Importance Of Gift Giving In Business

In order to grow your business and increase sales, you need to always think of ways you can increase your customer base. Giving of gifts in organisation is one of the most effective ways to increase your customer base and increase sales. Showing your clients and business partners that you appreciate them for doing business with you is a smart way to secure loyal clients and business partners.Many organisations have now imbibed gift giving because they know the importance of it. If as a owner you have not taken advantage of this smart way of increasing and growing your business, it is advisable to start right now because of its very great advantages and benefits.Below are the importance of gift giving:1. It is a smart way to advertise – Giving our gifts (particularly customized gifts), is a smart way to advertise and promote to more audience. When you give out gifts such as umbrellas, books, pens, e.t.c, that are customized with your brand name and logo, you are invariably marketing your brand to the public. This is an easy and cheaper way of marketing.


2. Creates relationship bond with clients and business partners – When you give out gifts to your clients and business partners, it creates a special feeling of trust and appreciation. Everyone loves to be appreciated and when they are appreciated they are more loyal. For giving your clients and partners gifts, you will not only succeed in creating a relationship but a long-lasting one.3. Your business will be easily remembered by customers and business partners – Most customers and partners also transact businesses with other companies and this make them have lots of choices to choose from when they need goods and services. What can set you apart as a business and be easily remembered by your customers and business partners is the gifts you have given to them. They will easily remember your company or business when the need arises.4. It increases sales and revenue – Let’s assume you give a customer a gift as a business owner, there is a higher tendency for that customer to talk about your business with friends and say good things about your business. Those friends who were told about your business because of the gifts you gave out will also want to be a beneficiary of such gestures and this will make them want to patronize your business. This means more customers for your business which will lead to more sales and revenue.


5. People appreciate – Everyone loves to be given free gifts once in a while most especially during festive seasons. Giving out gifts to your customers during festive seasons or when they are celebration special events such as birthday’s or anniversaries will surely make them appreciate your business the more. They will feel special by your kind gestures and this will create a sense of happiness in them. By doing this, you are not only making money from your business but you are also doing something positive in the lives of your customers.

Book Trailers: Compiling & Arranging Elements for Effective Results

In book marketing, there are numerous promotional avenues. There’s Facebook, media interviews, book signings, book tours, news releases, and speaking engagements. These approaches are straight forward and rely on communication skills found in most writers. Book trailer is an animal of a different sort. It demands an assortment of skills and resources, mainly condensing the story to its most tantalizing elements and embellishing it with photos, videos, text, voice over, sound effects and music. It’s complicated, time consuming task, and if you hire someone, very expensive. Yet with some simple strategies, guidelines, and resources you can produce an effective video with little or no money. That is, if you have a video camera/smart phone and an editing program, things you likely have already and don’t know it.

Defining Goals

First, let’s look at what you want to accomplish with at book trailer. In general, you want to promote book sales. However, being more specific you want to hook the viewer with unique and enticing information so they will watch the entire video. If you lose them before you’ve completed your pitch, there’s little chance of a book sale. As such, you require new and fascinating information throughout the video, information that not only holds their interest, but moves them toward buying your book.

Another goal is to make your trailer shareable, that it moves on from your initial viewers to their friends and followers. If your video resonates, it’s possible it will spread beyond your contacts. It could have an afterlife that spreads exponentially through social media. If you ask, you get. So, it makes sense to make this request, please share, toward the end of your video.

Compiling Elements

What types of things go into a book trailer. Normally, trailers answer potential readers” questions such as: what’s the book about, what’s the genre, is it any good, plus something about the author. Such things are usually found on the inner flaps of the book or on the back cover. If not, the following template used by producer Nat Mundel to create loglines that land movie and TV deals will help in that regard.

TITLE OF BOOK is a GENRE about NAME OF PROTAGONIST, AGE, ONE OR TWO VIVID WORDS DESCRIBING THE CHARACTER who wants HIS/HER IMMEDIATE GOAL. When THE INCITING INCIDENT happens and ONE MAJOR PLOT POINT, he/she goes on a journey to ACCOMPLISH GOAL and discover/realize/find THEME.

The above template is a great starting point to help you distill your book down to two sentences. It clarifies the genre, offers a mesmerizing shiny object that grabs their attention, and provides enough to leave the reader wanting more, all in a few brief sentences.

A logline is a one or two sentence description of your story that boils down its basic premise in a way that’s concise yet evokes emotion in your reader. It highlights what is most unique about your book. Specifically, the logline provides the author with a way to focus on the three main anchors of their writing.

Who is the protagonist?

What do they want?

What is at stake?

Once you have the logline sketched out, look for some escalation in the book that ups the stakes. It could be a confrontation or complication that takes the story in a different direction. The outcome should be unclear. It could also be the discovery of a new evidence, a red-herring, or a revelation that gives hope to reaching the goal. This section presents an emotional argument for buying the book and sets the hook before the prospect is reeled in. Most importantly, it sets up a question in the viewer’s mind about how this story continues.

The next section is more specific. It could be a brief discussion about the character traits of one of the main characters and how this reflects on the story. This might include character faults, misplace dreams, or foibles of the heart. It answers the question why. It could also be about the location or period of the story and what effect it has on the characters. Another consideration is the social or morale setting and how this affects the direction of the story. This section pulls the viewer deeper into the story, both emotionally and literally, asking the question, “Why did this happen?” It can also facilitate a love-hate polarity that further draws the viewer into your story.

The last section is closing the sale. By using adjectives commonly found in reviews it could imply the benefits of reading your book. It could present some additional arguments such as testimonials, reviews or awards. Being on any best seller list likewise deserves mention here. Acknowledgements for use of photos, videos and music are also shown in the section. You should also make a request to share this video. The most important part of this section is stating prominently where the book can be purchased. Various images of the book should be used in this section to imprint cover art and book’s title.

You will note that each section provides new and revealing information. It pulls the viewer in, creating an investment in different aspects of the book. Primarily, it creates that pressing question, “How does this story continue?” And that’s the bait that hooks your viewer and causes them to buy your book.

While there are other templates, the above format serves fiction books well. It answers the questions book readers ask and provides the information in a straight forward memorable fashion.

Writing your script will be a major task in that it demands a different style of writing, one that is denser and more compressed. Your script should contain both the narration and the card or graphics displayed on the screen. You should know that narration spoken over images is processed easier and quicker than the graphics competing with it. Thus, words on the screen tend to be brief, short phrases or individual words designed to be memorable, imperative and engaging.

Narration, on the other hand, relies on the human voice-to emote, phrase, emphasize and resonate- to develop deeper meanings. Its task is to tell a complicated story briefly and compellingly; or to highlight characters, situations and conflicts. Writing has to quickly and powerfully present the “saleable” qualities of your story, such as the characters and conflict(s) while hinting at likely outcomes. It might also convey the tone, style, and quality of your book.

Narration should use a recognizable vocabulary, figures of speech, and accepted language. Also, avoid long sentences and complex ideas, as the viewer’s attention is split between images, graphics and narration. If there is dialogue that explains a crucial story point, allow the narrator to take on that character and for greater impact, post the dialogue on a white screen.

Avoid wall to wall narration as this will soon dim the viewers’ interest. To take its place and vary the content, mix in moments of sound effects, graphics and/or music. Likewise, consider the use of live video with sound as this will too enliven your presentation. In the closing section, some narration can be used to punctuate key selling points even with same information shown on the screen.

How you end your trailer is indicative of its success. Final impressions like the initial ones are of greater importance and more memorable. So, with what impression do you want your prospect to leave? What indication of finality would work? It could be a musical ending over the image of your book cover and its tagline. It could also be a sound effect used earlier that congers up a certain feeling. Another choice is the sudden, startling glimpse of the killer’s silhouette, knife raised ready to strike accompanied by a woman’s scream. Whatever your choice, you want the viewer to go away literally and emotionally wanting more.

Now that you have scripted your book trailer, you need to come up with visuals and sounds that embellish them. Visually, these could be text, photos, videos and visual effects. Sound wise, they could be dialogue, voice over, sound effects or music. These embellishments should tease the viewer’s imagination to where the trailer plays out in the viewer’s head more so than on the screen.

Before you start searching for images, define what specific embellishment you want and approximately where they will be placed. Such a predetermination will reduce your search time and help maintain the focus of your video. In doing this process, compile some sort of record keeping so the inserts are labelled as to location within your script and where they can be found. Some embellishments may have alternates, ideas that might work provided the right image, sound or music can be found. I would designate these alternative with suffix a, b, c, etc.

In a normal 60-90 second book trailer, who might have the following number of embellishment inserts.

Voiceover: 60 seconds, 100 words max; 90 seconds, 150 words max

Text, titles, captions & listings: 85 words

Photos: 12 photos + various photos of book cover used 4 times

Videos: 2 Videos; 1 stock, 1 live action (About 5 seconds each)

Sound Effects: 3 sound effects + transitions as required

Music: 3 tracks (could be from same selection)

Visual Effects: 2 for moving text; 8 for photo & video transitions

Many of these media inserts can be found online. Sites like unsplash.com, librestock.com, and gratisography.com offer high resolution images that you can download for free. Another site for free music and sound effects is YouTube.com/audiolibrary/. You can find free public domain video clips at archive.org. For music go to freestockmusic.com. You will need to create a free account and can download various types of music for free with no royalty restrictions. Other media resources can be found on Google by searching for royalty free photos/videos/sounds. Do not use copyrighted materials.

If you feel uncomfortable about using your own voice, you can use a professional voiceover artist as found online. There are numerous voices from which to choose and demos are available on each artist. For voiceover narration on the 150-word example previously mentioned, costs would be about $25 on sites like fiverr.com music & studio/voiceover services. A special script should be compiled for the outside narrator, which indicates how you want the narration and dialogue to be read or expressed. These directions should be placed in parentheses prior to the words spoken.

There are some media inserts you may want to produce yourself. Your book cover, for instance, may be shot straight on, from the spine angle, and upright/slanted. Closer angles on the book cover’s artwork may also be relevant to your script. Background for these book photos should be on neutral or white poster board with some shots allowing room for text.

Other images that create the essence of the scene can also be produced with photos or video. Such inserts should be ambiguous allowing the viewer to fill in the blanks. Examples might be: a fearful eye wondering what’s behind her, a sound of footsteps approaching, two hands lovingly overlapping. Other inserts might be the scream from an open mouth, a hand clutching a knife, two lovers moving away through a park, a freeway clogged with traffic, a back lit image of the menace, a shadow of a hand holding a gun.

These images and sounds can prod the viewer to use his imagination and the results are more persuasive than using realistic images. Most video cameras have excellent sound recording ability, especially when using an external mic. Therefore, consider using your camera as a sound recorder and capturing just the sound by hooking up only the audio connections.

You might also want to consider a behind the scenes video section relating to research, character creation, establishing a story location, or target audience. Images with voiceover might be author at computer: medium side shot, fingers typing, author’s face looking at screen.

Now that you have compiled and downloaded or captured your trailer elements, how do you put them together. Before you start the editing process, let’s look at the setup of editing programs. The main feature will be the time lines. This is where video/audio clips are laid in and cut to the desire length. There are additional time lines below used for narration, sound effects and music. In the more expensive editing systems there are additional time lines to layer in and sync up additional media materials.

Source materials can be downloaded from the web or capture off your camera. These items are stored in a project file and would include video clips, photos, sound effects, narration, and music. These items are placed into the time line in their proper location where text and titles can be superimposed on the visual elements. Additional adjustments such balancing audio levels, transition effects, and color balance smooth out the cuts and give it a professional look. When combined together these elements make up your book trailer.

There are numerous video systems available with vary capabilities and range from free on up. PC users can edit using Movie Maker which comes installed with Windows while Mac users can edit with iMovie. If not installed, they can be download for free from Microsoft and Apple respectively. The Movavi 14 is also available free from movavi.com or the Movavi 14 plus version goes for $39.95. The Pinnacle 21 editing system is available from pinnaclesys.com for $49.95. More elaborate Pinnacle systems are available at higher prices. Corel® PaintShop® Pro 2018 and VideoStudio® combination which edits photos, designs graphics and makes movies is available through paintshoppro.com for $150.00.

These editing systems come with tutorials schooling you as to their capabilities and operation. While the free systems come with basic editing features, spending a bit extra can offer more creativity plus more imbedded effects and media resources. It all depends on the complexity of your trailer and the quality you want.

Arranging Elements

Now that you have all your script and media elements at hand, you can begin the editing process, pasting them into your time line. But where do you begin. I would start with the element that is the most consistent, be it narration, visuals or music. In the example I proposed, narration would be the element that is least likely to change much. So, you would lay that in first. Be aware that you may have to add pauses or even quicken the pace. This can be done by either adding room ambiance or cutting out pauses between sentences. When you record your narration, record a minute or so of room ambiance without talking and use this to extend pauses.

Next, start adding your visuals that support or embellish your narration. The length of these visuals will depend on their complexity and the time it takes to read superimposed text. If the text complements the narration, then the visual time can be reduced. Avoid overwhelming the viewer with too much information. For emphasis, space the narration to allow the viewer time to concentrate on a lengthy or important text.

A device often used in infomercials is duplicating narration and text on a plain background. This ups the comprehension and makes the information more memorable. This also varies the flow and increases the viewer’s concentration. This device works especially well when text rolls out on the screen one word at a time, an effect possible on more elaborate editing systems.

There will be a tendency to overplay the images and text. Too much information muddies the waters. Remember that you want the viewer to imagine a great deal of the story. By hinting what the book is about, you let the story develop in the viewer’s mind. Utilize the idea that book readers have imaginative minds and enjoy filling in the blanks. It’s a good idea to slow the pace to allow time for important images and ideas to form in the viewers mind.

Try to have a couple of video clips in your trailer. These are usually without sound, yet the screen motion stirs up thoughts and emotions not possible with still photographs. They likewise increase the attention span and make subsequent information more interesting.

Pace is an important factor in book trailers. Too slow, you lose your viewer. Too fast and your information get lost. There’s a happy medium and it depends on relating new and interesting materials that engage the viewer. That’s why sketching out your script is so important, as it forces you to see your trailer as an informative and entertaining book talk on video. Your script allows you to see the progression of your story building, pulling the viewer into an imaginary world.

Avoid cheesy effects which distract from your message. Simple transitions like fade-in, fade out or cross-fades keep the focus on the trailer’s purpose, to create an awareness of your book and a desire to buy it. Keeping the clarity of this goal in mind determines the success of your book trailer. Sometimes, people become enamored with a certain phase or image that if lost would make the video stronger. Be conscience of this fault and seek outside consultation to rectify.

Use the same font throughout, but vary the font size. Be aware that your text will be read on computer screens plus mobile devices. As such, font size must be readable and this may limit the length of text placed on the screen. Rather than minimize the font size, extend the text to the next screen using ellipsis (… ). The font size of the text should be indicative of its importance. For instance, in the last section, the acknowledgements for use of images or music would be smaller than places where the book could be purchased.

When superimposing text on an image, delay entry of the text ever so slightly so the viewer’s attention is on the image first, then on the text. Such a delay ups the comprehension as you control where the attention is focused.

Selection of music likewise requires some guidelines. Be aware that your perspective book buyers are already indoctrinate by seeing numerous TV and film productions with music. Your tastes and sensibilities in music may differ from your perspective audience. It’s therefore wise to select music reflective of the genre of your book. If it’s a scary murder mystery, that’s the type of music that would support that type of story. The music has many functions. It can create mood and atmosphere, portray emotions, reference a time or period, or create unreal situations. Music can serve several purposes that are either important on the emotional side of the movie or help/enhance the storytelling.

Using wall to wall music diminishes its impact. Fade out your music at various points and replace it with sound effects. Then at the appropriate moment bring back the music to elicit a new perspective or emotion. In this way, by isolating the music’s entrance, you make it more effective and allow it to support a new idea.

To help smooth out your cuts, allow the sound to slightly precede the visual. This allows the mind to process one element at a time and also creates suspense as to what the sound means. These micro overlaps create that, “What going to happen next?” mentality that subconsciously pulls the viewer in deeper.

Subtle use of sound effects can create the proper atmosphere or instill a menace is present. Wind blowing through the leaves or the footsteps of an approaching mugger help prod the imagination to where the story becomes a fixation. In addition, sound effects help break up the sameness of media elements and create higher expectations about the book and its contents.

As you continue with the assembly process, you will note that adjustments and corrections have to be made. You’ll also find that certain sequences don’t work, they don’t move the viewer toward your goals. This is a normal part of editing. It’s like writing a book, where much of the time is spent rewriting.

Before you make big changes, save your file. Then prior to making changes rename and save the file. In this way, you have a backup should your file become corrupted. In addition, should you find that you prefer your original better and it only needs minor corrections, then you still have that version.

The last section is where you close the sale. You offer in text and/or voice-over more arguments for buying the book and where to obtain it. As I mentioned before, these could be a complementary statement about the benefits of buying this book using adjectives commonly found in reviews along with a listing of testimonials, review quotes and/or awards. Also shown in this section are acknowledgements for use of photos, videos and music. The most important part of this section is stating prominently where the book can be purchased. Various images of the book/cover should also be featured in this section. It also helps to place somewhere in this section a sticker-like graphic reading, “Share this Video.”

Once you have your final version completed, let it sit for a few days then come back to it with fresh eyes. Look on it as a book buyer and judge if it meets your expectations, that it strongly encourages the purchase of your book. If not make corrections. If it does, then pass it on to people who will give you an honest evaluation. Don’t corrupt their judgment with additional information. Simply state you want their response to seeing your video book trailer, whether it’s positive, neutral or negative. Request specifically what they liked or disliked. With this consensus, make adjustments as you see fit.

Distribution of Book Trailer

When your book trailer is ready for distribution, you still need to prepare copy to go along with it. For YouTube you should have a description of your trailer that includes the title of your book, author’s name, and what’s it about. To make your video stand out, write a unique description with a catchy, enticing headline. Likewise, add tags. These allow users to find your video by linking common words associated with your video. If done properly, such copy greatly increases the likelihood of finding your video on a Google or YouTube search and having your link opened. This description and information can likewise be used on other video hosting services such as Facebook and Vimeo. Check Wikipedia.org for complete list of video hosting services.

To upload your video to YouTube, follow the instruction found at wikihow.com/Upload-a-Video-to-YouTube. Similar instruction for other hosting sites can be found online. Some editing systems have programs that simplify this uploading.

There are also video syndication services, however their fees are beyond most authors’ budgets and when term payments run out, your video is removed. While posting them yourself is time consuming, it negates this problem and they remain on the Internet forever.

There are numerous other ways of getting your video seen. Facebook and Twitter postings with links to video with a brief description is one way. Also use LinkedIn updates with reference to your trailer and its location. Another place is reader forums pertaining to your genre or audience market.

Your own website is another place to not only post your video, it should likewise serve as a depository displaying more information about the book and a bio of the author. Also consider email distributions to followers, friends, acquaintances, and of course family members.

If you have an author’s page on Amazon, this is another place you can post your video. However, there are numerous restrictions which are posted at https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help?ie=UTF8&topicID=200649570. On your author page, you can also share video interviews, book signing videos, and other videos with readers. Your videos should focus on specific features of your books or your experience as an author.

Also consider news releases, either email or letter, to journalist, book critics and book bloggers. Another good source is free or low-priced newswire services. It just a matter of filling out the form with the proper entries. Such postings can up your web presence as well as improve your Google ranking.

Most authors expect the trailer to pull in a lot of interest when actually, it’s all the efforts promoting it that do the heavy lifting. If nobody knows about your trailer, you can’t expect much. However, if a whole lot of people see your trailer, a percentage of them will end up buying your book. It’s a numbers game. Likewise, if you strategically place your trailer in all online/offline places where your prospective book readers hangout, good things happen. The desired goal is to get the viewer interested, either in making the purchase or in finding out more.

While this article covers the basic considerations in creating a book trailer, there is a great deal more to be learned. One way of increasing your knowledge is to look at book trailers available on the internet. You will discover there are numerous ways to create video trailers, whether it be through emotional implications, character driven, or story plotting. You might also consider a more impressionistic approach that strongly communicates the aesthetic of the book while only hinting at elements of the plot. Likewise, in using photographic/video-graphic images, avoid showing people, or at least not showing their faces in a clear way. You want your viewer’s imagination to build the characters as they would when reading your book.

By looking at numerous trailers, you will find editing techniques that will make your video stronger, like the slow zoom-in or the use of title cards. In particular, watch how the juxtaposition of images and/or music provides a feeling or thought different from what they emit by themselves. Also, be aware how pace, the unveiling of new and unique information, affects the degree of engagement.

While book trailers get few lifetime views and have notorious low conversion rates, they are superior on sales landing pages increasing conversions up to 80 percent. That might be the place where a book trailer best contributes to your sales. In addition, book trailers can make a lasting impression, they’re easy to consume, easy to share, and they stay on the internet forever. A book trailer can be a valuable addition to your marketing campaign, especially if your target audience, your potential readers view it. Homing in on that fact could reap huge benefits and increase your ROI.

In closing, it is better that your book trailer to be super simple, ultra-clear, and thoughtfully aligned with the imagery. The intent of the trailer is to illicit a sale, to get the viewer interested, either in making the purchase or in finding out more about your book. To do that, you must allow the viewer to imagine and collaborate in the making of your book trailer.

Book Promotion and Marketing

Books do not market themselves, nor do agents and publishers do all the work for you if you’ve gone that route. And if you’re a self-published author, that means most or all of the burden of marketing falls upon your shoulders.

This article talks about methods you can use to promote your book. One thing I want to point out is that it’s difficult to determine which methods pay off even after you’ve made them. Sometimes book sales can happen as a result of a combination of two or more different methods, and even after the fact, you may not know which methods played a role.

Most of these approaches are free, except for your time, so I say, try as many of them as you can.

MARKETING PLAN
It is advisable to have a marketing plan before you start, even if it’s a simple plan that evolves over time. Consider the following elements:

• Set goals for yourself — establish a number for the number of books you want to sell, earnings, number of books written, number of author interviews you do, number of guest blogs you participate in, Amazon ranking, number of hits on your website, number of Facebook “likes,” number of articles you write, and number of positive reviews you get.

• Know your target audience. What age are your potential readers? What gender? Are they likely to be from a specific geographic location? Do they have special interests?

• Know your competition. Find books similar to yours and read their reviews. See what others like about their books. Check out the author’s Amazon author page, their website, and their blog. See where their books are priced. Learn everything you can about your competition. Learn from their successes and their failures.

• Prepare a budget. There are lots of free resources out there, but it is unlikely you will be able to publish a book at no cost whatsoever. Consider these potential costs:

o Editing
o Proofreading
o Cover design
o Formatting
o Printing
o Distribution
o Advertising

• Think about your brand as you act upon your marketing plan. For authors, your brand is your name. Think about what you want people to say about you, and then behave accordingly. Be consistent within your website, blog, author profile, on-line discussion groups, and interviews. As Warren Buffet once said, “It takes twenty years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.”

• And finally, track the results and revise your marketing plan as needed.

MEDIA KIT
Always have a media kit available to send to the media when asked or to hand out at book signings, speaking engagements, conferences, and any other place where there is potential for self-promotion. At a minimum, include the following:

• Book summary
• Press release
• Select book reviews
• Author bio and headshot
• Image of book cover
• Where to buy the book
• Author contact information

CREATE A GOOD PRODUCT
I almost hesitate to include this on the list, but more than once I have been asked to review a fellow author’s manuscript or published book, and it violates every writing rule on the books and/or it contains typos. At the very least, I recommend investing in a professional proofreader.

WEBSITE
It is essential for authors to have a website, and for those of you who have never created one, or think you don’t have the skills to create one, think again. It’s not that hard. I used Yahoo Site Solution to create mine, but there are numerous others available. Just Google “free website design” and you’ll see tons of site design tools for free. If you truly can’t handle designing your own website, or don’t have the time, you can always hire it done. Be prepared to pay a minimum of $1,000 for a very basic site.

Before creating your website, you’ll have to get yourself a domain name. Domain registration is cheap and easy. I used Namecheap, but there are many others available. Most web hosts offer domain registration as well. Put thought into the name. There are tips for choosing a good domain name on the Internet such as you’ll find on thesitewizrd.com.

You’ll also need a web host in order to post your website on the Internet. I used Yahoo, but there are numerous others. My advice is to find one that offers 24/7 tech support. Some are better than others.

Things to include on your website are:

• A “Home” page that welcomes people to your site and gives them an overview of what’s inside
• Your bio, including a photo of yourself
• Your contact information
• A synopsis of your book and cover of your book if published
• Testimonials
• Links to other sites you think may be on interest to your audience
• Some sort of “freebie” whether a sample of your work, writing advice, sharing your expertise, links to related sites, etc.
• Where to buy your book
• The right keywords in the page titles, tags, and contents of your page

Promote your website as often as you can. Include the URL on your business cards and stationery (if you use stationery, and if you’re under 25, if you even know what stationery is). Include the URL as part of your bio. Put it in your e-mail signature block. Whenever you give someone your contact information, include your website URL.

BLOG
You have to blog nowadays. (If you’re reading this article from my website, and you’ve checked out my photo, you know this statement didn’t exactly roll off my tongue.) In my day… well, never mind. Today people blog. They read blogs, and they follow blogs. Blog, blog, blog.

It’s relatively easy to create a blog. There are numerous blog templates to choose from. I chose WordPress. It’s easy to use and it’s clean. For me, there’s nothing worse than a cluttered blog where you have to sift through a lot of erroneous stuff looking for what’s meaningful to you. Another pet peeve I have is to see typos in blogs. Blogs should be well thought out and proofread. Otherwise, you may lose credibility with your audience.

Most bloggers aren’t going to spend time reading or following a blog that doesn’t interest them, so the lesson here is to create material that is of interest to those who you want as followers. Sounds like a simple concept, but it really isn’t. It takes a lot of thought to get it right. Focus on providing your readers with free worthwhile informational content, even if it means commenting on other peoples’ blogs or directing them to other sites. It’s okay to have fun, too. Don’t be afraid to do something a little crazy once in awhile.

People love freebies, and free eBooks are a great giveaway since they don’t cost you anything.

Conducting polls can generate great discussion on your blog. I’ve seen authors post things like “Choose which cover you like best,” “Tell us about your all-time favorite character in a book,” and “What makes you keep turning the pages?” You might learn something very valuable in the process.

It’s one thing to create and maintain a meaningful blog, but it’s quite another thing to draw people to it and then become your followers. Including the right keywords will help. Asking questions can also result in some lively discussions and keep viewers coming back. I saw on one person’s blog, “Make me smile today… leave a comment or question.”

Don’t forget to include other links on your blog. Make it easy for readers to see what else you have to offer, including the link to buy your books.

Blog sites need to be consistently updated with new material. Once to twice weekly appears to be an acceptable frequency. Too few posts and you’ll appear stale. Too many may cause an overdose for your audience.

Remember, promoting your books should be secondary on your blog. If you do a good job with the rest of it, book sales will follow.

Like websites, blogs take time to catch on. Don’t get discouraged the first year.

AMAZON.COM AUTHOR PAGE
If your book is available on amazon.com (and if it isn’t, you’re missing out), it behooves you to create an Amazon author page where you can include your bio, photo, a link to your website, blog and twitter page, events, and videos.

SIGNATURE BLOCK
Be sure to include all your links in your e-mail and stationery signature blocks.

BOOKMARKS (not the electronic kind)
Bookmarks are an inexpensive way to promote your books. Include on your bookmarks a copy of your book cover, a synopsis, your bio and all your web links. Carry them with you wherever you go and give them away like you would a business card. Pin them to community bulletin boards. Always include one in books you give away. Ask your dentist, hairdresser, or dry cleaners if you can leave a supply in their reception area.

ON-LINE DISCUSSION GROUPS
There are numerous online discussion groups you can join to get advice, give advice, and network with authors, editors, book reviewers and publishers. Three of the most popular venues for discussion groups are Facebook, LinkedIn and Goodreads (see more discussion on each of these down the page). Become an active participant in discussions–the more you interact with fellow members, the more you learn and the more exposure you’ll get for your books. Look for successful authors in these groups who have great web pages and/or blogs you can follow and learn from them.

Many groups have separate areas of the site that will allow you to post information about your book. Use these to promote your book, but don’t forget to provide feedback on postings from your fellow authors. Not only are you helping them gain exposure, but you will gain some for yourself. These groups are all about helping each other.

FACEBOOK PAGE
Social media sites are a must for authors, and Facebook is by far the largest and most popular. But before you go promoting your book on your Facebook wall, give serious thought to creating a Facebook Page (f/k/a Facebook Fan Page). This will keep your professional posts and other activities separate from your personal ones. Facebook Pages are viewable by anyone, even non-members, so your posts can get significant exposure with the right keywords. One of the great features of the Facebook Page is that when someone ‘likes” your page, it gets broadcasted to their contacts, potentially reaching many more people who may be interested in your books.

Post milestones, book launches, interviews, and book signings on your Facebook Page… anything that you deem interesting to your followers and potential book buyers. As long as you keep it interesting, it won’t be considered spammy. Strike a good balance for the number of posts. Too few and people will think it’s not an active and current site. Too many and people may get annoyed. Be generous with including links, not only links directly related to you, but include other links that may be interesting or helpful to your audience members. Direct your visitors to places they may not otherwise have visited.

It’s important to get people to “like” your Facebook Page, as search engines, such as Google, favor Facebook Pages with lots of “likes.” One way to get “likes” is when you “like” someone else’s Page, ask them if they will return the favor.

Just remember, Facebook is all about creating relationships, whether you’re using your personal profile or professional page. It is not advisable to use Facebook strictly as a selling tool. Once you make connections and earn their trust, the sales will come naturally as a side benefit.

LINKEDIN
What Facebook does for social networking, LinkedIn does for business-oriented networking. With more than 50 million members worldwide, LinkedIn provides a vast pool of valuable networkers and potentially buyers for your books. Just as you would create interesting posts for your blog and Facebook Page, you would do the same in LinkedIn. But also like Facebook, you don’t want to make your LinkedIn site into a hard sell endeavor. That will just turn people off.

Use LinkedIn for offering interesting articles, making announcements and reaching out for advice and/or offering advice. Increase your visibility by encouraging discussions and comments. Offer freebies. Create contests. Make it fun. Even though it’s business, people still like a little fun.

REVIEWS
Book reviews are the best way to promote your book, and while you can pay good money for them, you can also get them for (almost) free. For the cost of a book and postage, you have the opportunity to get great publicity from a good review, and the rewards can be enormous by posting them on your website, your blog and anywhere else you have exposure.

One way to get reviews is on amazon.com. When someone tells you they really enjoyed your book, ask them if they would write a short review on Amazon. A positive book review on Amazon is worth its weight in gold. Potential book buyers read reviews! If you can get ten or more positive reviews, your book looks like a winner for anyone looking to buy it.

You may want to try offering a free book to someone in exchange for a review. Just be cautious who you pick. If it isn’t an experienced reviewer, you may get back something you don’t want to ever share with anyone. Experienced reviewers know how to highlight the important things you did well and constructively state where the book needs improvement.

It’s not easy to get one of the top five book reviewers to review your book, but it’s always worth a try. They are Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Midwest Book Review. A more comprehensive list may be found at stepbystepselfpublishing.net/reviewer-list.html. Some charge for their services, and others don’t.

BRAGMedallion.com is a privately held organization that brings together a large group of readers, both individuals and members of book clubs, located throughout the United States, Canada, and the European Union. BRAG (Book Readers Appreciation Group) states its mission as “recognizing quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books.” Books submitted are read and evaluated by members drawn from its reader group and judged using a proprietary list of criteria, but the single most important criterion they ask their readers to use in judging a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. Once a book meets this standard of quality from three out of three reviewers, they award it their B.R.A.G. Medallion™. Less than 15% of books submitted receive this honor, so if you submit your book and you become an honoree, you can use it proudly to help promote your book.

Whatever you do, do NOT pay someone to post bogus reviews on Amazon.com or any other site. Not only is this dishonest and less than honorable, but you’d only be fooling yourself about the quality of your writing.

INTERVIEWS
You may be surprised at how easy it is to get interviews that focus on you and your book. Send your press release or other promotional pieces to radio and TV stations, newspapers, newsletters and magazines and ask for an interview. A local ethnic TV station contacted me when they saw the press release for my first novel, “The Coach House,” and invited me in for an interview. My book had an ethnic thread running through it, and they thought their viewers would be interested in it. Did I mention they have 500,000 viewers? You’ll also find agents, publishers, editors and other authors who include author interviews on their blogs. I ran across several such people in the online discussion groups in which I’m a member.

BOOK CLUB AND DISCUSSION GROUPS
Book clubs and book discussion groups love to have the author present for their discussions. The tricky part is finding a book club who is interested in your book. Word of mouth may be the best way. Spread the word to your friends you would be willing to participate in a book club discussion.

There are thousands of online book clubs, but since they are online and accessible to anyone, you can be sure they are inundated with requests, so try to be genre-specific in your queries. Here is one book club list book-clubs-resource.com/online/. I am sure there are many others.

BOOK PROMOTION SITES
Launched in 2007, Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. They claim to have over 8,900,000 members who have added more than 320,000,000 books to their shelves. Goodreads allows authors to submit their books for consideration.

Here’s a list of other book promotion sites.
Authonomy
Bibliophil
Book Buzzr
BookBrowse
Bookhitch
Booksie
Filed By
Jacket Flap
KindleBoards
LibraryThing
Nothing Binding
On Book Talk
SavvyBookWriters
Scribd
Shelfari
Wattpad
WhoWroteThat
WritersNet

LOCAL ESTABLISHMENTS
Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers, newsletters, and trade journals. Call your local radio station and offer to do an interview. Contact your local library and book stores and offer to do a signing or free lecture. Talk to everyone you visit about your book–your dry cleaner, dentist, doctor, and grocer. Look for bulletin boards wherever you go to post information about your website, blog and books. Make the postings fun and eye-catching.

BUSINESS CARDS
Something as inexpensive and easy as business cards will let others know you’re a serious professional writer.

POST CARDS
I live in a 56-story high rise with 482 other residents who are neighbors (of sorts) and potential book buyers. I designed a postcard with a very easy-to-use template from Paper Direct and sent it to all my neighbors. On the front, where the stamp and address label go, I included an image of the front cover of my book, a one-sentence synopsis, and the fact that I’m a local author. On the back, I included a little longer synopsis, where they can find my book, a few promotional sentences from someone who had reviewed my book, and my contact information.

PRESS RELEASES
Press releases get the message out about your book launch, and anyone can write one. Send yours to any media outlet you think will be interested in helping you promote your book – TV and radio stations, newspapers, magazines, newspapers, book stores, book clubs, book discussion groups, book reviewers, etc.

There are templates available such as on PRWeb.com, pressreleasetemplates.net and smallbusinesspr.com for do-it-yourself ones. If you want to engage a service, try mymediainfo.com, cision.com or vocus.com. Muckrack.com is a free service.

TESTIMONIALS
Testimonials can be a great tribute to the story you’ve written, even if coming from family and friends. Post them on your website and in your blogs.

Here’s something fun to try. If your storyline includes something a certain celebrity or group of celebrities could relate to, send a request to their manager or agent asking for a testimonial from the celeb. For example, let’s say you’ve written a story about how a young man pulls himself out from the depths of an impoverished childhood and makes a name for himself in the world. Wouldn’t it be a coup if Jay-Z or Jim Carrey (each with a similar story) would endorse your book with a two-sentence testimonial?

TARGET GROUPS
Try connecting with groups or associations who can identify with your protagonist and/or storyline. For example, let’s say your protagonist is biracial and has a difficult time fitting in. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there who have experienced the same thing and many of them belong to the Association for MultiEthnic Americans (AMEA) or subscribe to Mavin Magazine. On AMEA’s website, they list recommended books (fiction and non-fiction) for their members, and Mavin Magazine has an E-Library available for their subscribers. This would be a good opportunity to offer some freebies or a discount for members. Since there’s a group out there for just about everything, this avenue is worth pursuing.

I signed up for a Google Alert for the title of my book, “The Coach House.” That’s when I discovered there are quite a few restaurants around the country and in Europe named The Coach House, and that got me to thinking. I sent each one of them a letter telling them we had something in common and maybe we could do something fun that would benefit us both, like have them hold a drawing (business cards in a fish bowl) where one of the prizes was a copy of my book. In return, I could advertise their restaurant on my website, blog, and Facebook page. Think outside of the box, they say.

FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Don’t discount word-of-mouth with family and friends. If all my FB friends re-posted my book announcement, I would reach close to 10,000 more people. That’s a lot of potential book buyers.

Strategies To Position Yourself As An Expert, Create Wealth And Fame Through Book Writing

Introduction
Books represent one of the most lucrative products you can develop to position yourself as an expert both on and offline, more so, online. Your book can get to the White House, Kremlin or Buckingham Palace, some of the most secured places in the planet, which you may not be able to get to. But a book is a low value product, selling at about $10 to $20 so you need to sell thousands of books to really make money. Here I’m talking about really good books, well researched and written with a good storyline. An average book rarely sells more than a few thousand copies so you need to put in your best effort to ensure your book makes it to the best seller list. This is easier said than done, but it can be done.

There are many schools of thought on how one should approach the issue of book writing. Should you write a book after you have achieved fame or write a book to achieve fame? I believe it’s an egg and chicken story. I strongly believe any person who has a story to tell should write a book to bring his or her story alive. Fame is secondary but it may as well follow if you pursue the right strategies before, during and after your book is published.

A book should be at the centre of your strategy to becoming an expert. With your book, you can launch courses, mount seminars, join the speaking circuit as a motivational speaker, turn your book into a film, turn it into several formats like eBook, and audio book. So writing a book is very pivotal to your quest to building an expert empire. Indeed the easiest, fastest and boldest way to position yourself as an expert is to write a book. If you look closely, the fame legendary personalities such as Tom Peters, Simon Sinek, and Peter Diamandis, to mention just three, have achieved was aided by their books. Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence (written with Bob Waterman) propelled him to stardom. So did Start With Why and Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think, by Simon Sinek and Peter Diamandis respectively.

Why You Should Write a Book
As I indicated above, you don’t write a book to achieve fame. If you do it well, fame will come. You write a book to share a compelling message. John Kremer is a well known authority in the book business. He is the author of the best-selling book, 1001 Ways to Market Your Book. Here are his top 10 reasons why you should write a book:
1. Become an expert
2. Support a cause
3. Share a message
4. Change lives
5. Attract better customers
6. Build your list
7. Establish an institute
8. Build a tribe
9. Create wealth
10. Sell rights

There is no feeling more exhilarating than stumbling on the world’s most iconic airports, libraries, shops and websites and finding your book displayed alongside those of the planet’s most revered authors like Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell and Tim Ferriss. Books capture our imagination. Emily Dickinson said “there is no frigate like a book”, and an unknown author said, “if you drop a book and three pounds of gold, pick the book first before the gold”, while Charlie “Tremendous” Jones said, “of all the things in this world, only two will have the greatest impact on your life, the books you read, and the people you meet.” Nothing else comes close to giving you inner peace and satisfaction that exceeds all understanding than a book. So get up and start writing your first book.

Writing Your Book
A book is basically a story about yourself, others, events, phenomena, situations and the like that you pick up the threads and convey to others in the most poignant way that instructs, informs, motivates, inspires, entertains and educates. A book is at the intersection of ideas, information and knowledge packaged as a story. You package your story by exploring questions such as the following, first suggested by Brendon Burchard, the best-selling author of several books, including The Charge, Life Golden Tickets, and The Millionaire Messenger:
• Who are you and what have you been through in life that others can relate to in their own life?”
• What have you overcome and how?
• What did you figure out along the way?
• What did you succeed at-what results did you get?
• What are you going to teach me that I can apply now to make my life better?

Arising from the above questions, Brendon suggests asking secondary questions that will enable you flesh out your ideas, such as:
• A story of struggle from my past that my audience might relate to is…
• Something I have overcome in my life that others might find inspiring or feel a connection with is…
• The main lessons I have learned from my journey include…
• Accomplishments and affiliations I have in my life that help further my credibility include…
• Lessons I can teach people that will help them in my topic area and their life situation include…

Your Keys to Success
John Locke, who sold 1 million eBooks within five months and then wrote a book about it suggests the following:
1. Have a plan
2. Know your target audience
3. Take a business approach
4. Use the right tools and use them properly

The Three Ps That Bring Your Plan Alive
According to Brendon Burchard, one of the top 100 most followed online trainers on Facebook, you need the following – without going into details:
• Positioning
• Packaging
• Promotion

Three Cs That Show You Are Out There Only For Your Audience
Brendon further recommends the following, again without going into details:
• Care
• Compassion
• Consistency

The Six Simple Steps to Writing Your Book
In my interaction with friends, BWC (Book Writing Clinic – which I founded) alumni members and a host of others, the top question that usually crops up is “where do I start?” Briefly you can follow this seven-step sequence:
• Step 1: Decide What You Wish To Write About
• Step 2: Decide The Title & Sub-title of your Book
• Step 3: Decide The Content
• Step 4: Research Your Book
• Step 5: Decide Who Will Write The Book
• Step 6: Write, Proof Read & Edit Your Book
• Step 7: Publish & Release Your Book To The World

The Six Sections of a Typical Book
A typical book will have the following sections but note that nothing is caste on stone:
1. Acknowledgement
2. Introduction
3. Foreword
4. Preface
5. Contents
6. Index

Six Simple Steps to Structuring the Book or the main contents
According to information from BWC alumni members, this is the section most would be authors struggle the most with. Indeed, other than a book, you can use this approach for any product. If you’re a beginner, it requires limiting your book to five or seven chapters. This is how it’s done. Pick a notebook and divide it into five or seven sections (corresponding to the number of chapters you wish to write) and write the section or chapter headings and then follow that up with the five points you wish to make per chapter. Then begin writing. As a beginner, it’s important you don’t stretch beyond five major points per chapter to avoid repeating yourself. If you follow the sequence above, your notebook will look something like this:
Chapter 1: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 2: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 3: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 4: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.
Chapter 5: Point 1. Point 2. Point 3. Point 4, Point 5.

The Three-Step Formula To Writing Each Chapter and sub-headings
This is nothing more than the basic tool we use in every conceivable endeavour to generate ideas, which goes by the fearful name brainstorming. Brainstorming is a simple process for thinking about, listing ideas and grouping similar ideas together into buckets. This is how it is done:

Step 1: Draw a circle and write the main idea you wish to brainstorm on in the center of the circle, example, “how to cook mouthwatering coconut rice.”

Step 2: Write or list everything you know about coconut rice, with each idea sticking out from the circumference of the circle as legs. For coconut rice for instance, it will include rice, coconut, fish, and so on.

Step 3: Start brainstorming.

In reality, 5 – 7 people should participate in a typical brainstorming exercise. Follow brainstorming rules, which I suppose you know. If you don’t know read it up. Typically, avoid criticizing any idea, just keep bringing out the ideas no matter how outlandish. At this point we are looking at quantity, not the quality of ideas. The rule is, the more the ideas the better. After you have exhausted all the ideas, start eliminating repeated, unworkable and impracticable ideas, and then group related ideas into buckets. With your brainstormed ideas at hand, you’re ready to write your first book.

7 Mistakes to Avoid in Becoming an Expert Author
Book writing is a creative endeavour so the tendency as a beginner is to start doubting yourself. You start asking, what credentials do I have? You start fearing that people will laugh at you when your book comes at. My advice is to think of the opposites. Think of the applause you’ll get. Think of the new opportunities that will open up for you. Brendon Burchard, the founder of the now defunct Expert Industry Association, has the following advice for new writers trying to hammer out their first book. He says, don’t:
1. Let your inner critic take over.
2. Fail to keep your readers engaged.
3. Write and edit at the same time.
4. Forget to track your results.
5. Add too much irrelevant details.
6. Publish before you’re ready.
7. Stop learning when you know enough.

The Fastest Way to Get Your Book Published
As a beginner, your chances of landing an agent and getting you book published by one of the top three global publishers are slim. However, you can enlist Amazon’s vast resources to release your book to a global audience by using one or all of the following:
• Amazon Create Space (for physical books)
• Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) (for eBooks)
• Amazon ACX (for audio books)

Publish on Demand Service Providers Other Than Amazon
Other than Amazon, the following independent publishers will gladly publish your book for as low as $500 depending on the contract you choose:
• Author House
• Greenleaf Book Group Press
• Telemachus Press
• Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
• Trafford

Formats to Consider Other Than the Physical Book
To gain enough traction, you need to publish your book in a format that people can access anywhere in the world. Without going into details, here are the main formats:
• PDF
• Epub
• Mobi (Kindle)
• Audio Books
• Book Turned Into A Movie

Pricing Your Book
Pricing is one of the most difficult and tricky aspects of selling books. Book prices range from 99cents for eBooks to $25 for hard covers, with the average for paper backs being about $10. While the default price for Amazon eBooks is $2.99, on your website you can sell at any price, indeed, for as low as 99cents. As a self published author you control how you price your book but as a general rule of thumb, the cheaper your book, the more you’ll sell. Unless you have deep pockets and a huge marketing machinery to engage in massive promotion, my best advice is to price your book at a single digit.

Platforms to Market Your Book
Here are the platforms in order of accessibility and control for selling eBooks and audio books:
• Your website
• Amazon
• Audible
• Lulu
• Indie Books
• Goodreads
• CD Baby
• Sound Cloud
• iTunes

Your Book Marketing Strategies
If you recall, under the keys to success, we quoted John Locke as recommending, have a plan, know your target audience, take a business approach and use the right tools and use them properly. We also mentioned the three Ps that bring your plan alive as positioning, packaging and promotion. If you did you job well at the beginning, you’ll reap bountiful dividends. Your blog and your website should be the command posts or home bases to bring your book marketing strategies alive. The subsidiary channels will be your Facebook Page, Twitter Handle, LinkedIn Page, YouTube and Vimeo channels. All the channels should work to drive prospects to your website to buy your book and position you as an authority and an expert in your own neck of the wood.

Jeremy Jones in a blog post “How to Write and Publish a Book to Become a Bestselling Author in Less than 30 Days”, wrote, “Writing a book is the most powerful way imaginable to market and promote yourself. The big picture is that you can rapidly create content and be seen, read, and heard on any Internet-capable device anywhere in the world and be promoted by the biggest brands in the world, namely iTunes, Amazon, and Google.” Jeremy suggests:
1. Create your content only once by answering questions in the form of a livecast.
2. Capture the video and promote it through Google Hangouts or YouTube Live.
3. Take the same content and repurpose it into a podcast and post it on iTunes.
4. Take the same content and convert it into a book cast.

Conclusion
Start writing to impact the world. Tell the world your story today, tomorrow may be too late. What I have said may seem daunting for a beginner but it’s not. That’s why you need help. The specific or exact steps to execute the strategies and ideas I have highlighted are sadly outside the scope of this article. If you wish to learn more, enlist in my Expert Empire Program, Book Writing Clinic or book a direct coaching session with me and you will be on your way to writing your first book, which may become a New York Times best-seller. You will never know until you take the first bold step to write your book. Paul Sweeney once said, “you know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend.”