Q&A with Brian Kennedy discussion

Ring the bell

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message 1: by Brian (last edited Feb 04, 2008 05:10PM) (new)

Brian | 5 comments Mod
I confess that I am here trying to get my first novel, "Improved Lies" noticed. I have had some luck in getting the Cinci Enquirer, Jamaica Gleaner, and Renfrew Mercury to give the book nice reviews. The Bay City Times plans to serialize it over 16 weeks. But where to go from here?

It is possible that the book isn't as good as they say. I've never been too great at self criticism. So, my saying it's worth a read doesn't carry much weight. But I don't want to feel like a seventh grader giving his first boy-girl party to which nobody comes.

Would love input on how to make sure the doorbell rings. All thoughts greatly appreciated.

For more on whats behind the door please check my profile on GoodReads and my web site, brian-m-kennedy.com

message 2: by Dorien (new)

Dorien | 2 comments Brian:

Although I have 12 books currently in print, with another two due out this year, I still feel a bit like a cyberspace Neanderthal when it comes to knowing my way around.

But I do think you have it a bit backwards: the success of a book doesn't rely on someone's ringing your doorbell, but your ringing theirs. GoodReads is a good start in getting your name out there as many places and as often as you possibly can.

The difficulty with this approach is that there is a tendency to become so busy running around trying to promote your books that you don't have any time to write them...let alone read the books of other authors you really would love to read.

But it sounds like you're making the right first steps (nice website, by the way), and I wish you...I wish us all...luck.


message 3: by Brian (new)

Brian | 5 comments Mod

Dear Dorien:
Thx for your comments. Agree trying to promote is very distracting from getting on with writing. Have told myself that I write to bring others pleasure form the read. So, if it turns out that book doesn't bring sufficient satisfaction to a wide enough audience, is the writing of the next just a self indulgence?

Must concede that the writing brought me sufficient joy to be a worthwhile indulgence. Nevertheless, the party would be more fun if lots of people came and had a wonderful time. No?


Brian Kennedy

message 4: by Dorien (new)

Dorien | 2 comments Brian:

I agree with you completely, but it again ties in with my first comment: I know there are an infinite number of absolutely wonderful books out there that I would love, but unless I know they are there, there's no chance I'll ever come across them.

To use a rather unflattering metaphor, the author has to be like a side-show barker in a gigantic carnival, urging prospective customers/readers to "Step this way!!" A barker who just stands there hoping someone will come up and buy a ticket won't bring many people into his tent.

You're off to a good start with Q&A, and I'll watch with interest where it goes.



message 5: by R.J. (new)

R.J. | 3 comments Brian, Hi. This is the other half of R.J., his wife Marty. I know I'll give "Improved Lies" a shot in the next few weeks and I'm looking forward to it.

We know where you're coming from because R.J. has little time to get out there and promote his novels. He still has a day job for now. Luckily his wife (yours truly) is coming out of a 30-year career in advertising design and has learned a few things from the copy writers and marketing directors that have shared the projects.

In R.J.'s case, he absolutely did not enjoy signings, not to mention the self-promotion travel costs. (He'd rather spend his money on scuba diving.) Besides, it's hard to convince booksellers to schedule a signing if you're a new author. So I had to think of creative ways to reach them AND the reading audience without taking much time or expense.

Dorien is correct...you have a nice web site. It's a great place to start self-promotion.
• Now you need to let as many people know about the web site and your novel as possible. Join all the venues you can (like this site) and post regularly. Also, MySpace.com has a very complete author/publisher/creative community and I feel like it's almost a "must". You can post blogs there and share ideas with others. Mention your Web address in each and every email and community comment you make. Use the search form to find authors and join the groups.
• Can you create Acrobat files (PDFs)? Try making one or two promotional items. They can be quite simple, like bookmarks. Then link to them from your site so you can inform booksellers that there is promotional material available for download. You need to help them sell your novel. If you make their life easier, they'll come on board.
• I suggest you visit BookSense.com and become an affiliate. Place your BookSense link on your Web site next to Amazon and Barnes&Noble. BookSense represents a significant number of independent booksellers across the country and has its following. They also have a couple of inexpensive marketing programs.
• If you can't reach readers 30-at-a-time at readings/signings, how about 300-at-a-time? This is one of my favorite techniques. Find what we call a "verticle market". In R.J.'s case, he writes SciFi mysteries that involve scuba diving. So we Googled dive conferences, selected a few with upcoming events, and wrote them to ask if they would like to have a signed copy of the novel as a door prize. A few wrote back enthusiastically. When we sent the novel, we included a paragraph about his series and the novel. If the book is used as a giveaway at the conference banquet, you can bet it gets held up and introduced before the ticket number is drawn. This calls all eyes up front to YOUR book. We always receive Web site hits and a few sales after a conference or silent auction of this sort.

I may have told you nothing new. But I have a few other ideas, too, so I'll be happy to take part in new discussions.

Our best to you,
--R.J. and Marty

message 6: by Brian (new)

Brian | 5 comments Mod

Dear R.J and Marty:

Great stuff. Sounds like R.J. has a better half to brag about. Me too.

Will try your ideas as they should prove valuable to all similarly situated authors[afloat in a sea of writers trying to get noticed amongst the flotsam and jetsam]

I had some luck by contacting newspapers in places where I lived,was born,or worked and tried to interest them in local boy makes good angle.

Will try golf angle as you did scuba diving. Jamaica boasts crystal clear waters, wrecks, reefs, and colorful fish. I swim in the sea almost daily and found that I was more productive post swim; positive ions, endorphin release, immersion in a different element, something.

I feel your suggestions make a valuable contribution and welcome more.



message 7: by Steven (last edited Feb 13, 2008 06:56AM) (new)

Steven | 1 comments Brian,
I think you already have the answers you seek in the posts above. It is beneficial to join the right websites and also to ensure that your publisher makes sure you get the right book distribution.

generally, its easier with Novels than biographies because Novels go to the front of the book shop shelves and the biographies go to the back.

Its also worth subscribing to book reader's magazines as this will help you to find the relevant audiance.


Steven Preece

message 8: by Brian (new)

Brian | 5 comments Mod
Dear Steve:

Thx for the ideas. What websites and reader's magazines do you recommend?

What suggestions on encouraging the publisher re distribution?



message 9: by Michael (new)

Michael Berish (michaelberish) | 4 comments I worked a detective and as a supervisor on the City of Miami Police Department for twenty-two years; thirteen of which were spent as an undercover detective in the REAL Miami Vice where I worked everything from Narcotics & Vice, Prostitution, Gambling and Pornography, to Dignitary Protection of President Jose Napoleon Duarte (of El Salvador) and Pope John Paul II.

My new book, REFLECTIONS FROM THE PIT, pulls no punches: it shows you the good, the bad and the ugly; the dark side of police work, both the humor and the tragedy. When you are done reading it, hopefully, you’ll say to yourself: “I never knew people, much less cops, like this ever existed.”

My problem is exactly what Dorien said about how you run around all day trying to promote your book via in person or on the Internet and find you have no time to write anyting else, or to read the books you want to so you can absorb more material. I am having a tough time marketing myself and would greatly appreciate any more info anyone else has to offer.

Michael Berish

message 10: by Michael (new)

Michael Berish (michaelberish) | 4 comments Your insights we're very helpful re: the My Space comments and the Google conferences to give away free books for door prizes.

Do you know anything about linking one's self to other sites? And how to do that?

Michael Berish

message 11: by Brian (new)

Brian | 5 comments Mod

Dear Michael:

Sounds like you write from a wealth of experience. I spent 3 years + in Prosecutor's office and maintained many police buddies even after I went over to the other side. Look forward to reading your book.

Since I am a complete newbie at getting a book noticed, I regret I am as lost as you for great ideas. It's a jungle out there.[particularly from here in Jamaica]



message 12: by R.J. (last edited Feb 16, 2008 09:23AM) (new)

R.J. | 3 comments Michael, let's see if I can come up with an idea or two. This is time-consuming, but once you've achieved this, you won't need to follow up...just check in from time to time and see if you're still listed.

• Link exchanges...as simple as locating sites on the Internet that are somehow connected with your topic. Be sure you wouldn't mind linking to THEIR site. Then send off an email request for a link exchange. Provide your URL to your web site and ask for theirs. If you want to add graphics, you can simply ask them for a link to their image as well. (NOTE: never take an image without written permission from its author or web master.) You can follow up on occasion by seeing if they've added your link or if they still have your link on their page.

• Directories...There are a few directories you can find using Google. In our case, we ask to be listed on SciFi directories, arachaeology directories and dive-related directories. There is usually a submission form to fill out online, or again, you can send an email to the webmaster of the site.

• Forums...Use the search engine to find forums for your genre. Sign up, add your URL as the main web site, and begin responding to interesting comments or start your own topic. BE CAREFUL that you don't use these as overtly promotional. That's usually against the rules and your post will be deleted or ignored. Try to add real substance. If readers are interested, they'll follow the link to your website and get in contact or find out where they can purchase your book.

• Affiliate links...You can usually find information about how to become an "Affiliate" of Amazon, Barnes&Noble, BookSense by scrolling down to the links at the foot of the page and clicking either on "About", "Investor Relations" or "Authors & Publishers"...something like that showing a disconnect from the actual storefront. Then follow the links until you find something about "Affiliates". The process may take a week but you begin again by filling out a form. You'll receive an email once you have been accepted into the program. The email will provide an ID, a password, and a link to the code needed to display the "Affiliate" graphic. BE CAREFUL to include the exact code for their graphic so that you preserve your affiliate ID inside the code. This is what records hits and purchases of your book. These will be gathered in reports at the same Affiliate control panel on their site. Commissions are paid on sales and once this commission reaches an amount, such as $25, you can receive payment. So be sure to fill out ALL of their forms so they know how you want to receive your payment.
Sign up at the following:
Amazon: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/
Barnes & Noble Program is now being run through Performics: https://www.connectcommerce.com/secur...
BookSense: http://www.booksense.com/affiliate/in...
Powells: http://www.powells.com/partners/partn...

message 13: by Michael (new)

Michael Berish (michaelberish) | 4 comments Brian,

Hope you do purchase it. As a prosecutor and a defense attorney, you should get a kick out of some of these characters in these stories. I'm sure you've met some of them in court, using an alias.

Michael Berish
The REAL Miami Vice!

message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael Berish (michaelberish) | 4 comments Thanks very much for the information, Brian.

Sory, I didn't get back to you earlier, but I have met up with this marketer through the chamber of commerce. Nice fellow. English. I realize all the things wrong with my website. It looks pretty, but I have no control over the root directory, so I can't add codes, so search engines can find EVERY page (not just the home page, as now) and that's only with the 4 search engines they gave me, so I'm very limited.

So, I'm with this new marketing guy who is moving my domain names and COMPLETELY making over my entire website (It will still be at: www.realmiamivice.com) where it will have a blog, audio tapes of actual radio shows I've been on, nice photo gallery, commercials, links, and will crawl over 100 search engines, so I can really get spread out there on the Internet.Thanks again for the advice.

message 15: by Anthony (last edited May 29, 2008 02:08PM) (new)

Anthony (anthonyt) | 1 comments Hi RJ & Marty,

I just wanted to thank you for all the insightful ideas you've offered to assist with promoting our books. Unfortunately the marketing aspect of our industry is often neglected due to the difficulty in trying to balance writing, reading and overall family commitments. Your willingness to provide suggestions and advice is greatly appreciated.

Anthony Toro

message 16: by R.J. (new)

R.J. | 3 comments Anthony, you're more than welcome.
Authors for authors, I say! :-)

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