Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Building Blocks to Author Success" by Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower

Building Blocks to Author Success
by Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower

Today we feature Building Blocks to Author Success, a series of four books designed to help authors, especially self-published authors, deal with the world of online book promotion. The series consists of The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers, Go Global: Building an International Author Platform that Sells, Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors, and The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors.
The authors share some of their wisdom and also give you the chance to win one of these four books or Public Relations for Authors: Take Hold of Your Own Promotions, featured in a previous blog post.

The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers - Building Blocks to Author Success (Book One)
by Barb Drozdowich

Do you feel out of your comfort zone when dealing with book bloggers? They are the New Gatekeepers to book publishing success – but how can you tap into that source of free promotions by putting your best foot forward?
The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers combines the advice of 215 blogging professionals collected in a survey covering all aspects of communication between authors and Review Blogs. Whether you are a new author, or have many titles under your belt, let us demystify the promotion of your book on a book blog.
You’ll learn about whom and where book bloggers are, and the following:
  • The Query,
  • The Review,
  • The Giveaway,
  • The Author Interview,
  • The Guest Post,
  • The Book Blurb Excerpt and Cover Reveals,
  • And more!

Chapter 5 The Review
The much sought after review consumes a lot of an author's energies. It is seen as the key to the kingdom by many. I will admit that reviews are a necessary thing on Amazon and other purchasing sites these days; people have the ability everywhere to state their view on a product, and many do. As the buying public, we can consult these reviews to determine if we want to buy a product. How much credence we give them is a personal choice. I'm sure you’ve noticed that reviews on Amazon as well as other places are hot topics lately. Who is allowed to leave a review, and even the validity of a review are all coming under fire. While this is an interesting angle to the topic of reviews, we’re going to discuss book blogger reviews.
Book reviews are going to happen whether you seek them out or not. The book reviews that you don’t seek out are, for the most part, out of your control. The book bloggers have obtained a copy of your book from somewhere and are sharing their thoughts with their readers. The reviews that we will talk about in this chapter are the ones you seek out. These are the reviews that result from you personally approaching book bloggers and asking them to review your book.
Why do book bloggers post reviews?
Many book bloggers start their blogs to express their thoughts and maybe make some like-minded friends, just like I did. It never occurred to me that someone would actually read what I had to write. The reality is that book bloggers WANT to share their thoughts with others. WE LOVE BOOKS. We want to discuss what we loved about a particular book. There may not be anyone in our immediate neighborhood that loves the authors we do, but online, there are lots of people. I talk regularly with romance fans from literally all over the world.

Guest Post on How Bloggers Like to be Approached
Book review bloggers do a lot of reviews and get a ton of request each day from various authors, publicists, assistants and publishers. Each of who want their emails looked at in hopes of a new review. What about the blogger and what they want?
A blogger wants respect. They started their blog for a reason and not all want a free book. Most are to help the author promote their work. There are several ways to get your email deleted; one of the quickest is a form letter in the email. They are very easy to spot as there no personalization. You are taking the time to email the blogger for a review, why not take the time to look at their blog. You had to get their name/email from somewhere. A blogger wants to feel as if you took the time to go to their blog, look around, read their review policy if they have one and get their name.
Another way to get an email deleted is getting our name wrong or better yet not using a name and just calling us “Dear Blogger”. Most of us will not read the email. We know then you never came to our blog or even looked at our review policy. This is like a slap in the face and why would we want to read anything you are offering?
When you request a review, make sure it is what we read. There is a reason we all have a review policy on our blog. We each read different things and you want the right reviewer for you book. Nothing makes us more irritated then receiving a request for a book in a genre we do not read. You would like the right people to review and we would like the right books to read.
Bloggers want to help authors get their name out and help promote their latest work. To do this we need the right authors and the authors need the right bloggers.  You want to get your book out to the right audience to sale more. It’s a win-win for us all to have the right people in place.

In today's rapidly changing, highly competitive publishing industry authors need all the help they can get. And to her credit, Barb Drozdowich has done all authors, including us mystery authors, an incredible favor, empowering us with her knowledge, wisdom and experience.
With the publishing of her new book, The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers, Barb dons a new hat - that of the Rock Stars she describes so eloquently. More importantly, she has written a seminal work that belongs in every author and aspiring author's library. It sits in a prominent place on my book marketing references shelf - now, my primary book blogger reference.
I highly recommend The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers - Building Blocks to Author Success Series (Book One) to all authors serious about commercial success.

Book Links

Go Global: Building an International Author Platform that Sells - Building Blocks to Author Success (Book Two)
by Barb Drozdowich

Creating buzz for your book – and your career as an author – just got easier. Go Global: Building an International Author Platform That Sells will help you decode the mystery behind building a powerful author brand and navigating the social media platforms essential to publishing success. Social Media and Wordpress Consultant Barb Drozdowich will steer you through the technology behind international marketing without all the techno-speak. She has helped many authors just like you build an author platform that engages readers and builds sales.
Go Global teaches you why you need the various facets of the author platform to build visibility. Barb uses a simple analogy, Operation Book, to help you understand the steps to successful book marketing in the media age. She covers:
  • The Difference between a Website and a Blog,
  • What Your Blog Should Contain,
  • The Important Components of a Blog,
  • The Nine Essential Social Media Platforms,
  • Newsletters, and
  • Amazon’s Author Central.
With simple-to-follow steps, Barb will help you create and manage an Author Platform to support your career.

Guest Post on Sharing for Authors
What is "sharing" and why do you need to encourage it?
I’d like to thank BC Brown for inviting me to share some thoughts today! My name is Barb Drozdowich and I teach Wordpress and work with authors on a daily basis to help them understand the technical aspects of Book Promotion.
Today I thought I’d talk about Sharing. This is a topic that comes up frequently in my interaction with authors.
Authors love to get comments on their blog posts – don’t we all? Comments are lovely! I often see comments encouraged in blog tours that are posted on my blog as well as others. In the big scheme of things, however, comments are not very important. Sharing is hugely important. Sharing buttons are those little icons that sit at the top or bottom of post or maybe float along the side. Ideally, they have icons for every social media platform known to man.
It’s your job to create great content that your readers want to share with their friends and followers. I don’t care if you don’t have a Stumbleupon account. Maybe your readers do and that’s where they want to share. You just need to make the content interesting and easy to share.  You want your readers to share your post on Twitter, on Facebook, on Stumbleupon and on whatever other social media accounts they favor.
Easy, right?
So why do I think that sharing is more important than comments? Because Google thinks that sharing is more important than comments. Although readers will find your blog from many sources, some will find you from a Google search. You want to do everything that you can to make your blog rank as high as possible in a Google search. Think about it – most people will only look through the first few pages of a Google search. So, you want to be on one of those first few pages.
Understanding some of the technical aspects to promoting your books is challenging for many authors. Authors write beautiful stories – that’s what they do really well! You wouldn’t hesitate to take a writing course or go to a workshop. Likewise, don’t waste your valuable writing time wrestling with technical issues; ask for help.

This book and its companion The Author's Guide to Working with Book Bloggers will save me huge amounts of time in targeting and interacting with book bloggers in my campaign to promote my books. Thank you so much, Barb, for the practical and humorous insights into the world of book blogging, and also for the empirical data to back it up. It's also nice to hear that people who are shy can still succeed in marketing themselves and their much-loved books...

Book Links

Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors - Building Blocks to Author Success (Book Three)
by Barb Drozdowich

What are Book Blog tours? Are they something that you have tried yet? Book Blog Tours: An Essential Marketing Tool for Authors covers the topic of Virtual blog tours from beginning to end with the following topics explained:
  • What is a book blog tour?
  • How is a tour different from Online Public Relations,
  • How to set goals for a blog tour,
  • How to choose a Book Blog Tour Company for your book,
  • Giveaways and Tour Graphics,
  • Author responsibilities before, during and after the tour,
  • Follow up and planning for your next tour, and
  • Book Blog Tours from the point of view of a book blogger.
This book covers all aspects of a Book Blog Tour in easy to follow language that will help any author take on the challenge of a blog tour with confidence.

Guest Post by Barb Drozdowich on Blog Tours
Today we are going to talk a bit about blog tours. Although most authors know what book blog tours are, there are some common misconceptions about them.
To generalize, book blog tours (or virtual tours) are a series of visits to book blogs or other types of blogs, to promote an author and their book. Book blog tours can last a short time  or a long time, with just a few stops planned, or many blogs to visit.
Blog tours are either arranged by the author or their assistant or by a blog tour company/PR person.
So, why would an author arrange a blog tour?
Many of you probably answered with some version of “to sell some books.” This is the number one common misconception surrounding tours!
Book blog tours don’t sell books!
Now you are wondering if this is true, then why bother with all the work involved in tours. The basic goal of book blog tours is to network.  Just like the “old-fashioned” activities of book signings and readings, the aim is to chat and schmooze! Authors over the years have chatted books in various places ranging from their local coffee shop to massive conventions. This is really not much different. You have the opportunity to visit a blog and chat about your book with the readers of that blog.
I strongly feel that authors need to set goals before starting to plan a book blog tour.
If selling books is not a reasonable goal for a blog tour, what should be some basic goals? Here are some suggestions to get you thinking about reasonable goals.
Do you want to increase the number of reviews posted for your book?
Do you want to expand your horizons – meet new bloggers who read the genre that you write? Meet some readers that might become future fans?
Do you want to chat directly with readers or expose your book to an audience in a different country? If you live in Europe, do you want to focus on a North American market or vice versa?
Do you just want to keep your name and brand in front of a genre- specific audience?
More general goals:
Do you want to be “on tour” for a few days, a month - or longer?
Do you want to only visit blogs during weekdays? Do you have a full time job, and weekends would suit you better?
Do you want to keep what you share with readers quite simple – let’s say limited to a blurb and an excerpt? Or do you prefer to write original posts for each stop on your tour?
Are you highly creative and enjoy showing that creativity to your potential readers? Or do you prefer to answer questions provided by bloggers?
Do you want to participate in a Twitter or Facebook party or be on a blog talk radio show?
Do you want to be on a blog that posts 3 or 4 times a day, or do you want to be the only visitor to a blog for the day.
The answers to these questions will help you develop a list of goals for your next book blog tour.
I wish you good luck on your next blog tour! Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have. I love answering questions!

From an author's point of view this is an excellent book for authors to understand the world of virtual blog tours.
From a bloggers point of view an excellent explanation of the inner-workings of a blog, its hosts and how it works.
A short and simplified book that will help you asking the correct questions when approaching a touring company for your book. Where to find a touring host and what to look for when selecting a host. The biggest thing is to set a goal or goals from the start so that disappointment will not follow at the end.
Virtual blog tours are part of the marketing process where you introduce yourself and your book to readers. Yes it can generate sales up to a point, but blogging is more about interaction and connection with the reader making fans and friends on your way. That produce the sales needed for the book.
Well written it gives you a great overview of the world of blogging and what to expect.

Book Links

The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors - Building Blocks to Author Success (Book Four)
by Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower

The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors is the must have book for all authors. Every author has heard of Goodreads – some like it, some not so much. With over 120 color graphics, this book leads you through the process of creating your account, adding your books, making friends and so much more.
Let us share with you all those little gems of networking potential that Goodreads offers, such as:
  • Blog posts,
  • Excerpt downloads,
  • Widgets,
  • Apps,
  • Event invitations,
  • Groups,
  • Polls,
  • Lists,
  • Trivia and Quizzes,
  • And many more.
The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors is the most comprehensive book available today. Suitable for all authors, from the newly published to the experienced. It has something for everyone to learn.

The Drozdowich/Hightower duo write another superb short and easy to use guide. This well-organized book with step-by-step instructions and screen shots will help many writers exploit all the author advantages built into the famous Goodreads social networking site.

Book Links

About the Authors
Social Media and Wordpress Consultant Barb Drozdowich has taught at University, trained technical personnel in the banking industry and, most recently, used her expertise to help dozens of authors develop the social media platform needed to succeed in today's fast evolving publishing world. She owns Bakerview Consulting and manages the popular blog, Sugarbeat's Books.

Babs Hightower has been helping authors since 2000. She owns a book review blog Babs Book Bistro which got her started in PR and helping authors promote themselves. In 2012 she started working for Entangled Publishing and worked her way up to Publicity Director over the Scandalous Imprint. She is also the publicist for World Castle Publishing. She is also known as Morgan Kincaid writer of Historical Romance.

Enter the giveaway for a chance to win your choice of one of the four books in the Building Blocks to Author Success series or Public Relations for Authors: Take Hold of Your Own Promotions (two winners will be chosen).