MEMBERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
• Safety Star Media, publisher of My Body Belongs to Me, has had a series of publicity coups—a review in School Library Journal in October, a mention in Parenting magazine in November, and inclusion in February’s Time Out New York Kids. Even more exciting, however, reports publisher Jill Starishevsky, is that the book has been approved by the New York City Department of Education for school use. Late in 2009 Starishevsky, who is also an assistant district attorney in New York City, met with dozens of school guidance counselors to discuss how the book can be used in schools.
• Penny C. Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is teaching New York University’s first self-publishing course, “Self Publishing: How to Create and Sell Your Own Books,” in six sessions through NYU’s Center for Publishing in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The noncredit course counts toward the center’s Publishing Certificate.
• Stone Bridge Press founder Peter Goodman, who sold the company to Japanese book distributor Yohan in 2005, has bought it back from its current owner, IBC Publishing of Tokyo, once a division of Yohan. Goodman has remained an executive at the house, which publishes books with an Asian focus. He continues as publisher and editor-in-chief and says he bought the company back because “money that had been planned for Stone Bridge operations instead got diverted to Cody’s Books,” the landmark Bay Area bookstore that Yohan bought in 2006 and closed in 2008. The shift left Stone Bridge “with a shortfall just when it was expanding production to grow.”
• IBPA president Florrie Binford Kichler has had two recent radio interviews on behalf of IBPA, and she offers these tips for members (and their authors) who get booked for interviews:
—Be ready to give the host some talking points.This almost guarantees that your most important topics will be covered. It also provides the host with direction. Most hosts will ask you for topics and may have their own suggestions.
—Be prepared. Thoroughly research the topics you want to cover and rehearse possible comments.
—Have a photo and short bio ready to email the host or producer when your interview is arranged. Many programs will use the photo on the Web site as part of advance publicity. The bio is important both for publicity and in introducing you.
—Post information about your upcoming show on your site, blog, and all social media outlets. Let your personal and business contacts know as well.
—Set up a dedicated landing page at your Web site and ask the host to announce that site on the air. Then you can track those who visit your site and follow up with them for future marketing.
—Talk slowly; when we’re nervous, we often talk too fast. If I’m doing a phone interview, I generally make a sign that says “TALKSLOWLY” and post it where I can see it during the interview.
—Communicate passion. Your voice and demeanor should be enthusiastic and high-energy. I often stand or walk around as I’m talking to increase my own energy level.
—Be sincere. Authenticity and honesty will inspire your listeners and keep them listening.
—Always thank the host at the beginning of the broadcast and the end. Also email the host a thank-you after the show is over.
—When the interview is being scheduled, ask the host for permission to download your interview to your own computer and/or post it on your site or blog.
—If you’re doing a phone interview (especially common with Internet radio), use a land line and turn off call waiting. It can interrupt the broadcast.
• If you’re considering entering awards programs this spring, David Burkhart at San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing has some timely advice based on Anchor’s experience with Cocktail Boothby’s American Bartender: The New Anchor Distilling Edition. Originally published in 1891, it was reissued in 2009 and recently won National Best Books Awards in the crafts/hobbies/how-to and the gift/specialty categories.
“One important aspect of an award (or even of finalist status) that is important is its impact on our Web presence and Google search ranking,” Burkhart explains. “As most people know, the more sites that link to one’s own site, the merrier the Google ranking. In other words, if enough book award sites, online review sites, and other quality sites and blogs link to a publisher’s (or author’s) site, it moves the site up in the search world.”
So, he continues, besides any prestige and marketing potential of an award itself, it’s important to see whether recognized titles are posted on an awards program Web site in HTML, which is easily crawled by search engine spiders, and whether the awards program site links to yours. “For example,” he says, “if an aspiring mixologist searches Google for Cocktail Boothby, our site comes up first—even above Wikipedia! That’s a huge plus, as making one’s books better known and easier to find is probably a top goal of any new and/or small publisher.”
Another tip from Burkhart regarding search engine optimization: besides using HTML on your site, fill the site with quality content and make the “alt tags”—the alternative descriptions of images (which is what search engines see rather than the images themselves)—complete and easy to understand. In other words, use a phrase such as “Cocktail Boothby photo” rather than “CB pic.”
• Jan Yager is celebrating Hannacroix Creek Books’ 20th sale of rights to the same Vietnamese publisher, and she reports that the company’s 365 Daily Affirmations for Creativity was recently published in Korean, which brings to five the number of foreign rights sales for this title by Janet Luongo.
• Interested in being interviewed on Internet radio? Cynthia Brian of Starstyle Productions is looking for guests for the 13th year of her talk radio program. “Positive, upbeat, life-changing” are her key words, and most interviewees are nonfiction authors. Brian’s not interested in religion, politics, pornography, or any topic that glorifies violence or abuse. For more information about these 15- to 18-minute live broadcasts, see StarstyleRadio.com or listen to World Talk Radio/Voice America on Thursdays from 3 to 4 p.m. Pacific time.
• Marta Felber, who runs the Winston-Salem, NC–based LifeWords Publishing, hopes that publicity resulting from her recent award will help her meet her 2010 goal of 100 reviews on Amazon.com. Felber’s A Cat’s Eye View of Life and Love by Sterling won the International Cat Writers Association’s World’s Best Cat Litter-ary Award in its 16th annual competition. At press time, Felber was inviting the top-ranked Amazon reviewers to comment on A Cat’s Eye View, and the ninth-ranked reviewer had already done so. Felber, who says she told herself, “Wake up and make the award part of your marketing plan,” is using this recognition as part of her pitch to radio talk show producers, and she plans to enter the title in more awards programs.
• Another IBPA member recognized by the Cat Writers was TFH Publications for The Multiple Cat Family and Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat.
•“Awards have allowed us to introduce ourselves to several nontraditional markets,” reports J.R. Maxon of Dassana Press, Anna Maria, FL. His debut novel, ReBecoming: The Way of Opportunity, won eight awards, mostly in “inspirational” categories, during 2009. Maxon believes the award medallion stickers on the book and references to the award on book displays have sparked impulse purchases in gift stores. “The recognition from these awards has also allowed us to position ReBecoming as a crossover title so that we can penetrate healthcare providers’ offices and health food stores,” said Maxon, who is encouraging sales to these markets with a 46 percent discount through New Leaf Distributing, March through May.
• In the January issue we noted that Brenda Avidian, after having sold the rights to the first edition of a title to a Spanish publisher, “hasn’t been able to acquire the rights to sell this Spanish edition in the United States.” She has written to say that this is confusing, since a second English-language edition is now available. In connection with her inability to read Korean and German translations of the same book, we said in passing that she was not bilingual or trilingual; we now have learned that she is “functionally trilingual” with respect to other languages. “English is my second language,” she reports; “Armenian is my first, and I manage to survive among those who speak Spanish only.”
• Arlene Johnson of Sinequanon Group credits her bookstore presentations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with vaulting SuccessMapping to #9 on the local bestseller list of the Dallas Morning News late in 2009. “I beat out Malcolm Gladwell’s The Outliers, which was #10,” she reports. “That was fun!” Johnson’s foreign rights agent is using the bestseller recognition in responding to foreign rights and translation inquiries the publisher has received, and Johnson is also using it as she solicits endorsements for her next print run.
• In Flagler Beach, FL, Ocean Publishing is marking its seventh year with what publisher Frank Gromling calls “new territory”: new offices, with a retail storefront that will also house the Information Center for the Friends of Scenic A1A, an organization dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the 72 miles of coastal highway from Ponte Vedra Beach to Flagler Beach. Along with the storefront’s display window, the Information Center is expected to attract foot traffic—and more direct sales—for Ocean. Another plus: a Friends representative will staff the storefront, selling both Ocean and Friends merchandise. And last month Gromling launched the first workshop in a series on getting published. “Every two weeks, we’ll share with six or eight future authors what this book-publishing business is all about and how to make sense of it as a writer,” he reports.
• An article in the Akron Beacon Journal about PJ Books’ thriller Throwing Stones was a pleasant holiday-season surprise, says John Wasik. Because the local chain booksellers had exhausted their supply of books when the article appeared, PJ received several inquiries regarding direct sales.
• Julie Rebboah, president of the Portland, OR-area Lightning Bug Learning, is just back from the Southern California Kindergarten Conference, where she gave a presentation titled “Powerful and Systematic Writing for Kindergarten,” and this month she’s signing her new books, Magic Letters: The Keys to the World of Words and Magic Words: Discovering the Adventure of Reading, at the Public Library Association’s national conference in Portland.
Linda Carlson (email@example.com) welcomes news about innovative or cost-effective publishing and marketing strategies, national media appearances, movie and television options and deals, and publisher tips for members. Remember that material should be submitted before March 15 to be considered for the May issue. This column cannot accommodate photographs, book covers, or announcements by or about nonmembers. Due to limited space, we do not announce new titles in the column.