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J. Deval is the publisher of Hearst Books.
5/9/05 7:04:30 PM Opening "Chat Log 5/9/05"
Trina Pink: Shall we start, Dee? Paul? We've a huge topic to cover, and an important one.
HOST WPLC Dee R: I see our guest speaker is here ... Jdeval2
HOST WPLC Sushi: yes indeed!
HOST WPLC Sushi: I am greeting for now, so Donna, if you will do the honors? :-)
HOST WPLC Dee R: Trina will do the introduction of our guest speaker, Jacqueline Deval.
Trina Pink: The Hosts are generously letting me lead the session tonight since I'm a BIG Jacqueline Deval fan!
Trina Pink: Our guest tonight is Jacqueline Deval, publisher of Hearst Books. Hearst publishes a broad range of lifestyle books from cookbooks, home decor, humor and poker. About 60 titles a year. Hearst's latest big offering was Cosmo Kama Sutra.
(which definitely sounds intriguing!)
Jdeval2: it was embarrassing to edit
Trina Pink: LOL But educational?
Trina Pink: Jacqueline herself has written two books: a novel called Reckless Appetites: a Culinary Romance, and Publicize Your Book! Tonight, she'll be talking about how an author can help publicize their books. So, let's give her a warm welcome!
Jdeval2: Hi all.
HOST WPLC Sushi: howdy JD! :-)
HOST WPLC Dee R: And welcome JD....we're so pleased to have you here.
G1ft0fgabn0t: Welcome :)
Jdeval2: Thanks very much. Are most people here fiction or nonfiction writers?
Trina Pink: We especially want to thank her because she made Herculean efforts to get AOL loaded and working!
Trina Pink: Most of us are fiction, Jacqueline.
HOST WPLC Dee R: fiction is our game.
Jdeval2: and are most of you published or looking for publishers?
HOST WPLC Dee R: some published, some not...mixed group
Trina Pink: Most of us are looking.
Rose1533: Looking for an agent first.
Trina Pink: Many of us have some publication.
Jdeval2: A really good thing you can do for yourself is submit a publicity plan or marketing plan along with your proposal/chapters. It helps an agent or a publisher get to "yes" faster.
HOST WPLC Dee R: interesting...I like that idea.
PHeeren: I am looking for publishers for my children's book and teenage fiction story.
Jdeval2: feel free to jump in with questions by the way. I can only type so fast!
Trina Pink: Jacqueline, would you first start by telling us briefly the state of book publishing, and why authors are getting more involved in publicizing?
Jdeval2: more authors getting involved as so many books per year are published
Jdeval2: double the number of books compared to 10 years ago -- more than 120,000 a year. But the number of publicists didn't double. Also the media shrank -- fewer TV shows and edit pages that cover books, so authors have to get involved to help spread the word. Best thing is to view your relationship with your publisher like a business collaboration.
CharMaclay: What are say the 3 most important things an author can do when her book is about to be released?
Jdeval2: When it's about to be released is in fact a little too late. Best thing to do is to plan ahead 4-6 months before publication. Best thing is to write a plan that's shared with the publisher to get them jazzed on the book. One author I know, Raelynn Hillhouse, took that approach and it changed the way her publisher viewed her book. They moved it from a lower slot on their list and made it their lead title.
Trina Pink: Wow. That's no small effect.
Jdeval2: She started by getting a quote from Nelson Demille. She just wrote to him c/o his agent -- didn't know him or nuttin'. I was impressed by her efforts, too. She also did a postcard mailing campaign to booksellers which sometimes works.
HOST WPLC Dee R: not too shabby, Nelson Demille
Jdeval2: And she had a great personal story -- she had smuggled goods in and out of the Eastern bloc some years ago so she knew what she was writing about -- espionage.
Jdeval2: Fiction can be challenging so you have to think of the special angles in your work or your background that make you and the book promotable. You don't have to be a spy!
For instance, an author I worked with wrote a book called Riverside Drive. When the book came out she had insomnia so she wrote postcards in the middle of the night and addressed to folks living on Riverside Drive. The card had the book cover on it. Every time she sent a batch of cards out the book sold out in the local stores.
G1ft0fgabn0t: Hard to get other writers to do a quote. I'm impressed too! Any other suggestions for promoting a book? Does having a website or blogging help impress a publisher at all?
Jdeval2: Website and blogs are really really good tools. Highly recommended, especially if you write niche or literary fiction. A lot of bloggers are covering those areas. But not all publicists are savvy to blogs yet so be prepared to do some research to provide the names and contact info to send the books. Also you should check out the publishing blogs. For instance, Buzz, Balls & Hype by MJ Rose is really smart about publishing.
Trina Pink: I started a blog last November, but someone said it should be limited to a specific topic, to try to target a niche. Do you agree?
Jdeval2: I think it needs only be interesting. It's easier to target an audience by writing in a narrow topic.
Trina Pink: (Buzz, Balls and Hype is a GREAT website. I also like Southern Comfort, which Karin Gillespie does.)
Jdeval2: But blogging should really be about writing about what you want to write about. Jameswolcott.com is also a great blog but is more political.
SusanIs: Can you get promos from authors or people in the field NOT in your genre?
Jdeval2: If you mean blurbs, yes you can.
SusanIs: Okay, time to contact famous writer/former professor would be when?
Jdeval2: As long as the potential blurber has some connection to the subject then it makes sense to send them the book for blurbing.
SusanIs: Connection to subject?
Jdeval2: Usually about 4-6 months before publication so the blurb can go on book jacket.
Trina Pink: My book has a number of home births in it. I thought I'd ask Ina May Gaskins for a blurb (she's the original modern midwife). Is that what you mean by some connection?
Jdeval2: Dirty little secret -- probably half of all blurbs are written by the person asking for the blurb. Then getting permission from the blurber to use the prewritten blurb.
SusanIs: My agent hasn't sold my crime novel yet.
Jdeval2: "Connection to subject"..meaning if you have written a crime novel then it's OK to ask a police commissioner for a quote -- that sort of connection.
JOYFULWRITER99: I think I am confused by the term 'blog.' Do I have that confused with a 'blurb?' Are they different?
Jdeval2: Very different.
Jdeval2: A blurb is an endorsement, a quote praising your book.
Miriam2946: blog = web log
Jdeval2: A blog is like an on line journal made public. And is frequently updated and evolving.
JOYFULWRITER99: Can you elaborate?
LadyTJ5ranch5: an online diary.
Jdeval2: The best thing for you to do to understand a blog is to log onto one.
Trina Pink: The blurb is what's printed on the book jacket (i.e., Stephen King says, "Best Book Written!") Blog is a website that is updated daily or so.
JOYFULWRITER99: Oh OK. Thanks.
Jdeval2: Trina -- your midwife quote idea is smart.
Trina Pink: I'm shy about approaching her.. but I'll do it in a heartbeat!!
Jdeval2: You have to get over shyness!
HOST WPLC Dee R: check out this blog to see what a blossoming writer can do with it for publicity of new book: http://www.joshilynjackson.com/mt/
Jdeval2: A good way to do that is to think of promotions not as promoting yourself but promoting a service -- your book! You can learn a lot from other writers' blogs and websites.
CharMaclay: How do you attract people to a blog?
Trina Pink: Good question!
Jdeval2: Good question. They seem to take off from viral marketing. They do a lot of linking to one another which helps a lot. You'll find the literary bloggers all list one another on their sites. And they've even started a litblog cooperative with a goal of reviewing books cooperatively
CharMaclay: is that true of romance writers as well?
Jdeval2: The point being that they want to bring attention to books that aren't being covered elsewhere. Some blogs also send out a daily email so readers can "subscribe." Others build momentum by being outrageous -- check out Gawker.com for example
LadyTJ5ranch5: yes there is a blog called Romancing The Blog that list several upon several writers.
Trina Pink: I have seen a great website on promoting blog traffic. E-mail me, and I'll dig it up later and send it.
Jdeval2: You can enter your blog for a Webby award -- also attention getting. Another way to promote is through readings, of course.
Trina Pink: I have picked up readers by commenting on other people's blogs. Jacqueline, can you talk a little about the 90-day window, and remainders? Just to show how important publicity is.
Jdeval2: The 90 day window applies to most midlist fiction.
Trina Pink: (which is most of us, folks)
Jdeval2: It's the time when your book is displayed but after 90 days it's returned if there is no sales momentum, which means you want to stimulate sales in that first 3 months of the book's life to give it the best chance. So you want the promotional activities to be concentrated in that period. Remainders are at the end of the line in terms of sales. Those are the unsold copies that your publisher deep discounts to get rid of the inventory. hard to type so fast!
Trina Pink: And if you get a lot of books remaindered, it's really hard to sell the next book, right? Even if you sold a lot of copies.
Jdeval2: not true at all.
Trina Pink: Not true? Good news!
Jdeval2: EVERY book gets returns. Something has to be done with those returns. It's just the last market for the book. Now if most of the printing is remaindered -- well that's not good news. Returns average 35% in the business.
Aura cleansed: I wanted to ask how does a writer improve sales, what should he do?
Jdeval2: To improve sales, get involved early on and stay on top of your publicist and editor. Come up with media angles to pitch you and your book. And if you have trouble doing that alone -- don't despair. It's not easy but it's doable. Get involved with brainstorming with other people like on readerville.com. They have some good marketing forums where they talk about book promotions.
Trina Pink: Let me leap in really quickly here with a word from our sponsors. ;-) Jacqueline's book, Publicize Your Book! discusses this topic in great detail.
CharMaclay: we got sponsors? cool........
Trina Pink: Tells you how to write a plan, gives you ideas, timelines, etc.
ShayKay1951: Char, as long as we don't have to pay for their commercials!
Trina Pink: (I was kidding about the sponsors) There's a link on our cuebon site to buy the book if you're interested: http://www.cuebon.com/ewriters/buy.html. I highly recommend it.
Trina Pink: Jacqueline, do you have anything else to add about Aura's question?
Jdeval2: Not at this moment.
Trina Pink: (Queu's open, guys) (How do you spell queu?)
Trina Pink: Ah! Thanks
Jdeval2: there you go -- there's a promotional idea -- have a spelling bee in the local bookstore with your book as a prize.
Trina Pink: Oh, yeah! Great idea.
HOST WPLC Dee R: You mentioned using the publicity plan as a way to sell your book to a publisher ... can you give us ideas on how to do that?
G1ft0fgabn0t: Oh, How do you feel about giveaways?
Jdeval2: giveaways are great.
HOST WPLC Dee R: how to tie it in with your proposal.
Jdeval2: They prime the market for a book and get word of mouth going.
Mystical mom 333: I've already got book signings set up, I just need to get the things printed...
Jdeval2: Look at what Seth Godin did with Ideavirus. He gave away thousands of copies as a free download. Then went on to sell 25,000 copies in hardcover at $40
The free download helped create the market and the buzz.
HOST WPLC Dee R: You mentioned using the publicity plan as a way to sell your book to a publisher...can you give us ideas on how to do that?? tying it in with your proposal.
Jdeval2: Yes -- you need to write down all the ideas that make your book interesting to the media and provide promotional ideas in the plan. These need to be doable suggestions. Not things like "I should go on Oprah."
Mystical mom 333: So, I should tell them up front the local Walden Books and B&N have already asked me to do a signing and I'm not even pubbed yet?
Jdeval2: Yes that's a good start. But if you can also get other community groups involved to try to create a bigger event, that may be newsworthy, that's even more attractive. Singles nights in bookstores work well. Mother and daughter nights are good, too. Think also about op-ed pages in local papers.
HOST WPLC Dee R: gee, I'd never think of those kind of ideas...good ones.
Trina Pink: One of the things she mentions in her book is tying your book to events also; like a memoir about breast cancer released during Breast Cancer Prevention month.
Jdeval2: Think about what makes you interested in reading someone else's book and how you heard of it. Then steal those ideas! Stealing marketing ideas is not plagiarism so you're safe.
Rose1533: Is it a silly idea to go in 'costume' to a book-signing or other promotion?
Jdeval2: Not at all. works all the time for kids books. also romance books.
Jdeval2: Depending on the costume it can be a good attention getter. yes fantasy too
Rose1533: Thought I might even go to a Renaissance Faire for publicity.
Mystical mom 333: So, if you write the strange and unusual, then what?
Jdeval2: what do you mean?
Mystical mom 333: Paranormal. Vampires, werewolves, that sort of thing.
Jdeval2: then you need to find the groups of readers that are interested in books about that. the internet is a good place to start. you'll find lots of discussion groups that you should join.
Trina Pink: Are there paranormal conventions?
HOST WPLC Sushi: yes.
Jdeval2: FYI book tours are kind of over
Trina Pink: What do you mean?
HOST WPLC Dee R: really...they don't do that anymore?
Jdeval2: Not so much. Lot of the media closed up shop. Much of the media is national out of NY or LA these days -- the local chat shows went away. Reading tours can still work but you and your publisher have to work very hard to drum up the audience.
Trina Pink: JD, a lot of us are just now writing/revising our novels. What are some things we can do now to help later?
Jdeval2: Keep a publicity notebook to jot down ideas as your finishing the book.
Put ideas in there that even seem stupid. there's time to refine them later on.
And start getting involved in some of the online marketing discussion groups and float your ideas about how to promote your book. And a really important thing is to be able to describe your book in what's called "an elevator pitch." That means you're in the elevator with a stranger and that's all the time you have to tell them what your book's about. So in those few moments you have to grab them, not bore them. I guess you could also call it the soundbite about your book. It's important though.
Trina Pink: Start mailing lists? Start blogging?
Jdeval2: Yes lists are good. You'll mail to everyone you know when the book comes out so starting that database now is good. Blogging is good too -- but you don't want to take too much time away from your writing just yet -- wait until you're book's handed in!!
Trina Pink: We have four more questions lined up folks, so we aren't taking anymore.
ShayKay1951: Forgive a dumb Okie. What's an FYI tour?
SarahStNy: for your information.
Jdeval2: FYI is For Your Information.
ShayKay1951: Yes, I know what the letters stand for. What is an FYI TOUR?
BrownDvs: What Sarah and Jdeval said.
Trina Pink: Shay, I think she said, "For you information," book tours are no longer common. LOL
HOST WPLC Dee R: Is there any way to tie in with libraries on a national area...locally it's not as hard (I'd guess), but how about nationally?
Jdeval2: Libraries are a great supporter of authors. Very hard to connect with them on a national level, but working with the local libraries in a grass roots way can be very effective. They will sponsor readings.
Trina Pink: Unless you luck out and get a good review in Library Journal!
Jdeval2: Pitch yourself for an interview in Library Journal or get your publicist to do that. you need a library angle (have you volunteered in yours for eg?)
HOST WPLC Dee R: thanks, quite helpful
CharMaclay: re media.......how about local newspaper media? is that out too for book tours?
Jdeval2: Local newspaper coverage is great to do. It's still widely available if the pitch and angle are good. To understand how your book might be pitched, spend some time googling. Look up your book's subject area followed by the word "novel" so you can see how fiction is being covered. It is encouraging to see just how much DOES get covered. Then pass on any press leads you can find to your publicist.
HOST WPLC Dee R: you have given us some great ideas!!!!
Mystical mom 333: I was going to ask for an example of publicity ideas, but I think we've covered it. :-D
Trina Pink: LOL. Excellent!
Trina Pink: Well, Gosh...this was GREAT, Jacqueline!
Jdeval2: Thanks all. Good luck with your books.
HOST WPLC Dee R: Jacqueline...you have given a great session for us!!!!
HOST WPLC Sushi: highly informative! :-D
Rose1533: Thanks. <><><><><><><><>
HOST WPLC Dee R: We thank you, and hope to have you back again.
Jdeval2: Many thanks again for having me.
G1ft0fgabn0t: Yes! What a terrific session! Thank you! <><><>applause<><><>
HOST WPLC Sushi: <-- loyal supporter of my Friends of the Library ;-)
CharMaclay: tx Jacqueline for good ideas. Appreciate your interest/time.
HOST WPLC Dee R: <<<<<clapping>>>>>>
Trina Pink: Let me repeat: Jacqueline Deval, author of Publicize Your Book!
Rose1533: Nite all.
BrownDvs: Good session, all.
MoonCat25: great session!
HOST WPLC Sushi: yes, please buy JD's book. many ideas I'd never heard of before.
Trina Pink: You guys, she honestly moved heaven and earth to get AOL working this week!
HOST WPLC Dee R: I'm going to get a copy of her book...she came up with some great ideas.
Trina Pink: The book is FABULOUS, you guys. Full of websites, specific information, examples of press kits, etc.
Beccastrat: I'm to get a copy of her book too. She is quite interesting.
Trina Pink: Link to it from : http://www.cuebon.com/ewriters/buy.html
HOST WPLC Sushi: just click and Amazon.com will work its magic! ;-)
HOST WPLC Dee R: she had to put AOL on her computer to come here tonight, so we certainly should appreciate her efforts ... particularly the way AOL has been working lately.
G1ft0fgabn0t: Thanks to Lyric and Trina for getting this wonderful guest for us <><><>clapping<><><>
HOST WPLC Sushi: I am sooo glad this all worked out, with so many &*$#@^% glitches this week. about four W2P members were unable to attend, at least. :-(
Beccastrat: We had quite a crowd in here for a while too!
Trina Pink: Your comments were definitely on topic.
G1ft0fgabn0t: Sure did :)
G1ft0fgabn0t: Okay, peeps, time for me to get back to work. See y'all next week, when we roast a host. <G>
Beccastrat: Well everyone...have a wonderful night! See you next week :-)
Beccastrat: LOL Gabby
HOST WPLC Dee R: well, I'm taking off...thanks to Trina for guiding the session and working with Jacqueline behind the scenes.
Trina Pink: Oh, no problem. I'm just thrilled to hear from her. She answered one of my burning questions (and answered it the way I hoped she would..LOL)!
HOST WPLC Dee R: And, Paul is on the griddle next week...
G1ft0fgabn0t: nite everyone ::: waves:::
5/9/05 8:05:20 PM Closing "Chat Log 5/9/05"
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