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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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The bad news is that it does not work...promoting your own book unless you are a famous celeb....is necessary. Bragging is not necessary..but sharing what you have and letting the world know it..is...carol stanley author of For Kids 59.99 and over....
It's common for authors to dislike promotion. In fact, it makes sense that writers are uncomfortable promoting. Writing is a solitary activity. Most authors are introverts. Promotion is a social activity—something extraverts are more comfortable doing. It is rare to find both introversion and extraversion in the same person.

Book promotion is a "learned" activity. Few of us exit the womb knowing how to promote ourselves or our books. Start with baby steps. Have a book party (this is a concept similar to a Tupperware party). Invite a few friends over for drinks and hors d'oeuvres and talk to them about your book. Get comfortable talking to and answering questions from friends about your book.

Keep in mind Frank McCourt, author of ANGELA'S ASHES and TEACHER MAN, spends six months a year writing and six months promoting his books.
Well I have a new challenge...I need to start calling radio stations for interviews...and I am suffering from "call reluctance" I have read over several pitches to use...should I be a lucky person and get to talk to a live voice...and lots of opinions...I know after I make about ten calls I will get into a rhythm...Any new suggestions or ideas..or someone to hold my hand...just kidding...carol
Carol—
The media is a starving beast that requires constant feeding. They need you more than you need them. Think about it. How many local newspapers need stories, how many radio stations need talk show guests, how many local access cable stations need guests and how many local TV stations need guests each day in this country.

Producers and editors are searching for guests constantly. At the same time, these producers and editors are busy people. They don't have time to waste on ineffective pitches. Think of them as having ADD. Keep your pitch concise and on point.

When pitching, stress three important points: the "hook," the cook and the book.

The hook is most important when pitching yourself. What makes your book unique? What makes it timely and topical? Why will your book interest listeners or readers?
You have to think outside yourself to pitch the benefits of your book to their audience. It's not so much about you and your book, but what your book will do for their listeners or readers.

Next, you have to pitch your credentials as an expert on your subject. Producers and editors want experts to educate and inform their audiences.

Finally, you have to pitch your book as a definitive resource to help solve listeners' or readers' problems.

Good luck booking yourself onto radio shows.
Thanks so much Bill for your help...I will listen to these fine words...Carol
All Above
My answer reminds me of a bit of advise I heard in "The Last Lecture". Randy Pausch reminds us that brick walls are made to separate those of us who really want it from those of us who don't want it enough.

My brick walls are coming in the form of cover design. Designing my cover art and getting it converted to a PDF document have been obstacles, but I think that I have found quality workarounds for those problems and am now running eagarly to find my next brick wall.
Congratulations on working around your cover design brick wall. There is a strong feeling of satisfaction when you overcome an obstacle.

You may want to have your cover design reviewed by a professional now that it's finished. A book's cover is vitally important to it's success. Despite what our mothers told us, people do judge a book by its cover. To make your book stand out in a crowded field, you want an eye catching cover. Covers also conform to certain guidelines, and if you don't know the guidelines and follow them, your cover may appear "junior varsity" quality.

There are ways to save money when producing your book. Scrimping on the cover art is not one of the ways to do that. Creating a good cover can cost between $700-$5,000 (depending on the artist used), but it is worth the investment when it comes to selling your book. Check out my list of cover artists on my blog, http://bookprint.blogspot.com, in the April 2005 posts.
More on the importance of book covers. Check out this audio download from Danny O. Snow. The download is free.

http://www.lulu.com/content/634379
The biggest challenge I am experiencing is getting people to know that I have written and published a book. I am convinced, based on the feedback I have from people who have read my novel, and a 5-star review from Midwest Book Review, that it deserves a much wider audience. However, dealing with the national chains is very difficult. The key lies in finding ways to promote on-line. I am working with my POD publisher - BoorSurge - and others who have insights into on-line promotion.
Brian—
A five-star review from Midwest Book Review is a wonderful credential. Congratulations! Marketing and distribution are usually the critical issues for most authors and publishers. BookSurge, as you know, will do little to promote your book for you. If it's going to be promoted, you'll be the one to do it.

There are several ways to promote your book on Amazon—BookSurge's primary distribution channel. Check out Brent Sampson's book on the subject, HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON.

If you're going to promote your book online, you may want to start by identifying the blogs and web pages that focus on your market. Go to Technorati.com and enter in your subject matter. Technorati will return the top blogs in your subject category. The blogs will be ranked by the authority index. The higher the authority index, the more highly rated the blog. Begin by reviewing the blogs then, after you've observed how the community interacts, make comments. In your by-line on each posted comment, include your URL for the book (and your Amazon page).

Also, investigate which blogs are seeking guest bloggers and volunteer. Guest blogging can really boost your visibility within their community. You can become a de facto expert in your field.

These tips work best for non-fiction books, but they can also work for fiction.
Although there are many challenges facing publishers, the one that is top of mind with me today is the cover design. In the author agreement, Oak Tree Press holds the cover control. However, as an operating policy, I try as hard as possible to find a cover design that pleases the author as well as me.

It's been my experience that authors frequently come to this part of their book's production with a lot of pre-conceived notions, such that the first view of the cover I send them is a huge disappointment. And a battle ensues.

I have a standing arrangement with a cover designer now...one that has seen OTP through more than a dozen projects. My guy is creative, cooperative, punctual and priced right...overall a relationship that I don't want to mess with by being hard to please, trivial, or doing something that is ethically....well, hinky.

On the flip side, I don't want to launch a book whose author hates its cover or feels obligated to apologize for the cover when he or she should be touting the book's value.

Two recent cases: 1) a cover design was done and the author loved it, but a couple of weeks down the road, after I had already given the designer the go-ahead, he contacted me with a design a friend had offered up and wanted to bail on the first design. 2) the author really disliked the cover, everything, the color, the original photograph I had done, the font everything, and immediately began to bombard me with her own "designs".

After much gnashing of teeth and dozens of emails, we've come to some grudging agreement in both cases. I suspect the authors involved have some negative feelings hanging on....and frankly so do I. Hopefully, this will all level out and not impact promotion efforts.

But I still wonder...how do other publishers deal with this issue? And how do other authors feel about their covers...especially the ones whose first impression was less than enthusiastic?

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