Showing posts from August, 2011

How to Promote Your Book: Use Loyalty Transfer!

Image by tsand via FlickrThat is John Locke's marketing secret: "loyalty transfer". Coming from the man who sold a million ebooks in five months, you better believe it works!

He's very open about it in his book recounting his experience, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months: (1) latch onto a major public figure - somebody you really like and genuinely feel for - and (2) write about him (or her) in a superlative way on your blog.

Don't make it too long, nobody has time for extended dissertations: 500 words is about right.  Write in the style that is your own - keep it real close to the "voice" you use in your book - and express your feelings as vigorously as you can.

Make sure you sneak in stuff about yourself. That's important, because you want people to know what sort of person you are, that you are a real fan of that "celebrity" you are celebrating. That you are "One of Them". Or as Locke puts it: OOU, meaning "one of u…

Libya: A New Day or a Long Night?

Image via WikipediaMuammar al-Ghaddafi is still missing as I write, his mercenaries still shoot from rooftops in certain parts of Tripoli. But Syrte, Ghaddafi's last stronghold and hometown, is bound to fall sooner or later. And more and more countries recognize the Rebels' National Transition Council: the Rebels have won!

Libya has turned a page.

Trouble is: what's going to be written on that new page? For the moment, all we see on TV is a ragtag army rushing about in pick-up trucks, waving guns and flags, and making the V-sign with their fingers (surely not the first letter for Victory in Arabic!) But the war has made many victims, there are threats of revenge, and it will take months before oil exports resume at the level they were at before the rebellion.

Libya has to clean up house after 42 years of a harsh, bloodthirsty dictatorship, and has to build up something it has never had before: a democracy. All the harder that Gaddafi has literally sucked the life blood out…

Customer Reviews: the Best of Marketing Tools or the Worst?

Image via Wikipedia Illustration of DNA Holliday JunctionCustomer reviews are the latest buzz in marketing:
They are used by everyone, from hotel keepers to fiction writers. As marketing tools go,they are cheap by definition: a customer review is meant to be a customer's own independent opinion.

It is also a great way to move away from top down, authoritarian style reviews, as those provided by, say, literary critics. Because one person's taste may not be the same as everyone else's. So customer reviews, if in sufficient number, provide a buzz, start a fashion, really make sales take off.

It's not surprise that when you travel, you find them on TripAdvisor, when you go to a restaurant, you find them on Zagat, when you're looking to buy a book, you find them on Goodreads, Shelfari,, the Reading Room and a host of virtual book clubs, both in the US, the UK and all across Europe.

When Customer Reviews Boomerang
 Problems have turned up with customer re…

Sex and the American Novel

Image via WikipediaJ.A.Konrath recently fumed about sex: when his books contain explicit sex scenes, his readers are unhappy and call him a pervert! Amazing! 

Although I know America well and am a keen observer of American mores, I'm still puzzled by the way Americans view sex. This is particularly evident in politics. The on-going Dominique Strauss Kahn affair or scandal if you prefer to put it that way, certainly shows the complexities and innuendoes of how sex is viewed in America.

And it's not just a reaction to the sexual habits of a French celebrity, American politicians have repeatedly fallen prey to American public opinion. 

Most recently, it was Rep. Anthony Weiner (D - N.Y.) who sent nude photos on Twitter to some woman in Texas. He caused quite a stir and subsequently the Washington Post explored the question, polling some women on how exciting they found "naked man-parts" (not very), and what research had turned up. Unsurprisingly, research shows that …

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: ELIZABETH JENNINGS, writer and founder of the best writers conference in Italy

Elizabeth Jennings, a writer with twenty years of experience, has just published Darkness at Dawn with Berkley Sensation (Penguin). When you meet Liz (that’s how her friends call her), you are immediately reminded of Carol Joyce Oates line: “this is a person of surpassing integrity; a man of utmost sincerity; somewhat larger than life”.
But of course, she’s not a man! 
She’s very much a woman, a dedicated mother and wife, and a prolific writer (three books a year don’t scare her). She is not only a shoot-from-the-hip suspense author with a poetic streak when she sticks in romance in her novels – like in Darkness at Dawn, so far, one of my favorites! – she is also an amazing conference organizer. 

She founded nine years ago, and is personally running, what has become the best writers conference outside the US and UK: the Women’s Writers Festival in Matera, Italy. It claims to be and is in fact the only international writers' conference in the world, bringing together writers, agents …

The Euro Summit: A Failure or a Step Forward?

Image by Chesi - Fotos CC via FlickrWhat happened at the Sarkozy-Merkel Euro Summit?
Very little, judging from the drop in stock markets and the Euro exchange rate the next morning, August 17. We'll see how the rest of week goes, but markets are manifesting their disappointment, no doubt about that, while the Swiss Franc keeps rising.

The media had also expected a lot from the meeting, announcing it as a "Euro Summit"  because France and Germany are the two biggest economies in the Eurozone and have historically led forward the movement towards European Union.

Financial experts and investors, including big guys like Soros, had hoped for a lot more from the odd couple (Sarkozy and Merkel - their kisses deserve a post on its own). They had hoped for concrete proposals to save the Euro and in particular, the launching of Eurobonds backed by all 17 members of the Eurozone.

How could Eurobonds save the Euro?

They would be much like US Treasury bills. The Eurozone guarantee wou…

Marketing on Twitter: What Works and What doesn't

Oh Sweet Twitter! Image via Wikipedia
How Twitter works for you depends on the number of followers, and, more importantly, on the kind of followers you have. 

Marketing will make sense if you've pitched it at the RIGHT audience. If not, it's a waste of time, this much is obvious.
Problem number One: Know your audience.
Too much emphasis has been placed on the NUMBER of followers you've got. To have a lot is good, but who they are is what counts if you want your marketing to be successful. If you're a businessman, you know your market, you know what your interests are, no problem there. The first article I've attached below gives you all you need to know.

For artists and especially writers, it's different. And it is very surprising how few writers really know what audience they are writing for. Most writers see themselves as fitting into a genre - romance, sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, whatever - and feel that if they've got a majority of people interested in that …