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Author marketing Book marketing Book publishing Indie Publisher marketing publishing evolution Tech for authors Tech for Indie Publishers Tools for Success

Three Important Trends in Book Publishing

I’m happy to share this recent post by Joe Hyrkin at GigaOm about how publishing will continue to evolve this year. The CEO of Issuu, a Danish digital publishing platform, confirms what I’ve been telling my clients for a few years now: Digital is here to stay, and we need to learn how to use its most powerful and relevant new tools if we’re not just to survive, but prosper as self-published authors and indie publishers.

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More specifically, he also validates my assertion that Twitter is not so much of significance in and of itself, but instead functions best when used as an ultra-short-form alert to draw Tweeps’ attention to breaking news, rapidly evolving situations, or places where they can go to learn more about something already important in their lives.

Check it out — the few moments it’ll take to read it are sure to be edifying, and to help you better prioritize how you’ll spend your time promoting your titles and authors.

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Creativity Problem solving Tools for Success

Creativity and Problem-Solving

solving puzzles

Let’s face it: If indie publishers and self-pubbed authors didn’t run into problems, there would be no need for the Indie Navigator. So I’m well aware that — at least in the beginning — most folks contact me to help them solve problems. And I usually consider my relationship with them successful when I’ve worked myself out of a job. 🙂

So this begs the question: Why do I want to take on solving these problems?

And the answer is both very simple and a little complex: Because I can.

I am someone who inherently wants to help. It’s in my genes. It’s not convenient or always even a great idea, but I can’t prevent myself from plunging in headlong where I think I can help. And given the many other possibilities for how I could have been born, I’ll take being an innate helper type.

But it’s also because — at least in this industry — I know I CAN help. I’ve been there, from the very beginning of modern indie publishing (and even long before it), and I have made most of the mistakes that a person could possibly make. I want to keep others from having to go through that. It’s not fun, and it’s just not necessary.

But I think another huge motivator for me is that I am often able to see past the problem or challenge to a solution, when the folks who call me just…can’t. I don’t know why — perhaps they’re frightened, maybe they’ve exhausted all their own ideas, or maybe they just don’t understand enough the way things work, and so they’re stymied, seemingly without a path forward.

Whatever the reason, I can usually bring a fresh perspective and very often, there is an easy and obvious way around what seems to them an insurmountable obstacle. Not always, but often. And when the answer’s not quite so obvious, I am lucky that I can almost always find a different way to approach it that reveals a solution we can use.

I’ve always been thankful for this ability, though I never really thought much about it when I was young. I just thought it was something everyone could do. My default mode is, “Yep, sure I can!” until I prove to myself beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can’t (which, by the way, has rarely happened, and I don’t think it’s because I’m extraordinarily skilled. I think it’s just because I believe I can).

Then, as I grew older and gained more experience, I realized that for some people, the default is, “Oh, no way. I can’t do that.” Again, not because they ACTUALLY can’t, but because they believe they can’t. Though this makes me sad, because I feel bad when people don’t believe in themselves, I know now that it simply is the way it is. It’s a fact of life and doesn’t need my judgment. It does, however, need my interest, compassion and desire to help. I believe that’s why we’re here…but that’s a topic in itself, for another place and time.

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This is all a rambling introduction to the fact that today I discovered an extraordinarily well-done blog post at the Huffington Post’s Third Metric project. It’s about the nature of creative people, whom it turns out tend to be pretty good at problem-solving. I have always believed I am creative, not least because I’ve always been told so by many people around me. But I’ve also often wondered what that really means, and at times have challenged the notion about myself — usually when I’m struggling with a creative project.

So I just wanted to share this post with you, because it’s really incisive and deeply probing into the nature and science of creativity — a topic I have been interested in all my life, and become more so each day. I think it’s really worth the read, if not to understand creative people better, then to maybe discover that you, yourself, likely have some creative leanings you just don’t give yourself credit for!

My personal belief is that we’re all born creative — it’s hard to watch a group of kids playing and not think so — but that while some of us retain that characteristic through a mixture of nurture and honoring our own natures, many of us — I daresay maybe most — somehow come to accept that creativity is a special gift reserved only for some, and allow the difficulties of life to just beat it out of us. Again, I find this sad, but mostly I find it disturbing, because this world desperately needs creative thinkers and problem solvers and imaginative wonderers who don’t accept no for an answer.

Just my two cents — I’d love to know what you think.

Categories
Author marketing Tools for Success

Book Promo Tips From An Industry Treasure – Sandra Beckwith

This post is an update of one I posted on my author site blog, First Draft, last year. I’m revisiting it here because some of the information has changed since then, but also because I want to introduce my new followers to someone I greatly admire and respect for her savvy and experience in public relations and how she shares so much of it so generously with us in the book publishing industry.

PR Expert Sandra BeckwithI’ve been following her so long, I don’t even remember how I first learned about Sandra Beckwith of Build Book Buzz, a fantastic website where this former national award-winning publicist now teaches authors how to be their own book publicists. It was probably in someone else’s newsletter or blog, or maybe I even met her through ASJA, a professional writers’ organization we both belong to. It really doesn’t matter, because there hasn’t been a point along the way that I haven’t just really thought the world of this public relations expert and genuinely nice human being. Since I view part of my responsibility as The Indie Navigator to share valuable resources with my friends, followers and clients, I would be completely remiss if one of the first of those weren’t Sandy. She is kind, generous and genuinely an expert in her topic. It doesn’t hurt that she’s also got a great sense of humor!

But what really makes Sandy special is that she understands that authors are people who fall all along the continuum from longtime-published with a good grasp of the power and value of public relations and how to use it, to still-struggling-to-get-published writers who nevertheless understand that they need to get up to speed on this important promotional tool. And she caters to us all with patience and understanding, talking us all up, and talking down to none. If you’ve been in this business a while, you know that particular blend of attributes is kind of hard to come by.

What’s fantastic is that you can avail yourself of Sandy’s expertise through a free subscription to her Build Book Buzz newsletter, which will be emailed directly to your inbox, and she even gives you some freebies just for signing up. I’ve been getting her newsletter for years now, and one thing I can tell you is she never sends junk. Even when she sends the occasional post promoting an upcoming event or new product, I’m always glad to get it, because I know it’s an opportunity for me to learn something really valuable to my career as an author, at a reasonable price. You can sign up by simply typing your email address into the field in the middle of her home page.

Just FYI, I don’t have any affiliate relationship with Sandy and I won’t get any kickbacks from this post. In fact, she doesn’t even know I’m writing it. I just really believe in the value of her knowledge and know how much it’s helped me through the years, and I want to share it with you. Below, I’ve listed five tips from Sandy in helping to promote yourself and your books, including links I added. I’ve updated them a bit to allow for changes since she first shared them, but the substance is the same. Enjoy!

  1. Use Google and Twitter alerts to monitor conversations about your area of expertise. (Remember, you don’t have to write nonfiction to have topic expertise.) When you learn about a development that you can comment on, contact the media outlets in that community by telephone or e-mail. UPDATE: It appears Google has dropped support for its Alerts tool and those in the know expect that this longtime favorite resource will soon disappear. I suggest you check out alternatives
  2. Use those same alerts to learn which reporters are covering your topic. Send an e-mail introducing yourself and offering to become a resource as needed. Follow them on social mediare-tweet some of their content so that they see it and begin to recognize and remember your name.
  3. Use your website to showcase your topic expertiseUpdate your bioadd relevant content so that you get found in online searches.
  4. Once you’ve done even one interview on the topic, add a link to the interview to your website, preferably in a dedicated newsroom area. As you do more, add those links whenever possible. Reporters are more likely to contact you for an interview when they see that you’re familiar with the process and that you’re quotable. 
  5. Be pro-active. Look for those opportunities to contribute to the media conversations on your topic.

I’m going to add a bonus tip: Make sure to avail yourself of the plethora of great information on Sandy’s Resources page! Just another example of her true generosity in helping us all be better promoters of our books and our author careers, so don’t miss them!

Categories
Tech for authors Tech for Indie Publishers Tools for Success

Tools For Success: I Like Skype.

Download Skype for Authors & Indie Publishers PDF

At Indie Navigator, we really like Skype (liked it better before Microsoft got ahold of it, but that’s a done deal). It’s is a great tool for communicating around the world, on major computer platforms and mobile, and mostly for free. It’s my preferred mode for consultation, which is explained on our How We Work page. That gives a pretty good overview, but perhaps you’re not sold on the idea.

In that case, below is a PDF for you that explains in a bit more detail. It even tells you how to get started, so download and give it a whirl! I guarantee you’ll see why we like it so much. And no, we don’t get any kickbacks or anything – it’s just a cool tool you should know about as someone seeking success as an author or indie publisher.

Download Skype for Indie Publishers & Authors