essential terms of the world of books and illuminated them with specific references and practical examples.”

His first entry is “abbreviations,” where he goes on to identify over 100 terms, such as “printed by printed,” “signed,” “gilt,” and “binding” by their abbreviations.  He concludes with an entry for “yellow-back,” which used to describe a particular type of cheap edition of fiction that was usually colored yellow.”

Carter goes on to describe and define many terms, such as
·         Americana – books about or connected with or printed in America.
·         Association Copy – a book which once belonged to, was annotated by, the author.
·         Bibliography – the love of books.  A lover of books is a bibliophile.
·         Doublure – a binder’s term, meaning that the paste-down (or inside lining of the covers) is not of paper but of leather, usually decorated.
·         Emblem Books – A specialized type of illustrated book popular in the 16th and 17th centuries.
·         Provenance – the pedigree of a book’s precious ownership.
·         Quarter Bound – a book with leather back (spine), sides covered with cloth or paper, and no leather corners, is said to be quarter bound.
·         Watermark – a distinguishing mark or device incorporated in the wire mesh of the tray in which the pulp settles during the process of papermaking, and visible in the finished product when held against the light.

One can learn about the history and nuances of books and book publishing by consuming a book like this.  But, as Carter points out in his preface, this book has an intended readership.  He writes:

“This is not an encyclopedia.  It is an ABC and bibliography, or of printing or binding, or book production terms, though many of these come into it.  It is an ABC of book –collecting, for novices, would-be collectors and that section of the literate public which takes an interest in our pursuit without necessarily wishing to share it.”

The book now lives on, to a degree, as an artifact in the world of book collecting, a book for book collectors to now be seen as a collector’s item itself.

The Writers 2017 Book Publicity & Marketing Toolkit!

Do All Writers Matter?
Here’s clear defense of why all writers are to be valued – and an explanation of what they go through to produce the words that influence the world.

Good book PR podcast -- Book consultant Cathy Fyock interviewed Brian Feinblum, Book PR Expert https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/3708542050358744066  

How Will US Supreme Court Straighten Out The Slants?

An interview With PEN America Executive Director Suzanne Nossel

Why book marketers & authors must improve their vocabulary

The writer who went off a mountain and lived to tell about it

Save The Media, Arts & Books! Fight King Trump’s Era Of Big Ignorance

Should all writers get an ID card?

Do you live the writer's affair?

How To Craft Press Releases That Net Your Book Media Exposure

How To  Overcome Book Marketer's Block in 10 Easy Steps http://bookmarketingbuzzblog.blogspot.com/2017/01/overcoming-book-marketers-block-in-10.html    



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