Monday, October 27, 2008

Are you just one sheet away from publishing success?

I'll admit to using the title question as a play on words. The "one sheet" I'm referring to is a marketing tool, not a single page of manuscript. Speakers have been using one sheets for years, but it's a relatively new item for writers who traditionally have relied on bios, summaries, reviews and press releases to promote their work. If you're not getting the results you want from your promotional efforts, you may want to try a new format for presenting your material.

A one sheet can actually be two-sided, but essentially it's a brief summary that encapsules the essence of the author, book and topic or message. It's a handy-dandy item that can be faxed (least desirable), emailed or downloaded from your website. You can mail or email one sheets to introduce yourself to the media, bookstores and/or any audience that you want target.

The content you include in your one sheet will vary according to your specific purpose, but it should contain the following:
1. Book cover image, ISBN number, retail price and ordering information.
2. Short synopsis or summary of the book.
3. Your photo, brief bio relevant to the book and contact information (website, email, phone number, publicist's or agent's info, etc)
4. Quotes or excerpts from reviews, testimonials or endorsements.

Additionally, you can tailor the one sheet to represent your other functions. Are you a coach, speaker or consultant? Add a section with the titles and descriptions of services, seminars or presentations you offer.

One sheets can be created in Microsoft Word or in graphic programs such as Adobe Photoshop or InDesign. The final document must be converted to pdf so it can be easily be read online, downloaded or emailed. Making a pdf also preserves your fonts so that even when the document is opened on someone else's computer, it will still look the same as you intended. (A pdf is read online in Adobe Reader, a program that anyone can download for free and most people already have installed on their computers.)

Adair Cates, author of Live Your Intention: Ten Steps to Creating the Life of Your Dreams, has three one-sheets, each tailored to a specific audience. Adair has become a master at promotion on a shoe-string budget, doing much of the work herself. It's paid off in a big way for her and the response she has garnered has paved the way to creating a video featuring her book and speaking. She has also posted video clip and photos from the many media interviews she has arranged.

Adair is not trained as a graphic designer or media specialist, so she invested the time to find out what other successful authors and speakers were doing and then did what she needed to do to get the same results. More often than not, publishing success requires learning new skills, stepping out of comfort zones and experimenting with new strategies. If you need assistance with the graphic presentation, hire a graphic designer to help you produce a document with a professional flair.

So, spice up your presentation with a new look. One sheets are a simple, inexpensive and effective way to transmit your message. And you may find that the new approach can make a big difference in the response you receive.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

What's in your press release?

If you're not using press releases to spread the news about your book and related activities, you're missing out on reaching a big potential audience. Press releases are not just for the press anymore, either. I see authors and publishers posting press releases on websites and media services where anyone can access the release on the Internet.

To be effective as a publicity tool, a press release should follow these guidelines:
1. The purpose of a press release is to notify the media and your target audience about an event or important story. The goal is provide enough enticing information to have someone call you to find out more, so keep the release to one or two pages.

2.Follow the accepted standard format (samples are in provided in 4Ps to Publishing Success, or available by googling "press release format"). You can and should use your letterhead for the release, but don't deviate from the format.

3. Write your press release like an article (which is what you want a journalist to turn it into!). Develop an interesting headline. The first paragraph is your hook. What is new or special about your book? What problem does it solve? Who is your audience? The second paragraph can explain what inspired the story or book, why you are an expert and a personal quote related to the information. The third paragraph gives a directive, or call to action. Why should they call you? Are you available for interviews? Will you be holding a book signing in the area? Give your contact information here.

What can you send as part of a media kit?
Include an image of your book cover (postcard, bookmark, etc.) In your cover letter, offer to send a copy of your book. Tell them if you are available for telephone or radio interviews and why you would be an interesting guest. You can even include suggested interview questions on a separate sheet of paper.

When should you follow up with the media?
You can call to follow up with a magazine editor or news reporter about the information you've sent. Rule number one: ask if they are available to talk for a few minutes when they answer the phone. Busy editors/reporters on deadline don't like to be interrupted and will tell you so if you just start talking. Rule number two: Never ask, "Did you receive my press release?" Always offer some new information--preferably something that will be interesting or beneficial to their readers. Ask what you can do to help them and then pitch yourself as a guest or someone they can call upon for information.

It may seem a little uncomfortable if you've never done this before, but after one or two times, you'll feel more at ease with the process. And once you get a response, you'll be juiced to write them all the time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

People are talking about Author Talks

The debut of the teleclass series "Author Talks" with author Deborah Sharp on October 7 was a huge success. Her new book, MAMA DOES TIME (Midnight Ink), was released October 1.Here's some of the feedback we've gotten so far:

"Hi Shelley! Really enjoyed the teleconference last night. I thought Deb (and you!) were very informative and entertaining. This is a great idea." -- Joyce Sweeney

"I picked up some tips from last night's conference with Deb Sharp. Thank you, it was very interesting. You're a good moderator. "--Joey Naudic

"Just wanted to thank you for that informative and entertaining teleconference. Deb answered my "dinosaur" questions very nicely, and generally gave out oodles of useful information. I really enjoyed tonight's session, and Deborah was a wonderful choice to launch your author interviews. She'll be a hard act to follow."--Barbara Dinerman

Hi Shelley, I really enjoyed the conference last night, thanks! (I was listening while working.) Deb was fantastically entertaining, and she gave many good tips. You did a fabulous job too :-)" --Pascale Mackey

"It was fantastic. Deborah was informative, entertaining and inspiring. The only thing is I wish that Mace or Mama had joined in the teleconference and talked about eating butterscotch pie." --Mel Antonen

"I was able to listen in to most of the conversation, but missed the beginning. I will use your information to do that now. I enjoyed the session very much. I know Deb Sharp; she is as excellent a writer as she spoke last night. The session was so informative and I did learn excellent new techniques. What a wonderful idea!" --Stephanie Krulik

If you missed the call and want to hear a replay of the teleclass, you can call (641) 715-3412 and enter Access Code 171279# when prompted.

The audio recording will be available for you to call at your convenience for a limited time only. Please try to listen in soon to make sure you don't miss out in getting this valuable information.

Here's how to listen to the recorded call:

Dial - (641) 715-3412
Enter Access Code - 171279#

Friday, October 10, 2008

Art Biz Coach Book Tour

As part of her book tour, Alyson Stanfield came to Asheville for some double duty. Her three-hour workshop, titled the same as her book, was held in the very cool studio of photographer Marilyn Sholin. Marlyn's book, "The Art of Digital Photo Painting" (Lark Books) will be released soon.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

AWE is AWEsome!

I spent Saturday morning with the Asheville Writer Enthusiasts (AWE), and we had a great time. This very talented group had lots of questions and were totally interested in learning how to get their manuscripts off their desks and into print with the 4Ps to Publishing Success.

Here's what some of the members had to say:
"First of all I hope you are aware just how good you are at what you do. Thank you for that. Of the speakers we have had in the last few months, you were the most informative in the time allotted, and the most inspiring." --Phil Sherlock

"I enjoyed your presentation to Asheville Writing Enthusiasts on Saturday. Thanks so much for sharing your time and talents." --Susan Blexrud

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Listen in on Author Talks

"Author Talks" telephone interview series debuts Tuesday, October 7, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET with Deborah Sharp, author of the Mace Bauer Mystery series. Her first book, Mama Does Time (Midnight Ink), has an October 1, 2008 release date. So we are very fortunate to catch up with her just as she begins her whirlwind book tour and activity. Deb will share valuable writing and publishing tips and will take questions from those on the call. This is a don't-miss opportunity to learn insider secrets and get answers from someone who has been there and done that. Deb is a former USA Today reporter who gave up the daily newspaper grind to pursue her dream of writing novels, and after some trial and error (which she'll share with you), landed a two-book contract for her Mace Bauer Mystery series.

The event is free (long distance charges apply), but you must register for the call. Do it now because "seating" is limited to 90 people. If you sign up for the call and can't make it, you will be mailed a link to the audio recording the following day. No excuses! Register now!