Facebook has almost 200 million active users and grows by nearly 600 thousand users daily. Women dominate Facebook, meaning there are more female users than male. Considering the fact that women do the majority of book buying, Facebook has a pretty good demographic for authors.

Authors are often confused and overwhelmed with how to make Facebook work as a strong marketing tool. The ability to reach your target audience and build a strong fan base is one of the key components that makes Facebook such a useful marketing strategy.

However, there are some tips and techniques that can be applied to Facebook to maximize its potential.

– Don’t use it to only post your release date or facts and figures about you and your book. Use Facebook as a way to interact with your readers, build relationships and create interest.
– Keep your status updates relevant to your career or writing life. Keep it focused but casual.
– Give tiny peeks into the “life of a writer” because this is something that truly fascinates readers.
– Let your “friends” know when your book is coming out, when a review is appearing in a newspaper, magazine or online. Let people know what you are reading and enjoying.
– If you have a blog, link to it on your Facebook page. Provide links to your website and any other relevant web presence you possess.
– Comment on other author pages and respond when people comment on your pages.
– Add photos.
– Keep it active and be consistent.

The Negative Effects of Social Networking

Great article in BusinessWeek about how companies are trying to balance the important and effective efforts of social networking with the overwhelmingly public aspect of employees airing dirty laundry. This is certainly something that applies to authors, as well. Authors often question the importance of being present on social sites and weighing the pros and cons of blogging. Is it safe to turn one’s Facebook page or blog into public therapy? Is a blog absolutely necessary?

One author, Megan McCafferty, who has very successfully kept a public blog, decided to end it today so that she can channel her energy into her books. Hers is not an issue of saying too much or diluting her image, it is more about time management. But the BusinessWeek article still poses a good question, can there sometimes be too much of a good thing? Are we giving away too much information? Is an open conversation a good thing when it comes to marketing?  We are in unchartered territory here and we have yet to discern a way to navigate ourselves into the best light.  Only time will tell, so stay on top of the information and news that is out there because that is the best way to make the most informed and appropriate decisions for you.

The Job of a Book Publicist

My day job is that I am a book publicist. By saying, “Day Job” that can be kind of misleading because it is actually an all day, all night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week kind of job. I love what I do because I love working with authors, coming up with original, unique and authentic ways of marketing my favorite of all commodities…BOOKS! However, there are days when I don’t 100% love my job, when the frustrations outweigh the victories. Those are usually the days when nothing seems to be going right. No one is biting. There is bigger news going on in the world and editors and producers don’t seem to care a flying fig about a book…especially if that book happens to be fiction.

Fiction tends to have the wonderful ability to land like a lead balloon on the doorsteps of most editors and producers. They really don’t know what to do with it. And that’s where my incredible originality and overall ingenious ability to turn fiction into the most newsworthy of subjects comes in handy. I am not just trying to flatter myself, I  really am that good.

Who else can turn a book about a stay-at-home dad into a political platform? (Ad Hudler’s MAN OF THE HOUSE) or turn the promotion of a romance novel into a gender issue (Susan Mallery’s SUNSET BAY)? I brought a medical thriller writer into the Hollywood spotlight (Michael Palmer’s THE SECOND OPINION) and turned a columnist into a public promoter (Lisa Genova’s STILL ALICE).

This is why I love my job. I love finding the clever hook that is going to turn a book into a hot topic. I love making people become aware of an author or novel they may have overlooked. I love creating that one spark that can launch a career. (Lori Culwell and Brunonia Barry)

The Business Side of Books

{photo courtesy of DailyCandy}

Let’s face it, writing is a business. More accurately, the selling of your written material is a business. Writers write for the love of the written word, or at least we hope that’s why they do it, but they also want to make enough money to be able to support this love. Forbes has a fantastic article on the business side of writing. Read the Forbes article and let me know what you think.

Grub Street’s Muse & the Marketplace

Kelley & Hall had a wonderful time speaking at Grub Street‘s annual Muse & the Marketplace. Here is a description of our “hour of power” session, Blueprint for Book Publicity.

What makes a book a blockbuster? What pushes it to the top of bestseller lists, onto bookshelves across the country, and into the hands of eager readers? What helps an author create a strong following? If an author learns the strategies and secrets, can he propel his book in the direction of bestseller status? Do you have to be published by the biggest and best publishing houses in the country in order to make a presence for yourself and your work?

The answers to these questions will surprise even the most cynical of writers. Whether you have already written a book that shot up the bestseller list or are a debut author wondering how to navigate the confusing maze of publicity, this course will provide all of the secrets, tips, strategies and advice that every writer needs to learn. We will help you create the best possible path for you and your work. The advice we offer is lasting, and the suggestions will inspire you to learn every angle of this business from the inside out. We pooled our knowledge from various industries; public relations, sales, advertising and journalism to provide you with the most complete reference for creating a successful and powerful publicity campaign.

It is always inspiring to see so many writers with passionate stories to tell. You never know who the breakout writer is going to be. Last year, at this time, we were there with our client, Lisa Genova, author of STILL ALICE. Since last year’s Grub Street, Lisa has gone from having a self-published book to being picked up by Simon & Schuster and now being a fixture on the New York Times best seller list!

The event is so informative and a great networking tool. Authors at this year’s Muse included Tess Gerritsen, Ann Patchett, Lois Lowry, Sue Miller, Lynne Griffin, Amy MacKinnon, and Jennifer Haigh. I have to admit, I was very sad not to get a chance to meet Lois Lowry. Anastasia Krupnik, was one of the first books I remember devouring as a child and dragging my mother back to the bookstore to get the next book in the series. I credit Ms. Lowry with my absolute, undying, love and passion for books. And now she blogs! It rivals the childhood excitement I felt when I started following Punky Brewster on Twitter (Soleil Moon Frye).

If you didn’t get a chance to attend our seminar, and are interested in learning everything you need to know about marketing and publicizing your work, we are currently working on the only instruction manual you will ever need on book publicity, BLUEPRINT FOR BOOK PUBLICITY. Here’s a sneak peek:

60 Minutes

Steve Kroft, of 60 Minutes, recently spoke at Indiana University School of Journalism and shared some insight into the news business and life at 60 Minutes.

60 Minutes was, and is, a competitive and combative place,” Kroft said. “It’s a place where grudges are held for a long time. I remember Ed Bradley, not long before he died, talking about how Mike Wallace had screwed him over on a couple of stories.”

More Twitter

I am going to continue my Twitter-theme today and post two websites that list the Twitter accounts of people in the book industry and media professionals. If you haven’t created a Twitter account, you should really consider it. It is an easy, effortless way of connecting with people, promoting your work and keeping up with trends online.

Here are some media people using Twitter.

Authors and publishers who use Twitter.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

Here are our Twitter links:



Technology vs. Newspapers

Molly Wood, an executive editor and on-camera personality at CNETTV.com, recently wrote about the fate of newspapers at Women on the Web. Here are her thoughts:

The news about newspapers has been unavoidable in the past few weeks, with stories on everything from the insane cost of printing and publishing some newspapers to the extremely imminent death of others.

As someone who went from journalism school to a wire service to a website, I can’t help but feel slightly culpable — but I also feel protective of newspapers and the services they can provide to a community and a country. Some would argue, as my colleague Tom Merritt does in this week’s Buzz Report video, that the Internet is merely a delivery mechanism that doesn’t have to fundamentally change the way reporting and writing are carried out.

Sometimes, I think that’s true — there is amazing journalism happening on the Web, here at wowOwow.com, at Salon, at Huffington Post, at CNET, at Perez Hilton (OK, just kidding). On the other hand, blogs are easy to start and even easier to abandon, and the institution of a newsroom can provide air cover for deep digging that isn’t necessarily available at every online publication, as well as the legitimacy that gets you access to the really good sources. I hope we can see the difference between publishing technology and the intellectual pursuit of journalism as we cast aside our newspapers for netbooks and Kindles (guilty as charged).

And in other news this week, I hope that a new Apple netbook, should it appear in the near future, be a whole lot better than the new Shuffle they just announced.

Common Mistakes

As a publicist, I am constantly on tight deadlines and writing makes up 90% of the job. Unfortunately, speed does not lend itself well to correct spelling and grammar. Thankfully, I love to write and have always found comfort and solace in the written word. My partners and I all share a common trait, we are grammar nerds and this comes in handy when writing and proofing dozens of press releases, pitch letters, biographies and media questions on a daily basis. I found this great article about the 32 Most Commonly Misused Words and Phrases. And here is a very interesting piece on 12 Grammar Rules You Can Toss Out the Window. Enjoy!

Liz Smith

Well, if this isn’t a sign of how much is changing in our media world, after 33 years with the New York Post, legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith has been let go.  The New York Post is dropping her column, citing hard times. Smith, who turned 86 on February 2nd, is not one to let grass grow. She is heading over to the website she helped launch, The Women on the Web, or WowOWow! Joni Evans wrote on WowOWow about Liz’s departure from the NYPost and her full time arrival to the Wow site.

This sad news for the New York print business is spectacular news for us. Our fabulous and beloved Diva of Dish will be here on wowOwow, posting exclusive-to-Liz breaking celebrity news as it happens. It will, occasionally, be highlighted with audio and film and all the tools of an Internet entrepreneur.

The New York Post editor-in-chief Col Allen has written to Liz to say, “Like so many other newspapers around the country, we are buffeted by unprecedented economic gales” and could not renew the contract for what he described as a “legendary column.”

Tina Brown

Tina Brown, editor behind the newest online news source THE DAILY BEAST, spoke with Columbia Journalism students last week. Interestingly, the story is reported by THE HUFFINGTON POST. Friendly competition anyone? Below is a quote from Tina’s discussion:

In some ways, I feel that the web will revive that kind of ‘little magazine’ journalism, because recently there hasn’t been a market for it.

And here is a quote from one of the students who attended the speech:

Brown also re-hashed the fate of her short-lived venture Talk. She emphasized that one of the problems facing monthly magazines was the lag between production and release, and the inability of print magazines to adjust quickly enough to criticism. The criticism spurs advertisers to pull out, which deprives magazines of the funds needed to fix the problems, which leads to more criticism. This is possibly why Talk reportedly lost $50 million before it folded, after opening with what was described as one of the most lavish launch parties in magazine history.
Brown rightly noted that the current concern over the closing of the foreign bureaus of many major media outlets was not necessarily a bad thing, as it could lead to the cultivation of local reporters who would have greater context for unfolding news than foreign reporters parachuted in from outside. She also noted that, “If I were young, I would go to India,” and encouraged students to take advantage of the media culture there.
–Cara Parks

Curtis Sittenfeld Writes Novella

In an effort to be bipartisan, author Curtis Sittenfeld is following up her beautifully written novel American Wife that was loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, with a novella written for Slate that will be based on Barack Obama’s inauguration. The five part series entitled, All Along, This Was What Was Supposed to Happen, will end on Inauguration day. Sittenfeld says that her next book will not be politically-based. She is the author of Prep and The Man of My Dreams.

Elizabeth Gilbert Profiled in The Guardian

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the wildly successful memoir and inspirational journal, EAT, PRAY, LOVE was profiled in this weekend’s Guardian.

According to the New York Observer,

Emma Brockes offers a hard-edged take on the journalist-turned-memoirist, writing, “There are lots of paths to self-discovery, but most of them don’t conflate so many lucrative book markets in one handy volume. Eat Pray Love elides self-help, self-improvement, mysticism and a strain of confessional publishing I once heard described as ‘women who write about their yeast infections’…”

Suze Orman Gives Away Her Book

Once again, Suze Orman is allowing a FREE download of her newest book, Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound. Just head over to Oprah’s website for information on how you can download your own copy for FREE! Giving things away is a common plan of action for gaining attention and in Orman’s case, this works remarkably well, especially when what she is offering is something that people are in desperate need of now: Financial Advice! However, Orman has been building her brand for quite awhile and has such a strong backlist that giving away one title for a limited time will only help to spread the popularity of her brand and have people running to the bookstores to stock up on additional Orman titles.

How many of you have downloaded your own copy? Are you going to read it? Will you print it out or read it on your computer screen?

A Blog about Blogs

We get a lot of questions regarding blogs. Should you have one? Do you need one? What kind of information should be provided on your blog? Will it diminish your professionalism? How do you get traffic to your blog? Will it detract from your published writing?

For authors there are two things you want to focus on with regards to a blog, getting traffic and showing your expertise. A blog is great way to highlight your writing, bring attention to your talent in a public forum and learn new skills. Write about anything and everything that interests you. Create a Facebook page, a Myspace page and link to your blog there. Create a Twitter account and follow other writers. Provide a link to your blog on your Twitter page and consistently update it letting your followers know when you have posted new content.

Sometimes you need a newsworthy hook to gain attention and followers to your blog. Write about something current, whether it be a trend or a news topic that you are familiar with, can provide an opinion on, or somehow relates to your writing. Write about books you are reading and link to the authors. Write about being a writer, provide tips, instruction, guidance and inspiration. If your content is consistently changing, then your audience will grow. If they like your writing, then you may be building a fan base. Blogs are great way to show off your writing skills! They also have the added bonus of helping improve your writing, develop your voice, increase the speed with which you can produce quality material, and fine tune the ability to write with an audience in mind. You are your own best advocate, so use this blog as a way to stand out from the crowd and let your voice be heard.

Writers who worry that blogging will distract from their primary job, being an author, have an understandable worry. Blogging does take time. However, the blog is a wonderful way to combine both the artistic and the business side of being an author. Write about what you know, but also treat your blog like a business card. You want people looking at it! You want them bookmarking it and you want them recognizing your name on a consistent basis.

Here are a few author blogs that shine!

Brenda Janowitz

Joshilyn Jackson

Stephanie Klein

Allison Winn Scotch

Claire Cook

Ann Leary

Kristin Hannah

Barbara Delinsky

Good News for the Publishing World

People ARE reading!!!

According to this article in today’s New York Times, the National Endowment for the Arts has found that a “quarter-century of precipitous decline in fiction reading has reversed.” That certainly deserves an exclamation point!

The report, “Reading on the Rise: A New Chapter in American Literacy,” being released Monday, is based on data from “The Survey of Public Participation in the Arts” conducted by the United States Census Bureau in 2008. Among its chief findings is that for the first time since 1982, when the bureau began collecting such data, the proportion of adults 18 and older who said they had read at least one novel, short story, poem or play in the previous 12 months has risen.

Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts credits this rise with a number of factors. He attributed the increase in literary reading to community-based programs like the “Big Read,” Oprah Winfrey’s book club, the huge popularity of book series like “Harry Potter” and Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight,” as well as the individual efforts of teachers, librarians, parents and civic leaders to create “a buzz around literature that’s getting people to read more in whatever medium.”

This is great news for a Monday morning!

Amazon Stores Enhance Author’s Presence

Amazon.com has launched a new program to allow easier access to your favorite authors and their titles. Author Stores. According to Publishers Weekly, the program launched on December 29th. Author Stores are single pages that feature all books from a particular author, plus, in many cases, an author photo and some related content, such as a biography, message board and streaming video. It is Amazon’s long-term goal to have an Author Store for every author whose books are available through Amazon.

The Lace Reader

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

Kelley & Hall worked as the publicist for Brunonia Barry’s originally self-published novel, The Lace Reader. We helped to secure coverage that eventually led to a multi-million dollar deal with William Morrow.

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry launches later this month. We worked with Brunonia Barry on her journey from being a self-published author to landing a deal with William Morrow. Here is an interview with Barry from Book Club Girl at the ALA.

Stay tuned…

For all the up and coming news and info from the publishing world via Kelley & Hall Book Publicity. We will give you all the news you need to know when it comes to promoting books and authors. Bookmark this blog and stay tuned…